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I started dating my girlfriend two years ago. She told me from the start she was bipolar / with some schizoaffective tendencies.

After 5 months she suddenly split up with me saying I was too much pressure. We spent a month apart but maintained some contact - I realised she didn’t have her bipolar under control and after she agreed to see a new doctor and subsequently a new psychiatrist – she became much better – all with good results and on new meds (lithium and another one – sorry – cant remember). Subsequently we fell back into a great and loving relationship.

As I’m sure you know too well – there was still some rapid-cycling times when she was not ‘right’ as such and sometimes – as she put it – her brain ‘wasn’t right’. During this period she would start to question many things in her life – sometimes including me – however I always offered her reassurance and continued to care and love her.

Over the past couple of weeks things have spiralled down slightly. She had a lot of triggers suddenly kicking in (grandma sick / friend’s wedding coming up / biological clock ticking VERY LOUD) and she kept shaking her head, telling me she wished her ‘head would stop’, that she ‘hates this feeling’ and then sleeping excessively afterwards. Her home was also a complete mess which I know by now – is not a good sign…

Two days later – more questions regarding our relationship – again I reassured her where we both stood. And at work the next day she told me she wasn’t good again – I asked if she had seen her psychiatrist lately – and she said ‘no – it’s been about six months!!’ I asked her to book in – which she later told me she didn’t…

That night she didn’t want me to come over and when she got home from work she just slept right through to the next day.

The next night I went and saw her and again – she was excessively tired and not good at all. She was glassy eyed, dissociating and she was even showing me the scars on her wrist where she had once tried to commit suicide 10 years ago – although she told me she’d never do that again.

Again – she was banging her head – and shaking it – saying she ‘had all these thoughts trying to get to the front’.

She went to bed and I had no contact with her until she texted me saying she didn’t want to see me that morning – but wanted to talk later in the day. She said she hadn’t been to sleep – went for a walk around 2am and then drove a considerable distance because she ‘needed to think’. She was clearly in some kind of ‘psychotic episode’ or ‘mania’ but refused to go to hospital or see anyone.

When I met her later she told me she thought we needed a break – and that she ‘needed space’. She also said she loved me but wasn’t ‘in love’ / no passion etc with me anymore even though we were discussing marriage/moving in together/ kids two days before!

We discussed all this calmly but she said she ‘wished her head would stop’ and I asked her to book in to see her psychiatrist again.

We had no contact for a week and a half (I knew she was going to work during this time – but then she puts on a convincing ‘mask’). Out of the blue she rang me to see if I was ‘OK’. She seemed sheepish / nervous – she said she still hasn’t seen her psych but said she knows she has to, to get her meds changed etc. I kept the chat nice and light, no relationship talk, and we sort of left it at ‘well call me if you want to chat'.

I was away for work for a week and I rang her to see how she was –as she was asking me too. Talk got around to her bipolar and her psych which she still hadn’t seen although she said she was planning to. She said she didn’t think her ‘episode’ was serious (I wanted to tell her otherwise – eg we’ve split up / you were fantasising about suicide and told me at the time you didn’t care if your cat lives or dies).

She volunteered that she knows she has a pattern of pushing partners away and that she needs to book in to get her meds checked. She said she still wanted distance between us which I didn’t argue with. We finished the conversation on a lighter note.

At the end of the day I got an email from her (I have edited some bits):

[I]I tried to call you earlier, but there was no response. I don't blame you if you are avoiding me. I know you think I am going through an 'episode', but I want you to respect what is going through my mind all the same. This seems to be my pattern. I don't know why. But I need to go away and figure some things out. And I know you don't think that you do, but as much as my opinion counts, I think you do. Are you thinking this is part of my bipolar behaviour? If it is, it is, but that is me.Please forgive me for writing my thoughts to you, but I'm not strong when you turn it all around, and the conversation becomes all about my bipolar.[/I]

How do I respond to this email – if at all? Apologise that I didn’t mean to cause offence. It was just hard for me to see someone I love in pain and I shouldn’t have mentioned her bipolar?

This is so difficult because I am the only one who knows about her bipolar – work colleagues don’t know / family are kept in the dark / friends think it’s just gone! Should I try and maintain contact or give her the space to 'go away and figure things out.’?

I love this girl and as much as I am suffering – I know she is suffering more.

Any advice much appreciated.

Regards Scott

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