February 14, 2017 • Volume 10, Issue 6 • Subscribe to Hope & Harmony Headlines
The Road To “Happily Ever After”
If you’re in a committed relationship, Valentine’s Day can become an opportunity to say “thank you” to the person you share your life with—and reflect on how to make things better.
It’s no secret that couples face greater stress when one partner lives with a chronic illness of any kind.
How that affects the relationship has a lot to do with the way that each partner copes with stress and, just as importantly, the way couples deal with stress together. (Researchers call that “dyadic coping.”)
Perhaps the most important element of couple coping is honest and respectful communication about what’s troubling each individual. None of us are mind readers: An Israeli study published in March 2016 found that “neither the patient nor the spouse was able to accurately assess the impact of the disorder on their partner’s lives.”
Experts also recommend addressing feelings of inequity in the relationship—not just resentment from the partner who may be shouldering extra burdens, but also guilt and a sense of inadequacy from the person who has bipolar. Beth Mader felt all of that when she and her husband relocated to a different state and he started a new job.
“I had this fantasy: My husband needed me, I’d step up,” she writes. Then the stress of the move triggered bipolar depression, irritability and anxiety: “I got sick, he got mad, it was Game On.”
Happily, the two were able to gain perspective on what was happening and recognize “that we would need to work together to get through it. As always.”
Self-Compassion: The Kindness Cure
Do you have a tendency to be your own worst critic? Challenging your inner judge with a little self-love and compassion can have radical results. Read more >>
5 Things To Know About Child Psychiatrists and Bipolar Disorder
The pervasive stigma about mental illness can still discourage families from seeking psychiatric treatment for children suspected of having bipolar disorder. However, psychiatric treatment should feel no different than going to see an allergist or any other specialist. Here’s what parents and caregivers need to know. Read more >>
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