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When Your Roommate Has Bipolar Disorder

When your roommate has bipolar disorder, there are things to consider. Though the effects of mental illness affect those who suffer most acutely, they also cause significant consequences to those friends and family. Those effects can be felt more acutely by those who live with someone suffering with a mental illness. When your roommate has bipolar disorder — or any other mental illness — they may, unwittingly, be responsible for taking care of you and managing their own reactions to your symptoms (Effects of Bipolar Disorder on Family and Friends).

Managing Practical Details When Your Roommate Has Bipolar Disorder

I have been living with my current roommate for almost five years, and during that time I’ve had a long depressive episode. At my worst, I didn’t leave my room and stayed in bed with my door closed. Over the course of weeks and months, that behavior changed the dynamic of chores around the house.

Since I couldn’t get out of bed, my roommate had to feed my cat and change the litter box It may be hard to cope when your roommate has bipolar disorder. Learn about my experiences and how my roommate helped with my recovery. Take a look.— two things that he hates to do, as the cat clearly belongs to me and not to the apartment. He also had to wash dishes whenever I used a cup or a spoon and clean common areas like the bathroom and the kitchen. The division of labor in the apartment shifted significantly during my episode as I was unable to take care of myself, let alone a host of other duties. Fortunately, I’d told my roommate what was happening to me, and had discussed how an episode of bipolar depression might look before I’d had one. This early communication prevented much resentment from building up about my behavior.

Emotional Effects When a Roommate Has Bipolar Disorder

Though roommate situations may be practical rather than emotional arrangements, there is still an emotional toll if a roommate has bipolar. During my recovery, I was frustrated by my progress and still felt the effects of depression most of the time. My roommate bore the brunt of my dissatisfaction as I often lashed out at him or had crying fits in the living room.

Because we had talked about my disease and symptoms beforehand, my roommate was less offended than he could have been by my outbursts. He did, however, respond with frustration of his own and we sometimes got into arguments which ended in slammed doors. It was important for me to remember to apologize for taking out my negative feelings on him, and for him to realize how my emotional state affected his feelings and reactions.

You Can Play a Critical Role in Recovery If Your Roommate Has Bipolar Disorder

The most important aspect of sharing a home with someone who has a mental illness is the ability to notice changes in symptoms and behavior. When I had a bipolar relapse, my roommate noticed my behavioral decline before I did, being aware when I cancelled plans and isolated socially. When I started to get better, he also noticed the change in my mood, my outlook, and how I interacted with him. Having someone at home who experiences my emotional and physical state as often as I can, helps me stay on top of when I might be slipping back into depression before a full episode sets in.

Find Tracey on TwitterFacebookGoogle+ and her personal blog.

4 thoughts on “When Your Roommate Has Bipolar Disorder”

  1. I wish there was an easy fix to all this. Just when I am feeling better, then whamo another depression episode starts in. Hope you have better days ahead.

  2. OMG my roomate has some sort of mental illness and she did not mention it before I move in. Some days she is nice but then she can stop talking to me for days, or being super rude or slamming my door because she asked me for my charger and I said I was using it. On a daily basis it is very difficult to deal with. I get anxious before getting back home because I don’t know if she is going to have a good day or a bad day. I try o be understanding and supportive but I never know what to say, specially because she change her mind about everything at least once a day so I live in a total uncertainty. For example she has been telling me that she will move out next week since last November, because she wants to live in another neighbourhood. 5 months later she is still here.

  3. I have been living with a Bipolar roommate for 6 months and so far she’s had many episodes as we progressed. Then her mother tried to kill herself due to that close tie that was broken between them when my roommate moved in. Mother has it too. Lots of drama now, the mother calls with some fake story when roommate is out and I react. And yesterday the roommate pretended to be in horrible pain and dragged me all over town for self medicating and then hours in urgent care then they called an ambulance and sent roommie to E.R. and then roommates mom is on the way to see roommate in ER and gets in auto accident. Roommate put me through hell, I was truly worried and stressed, then roommate came home like nothing happened like one hour later, and I had to walk 20 blocks in the heat to get home from Urgent Care. Roommate has to go, HOW DO I GET RID OF A BIPOLAR ROOMMATE? I’m scared.

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