I am bipolar, and have managed fairly well over the years. But the stress of caring for a husband with Alzheimer's may be the straw that broke the camel's back. When I am feeling "up" I find myself filled with compassion, patience and kindness. I don't mind jumping up from my dinner 10 times to help Adrian find his glasses, fix his hearing aids, or bring him some hot sauce.
When I am down, however, I can resent having to jump up even once. Small things can cause me to lose patience. And when he sees that I'm upset, that just gets him upset, and he is unable to handle it. It's frightening for him because he fears I will abandon him.
The most important thing I've learned as we've gone through many of these cycles, is not to believe what I'm thinking when I'm down. I have to remember that "this too shall pass," and do the best I can to nurture myself.
I also have to get emotional support elsewhere, because Adrian is just not capable of it at this stage in his illness. I know he loves me and wants the best for me. I love him and want the best for him. We are two people trying hard to make our life together work.