Monday, June 25, 2012

Difficulty Accepting Criticism: A Bipolar Patient's Opinion

I don't know if it has anything to do with my mood disorder, but I have always been somewhat reactive and sullen when criticized. Sometimes critical remarks are just a case of haters entertaining themselves. But some criticisms can be valid and learned from. 
Communication With My Husband
Marriage takes hard work. My husband and I don't communicate all that well, but it's something we're trying to improve on. To encourage conversations about our relationship, and to help prevent our exchanges from feeling like personal attacks, we are trying to have a regular sit down, at a scheduled time, to discuss anything on our mind.

When we've tried to open up communication in the past, it usually consists of me doing most of the talking, and him getting defensive, and then me getting angry, and him getting angry...You get the picture. Not a constructive exchange. But yesterday we did much better than usual, and it wasn't just me talking. He also contributed to the exchange, including a couple of criticisms of my behavior. Even though I agreed with his observations, it was still hard to swallow.

Valid Criticisms of Me
When I think about what I don't do well, or what I can improve upon in my behavior and relationship with others, there are certain things about myself that I recognize to be true. I can be difficult to deal with, since my mood is not always so stable. My meds usually help eliminate big, destructive bipolar swings between mania and depression, but I'm still moody. Other things that I recognize about myself: I drink too much. I need to socialize more. I need to develop better work/life balance...just to name a few. But my husband had some new ones for me. 

As we discussed parenting, he pointed out that I don't consistently follow up on getting the kids to do things or on discipline. That's absolutely true. I'll say, "Clean your room", and then never check to see if it gets done. Or I'll start a "Healthy Eating Chart" for the kids, and, over time, stop tracking their progress. I know consistent behavior is one of my challenges, and being reminded of that is not a bad thing. My husband is getting sick of always being the "heavy" with the kids. He needs me to share some of the work.

He also made an observation that completely took me by surprise. He said that I get very short tempered and difficult just before my period. I always thought that my mood was just all over the place, never relating some of it to menstruation. He's very observant, so I tend to think there may be something to this. I'll keep a closer eye on my mood as my period approached each month.

How do you react to criticism? Do you share any of the same challenges that I need to work on? Leave a comment and share!

Bipolar Stats:

  • Level of Mania (on scale of 1 - 10, with 1=none, 10=practically levitating): 0
  • Level of Depression (on a scale of 1 - 10, with 1=none, 10=can't get out of bed):
  • Feel pretty good today!
  • Medication Compliance (0 = not taking, 5=taking some, 10=taking all): 5 (not compliant with Wellbutrin for past few days)
I am recording my mania and depression bipolar data separately because I often have mixed episodes where manic and depressive symptoms occur at the same time.

This blog is for informational purposes only, it is not intended to be used for the treatment of mental illness. If you are having emotional troubles, please see a mental health professional, not a computer. 


  1. I don't know if you get track/ping backs on your blog, but I blogged about this post on my own blog, coming back from crazy,

    I really enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work! (wow, that sounded like spam ;-))

  2. ComingBackFromCrazy -

    Thanks for your comment and for referencing this post on your own blog. Your post was interesting!