NAMI has reprinted Beating the Marriage Odds, the cover article from the current issue of bp Magazine about marriage and bipolar disorders. With some statistics pegging the divorce rate of people with bipolar disorder as high as 90%, the article offers encouraging advice and models from couples that have stuck it out and learned to successfully cope with bipolar disorder in the marriage.

“As much as it’s a biomedical condition, people with mental illnesses can’t be let completely off the hook,” says Dr. Karp, who himself has major depression. “Of course, we can’t expect them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps when they’re acutely ill, but during periods of wellness they owe it to their spouses to do whatever is in their power to help themselves.”

This can be as simple as taking medications, working out regularly, or eating healthy. Without such actions, spouses can feel burned out if there’s “no reciprocation of their efforts,” Dr. Karp says.

Julie says it’s easy for her to become “very selfish” when she’s either manic or depressed. At one point, Daniel sat her down and told her, “I need you to pay attention to what’s going on here.” “It was a real wake-up call,” she says. “It hurt at first to know I was hurting him, but it made me realize that I had a responsibility to him and our marriage, not just to myself.”

The reader comments responding to the article are quite enlightening, too.

Read more.