My girlfriend ... has been tested as being bi polar... but she refuses any kind of treatment.
Worgen, welcome to the TAM forum. What type of therapist did the diagnosis? Is he a clinical psychologist with lots of experience and a PhD? I ask because it is very common for therapists to misdiagnose BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) as being bipolar disorder because, during a 50-minute session held once a week, BPDers are easily able to hide their BPD traits. Another reason I ask is that the lifetime incidence of BPD (6% of the population) is four times that of bipolar disorder (1.5%).
I am not a psychologist but I did live with a BPDer exW for 15 years and I've taken care of a bipolar foster son for longer than that. Moreover, I took both of them to a long series of psychologists for 15 years. Based on those experiences, I have found several clear differences between the two disorders. For you, this distinction is very important because -- if your GF has strong BPD traits, her chances of getting better are very small -- far smaller than the chances for a person with bipolar disorder.
One difference between these two disorders is seen in the frequency of mood changes. Bipolar
mood swings are very slow because they are caused by gradual changes in body chemistry. They are considered rapid if as many as four occur in a year. In contrast, four BPD mood changes can easily occur in four days.
A second difference is seen in duration. Whereas bipolar moods typically last a week or two, BPD rages typically last only a few hours (and rarely as long as 36 hours).
A third difference is seen in the speed with which the mood change develops. Whereas a bipolar change typically will build slowly over two weeks, a BPD change typically occurs in less than a minute -- often in only 10 seconds -- because it is event-triggered by some innocent comment or action.
A fourth difference is that, whereas bipolar can be treated very successfully in at least 80% of victims by swallowing a pill, BPD cannot be managed by medication because it arises from childhood damage to the emotional core -- not from a change in body chemistry.
A fifth difference is that, whereas bipolar disorder can cause people to be irritable and obnoxious during the manic phase, it does not rise to the level of meanness and vindictiveness you see when a BPDer is splitting you black. That difference is HUGE: while a manic person may regard you as an irritation, a BPDer can perceive you as Hitler and will treat you accordingly. Hence, frequent verbal abuse and meanness are a hallmark of BPD but not of bipolar disorder.
Finally, a sixth difference is that a bipolar sufferer -- whether depressed or manic -- usually is able to trust you if she knows you well. Untreated BPDers, however, are unable to trust for an extended period -- even though they sometimes may claim otherwise. This lack of trust means there is no foundation on which to build a relationship. Moreover -- and I learned this the hard way -- when a woman does not trust you, you can never trust her because she can turn on you at any time -- and almost certainly will.
Worgen, if the BPD traits described above sound familiar, I suggest you read more about them to see if they ring a bell. An easy place to start reading -- here on this forum -- is my description of such traits in Maybe's thread at My list of hell!
. Take care, Worgen.