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Old 06-29-2005, 07:20 AM   #1
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DB1973 HB User
Where Does Bipolar End and Someone's Personality Begin?

My wife was diagnosed as being bipolar back in December when I had to have her hospitalized for severe depression. She has been seeing a psychiatrist and therapist since then and has been taking Seroquel and Lexapro.

In addition to the bipolar disorder she has been dealing with various childhood traumas and issues in her life. Recently, she has been displaying more blatant manic and depressive behaviors. The reason I use blatant, is because some of the changes she has made to her appearance and behavior are credited by her to dealing with these other issues. I am not so sure. Where does one begin and the other end or is there such a thing? In addition, she is a bit of an actress so I don't know if I am being snowed.

 
Old 06-29-2005, 08:09 AM   #2
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Re: Where Does Bipolar End and Someone's Personality Begin?

HI DB1973,
I am pretty new to this bipolar thing but a real old hat at the childhood stuff...so take my message with that in mind. I guess what I would like to say to you is that she probably has no freakin idea who she is either - and how much of it is the mental illness, how much of it is a reaction to her trauma - and how much of it is her.
I can tell that she has changed in some ways that are unnerving for you - and I know that must be incredibly difficult.
If she is doing things that are damaging to herself or your life together then you need to talk to her about it and really go over what the risks are of the behavior and that you feel she needs to be honest with her doctors about what is happening for her.
I would strongly strongly strongly suggest that if you can, you can get support for only you - a councilor - a support group. If it is sexual abuse she is recovering from - there may be a support group in your area for partners. You really need to be somewhere where you can talk about how everything is effecting you as she is really not the person to be sharing that with right now. If she is anything like me - if you start pushing at all - she will push twice as hard and just feel that you aren't supporting her recovery. People recovering from that sort of abuse recover in weird ways - we have weird processes and behaviors that sometimes don't make sense and we have to just go through them until we get to the other side. There is a book called "courage to heal" about surviving sexual abuse that has a chapter for partners - it is also really enlightening about how crazy the process can be and how healing can happen. Good Luck to you and your wife....Jen
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Old 06-29-2005, 09:03 AM   #3
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Picali HB User
Re: Where Does Bipolar End and Someone's Personality Begin?

DB

What an interesting question, and one I'm only recently feel I'm starting to have an answer to! I agree entirely with Jen - I've done some very odd things whilst coping with old traumas and hurts (when you start reliving these things through therapy you have to cope with the pain somehow - it's a bit like grieving, everyone copes in different ways).

Definitely look after yourself - your wife is getting some help now so you need to get a bit of back up for you, and try and take a bit of time out regularly so that you get a break from it all. Something else that can be useful is having a regular time each week when you do something together - walk in the park, feed the ducks, something simple and relaxing, and in that time you only talk about the present - how nice the weather is, what colour the plants are etc - sounds daft but I found it really helpful - it just gives both your minds a distraction from what is going on for a little while.

Let us know how you're getting on

Picali x

 
Old 06-29-2005, 02:56 PM   #4
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kerry1 HB User
Re: Where Does Bipolar End and Someone's Personality Begin?

I dated a bipolar. He said that nobody can understand a bipolar except another bipolar. Since I'm just a plain ol' depressive, I certainly didn't understand him. Maybe he was right. Maybe they should have bipolar singles groups (not joking).

 
Old 06-29-2005, 05:05 PM   #5
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polarized13 HB User
Re: Where Does Bipolar End and Someone's Personality Begin?

Hi,

I suffered from some childhood trauma myself, in fact I have a secondary diagnosis of P.T.S.D. from my traumas. I have been in many years of counseling for this, and my first marriage fell apart. I had a very, very difficult time coping with bring all of that stuff back up, most of it had been repressed for a long time.

I finally decided that I would leave things as they were and move on with my life because it had such a negative impact on my personal relationships. It truly is like experiencing all of the pain all over again, I had night-terrors, and panic-attacks.


Please just try and understand the courage that it takes someone to face these things, and have some empathy for her situation.

I know it's hard for you to understand, but what she must be going through causes a great deal of anxiety, and that can effect people in all kinds of ways.

My best advice to anyone struggling in a marriage is communicate, I really believe as long as you're open and honest with each other, you can get through almost anything. The self-awareness is the hard part for those of us with all of the issues.

As far as her personality, it is probably a combination of the way she was born, her life experiences, and her bipolar. I am much the same person as I have been my whole life. Each challenge that I have faced has added some character and wisdom, but even with bipolar, I'm the same person.

When I'm having an episode however, all bets are off, I lose myself competely.

The key is to finding how to keep from having the episodes. Learning your triggers, finding the right meds, and keeping a safe, stable, stress-free environment for you to live peacefully.

Good luck sorting all of this out ~

~~heather~~

 
Old 06-29-2005, 06:11 PM   #6
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goofyafter2 HB User
Re: Where Does Bipolar End and Someone's Personality Begin?

I am not sure I have any insight to this, but I just wanted to share my experience, sort of similar. I was diagnosed bipolar in Jan also after a hospital stay for depression. Some of the changes in my behavior, well I don't know what caused them. But I was well aware that I didn't know if I was acting or living the feelings for real. A very strange feeling indeed. I am now on mood stabilizers and am doing well except sometimes I feel like I am making stuff up, but I am really not sure if I am. So thats all. Oh and I have not really been to enough therapy sessions to attribute anything to that.

Anyhow, I hope you get everything worked out.

 
Old 06-29-2005, 07:58 PM   #7
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Zbaby HB User
Re: Where Does Bipolar End and Someone's Personality Begin?

My husband and I have this discussion all the time. It's only been recently that he has seen a shrink - 3 times in 3 months - but it probably should have started when we knew something was amiss with me two years ago.

I'm doing better now, but my husband hasn't caught up with the concept that any disagreeable behaviors might stem from my own personality, not as a biproduct of BP.

Approach any controversial concepts with caution. Your words and actions are apt to be misinterpreted and resented, whether she's in an episode or stable. I would try encouraging any progress that you do notice, even if you have to look really hard. Also, remind her (and yourself!) of why you fell in love with her.

When she's a little more secure with herself, her stability, and your genuine appreciation, she might be more open to compromise.

Good luck!

 
Old 06-20-2006, 12:21 PM   #8
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BP_Puff&Stuff HB User
Re: Where Does Bipolar End and Someone's Personality Begin?

I think this is a very good question. I am inclined to say that one does end and the other does not begin. They are forever intertwined but I'm not sure I agree with myself on that. I think that one's personality begins when one is medicated and stable. One's bipolar personality begins when the medicine does not work anymore or the medicine is stopped. There are times when i get suddenly angry and I feel that is because of the BP. But then again, it is just me getting mad...suddenly. I know that while someone is having an acute episode, you can see their true self through all of the weird behavior and you want nothing more than to reach in there and get it back. Especially when it is regarding someone yo love deeply. Sometimes you may ask yourself if the person you love is ever coming back. And, unfortunately, the answer to that is maybe. I know I am not the same as I was before I was diagnosed. I also know of the things I put my family through. I said that I do not apologize for that. I do, however, apologize for the fact that i put them through hard times. They tell me not to worry about it as it was not within my control. i have done things while manic that I will never admit to. I appreciate the fact that my family does bring them up either. I know what they are.
This is a relatively new experience for you and I appreciate that you did not immediately leave your wife. You turned to these boards and other sources. If she hasn't said it outloud yet, your wife says thank you.
Also, it is quite easy to get a rise out of others here as they for one have a mood disorder ( don't F with people with mood disorders. rule #1) and for 2 feel very passionately about the way in which they have been treated. If they can smell it happening again, we will do everything to squash misconceptions.
Thank you for your contributions to this board.

 
Old 06-20-2006, 04:07 PM   #9
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kiehn HB User
Re: Where Does Bipolar End and Someone's Personality Begin?

Excellent question DB1973 when I have more time I plan to check it out closely.
Thanks again helping me learn & grow a little bit today. K

 
Old 06-21-2006, 12:55 PM   #10
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bipolar one HB User
Re: Where Does Bipolar End and Someone's Personality Begin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jephiner
HI DB1973,
I am pretty new to this bipolar thing but a real old hat at the childhood stuff...so take my message with that in mind. I guess what I would like to say to you is that she probably has no freakin idea who she is either - and how much of it is the mental illness, how much of it is a reaction to her trauma - and how much of it is her.
I can tell that she has changed in some ways that are unnerving for you - and I know that must be incredibly difficult.
If she is doing things that are damaging to herself or your life together then you need to talk to her about it and really go over what the risks are of the behavior and that you feel she needs to be honest with her doctors about what is happening for her.
I would strongly strongly strongly suggest that if you can, you can get support for only you - a councilor - a support group. If it is sexual abuse she is recovering from - there may be a support group in your area for partners. You really need to be somewhere where you can talk about how everything is effecting you as she is really not the person to be sharing that with right now. If she is anything like me - if you start pushing at all - she will push twice as hard and just feel that you aren't supporting her recovery. People recovering from that sort of abuse recover in weird ways - we have weird processes and behaviors that sometimes don't make sense and we have to just go through them until we get to the other side. There is a book called "courage to heal" about surviving sexual abuse that has a chapter for partners - it is also really enlightening about how crazy the process can be and how healing can happen. Good Luck to you and your wife....Jen

 
Old 06-21-2006, 01:03 PM   #11
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bipolar one HB User
Re: Where Does Bipolar End and Someone's Personality Begin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DB1973
My wife was diagnosed as being bipolar back in December when I had to have her hospitalized for severe depression. She has been seeing a psychiatrist and therapist since then and has been taking Seroquel and Lexapro.

In addition to the bipolar disorder she has been dealing with various childhood traumas and issues in her life. Recently, she has been displaying more blatant manic and depressive behaviors. The reason I use blatant, is because some of the changes she has made to her appearance and behavior are credited by her to dealing with these other issues. I am not so sure. Where does one begin and the other end or is there such a thing? In addition, she is a bit of an actress so I don't know if I am being snowed.

 
Old 06-21-2006, 01:13 PM   #12
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bipolar one HB User
Re: Where Does Bipolar End and Someone's Personality Begin?

Hi, my names Lisa from England. This is my 1st time ever on the Web yet alone answering people so bear with me. Firstly I think you are an individual just for standing by your wife and wanting to find out more. My partners have all left me because not only did I not understand myself but they had no chance. I have only recently been diagnosed with Bipolar but have had it for a very long time. One thing I have learned in my short time with medication is that it baffles the Doctors as well. I have been prescribed the wrong medication twice and have had to push for further treatment. I think the health service in England is different but I actually physically had to go and sit at the Psychiatrists and refuse to move until they saw me. They have now changed my meds and I feel on the way. As for childhood trauma. I suffered that as well. All I can suggest is psychotherapy as well as meds. There is a book by Neil Hunt, called Bipolar, your questions answered which was recommended to me by the medical profession. It helped me a lot.
Good luck and be patient. We don't ask for this illness and underneath there is usually a nice person just waiting to get out. You must think she's worth it. Keep trying.

 
Old 06-21-2006, 02:12 PM   #13
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kiehn HB User
Re: Where Does Bipolar End and Someone's Personality Begin?

Bipolar one, that was a very nice reply, sometimes even if we dont have the answers it nice just to hear some comforting words. K

 
Old 06-22-2006, 01:02 AM   #14
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Very Green HB User
Re: Where Does Bipolar End and Someone's Personality Begin?

I agree. It is also nice for us non-bipolars to get an idea of how the illness affects you. Yes, it is hard for me, and probably for the other partners of bipolar spouses, but it must also be equally as hard living with having the illness. This is why i log on to these boards, i desparetely want to know how bipolar affects my partner, as he is genuinly a nice guy. I just feel so useless sometimes when i cant help him.
Sorry, that was a bit of a random ramble. Just needed to reach out. Thanks.

 
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