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Old 10-16-2006, 08:00 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 6
coolcats HB User
How can I improve my marraige to someone who is Bipolar?

I am about at my wits end. Two years ago, when our second child was about 6 months old, my wife had her first manic episode. She didn’t sleep for days, she kept calling people, believing that she was on a mission from God to help them. She believed that the kids' toys had evil spirits – weird stuff like that. Well, after we got her to see a psychiatrist and counselor and on meds, the mania was replaced by a deep depression that last about 3 months. She was possibly suicidal at times during that time, but finally pulled through. She was doing reasonably well and taking her medication and functioning reasonably well

Because of that experience, and because she was miserable living on the East Coast, we already had the wheels set in motion to move back West to live by her parents. So we moved back a year and a half ago. When we moved back, she decided she did not need meds because now she had family support. She was fine for about 6 months. Then last May, I began to see worrisome signs. She began to be obsessed by religious thoughts, she quit sleeping at night, and started losing touch with reality. Within the space of 3-4 days, she entered a psychotic episode much more severe than the first. It culminated with her trying to kill herself. Not because she was depressed, but because she believed that the world was ending in 3 days and she had to die before the end of the world to complete Christ’s atonement. This time she ended up in the hospital for two weeks.

Now she has been out of intensive care for about 3 months. Because the doctors knew what meds worked last time, they were able to give them to her and she responded more quickly. Her subsequent depression was not as severe as the first time.

But she still is depressed and hard, almost impossible at times, to live with. I am about at my wits end. What got to me tonight is how controlling she is of my schedule. I am going to grad school full time and working part time. I work Wednesdays in an office, and then they let me work several hours a week from home. Not a bad deal at all. However, next week I have a school function I would like to attend on Wednesday. So I arranged to work on Monday and go to the function on Wednesday for just a couple of hours. One would think that’s not a big deal, but apparently for my wife it is some sort of betrayal of trust because I will end up spending two extra hours away from home. I am sick of having to rush home all the time. I am always rushing away from things because I know she is getting more and more upset every minute that I am late.

Additionally, she is not happy that I am even working in the first place. Last year, she worked 2 days a week. This year, she decided she can’t handle working. So I picked up the slack and work more hours, but like I said, it’s mostly from home. She has no sense of reality. If it were up to her, I would drop out of school and not work and just stay home with her all day long. Forget about the bills and paying our health insurance premium so she can get the meds she needs etc.

The next thing that is bothering me, she now says we do not live close enough to her parents. We moved from 2000 miles away to 5 miles away just for her. I had a great job that I gave up to do this. Now she wants us to move to the same street as her mom. I have put my foot down and said no. I have compromised enough with this one, and I am not selling our house in a neighborhood that I like to move five miles for no real purpose. In general, she always thinks the next change in her life will make her happy.

However, perhaps the scariest thing for me is she is obessed about having more kids. In the hospital, she had psychotic thoughts about being impregnated by the "spirt." She made them give her pregnancy tests the first week or so she was there.

Yet now she complains all the time that she is too bored and can’t handle the two that we have. She already sleeps in until 9 every morning while they get up and watch cartoons (I have to leave about 7). At the same time, she says if we have another baby, she will feel more “fulfilled.” Additionally, she comes from a very religious family that has always valued having many kids, and I think she feels pressure from that. Trust me, I love my kids and would be thrilled to have more -- if things were different.

Yet she does not consider at all the consequences of her taking the anti-psychotics and other meds while pregnant, nor the stress it will put her under, nor the chance of genetically passing on this disease to our offspring (I worry everyday about our two preschoolers). My biggest fear would be to have a third child and have her totally lose her mind in the process. This has caused an almost irrepairable tension between us, because I keep telling her I don't feel like this is the time to have more kids and I don't know when I will.

I’m sorry for this rant. I’ve just gone through an entire weekend of her being distant and hostile toward me for some unknown offense. Probably because I had to do a couple hours of work from home on Saturday morning, after which I had to mow the lawn. I then spent the rest of the day and Sunday with her and the kids, purposely not doing any work or homework.

I just feel pressure from all sides. I have to work more because she isn’t up to it. I'm almost through with my masters program, and don't want to drop out with a few months to go. Now we have extra bills, yet I am supposed to be with her all the time and not work. And we are supposed to have more kids so she is more fulfilled. And if I don’t do everything right, then I get the silent treatment and have to guess for days why she is mad. I have thought about a marriage counselor in addition to her regular counselor, with whom I meet some times. But honestly, we don't have the money right now. What to do?

Last edited by coolcats; 10-16-2006 at 08:03 PM.

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Old 10-16-2006, 08:32 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2004
Location: New York
Posts: 5,813
goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
Re: How can I improve my marraige to someone who is Bipolar?

(((((HUGS)))))) I think that you have done everything and beyond as a husband to support your wife through all of this. Everything you share in regard to your concerns regarding her welfare is right on.

From what I have read about Bipolar, there is something called "mission mode" in which the person will not accept no for an answer and will go to any and all means to get what they want. Your wife seems to demonstrate that in wanting to be even closer to her parents and wanting another baby. You entitled to fear the impact that another pregnancy will put on your wife....they say that each episode will be even worse than the last one if unmedicated so your fears are truly warranted since you have seen firsthand how that is true by your wife's 2 week hospital stay and attempted suicide.

You need to be consistent with your wife in terms of not entertaining another move...Bipolars believe that changing demogaphics will change what is happening in their lives and you are best supporting her by acknowledging her need for support and reassurring her that you are there for her as are her parents no matter how far. IT seems as if your wife is experiencing quite a bit of anxiety that is characteristic of Bipolar. Is she on any antianxiety meds and if not perhaps you may suggest to her psychiatrist the need for one. She also seems to be on the depressed side since she sleeps in quite a bit and doesn't seem involved in any particular interests of her own.

Living with somebody who is Bipolar is not easy....sounds to me as if your wife still needs some stabilization or adjustment with her meds. IT is important to make sure that she is eating well which means avoiding caffeine and sugars, getting good exercise, taking her meds, and getting enough sleep. Is there anyway that your in laws can assist you so that you can tend to your studies and work???

Most of all you must take care of yourself.....this can all take a toll on you and making sure that you have a way to recharge will be important. Also, perhaps finding something that you and your wife can do together such as taking a walk in the evening or getting out for a while even if it is just for a ride to get take out chinese and sit by the water try this and perhaps it will help. IT sounds like between your work, school and the past few years you and your wife could use a distraction. Do you get out often??? Perhaps taking her out for even just ah hour just the two of you will help her see that you truly care for her well being.

YOu sound like a wonderful husband who is worried about his wife. And you have been through so much that perhaps you need to take an hour a day to yourself. And as far as the silent treatment and things that your wife may say try not to take too much to heart....often it is the Bipolar speaking.

I have a 15 year old daughter who was recently diagnosed and it really is not easy living with her while trying to find the right meds. That is why I suggest you encourage your wife to tell her doctor what is going on so that perhaps he makes the necessary adjustments to make things more manageable. Will your wife allow you to go with her to see her doctor??? If she will then I suggest you tell him your concerns about how anxious your wife is and describe her behavior so that he can make any necessary adjustments in her meds.

(((HUGS))) ~ Goody

Old 10-16-2006, 11:20 PM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: auckland new zealand
Posts: 31
ok2day HB User
Re: How can I improve my marraige to someone who is Bipolar?

Hi, you have so much on your plate and you are doing so well . What you need to do is to focus on completing your masters and looking after the kids. Don't worry about what your wife is saying , when we are not well we always seem to hurt the people close to us.We run around like a chicken with no head until we burn out. Don't forget you are really important and you must take sometime out 4 yourself or you won't last the distance.You are doing all you can to keep the marriage going .kind regards ok2day

Old 10-17-2006, 04:44 AM   #4
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: earth
Posts: 1,326
marshmallow HB User
Re: How can I improve my marraige to someone who is Bipolar?

I feel deeply for what your are going through but I am also concerned about the children and your wifes religious obsession. Please be sure the children are safe with her. Some of the things you said concern me. Take care.

Old 10-17-2006, 06:59 AM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 6
coolcats HB User
Re: How can I improve my marraige to someone who is Bipolar?

Originally Posted by marshmallow
I feel deeply for what your are going through but I am also concerned about the children and your wifes religious obsession. Please be sure the children are safe with her. Some of the things you said concern me. Take care.
Yes that is a constant concern. The delusions have gone away as far as I can tell. There was a time when I would not let her stay alone with the kids. Now she is ok with them, sometimes involved with them, sometimes disengaged. I always watch for any sign of the relgious obsessions coming back, because that is much worse than her present state.

Thanks to the other two posters as well for your kind words of support.

Old 10-22-2006, 11:28 AM   #6
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Clifton, N.J.
Posts: 7
dachsundmom HB User
Re: How can I improve my marraige to someone who is Bipolar?

You have just opened my eyes in a way they've never been opened before! I know that my husband puts up with a lot because I am bi-polar but I NEVER have heard it described the way you have done. I am mostly stable on meds. & have been on them for over 9 years but I still have times when I can be so hurtful and frustrating to my husband.You have a much greater understanding of this condition than he does ( he's of the mind that if you just try hard enough you can overcome anything; he still doesn't realize that sometimes you can't). You are suffering as much or more than your wife is! Although i'm bi-polar I am usually very empathetic & try so hard to be good to people but my husband still bears the brunt in the bad times. I feel so sorry for both of you. He's such a good man, as you are, and we are so blessed to have you. Something is really out of whack with your wife's meds. if she's that out of control. Please insist that she & you together visit her pdoc & let him know the severity of her mood swings.Moving doesn't work as you've found out & another child at this time would just be irresponsible. You have to be the responsible one until she gets stable. She's going to yell & scream no matter what you do ( I know i've been there!) so please do some things, even if they're just small, to relax yourself & re-charge your batteries. You deserve it & your kids deserve it & so does your wife. God bless you.

Old 10-23-2006, 08:57 AM   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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Posts: 1,326
marshmallow HB User
Re: How can I improve my marraige to someone who is Bipolar?

coolcat I am glad you are concerned and watchful of the children. I know your wife loves them but these obsessions can get out of hand. I am happy your there for the children and to support your wife. It is not easy.

Old 10-23-2006, 06:14 PM   #8
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: indiana
Posts: 43
mcdreamy HB User
Re: How can I improve my marraige to someone who is Bipolar?

Wow I feel for you. Having children makes the whole treatment process harder for her. Can her parents help more? I would not have more children at this time. She needs help and to make life more stressful with a new baby may make things worse. Talk to her doctors and hang in there,definately fifnsh your masters!!!

Old 10-24-2006, 12:44 AM   #9
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Washington
Posts: 8
potatochip HB User
Re: How can I improve my marraige to someone who is Bipolar?

Don't feel alone. I have gone through the same thing for five years. My wife was diagnosed in 2001. She has the same type of compulsive behaviors as your wife, the religious type. Make sure she stays on her medication because everytime she goes into an episode it can continue to get worse.

It is a hard road and it is an illness that doesn't go away. You may feel the same way as I have over the years, "is this the same person I married"? I've literally had to drive all night long from meetings across the state to rescue my kids from ***arre behavior because my wife is pacing the house and has kept the kids awake during the wee hours of the night.

The biggest thing you need is support from both your family and her parents. I'll guarantee you, that if her parents understand the illness and support you, it makes it so much easier. I unfortunately dealt with in-laws who blamed me for causing her condition. My mother-in-law acused me of abusing my wife and she encouraged her to move in with them. This really made it rough on our kids. We have finally come to terms and they are realizing now that she has an illness but our relationship has been damaged because of the acusations. I suggest you do everything you can to communicate with them and keep your relationship positive.

One last thing, it took four years for my wife to finally admit she has bipolar disorder. Once she fully accepted it she is committed about taking her medication. Before she accepted being BP she was sporadic in taking her medication. She would take her meds for a while then try to beat it on her own. It only made matters worse. Her condition continued to get worse and she would go into major rapid cycling. I'm convinced that if she would have accepted having the illness she wouldn't have had the major episodes. Because of this she now has to take three different meds to keep herself normal. I've been married almost 20 years and I've found a way to adjust but it's not easy.

Good luck,


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