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Old 10-17-2006, 09:35 PM   #1
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mcdreamy HB User
Hello there

I am new to all of this! I have been married to a bi-polar man for 30+ years. The past 15 years have been a rollercoster ride and I have seen it all! he is trully trying to help himself with meds,doctors and AA.where he has met a man with a similar past. I am very happy he is trying to deal with all of this but I am so menatally drained I am struggling with the whole thing. I have been the enemy in his eyes for so long and I still love him but I am burned out with dealing with all of this. I feel like I am always in crisis ,for example when we have granchildren over he is short tempered and doesnt ever want to play with them. He is short and abrupt not like the man I married that helped me raise our children and was a wonderful father. I need to know if anyone can share something that will help me hold on,

 
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Old 10-17-2006, 09:57 PM   #2
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all used up

Hey guys! I have never done this before so bare with me. I am married to a man for 35 years . The past 15 years have been all over the place. He is bi polar and until recently,has not wanted to deal with it. I have tried to educate myself and be supportive. And yes I know I cant fix him.it is up to him to help himself. My problem is I feel so mentally drained and alone I want to scream. I have to do everything,When we have our young grandchildren over to visit he is not loving and kind. He tolorates them and can even be sarcastic and cruel. I usually babysit at their homes to protect them from this. We have talked about this and nothing has changed It makes me so sad for all of us. I dont know if I can continue on with him but I am also scared for him if I dont. His mom was bi-polar and so is our younger daughter. I dont have and answer and I am looking?

 
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:23 AM   #3
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goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
Re: Hello there

Hi, and welcome to he boards

There are two spectrums of Bipolar, the struggles of those who have the disorder and those of the family and friends who love them. I'd like to think of it as a rainbow in which this board serves to connect the two spectrums bringing each to a better understanding of the disorder and how it affects those around us. Afterall, to separate the two is so unrealistic because there are many who have this disorder and feel so misunderstood and many others who love these people and want to understand more so that they can better support and live with somebody who is Bipolar. A rainbow is not the same when there is no beginning or end and so when we see that there is a way to meet in the middle with support and understanding it makes this board a wonderful place to be.

I am the mother of a 15 year old who was recently diagnosed with Bipolar and I cannot even begin to tell you how much support and knowledge that I have received being here before, during, and after my daughter was diagnosed.

Being on the other side of things and not being Bipolar myself I found that the only way to really help my daughter was to have a good understanding of what it is like to be Bipolar. And that is key to being able to understand that somebody who is Bipoar does not act, think or always see things the way that you or I do......I mean no person does in the first place but we must remember that somebody with Bipolar has a whole different thought process that is creative, imaginative, brilliant and at the same time unfortunately works against them in the sense of emotions and sensitivities. This disorder involves the executive functioning of the brain and is a chemical imbalance that I have learned and understand can be corrected with the right meds and yet there will always be parts of who the person was created to be that no med will take away.

I have a husband who is not Bipolar and have been married to him for almost 20 years and I KNOW that there are just parts of him that I CANNOT change. But I CAN change the way in which I react to him and in the process be lucky enough to elicite some positive change in him as well. I have a feelin that this little tidbit may help in your situation as well...so keep that in your back pocket for now.

In your case, you married a man who did not have Bipolar but it did did lie dormant for many years throughout your marriage. The same with my daughter....we accepted them through God's grace and promised to be there in good times and bad, sickness and health....and believe me I KNOW we have been through both ends of those promises!!! It isn't easy but I guess what makes it most difficult for us is that we saw them before the disorder took over which makes it a little more difficult because there is such loss that we see and yet they are still the people who we have been blessed with and love. I know that if my daughter or your husband had any other disease such as diabetes, sudden loss of vision, or cancer that we would be there to love and support them in the capacity that we were predestined to be. Mine is as a mother, yours is as a wife.

What I want most to share with you is that my daughter and your husband are still the ones we love with a disorder that has changed their lives as well as ours in so many ways. It is out of our control but what IS in our control is to accept the changes and embrace them....just as the person who is blind will need more understanding, help, and support from us so does our loved one who is Bipolar. For the most part it is a matter of assisting them to be compliant with their meds, get good sleep, alleviate as much stress as possible (which may even be noisy grandkids ), and to love them for the beautiful, creative and sensitive being that they are.

You cannot change the hands of time nor can I and our loved ones cannot either....Bipolar has now become a part of our lives and so long as he is taking care of himself and following the treatment plan he IS doing his job. Our job is to come to the realization that our loved ones have Bipolar and what we can do best to support them is to learn about it and look at things through their eyes so that there is a better understanding on how you can best be there for them. I realize that there will be certain things that my daughter will be unable to do at given times and that is alright and perfectly normal because even people who do not have Bipolar just aren't capable of doing what you would like them to do either.

The most important thing to do is to ask yourself what you would do if your husband was blind and couldn't drive your grandkids to the park on his own or if he had lost his legs and couldn't ride a bicycle with them. His disorder affects his brain and cannot be seen and yet there are still some limitations to what he can do in terms of stress and how that may worsten things.

Also....overtime he may need some adjustments with his meds. I know what it is like to be blamed for everything and to be lashed out at while my daughter is adjusting to her meds. And I have learned to look at it as if I am wearing a badge of honor because only the ones they love the most are worthy of such a privelege I also have made some changes in terms of how I deal with that and that is to disengage myself by clearly announcing that we will have to talk at another time and if it gets too heated up I have developed a hand signal like the referees use on the field, making a "T" with my hands and walking away. By doing this I am relieving my daughter of having to deal with the shame and deep remorse she has regarding things she may say or do when she is triggered and at the same time sparing myself of the pain of such interactions!!

I hope some of this helps....I know that others will chime in from the other spectrum to help you better understand.

Meanwhile....learn to take care of yourself too. I have realized just recently how very important that is.

It is so clear mow much you do love your husband and how difficult this all has been for you. Do you think that your husband is stabilized enough??? From my viewpoint it seems that he is unable to deal with the stress of little kids around....how old are they??? For most men that is difficult.....I know my husband is a wonderful father but he doesn't deal with the chaos very well and it sounds as if your husband's Bipolar didn't become a problem until your kids were older and pretty much raised. If his Bipolar came out when your kids were younger you may have seen much of what you are seeing with your grandkids at this time. Just some thoughts.....

Please feel free to vent, I truly hope things get better for you and that some of what I said helps comfort you.

(((HUGS))) ~ Goody

 
Old 10-18-2006, 11:32 AM   #4
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Wis Gal HB User
Re: Hello there

Dear Goody,
I just read your beautifully written post and want you to know how much it means to me to have just read it. I just printed it off for my husband to read as I myself suffer from bipolar and he has already endured so much of my sickness. We have been married for 15 years and I was not diagnosed with my disease until about 5 years ago. We have had some very wonderful years in our marriage and some very rough ones like here just lately. He has stood by me through the most terrible mania and now depression but I think he's reached a point to where he has to take care of himself too and continue to focus on providing for me and our three children. Ages 12 and twins that are 8. I continue to blame myself for not being able to control this disease because of not trying or maybe just not accepting it. We are now in debt by thousands of dollars because my insurance barely covered any hospital stay. I feel so guilty for this and the fact that I am not able to work on top of it.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know how much your post has helped me understand that I do have a sickness and it is one very difficult to control. I pray to God that our three children do not inherit this disease from me but if they do, I hope to be there for them as you are for your husband and daughter. It is true love that binds and I feel that from the grace of God.

Take care,
Wis Gal

 
Old 10-18-2006, 06:29 PM   #5
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Re: Hello there

Dear Wis Gal ~

I am so glad that my post was something that helped you and am touched that you printed it out for your husband. Thanks for letting me know how it helped you out....for all the help that I receive here it means alot to know that I am able to give something back.

Please don't be so hard on yourself. I know that is the toughest part of Bipolar the sensitivity of knowing how things that you don't mean to say or do or that are out of your control and wanting and wishing that you could stop the affect it may have on others.

My daughter came home in a foul mood today and snapped at me several times. I gave her some space knowing something was up and before you know it she was apologizing for doing so and when I went to hug her she pulled back a little bit almost feeling as if she didn't deserve the hug but I pulled her closer and told her that she needed the hug and she melted into me and sobbed. She told me that it was a bad day and that she was yelling at everyone and I told her I was sorry that she was feeling so badly and that I was there if and when she wanted to talk about it.

Before I came here I wouldn't have known how to handle that and now I understand that with the adjustments of meds and just the everyday crap she must face as a teen at school on top of being newly diagnosed that's enough to really trigger what I saw in her today. And like I said, I think that she really feels badly about how she reacts and yells at others and doesn't want to but needs to develop some coping skills that will allow her to better manage this so that she doesn't get herself into feeling so shameful and remorseful afterwards. She shared with me later several times she snapped at friends and told me that she apologized afterwards which is quite an improvement since being diagnosed and on meds.

I think what I am trying to get at is that you and my daughter need to be more forgiving of yourselves and realize that it is important to make ammends and perhaps make the effort to develop strategies that will not place you in such situations by disengaging yourself and then doing something that will calm you down. It sounds as if you want to change the things you cannot control and perhaps you can by recognizing what triggers the action that you want to chance and then choosing a different way to handle it that will not leave you feeling so shameful or remorseful.

I just thought I would share that with you because I think that I have read that there is alot of remorse and shame involved with having Bipolar because of the way one lashes out at the ones they care about.

Again, thanks for the kind words and I do hope that what I share helps you out in someway.

(((((HUGS))))) ~ Goody

 
Old 10-18-2006, 09:02 PM   #6
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mcdreamy HB User
Re: Hello there

Hi guys, I really appreciate all the kind thoughts. I know it is an illness and I am trying to help him. He has been on and off of tre atment for years but in the last few months seems to be for the first time ever really trying to help himself. I am trying to do everything right but I am so used up from all of the past times I am angry and struggling and really sad for the both of us. I want to be strong but it is hard to do it all!!! I still care abour him and I am proud of him right now but also scared. Does that make sence? But there is a part of me that wants to run away and not have to deal with the whole thing. !

 
Old 10-19-2006, 02:15 AM   #7
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MSLAINIE HB User
Re: Hello there

Hi Mcdreamy
My Son Is 15 1/2 And It Took A Long Time To Figure Out He Is Bipolar. It Started About 13 Along With Asthma, Coming Into A Young Man's Age With Girls And He Tried To See His Dad. My Ex His Dad I Had To Divorce 8 1/2 Years Ago. He Was Bipolar Self Medicating With Drugs. He Is Currently In Prison And I Think Still Untreated. When With My Ex, I Thought Was Crazy And Mean And Forgetful Because Of Drugs But With Our Son I Have Learned It Was His Bipolar And He Is Sick. But It Took Me Many Years To Figure That Out. Bipolar Is A Difficult Disease. My Son Is Much Better On Meds But It Is Hard For Him Some Days. I Do Forget Sometimes And He Is Much Better And Does Talk To Me. Before The Meds My Son I Was Scared Of, Like His Dad, They Go Off For No Reason Sometimes And Then They Dont Remember Sometimes. But The Meds Do Help.
He Is A Great Kid And I Try To Hard To Help Him. The Best I Can Do Is Give His Meds Everyday At The Same Time And He Has To Help Me Do The Rest.
Good Luck
Mslaine

 
Old 10-19-2006, 05:39 AM   #8
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marshmallow HB User
Re: Hello there

I thought that Goody2shuz's writing was beautiful and from the heart but I wanted to say that sometimes the person living with a bp person can't always endure all there is to endure and have to leave to save themselves. When this happens I do not think it is a selfish act but one taken out of necessity. I have to separate from my husband or there would of been nothing left of me. Sometimes you lose yourself bit by bit and piece by piece. I am still trying to find joy in life and some laughter. It has been missing for some time.

 
Old 10-21-2006, 01:03 PM   #9
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mcdreamy HB User
Re: Hello there

I do feel this is part of why I am so sad. I have lost my best friend and a man I have spent all of my adult life with. I am not sure what to do. I still care for him but some days are sooo hard. I want him to be ok and right now he is trying very hard. I feel I have to wait and put my needs second,is that right?

 
Old 10-22-2006, 07:33 AM   #10
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Re: Hello there

I wish I knew what to say but I know each relationship is different as we are all different. I think if a relataionship eats you up its time to start thinking about YOU. I know many here will disagree but you do deserve a life of joy and happiness. If your husband is taking meds and trying that helps a lot but at this point you need to fill yourself up again because you sound depleted. I know that feeling all to well. Please take care of yourself and your needs.

 
Old 10-23-2006, 07:23 PM   #11
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mcdreamy HB User
Re: Hello there

I agree with what you say marshmellow,I do feel all used up.I have emotionally detached from him as much as I can and I am trying to focus on me and what I want in my life. I am afraid to do more than that because he is trying to deal with his illness and if I leave or ask him to leave I think it might cause him to fall apart and he is making progress with himself.Is that crazy? I dont know because I feel lost and unsure of what to do. I think I am waiting for the good Lord to tell me!!!

 
Old 10-24-2006, 11:40 AM   #12
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Re: Hello there

I do understand how you feel about leaving him while he is trying and I know it took me many years to make my decision to separate from my husband. It is not an easy thing to do and lots of guilt comes in to play. I havent decided on divorce yet but I knew I had to get away from the craziness and abuse. I doubt we can ever put the pieces together again because he refuses to see he needs help. So many hurts and pain that sometimes you just can't keep doing it over and over. I pray you find some sort of peace in the relationship.

 
Old 10-24-2006, 12:19 PM   #13
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Re: Hello there

Hey gals First I would like to apologize if I seemed to indicate that one must stay in any given situation when it is at the expense of your self worth and dignity. Everyone is entitled to feel good about themselves and their own lives. And the truth of the matter is that this illness takes just as much of an emotional and sometimes even physical toll as any other whether it be diabetes, chronic asthma, emphysema, cancer, epilepsy you name it....if we have a loved one who is ill it will take a toll on us and our families.

The difference with Bipolar is that it is an illness that not many can see or understand and the treatment is not clear and concise....it is a matter of finding the right meds/treatments and constantly making readjustments on a need to be basis. It is a genetic disorder that isn't something that can be controlled any more than getting any other genetic disease.

My opinion is that if we see it as a genetic disease and the person is accepting and complying with the treatment offered and wanting to get better, as difficult as it may be, we should try our best to be supportive of them. At the same time, we NEED to make sure that we take care of ourselves and our needs as well. That is key because if we don't then we are really no use in terms of support to our loved ones who need us.

Marshmallow...I know in your situation there is physical and almost violent encounters with your husband that led to your separation and how painful that must be. I know that you love him but I believe after following your posts your husband is not open to the treatment that is offered to him or complying with it. That is a whole different bowl of cherries.....if a loved one refuses treatment, that will make him/her better and help the relationship then that is grounds to look at other options of your long term happiness. However, as we all know, if someone is following the treatment and perscribed meds it does take time to see a good response....sometimes up to a few years but the person must comply. That is the difference.....if our loved one came down with a brain tumor that was inoperable but benign and required medications to shrink it and caused our loved one to be agitated and curse at us because it was presssing on the part of the brain that controls ones emotions we would be more understanding and know that it would take time for the meds to do their thing.

It is important when our loved one's illness depletes us of our own needs that we find a way of recharging ourselves by finding some respite whether it be doing more things for yourself such as taking a course, joining a support group of others in the same situation, and getting somebody in if need be to give you the time that you need to get out & fill yourself back up.

Nobody can tell you whether to stay with your husband or in a relationship with somebody who is Bipolar, that is for you to determine for yourself. I know how it feels to lose the one that you knew before the disorder took over....I miss my daughter who was so happy and full of life. I am hoping in time with the right meds to get her back....but I still mourn the little girl who lit up the room with her smile. I get small glimpses of that smile now as we find the right meds, which is progress, but still it does sadden me that this disorder has robbed both me and her of the joy that these years should hold. I hope and pray that with the right meds we will get it back for her. But for know I love her because HE blessed me with her so that together we could make this journey and grow from it. It isn't an easy journey or one that I fully understand but it has taught me to see the good even in the bad and to count my blessings of having her with me yet another day and not allowing this disorder to take her from me.

I hope that each of you finds peace and comfort and that you do take care of yourselves because that is something only we can do and a gift we can give to ourselves each an everyday.

(((HUGS))) ~ Goody

 
Old 10-24-2006, 05:47 PM   #14
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Re: Hello there

Goody, I appreciated your post very much and I do agree with you. If a person is trying to help themself and taking meds I would support them totally. I feel for you because I don't think anything hurts more than when something hurts or affects our children. It has to be heart breaking for you and your daughter is blessed to have you there for her. Mental illness is not an easy road.

 
Old 10-24-2006, 07:51 PM   #15
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Re: Hello there

You do seem to have been where I am. Just last nite he was suppose to be at a meeting but when his sponsor wasnt there he had a few beers and stayed out until 4 am. I as usual was awake more than asleep. He was very upset with himself and did go to a meetimg tonite. I dont even want to talk about it anymore. I just want it to go away!! I know that this is part of his problem and there is nothing I can do to fix it. I told him this morning that he would have to decide what to do and it was not my decision. I know I shouldnt, but I feel sorry for him,he is his own worst enemy.I feel like I am more of a roomate than I am in a marrige. He cant really feel for me when he cant love himself . I know this has to come from him and it may not ever happen.He really doesnt see how all of this effects his whole family. And that breaks my heart for all of us. I can only focus on me and my family and my bussiness and hobbies. It does help alot that I am blessed to love what I do and I am very close to our children and our grandchildren. I also have a great hobby that lets me leave for the weekend ocassionally. And that gives me my down time. I really need that!!!

 
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