First I would like to say that I'm posting this to vent, not sympathy. I just need to share my experience with others who suffer this disorder whether you are a sufferer yourself or are affected because a loved one is a sufferer. I have always knew that I was somewhat different from most people. As a child I grew up in a low income large family, the youngest. My father was very verbally and sometimes physically abusive and was just a complete A@@, only caring about himself. Out of 7 children he picked out me and 1 sister to put out 99% of his wrath on. In hindsight I realize that he was/is probably bipolar and my sister probably was, along with me. My mother pretty much had no choice but to put of with his mess. She was a complete saint. On Sunday mornings she dressed 7 kids and as a family we went to church. I was always confused by how my father could change so drastically on Sunday mornings. He was a deacon in our church and respected as such. My mother had the sweetest spirit of any human I have ever known. She was my world, and made me feel loved. On April the 13th 1981 when I was 13, the Lord took my mother home after a very short stay in the hospital. She died of leukemia and liver failure. I had never felt so alone in the world. I was angry, never knew at who but angry none the less. I wished a thousand times that it was my father instead of my mother that was dead. About a year and 1/2 later my father was remarried. Not only did he remarry, he moved out and left the responsibility of raising me on 2 of my sisters ( I was the only minor at that time). He literally broke off from his responsibility, but still tried to control us. He knew he could not control me, I had gone too far, I had lost all care for life and tried to destroy my on. I somehow made it through this without dying and without ever going to jail. I do know now that the Lord carried me through it. As an adult I still struggled with substance abuse, mostly marijuana, but had calmed down after finding my hobby of drag racing, which turned into a career of auto mechanics. I had found a girl that took complete interest in me, she was 16 and I was 20. She was from an upper middle class family, and I was a long haired, dope smokin' hot rodder with a chip on his shoulder (not any one I would want my daughter to be attracted to). We became best friends. The only problem was that she wanted a romantic relationship, and I didn't. I really felt like she was too good for me. Up until then every girlfriend I had had either thought I was crazy or their mothers did. With this girl it was different though. Her family knew me and my family from church. They were never consistent in coming so I had never really got to know this girl well from church. Things went south after we did start to get romantically involved. I was scarred of it all! I felt like I was ruining our friendship that had been perfect up until then. I would go for months without talking to her. I treated her like crap. I didn't deserve her. Somehow she believed in me, the first person ever at that point and after 3 years of my inconsistent behaviour I fell in love with her. We were married in August 1993. I had found my soulmate. She had opened up a whole new world for me. I had never experienced so much joy in my life. Then my closest brother died of cancer at 35, and 5 years later I lost a sister to cancer at 42. I had a wife to comfort me and I didn't feel so alone in my losses. After several years of marriage I was able to start my own business, a dream I had always had. I opened my own mechanic shop in January 1996. In 1998 we had our first child and in 2000 our second. I had the perfect family, my beautiful wife and 2 beautiful daughters. After an accident in 2000, I started taking hydrocodone. I became addicted to them, but was in denial. By 2005 I knew I had a problem but somehow I thought I could control it, and justified my abuse, I did have a back injury after all was my excuse. Also in 2005 my wife who had half heartedly worked for me decided to go to work for her families business after much persuasion from her father and I. At this time I was spiraling down into the worst depression I had ever experienced. I didn't care about my business any more. I tried to kill it. I had a great business and was not happy with it any longer. I was burned out on it, burned out on pot, and burned out on hydrocodone. I made an appointment with a neurologist to see about my back problems so I could get off of the hydros. He pretty much told me that I had to quit mechanicing if I wanted to not get in worse shape. Being the hands on type I knew I couldn't just run the shop, I had to have my hands in the action. So depressed, strung out and feeling washed up I abruptly closed my shop. This was at Christmas 2005. Things for me got worse as my condition worsened. I abruptly quit the hydros, and had 6 month of withdrawal. I felt like I was dying. My wife became engrossed in her work, the first time this had happened mind you, and pretty much distanced herself from me and somewhat our children. She had gone from cleaving to her husband back to trying to please her father. I had never been abusive to her. I did all of the domestic chores, and I mean all. My wife then appeared to be attracted to a man she works with. She denies that she was attracted but claims that he was a wealth of information that could teach her about the business. But that didn't help me any, I still felt like that job got all she had and for the first time in out marriage I was getting leftovers when there were some. My wife had never been able to open up to me, she has always kept her feelings inside. It was like trying to find Pharaohs tomb to get her to open up and tell me how she really felt. She had been telling me for years that she thought I was bipolar. We went to a marriage counselor at my request. The councillor singled me out and told me he thought I was bipolar. He referred me to the behaviour specialist that I am now going to. He diagnosed me and labeled me bipolar type 1, and put me on Lamictal which made me feel more alive than I had in years after I got to 150 mg. Things seamed to be going great, I was finally going to find work, and get back into life again. I am actually about to buy my old business back after not being able to find anything that suits me. Things were going great until this past Wednesday. Me and my wife had a disagreement that was silly and it escalated into her just completely going cold on me. She even included our children, something that should never had happened, and threatened to stay at her parents. After getting her calmed down she would take no responsibility for her actions but blamed it on the stress from her job and our relationship problems. I can understand that, but it sent me back into ultra rapid cycling and depersonalization. This was also close to the anniversary of my mothers death and I still grieve strongly from that, I seam to miss her more each year. I have hope that someday soon I will start to feel better again. I am still taking my meds as instructed, and hope to get the relief back from them soon. If not I will try to get an appointment sooner than my next scheduled appointment at the end of May. My wife feels trapped by her job and her domestic duties and still is unable or unwilling to balance it all. I still feel some resentment about it all and this just adds to my frustration. I know that she loves me, and I love her. We are just going through a tough time and I feel like I have the ball and chain we call bipolar to haul around. Sorry for the long post, I just need to write it. Tom
Thank you for sharing your story. I am always amazed at the strength of individuals like you, and inspired by your courage.
You seem to have a great deal of self-awareness and understanding of who you are, and how you got to the point where you now find yourself. This in and of itself is quite unusual! If I am understanding what you wrote, you are taking lamictal only and that this is the first medication you were prescribed? I see you refer to a behavioral specialist as the person who prescribed Lamictal. Is s/he a psychiatrist?
I would suggest you call the person who prescribes your medication and explain what is going on. It would be very unusual for someone with your history to stabilize on the first and only medication prescribed. You would be amazingly lucky if this did happen!! I'm guessing that you could use a slight adjustment or perhaps an additional med to help you out. I would not wait until your next appointment. At least call to see what they might suggest.
My 25-year old son takes 3 mood stabilizers. He was taking lithium and Tegretol for quite awhile and felt pretty good but not 100%...so his new pdoc added Lamictal and it did the trick. Each works on slightly different areas of the brain and together they allow my son to be stable and healthy, and to work to his full potential. The combination also allows him to take a lower doseage of each med.
Are you and your wife still in couple's therapy? Sounds like she has some issues to work on as well! I hope that you can keep the lines of communication open. Every marriage hits a bump every once in awhile. When you work through these rough spots, you have the ability to come out stronger than before.
Please keep posting. With your determination and wonderful attitude, I know you will get a handle on this and will get back to managing your bipolar disorder, rather than letting it manage you.