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Old 04-04-2006, 02:23 PM   #1
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Bipolar Spouse

I am married to a woman who has recently been diagnosed bipolar. At the moment, she is ready to divorce me and run away from all commitments. She is not taking her meds properly and has shut me out almost completely. We split up in the past and reconnected after she was diagnosed and began treating the illness. HELP!!! What do I do now? I try to give her space, but when she behaves in a distructive manner, I panic. I want to be supportive, but I also have to think about our children. What do I do?

 
Old 04-04-2006, 02:39 PM   #2
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Re: Bipolar Spouse

I can understand your frustration....my husband feels the same way. I am much older than your wife, I'm sure. I was just diagnosed a little over a year ago at age 57. I'm sure it has been with me for many more years than that, but it seems to have esculated in these last months. It takes a lot of understanding, and support in order to live with a bipolar person. Go with her to therapy, group support, her psychiatrist, etc. There is a great book out there that has helped ME. It's called "The BiPolar Survival Guide". You notice I said ME. My husband hasn't been the most supportive or understanding guy, but I know what I can put him through. Sometimes, I can't even stand being around myself! They keep saying it takes a while to get the meds right, so hang in there. Mine still aren't right yet

 
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Old 04-05-2006, 08:34 AM   #3
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Re: Bipolar Spouse

It's taken me a lot of years to get the right meds and I still wonder how my ex-husbnad put up with me (we got divorced after 5 years of marriage). Now we have 2 kids, but since I am BPD and BP, I found myself yelling at our daughter when she was 1 years old. I would yell at her to put her toys away when she was playing, I saw it and he saw it and we both decided to put the kids up for adoption (now mind you that is the short version of the indepth story). I never hurt my girls, I would just yell and my husband at the time was going to divorce me and take the girls, but his work schedule of swing shift wouldn't allow him to do it and be able to financially take care of them too. So it was one of the hardest decisions of my life.

Where I am going with that, is that being divorced and having your kids with the parent that isn't BP, would be healthier for them. It'll be hard none the less, but you are a product of your enviorement and if you aren't around it, then hopefully you won't get it (that is what I kept thinking and why we did what we did).

I am not telling you to get divorced, I am simply saying that there are choices and they are all not easy. It isn't easy being sick. It takes a toll on you and the people you love. If you go to the thread of 2 bipolar people in a relationship (something like that) on here, you will read accounts of my life. It's not easy.

I probably didn't help any, but I was trying to, honestly.

If you love her, and I am sure you do, make sure she takes her meds and goes to a psychiatrist at least 2 times a month. Therapy and meds are most important and they do help.

 
Old 04-24-2006, 02:15 PM   #4
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Re: Bipolar Spouse

I know how you feel. My wife is manic and has just shut me out completely. She wants a divorce, has been making plans to move away, and everything I say or do makes her angry! I just pray that this will pass. I believe that she loves me. The bipolar just hates me!
I don't want to quit, but how do I stop her. We have done this before and she always comes back. Why go through it again? I love her and want to support her, but she just shuts me out. Help!!!!

Last edited by SOTL16; 04-24-2006 at 03:00 PM. Reason: Adding info

 
Old 04-25-2006, 09:04 PM   #5
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Re: Bipolar Spouse

SOTL: I too am with a person who I suspect is BP. We are in our 60's. At present she is scheduled to see a psychiatrist. We have been together now for nearly 3 years and recently I have seen so many mood swings that it is hard to handle. One day she will be loving and kind and the next day she is jumping down my throat for the smallest of things.... things that to the average person would not matter a hoot. These things are blown way out of proportion. I have read that "logic" does not work in this situation and you cannot reason with the person. Most of the time I just ignore her for awhile and then she returns to somewhat normal. I can in no way try to reason things with her. One day she is loving and kind and the next day she is wanting to put the house up for sale and have each of us go our separate ways. She just told me tonight that if she finds out that (I) am the problem for her problems that she will put the house up for sale. She would never admit that she is having this BP problem and I dare not bring it up to her.

Last edited by chipshot48; 04-25-2006 at 09:09 PM.

 
Old 05-21-2006, 07:15 PM   #6
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Re: Bipolar Spouse

Im not sure I can help, but I can tell you youre not alone. My wife stopped her meds 6wks ago and has since gone into an almost constant manic state. She's only here for awhile and even those moments she cant stand still or relax. She is irritated with me and our children constantly and has become distant and almost disinterested with all of us.

I know how to handle it if she were cheating on me but she isnt. I have gotten to the point that I am losing my mind trying to help her and be supportive and get her to notice her symptoms. By the way, trying to get her to notice the symptoms pisses her off even more, so I stopped. I got her to attend a group session next week so we will see that goes and go from there.

Do the best you can and try to get her to a group session so she can relate and it might even open her eyes to hear someone in the same situation as your spouse. I havent cried more than 15 times in 25 years but in the past 6 weeks I have doubled that. I wish there was a magic answer because I sure would like one.

 
Old 05-22-2006, 07:07 AM   #7
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Re: Bipolar Spouse

Being married to someone who is BP is extremely difficult. You really have to do your homework on the illness, and be extremely strong to deal with it. Don't think that for one minute your wife/husband doesn't stop and think of how much they appreciate your support thru all the ordeals. Sometimes, the depression sinks in because we know it sucks that we even put a person thru this.

Everything really depends on their level of BP, and how they carry it. Some can and cannot control outbreaks, but there are a few things that could help you out. I'm actually going to list some ways that have worked for me.

First of all, if the outbreaks are pretty bad, I would suggest you make sure that they are on medication. That could eliviate a good portion of the problem.
Everyone really works differently in their situations.

When I'm having an "episode" of anger or depression, I try my hardest to keep it all in my "head". And usually it works, but depending on the person, this could also be dangerous, it's like a time bomb waiting to blow.

Usually I'll sit in complete silence and pretty much ignore all sounds around me. This is pretty much the process of sorting 45 things out all in once. If you notice this with your spouse, don't ask 25 times what's wrong. Because we really can't tell you sometimes. There's times when so much is going on in our heads that we can't just stop it all to name off the list. If we say nothing, let it go..If my husband keeps harping, I start feel backed into a corner and I still can't give you an explination, and now you've just frustrated me on top of it.
In a relatively decent amount of time, I can sort it out and be just fine. If it seems just fine..it probably is, so don't go back and ask if I'm ready to talk about it. I already figured it out, so there's no need in scrambling it all up again.

If they seem dazed for a prolonged period of time. Then obviously whatever it is we just can't sort out. Try to stray our minds away from it gently. This can be a huge catch 22. We really don't want you to bother us with what's wrong. But if you completely ignore us, we may start to feel as though you're mad, you don't care, etc. Now's the time to think of stuff we really enjoy. If you know a place your significant other likes to really go, or something they look to do, throw the idea out there. Alot of times that can change the mood over to pleasant. But be prepared if you get a no. Just let us know then that you are here from us if we need you, and let us go back to our stage of confusion.

Be aware that if a verbal altercation breaks out, Most of the time, whatever we say, we really usually don't mean. I know it's no excuse, and you just take it with a grain of salt. It's that backed into a corner thing again, and we usually tend to spew out words that can really hurt.

After we come back down, and we realize what we've said and done, we'll likely spend time in a state of depression for or words and actions. It's never really OK for what we've said and done, but if you don't appear to be somewhat forgiving, you're pretty much asking for it all over again.
The main key in this one is comfort.

We can easily be upset at you or something else. and then act perfectly fine. This applies after an argument as well. Don't harp over it. If we just chewed your head off, and 10 minutes later we're acting like nothing ever happened, run with it. If you act like you're mad, we're going to get mad, and right backt o being backed into that corner, save yourself the stress.

If we're extra spunky..enjoy it. I personally actually like being a little hyper. Just don't let us bounce our butts off a balcony, or give us a credit card. We're taking in the best parts of life and enjoying them, literally to the fullest.
If we're not hurting ourselves, or anyone around us, why ruin it?
If we're talking too fast, let us know. We really have no idea we are doing that. We'll try to slow it down a bit.

If you really want to go somewhere, and we want to take a random nap or something..don't get ticked off. All the back and forth cycling really does wear us down both physically and mentally.

Use different methods, and see how it works, But remember to always use a positive method, and always remain positive with your support.
Seperating the illness from the person is always the main key.



I'm not saying this will work for everyone, it's likely it won't. But I know it has worked for me.
Test out different ways and see what's useful. Maye this will help atleast ONE person.

 
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Old 05-27-2006, 04:41 PM   #8
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Re: Bipolar Spouse

I was just diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder, but I used to be married to someone who had major depression with BiPolar. It was so hard, I stuck with it for 10 years.

I learned to go back to my basic rule. If all else fails, remedicate.
That meant go back to the doctor and reevaluate his medication. We had an agreement on this, if he was trouble again, he would agree to let me take him to the doctor and we always talked to him together. This way he heard both sides, how he felt, and how I saw him. Of ocurse I would give him the opportunity to speak with his doctor in private if he wanted.

 
Old 05-27-2006, 06:57 PM   #9
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Re: Bipolar Spouse

I too have a wife that has BP. 21 years married to her, I love my wife.
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Old 06-01-2006, 02:05 PM   #10
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Angry Re: Bipolar Spouse

Thanks to all who have replied. I know this illness can take over. It is just hard to sit "in the stands" and do nothing when she refuses my help. I see the effects this illness has on her, the kids and myself. Why won't she get help? When will the "real her" show up again? I try to support her. Everything I say or do is wrong. When I back off, I don't care and I must be having an affair. I only want her to be healthy. I want our family to be healthy. I want our relationship to be healthy. Am I asking for too much?

Last edited by SOTL16; 06-02-2006 at 07:02 AM.

 
Old 06-03-2006, 04:27 PM   #11
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Re: Bipolar Spouse

This illness can take over your life. My husband was diagnosed four months ago. It all came out because he had an affair while I was pregnant and got the other woman pregnant. It has been the hardest thing I have ever dealt with. I am researching bipolar and trying to learn everything about it. I'm like you, I don't understand why they won't get help especially when we are supporting them. I think that is part of the illness though. I won't give up on my husband. We are separated now, but I hope things will work out. This illness is so complex and more common than I ever knew. I look at it this way, what if it was me? I would hope my husband would stand by me "in sickness and in health." The only way I will walk away is if I see that it is too unhealthy for our baby. I'm glad I found this board, it gives support and sometimes it is what gets me through another day. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

 
Old 06-03-2006, 10:08 PM   #12
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Re: Bipolar Spouse

My husband walked away after my bp diagnosis and left me with 3 kids, 6,4,and 4 years old. Although it has taken me several years and lots of meds and help to get back to "normal" or at least stable, I finally feel that I have my life back. I only problem is my husband is gone. The divorce has been SOOO hard on my kids, so hard financially, and so hard on my self-esteem. I know my kids and I will never be the same from the "abandonment". I never thought my husband was the type to just walk away when problems arose, but he did. He never researched bipolar, never had any sympathy for me, ONLY INTENSE ANGER, and blamed ever ymanic decision and depressed energy level on me personally. He happens to be a brilliant, well-educated person, but ironically very ignorant and intollerant of mental illness. For all spouses who think your newly diagnosed partner will always be this way I have news for you... in 2006 Bipolar is totally treatable and managable and you can get your spouse back! It may take a couple of years, but than you have the rest of your lives together. Here is what I would do:
1) If they would not admit the problem or see a pdoc, YOU go to the pdoc yourself and explain the situation and find out what to do
2) They MUST get on mood stabilizers -- this is the only proven treatment
3) They should go to individual couseling every week or every other week
4) You may need marriage counseling every other week
5) BE COMPASSIONATE as if they were just diagnosed with cancer and you thought you might lose them! Hold them, tell them you know the illness is causing this behavior and that you still love them and can SEPARATE THEM FROM THIS HORRIBLE ILLNESS THAT HAS INVADED THEIR BODY!
6) Tell them you will never leave them no matter how difficult things get and you will take them to as many doctors as necessary to get them back to themselves
7) Tell them it is so painful to see them acting abnormal and suffering, and you will be sure that their behavior will be restored to normal again
8) HOLD THEM AND CRY WITH THEM ... this is tough stuff and disappointing for everyone. Nobody wants to be sick, nobody want to act irrational, nobody was to upset others, nobody wants to go broke, nobody wants to be irresponsible.
9) Get immediate family and close trusted friends to read and learn about bp and support the 2 of you. You can't do this alone.

 
Old 06-04-2006, 07:36 AM   #13
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Unhappy Re: Bipolar Spouse

I am new. Iam married to bipolar spouse with borderline pers.disorder. It has been rough. He bounces from anger,anxiety, violence, yelling and controlling to sitting like a log on the computer. He has a long history of affairs, primarly online. Issue, I am at the end of my rope, the last round, the kids and I had to leave the home. The children and I are frighten of him. He twists things, statements and reality of our lives into some place I just can not go. Nor the kids. I never no when he will go to one from the other, becoming violent, he did choke me until I passed out, attacked in other ways, and is emotionally, verbally abuse all which he blames on his illness. I understand he is sick but that does not mean he is not accountable for his actions. He seems to think he is not accountable due to his illness. The result was he did go to the hostipal, something his counselor/PDoc/social worker had been trying since late Nov.He is on meds now, two anti psychotic, 1 anti depressant, a mood stabilizer, and there is some improvement. He was released after week's stay, appx three weeks ago. He is not allowed home, after his stay due to the authories involved and his actions. He is on meds now, two anti psychotic, 1 anti depressant, a mood stabilizer, and there is some improvement.

He sees this has abandonment, not being allowed home. He is in a safe place with his family. I see this as protecting the children and I from his onslaughter. His mental illness and actions which revolve around them have been apparent for five years, (earlier acording to his own disclosure), the last year primarly the last nine months increasing.
He has lied to me repeatly, since the beginning ofour marriage, I find this out in Nov, along with the attack. Sadly this and the violence is at the core of relationship. He believes I should "just get over" and "we'll be fine". He does have control issues and a desire to make us do right. Again this is a little spooky. He blames this again on his illness and it is "just part of who he is"
I do not see it as such. There are consequences to own's actions, mentally ill or not. I am worn out and tired of dealing with his illness, his actions have increased a disturbance within out family and the kids lives. Emotionally, mentally, finanicially and spiritually. Since he is not living with us, our home life is steady, stable, not saying we do not miss me, but it is peaceful compared to the worshipping on the altar of chaos which existed with him present.

Any suggestions?

 
Old 06-04-2006, 01:24 PM   #14
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Re: Bipolar Spouse

Until he has prove himself not to be a danger to himself or others, the arrangement sounds like it is unfortuate but necessary. However, the major of bp people can be totally stabilized and has a productive, normal life. If you love him, there is probably still a future there. You must tell him that and support him. HE DOESN'T WANT TO BE SICK, IRRESPONSBLE, THREATENING or DIFFICULT! WHO WOULD! The fact that he is willing to get help and started meds is great. It just might take a couple years for him to get on the right ones and stable. Each person is different and every doctor is different. You should see your own therapist and maybe the kids too to sort out how all of this has affected you and if you can see through the bp to love AND TRUST the one you married again. Couples counseling is also recommended to put past resentments behind you and or course he will need therapy at least every other week for years to be sure he continues to act "normal".

 
Old 06-04-2006, 03:47 PM   #15
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Re: Bipolar Spouse

Thanks, the kids and I are already in counseling. I started long before he chose too, close to nine months ago. I knew perhaps what I was dealing with then and the kids were included. But jumping out of windows to escape their father is not a way to live, mentally ill or not. No, he did not choose but he has options now to deal with it.

 
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