Hi, i'm type 1 bipolar and read alot around this site but don't post often. Reading posts by women who live with BP husbands who are not well medicated or medicated at all brings back so much of the problems that broke up my first marriage. I was always compliant with medication yet in my time with her we never found the balance. It was difficult to obtain a balance anyway with so much conflict in our relationship. Having BP in the early days for me made me feel I was not responsible for my actions and I took my unhappiness out on my wife.
The best thing for me was when our relationship finally broke down and I was left by myself. Your efforts to help will always come over as patronising and make the feeling of loss of status in the relationship more profound. I got balanced on my meds only after I had lost my marriage and job but I cannot even imagine getting well whilst with my first wife as the balance of the relationship had changed from partners to patient and carer.
We now get on well and have both remarried. My new wife has always known about my illness so there is no sense of loss that both my first wife and I felt.
Whilst I feel for you all struggling with your BP husbands, I fear that the damage has already been done and it would be in the best interests of all concerned to call it a day. Delusional people can delude them selves for along time, but I think a wake up call such as permanant separation is what is needed to enable your husbands to finally take responsibity for their condition. Sometimes you need to go back to go forward.
BP frees you to say what you feel because you don't fear the ramifications. You are reinforcing this belife by keeping comming back for more. I know many non-bipolar men who feel similar resentment towards wifes they view as over controlling, etc. Yet they never speak up because they fear the ramifications of starting again, losing their houses etc. So they just ***** to their friends about their wives.
Your husbands are challanging you to walk away, why not take them up on the challenge? Afterall, who wants a BP husband who is out of control anyway?
Do both of yourselves a favour and call it a day, because once the bad stuff has been said, you can't withdraw it, it is afterall what he truely things when not bound by the rules of conformity and doesn't fear the ramifications.
I was diagnosed at 35 in 2002, yet resentment towards my wife had been building up for many years. Unlike you guys, she took the message at face value after putting up with it for a while and now we are both very happy and so are our children who can spend time in 2 homes without tension and conflict.
Problems in my marriage did not trigger the illness, but soon became the focal point of all my problems soon afterward.
You often discribe your partners behaviour as selfish or childish and that is true. But most children have problems with compromise and for me my marrage was too much compromise for me. Alot of women these days want everything their own way and what you are dealing with may be a man who no longer feels apreciated.
I look at my first wife in her new relationship and note that she gives way alot more than she ever did with me prior to her illness. I told her alot of home truths when ill and whist she may have dismissed them at the time as the rantings of a mad man, I cannot help but feel that some of them hit home and that she has modified her behaviour through fear of lossing another partner.
As for my new relationship, it lacks the competitiveness of the first. Neither of us are trying to change each other or modifying our behaviour. The facts are that we are just better suited and after 2 years of close companionship have had just one arguement, resolved the same day.
Let go of what you have as it will never be the same again. Free a man who wants to be free from you and move on is my advice and give him the wake up call he needs.
Starting again is harder than a delusional man with no fear of the ramifications can imagine, but it is worthwhile.
4support I am sorry for what happened on your vacation. I am a female with BPI and all my life I was diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder. A little over a year ago I have some TIA strokes and then a mental breakdown. That is when they finally figured out it was BP I. I also have fibromyalgia which causes severe pain throughout my body. I think you are a very STRONG woman and will do what is best for you and your children. I was married to a man for 17 years that treated me the way your husband treats you during an episode and he was not BP. He was an alcoholic but still will not admit it til this day. I remain friends with him though. I remarried about 20 months ago and my ex and new husband get along just fine. As a matter of fact, we were all at the lake at my parents house this past weekend. My kids are 16 and 19 and no matter how bad their dad treated me, I will never let them know. They will figure it out on their own and kids are much smarter than we give them credit for. I am sorry I got off subject but my fibro fog is in full gear today.
Has your husband suggested keeping a mood chart. You can find one by searching the web. I just started doing this the middle of August so I am still new to this but I still don't know what all my triggers are. I thought by doing this mood chart that hopefully, I can cut off the mood changes before they get out of hand. Evidently, your husband was in a rapid cycling mood or just a week of mixed mood state. I know that the big thing that both my shrink, therapist and the books I have read said that once you have accepted the diagnoses then you should learn everything you can about the disease/disorder. I read alot of books because I want to know what I am up against and be able to help in the fight against it as much as anyone. Nobody wants to have BP. I still don't know what sets me off for a mixed mood, depressive mood or a manic episode but I am taking the time to feel out my mood chart every day and hopefully by doing this and taking it to my shrink and therapist, they will be able to help me figure it out. When I get it a mood, I usually just go to my room and don't talk to anyone. Sometimes, I will get really upset and be screaming but I am screaming at me and how stupid I am. That I am worthless and can't do anything right. I don't do it to my husband or my children. I will say they may be in the house when I go on a rampage, but I don't break things or anything like that, I am just so upset with myself, I am yelling at myself.
Once I am done, I feel so guilty, humiliated and more worthless that my family has had to listen to this.
You are a very caring, warm, wonderful and loving human being. You are right in not trying to talk to him when he is in a mood. Maybe you could also ask his pdoc if he starts to get in one of these moods if his meds should be increased. I am wondering, what did the therapist say you should have done when he started this once you got to your destination on vacation.
I know that "normal people" go through stress and changes on a daily basis and they do fine as someone mentioned earlier. However, in my research in reading about BP, there are several things that can really effect a BP person that wouldn't effect a "normal person". Some of them are, vacations, bed-times, family reunions, argument regardless of how small. I know even alot of sensory overload really bothers me. Some BP people also can have an episode due to certain touches of fabrics. There are others also but that is just to name a few.
I am in NO WAY taking up for your husbands behavior. I believe he does need to be held accountable for it. Neither you nor your children deserve this type of behavior. But like I said in the beginning, my first husband treated me this way and called me really bad names and he did not have any type of mental illness.
I think you are an amazing woman. Please keep posting as I would love to know that you and your kids are doing well.
My relationship changed dramtically with my first wife once diagnosed as she became my carer at a time when I was extremely ill. Prior to my illness we had a well balanced relationship with each consulting one another on both major and minor family decissions. Once ill she had to take over and I can accept that as I was extremely ill with delusions that I was the 2nd comming here to save the world, followed by an extreem depression. But I did get well and stable and went back to running a company after 6 months off work.
My problem was that at work people listened to me and valued my judgement, yet at home I was often dismissed. If I dissagreed with my wife she would often counter with statements like ' have you taken your drugs today' using my illness to undermine my opinions which were not initially agressivly argued. Fundamentally she looked at BP as a permanent contion which I could never recover from, that stress was always to be avoided and she effectivly wrote off my career as too high pressured for a BP person to handle.
I had always taken the opposing view, that I could get well and that I could carry on where I left off. In other words I was the optimist, she the pessimist.
She is a very organised person who feels challenged by change and spontinaity. Over time I had allowed her to take over the organisation of my social life, neglegting old friends etc. She would never alow me time at weekends to pursue my own interests instead I was to be completely commited to the family.
How has she changed. Her new husband has weekends off to go sailing and climbing. She entertains some of his friends who she addmits she doesn't like, where as mine were just dropped and he has a session ticket to watch Rugby most weekends. Basically she no longer has to have things all her own way anymore but has alot more balanced life with him. Yet she is not a walk over, its just alot more balanced.
Thanks so much for writing, it's good to hear from you... You know I was keeping a very positive mind about this vacation, I thought since hubbie had been stable for 3 months, just maybe our time away would be episode-free. Of course I had the usual doubts, but I tried to ignore them and hope for the best. I am disheartened that he proved me wrong (again). Apparently, the initial mixup with our flights, stress and our hectic schedule, in addition to an active 3 yr old, was too much for him to handle. I was feeling the same stress and pressure, but react so much differently than he does. I understand what he was feeling, but don't understand why he always takes out things unrelated to me, on me! I think the term "spoilt child" does fit. This is what he behaved like...and he is 35! You must be very strong to be able to walk away while your hubbie is saying hurtful words and smashing things up. I honestly don't know how you're doing it at all without him being on medication. I could not have taken it much longer while my husband was out of control. I totally relate to you loving him when he is stable, it's like 2 different people. If you met my husband, you would never guess the way he can be. When he is doing well, things are almost perfect.
Last night my husband went to therapy, he came home and for the first time told me everything he shared with the therapist. For the most part, I think he was brutally honest with him, at least from what he told me. He talked with him at length about his feelings and behaviour whilst away. It seemed as though he had a good session.
Caz, is there any hope that your husband will get the help he needs? Meds can help a lot, it's sometimes amazing to see the difference. How long can you go on avoiding him while he rants around the house, and you and your son stay in your own space? How is your son doing?
Yes, I have a massage when I can, I absolutely love the relaxation it brings! I also go to acupuncture occasionally for stress relief and find it works wonders as well.
Caz, thanks for always thinking of me and writing such kind words. I'm sorry you are going thru such uncertainty and chaos in your life right now. It sounds like you are really holding it together for yourself and your son. You deserve much happiness.
Thanks for your post! It's good to see you back on the board, you are so honest and always have excellent insight, it is really quite helpful to hear things from your perspective.
Congratulations on your new marriage, I'm happy things are well for you, and that you and your ex-wife have both found your way into new fulfilling lives.
True, my relationship with my husband has changed in many ways since we met long ago. He was 32 when dx with BP II/ADHD and there were definite changes in his behaviour for probably 1-2 yrs before that. I don't think it's possible to live with a bipolar spouse and there be no damage to the relationship because of the very nature of the illness. I do think my husband acts childish. I have learned a lot, but the disorder is still confusing when it rears itself.
I have learned through life experience and therapy to look at things for what they are in the present. The truth is, we had a good base to our relationship before we got married. We were best friends and are still eachother's closest confidantes. If I keep reflecting back on the hurtful things my husband has said, his rants, his lack of appreciation for me trying to help him, his distortion of the facts of how things have revealed themselves, or the way he was while manic/depressed and pre-meds, I would run for the hills.
I'm hoping the 'delusions' or distorted thinking my husband has had for so long that he's believed the things he has made up will one day be a non-issue with all the learning he is doing in therapy, and now that he is on a better mix of meds. We have both had to work very hard in therapy, me specifically to forgive for the hurtful things he has said and done in the past. But demonstrating our true love for eachother to us is about working thru these things, forgiving and moving forward, not reflecting on the past. Of course this will change if one of us stops working on it. But we are together because we choose to be and we love eachother. I hope to stay married to him, as long as he continues to improve. Most of the time, he is not "out of control". I am not excusing his poor behaviour when he is out of control. None of us knows what the future will bring.
BP does appear to free you up to say whatever is on your mind, which is usually irrational if in the midst of an episode. I can clearly tell the difference between when my husband is 'off' or not. Everything about him changes - his demeanor, tone of voice, words he uses, etc...it really is bizarre. It makes sense what you say about not knowing or caring about the ramifications. I have often thought of leaving my husband while he rants, thinking he will be sorry, but then realizing that he is really believing what he has made up while he is ranting, so he probably would not be sorry. At least at that time.
I have no doubt that my husband thinks I'm a pain in the rear sometimes, I'm sure he has resentments toward me as I do him, he also tells me I'm the best wife in the world and that if I withdrew my love from him, it would kill him. I know he does not like talking about any behaviour changes with himself, or the illness itself, unless he begins the conversation and it is on his terms. Nevertheless, he tells me he loves me every day, he is an excellent father to our 2 young children, he takes his medications, sees his pdoc and goes to the therapist regularly. In many ways, our love and relationship has grown much deeper, as husband and wife and as parents. He can still be a nightmare at times, but he has made significant progress over the past 6 months, not an easy accomplishment, and much better than it was before.
I do not excuse his behaviour, nor do I think that he is "incurable" and that so much damage has been done that we cannot keep our marriage and love intact. Has it been tested? YES. Have I considered leaving? YES. Have I been fair? YES. At this point, I am taking one day at a time, recognizing the progress and trying to keep perspective on how bad it was vs. how much better it has become. It appears that the meds/therapy do help him, however I have not seen longterm stability as of yet. I know I could not live with him without the medications.
I hope you will stick around for awhile, you're great help.
I still think your hubbie isn't yet properly medicated. I just spent the day with my son. He got up early to come here and go with me to get the rental cargo van...and spent half a day helping his sister load up her earthly possession for a move. They dragged the mattress and box springs down from her 2nd floor bedroom...moved a couch that she is taking etc. and all the while he was cheerful, and joking around. Two years ago he might have helped but I doubt I would have asked. The least little thing might set him off; you never knew what it might be. I was just marveling at how he is like his pre-BP self, fun to be around and a really wonderful person.
I think there is a way for your husband too. Even if the pdoc tells you he has done what he can for hubbie, don't take no for an answer. Keep searching because there are new treatments becoming available, new drugs coming on the market, etc. and something will work for him so he will come back to you, like my son has.
You wrote about your husband seeing the tdoc last night; did he recognize the behaviors he exhibited on the trip? i just wondered what his level of self-awareness was?
Well, I am confused about his meds. He seems to have settled back into his 'stable' self since we returned, as if nothing was amiss before. He seems to vascillate a tiny bit between being laid back and any little thing bothering him on/off. Does this mean I should call and talk with his pdoc? I get confused when he seems to be on the right dosages of his meds, then an episode is triggered, which supposedly can happen even while on meds. Does this necessarily mean he needs a med adjustment, or this just happened because of the stress/change and because he couldn't seem to control in properly. I may need to clarify this with both the tdoc and the pdoc.
In any case, last night was the first night my husband came home and told me he wanted to talk with me about his session. He said that he told the therapist 'everything'. He seemed to be pretty honest with him about his stress levels and the way he reacted. His self awareness seemed to be there, at least now. The therapist commended him for obviously being so self aware, for being able to reflect back on the week and express how he was feeling and why he acted the way he did, and told him that he is getting better with that, and that the best thing he is doing is recognizing it and continuing to go to therapy to make more progress. Apparently, he reinforced to him that he does think and process things differently. Boy, does he ever! I haven't talked with the therapist yet after his session with hubbie last night, but I will next week.
I feel like I've had him back for the most part the last 3 months, I just want it to be for good!
Tsohl, thank you for all your encouragement. I am so inspired when you tell me about how well your son is doing. More later...
I forget what meds your husband is on. Does he take Seroquel? I know there are several people on here that have permission from their pdoc to up their Seroquel when they know they are going to be in a stressful situation --maybe he needs to be able to do something like that.
Still, it seems to me, if he were properly medicated, he wouldn't have these uncontrollable outrages....
I am also curious what medication your husband takes. If the medication he takes at the dosage and number of times a day was sufficient, I believe you see less symptoms. I have been where you are with my husband. He would get annoyed at a restaurant and ruin the whole meal with his rants ( and always over something very small but huge to him) or go off on a customer service worker. I told him years ago he was being a bully being the customer and knowing he would get his way because he was the customer. I know exactly what you say about the embarrassing behavior in front of strangers and family. Anyway, he has been taking Abilify. It has made all the difference in being able to live with him and not worry that he would get road rage because someone did not put on their blinker. I was always afraid of getting that call or knock at the door from the police.
I have posted mostly about my 15 year old daughter who is also bipolar and was very seriously ill. She also started taking Abilify two weeks ago and I can say we have not seen her this pleasant and agreeable in years. She had been stable (no episodes of mania) but still had the irritation and negative talk. I know Abilify is not for everyone but it has made a huge difference in both my husband and daughter. When my husband misses a dose, I can tell within the day. I always have some in my purse.
I really do feel for what you are going through and the need to protect your children. I was there and my daughter was sick at the same time. About 2 years ago I told him he would have to leave if he did not get help and stick with it. Just the fact that you husband is in treatment is the great news because you have seen him get better but then slide back. From what you say, it does seem he knows he needs help. I do think he needs an adjustment in medication or try something new. With all the medications out there, certainly there is one (or more) that will move him towards stability and keep him there. It is amazing that once the symptoms are under control how different life can be.
When your husband gets on with his rants, leave the house, go for a walk with your children or take them to the park. Have it all preplanned so you can make a quick exit. I don't know about you, but my husband always seemed to need an audience. Your little ones need to be protected from this. I will also add that my six year old remembers my daughters manic episodes from two years ago. Take them out when you see it coming or if it happens in public, walk away.
I wish you the best. Just remember it can get better. He sounds like a loving father but he does need some change in medication.
I am so very sorry about your trip I was so hoping you and your family was going to have a great time you deserve it. I know you will make it work for you in the end but YOU and YOUR KIDS did nothing wrong and HE is a big jerk. I will pray for you and let me know what I can do to help. stay strong it will get better. love petra
Just wanted to thank Paul for his insight and for allowing me and others on this board the opportunity to take a glimpse into the life of BP before and after diagnosis & treatment. Your openness here is truly a gift to me & others. I KNOW if EYES were here he would be saying something similar about the value of what you share with us here.
I reread your post to me several times, you gave me so much great information, and I am so blessed to have those of you who pour your hearts into these messages to give comfort and understanding to others dealing with similar situations.
Congratulations on your marriage, I wish you much happiness, you deserve it.
It's funny you mentioned a Mood Chart. I just suggested this to my husband again yesterday. Think it would do him a lot of good to track his own moods, and what seems to trigger them. I have studied his triggers (literally) over several years and they appear to be mainly...stress, change in environment, travel, work pressure, demanding children, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, financial issues. All a part of life, but of course I may feel similar stress but his reactions to it are very different. He also always seems to blow very small things way out of proportion, and get angry at trivial things. He also has the sensory overload and I can literally "see" his mood changing when there is a lot going on at home or out. This is mainly when he's not doing well.
I agree with you, I think this latest vacation and the stresses that went along with it pushed my husband into some sort of mixed state. Not 24 hrs after we were home, he seemed to settle back into being more stable. I need to speak with the therapist and pdoc about this, but I get very confused over - is he REALLY stable? are his meds REALLY right? is this just a bad week because of the stress..or does he needs a med adjustment? are the meds working, but he just needs to learn more self control? Geez, it just seems neverending.
The way you described what happens to you when you have moods is very helpful. It's interesting when you say you are really screaming at yourself, frustrated with yourself, with feelings of worthlessness (which, I'm sure you know you are well loved and valued. I see my husband become frustrated with situations because of outside factors, or frustrated or angry with himself, and this is where I think he takes it out on us. I can tell he's working on controlling this more, I can only hope he continues to grow in this direction. You seem so self aware and honest, I just feel that is half the battle.
I would like to ask you about the guilt factor. When you feel guilty, do you realize that the way you behaved hurt those around you? Do you ever just apologize? An apology goes a long way in healing & moving forward. The reason I am asking is because my husband still has the problem of taking his anger and frustrations out on us, still twisting it to be my fault somehow, and then never apologizing. This is driving me crazy, and I talked with the therapist about this having to change!
Thank you for your kind words to me. I used to think of myself as a strong woman, I know I have the strength somewhere, and I know what gives me strength. But, at times this illness and dealing with my husband has really broken me down and made me question just how strong I am. There is no doubt how much I love my husband, but I must see him continue to improve and be committed to his treatment and controlling himself, or I know that somewhere I have the strength to do something about it if he doesn't. I hope I don't ever have to leave him, but if I did it would be because we were being mistreated, and that gets old.
Unfortunately, I have not spoken with the therapist after my husband's session to ask what should he have done with regard to the meds when his mood changed on vacation. I will find out though. My husband said that is when he can take his anxiety meds (klonopin), but for whatever reason, he didn't take them.
Thanks so much for reaching out to me, and for thinking of us...
My hubbie is on Lamictal with Lithium and Adderall (no Seroquel). He truly seems to be doing well with that combo, with the exception of how he handled himself on our trip?? Now that we're back, he seems to be doing fine. One very positive thing about his therapy session last week is that he was able to recognize the changes in himself and express those and what was happening to him with the therapist. Still regardless, he seemed unable to control the mood changes at the times when he needed to. I need to speak with the pdoc and will this week. I am confused (again). He told me that his pdoc instructed him to take his anxiety meds (Klonopin) to relax if he saw his moods elevating, in addition to his other meds. For whatever reason, he didn't do this while we were away (?).