I am new to this site but I am just having a hard time. My husband is seeking help for bipolar. He is going to group therapy and see a psychiatrist and it has been a long road. Every time I look up a list of symptoms for bipolar, I see that he has every single symptom. My girls are 12, 13, and 14, and they are having a hard time with it as well. When he is manic, we are all manic, when he's depressed, we're all somber. I have been trying so hard to be supportive but as he hasn't been able to keep a job for the last three years, alot has been put on my shoulders. The hardest part for me is when he picks fights with me like he wants me to say that he's ruining my life and I refuse to do that. He has been on Zoloft for 8 years and recently tried lithium but it made him more aggitated so the doctor is looking into an alternative route. I am trying to stay strong for him and my girls but sometimes it gets too emotional and I need to know that there is end in sight.
Thanks for listening
Hey welcome. I am so sorrry for what you're going through. It sucks I know. unfotunately i am on the other side of the coin, I was dx'd BP 23 yr. ago. It's hard keeping a relationship together when there is a mental disorder in the mix. My Ex and I made it 22 yrs., I've been divorced for a little over a year now. But that is not to say that it can't be done, he had issues of his own that played a large part in our demise, alcohol being one of them. I also have children, 2 wonderful boys, 21 and 12. Life is harder for kids with parents like us, I'll admit that freely, but it also doesn't have to mean Bad per se.
Your husband doesn't sound like he's gotten Stable yet, and thats the hard part, trying to find that magical combination of meds and therapies that work and help. Your doc sounds a bit limited, aside from Lithium, there's lamictal, seroquel, depakote, zyprexa, geodon, risperidal, etc. many diff. mood stabilizers that can be tried. Normally they work well in combination with an anti-depressant. Your hubby's been on Zoloft for quite a while, we tend to get used to these meds, our brains tolerance of them rises after too long of use, so they need to be changed and tweaked. BP is definitely not a disease that can be managed with a one shot deal, take this med forever and you'll be fine.....nope.
If I were you, I'd talk to your husbands pdoc (hopefully he's seeing a pdoc as regular docs just don't have all the qualifications and specialties to deal with this most of the time) and ask about trying some new meds, changing the zoloft to a diff. anti-d and seeing what works.
Some things you are doing excellently, do not buy into his need for arguments, like you've been doing, just refuse to do it, walk away, out of the house if necesary for a brief break. On the family side though, you really have to try and keep the rest of the family normal, don't be manic when he is, or depressed when he is....he can't help it, you guys can. Try to get you and your kids back into a normal, calm routine, it will help them loads, trust me. You can be supportive without having to "be" everything your husband is going through. You've probably learned to read his moods somewhat, he may get agitated when asked over and over if he's okay, or how he's feeling...don't, we don't like that, it makes us think of the fact that, "hell no we don't feel okay, but we have to keep trying to be okay".
I guess my last piece of advice is to take breaks. Give yourself a break whenever you can, you deserve it, this is incredibally hard. Give your kids breaks, take them out for a picnic, or hike or walk around the block. Encourage them to talk to you about how they feel, age appropriately answer they're questions, so they can understand without hating their father. Odds are they've all been over the internet and have read so much they're totally confused anyway. Clear it up, be real, be honest. This is a lifelong illness, there is no cure and it won't go away. But it can be managed and you can live a pretty normal life.
I have 2 college degrees, one is Computer Science the other Accounting, I'm also a certified Paralegal. I keep jobs for years at a time. I've also spent 2 long stays in the psych ward in the last 4 years, been pretty unstable up until a year ago, done all the meds, have had ECT, counseling, you name it. What keeeps me stable is I have a wonderful team of Psychiatrist (pdoc) & Psychologist (tdoc) who I've had for 7 yrs. now, they listen to me, we work on meds together. I see my pdoc every 2 weeks and my tdoc once a week without fail. If I miss an appointment they come looking for me, literally. I have both their home phone numbers and sometimes use them frequently. I stay med compliant (which is a biggey) most of the time, nobody's perfect.
So if your doc isn't working with you, find a new one, that's key. We don't like to feel ignored or looked over because they have a busy practice or think they know everything and we know nothing, trust me I've had several of those too.
Okay, so now I've wrote you a book, *s* sorry, I get long winded. Also you might post any specific Q's you have on the BP board, there are many good folks over there that can be very helpful.
Thank you so much for your reply. You say it was long winded but I didn't feel that way, it was such a relief to hear from you. One of the biggest problems I have is the feeling that we're so alone. Rationally I know that's not true, but in my life I can try to tell my family and they just aren't going to really get it. They can sympathize and be supportive but they won't completely get it. A blessing is my mother in law who went through this for years with my father in law. She's been where I've been and talks me down a lot but she just had surgery and I was in a low place being this process of looking for help is SO new to us. And everytime there is a road block, it's such a disappointment. If my husband was clear minded, he could say "it's going to be okay" like he used to be able to, but now, I am always the strong one for all of us and sometimes, I need to be picked up. Thank you so much. Most likely I will have to talk to you alot.
Hi, well I'm glad the "book" I wrote you wasn't too much. *s* You are sooo not alone, there are lots of us out there on either side, that can support and help each other. I've been given great tools in my life to manage my BP, and I stay pretty stable for now, so I feel like it's kind of a duty to give back any and all information or anything that I've learned along this journey to those who are just starting it and can use it.
I have no problems with you talking alot, just post away. *s*