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Bipolar wife. PLEASE help !

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Old 01-27-2009, 09:40 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 4
BlackSea HB User
Bipolar wife. PLEASE help !

Hi guys,
I'm a 40yo man. I am not bipolar. This desperate post is
about my wife.
I feel SO alone with my pain....if I don't talk to someone about
this.....I will lose my mind.
We're married for 10 years. We have a 7yo boy.
I've noticed some issues a long time ago, even before getting
married, but I didn't pay too much attention. After the wedding,
I was shocked by her mother's behavior and got panicked
when asking myself if she will grow old like "her mother" or
not. Her mother is retired for mental reasons since she was
not even 50, not taking any medication and she's simply
impossible to deal with. I think she is passed the bipolar level
and developed schizophrenia, since she never got
medication for her condition. On top of all this, she likes to drink more
often than occasionally....and this exactly what she doesn't
I think my wife got the sick genes from her mother who's
behavior was in some sort of limits up to her early 40s.
Since then, it was all a nightmare for my father-in-law and the
Although she was not diagnosed yet with wife has
more than the symptoms. The last episode that made me
write here was spending $1500 online in two days, with a fury
to "get all now, nothing else matters". This amount of money
means a lot to us and the financial situation in this moment is
not good, having zero savings and $35,000 in credit card
depts., besides the full mortgage !
A few years ago I cancelled her credit card after another
episode of "burning money" that we didn't have. Then she got
on the debit card. After a while, after another budget crasher
fury , I had the password changed on the debit so she would
not know what money are "available" (I would transfer money
in that account when we were going to buy groceries or gas,
Then she asked me for the EBay password. I give it to her
asking kindly not to abuse it. Well, I was wrong to hope she
wouldn't take advantage. She would just bid and tell me to pay
that stuff. If I get "the nerve" to kindly protest (off course in a
decent a reasonable manner)....she would explode with all
sort of inept attitudes, with zero tolerance or wish to
understand another point of view.....who was basically saying
not to buy diamonds for $500 when we don't have gas in the
cars, food in the fridge and all the credit cards
are maxed out !
When I would tell her that I work 10 hrs a day and half day on
Saturday ......she would say "-Well, don't go to work anymore" !!
When I would ask her "-What if I would spend money the
same way ? You think I don't want to buy some stuff ?".......she
would reply "-Buy, who's stopping you ?!"
With the latest economy cuts, I don't do overtime anymore so
the money is tight. After the mortgage (weekly paid) and some
automatic transfers for the other monthly fees (insurance,
taxes, utilities, etc)....the account would barely have enough to
buy some groceries and almost enough gas for the next week
of work). Well, it happened tens of times to get home on
Friday and see that she already took care of things....buying
some bag, or skirt, or whatever.....leaving the account with $20
or so.....for groceries and gas for a week !! If I try to have a
decent conversation with her about this....she would explode
again, in a completely unreasonable manner, hearing nothing
and unable to make a point or explain.......only yelling that she
cannot stand this anymore, she cannot live with me, etc.
I have to mention that my wife is far from really needing the
stuff she buys. She has about 80 pairs of shoes and many
hundreds of clothing articles of all kind. Also a very decent
amount of jewelry. A normal person would consider this 20
times more than "plenty enough". 90% of all.....she worn once,
that's all !
If I would try to explain that we need to have something into a
savings account, in case the car dies, or a pipe breaks in the
house, or the furnace collapses, etc, etc, just "emergency
money"....she would reply something like "-If I don't enjoy
these things now when I'm young.....when would I ?! When I
reply to this that "you can get something now and then, if you
need it or even "just like that", but only if buying that would not
interfere with the important things (mortgage, insurance, gas,
groceries, utilities, taxes). I'm not even mentioning about
some money for retirement, which we don't have. If I would
open a conversation about retirement and tell her that I
already work for 22 years and do not want to die working
because I cannot afford to retire.....she would start saying all
sort of nonsense like "-We'll see what we'll do when we get
there !" . If I would ask "-Where do you want me to get the
money for that?".....she would reply with "-From where there's
none" !!!!!!
I had literally dozens of experiences of wanting to pay
something with my checking card and be denied for "not
enough funds", forced to charge it on the credit card AGAIN !
SO embarrassing !
We already made a "before term" remortgage and add
$25,000 because the 18% interest was killing us. We are
"back on track" with another $11,000 on the credit card that I
cancelled for her. How ? Well, if you cannot use the debit for use the credit ! Or, in short, I take money
"from where there's none" !! And why do I charge the credit
card ? Because she has access to the checking and she
takes care of things without asking, without caring what her
actions generate in our family.
She was like this all the time since we married, but she got a
lot worse since my son was born. She blamed it on "post-
partum disorder" and she got some medication for that. The
medication appeared to work, allowing a lot less crises and
making her a little more responsive. After about a year she
changed it, and changed it again, and again, for 6-7 times.
Sometimes (like right now) she would decide by herself to
leave any medication because "there's nothing wrong with
her" !
My son told me "- I want mommy to be the same all the time,
not different every day" !! My 7 years old told me that !!!
The thought that my son would not be able to have a normal
family around him......crushes me !!
I am still with her because of my son. I grew up in a very
decent family, with quality time spent together, great
vacations, great communication, getting a concrete strong
education and balance. She didn't have that and that's the
main reason for her imbalance. Her mother would beat her
senseless when she would get an A- instead of A !! She
would scream insane and insult her over and over again. Her father
was gone almost all the time because of his demanding job.
The guy was sane and decent until a point when the
overwhelming pressure would get him to drink a lot, lose his 6
figures manager job and get unreliable and incoherent.
This is the influence that my wife got from her family.
When she was on medication, I told her several times that
she is a completely different person, loving and caring, decent
and warm. I told her that I know what she had from her
parents and family and I want our family to be for her all that
she didn't have. She would be warm and hug me in that
moment and I would feel that I need to protect her with all I
..........But that's when she is on medication and I really can
have a normal and decent communication with her.
I will stop writing now. I can write for many days about these
things but don't want to bother the readers with my problems.
To all the people who took the time to read this....Thank you !
If anyone have the time to write back some ideas and
feelings, maybe an advice, would make me feel
that I'm not alone, which would mean a lot to me.
Have a great day, to all.

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Old 01-27-2009, 08:15 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 461
fossilapostle HB User
Re: Bipolar wife. PLEASE help !

As far as the financial issues, you may want to speak to an attorney. If you can have her declared mentally incompetent (not sure if that's the right terminology), you can get power of attorney over her finances which would hopefully prevent her from spending all your money.

As far as her mental illness, you may just have to lay it on the line and say that she has to get help if she wants to remain married to you. If she really is mentally ill then if you divorced then you would likely get custody of your child. Hopefully that will be enough to make her get help if she's not willing to do so by any other method.

Good luck!

Old 02-08-2009, 04:10 PM   #3
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: atlanta
Posts: 12
yoyomommy HB User
Re: Bipolar wife. PLEASE help !

Dear Black Sea,
I am absolutely moved by your post. Im not sure that I have the same diagnosis as your wife (I have been diagnosed with depression and ADD) but I feel lately that my body chemistry has changed in the 4 years since my last child was born and the drug regimen that once worked for me fairly well, isn't quite doing the job. I decided that since I have been on some sort of med for depression for 15-20 years now and that I want to find out how "bad" (or possibly good?) things are without anything and start fresh perhaps with a new med assessment. As much as I would give to not need a med I realize that I probably always will and look forward to feeling (and being) normal again. I feel like I have some of the same indications as your wife although perhaps not as bad yet (maybe because I have been medicated for so long?) and yet I can totally see myself in her shoes and it scares the pants of me. Sometimes I feel like my thoughts are so confused that the only thing that helps me just focus and relax is to "shop". I am the daughter of a very strict banker and fear finacial ruin terribly so I am very careful with money and when I feel the need to shop I go to Good Will... it's the only thing that gives me solace right now while weening off my current meds. It's all the same though I think and I don't feel like any family can afford to just shop all the time. Okay... Im not sure what my point here is but I can almost feel the pain your wife is in on the inside and it has helped me to hear a caring heart ask for help for himself and for her. I am divorced from the father of my little girls and now remarried to a very patient and wonderful person but every day I wonder and feel guilty that maybe my illness is what caused me to leave my first husband... I truly thought he didn't care anymore and was only with me because he is Catholic and it would have been terrible for him to be the one to ask for the divorce... so I did. I don't know what it's worth but I thank you for realizing your wife has a serious problem and not just giving in, I know it must be hard for you. After I left my husband I had a major depressive episode and although I didn't want to kill myself, I knew I was at my wits end and couldn't help myself... so I checked myself in to a very reputable rehab/ institution (my doctor hinted that unless I was thinking about killing myself theyd probably put me on a very lengthy waiting list so I had a friend drive me over and I told them I was considering it.. they got me in right away). There I learned that I wasn't alone... and also learned how to handle difficult situations... one of the biggest "eye openers" was confronting how i was behaving and finding ways to confront and combat the moods. I met others with the same diagnosis as well as those diagnosed with other disorders and it has helped me more fully understand my problems. I don't know if your wife is desperate enough for in-patient therapy yet but it was the most incredible life-changing experiences of my life and maybe that would be an option (depending on insurance, unfortunately) before you ever consider giving up on her? You have helped me see myself in some way and see what my family may be going through to some extent now or in the future if I don't find a med. I KNOW you are about at your wits end and I hope you can see her problems through to helping get herself back on track... she will have to make the decision herself however to get better and realize she must be medicated. I don't know if this has helped you or confused you but I thank you ecause i has helped me and my family and I wish you and your wife well... I know she is suffering too. Good luck.

Old 02-09-2009, 01:04 AM   #4
dreams in neon
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: WI
Posts: 4,174
dreams in neon HB Userdreams in neon HB User
Re: Bipolar wife. PLEASE help !

I'm not a doctor, but it sounds to me as if your wife is bipolar and suffered a manic episode during her spending sprees. I would suggest that you post another message on the bipolar board to get some other ideas as to how you could address the difficulties you are having with your wife. If her issues become severe, you could always call 911 and have the police take her to the ER for a psych. evaluation and possible inpatient hospitalization. If she is manic, that needs to be controlled and can be life threatening. Take it from someone who has been diagnosed with bipolar for the past 2 years. I really feel for you and hope you are able to find your wife the help she so desperately needs. Here's wishing you both all the best.
Atypical Bipolar I Disorder with Rapid Cycling
Depakote 1500mg
Prozac 40mg
Risperdal 1mg titrating to 6mg/day
Klonopin .5mg (2x/day)
Trazodone 100mg or 200mg PRN

Last edited by dreams in neon; 02-09-2009 at 01:05 AM.

Old 02-09-2009, 01:21 AM   #5
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: ireland
Posts: 679
irishwriter HB User
Re: Bipolar wife. PLEASE help !

you are wonderful to be so understanding through all these crises. is there any way she would consider both of you going to a good psychiatrist and explainging the whole situation? also maybe have her read 'an unquiet mind' by kay redfield jameson, who describes very well the inability to withstand that urge to shop when in mania. i too sometimes do the shopping spree thing. i do try to only go to the bargain rails and now when i have to go town and i try to only see pdoc and go straight home. is there any way you can return any of the stuff she has purchased or sell on ebay? i sincerely hope you both get the help you need and congratulate you for sticking with her and asking for help.

Old 02-09-2009, 01:39 AM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 32
SpaceKadet HB User
Re: Bipolar wife. PLEASE help !

Originally Posted by BlackSea View Post
Hi guys,
She would be warm and hug me in that
moment and I would feel that I need to protect her with all I
..........But that's when she is on medication and I really can
have a normal and decent communication with her.
Dear BlackSea,

... and therein lies the crux. She needs to be on medication. There is NO way around this.

I am deeply sorry for all the pain and hurt you have to deal with. I have not read the responses from the others, but I really, really feel sorry for you.

You remind me of my own undiagnosed years. There is, of course, the rider that nobody "out there" would probably believe a word you say if you had to tell them? Because she is so sweet and nice?

I am sorry but IMHO, unless she is treated, and on medication, you are more than likely going to have to deal with this for the rest of your life.

Until you decide, for your son's sake, to divorce her. Or give her the ultimatum: Either treatment, or you walk.

I hope this helps? I give you all my love and wish you the best, whatever you decide.

Old 02-09-2009, 02:18 AM   #7
dreams in neon
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: WI
Posts: 4,174
dreams in neon HB Userdreams in neon HB User
Re: Bipolar wife. PLEASE help !

A book I highly recommend is "Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder" by Julie Fast. It's an excellent read.
Atypical Bipolar I Disorder with Rapid Cycling
Depakote 1500mg
Prozac 40mg
Risperdal 1mg titrating to 6mg/day
Klonopin .5mg (2x/day)
Trazodone 100mg or 200mg PRN

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