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    Old 12-13-2004, 03:00 PM   #1
    DB1973
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    Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    I am beginning to suspect that my wife is manic-depressive. I have done research on the symptoms, but I am left wanting something a little more practical rather than a more clinical list. Does anyone have any suggestions or personal experiences? Thanks.

     
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    Old 12-13-2004, 05:33 PM   #2
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    Re: Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    Welcome to the board!
    Well, there is hope. I have been married to my wife for 20+ years. She was dio with BP about 5 years ago. Itís a hard road. A bit unpleasant but it can be done.
    How long have you been married? Not that it matters.
    Most assuredly, the first item that I would do is getting myself educated on the illness. There are several good books out there. I would visit a therapy session from time to time. I would read up on a lot of the prior post on this board. Then, I would find a NAMI group in your area. To find one search NAMI + your state + support.
    Meeting other affected by this illness is important. The eye to eye contact is so helpful.
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    Old 12-14-2004, 02:24 AM   #3
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    Re: Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    Hi 'db'

    Welcome also, we are a diverse 'bunch' but friendly AND helpful.

    Running the risk of repetition..... " What that last dude says" (Hi Mudhound)

    Hedge.

     
    Old 12-19-2004, 02:14 PM   #4
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    Re: Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    db 1973, where did you go?
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    Old 12-21-2004, 12:50 PM   #5
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    Wink Re: Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    DB-
    The symptoms of bipolar can vary somewhat. There are a lot of more common symptoms, and there are some that are present in people that are not usually seen.
    What might help is if you posted a description of some of the things you've been observing. A lot of the people here might be able to relate. If it isn't bipolar but something is still wrong, some people might be able to recognize what it's more like.
    So will you do that? It might be helpful.
    Thanks,
    Kristina

     
    Old 12-21-2004, 03:50 PM   #6
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    Re: Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    Well, first let me say that the reason I am questioning it is because the way she acts isn't necessarily like some TV disease of the week movie. I'm also unfamiliar with the length of time that it takes to cycle between manic and depressive.

    I will try to give a couple of examples. We recently went on a big vacation. During the months before the vacation she was on the internet research travel tips every day and looking for all of the bargains and coupons and such. She did this for several hours every day for close to eight months. She had the itinerary so planned out that I jokingly questioned when our bathroom breaks were.

    After the trip there was this huge letdown and she went on about how it wasn't the great family trip that she wanted and there were mistakes and was really down about it.

    I do the vast majority of the houseword and she acts pretty lazy, but then there are times where the kids make a mess or I am not right on top of things and she gets really nasty. She goes on about how she does so much work and nobody respects what she does. This is usually after she cleans the house in a whirlwind frenzy.

    She goes from being loving and affectionate to the children to being a raving lunatic with them. Sometimes it seems that this happens within just an hour. Recently she screamed at our son about he was ruining her life. Generally speaking she has no patience with the kids. On a regular basis she separates herself from the family by watching television and reading tabloids.

    She has gone back and forth with her clothing. For months she felt the need to dress her age and dress more professionally. This weekend she eliminated half of her wardrobe of the things that made her look "old" and "like my mother".

    Recently she has been going on a spending spree buying new hip clothes to that are the "real her". She has also bought a bunch of new CD's from Metallica to Eminem and has been listening to music at an ear-splitting level. This is the latest of music phases that have including top 40 and country.

    Her spending sprees are nothing new. Sales are particularly attractive. She almost gets a high from finding a bargain. After spending sprees she will go for a period on almost austerity measures and gets bent out of shape if I buy something minor like a book or a special food from the grocery store.

    Recently she also has been going to the health club religiously. This is after months of inactivity that was preceeded by a period or regular attendence.

    These are some of the most recent incidents, but there are many more going back many years that I could write about.

     
    Old 12-21-2004, 04:37 PM   #7
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    Re: Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    Yeah that does sound a lot like bipolar, especially doing things in a "whirlwind" like shopping, planning, and cleaning. As for the period of time it takes to go back and forth between mania and depression, it can be anywhere from an hour (ultra rapid cycling) to a few weeks (rapid cycling) to several years ("regular" cycling). Most things in bipolar can vary a lot.
    Keep reading about bipolar. Keep an open mind. See if you can get her to a therapist. Good luck and I hope I helped a little...
    Kristina

     
    Old 12-22-2004, 10:10 PM   #8
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    Re: Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    Do you talk about this with your wife, or would she be very surprised to find you on the internet diagnosing her with a mental illness?

    You describe what she does, what she says, the things that make you suspect manic-depression but I can't tell from your post if you express these concerns to her or whether you tried and failed. In each of your examples of her behavior, did you question or confront her or suggest it was maybe not-quite-normal?

    You share parenting, you share finances... Do you discuss the shopping sprees or how she treats the kids? Is she aware that these things are causing such a problem that you are considering she has a mental disorder? Or do you stay quiet and not rock the boat? She complains about you... do you complain about her? Or does she otherwise know how much things bother you? I'm interested in whether she would get angry, insulted, upset, hurt, whether she considers herself perfectly fine or whether she herself has concerns or gets upset about things she does. That will probably make a difference in how much your research can help.

    I guess I'm saying... You can diagnose her with everything under the sun but it's not going to inspire her to agree with it or get treatment unless she's aware of how much her behavior has affected you and the family.

    Ambushing her with a symptom checklist and diagnosis out of the blue isn't likely to do more than make her angry and defensive. How do you visualize communicating your concerns to her in such a way she would consider going to a doctor for a proper evaluation/diagnosis? There's only so much you can do on the internet.

    Last edited by Bexicon; 12-22-2004 at 10:14 PM.

     
    Old 12-23-2004, 07:22 PM   #9
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    Re: Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    I feel like that last post is a little hostile. Oviously, I don't have to share every facet of my life to get some feedback. As for whether or not I talk to her about this stuff, well that would be a heck of a lot easier if she was so darn uncommunicative lately. Without feedback from her I don't know exactly what is going on. Either she is just a person with a natural nasty disposition, she is going through something she isn't choosing to share, or there is a medical reason for her behavior. I am trying to figure it out. Several family members have also wondered about her being manic-depressive.

     
    Old 12-24-2004, 02:51 AM   #10
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    Re: Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    Just having fam members asking is a sign. However, you must speak to her on what this illness is doing to your relationship. it needs to be done with loads of love and with out the tv, kids, or other distractions.
    She has to want help in order to get help. I've tried for years to help my wife. I have went overboard more times than i care to tell. She had to come to the place were she wanted help.
    Our marriage was just about over. I as much as said get out without realy saying it. That's when the ruber hit the road, she wanted help then. Hopefully, yours will not get this far along. Get working because the soner you start, the quicker a normal life get come back.
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    Old 12-24-2004, 12:45 PM   #11
    Bexicon
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    Re: Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DB1973
    I feel like that last post is a little hostile.
    It does sound hostile now that I read it over, and I apologize for that; it wasn't intentional -- I just got the tone all wrong.

    I couldn't get any sense of whether she was aware of the magnitude of the problem, so to speak. Perhaps I am oversensitive on that subject because I nearly trashed a 10 year relationship, not knowing how much damage I was doing -- I really had no idea that my rages and moods and up/down behavior were so abnormal (because my mother is just like me and nobody ever said she was mentally ill ) It wasn't until things were close to irreparable that my spouse started expressing how unhappy and hurt he was by all these things I'd been doing for a long time. I am very lucky that I was given a chance to get help and change and that things are getting better.

    Hmm, reading that, I was no doubt "projecting" my own situation when I wrote the other post. I wished someone had called me on my behavior a lot earlier in life. It was not meant as hostility. Sorry.

    Rebecca

     
    Old 12-24-2004, 05:00 PM   #12
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    Re: Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    I have no clue about what may be going on with your situation. I just want to say that since joining (I'm a newbee), I have a very strong feeling that everybody just wants to be helpful. Maybe when you read a post, it could be that somebody's just being blunt and trying to get to the root of things. Or your perception that it's hostile could be the extreme frustration and helplessness you feel having to deal with something you don't yet understand.
    Oh, gosh. just read what I wrote and I sound preachy. Sorry. Anyway, good luck to you. Stick with these people. They're a great bunch.

     
    Old 12-26-2004, 11:05 AM   #13
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    Re: Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    DB1973: In regards to Bexicon's tone of writing, re-reading it, I can understand how you might take it as somewhat hostile. I know she has apologized, and said that wasn't her intent. Personally, when I first read it, I read it as her being concerned for you, and if you don't mind, I'd like to explain why - and I apologize in advance for writting a small novel here...

    I think what Bexicon was getting at is that almost all of us on here are BP, and receiving treatment, or are spouses/significant others of a BP person. Collectively, we have loads of experience dealing with either ourselves, or our loved ones as - to varying degrees - unstable people.
    Looking back on myself pre-meds, and generalizing that to the rest of the BP population, a BP person can be very volatile, and almost always has a skewed view of the world and people's motives. Thus what Bexicon was implying when she was asking if your wife knew about your concerns is that she was concerned that if you sprang this new idea that its possible she's not well on your wife, she could consider it an attack, and react accordingly and make it harder to get her treatment.

    I know my wife endured years of my mood swings before I was initially diagnosed with depression and ADD, then she had to endure years of me on ADD stimulants and anti-depressants. Both combined to make me one mean somanabotch (Johnny Dangerously reference.. ) at times, especially late in the day when the kids also had to endure me, and when I was stressed out. After 15 years of marriage, we separated, and the only thing that allowed us to get back together was me getting off the stimulants, getting on lithium, and seeing the world the way it really was, and how deeply I had hurt her over the years. Now that I am on a better med cocktail, our marriage is better than I could have ever previously imagined.

    What I'm saying is that my experience (and I won't generalize this to everyone) indicates that it was terribly hard to get me help. Initially, I wouldn't get help until I was so depressed I wouldn't get out of bed except to go to work. My wife finally gave me the phone, made me admit I didn't want to be depressed (yes she had to MAKE me), and then gave me the phone number for my company's Employee Assistance Plan and told me to dial or else. Then probably 8 years later, although I had been diagnosed with BP for several years, I was never thought to be "bad enough" to need a real mood stabilizer like Lithium until I botched up my marriage, and had to admit to my doc that I was messing things up, and that my moods were swinging pretty well. Prior to that I really wasn't admitting it to myself, much less my doc.

    So to net all this out, BP's are difficult to deal with when it comes to getting them help if its not approached right. In my case, and I'm sure in many others, it takes a near-calamity to get us to see that we need help, and agree to get help. Either we're depressed, and think we don't DESERVE help, or we're manic, and KNOW that we're right and the world is wrong. Even when we admit that we do need help, expect that a BP person will downplay the degree of mood disturbances we're experiencing, when talking to the doc.

    I think all of us on here hope that your goal of helping your wife is met, no matter what diagnosis (if any) she ends up with.

    All the best to you this holiday season, and always.

    Z

     
    Old 12-26-2004, 01:33 PM   #14
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    Re: Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    Wow...everything you described about the cleaning, shopping etc. was me. I have only been married for about 7 months and I do these things with my husband.

    Every once in a while, I will stay up for hours and clean. I will not lay down to sleep until every little thing is done. Then, later that day, I will blame my husband for not cleaning.

    He works about 10 hrs a day, 7 days a week and has not had a day off in over 60 days. I really think that I should be the one cleaning all of the time. I just cant seem to get off my *** and do it.

    Telling you all this was not to bore you but to tell you what a bipolar person goes through. Your wife may have some sort of idea that something is a bit "off". I can usually tell when I am manic or depressive. Its very hard to get through.

    Your best bet is to support her.

     
    Old 12-26-2004, 01:34 PM   #15
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    Re: Wife May Be Manic-Depressive - Help With Symptoms

    Haha...they put asteriks for the ***...

     
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