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4support 09-18-2006 09:09 AM

married mother struggling with hubbie's BP and ADHD
I am a married mother of 2 young children who loves my husband very much. We have been married 10 years and 4 years ago I started noticing significant changes in my husband's personality and behaviour patterns which began to cause constant chaos in our normally loving home, and hurt and confuse both our children and myself. Trying to be as strong as possible for all of us, I finally convinced him to seek therapy with me to see what the problem was. Long story short, after seeing a psychotherapist and psychiatrist, my hubbie received the diagnosis of BP II with ADHD. We also learned that he suffered from obstructive sleep apnea. This has been anything but easy, but because we are both committed to our relationship and love eachother, have 2 wonderful young children and I am a Christian who believes in my marriage vows, I chose to stay by his side and be as supportive as possible, even though his hurtful behaviour and words continued for a long while until he finally started taking lithium. I feel the lithium has helped and been a lifesaver, however he has also had ups and downs with depression and lack of restful sleep from the apnea, even though that is being treated as well, and he still has mood swings from time to time where he says hurtful things. He is not happy in his job and this adds to it I am sure. To be fair, I should point out that there has been improvement since the meds (thank goodness!) and things are more under control for a good % of the time. My husband is also a good person with a good heart who loves his family. I am an upbeat, social, optimistic person who loves life and my family, my husband tends to be more reclusive, negative and down on all his problems, even though he vascillates and can be more upbeat or nice to be around, and he is a great father. I worry about the way my children are perceiving his changes in behaviour and try to shield them from it the best I can by redirecting them. I feel you have to be almost a superhero-strong person to live with a bipolar spouse, with the unpredictability and constant struggle that person is facing, in addition to the struggle it creates for the people around them who love them. Because I have kept this private and don't feel comfortable sharing these struggles with our family & friends, I am here for support and to ask advice from anyone in my situation who may be able to offer wise words or comfort. My husband distorts conversations regularly and feels everyone else is the one with the problem, not him. It is very very difficult to communicate or resolve anything with someone like this. I feel like I am walking on eggshells around him most of the time and regardless of our long talks on this illness where he seems to accept it and I tell him I love him and am here for him for support, he still thinks that it's everyone else's problem but his own (or at least that is what he says). He thinks his therapist, doctors, me...everyone is 'against' him and doesn't know what they are talking about and are making everything up. We go for weeks and weeks where everything is fine, but there are always setbacks when he goes through these mood changes and depressive changes or he is feeling extra stress, or when I try to talk to him about normal, everyday issues that need to be addressed. There have been times I have considered leaving him but I think of our children and that he is trying by taking his meds and trying to work through some of these issues and I realize that no marriage is perfect and there is always work involved, I feel the BP & ADHD adds an extra element of challenge. It is hard to live like this, and harder to try to explain the behaviour to your children who are looking at their parents for examples on how to behave. I read and educate myself so much on this illness and I try to understand the best ways to react and deal with it, but so much of the reaction seems to be for the non-BP spouse to ignore or minimize what is really going on, which is inappropriate and hurtful behaviour. To not "bother" your BP spouse if they are cycling or seem down, or to not ask them what is wrong or if you can help, this just isn't a normal reaction for someone who cares. I know the importance of needing to be able to communicate openly about these struggles with your spouse, so what if your spouse accepts the illness part of the time, and then says everyone else is nuts that there is nothing wrong with him the other half of the time? It's OK for him to talk about it, but he does not want me to mention his behaviour if it is inappropriate or I am 'downing' him for his illness, even though he knows how supportive and patient I have been. I fear that if he has this mentality that the most supportive people to him are 'down on him' even after you explain that he is misinterpreting, he believes what he distorts and eventually it will eat away at him and he will just believe that no one cares and why not take off. He is a person who already has himself believing that he has nothing to offer (when he has lots to offer) and that I have always wanted to leave him, when I have repeatedly told him that is ridiculous.

Neleah 09-18-2006 09:22 AM

Re: married mother struggling with hubbie's BP and ADHD
Hi and welcome! I don't have much wisdom to offer, but since I am at the beginning of a relationship with someone who is bp 1 and has ADHD and is currently manic and off somewhere, I really appreciate you sharing your experience. It helps me understand that this is/will be a tough ride and that I need to continue to think this through.

I was wondering how his ADHD affects him and you on top of everything else?

Neleah :)

4support 09-18-2006 09:49 AM

Re: married mother struggling with hubbie's BP and ADHD
Hi and thank you for writing! Yes, this has been tough, but I tend to look at it as everyone has their issues, some worse, some better. If you find someone you love and are deep into the relationship they happen to find out that they have this struggle, it is an illness that they didn't ask for. The thing is - it's not just their struggle, it also affects the people closest to them. It would help if the one with with illness didn't have so much resistance to it. My biggest issue has been that if there is to be peace when he goes thru these phases, I am expected to literally ignore the way he acts or the things he says, regardless of the fact that both myself and our children are watching him do this and being affected by it. I am a strong but compassionate person, and am not a pushover. When I try to address the issues with him, he automatically thinks I am downing him if I ever mention the illness (which half the time he doesn't think he has).

On the ADHD, this diagnosis came almost 3 yrs after the BP did, although my hubbie expected it all along and felt it had started to manifest when he was a young boy in school. At the urging of me and his psychiatrist, he went for an ADHD evaluation test (which lasted all day). To be honest, he is still struggling with his psychiatrist to find the right medication for it. Seems to be difficult to find excellent psychiatric care with a caring doctor, unfortunately this has been our experience. I have always wondered why in the world my hubbie loses everything, can't seem to function doing everyday, normal tasks, can't concentrate at work or complete tasks, forgets everything I ask him to do, gets overwhelmed so easily,'s also frustrating. Although this is also significant, he now blames all his issues on the ADHD, however the BP II presents with many additional issues that are not associated with ADHD. Unfortunately, these 2 disorders many times go hand in hand. At times I feel as though I have another child to take care of. He is working on making this I should know more soon...and I am hoping for the best.

I wish you luck on your relationship. I would like to say that the key is open communication and acceptance with eachother, that love (& possibly the right meds & a good therapist) can work through these illnesses. This is still probably true, but the person with the illness very much drives the willingness to get the help they need and have the relationship this way.

LurchMomma 09-20-2006 08:56 AM

Re: married mother struggling with hubbie's BP and ADHD
I wish I had more advice but I dont. I have been married to a BP hubby for almost 6 years. And This is the 1st time he has had major problems. All I can say is patience is key and also get yourself into some counseling.


Fierysungirl 09-25-2006 07:52 PM

Re: married mother struggling with hubbie's BP and ADHD
Wow, you ladies are so brave and you amaze me. I have just broken up with a guy that I did love, but whose behavior was unbearable. We weren't living together or married and were only dating, so I chose to get out while I still could.

He was a loving guy to me about 50% of the time. The other time, he was crying the blues about all of his problems or ranting and raving about everything he hated in life. He would rant and shout for hours and it was a real drag to be around. When I would talk to him about it, he would get mad and put the blame back on me.

He had the ADHd thing going on to. He was always 2 hours late for our dates, we would miss every concert, play or sunset we wanted to see.
I would be out with him begging to stop and eat or even use a restroom and he would snap at me, "in a minute" and we'd keep driving around in circles.

I distanced myself from him after one of our dates where he spent the entire night in a manic state, bounding around talking to strangers who wanted to run from him and ranting about the developers in his area who were destroying the environment. He ranted non stop and even changed his accent to a Connecticut accent because he accused the developers of being from Connecticut. He had a wild deranged look in his eye, the look of a mad man.

I distanced myself from him because I needed to process some of his behavior.
He would never discuss his bi-polar with me and like your partners, blamed everyone else.
He has rejection issues as well and then because he felt rejected, began leaving me hateful messages calling me vile, degrading names.
Oh, to top all of this off, he lived with his mother and collected disability and she allowed him to spend his money on whatever he wanted. Had i married him, I would have had to support him.
So, I commend you ladies for staying with your men. I know your men have their compensating sides to them, my guy did too, but after awhile, the drawbacks seemed worse than the pluses.
I would be interested in your comments and in keeping this conversation going.

ejayne 09-26-2006 02:17 AM

Re: married mother struggling with hubbie's BP and ADHD
I also commend you. I guess I just lost my will to stick it out this weekend. I broke the password oh hubbys cell phone voicemail, who said that couldn't be done?. Bad day for me. Listened to dozens of messages from his girl friends, yes I said girl friends, three of them. Going on about baby I love you so. Four hours was not enough with you I want to be with you all the time,ect. ect. Thank goodness I had an appointment with my therapist on monday. Well I guess I am just no longer strong enough to deal. I am finished. Out of here as soon as I can make arrangements. May take a while as I am unable to work and he pointed out that everything is his and what am I gonna do for money if he is gone. Well folks I was single mom for 12 yrs,owned a house and car never did without so I think I can make it now. Accepting all prayers and good vibes with grateful appreciation. Am runing like the wind, hair flying in the breeze with wings on my feet. God bless all.

Kymberlee 09-26-2006 01:03 PM

Re: married mother struggling with hubbie's BP and ADHD
Wow, ejayne! God Bless you, Girlfriend! What a strong, determined woman you are! You go, girl! How many children do you have? Well, it sounds like you've had it. I'm with you--IF my husband cheated on me; IF I found out about it--illness or no illness, that would be the end. With all the STD's, HIV and everything out there, I would have to leave. That's just plain scary--we're talking about life & death here. :eek: Anyway, keep on flyin'! Kym.

ejayne 09-26-2006 04:13 PM

Re: married mother struggling with hubbie's BP and ADHD
Thanks Kym. I know he is sick but he was making me sick too. My kids are grown with their own kids. At 55 I dread starting over with destroyed credit but not afraid of the challenge. Have friends searching for the best lawyer for me. Mamas coming home to Ga. as soon as I can get things in order here. Plan to keep coming to this site as it has been so very helpful to me. Thank you all. Still seeing my counselor too as long as I have insurance.

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