Is there any hope?

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

redoak
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/8/2008 10:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello,

I am a new member to HW and have been reading many of the posts over the past weeks. First, I would like to thank all the members who have opened up to put their feelings out there, it has been very helpful for me.

My situation:

I am 31 and a bipolar supporter to my wife (same age). We met and were married after 8 months of dating. Neither one of us had been married before and we have no children. I have never been one to jump into anything quickly, but shortly after meeting each other she started talking about going away to get married. After several months I finally decided that we would do it. I must admit that the idea of going to Hawaii and getting married sounded exciting. We were married this past June.

My wife had told me that a couple of years before meeting me she was hospitalized in a mental facility for a medication induced psychosis. I did some looking into it and it sounded plausible. Honestly, I felt bad for her that she had to go through such a trying time. The word bipolar was never mentioned to me.

Very shortly after getting married in June things started to happen. I guess the word difficult is the best way to explain it. Everything was difficult. I could hardly talk to her. She would be very rude to me and then accuse me of being mean when I was angered by things she said or did. I really felt like it was a twilight zone episode. I am sad to say that there was no newlywed happiness.

By the end of July things were really bad. She was being nasty to me on a daily basis, and I was only two months into a marriage that I couldn't take any more of. One weekend she started getting very angry about nothing. I mean screaming about the fact that there was no food in her parents home. The next day she seemed different. She wasn't making a whole lot of sense & I suggested that she stay at her parents. I didn't tell her, but I was scared, something was not right. Two days later she was taken to the hospital by ambulance. I was at her parents when the episode happened and I can say that the movie the Exorcist (scariest movie I have ever seen) had nothing on what I witnessed that night. It took myself, her father, 2 police officers, and 2 EMT's to get her out of the house.

She was hospitalized in another mental facility and overall had a very severe 6 week manic episode (mixed psychotic state) that she is still recovering from.

In early November I searched my heart and decided to let her come back, that I would help her with this. I read everything I could get me hands on about bipolar.

She is taking lamictal, but not very happy about it. She does not want to talk about bipolar and dislikes having the label applied to her. She does not want to go to therapy. She is seeing a psychiatrist intermittently, but I have to go to make sure she is telling the doctor everything. And just yesterday she became violent with me. She is also severely depressed right now.

My heart is so broken and I want to help her get better, but what can I do to get through to her? Everything I have tried has just been met with excuses as to how it won't help her or doesn't apply to her. Any conversation I have with her is usually met with anger, or she tries to turn it around on me. Her parents don't understand this illness and just want to facilitate it, and she doesn't have many friends to count on.

I feel like I am the only one who really cares to help her, but I am rapidly coming to the end of my rope and don't know what to do. I am starting to feel like my only option is to leave her, but I am so afraid that it will destroy her. How can I help her if she won't let me?

Does anyone have any suggestions?

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 1/8/2008 12:48 PM (GMT -7)   
Redoak, My heart feels for your situation. I am a spouse as well. My H shared last night he is having a hard time of late (however we know he has been fighting having the flu blossom, and whenever he is sick...it totally messes with him. Personally, I wish it would fully blossom and let him get it over with already...then he'll get well and balance out again). Anyway, here is all I can say about your situation...until your wife is willing to include you in the process of getting well, considers you a trusted partner in her BP (and believe me - that can even be occasionally intermittent), there is NOTHING you can do. It sounds like your wife has severe episodes. If I were you I would stay open to all outcomes for yourself. It is not easy living this way. And I say that from the point of view knowing that my H is far milder than your spouse. We have been married 16 years, dx 8, we have 3 kids - and our oldest son is BP as well. So I can honestly say....NOT EASY. But it is doable IF you have the partnership with your spouse, a lot of patience, and a GOOD working relationship with all the doctors, so that if you (as the spouse) need help and guidance, you can go to them and work with them about her, and with her - and you too in this situation. Also, the biggest key is her desire for wellness. In her balanced moments, if she isn't willing to at least acknowledge she has a chronic condition that will need constant vigilance....then sadly you really have limited options to this outcome.

What you have to know is that you, and your feelings and future counts too. You can choose that this is not the life you want. You can still be there for her - married or not, you can help her, you can support her, but you don't need to stay out of fear. Abuse is not acceptable and you should stand up to her and make that VERY clear that you will NOT put up with it. Tell her - You know she is ill, you love her and want to help her, but it is up to her how far she wants to cross the line with you, and she needs to know you will not stay forever without her being your partner in this. And partners are on the same team working together towards a common goal. Partners are not adversaries. That you two will work together towards her being balanced again, but she has to do her part in that - she has to do the work to fight for wellness for herself too, and be responsible with regards to the BP towards you. The goal is that she be balance and happy so you can go back to the loving part of your relationship and try an live there most of the time together. And if her condition is managed, that is doable. But she is key to her own wellness. You are there to support her in that, not be her dumping ground.

Then my dear, depending on what comes next...you have some choices to make for you. Either direction, stay or go, is up to you. And no decision is written in stone and can't be changed in the future multiple times. There is no right or wrong here. And no one will think ill of you - regardless of which direction you would choose. But as you know from all the literature, this is a chronic condition and it does not go away. It can be managed successfully, but it really takes efforts by all parties involved. And EASY would never be a word I would use in describing life. But, there is room for love to grow, flourish, and deepen.

I wish you the best. LFW

mommy.michele
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 369
   Posted 1/8/2008 1:15 PM (GMT -7)   

Ditto to what LFW said.

There is not much you can do until she whole heartedly accepts her diagnosis and agrees to do whatever possible to treat herself.  She must fully grasp on to the fact that she needs meds and once the right ones are found, they will help.  And that therapy can and will be a godsend for many BP patients. And that she must start seeing you as a help to her, for any of your help to not be in vain.

You must decide whether it is worth staying and trying if she does not want help from you.  You must not lose yourself in this.


"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending" ~ Maria Robinson


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 1/8/2008 2:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello redoak and welcome to Healing Well, we're glad you found us.

What a terrible ordeal you've been going through. It sounds like your wife has terrible, terrible episodes, and her denial and resistance only prolong and worsen them. I wish I could give you some kind of definitive yes or no answer, but there just isn't a right one, other than, as LFW said, no one deserves to be abused, and you need to stand up for yourself if she gets violent with you -- even if she "can't really hurt you." Verbal abuse counts too -- no one should have to live that way. She needs to take responsibility for her illness, just as LFW said.

But I can understand how scared and freaked out she probably is, and that's where you can help her. You can give her a little support and stability if she chooses to get well -- to accept the illness and see a psych regularly. And I mean regularly. Bipolar requires frequent attention -- 6-8 week visits usually when stable, more when unstable. Frequent med adjustments to make sure her meds are doing their jobs. If she'll agree to make those efforts, you can be a great help to her in managing her disorder. It's can really play havoc on your head.

My husband is very supportive of me, too, even when he is unfortunately on the receiving end of my mood fallout. tongue But I have to work HARD to try and keep that from happening, and I do. You don't have to be her punching bag just because you love her and she's ill.
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

Bipolar II
It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness. -- William Shakespeare


redoak
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/9/2008 8:46 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for the responses and kind comments.

To LFW:

It does me some good to know that it is ok to stay open to all outcomes. I struggle with this most of the time. I feel like I have the whole world watching and judging me. I try to be loving, supportive, & patient and it doesn't seem to help most of the time. I find myself frustrated to levels I have never known. It is times like those when i start to think that maybe i can't help her. I guess I could say it like this. How much help am I going to be to her if it destroys me? Just simple conversations about BP would go soo far for me right now, but she doesn't seem to be willing. For now, I am going to keep trying because I think that if I can help her through this it will make us both better. I know that I will be ok, I just want her to be along side me.

As far as the violent outburst, afterward she was very upset and said that what she really wanted was for me to hit her back, which I did not do. I gave her a hug, told her I loved her and understood that was probably what she wanted, but that it could never happen again. The thing that gets me is not that I was hurt, but if you would have asked me 3 days ago if my wife would ever start taking swings at me I would have said no without hesitation. Now things are different. How far can she go?

To mommy.michele:

The medication issue is a disaster. As we all know this is usually a tough issue for anyone with BP. It is unusually tough here for the following reason, just bear with me.

During her first manic episode (several years ago, before meeting me) she was cared for by her mother. She had hospitalizations at 2 different places. Since my wife was not able to remember most of what happened to her during the episode she only had her mother to rely on for information. Her mother never told her she was diagnosed with BP. I think that her mother could not comprehend that her daughter may be mentally ill so she twisted what happened. She believes that the episode was caused by the medications. I saw this first hand this summer when my wife started having the episode. They wanted to give my wife respirdal to help her, which they did. Her mother started blaming the episode on respirdal, but they didn't start giving her repirdal until one week after the episode started. To this day her mother will not accept that her daughter was manic, she believes it was a medication induced psychosis. Furthermore she has ingrained in her daughter that the medications are the blame and not the help. It makes it almost impossible to consider new meds, or even different combos. The medication issue is usually tough enough, this makes it infinitely more difficult.

To serafena:

This has been terrible, but you are right. I am sure she is completely scared & upset. She has a double masters degree and never been able to work in her field. She feels like she is a burden and a "waste" as she puts it. It really breaks your heart. I keep trying to tell her that we can work together and find a new life, but she seems more willing to dwell on yesterday than look forward to tomorrow. She believes that no one can help her or, to be more accurate, that no one understands what she is going through. But ultimately the feeling I get from her is that she wants someone else to do it for her or just fix it and it leaves me in a rather speechless state.

I continue to try and support her. I just hope we get somewhere before I crumble.

Thank You

Redoak

mommy.michele
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 369
   Posted 1/9/2008 11:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Wow...all you are going through and to top it off your mother-in-law seems to be hindering any progress.  It is almost like her influence must be kept to a minimum to get good on meds for your wife??  What a nightmare really  :(

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending" ~ Maria Robinson


loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 1/9/2008 2:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Redoak, I am a very direct person, and usually just jump in with it straight. So here it is. You already know how tough a position you are in. But YOU crumbling is NOT an option. If you are heading to a place where you get lost in all this, or you start to disappear, then you will be of NO service to your life, or hers. So, at any point if you are starting to head down that road, it is time to look at saving yourself. I know that is harsh, but the fact is YOU COUNT TOO, and your life matters. That includes your joy, your happiness, and what you want for YOUR future. It IS okay if this isn't it, and it IS okay to tell the truth about that. No judgment. It is EQUALLY okay to choose the opposite. It is YOUR life, therefore you get to make the decisions.

Now, with that said I get you are not there yet to that level of decision making, so start right now on the right foot and create definitive boundaries with you wife as to what you will and won't put up with from her. At some point you are going to have to impress upon your W the need to start committing to A) getting out of denial about what is REALLY going on with her, and B) focusing on getting well and doing the work SHE needs to do with positive support that is available to her. Part of that is becoming responsible and accountable for her own issues and behavior - with or without proper medication. She is going to have to learn that her mother loves her desperately, and in her attempt to protect her daughter from pain, she is unintentionally sabotaging her wellness by refusing to face the truth about which came first...the chicken or the egg. If you look at it from the mother's point of view for a moment, what parent WANTS to see their child is chronically mentally ill (although I DO so hate that terminology....because I see this as a physical condition like diabetes, except instead of insulin being the issue, it is difficulty in regulating brain chemistry and instead of going into diabetic shock....it causes more problems with emotions). Anyway, as a mother myself with a son who is also BP - so I do understand, we feel immediately guilty. Like we have done something wrong. However, it is a mothers job to face the truth and do what is best for our child. Her mother doesn't realize she is not doing this yet. Will she ever...hard to say. But the fact is, your wife is an adult, and therefore the final choice of what she does - or believes - rests with her...regardless of the mother's influence. I can say that if she does not get proper medication, a good balance is not found...and she does not get committed to her wellness....as to your question of how far will she go....WHO KNOWS. Will it be MORE violent and dangerous for you..."perhaps" is all anyone can say. And how far are we talking...If she has psychotic episodes to what you have described....it is an AWFULLY big question IMO. You should direct that question to her doctors. As the husband, YOU are the one who makes the decisions for your wife, not her parents anymore when she is not in control of herself. Therefore, even if your MIL does not like it, or you, as a result, you need to do what is best for your wife. The first thing I personally think you should do is set up an appointment with the doctors with you and your wife, And then openly discuss what you see with them. Get THEIR feedback. If it matches what your are experiencing...your wife is there to hear it herself. If they say her dx IS BP - and what does it take to successfully treat it...Then there is not a lot of room for denial. If she claims it is the meds, you be prepared to site evidence of the episode starting prior to meds even being given.

The conversation with you wife has to be about what SHE wants for her life, and what the two of you together as a team can do to help her get there. Finding her smile, happiness, and sense of seeing herself as valuable and worthwhile is available for her IF she wants it. If she does, then it is only the logistics of how to get her there that she will need to focus on. There is no more looking back....because she won't find it there. It will only be in front of her, and the goal (which you can tell her) is for you to be by her side as a team. She either wants that or not. If not, she doesn't do the work. If she does, she will - as hard as it may be.

Does that all make sense? Her mother is not the villain intentionally. She is scared and sad and guilt ridden - even though it is not her fault , and she is trying to protect her daughter from pain. She is just misguided. And when your wife gets well, and the meds help her, your MIL will begin to not be so scared and may step up. Maybe then her daughter will be ready to help educate her and comfort her. All us mothers really want for our kids is health, happiness, and to be safe. Hope that helps....Good thoughts to you. LFW

Post Edited (loving frustrated wife) : 1/9/2008 2:22:37 PM (GMT-7)


mogli
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1191
   Posted 1/9/2008 3:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi redoak,

Welcome to HW.  I am sorry to hear of your situation.  I understand it.  I am constantly learning that not only is it difficult to be bipolar, but it is very difficult to carry on a relationship with bipolar in the mix. 
 
You sound so very supportive of your wife.  And that is wonderful.  When it comes down to it, that is all you can be.  You can take care of her, and support her, but sadly you cannot get this under control for her.  It's likely you can't even help her to get this under control.  She does need to have some professional support in her life.  She needs to come to acceptance of her illness.  She is the only one who can do that.  I hope so much that she can find a way to accept this and begin healing.  I also hope that you can find support for yourself--good start with us here at HW.  I worry about the episodes that your wife has...This is such a tough situation...I wish I had magical advice to give you, but I do offer a hug, and hope that something in this situation turns around for the better, soon.
Mogs
 
Bipolar II, Anxiety/Panic Disorder
Clonazepam .5mg as needed, Trazodone 50mg/day & Lamictal 100 mg/day


redoak
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/10/2008 9:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the comments LFW. I agree with everything you said. I want to say that I do understand how hard it is for her mother. I don't mean to imply that she is doing it on purpose. I definitely don't want to sound like one of those people who have everything figured out as to how to deal with kids but have never had one themselves. But, (i know) the outcome is everything. With all the pain & guilt you would have watching your child go through this, at some point, it is time to step up to reality and do what is right for your child, if you can. I probably sound bitter and cold about this. To me, this is just another person of influence who could be in such a position to help but has left it up to someone else.

We are going to the pdoc today & I am planning on laying it all out there. The doctor needs to know what is going on. I have bitten my tongue throughout because I am worried how it will make her feel but I can honestly say that this courtesy has not been returned to me. I am not saying that I have hidden anything, just that I try to approach it with some compassion, and it gets me nowhere.

I can feel it in my bones. I am jacked! I am jacked because of what has happened & continues to happen. I am jacked because I have been married 7 months and my life has been ripped apart. I am jacked that she even has to deal with this. I am jacked that no one told me one thing about her real past. If her Mother was so concerned about her daughter you think she would have pulled me aside before we went off to get married to let me know that her daughter had some problems, and she was concerned about her making a big change. Even if she didn't accept BP. I even asked her mother once before marriage if there was anything I needed to know & she said "no" in a way that implied that it was rude of me to ask. I am jacked that during the first few days of my wifes episode I find out that her Mother has a medical power of attorney over her that I was NEVER told about. I am jacked about so much more that I can't or shouldn't say here. Ultimately, maybe I am just jacked that I ever said yes to going away and getting married and since the time machine has not been invented yet I can't change it.

As far a crumbling, I am. I am sick of trying to help her and getting it turned around on me. I don't want her in my life anymore if this is how she is going to act. I see people all the time who are dealing with things way bigger than this and they are good people. I could not walk ten feet in their shoes and they are happy to be alive. To see their determination brings me to tears. I am sure that many people like that are right here at HW, and I applaud you all. It is people like you who make me believe we all have a purpose. I don't want easy because easy is worthless. I just want to try and have a good life and help others, but the one I want to help the most doesn't even want to try.

Mogli, thank you for the kind comments.

Redoak

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 1/10/2008 2:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Redoak, I get it, you feel played. Given the lack of information you were given that others, including your wife, had, which was not shared with you. In a way, you were. Whether intentional or not. This is SO very sad for you all. But you have a right to decided for yourself what you do and don't want in your life - especially now that the whole truth is out. If you have certain conditions that will allow you to stay, and that is your first choice if those conditions are met....then go with that. If they are not met...then now, or in the future, you will need to make some decisions about your life (which no judgment in which direction you decide to go). I do hear how angry and hurt you are. I also hear how unhappy you are, and how gutted you feel. If I were you, I would tell the total truth to the doctor today and go from there. I also agree with others who have shared that you should seek some counseling/therapy or support of some kind for yourself as well - regardless if you stay or go - because you are affected by this whether you stay or go.

I do wish you the best. It is a difficult situation to love someone who is emotionally ill in such a way that they stop seeing who you really are, and they view the love and support being offered as the enemy. I agree, it is no way to live. The saddest part is that no one has to if the people involved face the situation united as a team and are determined to rise above it all doing their parts in support of each other. That doesn't happen often unfortunately. I feel fortunate for me that in my case thus far, it has worked. All the best to you...LFW

redoak
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/11/2008 10:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Sorry for the outburst. We are all dealing with something and the truth is that most of us whether bp, or supporters, are making some progress. I think what I am having trouble with is that I have no options left. Truthfully I did have boundaries already set up. They were:

1. To accept the dx of bp I for now until something tells us different. And to seek proper treatment & therapy.

2. To become active in learning about bp. We are not going to sit back and let someone else (pdoc) tell us what is wrong without confirming it for ourselves. The only way to combat wrong diagnosis is to become educated.

I told her that I would help with any or all of the above, but I wasn't going to do it by myself. I also told her that I was not afraid of BP as long as we worked on it together. I understood that it would not be progress every day and that sometimes things would slip back, but we would do it together.

Sadly, all of the above have been broken. In fact last night I tried to talk to her about this very subject and she tells me that she doesn't even remember me asking those things of her, it was only two months ago. I understand the stress that mania like hers will cause and the loss of memory, but it seems to me that she has no problem remembering anything I said that she felt was wrong or hurtful. But when it comes to trying to talk about this I get the one of three replies:

1. I don't remember that.
2. I don't know what to say.
3. A threat of wanting to harm herself.

She won't talk to me about any positive treatment. In fact, she doesn't even want to see her pdoc tonight (I thought it was last night). I told her that going to the pdoc was one of the things she could give me to tell me she was trying, to which she replied "I don't think the answer is at the pdoc's or in a pill". I asked her where she thought the answer was and she said "I don't know". I guess I sort of lost it because my reply was "Then how can you be so sure the answer is not there!".

There are a few exceptions of things she will talk about. We can have grand conversations about how much pdoc's suck, how meds are terrible for you, or how there is nothing good in her life.

I try to tell her there are positives. That she has a husband that is willing to help her, that she knows what is wrong with her. A lot of BP I people go through 10 or more years of hell before they are properly diagnosed & treated. She has gone through 3 and has the chance to regain her life. Sadly, she just doesn't see it that way. I can't even say that she needs to do this, or not do that, if she cares about us because she will accuse me of just wanting to leave & holding that over her. I don't know how she can miss the point that if she would try I won't have to leave. It seems that she just wants to find the bad. I guess we all know that if you want to find the bad, there is plenty of it out there.

So, everything I have offered has been thrown back at me or disregarded. I can't stay. I am going to tell her that she needs to go back to her parents. I fear what may happen.

To all you BP supporters out there who have someone who is trying, go home, give them a hug and a kiss and tell them you love them. Tell them the strength that they show makes us all want to get up everyday. Then, ask them to do the same for you.

Thank you all for your support,

Redoak

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 1/11/2008 11:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Best of luck to you Redoak. I know you are facing hard decisions, and hard facts. Wellness has to be her desire first and foremost and if it is not, you can't make her until she is ready to see it. It is a sad fact. You have a right to lead the life you want too. Regardless of how this turns out, we are here for you and pray your will find your smile out there again soon. You have a right to it, as much as she has the right to not want to see her illness for what it is or get well. Whatever actions, and decisions - in the end are hers. People who want to get well - do (although it can always remain a struggle that needs CONSTANT vigilance). The key is it starts with responsibility about the BP, and then they seek and commit to help. Without it...there is just the muck of the raging BP. And no one says you have to sit back and watch, since all the power is hers for the directions this takes. Keep us posted, and remember you are not alone. Use your support from all around you, to help you through this. Come from as much love as you can when sharing what you need to for you. Keep your compassion in place knowing that the BP has her in its grip. You are brave and wise to take as good care of you, as you are wanting, and trying, to take of her. At least one of you will let you! <HUGS> LFW
New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
Forum Information
Currently it is Thursday, December 08, 2016 10:45 PM (GMT -7)
There are a total of 2,735,175 posts in 301,280 threads.
View Active Threads


Who's Online
This forum has 151384 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, Effieadler009.
280 Guest(s), 7 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details
ResilienceR, Chanymom, bluelyme, NM12, ufindjess, Scaredy Cat, Acheybody


Follow HealingWell.com on Facebook  Follow HealingWell.com on Twitter  Follow HealingWell.com on Pinterest
Advertisement
Advertisement

©1996-2016 HealingWell.com LLC  All rights reserved.

Advertise | Privacy Policy & Disclaimer