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WhichWayForward
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/30/2008 4:15 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi I'm new to this forum. I'm not sure where to turn to. My wife has been diagnosed as having a bipolar disorder. We have been married for 13yrs and have three children 11, 5 & 2yrs. Although she has only been recently diagnosed I seem to think that she has had this disorder for quite a long time. Shortly after we were married I found out that my wife was hospitalised for an anxiety attack while in high school (before we met). Add to this that her family has a history of lack which in turn added a lot of pressure to her well being, being the eldest of four children. She was always looked to for support by her sisters as well as her mother. Even up'til today her parents still depend on her/us be it for money, food or transport. Her parents did a "good" job of raising her as they knew exactly which buttons to press to achieve a certain reaction from her. Her condition has recently reached a level where it's hardly bearable to be around her. There are times when she makes no sense at all. Its totally disturbing for the children to see their mother who they love in an unstable condition. My wife has been to various counsellors over the years. I've gone with her on occasion but not to all her sessions. From the sessions that I've attended I could immediately pick up that she is not completely honest and upfront with the counsellors. She tended to twist events and her technique of equivocation lead the counsellor to believe events far from the truth. Now this was with me present... I can't say what went on in sessions where I was not there. With me being present in the session, the counsellor could get a more holistic view of the situation and within the next two to three sessions she would stop seeing that counsellor. Although I am not the most intuitive person at times I get the feeling that she has been talking about me by the looks i get from friends. I love my wife very much, but I'm not sure how much longer I can take living in the same house. Daily life is too much for her. Any situation that comes up in normal day to day living is overwhelming her e.g. cleaning/children/work/bills etc etc. I can relate in a certain way as I also feel the pressure of these daily tasks but if I can't get to do the dishes tonight, i'll do it tomorrow morning ... We have someone who come to help clean our home twice a week. I spend a lot of time with the children doing homework, getting them ready for bed, playing games as my wife is always too tired for this and having them all at very different ages is not always easy. On saturdays my wife attends a computer course from 8.30 to 12.30. Even though during that time I do the cleaning in the house, this is the most relaxing time for me and the kids. We have already been at the brink of being bankrupt, totally maxed out credit cards (plural), personal loans, maxed out store accounts due to bouts of depression followed by eratic spending. The constant barrage of phone calls every month from stores/banks demanding payment just made the situation worse and in fact kept the cycle of spending-the-money-before-paying-the-debt going. She bought a new vehicle with my knowledge before she had paid up the one she was currenlty driving. And this was shortly after I had to take out a loan to cover the lapsed installments of the old car before the bank repossesed it. In order for her to buy the new car (even though there was nothing wrong with the first car) she had to take out a loan for the deposit (as the first car was'nt paid up yet). She couldn't afford the loan repayments ... after a few months I had to pay the full amount or risk both our salaries being put into administration. At times I feel that I need to be a parent to my wife as well as the kids. I can see that this disorder can affect her judgement. I love my wife, her children loves her. I know that she loves us. I can see this when she is not in a bipolar state. But when she is (and it seems more often now) how do I trust her around the children? How do I trust her with herself? She is on meds presribed by a psych. but when I check the packet, she would have taken three to four times the dosage. Fortunately the monthly repeats are strictly monthly.

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 6/30/2008 1:20 PM (GMT -7)   
WWF, know that you are not alone. Welcome to HW. Being a spouse to a BP is a difficult and sometimes very lonely place to be. It sounds like things are not stable with your W, and some serious communications need to take place between you - and her doctors. Tell the truth in as loving a way as you can to her and to them, but...tell the truth as to what you see working and not about her behavior as your partner, wife & as the mother to your kids. Perhaps couples therapy would be good as a safe place to communicate things. BP's can skew the truth at times because they are relaying the way they want it to be, vs. how it really is. It sounds like when you "out" her, she can't keep the fantacy going anymore about the issues, and feels unsafe, so she leaves and changes therapists. This is not your fault...keep telling the truth...and keep holding her accountable for her choices and actions. While they have to be ready to see it, and own it, you'll also do them no favors by letting them get away with the negative things. If they are not ready to own the situation and their part in it, there is not much you can do. We spouses understand that it was not their fault or choice to be BP. BUT...Choices will need to be made by you as best possible if she chooses to not participate from a healthy place. Standing by her while she sorts it out is one thing...then she has to be willing to do the work to gain her stabillity with support and meds. Believe me, this can be a process. But you will see the difference if she runs from it, or is struggling with it...but really wants it. There is a difference. Keep your eyes open, get honest with yourself and her about what you will and won't put up with, what you expect from yourself and her, and make the best choices you can from there. Perhaps working with a therapist yourself would be something that could help you with all this. Best of luck to you. Just know you are not alone!!!!!!!!!!! We spouses don't have it easy on any front. LFW

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 6/30/2008 5:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi WhichWayForward,

Welcome to HealingWell and to our forum.

You need to know that bipolar can be managed with medication and therapy but it takes commitment and honesty on the part of the patient and her family. But if she's not playing along, you're in a no-win situation. You're not going to get anywhere until her bp is managed. Like LFW suggested, it's time to sit down and have an "absolute honesty" talk session with her -- a loving one, but one where you let her know that she has to make some changes to her wellness program because her current treatment plan isn't working well. You need to get more involved in her treatment. Go to the doctor with her and talk with him/her about the problems you see. You'll need her to agree to this of course, so go gently, but try to make her see that you can be her partner throughout her struggles. Let her know you don't think she sees all the manifestations of her bipolar. Let her know you think it's affecting your family more than she understands. You can help her manage her illness and act as her coach if she'll let you. Then, follow through -- help keep track of her pills. Actively ask her when she's taken her pills on a daily basis and (if you think she's taking too much,) check. Not that you're going to be policing her, but just trying to keep her on track. The bipolar makes you muddled too. My husband asks me almost every day if I've forgotten a pill and I almost always have. It could be that she's not on the most effective treatment for her, so she needs to be reevaluated because it sounds to me like her moods are very unstable right now.

I also like LFW's suggestion of couple's therapy since it forces you to go together. It also puts the focus on you as a couple instead of just on her, and that might take some of the pressure off of her.

I hope this is useful, and I wish you good luck. Let us know how things go.

serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


allstressedout
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/9/2008 10:03 PM (GMT -7)   
WWF I am new here (I just registered actually) but I know what you are going through. My wife and I are getting ready to celebrate our 9yr anniversary next week and we just found out she is BiPolar. I guess if I new more about mental health I may have been able to see this coming a long time ago, but unfortunetly I didn't. Like your wife mine had a difficult childhood, she was abused by her grandfather, not protected by her parents, has a BiPolar catagory 1 older sister (also abused by the same grandfather), and a wacked-out older brother who is most likely bipolar as well. Her Mom and younger sister both suffer from depression and maybe more??
Her big break happened about 6 weeks ago on the night after her 3oth birthday, we had a huge fight and she almost ended up killing herself (pills). Thankfully she stopped before taking too many, and ended up sleeping it off. The bad thing for me is that this has happened once before in my past, I had a girlfriend who did try to kill herself...thankfully I found her and rushed her to the hospital where they pumped her stomach and locked her down for the night. The whole thing was almost too much to handle...I already suffer from post traumadic stress disorder because of the loss of my 14 year old brother when I was 9 and my 24 year old brother in law when I was 16.
We also have three kids (5,3 & 9 months), we too have run up the debt to an amount that is probably going to wreck us. I work in the financial markets and my great job is now dead as a doornail. I work 100% comission and we aren't selling a darn thing. Funny how "when it rains it pours", this whole situation feels very unfair. I can't understand how after such a difficult childhood that she would have to deal with this now as well. It breaks my heart to see her hurting so much, but at the same time I find myself getting very frusterated.
After her near suicide attempt, and another BIG fight (mainly her just screaming at me, accusing me, threatening me, taking everyting out on me) she decided she needed to go to the hospital. She didn't feel it would be safe to be left alone or alone with the kids (not that she would hurt them, but she just couldn't watch over them...she may shut down and they could get themselves into trouble).
My wife is a very different BP patient as I understand it, she is very self directed; she initiated her treatement which started with a 36hr lock down in the Pysch ward, then IOP (intensive outpatient group sessions), then meds, and 1x per week psychotherepist meetings. I am really proud of her for doing this, and I know she despreatly wants to get better and back on track for herself, me & the kids but life just wont cut us a break right now. The market is dropping every day, my business is completely dead, we just put our house on the market (downsizing big time), we have $50k in debt, we have our kids in fulltime childcare because she can't watch over them (and we can't afford it...a family member is paying it for now), she just found out that she may have some seriuos woman issues (gyno doc) that need to be addressed, we can't make enough money to pay the bills and I can't get a second job at night because I am the fulltime care giver to our kids right now. Mainly I do the feeding, bathing, reading, taking to school the majority of the time, etc.
Like many BP spouses my wife has experienced manic episodes many times over the years, mainly they have all revolved around my family, us moving and her spending money to fix up each of the houses we move into. We have moved 6 times in 9 years, this will be our 7th. I am afraid I am going to have to quit my job/career of 13yrs because we've never made provisions for getting through the tough times, always spend more than we've had, and now I can't afford to wait around and weather the storm in the markets right now. I am going to need to get another daytime job while the kids are at school to make ends meet.
We are both Christians and I keep reminding myself that God wouldn't allow us to go through anything that he donesn't know that we can handle, but I just don't know sometimes. It just seems like everything is crashing down all at one time.
I'm glad I found this site, I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with too much info, but it feels good to share. Like you, I don't feel like I can really talk to anyone else about it...our friends & family just can't seem to understand and they only seem to aggrevate the situation.

All the best
ASO

lostwife
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 39
   Posted 10/10/2008 11:07 AM (GMT -7)   
I can relate 100% to what you are going through. I'm new to this site but have been on another site for about 2 years. My husband just left me again. He packed up everything, had friends help, took my 11-year old stepson (again) and disappeared. I've only seen him the last two Fridays when he needed me to get my belongings out of "his" storage unit so he could get rid of it (one less bill for him). I also have a fourteen year old (he did this right before his birthday) and a fifteen year old. He "can't handle" anything either. And he also goes around telling his family and friends how horrible our marriage is and I am, even though, most of the year, we are so in love and are a family. It's twice a year when he goes manic. The same time every year. And he doesn't see it. He turns into this "person". I can tell because I can no longer see my husband in those eyes. He left me for a week about 5 months ago. He went around and lied to people and said that he knew people who witness me flirting with men at my second job. He admitted to lying. Did admit this to all of the people he talked about me to...no. I was horribly ill at the time getting treatments for pre-cancer. He said he was waiting for me to call and ask him to come back and I never did. He said he was going to divorce me and then came home. Two years before that, on my birthday (Nov. 15), I came home to a dear John letter. This was when he had been diagnosed with bp. I had seen a sadistic turn in him before. He told everyone I was doing things I wasn't and that he had to get out because the relationship was tainted and made him unhappy. A month before, he wanted to have a baby with me. He literally disappeared for two months. I guess he started coming down off of the manic and his mother turned to me to "help" him. He came home.
He leaves me the same time every year or at least thinks about it. It's been 3 weeks. Before he left we didn't speak for 2 weeks. A dumb fight that revolved around me telling him I needed help from him. When he left me 5 months ago he was manic and quit his job because he was mad at his employers and went to work with his brother, which payed him $2/hr less, no medical and he was gone 3-5 days a week. He started drinking every night and smoking pot with the guys. He quit his meds because of no insurance. He got use to having no responsibility and being able to do whatever he wanted. So when he'd come home, he'd go into his reclusive state, bouncing between video games and playing drums.
It's our anniversary today. I'm sad. Is he going to come back? Who knows. He's hiding out again, and I think he got his old job back but am not sure. He has his own place and I have no idea where my stepson is going to school now.
Friends and family, I have learned, can be extremely dangerous for your situation when they don't understand or believe someone is bp. Their words can be so influential. His mother had a lot to do with him going over the edge, see, she's bp too, but doesn't know it. I know it because I see her doing EXACTLY the same things in her marriage. She gets mad at him for something way in the past, poisons the family against him, separates, and sleeps around because "it's O.K., we were separated", then goes back crying when she hits the depression stage. He tells everyone he's "unhappy all of the time" because it's a bad marriage. I hear the same things every time he's manic. They say, well then, Shane, you seem happy in general (when he's euphoric) you should get out of a marriage that makes you so miserable..so he does, not realizing that when he's in this state, his love for me switches off immediately, and he skips away like nothing.
So here I am. Left with every debt in my name, mortgage, credit card bills, and I don't know how I'm going to make it. There's not enough. He's sitting pretty with all of his money to himself now and no debts, just like last time, and he still had to borrow money from his mother. It's sad to say, because I truly love this man and care so much for his health and well being, but I hate the people who surround him and keep him from getting the help he needs and prolong his manic states. One of his old bosses, a female married to his other boss told me, "we love Shane, we're like a happy family here, you need to move on". Like they know him better than me! She has no idea the horrible things he said about her right before she quit. None of them do. He can say the most horribly unforgivable things to me when he's manic. It makes me sad because we've been a happy family for the past five months since his last episode. Sorry, I'm rambling on.

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 10/10/2008 8:48 PM (GMT -7)   
Allstressedout,

Welcome to HealingWell and the bipolar board. I hope it feels good to get some of your worries off your chest. This is a great place to do it and everyone is very supportive. Whichwayforward isn't likely to write back though. They haven't been around in a long time.

I'm glad to hear your wife is so proactive about her own treatment. That's really half the battle right there. But clearly you need to cut some of the stress out of your lives for a while. For example, this seems like a terrible time to move. Instead of selling your house (with the market in such terrible shape) why not rent the house out. There's got to be a way to simplify some of the stressors that you're dealing with. Sit down with your wife. Make a list of some of the life decisions you are facing, and have a brainstorming session about how to manage these problems in a more simplified way. I realize you are in the financial field, but maybe your wife needs credit counseling (spending is a classic manic trait incidentally -- it's time you took that into your hands.)

I'm sorry things are so hard for you right now. Please keep writing and let us know how we can help. We're good at support.

serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 10/10/2008 9:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Lostwife,

Welcome to HealingWell. You're in a terrible situation and I'm sorry to hear it. A manic person is absolutely someone you cannot reason with, as you've clearly come to realize, and you're going to have to just ride it out. The choice is whether you're going to take him back when he inevitably comes back to you again.

And it isn't an automatic decision, because your husband isn't doing everything he could be to keep himself stable. You are allowed to take care of yourself and he needs to show responsibility for his illness and his behavior. The minimum he should be doing is seeing a psychiatrist once every 6 weeks or so and taking medication for his bipolar. If he's not willing to do that, his moods will continue to cycle like this. The bad news is that traditionally, people cycle worse and more frequently as they get older. So this doesn't get better. He needs to treat this as a medical illness and get treated.

Also, you need to get the financial situation cleaned up so you aren't left holding the whole bag like that. Spending is a real problem in many people's mania's and I'd hate to see you left with a whole lot of debt just because his name wasn't on the credit card. Talk to your lawyer about making sure your assets are equally divided.

Finally, just to remind you, you can say no. I know you love him and you can take him back. But just because he has bipolar doesn't mean you have to put up with verbal abuse or personal attacks. You are allowed to insist he respect you. And if he doesn't, you are allowed to set ultimatums and stick by them.

It sounds to me like he could use a few days in a hospital to get his mania evened out again. I'm sorry he has one of your children with him. That's the last thing a kid needs -- an irrational, unpredicatable parent.

Good luck with this and please keep writing. let us know how you're feeling and how things are going.

serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


allstressedout
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/11/2008 7:23 AM (GMT -7)   
Serafena,
thank you for your input. We ARE trying to figure out the best thing for us to do financially and unfortunetly it is selling this huge house. The 1st & 2nd mortgages are way to big (classic bp over speding) and I refuse to start paying late or worse yet go into default. We have impecable credit (mid 700's) and I want to keep it that way. We are going to make some quick changes (which she is fully in support of) and then stick to them.
I just wish she was further along in her meds and treatment so that she was more stabe and therefore able to better deal with all of our external stressors: my job, our finances, her new part time job, her health(female stuff), her bp mom (who is totally in denial), her bp sisters, non-existant brother and father who doesn't show any interest. We are still in the early stages and therefore everything seems to be crashing down all at once and everything seems unbelievably difficult. My hope and prayer is that time will be our friend and that the girl I fell in love with will slowly re-emerge and stay with us forever.
Thanks for listening.
ASO

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 10/11/2008 8:35 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi again allstressedout,

One thing I want to let you know, just so you aren't disillusioned, your wife may never be exactly the same again. Bipolar never heals. She may get stable again, but it never goes away. She will always have ups and downs. She can and will get better but don't expect "forever" because that is very, very unlikely. I'm sorry.

serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II

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