Just Learning About My Wife

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Arlo
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/21/2008 8:33 PM (GMT -7)   
After 14 years of marriage, my wife has told me she thinks she's got some form of mood disorder. I'm not sure if it's correct. I'm trying to learn about it.

From a very early time when we were dating, she was prone to depressive episodes. She would display the usual symptoms. She got some help early on and she seemed to stabilize. But, for the next 15 years of her life or so, she's been on sort of a frantic search for something. At first it was church. Then it was teaching our kids. Now it's the arts. She's been going through some significant transitions that I think many people go through in their mid/late 30s.

For a long time I took her perpetual discontentment personally. I was frustrated and confused. I felt like I was devoting everything I had to her and our kids, but she was always yearning for something else. But, it was never clear what that was. If we were on a beach, she'd yearn for the mountains. If we were in the mountains, she'd yearn for the beach.

Now she's in a phase of self-discovery and thinks she needs treatment. I'm optimistic about it. I just want to know if she's right.

Her personality is she's often agitated. She has trouble just relaxing and focusing on the people around her except in certain situations, like when she's among strangers who she shares an interest with. She has obsessive tendencies. When she drills in on something, like her current interest, it consumes her. She is aware of it, but after a very intense year or so of drama, I've decided I have to pull back and stop pressuring her to tend to my needs. All it did was drive her further away.

Looking at it in a simple way, you could conclude that she's looking for greener pastures and isn't happy with her life. From my perspective, it feels like she's losing interest in our relationship, but intellectually, I don't think she is. There are other complicating factors that are adding up to an intense need to find her own way as a confident, independent grown woman. I'm just trying to separate what I think is possible a medical condition she's dealing with and everything else.

So with that background, do some people with mood disorders behave this way (withdrawn, obsessive, frantic, etc.); often in a state of unrest? I appreciate any thoughts.

Post Edited (Arlo) : 8/21/2008 10:23:28 PM (GMT-6)


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 8/22/2008 10:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Arlo,

Welcome to HealingWell and to the bipolar board. I hope we can provide some answers and support for you here.

First of all, there's nothing definitive in your post that shouts "mood disorder" at me, so my only advice to you about your wife's condition is to let her go see a psychiatrist and get it checked out. It's true that some people with mood disorders do display the qualities you listed, but more dramatic ones are usually present for bipolar: severe mood swings, racing thoughts, poor judgment, severe depression, sleeping disturbances. Here's a couple of links with more info:

www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/symptoms.shtml
www.mayoclinic.com/health/bipolar-disorder/DS00356/DSECTION=symptoms

So I would let a professional make the call.

I think it's wise of you to understand that her unrest has little to do with you or your relationship, especially since it's been going on so long. She's clearly still in love with you, but looking for something to help her feel complete. I know you'd like to be the thing that makes that happen, but that can't always be the case. What I believe might help her is some talk therapy. Has she ever been to a therapist or counselor to talk about her restlessness or anything else? It might help her come to terms with what is really bothering her and help her discover how to solve it. And if it turns out that she does have a mood disorder, I personally believe it's crucial to treatment. It has been so integral to MY health over the years, helping me make sense of my life and this disorder.

I hope this is helpful,

serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


Arlo
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/22/2008 11:57 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for the reply.

I sort of question her mood disorder self-diagnosis because I don't see the extreme behaviors that are associated with it. I see a couple of things...

I know she suffers from depression. I also know she has issues with having a personality that wants to please people. She feels like she's made a lot of major decisions based on expectations. She's just now in her mid 30s realizing she has a full spectrum of choices. Some of that has made me uneasy, because she's getting way down into the fundamentals of her existence, like "why am I married? Why am I a mother? Why am I hauling kids to soccer practice?" I can't answer those things for her, but I've felt insecure about the whole thing.

I'm hopeful that she's just going through a natural state of coming to terms with her mortality, her decisions and maturing into a confident adult. I've switched from being her insecure nag to her cheerleader and I hope that helps her. Still, there might be things I'm not aware of and I'm happy to find resources like this to educate myself and be a better husband for her.

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 8/22/2008 12:50 PM (GMT -7)   
There are other mood disorder diagnoses besides bipolar, too. There's depression and cyclothymia. Also, bipolar occurs on a spectrum, and occurs in two forms, bipolar I and bipolar II. So some people suffer from the symptoms more accutely than others do. She be experiencing depression, but seeing a doctor and finding a medication to help her stabilize her mood will still really help her make the most of her life again.

serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II

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