is it OK not to walk on eggshells with bp husband?

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imacat2
New Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 6/2/2009 12:12 PM (GMT -7)   
My husband was only diagnosed recently with BP.  His meds worked extremely well for a little while, but lately, he's been in a depressed state.  He has a lot of physical manifestations with this - slurred and slow speech, heavy breathing, sleeping 16-18 hours a day, trouble with coordination, etc.  (This is how he was pre-diagnosis and pre-medication when he would be in a depressed state, it is nothing new, so I don't think the meds are causing it.)  He also has personality and mood changes, including irritiability and hostility.
 
It's clear to everyone who interacts with him that he is "not himself."  But he believes he is acting perfectly normal.  He has an explanation for everything, including the sleeping long hours, which is the most objectively-verifiable symptom.  He will not call his pdoc, and he doesn't want me to, either.  He went from being seen there once a week to being on a schedule of every other week, but then his nurse practictioner had a family emergency and all appointments were cancelled.  We're kind of in limbo there, and again, my husband won't call to follow up.
 
My question is, Is it OK for me to comment on how he's acting?  Is it OK to talk to my kids (13 and 18, his stepkids, they live with us) about what's going on?  It makes my husband angry and withdrawn if I do these things, but it's really hard to pretend everything is OK when it's not.  It's especially hard when he's illogical, hostile, or irritable with the kids and expects me to back him up by supporting what he says.  The last two days, I've felt like I'm at the end of my rope, and I've told him explicitly that I don't think he is OK and that he needs to get in touch with the pdoc's office.  I also intervened when he started berating my older son at church on Sunday, which was also graduation day - my husband expects instant obedience from the kids, even if what he demands is not really necessary or well thought out, which it wasn't in this case.  Needless to say, he has pretty much stopped talking to me.  But I feel better about myself as a person and as a mother. 
 
How do people balance the need to be supportive to a BP spouse with family needs?
 
Thanks for any thoughts or comments.

slz727
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 216
   Posted 6/3/2009 7:17 AM (GMT -7)   
tired in Michigan,
I have Bipolar myself and my husband has to deal with the effects of my actions. I can see how it affects our relationship and my relationship with my son. It seems like your husband is having a hard time excepting his dx. I did for a long time to. It is ok for you to stop an action that you feel is not acceptable when it comes to your kids. You are all they have to keep them from what you feel is wrong. I also think that if you explain to them that there is a problem with there stepdad and that he needs time to heal like he has the flu they may be more understanding. I am on medication now and when I look back at how I behaved in the past it makes me mad. You do not have to walk on eggshells if and when he is ready to talk then you will be there for him untill then let him be. I don't like people to bother me when I am in the same state that he is in right now. I am not a dr but I can only share my experince with you. Please keep me updated on the situation and if there is a ? you think I may be able to answer post again.

SLZ

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 6/3/2009 10:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Tired,

I believe in all things the children come first and that you did the right thing. He will get over a slight so minimal. Keep pushing the pdoc and reminding him he's not himself. He knows what you say is true, he just doesn't want to admit it.
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


cbear
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 6/3/2009 12:35 PM (GMT -7)   
first of all the kids already know theres something wrong. talking with them is a must. make sure they know their fathers illness has nothing to do with them or their actions. explain as best u can what the manifestations of his illness are. children usually imagine things to be worse than they actually are and also think things are their fault. reassure them but dont sugar-coat the realities of your husbands illness. you can and should encourage your husband to seek out medical care, as this is a medical condition. i believe he is probably not receiving the right care and or the right meds. i know this is a big burden for you and i 2wish you the very beswt. everything ive said is, of course, only my opinion, based on my own experiences and self education. i was dianosed as bi-polar several years ago, following weeks of almost no sleep, a bad fall, a dosage of steroids and a psychotic break down. i think you may have to insist your husband get the help he needs because your children need to live in a secure happy home.

imacat2
New Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 6/3/2009 10:16 PM (GMT -7)   

Thanks everyone for your input.  It is good to have a place I can talk about things like this with people who understand what is going on. 

Tonight I again asked my husband to contact his pdoc's office.  He says he called on Monday, and the nurse practioner wasn't available and the pdoc wasn't available, and he didn't think it would be polite to leave a message or suggest that he really needed to see someone right away.  He says he knows what he's doing and I have to let him handle it - he says it's a basic difference between me and him, that he is polite and knows how to deal with people, whereas I would just keep asking till I got someone who could help, even if it got the nurse practioner "in trouble."  I said that this was a medical situation, and of course I would do what it took to get in touch with someone who could help!  The nurse practioner is out with a family emergency, so certainly the office staff understands that some patients might need to see someone while she's gone - that shouldn't get her in trouble!

Our conversation turned into an argument.  He accused me of being mentally ill and said a lot of ugly things about me - which he said he hadn't said at the time they happened, because he was just being "polite."  Among the things he thinks show how unstable I am are that I feel sad that my oldest son is graduating and getting ready to leave home, I want to get our home looking nice for the graduation party on Sunday, and I tripped and fell on some uneven pavement while we were walking the dog a few nights ago.  I kept stressing that I wasn't attacking HIM, that he just wasn't himself.  That I loved him, but I didn't like the way he was acting.  He just rolled his eyes and said who gave me the right to say how he was functioning?  I said that he had asked me to let him know when he was acting differently, several times.  He had even told the nurse practioner (when he was in a manic state) that he was grateful that I agreed to do this for him, because he knew he needed that kind of outside check on how he was doing. He said that was not true, that he didn't want a "gatekeeper."  I kept trying to say that I just want to see him get help, that I had been so hopeful when the meds were working, it was so wonderful to see  him being happy and acting like himself again.  All that just made him madder.  As often happens when he's like this, he wants specifics of HOW he's acting that make me think something is wrong.  Then, when I tell him, he says that I am exaggerating or else there are a million things like that he could say about me, but is too polite to mention, or that I am just picking on him and he's trying hard and I have no right to criticize and he would do better if I just left him alone.  Today I was more prepared mentally than usual and didn't get upset.  I just kept telling him it wasn't about me, he had asked for examples of his behavior and I was giving them to him - he could do with that information what he wanted - but I wasn't going to listen to him trying to push my buttons.  I also told him that I couldn't control what he did, and that if he didn't want to act on what I was telling him, that was his choice - but that choice would have consequences, as I couldn't keep pretending everything was normal when it wasn't.  He could do what he wanted, but he had to understood I also had that same choice, and my choice would be to distance myself from him and to intervene when he showed poor parenting judgment.  Finally, he just went to sleep.

I do think it's best just to leave him alone, but at the same time, I do want him to get help.


slz727
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 216
   Posted 6/4/2009 11:59 AM (GMT -7)   
imacat2,
I Personaly think that you did a great job confronting him like that. You do need to be there for him but dont let him degrade you either! I have to stop my husband who is not bipolar to stop from using that as an excuse because he made a bad decision and wants to blame me. The only other thing that I can suggest is do not give him altamadums you do not plan on keeping. This will only fester within him that he my not be right but he also has no support.

SLZ

imacat2
New Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 6/4/2009 12:08 PM (GMT -7)   
SLZ,
Thanks for your message. I appreciate the support. Believe me, I do intend to do exactly what I said - it's not so much an ultimatum as a boundary. He is also an alcoholic, in recovery four years, and we've been through a lot with that. Maybe it's all just too much. Maybe it's time to give up on the relationship. Right now it feels like there hasn't been much support coming from his side for the last seven or eight years - since he was diagnosed with cirrhosis and started dealing with his alcoholism. I've been here for him, I've had to set and enforce boundaries, and I would like to say I still love him, but right now, I just don't know.
Andrea

slz727
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 216
   Posted 6/4/2009 7:11 PM (GMT -7)   
imacat2

I know what you are going through in a similar way. My sons dad is a drug user and has had drinking problems as well and I gave my all in the relationship. He gave nothing but arguing and grief to me. He also like to cheat all the time and I was with him for 8 years. I was only realy giving you advice as being a bipolar person that has done things to my wonderful husband because of my mood swings. Your husband sounds like he is not ready for help even if you know he needs it. I was in denial for many years. I used to drink to to get all of the symtoms to go away. I think this is normal with someone with a mental disorder. I realy hope that you did not take offence to what I said, I only had the part about what he is doing right now. I would love to support you any way I can and even though everyone is different I am bipolar and have hurt alot of people so I may be of some help if you need it.
SLZ

imacat2
New Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 6/4/2009 8:37 PM (GMT -7)   
SLZ,
No offense taken and I can use all the support I can get right now!  It's weird how things happen - we got home from the dr's this afternoon and were doing some things around the house when my husband's boss called.  We both teach at a college, and he didn't do so well this year with his course evaluations.  She was calling to let him know he wouldn't be coming back next year.  I was glad that he'd gotten the new med and was planning to see the nurse practioner once a week BEFORE this happened, because it's quite a blow to his ego and he's already so depressed.  At least now he has some support system in place...  He lost his teaching job at the same college due to drinking several years ago, and was very proud and happy to get another chance - but I could really see how the ups and downs were just making it very hard for him to do an effective job in the classroom, and even though he told his boss about his diagnosis of BP (which was just in March of this year) and that he was starting treatment, I guess she just couldn't take another chance on him.  It's hard, because I do understand her position, but of course I feel really badly for him.  (I haven't mentioned to him that I understand her position, because I don't think it's relevant and it would just make him feel worse.)  Thanks again for listening and for sharing your story, too!
imacat2

BD_spouse
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 6/5/2009 7:46 PM (GMT -7)   
boy can i relate to the roller coaster you're on.  it will take time, but when you're ready to take action, you will.  it took months for me to accept that me and my H can't live together.  i tried and i tried.  i did everything for him and he still wanted to leave.  now... i'm relieved i'm not involved in the daily stress of it all.  i've got some peace back in my house and finally feel like my own self worth is being restored.  it's not an easy road and i know it's still a long one even for me but keep working at it and when you're ready, you'll know what to do.
Life is either a daring adventure... or nothing
-Helen Keller

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