Husband of bipolar II wife - please help!

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needhelp32
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 2/6/2010 11:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello everyone, this is my 1st post. Well to start out my wife and I have been married for 1 year and half. We were high school sweethearts so we have known each other for about 7 years. When we originally got married she was seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist off and on because she had attempted suicide a few years earlier when she was at college. She was originally diagnosed with Bipolar 2, then a couple years later with Borderline Personality Disorder, and now within the last 2 - 3 weeks she has been diagnosed again with Bipolar 2. She takes lexapro and topamax.
I love my wife very much and have not and will not give up on her, however I am very stressed and tired. The constant "pull and push" emotions where she cannot have enough of me one day and the next she hates me is very stressful and rather hurtful. I love her but I don't really know how to take care of myself because I am constantly having to keep a defensive wall up so my emotions are not yanked everywhere, and it is draining. I listen to my wife explain how she is feeling and listen to her needs constantly, and I try to be the best husband I know how to be.
I was told by her psychologist that I need to let her fix her own problems because the more I try and help the more it confuses her about her own emotions. So I was told to just listen to her, make sure she takes her meds, etc and not try to help her fix anything. I can understand their recommendation, it is very stressful trying trying to always help her with her problems as much as i love her it drains me and stresses me. I was also told to find a group I could relate with and get some support, so I wanted to write here to see what positive advice everyone could give me who perhaps has a spouse who is bipolar and what you do that helps yourself and them.
Thank you so much for reading and helping, I am very tired of being stressed and sad.
- Stephen

Post Edited (needhelp32) : 2/6/2010 1:19:24 PM (GMT-7)


Michaelax
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/7/2010 12:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Dear Stephen, it is refreshing to hear a man stand by his wife, and your love for her is obvious. I myself have lost many relationships because of bipolar disorder episodes that have driven potential partners away, which is extremely painful. I do understand what you are living with as I constantly experience sadness, and ups and downs and often rely heavily on good friends to lend an ear. Just continue to love and support her, but don't allow her to wallow, she has to learn to work through these emotions and continue to move with them, as I am learning to do. I am currently a University student, and do find that sometimes all I need is someone to listen and not to fix. I know I am not the spouse of a bipolar, but I would say to make sure to take care of yourself, a support group is a great idea to help you express the difficulty you experience in this relationship.

lovethem777
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/7/2010 12:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Stephen
My wife is bipolar for 20 years Well thats how long I have been Married for, It's a hard road, she has been in hospital 3 times and does not belive she has a problem, how i get through it is to find people who understand and support me, and just listen to me, I have an idea what your going through, hang in there, It's good to see that your wife is seeing  psychiatrist and psychologist and taking meds, that is half the battle
Regards Ed          

needhelp32
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 2/7/2010 9:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Ed and Michaelax, thank you both so much for your replies. The common ground I am finding with both of replies is that I need to find external friends/help to hear my issues and for support. I certainly will do that, thank you again.

If anyone else has more details as well that they can add, or remedies for when my wife and I are at home alone, please add them. Any support and tips I can get will be a huge help.

- Stephen

tortoise11
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 2896
   Posted 2/7/2010 2:56 PM (GMT -6)   
My SO is wonderful. When I can'ts seem to get out of bed he'll gently remind me of another day that started out similar but ended up good. If I'm getting hypomanic he just leaves me alone which is perfect. I love that he never takes a caregiver role. I have to take care of myself.

needhelp32
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 2/7/2010 3:08 PM (GMT -6)   
tortoise 11, could you elaborate a little more on what you were saying? I am glad to see ways that your husband is helpful, but could you explain some more day to day situations in which he acts/reacts in a way that is helpful to you? I want to know how to handle the day to day situations we experience at home and gain some more knowledge from those who have experienced what works best.

- Stephen

tortoise11
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 2896
   Posted 2/7/2010 7:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Examples -

I panic a lot in stores - whenever my mind isn't focused on something. My SO can tell when I am starting to panic. He'll ask "Are you OK?" and we'll either split up so I can go walk around and refocus or he'll draw my attention to something - like the ingredients in a food package.

I've had 5 rough days and was "moping" on the couch this morning. He asked me to make the bed - just something to get me on my feet. It worked.

The BIGGEST thing is that when I'm not OK, he steps in and takes care of my toddler son without hestitation. That is HUGE.

Mostly he checks in and leaves me alone. I think it works for us. I know it is hard on him and he gets irritated with me, but I can't think of a better way to work through it. I try to keep him in the loop about my treatment options and ask for his input. The conversation invariably ends up with me saying "You live with me" and him saying "You have to live with yourself."

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 2/7/2010 8:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Stephen, Michael, and Ed. It's good to have you all. Thanks for joining.

I'd like to draw your attention to the welcome note: www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=13&m=883428

We're happy to have all kinds of voices on the board, but some of you may find more feedback for your particular concerns on a board specifically for spouses/loved ones. We're a board specifically for people who have the disorder. There are links in the Bipolar Resources thread to other family/friends boards.

Welcome again,
serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar and Depression Forums
Bipolar II

"Bipolar disorder can be a great teacher. It's a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life." - CARRIE FISHER


needhelp32
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 2/7/2010 9:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks

night storm
New Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/13/2010 2:51 PM (GMT -6)   
 Hi im a husband with a wife who is bipolar and I need help because i know nothing about it and its driving me crazy. I want to help my wife and Im not sure how or what to do. I have read up on it and i have watched videos on it and im still finding myself going in circles. I love her to death but its hurt me and the kids and I really want to help her any way I can. she was on meds and then she got off, when she was on them it seem as if she was a walking zombie and when she off she seems to have more life to her but then she seems to get into a deep deppression and it suxs she gets moody and hard to live with what do I do. Please help

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 34745
   Posted 5/13/2010 4:09 PM (GMT -6)   
She probably needed different meds than she was on. There are many to choose from for depression and for bipolar. I would suggest that she goes back to the doctor and asks to try another route. Does she go to any counseling? That is highly recommended. It gives her support for her depression and she can work out problems and solve them and get thinking better. The best thing that you can do is be there for her. And try to get her to go back on a different medication, something that doesn't make her feel like a zombie.

At the top of the page is depression resources. There are suggestions for spouses of a bipolar individual. I suggest that you check it out.

I hope that she feels better soon.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


horse crazy
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 199
   Posted 5/14/2010 2:00 AM (GMT -6)   
Stepan...I am a bi-polar II and have been married 41 years to a guy who has put up with a lot of bi-polar stuff.  I haven't made it easy for him, but he has learned to make it easier for him than years ago.  One thing he rides my mood changes, knowing that I am going to cycle...that is a fact of life.  He does not get caught up in my mood swings at all iunless I get over the top depressed or Manic...then he will call my doctor or take me into the doc.  I also have two adult sons (one 23, and the other 34).  The youngest is a paramedic and he has taken me to the hospital (which my husband rather not do) when my lithium level went toxic.  My sons and husband just refuse to get caught up in the madness of me being bi-polar.  Now sometimes that upsets me, but I also know they have a life.
  Last Xmas I was a mess and really unable to do much...without a word the kids and my husband divided up duties to get ready for Xmas (we were having 15 people for dinner)....so they cleaned, wrapped gifts and my husband cooked dinner.  The thing is I was sort of on the fringes, too disorganized in my mind to help and everyone made it clear to me that they were too busy getting ready for Xmas to deal with me.  And they do that...in a very loving way let me know they cannot 100% take care of me and I need to do some stuff on my own.  There are definite boundaries drawn and if you are to survive your wife's illness you need to set boundaries.  When push comes to shove, a bi-polar person (as long as it is not over the top) can take care of themselves.  My husband does manage my meds.   I take so many different ones that every week he fills one of those pill boxes (with morning and night) for the week.  He is responsible for making sure the meds are correct for each day, but I am responsible for taking thrm.
All my family educated themelves about bi-polar over the internt and books written expecially for someone coping with a spouse who is bi-polar  (check out amazon.com.
I don't know how to explain this, but at one point it was like the whole family took on the identity of the whole bi-polar thing.  It was like everything that happened in the family was centered around me.  Want to go the movies....can't Mom's too depressed; Wnat to go out to dinner...can't Mom is flying too high and will embarrass us....and so on.  Then things changed...much better for everyone's mental health....If I was too depressed to go to the movies, they went without me.  They reclaimed their lives.  If I need help, my husband is there in a instant
The one thing I would recommend is marriage counseling with a counselor who is familiar with bi-polar.  I am a marriage counselor and I see how messed up a couple can get when a spouse is bi-polar.  A counselor can help you set boundaries, offer support...basically help you get on track.  I don't know where you live but we are pretty close to a big city and for awhile my husband attended a support group for spouses of a bi-polar partner.  You can check the NAMI website and see if there is a support group near you or google support group for Families bi-polar and the location where you live.  It is also important you involve extended family for support.
Guess that is all I can think of.  Keep one the message board.
Horse Crazy
Bi-polarII; rapid cycler; Lithium 900 mg; Lamictal 200 mg; seraquel 450mg, klonopin 4mg
 

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