my husband has bipolar and i don't know how to help him

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frsaa
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/22/2005 7:18 AM (GMT -6)   
My husband has bipolar and he drinks all the time, i have done everything i know to do to help him. i try toi  encourge him. but he seems he does not want to be help . we have 4 children and they do not understand why there daddy is mad and drinks all the time.  i thought about leaving. but i can not leave him, i know he needs me.and i am scared he might  get worse. if there is anybody out there that can give me some advice

psychnurse
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 7/22/2005 8:16 AM (GMT -6)   
I am so sorry to hear of your husband's illness.   The refusal to get help is very common, especially during a manic phase.  Usually we only get help when we're depressed, and we self medicate (alcohol, drugs) to ease the irritability, especially when we're manic.
 
BP is a very serious disease that if left untreated can destroy lives, financially, emtionally and physically.  It does get worse with time,  and it is permanent.
 
You need to realized there is absolutely nothing you can do to make him better, he needs medical treatment.  Yes, support is important to a BP, but not babying.   He will damage your kids emotionally and you, too.  I suggest you give him an ultimatum, that's usually the only way we will get help, myself included and I'm a nurse for God's sake!!!!  My hubby put up with it for 10 years, and finally gave me the choice.  I got my ass in treatment right away and things have been so good, I'll never stop my meds again.
 
It's also common for BPs to try medication and then stop, because it brings us down from a mania.  It sucks at first, and actually mentally painful to lose that, so we stop.  It's also common to stop meds when we feel better.  I think your hubby is in denial, which is common too.  Nobody wants to be labled as mentally ill or crazy and men are usually the worst about this.
 
As his wife, you can force him to go to the hospital, where they will get him stabilized.  He will be really pissed at you, but when he is more stable, his thought processes will become more logical.  This may not happen right at first tho.
 
The bottom line is he will get worse and worse without treatment over time.  You need to decide if it's worth it to your kids if he chooses to stay sick. 
 
I know you didn't want to hear this, but it's the naked truth about the illness, and it works the same for about all BPs, it's a pattern.  Again, I am sorry, I know how you feel now.
 
 

frsaa
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/22/2005 8:26 AM (GMT -6)   
thank you so much for writing back, i feel helpless, and and at the same time trying to make the right descison for me and my kids. he needs help bad. how do i go about getting him help. i no he will not do it on his on he says i am the one with the problem. i feel like i am watching him destroy everything. you are right he is in denial. everything is me. I love my husband very much and my heart breaks watching him live through this. i told him if he did not get help and stay on his meds that i was leaving. he told me to go ahead and leave he did not care about nothing. like i said thank you for writing me back. i really needed to talk to someone to talk to. if you have any more information that could help me i would really appriocaite it

psychnurse
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 7/22/2005 9:18 AM (GMT -6)   

Oh, I forgot the ol' "go ahead and leave" routine.  Mostly men do this, their pride totally gets in the way, and like I said they are in denial. 

The fact is, if you don't back up your threat to leave, he will never believe you again, he will know you're bluffing.  He has not one, but two very serious problems that he needs help with, the drinking, too.  It's also common for BPs to abuse drugs and alcohol.  I'm no exeption, I was a massive partier (illicit drugs)  in my teens and twenties, then a prescription junkie from then on, then I added alcoholism later with it.  THAT'S when my hubby gave me the ultimatum.    I knew I was miserable, so I went to the hospital (again) to dry out and get stabilized.  That was a year and 3 months ago.  I am 40!  Have lived with mostly mania, which can be even more dangerous than the depression my entire life.  I had sex with so many people before I got married I lost count, and no, not safe sex. Then I ran off with some total loser 6 years into my marriage, which lasted about 12 days, he was basically holding me hostage (too long to go into), and my precious husband took me back.  That was 5 years ago and I still didn't get stable until last year.  I also totally bankrupted us in the meantime, we had absolutely perfect credit.

Oh, I almost forgot, I also met some guy from California when I was 20. I had just moved here and I met him at a club.  We liked each other, had chemistry, but he had to go back home.  So we talked a lot on the phone, and he sent me a plane ticket to visit.  I went, I didn't even really know the guy.  The minute we got to his house, he practically raped me.  He wouldn't take no for an answer, and he was being really scary, so I finally gave in, it was horrible.  Oh, did I mention I had just found out I was pregnant?   We were already fighting, and he held all the cards.  I had no transportation.    I had brought with me my rent money in cash in case of an emergency.  When I was showering, he apparently looked through my purse and found the money and told me since I had money, he wasn't going to buy a plane ticket back.  He did drive me to the airport, tho. 

This is also the kind of risk taking behaviour common with mania.

Since you already threatened to leave, you need to get your kids and go (anywhere), I can almost guarantee he will beg you to come back. Don't worry, it will most likely be temporary. That's when you tell him the rules, and have him sign a contract.  BPs are masters at manipulation.   We almost always get our way, one way or another. 

You have a very important and difficult decision to make.  It will get worse if untreated, and there is nothing you can do, like I said before to force him.  He will have to decide to do it on his own.  You can legally commit him, but that's no guarantee. 

If you have any other questons, please ask.


frsaa
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/22/2005 9:51 AM (GMT -6)   
thank you so much for talking with me, my frinds and my family do not understand why i say with him. they think he treats me bad and he is crazy that is all i hear. I no he is not crazy. i no he is sick i am going to leave .i have to remove my children from this . i love him but i can not live like this. it takes all i got to take care of my 4 kids. alot
of the stuf you said you said you did, sounds alotlike the thins my husband does. it is like he does anything and don't care who it hurts . his mom anbd his brother i do beleive has the same thing. likei said thank you for talking to me, it really helps to talk to someone

clic
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 114
   Posted 7/22/2005 6:56 PM (GMT -6)   

Shannon:

Thank you for being so honest and sharing those intimate details...it makes me feel a bit less "awful" about the things I have done in the past-I guess when we open up, we can ultimately help eachother by reminding ourselves we are not alone!

Thanks again!

S


psychnurse
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 7/23/2005 7:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Shannon -
 
When I look back at the things I have done, and there is plenty more where that came from, I shudder.  I'm lucky to be alive, and to still have a husband.
 
I should make one correction; I dried out 3 years ago, but I still wouldn't go on meds until last year.  (I even quit smoking and drinking coffee, haha!)
 
I guess I am starting to feel more comfortable about talking about my own experiences with being sick, I hope it will help people like frsaa to understand the seriousness of BP untreated.
 
You know, it's funny.  All the information for people to read out there pretty much just says BP is depression and extreme highs, euphoria, and "risk taking behaviour", but I don't think people really understand just what that means.  It doesn't mean they enjoy bunji jumping and skydiving on the weekends!   
 
You are most welcome for me sharing some of my experiences; I think it would be interesting to hear from others, if they are comfortable with it.  It's not exactly something you tell your friends and neighbors, haha!   Only a fellow bipolar could appreciate that and relate!

frsaa
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/23/2005 12:42 PM (GMT -6)   
I just read your post ,and reading all the things people have writien has really help me understand how serious my husband condtion is. someone had said that you can tell when a bipolar person is getting ready to go on a high, there are 5 things they starte doing before that occurs. is there any truth to that.and if so can you share it with me. like i have said my friends and family think my husband is crazy, i know he is not he is sick, he went to the dr yesterday, and the dr put him on paxil, he was on lexpro, he takes serquel at night that is the only way he can sleep. if you have any more adice that would help me i would really approicate it.

psychnurse
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 7/23/2005 6:29 PM (GMT -6)   
That's a very good question, very smart to ask!  Here are what are  signs of mania at the beginnning.
 
Mania Common Prodromal Signs and Symptoms19
  • Sleeping less or lack of interest in sleep
  • Engaging in impulsive activities
  • Having racing thoughts
  • Acting more irritable than usual
  • Becoming excited easily or feeling restless
  • Spending recklessly
  • Extreme change in weight or appetite

frsaa
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/23/2005 10:23 PM (GMT -6)   
thank u again, my husband has done all of that. now he has come off the mania high and on the low all he wants to do is drink and sleep. and be in a dark room. he told me today that the doctors can not help him. and he just don't care about nothing. he keeps my nervous tore up all the time. i am in the process of leaving him. i told him i was and i am. like i said before i have 4 children and it is so hard! they do not understand. but i know i can not live my life like this anymore. i think i need conseling myself. the stress of this and seeing him give up is really taking a toll on me and the whole family. i have ask his family to help me with him. but they thisnk he is fine. thank u again for all your help. talking to someone and reading these post really does help.

psychnurse
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 7/24/2005 7:13 AM (GMT -6)   

That is very unfortunate, I'm sorry.   The alcohol will assure him of staying depressed.  As long as he drinks anything he will stay depressed.  The paxil won't help him if he's drinking.  And he shouldn't be on that without a mood stabilizer because antidepressants of the SSRI class will cause mania.  The Seroquel is a good medication for sleep and psychosis, but isn't a stabilizer (which stops mania).

I'm curious, first you say the family thinks he's crazy, and then you just said they think he's fine?  I'm confused.  Anyway, it doesn't sound like they are much help at all.

I do agree with you, sweetie, he's a dreadful influence on you and your children's psychological state, and if it continues, they could become very damaged.  I think you all will need some counseling to learn to cope.  Maybe if you leave, he will wake up and realize what he's losing because of his stubborness.  If he does promise to get it together, make sure he does and stays that way for a while before you go back to him. 

I know it will be one of the hardest things you ever do, it's so darn frustrating, but don't lose all hope, it will more than likely be a temporary thing.  Just make sure your requirements are CRYSTAL CLEAR if he decides to get help; it's NOT just to get you back.  It has to be because he is tired of feeling that way and desperately wants help, too.  You will ALL need counseling, him most of all.

If you need anything else, just ask, write, if you just need support or to talk, please take advantage of this forum, that's what we are here for.

Good luck!
 
Shannon

gumba
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/26/2008 8:23 PM (GMT -6)   
I have never posted before but reading about your situation, I had to respond.  My husband is bipolar type 2, and prior to his diagnosis 2 years ago, he drank constantly - he said to deal with the suicidal thoughts that were intruding on him every few seconds.   I finally gave him an ultimatum and told him to leave and get sober, or he was not welcome to return.  He did, and he stayed out for 3 months and attended AA regularly, and seemed to be on track.   He visited us (we have two children, currently 2 and 5) and was sober whenever he came to the house (a condition I required for him to be here).  
 
After this time, he came back, continued with AA, but continued to be very depressed and feeling suicidal.    He then got diagnosed as bipolar type 2 (which seems to me to be bipolar without the mania phase - instead, he gets anxious, irritable and agitated - starts things and doesn't finish them, low frustration for the kids, unable to sleep, etc).    He started on a mood stabilizer, in addition to the 2 antidepressants he was taking, and within 2 days, he was back to the man I met almost 20 years ago.  He said he felt "normal" for the first time in years.  His mood improved, the suicidal thoughts disappeared, and he was a great husband and father again.
 
THEN he decided that his problem had been the bipolar, not the alcohol, and started to drink again.  He told me that his drinking in the past had been his way to self-medicate, and since he no longer needed to do this, he could have a few social drinks once in a while....
 
A few drinks led to more drinks, to "black outs" and to absolutely irresponsible behaviour, including driving while intoxicated, and sneaking in alcohol on nights he was supposed to be watching our kids.   We tried everything - limiting his alcohol to 6 per week (he snuck in extra), letting him drink whatever he wanted on evenings where I was available to be sole parent to the kids but NO DRINKING when he was on daddy-duty (he drank when he thought I wasn't looking), and repeated promises to change.   He drinks more than a case of beer a week, seems to have no control over it, and blames me for making an issue of this.
 
I have now told him to get out.   He is coming up with all kinds of plans so that he can control his drinking and wants me to reconsider.   I won't - I've told him I need a minimum of 3 months sobriety before I will consider him returning home.   Will this be hard on the kids?  yes - but if he visits us regularly SOBER, the kids will have a "dad" instead of a body in the home who is physically present and emotionally absent or angry.
 
Trust me - we have had hundreds of discussions and it is only when I told him to get out that he is again going to AA and taking this seriously.   I've also informed his family and friends, who are helping to hold him accountable.
 
You need to do this, for yourself and for your kids.  He can visit when sober - you might be amazed at how much more positive your relationship becomes when you only see each other when things are good!
 
But, just as a warning, you need to consider if he will lash out at your and/or the kids when you leave or tell him to go.   I recommend having a bag of spare clothes, $, toiletries, spare keys, important documents and other necessities packed and in the car at all times in case you need to leave quickly.  And go over a safety plan with your kids - who to call, where to go if needed, and a list of emergency numbers.   Have a cell phone if you can, and if you are planning to deliver an ultimatum, let a friend know who can call you or drop by to make sure all goes well.   Have a code word (i.e. "chocolate") that you can use with friends or family if you need help immediately.  You may want to move money from joint accounts into your own account - bipolar is known for excessive spending.
 
If you are worried at all about his suicidal threats, call his doctor or take him to the hospital for an assessment.  Know that sometimes this is an emotional blackmail technique to make you stay.
 
Good luck, and stay strong.   Your children need this from you, and one day, your husband will thank you as well.

Diskus
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 7/26/2008 8:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Stay strong. If my bp spouse were not committed to treatment, i probably wouldn't be with him. He knows this and it is one of the many things that keeps him committed to meds and therapy.

You have not only yourself to consider, but your children. Easy for me to say, I know. The fact you came here to reach out says something about your strength. Be courageous. If you do not think he could ever commit to treatment, then it's decision time.

Know that you're not alone.

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 7/26/2008 9:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello gumba,

Welcome to Healing Well and to the bipolar forum. You have quite a story with your husband. I hope we can offer you some support while you're dealing with your husband's situation. Is he currently staying on his bipolar treatment. It's important that you understand that alcohol counteracts the medications for bipolar, so he might as well not be on them while he's drinking. Drinking makes bipolar worse, it in no way is "okay" just because he feels stabilized.
I'm glad he's seeking help again.

I just wanted to point out to both of you that this thread is three years old, so we should probably not drag it out any longer. Feel free to start new threads. Drinking and bipolar is a perennial topic.

serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


gumba
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/26/2008 9:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Oops - didn't look at the year! Here I thought I might be adding something helpful.

And yes, he is continuing his meds, and we both know that the alcohol counteracts these. Thanks for this site.

Michael Collins
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 2/23/2011 3:36 AM (GMT -6)   
WOW!!! Thank you for all the useful information. I am a recovering alcoholic and I also do everything on the list above. I am trying to stay sober. I have had a sobriety program since December 2nd, 2010 and I am under the care of a psychiatrist. I take Luvox 150 mg per day for depression and anxiety. I am waiting to get 90 days sobriety and my doctor will evaluate me for bipolar. If I have it I have it. I really want to help myself this time. I don't want my wife to have to leave me. I really love her.

Michael

Soleranz
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/26/2011 1:26 AM (GMT -6)   
i have dropped into a depression , the only time i feel ok is just after swimming or when i am asleep ! on new selection of meds.. have some mixed states. Glad you are so motivated , it is hard hard work just keeping it up i feel exhausted from it all trying to keep my part time job , bring up my son and stay out of the deep depression i feel im slipping into . . .wish i could swim every day , but i have my son and he can only swim in the small pool, i cant do lengths in there. I too cant stand the tv , everything seems to bore me and make me feel anxious or nervous.

keep up the hard work : )
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