Leaving or running?

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CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
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   Posted 7/23/2006 10:32 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi all,
 
I've started posting in the depression forum recently, but there's a strong possibility that what I'm facing with my ex is bipolar disorder. Looking back, I can see that there were signs of something wrong with him before March, but that's when he came back from 10 days away and announced that we were best friends but nothing more anymore. He moved out shortly afterwards (in the end I had to push for this because he'd said this to me but was showing no signs of moving). A few days later he told me he'd become all sorts of desperate and had been cutting himself. Luckily that made him go to the doc, who referred him to a psychiatrist. As of 12 days ago the psych hadn't formally diagnosed him; according to my ex, she was still working with a list of possibilities, but one of the different types of manic depression/bipolar seems likely. In that last conversation with me my ex was going down the route of "I should leave you alone", "I keep thinking we should have no contact", which he'd done several times before, but at times had also been very warm and loving with me. That time I felt like he wanted me to make the decision, so I suggested a month of no contact and then see how things are. So here I am, 12 days in.
 
What I'm wondering is if anybody here has done this kind of thing, and, if so, was it because of the relationship or the illness? What did psychologists/psychiatrists advise? Was I right to let him have the space he seemed to want, or was letting him have that space the wrong thing to do (since I seemed to be the one person he was really confiding in)?
 
I'm so mixed up over this. I've scoured websites, but, if there is any information on this kind of thing, one moment it seems to point in one direction, the next in a completely different one. So I'm turning to the real experts -- you guys. Please, please, if you have any thoughts on this, I'd be so grateful to hear. I want to understand this better, and to do the best thing for my ex -- and please don't let the fact that I quite obviously still love him and want him back stop you from saying anything, even if you don't think I want to hear it.
 
Hope you can help, and thanks for reading.
 
Rosie

Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
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   Posted 7/23/2006 6:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Rosie
This is a call that only you can make. It would be so much easier if there were some pat answer, but there isn't. Every situation is different and there's just no way to tell how he's going to react. You might just have to go with your gut on this one.
He may be feeling very alone now, but if he's stablizing he may be using this time to get his act together. YOU may feel better if you give him a call and let him know if he needs you, you're there.
I know being with someone battling this disorder is being in the war zone yourself. I put my ex through alot, but he did his share too, we were lucky though, we came out of it good friends.
Good Luck to you, I hope this all works out.

Take care
Ellie
Good judgement comes from experience and alot of that comes from bad judgement.
 
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CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 7/24/2006 1:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ellie,

Thank you so much for your reply. Everything you say is true: I need to let him get on with things, and not contact him because *I'm* in a panic. I did tell him before we cut for the month that he could always call me if he needed or wanted to, so really I have to believe that he will remember that and try to keep my own anxiety under control.

I'll not claim any of this has been easy (definitely not!), but I know it's not him trying to be difficult, and it's been pretty terrifying for him.

It's weird, but I feel less panicky just being here. -- First time since it all started that I've felt that I can ask for help.

Thanks again.

Rosie

Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
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   Posted 7/24/2006 2:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Glad to be of help. Thats what we're here for. It gets a little slow over the weekends but usually picks up during the week. You'll find you'll get more responses then.
Post as often as you feel the need. This is a good group and I think you'll find much support and a few answers here as well.
Please take care
Ellie
Good judgement comes from experience and alot of that comes from bad judgement.
 
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CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 7/26/2006 1:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Well, I've made it to the 2 week mark, and am feeling less isolated than I was at the 1 week mark (in part, I think due to being here and in the depression and anxiety forums: thank you). I keep reading up on manic d and bipolar, expecially the advice to those close to them bits -- all in the hope that I will know better what (not) to do/say when I finally do get to talk to my ex again (*if* I do ... but I'm still having panics at that concept). One major realisation I've had is that, if I'm to be any use to anyone (him or me), I need to check in with my own doc: I've had depression before, and I can see that I have plenty of the signs at the mo. Well, at least (after many trials and errors) I know what works for me on the anti-depressant front. If I can get in to see my doc this week, and if she does think I need anti-depressants to help with things at present, I'll have 2 weeks for the citalopram to start to take effect before the month is up.

I don't want to sound like I'm in denial about the break-up, but I just can't let what my ex and I had be another "inevitable" casualty of depression or bipolar. It seems so crazy when I look back at how things were and then see what's happened.

Sorry, bit of a ramble. I think I just wanted to record my thoughts at this point.

Thanks again.

Rosie

Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
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   Posted 7/26/2006 6:13 AM (GMT -7)   
This stuff sure does take out alot of relationships. Not many people can hang on in the face of all that. Especially when it's a major episode. You're doing great though. It's good to see that you're taking care of yourself as well. You can't help him if you're going under from depression.
Take Care
Ellie
Good judgement comes from experience and alot of that comes from bad judgement.
 
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lazy
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Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 241
   Posted 7/26/2006 5:44 PM (GMT -7)   
I can relate to some of your ex's symptoms.  I would leave my husband for days and not want to have anything to do  with him. I kept him so confused.  He finally gave me the space I needed and during that time I was diagnosed with BP.  We were both relieved because it was something that can be treated.  We are doing fine now and I understand my true feelings - the old me was sick - the new me is well and functional.  But it took time.  So you hang in there, he has to want to help himself and until he gets a firm diagnosis and gets on meds he most likely won't see things clearly.  Good luck...Lazy

CounterClockwise
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   Posted 7/27/2006 2:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Sorry Lazy -- only just saw you'd replied!!! Thanks so much. I'm beginning to realise how common my ex's behaviour is for manic d and bipolar. Funny thing is, I don't mind at all about the fact that he's doing it on one level, because I know he's ill (with something depression related, even if it turns out not to be bipolar). The thing that makes me panic is the thought that he might have talked himself into leaving the relationship behind forever, which I can see *might* happen, even though I am absolutely sure that our relationship wasn't the problem (2 idiotic peas in a pod, and we had such lovely times). It's so good to hear a success story from you, Lazy. I will be trying ever so hard to pay attention to all the info and advice I've been getting, and I *will not give up* (but in a non-obtrusive way!!!).

Oddly, after posting last time and realising that I *could* go to the doc, my mood has lifted quite a lot (probably because my stress levels have dropped) and I haven't felt that I need to go to the doc after all. My counsellor is going to be so shocked on Tuesday if I keep this up: last week I was a dribbling wreck!

Thanks again Lazy and Ellie.

Rosie x

CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 8/2/2006 2:03 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi all,

Well, I passed the 3 week mark last night ... 9 more days to go until I find out how things stand. I'm relieved to have got to this point, but nervous about what's coming up too. I know none of you can tell me that, so, don't worry, I'm not going to ask! ;)

What I am wondering about is how best to behave to my ex when we do have our next contact. After all, I'm aware that it might not take much for one month's no contact to turn into 2... or 3 .... or ... . So I was wondering if anyone had someone out there who really puts them at ease and who they don't feel like they have to block out. And if so, what does that person do/not do that makes them such a help for you? Or does it come down entirely to how you are feeling at any given time and have nothing at all to do with how others behave towards you -- no-one could get a different reaction when you want to have distance?

Sorry to be treating you as an info resource (!), it's just that info sites give symptoms but little "human" advice, and so far I think I've learned more from reading here than anywhere. Still learning though....!

Rosie x

Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
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   Posted 8/2/2006 6:05 AM (GMT -7)   
I have a tendency to block everyone out but my kids. I will say, my ex did try to understand. He knows about the situation, although he bounced between understanding and " just get over it".
As long as he's trying to control this, and is seeing a dr, just let him know that you're proud of him for seeking treatment. If he remains untreated his responses are totally unpredictable and may change from moment to moment.
You're doing a great job with this,
Hang in there
Ellie
Good judgement comes from experience and alot of that comes from bad judgement.
 
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bluejude
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 8/2/2006 9:01 AM (GMT -7)   
I used to do the same thing to my boyfriend. I didnt want him to see me so miserable. I felt like I was making him miserable as well. He didnt listen though and has stuck around for 11 years now. I also was embarrassed to let him see me so depressed, manic etc. If he would give me the space I would break down because I knew then I was alone. I was making threats but didnt mean them so maybe your boyfriend feels the same way. Hope I helped a little.

bluejude

CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
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   Posted 8/2/2006 4:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ellie and Blue Jude -- and thanks so much for your feedback. Ellie, I hope I never tell my ex to "just get over it" -- what a way to undo all the good work of being understanding. The one thing I do know is that my ex is ill and is not trying to do anything mean -- and Blue Jade, what you said about threats does really fit and it's really helpful to have you confirm what I felt about this (that it's not meant and that he probably beats himself up about that stuff like crazy at times).
 
But here's some news for you that came like a bolt out of the blue...
 
At about 2pm (UK time) I got a text from my ex asking what I was up to this afternoon. Now, I knew that he was going to bring back something from his mum and dad's that I'd left there months ago and needed, but when we had last spoken it looked like he was just going to text me to tell me when he could drop it off and I'd arrange to be out (he has a key to let himself in and drop it off); that way we could stick pretty much to the no contact rule. So, I was just about to text back and say did he want to drop it off and, if so, what time so that I could vacate the premises, when ... about a minute later ... he phoned! Yes, he wanted to drop the thing off, but it'd be nice to see me for a cup of tea. I was gobstruck, but did my best to sound calm!
 
Well, he had to go and do something before coming round, and it ended up taking about 2 hours -- all of which time I was climbing the walls! He got round at about 4.30, and has just left (at about 11.30). He was *so* much more like himself than a few weeks ago. Last thing I was expecting was a visit before the month was up, but it happened, and he initiated -- and cooked for me!!!! And he was lovely!!!! No freaking out at all -- before he'd stay for an hour or so, then get all fidgety and suddenly it was like he couldn't leave fast enough.
 
Just before he left I asked him how he wanted to play things contact-wise. He said "let's just do what we're doing". I had to check if this meant the no contact bit or the seeing him bit, and he said "like today; just keeping things relaxed". And as he left he said "I'm smiling, by the way." I'm still not entirely sure where this leaves us, so I'll wait for him to make contact, but I'm just so pleased at the afternoon/evening we had! It has made me feel so much better -- it's so easy to think you're kidding yourself that things *must* work out because we were great together before.
 
I tentatively asked if he was still seeing his pdoc and he said yes, but didn't open up about that any further. That's different from before when he'd report back all the time. On balance, I'm not sure it's a bad thing that he keeps that for him at the moment -- he won't have to feel like he has to edit anything and can be totally honest with his pdoc (or at least this is my hope!).
 
So ok, nothing's "solved", but he's getting better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Thanks so much for your support so far. I'm sure there'll be much more to come (ups and downs probably). I just wanted to tell you about this wonderful day!
 
Rosie x

Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
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   Posted 8/2/2006 4:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Thats fabulous Rosie!
I'm glad this turned out so wonderfully for you. Sounds like he's really turning it around. If he's getting stable on meds, this could be the way things stay.
Take Care
Ellie :)
Good judgement comes from experience and alot of that comes from bad judgement.
 
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CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 8/2/2006 11:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Ellie -- yes, even he thought that the meds are now taking effect. I'm so so so so happy about this!!!

Ooh, one thing I forgot to mention is that he said at one point "Are you proud of me for staying away for so long? I know I didn't make it to the month, but I did manage 3 weeks." -- !?!? He said it like I'd really wanted him to disappear for a month! I reassured him on this, and made sure he knew I was absultely delighted to see him before the month was up ... but, how bewildering!! -- really gave me an insight into how much his brain has been muddling things into mistranslations recently, and how horrible that is for him.

Thanks again Ellie -- you've been such a great support.

Rosie x

lazy
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 241
   Posted 8/3/2006 2:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Wow Rosie - that is great. Sounds like your relationship is healing, as is your ex. He sounds like the way I felt when my meds kicked in. One thing I do sometimes when I'm around family and close friends is make fun of myself. Its not that I take it lightly, its just that it is a relief for me to not take myself seriously all the time. And one of my best friends will ask me if I've taken my medication today and we both laugh. Just thought I'd throw that in in case your ex ever does that - just laugh along with him!

CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 8/3/2006 3:09 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks Lazy -- great insights again! Yes, i think not getting too serious about stuff and just having a really nice time and a bit of a laugh together was really important yesterday (and probably for both of us!). -- It's a that working back towards a sense of normalcy again, isn't it? -- not having the condition dominate everything whenever possible.

I'm still doing an internal jig every few minutes, and last night I was so excited I could hardly sleep at all -- so I'm a very tired, very happy lady today!!

You guys have been so brilliant: just knowing I could ask stuff has really helped me not to go bananas over the last few weeks (though I had my moments of bananadom!). And seeing people cope so well with this condition gives me such hope too: you are all an inspiration.

Rosie x yeah yeah yeah yeah (a smiley jig!)


wmnak
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Date Joined Jul 2006
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   Posted 8/3/2006 9:28 PM (GMT -7)   
rosie,
 
just a thought.  remember in the bible where it says "my cup overfloweth"?  my wife and i both believe that in order to have have something to give your cup has to be overflowing.  i'm not sure yours is.  i know that you love your husband - that's wonderful.  but, in addition to the life that the two of you share, do you have a life of your own?  i believe that if you find one you will be happier with yourself.  you will also be a better partner if the two of you decide to make it together.  furthermore, if you decide to go your separate ways, you will be prepared for (god forbid) that eventuality.
 
bod bless.  i hope it works out well for you.
 
warren
(used to live near heathrow)

CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
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   Posted 8/4/2006 5:41 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Wmnak,

I think this is very true, and nicely put! It's something that I'm beginning to deal with in therapy and with little steps in general. I moved to Portsmouth a couple of years ago and it took me a long time to adjust and find new friends -- proper friends rather than just people I could shoot-the-breeze happily enough with -- and it didn't help that I've had trust issues with one or two people at work (though fortunately not all, and finding out that others don't trust 'em either has helped me feel less isolated). In the long run, I don't think these things are such a bad thing, because I know now who I like and trust, and I can honestly say that dealing with the work and relationship stuff has made me come to realise who my real friends are -- the ones who have helped me -- even things like always including me in invitations (even when they knew I probably wouldn't accept because I felt so low) and getting me round for supper and stuff. Whreas before I always felt guilty about dumping my problems on people and boring them, I now know that there are two particularly good friend who would never think that way of me, and who I can depend on *and* have fun times with. (The other evening, I even had a friend round for supper and I found at the end of the evening that I hadn't needed to mention things with my ex once).

So, although I'm not exactly a social animal yet, I have made some steps and had some revelations. And it's helped so much coming here too and finding that I was not just asking questions about my ex's manic depression/bp, but also was dealing with my own panic. And I've made some great friendships here too :)

I've also kicked my finances into shape and can see the light at the end of the tunnel there (loan I took to get me through my postgraduate work should be gone in just over a year -- hooray!); I'm in better physical shape (lots of walks); I read more (and that always calms me); and I've leal with *a lot* of spiders recently (my phobia!).

I know I'm not at the "overfloweth" point yet, but I do feel like I've mended the hole at the bottom of the cup and have started putting little bits in. I also have a weird feeling that being in contact with my ex but not rushing anything will be helpful not just to him, but also for me to consolidate what I've managed so far. I do very much want us to be back together and for everything to be ok again, but I'm not as frantic as to when that happens because, as you so very rightly pointed out, I still have my own work to do and he can't be my "fixer" either.

Thanks so much for your comment Wmnak. It really helped to take stock, think about my progress, and write it all down. And when I did, I have to say it, I was slightly proud of myself!!!

All best,
Rosie x

wmnak
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Date Joined Jul 2006
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   Posted 8/5/2006 2:07 AM (GMT -7)   
rosie,
 
i am gratified that you had already anticipated my commments.  i've known so many people who are so attached to their significant other that they have no independent identity.  sad.
 
you sound like you are making great strides!  i will continue to send good thoughts your way.
 
may god bless you and keep you.  may he cause the light of his countenance to shine upon you.  and bing you peace, his most precious gift.
 
ps.  i haven;t been in portsmouth in yonks.  nice city from what i rremember of it.  that was back in the 80s - bet it's changed a great deal since my time there.
 
warren

CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
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   Posted 8/5/2006 12:08 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi again --

Firstly, thank you Warren for your kind words of support. Yes, I hear Portsmouth's changed quite a bit over the last 10 years or so (they got rid of the Tricorn Centre for a start, which has got to be good!): one thing I really like is being so close to the sea -- good for blowing away those cobwebs (though I still have to vacuum up the ones around the house!).

Last night my ex came over after a long phone call. Again, he was calm and "like himself". He said that he'd discovered something wonderful recently: that he's "not mad"! That made me chuckle and I told him I'd known that all along. We had fun playing CDs in the kitchen while cooking, and we had a bit of a dance too!

The bolt out of the blue was when he started asking me where I'd most want to live in Hampshire; I named a couple of places and let it pass with no questions as to why he was asking. A little while later he asked if I wanted to live with him again -- fresh start in a new place (neither of us is very fond of where I'm renting now!) -- when his current lease is up (2 months) -- a bit of a leap from keeping things "relaxed", eh?! Anyway, I said yes, but we both agreed that it was good to have the time in between to take stock, see how things go, and that we could always take a bit of extra time after the 2 months if we needed it. (This morning he admitted he'd had one dark moment yesterday evening when he felt he was "dangerous" again, and he wants to make sure that's gone before any move in.)

Well, he stayed over (first time since he moved out -- as I said, before even eating together would have flipped him out). Today he's gone to see friends, but he even asked them to pick him up from mine, so we're definitely moving away from the "secret meetings" territory that I was worried about for the first couple of months of this, and he's actively showing that I'm in his life still. It was so good to see his friends again: I always got on great with them and it's been very weird being out of all of that for the last few months.

Tomorrow I'm seeing some of my own friends for the day and am really looking forward to it. I was even a bit concerned that he would suggest I came with him to his friends' and was pleased to have alternative plans just in case. I love spending time with him, of course, but I think it's sensible not to run headlong into long stretches together, just while he gets accustomed to things and comfortable again. And I think I probably need a bit of the same. -- For all I can say that things were so much like normal again, they're not 100% so because I still monitor things and I am aware that there are times when there is a little "eggshell" about. And of course the last few months have been a rollercoaster, and there's likely to be more of that to come: a dose of uncomplicated fun with my mates is a good way for me to keep grounded. (The more I think about them, the more Warren's words ring true.)

I expect things will level off a bit now that we both feel more secure (questions asked and answered) about the possibilities for us in the future. I hope I'm right: I'd be worried at this stage if things moved too fast, as I'd suspect a link with mania. So far I don't think so, but I promise to be wary.

Sorry for yet another long "update": as usual, it's really helped just to write this all out (taking stock!).

All best, as ever,
Rosie x

wmnak
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Date Joined Jul 2006
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   Posted 8/6/2006 8:51 AM (GMT -7)   
rosie,
 
definitely sounds like its time for some cautious optimism!  we're pulling for both of you.
 
you mentioned renting.  when i lived in england (1970s-80s) there was almost no rental property as a result of rent control.  what has happened?
 
warren

CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 8/6/2006 10:58 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Warren,

Thank you *so* much (again!).

Oh, you'd be amazed at how much rental property there is now! -- In some areas rented seem to outnumber owner-occupier property (particularly cities with students: this has become a massive market). And lots of those wonderful big old family houses have been divided up into flats (I know that was there before, but much more so now). Always seems just a little unfair to me that there are people out there renting out houses and living in different ones: I just want to own *and* live in one!! :) One day, eh ... little house, with a garden, lots of green walks nearby ............. sorry, just went into a reverie!

Rosie x

CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 8/8/2006 3:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi all, back again ... sorry for the saga... . Today I'm here with less good news, though I *think* I'm dealing with it ok.

Last night I was on msn and saw my ex/partner (who knows these days?!) was online. I started a conversation to say hello and chatted casually till I was sure I wasn't imagining that he was low (didn't take long to be sure either). I asked him if that was the case, and, yes, it was. Long story short, he said he'd spent most of the day in "panic hyperdrive", had been very low since he got back from his friends', but really had been "in bits" since he left my home. Felt he'd made promises -- to me, his friends, and his parents, work -- that he couldn't keep. Said he was less worried about what he'd thought about moving in together, but very worried that he'd just blurted out what he was thinking (rather than doing what he'd been training his mind to do in terms of decision making). I told him it was ok, that I wasn't holding him to any promises (after all, he'd said he couldn't make any promises when I saw him), and that it was just nice that he said it. He said he'd been to look at a flat that day, and it was great but then he thought about the prospect of sharing it with someone and he literally ran away from the estate agent.

He said he'd seen his psych that day ("and that didn't help either") -- told her what he'd been doing, deconstructed it with her, and "walked out feeling like I'd murdered a baby swan". He also said that he felt like he was back in the position he was a month ago -- when he "had a berzerker and told [me] 'no, not ever'". He said the day had been a massive setback.

I told him to try to think of all the great things he'd managed -- cooking for me, music with his friend, dancing in the kitchen -- and that I still thought how he'd been doing, and how he'd managed his down moments at mine was a massive improvement (one that sometimes it's easier for others to see). I said that it didn't surprise me that he was now suffering fallout from that, because it did all happen very fast and he had been very busy -- that all steps needed adjustment and it was ok to recognise and allow for that.

He started saying things like: "What if I say no though, what if I say I don't want anyone, don't want you, don't want anything, just want to f* off and vanish? then what, then what?". He wanted me to tell him what the consequences would be; I said I didn't have answers for that. Then he wanted to know if I was seeing anyone (ans: "Now what's the correct response here? Not anyone apart from you -- but I say that in a no pressure way!"), did I have anyone waiting in the wings ("No."). Immediately after tha he said he was going to bed, just bad at the moment, speak to me "when we do".

Hm, so 2 steps forward, one step back. I didn't rule this out as a possibility, and I'm glad I'd thought about it in advance because I didn't have any panic reactions of my own when it happened. I guess I just have to wait and see how long it lasts, if it gets better or worse. My instinct is that he's shown so much improvement that it will get better rather than spiral, but I can't count on it.

I'm glad that tonight I'm seeing some friends for supper (Wmnak, you'd be proud of me!) and can help myself by staying on an even footing and not be fussing over him.

Sorry for the long ramble again.

Rosie x

Ellie 1
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Date Joined Apr 2005
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   Posted 8/8/2006 8:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Unfortunately, there will be setbacks. This will probably not be the only occasion this occurs. Getting stable is a process, it doesn't happen overnight. It takes some time for the drugs to hit a therapeudic dose in his system, and, truthfully, quite often, they don't find the correct "cocktail" on the first try. He may require adjustments with dosages, or different drugs altogether. Much of the psychmeds are trial and error. The reactions are so individual that it can take months to find the right ones for any specific person.
Just try to take a step back. You're doing great.
Ellie
Good judgement comes from experience and alot of that comes from bad judgement.
 
Unknown
 
 
 


CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 8/8/2006 9:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Ellie -- you always know a good thing to say, and I feel like I needed that today.

Rosie x
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