living with a bipolar spouse and need support

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loving frustrated wife
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 6/6/2007 11:24 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm new to this site, just found it this morning.  So here is my "story" in a nutshell.
 
Married 15 years to a wonderful man who is also bipolar which makes me feel alone a lot.  We have 3 kids.  Our oldest is also diagnosed bipolar/adhd (he's 13).  Both my husband and son on the BP spectrum are at about the 1/4th mark of severity, both have been under a psychiatrists care for years who I trust implicitly.  Both are medicated.  Neither is agressive, high anger people.  They are more the implode style.  But both possess low frustration tolerance.  My husband, who I am writing about today, doesn't acknowledge what this is like for me.  His attitude is that he is on his meds, therefore he is justified because he is now "normal".  He doesn't see what it is like, or how he WAY over reacts to the smallest of issues or even nothing at all.  So we could be having a normal conversation and all of a sudden, he goes from being fine, to angry at me (not violent, yelling stuff - just frustrated, angry - like I did something wrong because I said something he didn't like or by a look on my face, or a roll of my eyes instead of arguing back and not engaging). 
 
Anyway, a typical scenario that I am talking about is like the incident that happened last night, which has thus far turned into him saying a few accusitory hurtful statements at me, stomping away, avoiding me at all cost, hiding in his office for the night until bedtime, then sleeping half the night in our sons room before coming to bed to avoid me (my punishment I suppose).  All this because I pointed out if he was going to let our 6 year old daughter break the rule - "if you don't eat your dinner there is no dessert" (even a fat free popsicle).  You see, I am constantly being told by him how he wants the kids to eat better, healthier, our groceries (which are quite healthy BTW) are frought with junk in "his" opinion during one of these pronouncements to me.  He always does it like he is blaming me for something, or my mom, or our childcare giver and it is somehow my fault if once in a while (twice a month type of thing) they are served fast food or Mac & Cheese for dinner (with vegetables I might add).   Anyway, so last night as our daughter refused to eat her dinner of cauliflower, chicken & side of pasta, my husband gave in and let her have a popsicle.  I pointed out if he wants to constantly complain to me about this issue (which he does), he is being hypocritical by breaking the rules here because it is easier than saying "no".  That I didn't think he then had room to complain to me and/or about me, my mom or our childcare giver - that it isn't fair.  At first it was fine, then when he tried to justify his actions because he said that the popsicle was fat free, I then calmly said that wasn't the point.  So he proceeded to get accusitory and start snarling about me, about it not being the same thing or a look on my face that he doesn't like, and then started in with rude comments referencing what he calls my families dismissive attitude (this because I got up to clear the table and no longer engage in this with him since I saw what he was turning it into - I wasn't going to argue with him about nothing. I was justified to point out what I did.  Which I did calmly and respectfully.)  So this converstaion turned into the results I started with.  It is 11:00am, and he has yet to speak to me yet (he works out of his office from home). 
 
Now, I am a rational person.  I see his reaction does not FIT the conversation no matter if he was irritated by what I pointed out or not.  It was a situation that didn't need to turn into something.  I was just pointing out a contradiction.  With a rational balanced individual it would not have.  But it did and of course I was the one blamed for it and am being "punished" for it.  I am SOOOOOOO tired of this.  It happens over and over and over on a regular basis.  The hardest part for me is that he won't acknowledge that he treats me this way, that this is HIS issue and HE overreacts to the smallest things.  He doesn't acknowledge what this must be like for me - to live with a BP at ALL.  He sees it in our son, but not himself.  He feels that he is justified in his feelings and actions and it is all my own fault.  I have never denied him the right to his feelings - however that perhaps the feelings feel bigger to him because of the BP and therefore he needs to be responsible when he overreacts (like this) - that's all.  But he just says he doesn't over react, I just don't see it, that this is my problem not his.  And then he continues on. 
 
I know this is long and I am sorry.  I am just worn out by it all and recognizing that I don't want the kids to learn it is okay to speak to your spouse the way he does me when he is like this.  I don't want my daughter to think this is how she should be treated, or my son's to learn this is how to treat thier spouses (like I think he learned from his dad I'm sure).   If he doesn't take ownership of the BP, and how it can make him act, or acknowledge how hard it is one me - then what do I do?  I am certainly not looking to bust up the family over it.  But I don't want to continue on like this either.  I need support via an e-mail buddy who is in a similar situation striving for success in their relationship too, or advise from those who have been there and succeeded in resolving or finding solutions.  I think it would be helpful if it was also someone who had a similar level of the BP that they are dealing with.  I know my sister's husband was far higher on the spectrum scale than my husband and he was explosive with his temper (never physical though).  Because of that, she was dealing with so much more than I do.  Mine is tedious and tiring and lonely.
 
Thanks for listening and I will appreciate any feedback or buddies that I find to be supportive with.
 
Loving Frustrated Wife
 
 
 
 

jerseycherries
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 178
   Posted 6/6/2007 12:01 PM (GMT -7)   
as a person with about the same type and kind of bp as your husband, your asking him to act and think rationally when its not so very easy to do. which then becomes more frustrating and makes the situation worse. and maybe by avoiding you he is just trying to figure it all out in his head. he probably knows it wasnt rational but cant figure out why he made it what it became. and he's embarassed. well at least thats what happens to me. and i will try to get my husband to log on here and set up a user name and maybe he could be of come help. he's kinda in the same boat. but i'm not promising he will do it. we're both new to the diagnosis. (may 9th) so still trying to get used to it all.
I am bipolar, have social anxiety, panic attacks w/agoraphobia , diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure. Life is short but i am not.


loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 6/6/2007 12:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for responding. I agree with what you are saying, but is it wrong, once you have worked it out in your head to then go to the person you spilled it out on and acknowledge while it bothered you what was said, because of your BP you over reacted, took it out on them unfairly or took it to far and for that you are sorry? You wish it didn't have to spill out on them, but you appreciate the patience it takes on thier part. I know for me I have been married to him for 15 years and love him dearly. But, dealing with this without him being responsible that it affects me to feels unfair. I didn't make him a BP. I am just trying to live with him and be partners through life. Shouldn't he learn to OWN it. On the occassion I might be PMSing I have to own that, don't I? I can only share, on the few moments he has done this, it make a WORLD of difference to my ability to cope with it as his spouse. There have been moments (okay few and far between) but moments where he will even catch himself in the middle, stop, and say - wow...I'm overreacting here. Let me back up and let's start again, you haven't done anything wrong here. It makes me love him all the more when he does this and I know in those moments I can continue on. Does that make sense?

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 6/6/2007 12:17 PM (GMT -7)   
jersey cherries, btw, if you husband is willing, I would love to chat with him too. I really do appreciate your openess.

jerseycherries
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 178
   Posted 6/6/2007 7:58 PM (GMT -7)   
when i over react, which is often, if i dont catch it during the moment and realize later then i do apologize for it and admit. but my husband is really good and understanding and doesnt normally react or push back so to speak. he just kinda lets me catch myself. and maybe its just easier for woman then it is for men to be that open and honest. i dont know. because i have no problemn saying i know this doesnt make sense but i cant help it right now. and i'm sorry.

have you tried to tell your husband, in a way that he wont feel like he's being attacked, that you would like it if he were more open about those things? i'm not sure how to do that or if there is away to do that just a suggestion. or talk to your counselor or pdoc about it and see how they recommend going about it. maybe its a good therapy discussion. or maybe you already have discussed it there i dont know. just a though. and husband just got home so i'm going to ask him about the emails.
I am bipolar, have social anxiety, panic attacks w/agoraphobia , diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure. Life is short but i am not.


loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 6/6/2007 9:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Jerseycherries, yes, I have tried COUNTLESS times over the years to talk about this in EVERY nonthreatening, easy, kind and loving way possible. It has been brought up in therapy numerous times - we currently do not see one together as he doesn't want to. He seems to "get it" for a short period and then it vanishes again. I guess it is fine when he is the strong loving sweet man I married, and not when he is moody, controlling, frustrated, whining, snarly man. Those are like the two guys I live with. I love one and tolerate the other for the sake of the kids. But as I said in my original e-mail. Given the way he talks to me at times during this, I have to question what my kids are learing from this. In some ways I see what I learned as a kid is what is allowing me to stay in this marraige - my mom believed in the vows you make with marraige (as do I), so she stayed in a difficult marraige to her second husband - and while she loved him, she was never really "in love" with him. There were too many problems for thier love to grow from the beginning. Both brought 2 kids from previous marriages to start, then they had two more. (I was from first marriage of my mom's and he was rittled with problems and my relationship with him was never very good) (Her second husband I had adopt me when i became an adult since he was really my daddy from the time I was 5) After my little sisters were born we were then a family of 8. My point is, I know my mom was never really "relationship" happy, even though she as a person found happiness due to career or kids, etc. Now, I different from her, DID marry because I fell deeply "in love" with my husband. And at his core he is a wonderful man, everything I want. But I also must be honest and confess if I didn't have my kids, I don't know that my "love" for him would sustain me through this unhappiness of being treated this way all the time. I don't get my loving husband with much consistancy (and to add to it his drive in the bedroom is almost nonexistant), so therefore I don't know if I would still be here. But I do have my kids, and we are a family. So I honor that, with coping skills I must have learned from watching my mom. WHich is my point. In some ways, I want my kids to be happier than me. Have a healthier even more fulfilling relationship then they are seeing us have. I don't always think the respect thing is going both ways. I mean I do know he respects me, and I him, but he is not the consistant one about showing it and I am. I want my kids to learn and see a healthy couple who works through their problems and remains respectful in how we talk to and treat eachother so we are consistantly setting a good example. I think they only see that around here about 25% of the time at the most. Otherwise, they only see it on one side, and therefore it is too imbalanced. I don't want them learning the wrong lessons and am beginning to fear maybe they are with how I see them treat eachother. (My oldest is 13 - bipolar/adhd, then my boy/girl twins are 6) It is hard to live like this. I am tired of it. I want it to be better between us so our family can grow healthy and happy forever. I just don't know if that is ever going to happen here with ANY consistancy and that is one of my issues. I'm trying to be realistic and therefore I'm scared and sad. I know I am rambling. Sorry for that. Did I make any sense? I came to the support boards in the hopes of finding just that - support, as well as giving it (after all, I have made it 15 years) and maybe getting a few ideas from those who have succeeded with others at this similar level (frankly, I don't know how marriages with people higher on the spectrum scale can survive - it is hard enough at this level!). I am really appreciating any information or feedback I am recieving. Thanks again jerseycherries. I do look forward to chatting with your husband as well. But either way, I have felt much less alone today. So thank you! I just wonder why there isn't a specific site for spouses? If you guys hear of one, let me know too.

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 6/6/2007 9:48 PM (GMT -7)   
jerseycherries, BTW - one last thing...I don't want you to think I blame my husband for these issues. I don't feel it is his fault. He didn't ask to be BP. But he doesn't exactly take ownership of it either so therefore it makes it THAT much more difficult to live with and the strain it causes. That's all. Thanks again.

jerseycherries
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 178
   Posted 6/7/2007 6:32 AM (GMT -7)   
i totaly understand everything you have said, and agree that it is very frustrating for you, and all the spouses of bipolar. as i am bipolar i can only give my side, my husband did join but hasnt had time to post anything yet. he's at the vet right now. we've got a sick puppy. but his "name" or whatever it is is bigjimbo73 so you can kinda watch for him. and i hope that you two can help each other out and i know that there's another spouse new to the site floating around here too.

i wish i could be of more help
I am bipolar, have social anxiety, panic attacks w/agoraphobia , diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure. Life is short but i am not.


stressed in bama
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 6/8/2007 12:23 AM (GMT -7)   
 Welcome to our world....
 
 I, too have a bipolar husband. He was diagnosed late last year. We have been through some very rouugh months. My husband done a lot of self medicating which made him abusive to himdelf. He is finally not self medicating and his meds are working. He has a rough time getting  moving in the mornings and his head cleared. I know the frustation and I too, feel so alone most of the time. My husband dosen't go out alot and is not a social person so I do most everything by myself . I have pointed out to my husband that he dosen't give me credit for anything and I feel like I have to do my remembering and his. This week I got my dr.s appointment mixed up and missed it. I get in from work in the morning and make sure he takes his med and before i go to work I make syre he takes his med. If I don't personally give it to him he can't remember if he has taken it or not. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed trying to keep on top of thigs at the house and look pout for him too.
 I hope you all are seeing a counselor . They should be having sessions with you to help you to deal with all this. Don't know if this is any help but hon you are not alone. Take care and let me know how you are doing because I care. :-)

Honey Bee
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 114
   Posted 6/8/2007 1:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi to everyone here. I have just found this forum and was really interested to read others stories, issues and problems. To give you my story (in a nutshell) I, to have bipolar husband. We have been together for 21 years now since I was 17 years old. However, he has only been 'diagnosed' as bipolar type 1 2 years ago now. We also suspect his father and one or both of his sisters are bipolar as he had a very turbulent family life and upbringing. For most of our time together (until 2 years ago) my husband had many periods of depression and mania and spent much of his life blaming other issues/people for the way he was feeling - some of the time it was 'my fault' as I was the closest to him and so by deduction his misery was due to me or his family, work, money problems! Of course it was sometimes these issues but most of the time was due to how he was feeling due to the bipolar. Again, I have never blamed him for treating me and others badly as I wouldn't wish BP on anyone. However, a few things happened 2 years ago, firstly we moved countries and changed our life significantly. For the first time we were away from all of the issues which had previously caused us problems. We were also in a better place financially and yet my hubbie still felt very depressed. This combined with seeing something on TV and then doing some research and a questionnaire on the web led us to the a psychologist, the doctor and then finally a psychiatrist to confirm the diagnosis. Well, it was like switching a light on in our lives, we now had a name and condition for why my husand and had felt these massive highs and lows since his early teens and the fact that he never felt okay in the world. BUT the main thing for both of us what that he finally acknowledged that he suffered from the disorder and that a lot of the problems we had suffered in life with people, reactions to things, losing his temper etc. were due to HIM and not always the people around him. To 'Loving Frustrated Wife' I can honestly say that until your hubbie acknowledges these things and accepts that even on medication he is never going to be totally 'normal' (sorry to use this word, I hate categorising people in this way but you will know what I mean by this). I don't know anyone who is bipolar so we have spent the past 19 years feeling totally abnormal with family, friends, work colleagues. Noone else seemed to have the experiences I had and like you all here I have felt very lonely and also very anxious for a large proportion of my adult life because of this. It is really encouraging to find that my own experience is not unique.

However, what I will say is that if you can move forward past this period. My hubbie takes Effexor and more recently Lithium and we are only just starting to understand and accept BP but we do now make jokes about things/his reaction to things/the terrible prejudice that exists on BP on a weekly basis towards BP individuals etc. We live and work together 24 hrs and have an extremely good relationship even though we have had some really terrible times!

What I am interested to hear from other members is how they have faired with keeping and forming new friendships and also family member reactions. This has and still very difficult for us. We have made friends but lost them along the way due to prejudice and misunderstandings and also family members. My husband is now longer in touch with any of his family as dealing with them was just becoming too stressful. It is just the 2 of us. When first diagnosed my hubbie called his mum to explain things. He told her some very personal things about suicide etc. well since that day she no longer speaks to him and has just buried her head in the sand and doesn't acknowledge that there is an explanation and possible help for the way her son, daughter and husband have behaved/experienced life! My parents until recently have spent the past 20 years thinking I should leave him and that I have had a very 'hard life'. However, most surprisingly to me they have now made an effort to understand the disorder and have a better reaction to my life. Previously they spent a lot of time criticizing us and wondering why we have lived it the way we have.

Anyway to summarise, everything you have experienced 'loving frustrated wife' I have as well but please keep trying with your hubbie and hopefully in the end he will acknowledge that just because he is on medication he is 'normal'. We all know that is never going to occur but you can minimise the disruption in your life and the effect on your children by acknowedging and understanding the effect his behaviour and reaction has on people. You are right to be concerned as my hubbie 'learn't all of his behaviour towards women from his father and family and it has taken a long long time to get over this and accept that living like this is not acceptable.

Post Edited (Honey Bee) : 6/8/2007 2:33:10 AM (GMT-6)


loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 6/8/2007 2:42 PM (GMT -7)   
To Honey Bee & Stressed in Bama, thank you for sharing your stories and advise. It is so greatly appreciated. Are your spouces at the same level of the condition as my husband (which I described above)? I think you identified type 1, but I am not sure what that is. Our psychiatrist discribed a spectrum to the condition of 50 degrees. Meaning there are 50 different manifistations and levels to the condition. Worst level at the top making up about 10% of all BP is manic depression. My husband is down at the lower end of the spectrum - not huge highs, not huge lows, no violence - but constant needling low frustration tolerance, constant over reacting to things, inconsistant on feelings and behaviors (the here today, gone tomorrow type of thing), blaming, etc. It looks like a normal person until you experience and see that it goes beyond the levels of normal in those behaviors and/or reactions, and sometimes doesn't have rhyme or reason to it.

If we are all dealing with things around the same level, I would love the opportunity to become support e-mail buddies and get to know each other for a support network. Reaching out this time when I was sitting here feeling bad really helped, and I am happy to see others who have been married for a longer period of time like I have been (15 years and counting). Would you be interested? If so, please e-mail me directly using my e-mail link and let me know your as both your e-mails are currently blocked so I was unable to contact you direct about it.

Again, thank you for sharing your stories and experiences. I am so grateful to have found this site and had the privilage to be meeting you.

Honey Bee
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 114
   Posted 6/8/2007 5:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi again loving frustrated wife. Type 1 is the more severe of the condition and my husband is at the more severe end of the spectrum as he suffers from serious lows (to serious suicidal thoughts) and also goes very high and suffers from mania. He also suffers from rapid cycling which means he can have many highs and lows throughout the year which makes things very hard to manage sometimes, even now when we have more understanding of the illness. For example he has periods when he can sleep for 18 hours a day at times (in depression) and then go to the other extreme where he sleeps for about 3 hours a day and is totally 'wired', talking quickly, wanting to spend money, do lots of other 'crazy' things etc. I think the term 'low frustration tolerance' is a very accurate explanation for one of the many problems with this disorder. I can honestly say that I have spent a huge part of my life living on my nerves and hoping that this and that would be alright so it didn't set my hubbie off. I think this is still extremely difficult to manage as possibly his behaviour doesn't seem that 'extreme' to him so is easier to blame others etc. Although I have got to say I have had some very terrifying moments in my life (both with the highs and lows) and some extreme behaviour and it still didn't register with my hubbie that there was something wrong and that this was not normal behaviour and reaction to situations.

I don't think it matters that your husband is at the lower end of the spectrum we will still be experiencing a lot of the same things and think we would have a lot in common re how we all feel. One additional thing is that I myself, although not Bipolar have had several awful periods in my life where I have suffered from severe panic attacks/agrophobia and continue to have a lot of anxiety on a daily basis. This was there before I met my husband and although it gives me some insight into mental illness has made things harder for us. One thing though is though my hubbie has been unbelievably supportive in my bad periods despite the bipolar.

I have just been reading your comments again particularly this one:

"Shouldn't he learn to OWN it. On the occassion I might be PMSing I have to own that, don't I? I can only share, on the few moments he has done this, it make a WORLD of difference to my ability to cope with it as his spouse".

I cannot explain how MUCH of a difference this has made to my life and my patience with my hubbie and his BP. OWNING it and realising when you are overreacting etc to situations makes a world of difference in your ability to cope when you know that you are being appreciated for your long term care and support of your husband with this disorder. Up until very recently I often wondered what the hell I was doing staying in this life and putting up with this behaviour (even though it is not their fault) when I could possibly living a much calmer life. However, love does this to you and even though we have had a hard life in some ways I wouldn't swap my husband for the world.

On a more positive note the Bipolar has had some benefits to us (which people often don't talk about). In the high periods it has allowed my hubbie to strive to achieve things he would never have done before. For example we moved countries (before ever visiting the one we moved to) and we would not have done this without a particulary high period which gave us the energy,courage and determination to do it without listening to other people's prejudices. This was without doubt a good long term move for us so i can't all be bad. In these periods my hubbie can also learn/master new things for his career which would ultimately have taken him months and years to do in his normal mode.

Let's face it not many BP people have successfull long term relationships and I stlll feel very proud that we are still together and mostly happy and have got through a lot of the terrible times. Most of my friends, associates etc. have been divorced with none of them suffering from something as hard as this in life to deal with!

Post Edited (Honey Bee) : 6/8/2007 7:07:32 PM (GMT-6)


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 6/9/2007 6:51 AM (GMT -7)   
I often feel very guilty (guilt is one of my specialties) about the emotional mess I force my husband to deal with on a regular basis. Mostly he's very good natured about it. But not always. And he's good at reminding me that bipolar or not, it's up to me to take care of myself and try and keep myself healthy. If I'm making it worse (stressing, missing meds, etc...) he'll give it to me.

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 6/10/2007 10:58 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Honey Bee, thank you for writing back. And welcome Serafina. I do agree with you Honey Bee that regardless of the levels of the BP, we could still be a support and help to each other. I would love the opportunity to be more direct with you about some issues. May we e-mail to each other directly? You can just click on the e-mail button on my posting to reach me.

In what you wrote "being appreciated for the longterm care and support" I think this is a main reason my husband won't acknowledge anything. He hasn't recognized that his behavior effects me that way and how hard he is to live with because of the disorder. He doesn't view my staying, or acknowledgement of the BP as support and the idea of me giving him "longterm care" doesn't exist for him. He will tell you he is not sick and don't be insulting to him. There is nothing wrong with him. So he is BP, that doesn't mean anything! He takes his meds and so he is FINE! When I try to suggest that he is over reacting and that is the BP, he gets even more angry insinuating I am trying to MAKE there be something WRONG with him and always his fault. That's why it is so difficult. It sounds like you are able to make those suggestions, or have those conversations with your husband without those issues. How do you do it? How do you speak to your husband so that he does not feel like this about it?

And Serafena, it sounds like to me that you and your husband both are in agreegment that due to the BP, these exaggerated issues are in both your lives, and as it is your issues, you need to be responsible. Alas, that is my issue with my husband. He does not seem to go beyond that ability to accept treatment for it, he does not like to discuss it or own it beyond that as I have shared. I would also love to know how your husband communicates it to you that allows you to not feel threatened in owning it.

I think for the man to be the one with BP, perhaps it adds the additional nuance of feeling very emasculated by it. I know a man wants to feel like the rock, the protector and provider - head of the household type of thing that his wife can count on. While also being on equal footing and in an equal partnership with his spouse. And that is the silly thing. My husband, BP or not, is all those things! But I guess for him - acknowledging it would mean he wasn't in his eyes perhaps. I am so lucky in that he is a smart, professional guy with a strong entrepreneurs spirit and barring a rough patch that has lasted about 2 years (which financially we are now pulling out of) he has been successful in business, has a fabulous reputation and is a very good provider. We just have an ENORMOUS amount of medical bills and expenses due to all the meds and therapy and doctors for both my husband and oldest son (not to mention my own health problems that have reared its head over the years). It is interesting to me that the way he behaves with me, he would NEVER allow himself to behave with clients. He is patient, calm, kind and respectful in the words he chooses, and able to actually discuss topics without becoming frustrated during them for any reason. It feels like the school story - kids treat teachers with more respect than their parents. But if kids are capable of that at school, they should be at home as well. Shouldn't they? Or is it the difference of letting the hair down at home and not having to put on aires?

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 6/11/2007 7:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Laughing. Well, I didn't say I always LIKE it when he makes me take responsibility for it, but lets face it, I am a grown up and I am responsible for my own behavior, even with the bipolar disorder. That said, I'm mostly very high functioning and pretty self-aware. I am also (oh boy, am I gonna regret saying this...) a woman. There seems to be, IMHO, a difference between the way men and women relate to their own health issues. And while I say that, I completely accept that as a gross generalization and that real people are exceptions all the time. Nonetheless, I believe it's a point worth making. I find, even with my own wonderful spouse, that he has a harder time even admitting something medical or emotional is bothering him, let alone seeking treatment for it or continuing treatment for it.

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 6/11/2007 7:57 AM (GMT -7)   
I see what I missed now, Loving, that you intimated too that being a man makes it harder for your husband to have the BP, that admitting to the illness is somehow emasculating. I agree. I find it frustrating and undermining too; In the throes of depression, the emotional upheaval makes me feel like a useless person, but I don't blame my husband for that. I blame myself (again -- a female tendency, I'd guess.)

How does he let me know --- good question. He's slow about it. He doesn't push. For example, he'll say "Do you realize you're legs are bouncing and you've been talking for two minutes straight?" And I'll either laugh it off or ask him "Really?" and he'll let it go unless I ask for more feedback. He knows he's planted the seed of awareness for me and I'll keep a closer "eye" on my mood. Or because I have a tendency to self-injure, he'll keep an eye out for picking and cutting, which I do without even really being aware of. He'll knock on the bathroom door and say "You okay?" which I find annoying sometimes, but again, he doesn't push it, he just brings me back to mindfulness.

And we do fight sometimes. If I've been really wonky for a long time (like I said, I've been up and down for the past month or so) he gets tired. I would too! And he snaps at me and gets condescending at time and tells me he's sick of me being so moody. I resent that in the moment, but I really can understand. Truly! I forgive that just as he is by and large my greatest supporter and advocate. He doesn't push me, he listens when I ask him too, he urges me to be the most healthy person that I possibly can be.

wow this ended up wordy. Sorry about that.

fallynangel79
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 6/12/2007 7:53 AM (GMT -7)   
I decided to jump over to this thread, since its getting many replies. If you care to read my explination of my situation, it is in another thread somewhere below this one. To make a long story short, I am newly married and also have a husband that has BP. Im extreamly uneducated at this and my main question to you all is.....Is it possible for BP to "just come out of nowhere" as I feel that it has in my situation? Things for my husband and I were perfect up until 3 months ago and then he began getting very aggitated by everything. I will not deny the fact that this scares me and make me wonder if anything bad could ever come of this. I am a constant worrier, And have actually decided that I would name myself the Queen of Anxiety.

I believe that we have been stuck in an acute manic phase for sometime now but believe we are now on a "up" with his BP. Since he decided just days ago that we need to redecorate our home because it is too depressing for him. I agree but will not acknowledge that to him. :) He has went from being extreamly aggitated, screaming, being verbally abusive, punching holes in the walls, and just not letting me speak to wanting to go here and there and is now asking me why I dont talk to him. The simple fact is that I am scared to even open my mouth for the fear of it setting him off into one of his rants.

I personally started off believing that I just wanted out of this marriage but have been encouraged to stick it out for now because that is what I took vows to do. But how much can one person take. I have read all the other posts and they have honestly brought me to tears because I now realize it is possible to make it in a marriage with a spouse with BP but Im not so sure Im willing to go through this rollercoaster myself. Im totally confused and have no idea what to do.

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 6/12/2007 1:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Fallynangel79, I don't know that anyone will be able to say something to you that will transform your marriage, or be able to say "YES" stay, stay, stay. That is going to be an individual choice for you to make. The bottom line is you have to decide if you want this in your life. I read your initial posting and what I see is that you are young, he is younger, he came into the marriage riddled with issues, and frankly I am sure you did to. You then married quick and added to the mix by the pregnancy. What I can share, and again, I have a milder case here than others, it still isn't an easy life. As you read above, I struggle with the way I am spoken to and blamed for things. While I don't get called names, threatened, or deal with the high high's, or low lowsl, I do deal with the blaming, snarling, over reacting...etc. when a "normal" person wouldn't act like that. I will be honest and share with you that had I not had my kids (boy 13, twins 6), and was perhaps in a better financial position, I most likely would not still be here. Love, or no love, that I feel for my husband. It is too lonely, tiring of the same crap and painful on a regular basis. The love from the man I married, the fun, passion, comfort we had with each other is not here often enough. I may not even have stayed if I hadn't had my twins. If I only had one child to contend with on my own. But I do, and I, by having chosen to have them, have a responsibility to do EVERYTHING I can to keep all my kids family together. My happiness in someways takes a back seat until they are grown. Then if I wanted out at that time, I can. OR if the nastyness of blame, low frustrations tolerance...i.e. the crap, crosses the line of abuse and is now not benefiting my kids that I stay, I may still leave one day. And what you have to get is that none of that means I don't love my husband. I do, VERY much! But living this way is VERY hard. The man I married I only live with part time, and I miss him terribly. I don't want to live with a person who is not responsible fully for their own problems. I am here to support and love, absolutely, but not to have to be in this partnership alone so much of the time. But for the moment, I choose to continue to stay, with hope that he will get more control and responsible over this, for my kids, because I feel a responsiblility to do so and I am honoring our vows. I am also NOT young like you. I am already 47. That plays a part of this as well.

You are young and while I am sure you too love your husband, my advice is make your decision sooner than later to the question of stay or leave. Because the older your child is, the MORE inpact it will have on him negatively later both by either staying with this level of chaos or leaving in the future. You should definately be in counseling and working through this with help. Either way, you should have a plan for yourself and work it. Get an unbiased support group in your hometown if at all possible with others who can help you.

But to live unable to speak, or not be allowed to express yourself, is no way to live. I hope my candor has helped you in some small way to sort through the choices you have to make before you.

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 6/12/2007 1:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Serafena and Stressed In Bama, thank you for your input, it is ALL enromously helpful. I would love to have the opportunity to e-mail each other directly. Do you have any interest? If so, just click on my e-mail link to this posting and e-mail me directly. I do find it hard to have a converstaion in this manner. I have some questions I would love to ask one on one, and I would have contacted you direct, however your e-mail link is disabled.

Hope to hear from you.

victory2007
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/12/2007 2:02 PM (GMT -7)   
hi
i am new to this forum . anyways here my story.
 
i am married for 6 yrs now . i think my husband has  bipolar disorder . i am a full-time student who & works full time .  he does not have insurance , so i had to wait a long time to get some free help . at first he was diagnosed of depression because he would sit on the couch and stare at walls or at the sky for hours , he does not work . then when he got on antideresants his bipolar side began to really show up.now i have a doctors appointment day after tommorrow . but i talked to his doctor and he feels he is bipolar.for about 3 weeks he has started to shop a lot . about 500 - 600 dollars or more a day.he has too many credit cards and he applies for more . i feel like all this debt is going to fall on me some day . i called his credit card companies and they said i cannot close his account as he is the sole account holder . i dont know what to do . i am sure he has bipolar . he talks and acts like he has supernatural powers . he says that he can fly planes , treat patients  , he is getting into high risk behaviors with borrowing lots of money. he was a medical student before he had depression . so he had a hugeeeeeeee amount of student loans . he did not finish his studies . he used to be a spender before , but no one knew he was bipolar. this antidepressants really brought it out. 
i am so scared , i dont know how to handle his shopping spree . will bipolar medications reduce it . he is getting verbally high now . talking fast and very loud and cursing.we do not have any assests together . but does anyone know if i am liable for his credit card debts.
 

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 6/12/2007 5:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Victory 2007, I would ask an attorney about the credit card issue immediately. Because I assure you if it is going to bite you, it eventually will. It did for my sister and it was not pretty. She lost their house, all thier savings, etc. They spent two years trying to repair things between them and have finally seperated because she couldn't take it anymore with all his issues. For the moment, when his back is turned, cut the credit cards up. Can't use what he doesn't have. Then watch the mail for any new ones, or replacement ones and shred them immediately. Give him a debit card with an allowance to his own checking account completely in his name, completely seperate from you. That is all I have to offer as a suggestion until he is regulated and helped for the condition and balanced, and dare I say rational?

sirwilliam
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 29
   Posted 6/12/2007 10:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello, I'am married to a BP wife of 7 years. I have dealt with cheating, physical abuse, and money problems, not to mention all the little things in between. As spouses of Bp loved ones, we have to make a choice. 90% of bp marriages fail, according to a well respected mag. Do we fight the good fight?

Are we caregivers? Put all of our own needs beside...
What kind of life do we want?

victory2007
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/13/2007 10:01 AM (GMT -7)   

thanks everyone for all the advice. I know i have a tough life ahead . i will have to endure and walk with faith and strength . i love him very much . but sometimes life gets very frustrated . he does not work , he is unable to keep any job. do u think i can apply for Social security benefits . is bp a permanent disabilty . today he is bit normal , not like last week . he even took off with the car to another state without letting me know . he planned to start some million dollar business . then nothing worked out . he live in a hotel for some days and returned home .

i want to ask all who have spent years enduring this . how did you all manage . did u feel like just running away. i love my husband . now i am financially vey unstable . but maybe in 2 years , when i graduate i will be able to manage things little better . i have though about quitting studies , but then i think about the hard work and money  i have put into my studies . i feel i should carry on .

thanks for all the help and advice . now i feel that i am not alone who is suffering with this.


jerseycherries
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 178
   Posted 6/13/2007 10:24 AM (GMT -7)   
if he is unable to keep a job then i would try for social security benifits. there is no harm in trying. and i think that bp is perment. its lifelong. it can be better and worse but not cured if i'm not mistaken. i am currently in the process of trying to get on social security/disabillity benifits. i cant work and when i did it wasnt for long. so i think that this is for the best. and if im denied i'm going to get a lawyer and talk to them and see if i have a shot or not. just some thoughts for you.
I am bipolar, have social anxiety, panic attacks w/agoraphobia , diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure. Life is short but i am not.


loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 6/13/2007 5:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Victory2007, DO NOT GIVE UP SCHOOL NO MATTER WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your future depends on you finishing!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Especially if you are planning to stay in the marriage and be the main and sole support of your family. Do what it takes to finish and succeed in that goal for YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you quit now because of your husband, you will always regret it, and eventually blame him. If you are choosing to stay, it does not mean that you must martyr yourself to prove your love and loyalty by quiting to care for him. Don't do it. It sounds like you have worked hard for this, so stick to it NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES - FIND A WAY.

Additionally, I really advise you to decide if THIS is the life you want with the man that you married to be "partners" with. If HE is not owning his treatment and working to get well and recognising that his behavior is WAY outside normal range of conduct, and is not considering you in the picture, then you are now turning into "mommy" not "wife". It is a slippery slope to go down and not advisable. Your job is to ensure that your rose colored glasses are off and you see things as they are, and how they will be, and then make the tough choices facing you with him. No matter what the decision. And remember, if a choice you make today doesn't suit you later, nothing is written in stone, whether it is stay or go. EVER. Good luck. JUST DON"T STOP YOUR SCHOOLING AND FINISH THAT DEGREE NOT MATTER WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hope that gives you food for thought.
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