Post Edited (olivia of course) : 8/7/2007 9:40:34 PM (GMT-6)
I am probably much younger than you (26), but I would like to reply anyway. I don't know anything about marriage, but I do know BP.
I am BP and I do know quite a bit about the complicated mess this illness can be. Having said that, I have learned that whenever we are looking at ourselves, our lives...our complications, our illnesses etc...it can be extremely healing to "simplify".
I believe, you need to first think of yourself, if in fact you are feeling you want to separate. If that is the case, if you think after everything, "you can no longer be her husband", then I think you need to take care of your girls and of yourself. Your wife has a long road ahead of her, so I think you need to figure out if you are going to be husband for that road, or friend, or maybe even more distant than friend for awhile. It could stay very complicated if you do separate but try to remain her closest friend, caretaker.
Your trust in her has been broken...if you want to stay with her, your trust needs to be repaired, which will be extremely hard b/c she's going to be going through symptoms, treatment (hopefully). There is so much to think about and to consider. It is complicated.
I hope she does well w/her treatment, it's really hard. Hopefully no matter what happens she can begin healing, your girls need both of you.
And you deserve credit for trying to educate yourself about the illness. You & your family are in my thoughts, I wish you all well.
I was so touched to read your post today, I was wondering if you would read mine, and I hoped that I didn't hurt any feelings or offend anyone.
It sounds to me like you are ready to begin healing. I say that b/c it sounds like you are starting to accept what you've been dealing with, and you are being understanding, very understanding to how your husband must be feeling. Good for you. I think that is wonderful that you understand where his pain is and why it's there.
On your journey you are going to need to love yourself, take care of yourself, and learn about who you are. And I understand that has all been confusing for you. You have caused pain, but you've also been in pain, so take things one step at a time, slowly. Reach out to anything that is available in our community for support, so glad that you have a counsellor too. Try to simplify the complications, so that you can focus and don't get overwhelmed.
Dutchie seems to be trying very hard to improve our situation. She is doing everything possible to win back my trust. When I am at work (such as now) she will drive the 20 minutes here to bring me a coffee. I tell her she doesn't have to, she says she knows that and that she wants to do it. Whenever she has to run errands she always takes one of the girls with her so I know she isn't up to anything. Things like this make me feel good but I am still unsure of what is real and what isn't. March and April have really messed things up for us, as I have said she seemed to be working on things but in reality was just trying to mask the truth. Every night when I am working I call at 9:30, our talks during March and April got longer because of the situation and she had asked me to call earlier than 9:30. I came to find out that she wanted me to call earlier because she was going out afterward and meeting him and it was getting too late. The part that really burned me was that she would leave our girls at home in bed while she was going out, she would leave a note with her cell number on it in case they woke up. This is why I never caught on, I never dreamed she would leave them alone. It is stuff like this that makes me wonder what is real.
Take it one day at a time...It really does sound like she is trying...I hope you both can work this out. I know it's hard and painful. I just can't say enough how much I am thinking of you both, and of your girls.
Sorry to be so brief... I am not feeling well tonight, and I'm exhausted.
Keep posting, this forum is helpful.
This may be a dumb question, but what makes this whole situation bipolar?
My wife says that problems began when I started my current job 8 years ago, I had always worked straight days and now I work a 12 hour continental shift where I work both days and nights every week. The nights I had to work she says she became lonely and ate moreso out of boredom, there was one huge money problem back then that we cleared up and I took over the financial responsibilities. Over the next 7 years she says that she continued to eat when I was gone and would shop for something to do. She always felt bad about her weight and figured I must feel that way too, and to a certain extent I did. When she began talking to the first guy (the e-mail guy) she found him to be very upbeat and positive, he always encouraged her and talked to her about his problems, she says he would come up and give her a hug for no reason and that it felt good. After the summer he went back to school and she now didn't have that encouragement and friendship that she desired. I feel that she had started comparing him to me and liking the fact that he always made her feel good about herself. A few months later she struck up a friendship with this other guy, this guy was not the same, he preyed on her desire for happiness and took what he wanted. In the end she was convinced that he loved her and she told me that a part of her loved him. She now says that she realizes her feelings were superficial and not truelly deep feelings, and that him talking about love was in fact just a ploy to get what he wanted.
I don't blame her for feeling distant from me. She portrays me as a loving husband that talks out his feelings, that is me....now. I never let her get to know the real me because talking about feelings and showing love was something that I used to take as a weakness. So I do understand to a certain extent why she felt this way.
So back to my question. What makes this bipolar and not simply someone that won't face their problems and is afraid to talk things out?
As I have said, I am new to this so I hope I haven't offended anyone by my questions.
BP is very complicated, but your question isn't dumb. The situation that you are both in can be found in marriages without a BP spouse. Maybe if I relate how my BP affects me and my life, you might be able to see how the BP has affected your wife, and your marriage.
Keep in mind, it also really depends on what type of bipolar your wife is dealing with...BP I, II or mixed states. That's really important.
I am BP II, also experience mixed states... and during my times that I am depressed, my insecurity can really get the best of me. I have a boyfriend who lives with me. We've been together a year and a half, living together just over a year now. I know when I am experiencing my lows (depressive symptoms) I feel worse about myself, I worry that he'll leave me or I'm not good enough, or he likes someone else. I'm not saying this is how your wife was feeling. When I'm hypomanic, I feel great about things, and I know that my relationship with my boyfriend is wonderful and I feel great about myself, appearance and all. My bf works long day shifts, and right now I am home all day b/c I'm waiting to back to school. So symptoms can really affect me when I'm alone. When depressed, being alone is scary for me sometimes. I get extremely lonely. If I'm alone and hypomanic, and if I had money, I would go shopping.
I have read a lot about manic states in bipolar (again, not sure if your wife is experiencing full mania, or hypomania...hypomania is "less mania") and from reading I know it is extremely common for people to do things they would not normally do... from breaking the law (very common) to maybe having an affair, things like that. It doesn't excuse this behaviour for anyone, and I know your wife would agree, but really it is what can be behind it all, the control of the illness. The symptoms are overwhelming footballfan, and very hard to manage or control.
I think that is why your wife has felt like someone else. I feel that way when I'm experiencing major symptoms. There have been things that I have felt, that I wish I didn't feel (like the insecurity) b/c my bf is very trustworthy, but my symptoms don't allow me to see that all the time. I feel like I'm not the real me sometimes. But I have learned to acknowledge those moments as the illness acting...and try to use the things I have learned, to work through them and not let them take over. That takes a lot of time and learning and practice.
What you said about "not facing problems...etc...". In the past, anything that was stressful for me, I wouldn't want to deal with it, b/c symptoms become much worse w/stress and therefore I would just not deal with the issue...It would always get worse, but I wouldn't deal with it the right way b/c it was too overwhelming for me, so it was better (not really) for me just not to face it. It was too scary to face. And it all is very scary to "talk about" as well. And hard to talk about. I still don't really like talking to my bf about my symptoms, the illness. I would much rather talk to someone who is BP and understands, or my pdoc. So it really is something that is hard to talk about. And guilt plays a huge role as well. If my bf and I have a fight and I know that my symptoms may have played the bigger role, I feel ashamed, that I wasn't myself, I feel guilty for upsetting him or us.
Sometimes, I push my bf away when I'm not feeling well. He'll ask me what's wrong, but b/c he can't understand fully, I push him away and tell him I'm fine. I'll become distant sometimes.
I'm really hesitant to comment on the specifics of your marriage, b/c I don't know you or your wife, AND...I'm not a professional. I do think she is remorseful, sincerely and I also know this is a struggle for you.
I hope this helped a little, keep in touch.
I know this is all painful for you both.
I am feeling a little better today, thanks for your feel better wishes, much appreciated.
Thanks for your reply, it shows a lot of courage to be able to open up and talk out your problems with a complete stranger. I noticed throughout your last posting that you used the word "scary" a lot, I have noticed from the beginning of this with my wife that she uses that word a lot too.
Like Dutchie said, I am not denying the dx I just want to make sure of it. The problems she has had with weight has been of concern to me. She always knew it but never knew the reasons for my concern. She always thought I was ashamed of her and didn't want to be seen with her, when in actuallity my concerns were that she was put on high blood pressure meds about 3 years ago and I didn't like that. Unlike my wife I face problems head on, I don't avoid them at all so when one comes up it has always bothered me that she would run from it. I see that bp plays a huge role in this and so does she. Anyways, back in January Dutchie says she had almost a nervous breakdown because of how she felt about her weight and how she thought I felt. She told me that she cut out her "extra-curricular eating" as she puts it and has lost 45lbs since then. I am very proud of her for this. A few days ago her dr. took her off the blood pressure meds altogether. I love that she is taking control of this but at the same time it scares me to death. She is a very attractive woman and as her weight goes down I fear she will attract that much more attention from the guys. Everyone likes attention, but she seems to use it to reassure herself and make herself feel good about her. I just hope that she can develop some self-asteem. If you met her you would never guess that she doesn't think very highly of herself. Everyone loves her except her.
This is going to be a long road. I have told her that it's like I don't know who I have been married to all these years. She openly talks to me about what she thinks I think and I tell her that she really doesn't even know me that well. The two biggest things to me in a relationship are trust and loyalty, this is why I am having such a tough time with this, hopefully some day it will all come together. The other day she told me that she was happy she met me, I told her that I'm looking forward to meeting her, we laughed (I hope that wasn't offensive).
Feel better and make sure your bf is talking out his feelings and fears.
I'm glad you posted today, you've been in my thoughts.
I know that you are feeling extremely guilty over everything that has happened, and I also know that you are fearful of what the future holds, not only for yourself, but for your marriage.
You need to take this all one day at a time. That saying used to annoy me, but now that I found my path to healing, I understand it, accept it and I am thankful for it because it allows me to focus. You do in fact have a new begining for your life, a new start like you said. Embrace it. It's hard not knowing what will happen with you and your husband, because it sounds like you've come to the realization that you love him deeply and want him with you in your new life.
But try to focus on yourself and what you need to do to grow stronger to fight this illness and to learn who you are. I know that's hard, I know you love footballfan so much, but the stronger you become the easier things will be for you down the road.
I hope you're in touch with your counsellor and your pdoc is monitoring you closely. Has your counsellor given you any feedback? How often are your therapy appointments?
I hope this all works out for you the way you want it to. Stay strong, and take things slow. I hope I didn't make you feel worse, keep in touch...
Mogs: I appreciate your responses to our posts. My wife could really use a friend right now and even though you are who knows how many miles away you are being a great friend to her.
When this all came out Dutchie had spoke of not wanting to go through all of this and then lose me in the end. I have always turned her attention to focus on finding herself and dealing with all the problems so she can learn from past mistakes and have a productive, fulfilling life. I did mention to her last night that in the end I didn't see things working out for us but I couldn't bring that up because I needed her to stay focused on her needs. She said from the beginning that she knows me and she knows that I won't be able to get past any of this. She knows me well. I don't know what is going to happen from here. I know that I have felt awful for the past four months and I'm tired of feeling this way. These events have dominated me, they have affected my work, my sleep, everything. I'm just tired. The constant thought of what is happening while I'm at work drives me over the edge, we talk on the phone constantly for my reassurance but it still eats at me. Today I didn't return any of the phone calls. I just focused on my work so I didn't have to think about any of this and to try to make the 12 hours go by quicker. I don't know if it worked, I know I don't like feeling this way and have thoughts that maybe some time apart will do me some good. I don't know.
I have questions about rapid cycling. As we have said before, Dutchie doesn't show the obvious signs of manic or depression. I talked to our councellor the other day and she said that all the destructive behaviour was manic behavior. I guess my question is why would she act "normal" while I am around and then go manic as soon as I leave? I mean severe, damaging stuff that she could only do if I wasn't there. I look at this affair and I'm sorry but I see this as a regular, run of the mill affair. Bipolar may have affected her reasoning as to how she was feeling and to how she felt I felt but this comes down to morals doesn't it? I mean she had to know that this wasn't a great thing to help our marriage. She must have known that if it was found out it would be the end for us. Did she not care or did she think that it was worth the risk because I probably wouldn't find out? Well I found out. I don't mean to sound heartless but through all of this I have been lied to, decieved and tricked into believing everything was ok.
Mogs: Afew posts ago you said you didn't want to comment on our marriage because you don't know us. As far as I knew we had a good marriage, we worked towards the same goals and looked forward to the future, because Dutchie could never voice her true opinion on things and make decisions she wound up resenting me for things I thought we were both working towards. I am not a control freak, I am a supervisor of 25 people at my work, at times I think I need to think for all 25 so when I come home the last thing on my mind is being in control, I'm sick of it and I want Dutchie to make some choices. In a sense this made her face problems and she couldn't do it. She resented me even more because I am the only person in her life that has made her accountable for everything and have made her make decisions. I have tried to be a team player in this and it has exploded back at me. Please feel free to make any comments you want, it will not be taken as judgement but rather as a helpful point of view.
I love Dutchie and I want to help her as much as I can, but the pain sometimes becomes unbearable and I need to find a way to put an end to all of this. Any ideas?
I could not be happier to provide some comfort to you and to your wife. This is a hard time I know.
I am glad that you are trying to get her to focus on herself. I think that is a great idea, and I know she can do it, it takes practice, and also sometimes the bp symptoms can make it really hard for her to focus, so keep that in mind. I know you understand she is going through a lot of emotions, so she'll get there, to that point where she is taking care of herself.
I know all of this is exhausting for you as well, and emotional. You do need the reassurance, so I'm gald to see that you've both acknowledged that and are working on that for you. If there are days that work maybe distracts you, then that's okay too. I hope that you can find some time to try and breathe and relax so that you're not so worked up and upset, it's so hard I know.
I definitely agree w/what the counsellor said about the behaviour being manic. I think I was saying that to you before, it's basically textbook. Rapid cycling is something I can relate to because my episodes are changing all the time (rapid cycling is when episodes of mania, depression or mixed states occur four or more times per year). The psychiatrist is the best person to talk to about her dx and her symptoms. Counsellors do understand, but make sure you're really talking w/the pdoc.
As far as your point about her actions while you were gone being regular b/c of course she wouldn't do those things while you were there...that's true, it's only normal that an affair would take place when you're not around. But like I said before, it's definitely manic behaviour, bipolar could definitely be behind what she did and what she was feeling. Like you said, it definitely affects reasoning. Morals, are lost or clouded from the symptoms sometimes and it's overwhelming. I just don't know what the pdoc has said about her other symptoms...
I can tell you that when I'm depressed or even hypomanic, I don't really talk about it w/my bf at all, so maybe all along, she couldn't talk to you about what she was feeling. She may have felt crazy or scared...I don't know for sure, but I think there was a lot going on inside of her.
And there is a lot going on inside of you right now. A lot of pain. Are you just seeing a counsellor together? I think that's a great thing and needed, but I don't know if you could do any individual conselling on the side, to help you deal with all of this? I don't know if that's something you would want to do, it just seems that you want to "put an end" to this stuff, and I think the only way to do that is to work through how you are feeling and what you want to do about it. You can get past anything that you want to get past.
It's going to take Dutchie time to take care of herself and get a handle on everything. She is worried about you I think, but that doesn't mean she can't focus on getting through her stuff. You both care so much about each other and you are doing all of the right things, seeing professionals and posting on this site for some advise or ideas.
I would say maybe do some one on one therapy for yourself...What would you think of that? Sorry if that doesn't sound like a good idea...I'm here if you have any more concerns or questions.
Take care, try to slow down, breathe, find some time to relax if you can, it's important.
I have been to the councellor once by myself. It is difficult to talk about how I feel and how I am dealing with everything, maybe eventually I can become more comfortable with this as I know I have issues to deal with.
You have it dead on about Dutchie not being able to talk about things. She talks a lot more now but in the past everything was avoided because that would bring her down and make her face facts. My mom (who is close to Dutchie) feels hurt that Dutchie wouldn't discuss any of these problems with her in the past. I have explained that Dutchie wouldn't talk to anyone not even me. We were at the councellors yesterday and I asked if Dutchie had been in a manic state for the past year as I never saw her get really down. It was explained to me that all the manic stuff was to keep her up and make it easier to avoid all the guilt and problems she had. It is difficult because all the stuff I read on the internet about bp is so black and white, it talks about symptoms and how she would act, sleep patterns, etc. The councellor and you Mogs talk to me about all the grey areas inbetween, this is very helpful for both of us to try to gain an understanding of this.
All of the avoidance of problems in the past, is this a symptom of bp or is this a different problem altogether?
I just wanted to respond to your question about avoidance. I think the avoidance comes from not wanting to deal, because it's "scary". The symptoms, the guilt, the stress etc. Especially the guilt part.
It is definitely a part of the bp. Definitely.
Thanks for keeping me in your prayers, it could not be needed more. You are in mine, depression is torture and completely painful, I am so sorry you are experiencing these symptoms.
You're doing great...I can relate to the memory loss, it's total confusion. Just try to focus on what you know now, it's okay not to have all the answers and to say honestly "I don't know". You are being honest.
Have to go, sorry so not well again today. But keep posting, I'll be here.