Need help with helping my bipolar wife

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jasper
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/29/2007 7:24 AM (GMT -7)   
I will make this quick because I am not sure when my wife is going to wake up and I am not sure how she would react if she new I was typing this. I have been in a relationship with my wife 6 wonderfull years and married for 2. Several months ago she went manic and I had to check her in the hospital. She is now having suicidal ideations and very angry all the time. I have found a lot of advice from women married to bipolar men and it helps but I feel like it is a little different for husband married to a bipolar wife.

I love my wife because she is the nicest person I have ever met in my life. Now she is angry and mad all the time and I try to never blame her and allways tell her that we will get through but it is getting tough keeping our lives together. We have switched from Zyprexa to Serequal to Geodone, all with uniquely horrible side effects. I am going to ask her Doc about traditional antidepressants at her next apointment. I know some of these can cause mania but are there any that are safe for BP?

We have had a great life together and I am trying to hold things together untill this passess. She is really fighting to do the right things. She has stopped drinking, takes her medicine and has acknoledged the diagnosis. I have read that the depressive state that follow s the manic state lasts on average 3 months but can be years. Any help from women with BP or husbands who have weathered this would be great.

Thank you in advance for any help or insight

mogli
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1191
   Posted 7/29/2007 8:30 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi jasper,

Welcome to HW :-) Your situation sounds SO much like mine and my bf's.  I am bipolar, type II.  My bf and I have lived together just over a year now, and we've been together for almost 2.  We both want to spend our lives together.  My bf is supportive in so many ways.  I am waiting to go back to school to get a better career so we can have a secure future.  He has been and will continue to support us finacially while I go to school.  He wants me to not worry; he wants to make me happy; he wants it all for us.  The only time I feel he gets frustrated or upset, is when I'm depressed.  Those are especially hard times.  And sometimes he can get through it with me, but a lot of the times, it's stressful for us and our relationship.

I know how your wife is feeling, obviously.  I have to commend you on so many things that you are doing right.  You're reaching out and asking for help.  It sounds like you are very educated about the illness...that is the biggest thing.  You know about the illness, the different states, the meds, her meds.  You're recognizing that this is out of her control (not blaming her).  You realize that the state she is in, really will pass.  It might come back again someday, but this episode will pass at some point.  You even know generally how long this state she is in can last.  I am so amazed at all you know!  And I'm so glad b/c you'll help her that much more b/c of all you know. You really are being supportive, and I know that it can be so frustrating for you as well.  Not only that, but it's painful for you to see your wife in pain. 

I find so few people (even bp's) actually know about the antidpressant thing...causing mania.  It's not that there are those ad's that would be better than others for bp...it really is the whole antidepressant thing.  They all have the risk of having that mania affect.  So if you're going to mention it to her doc, normally when ad's are used in bp treatment, it is in combination with something else, like a mood stabilizer or other bp meds.  The doc might be willing to combine an antidepressant with another med for her. 

It's so great that she doesn't drink, b/c it will cause depression for sure...It doesn't help with mania either.  Good for her, really.  She sounds very strong.

I get angry when I'm depressed.  Irritable too.  It's happened already today, b/c I'm crashing.  As long as my bf keeps trying to comfort me and is calm with me (not frustrated) I can feel a bit better.  Other things that help me...sometimes if I write in my journal about my symtpoms, what's stressing me out, if I get it out in my journal, sometimes it can bring some relief.  Other times, I call my one girlfriend to see if I can come over for a tea...Talking with her about my symtpoms/things that are getting to me...helps.  This forum is a tremendous help, and actually resuced me from a deep deep depression a few weeks ago.  Everyone is very very supportive here.

Anyway, I hope that this passes for your wife much sooner than later.  Post again, let us know how you're doing. :-)


Mogs
 
Bipolar II, Anxiety/Panic Disorder
--currently not on meds for bp--


jasper
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/29/2007 10:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Mogli,

Thanks you so much for your response and sharing your own experience. Just hearing reassurance from someone who has had a similar experience is making me feel better. I find that talking to people who have no experience with bp either scares them away or they just don't get it (even close friends and family members). I don't blame them though because It is a difficult thing to understand and I am learning new things as a caregiver everyday.

I can't imagine how difficult it is for my wife to be going through all of this. I have a hard time knowing when to get others involved because I feel like as the person who loves her most I should be able to fix everything but I am learning this is not true. I called her doctor yesterday and she instructed me to double her Geodone dosage. She has been sleeping most of the time since the increase in dosage but when she is awake her thoughts are clear and less angry which is very encouraging. The serequal also caused her to feel sleepy a lot but it also seemed to cloud her thoughts.

It seems like the hardest thing is to find a medication that helps with the anxiety, anger and depression with out having so much sedation that she feels like a zombie. I want so bad just to fix it and make her feel better but I am resigning myself to the fact that it is a waiting game.

Thank you again Mogli, I really appreciate your response it has brightened my day. I know everyone is different but I will be sure to post anything that seems to help for others to try.

-Jasper

olivia of course
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1523
   Posted 7/29/2007 3:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Jasper,

I want to first welcome you to the HW family. :-)

Wow that's a rough place to be in. I too have been put on Geodon (on May 2007), for a manic episode. I still feel like a zombie half of the time and get overly sedated in the early afternoons. I wondered if it would get better, but my pdoc kept increasing my dose. I was taking 80 2x/day, but now it is down to 60mg 2/day. I had to learn to readjust to life with Geodon, but with time it has gotten a little better, a littlle better.

My moods, has never been betterm Geodon saved my life. Even my anxiety has gotten with it.

I hope it gets better for your wife soon.
Olivie
Moderator, Bipolar

Dx:  Bipolar 1,  PTSD,  Anxiety-Panic Disorder
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Honey Bee
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 114
   Posted 7/29/2007 4:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Jasper

I agree with Mogli that you are doing all of the right things and sound extremely supportive and caring. I have a husband who I have been with for 20 years who is Bipolar Type 1 and who has been in a depression now for about 8 months which has worsened significantly over the past few weeks to be suicidal like your own wife so understand how hard it is.

You will struggle IMO with family and friends as Bipolar does seem to scare people especially if they haven't experienced any mental illness of any kind even depression in their lives so I would stick with this forum and chatting to her doctor/psychiatrist/therapist if you can. I find that reading everyone's stories here really makes you feel less alone and 'normal' (although I hate using that term)!!

Again in my experience you need to be very patient with the meds and finding the right balance. This is very frustrating and hard for both parties especially when someone you love deeply is in the depths of depression there is a feeling of hopelessness that I don't think anyone can get unless they have been there and tried to help and support a spouse. Mogli is correct about the anti depressant meds in that they can cause mania so you need to be aware of this. My hubbie only took anti depressants for 2 years but had several manic episodes during this time so his psych put him on Lithium as well to try and stop the highs. However, this only caused him to go back into depression for the past 8 months without any highs! Bipolar people as you can imagine would much prefer the highs to the lows as long as they don't get too high and I can fully understand this. One of the unfortunate things about BP is that people generally do have a lot more lows and for longer during their lives than manic periods which makes it even harder to deal with. We have discovered the medication is a real trial and error with many different drugs and that hopefully we will find something that works (we are still in the process of this obviously as are many on this forum). So you need to hang in there on this one and try and encourage your wife to do the same although it is very tough I know. Also the length of time in either state does vary from person to person so there is no real guide.

Stay in touch with her doc if at all possible. One mistake that we have made recently is not being 'brave' enough to go back and be more forceful when the meds were no longer working or were causing too unpleasant side effects. I think this may be easier for you as you sound very strong and had the courage to admit your wife into hospital. I am thinking that I should have done this a few times in our lives but have not had the courage. I think it is harder for me maybe as obviously my hubbie is male and so tougher to deal with when he is angry etc. Although my hubbie has been suffering from BP since he was 13 years old he has only been diagnosed for 2 years we are really only in the early stages of trying out different meds. People have given me some good advice on here re this and persistance and patience seems to be the overriding one especially as their use of time seems to change.

Anyway, hope your wife feels better soon.

Honey Bee

mogli
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1191
   Posted 7/30/2007 5:05 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi jasper,

I hope your wife is feeling better today.  I just wanted to reply to the whole "zombie" feeling with the meds.  It's the worst feeling.  I don't take meds for my bp anymore (for now) and that was one of the reasons why.  That zombie state was too much for me.  I couldn't even get up off the couch, I was so fatigued and weak.  Every movement took a ton of effort.  It just made me even more depressed b/c I couldn't "do" anything.  The depression by itself can bring on these symptoms, I didn't need a medication making that worse.

It's so frustrating with the antidepressants being such a risk b/c it seems the other bp meds just don't help with the depression.  I wish I could go back on antidepressants.  Anyway, keep posting, we're all here to help each other.


Mogs
 
Bipolar II, Anxiety/Panic Disorder
--currently not on meds for bp--


jasper
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/30/2007 10:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all for your thoughtful responses,

I am struggling with how much I should let her sleep. She incredibly frustrated when she is awake but depressed about how much she sleeps. She is very strong willed and keeps telling me she needs to go to work but the last couple days she was at work she had to leave. I have an appointment with her doc tonight and a long list of questions.

I don't care about the money and her job but I really think staying home alone would be the worst thing for her. She hates being home right now but I am worried about her going to work with the side effects of the Geodone.

I know she trusts me and I think it helps when I tell her things will get better but I am worried that if I can't make things better with her doctor tonight she will stop responding to my reassurance.

Anybody have suggestions on sleep and work or reassurance and trust?

Thank you all for your help and for welcoming me. I have tried to suggest that my wife try a forum but she says she just doesn't have the energy. I am going to keep trying.

Thanks,

Jasper

jasper
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/30/2007 6:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi all,

The doctors appointment went well. We are backtracking to a combo of low doses of Seraquel and Geodon as that was the last time she felt ok. We are also adding in a low dose of lexapro to help with the anxiety and depression. I think her doc is pretty good and explained all her decisions. Just wanted to leave an update.

-Jasper

olivia of course
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1523
   Posted 7/30/2007 9:39 PM (GMT -7)   
jasper,

It sounds like things are going well, I am glad you got the medicine thing sorted out. I hope this will be easier for your wife to handle, it seems like she has been going through a lot of hard times lately Best wishes on things to come. Keep us updated on how things are going

Olivia


mogli
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1191
   Posted 7/31/2007 5:48 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi jasper,

Glad to hear things went well at the doc's yesterday.  I've been off of work since January.  I had to stop work b/c of my bipolar, and I have been busy applying to go back to school and getting it all paid for by the government.  I find out if I am approved tomorrow...eek! :-)

So I've been home alone all these months, and yes, sometimes it made things a bit worse with the depression.  Definitely.  Some days/weeks I was okay.  But all in all, I know I could not go on disability and not work.  It would feed this illness, and make it even harder to fight.  If your wife needs a major break to stay home, ajust to these meds, maybe a temporary medical leave would help?  The first few months after I left my job, were spent resting and just taking care of myself.  It was needed.  But it is also needed now for me to get out of this house.

I think your support and reassurance is a good thing.  I would keep supporting her that way.  This is not going to be an easy fix; but you can be encouraging and realistic.  Sleep is needed, but not too much...I would talk to her doc about that.

 


Mogs
 
Bipolar II, Anxiety/Panic Disorder
--currently not on meds for bp--


jasper
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 8/1/2007 4:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Good Luck with your school approval Mogli!
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