Does this sound like Bipolar?

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Trixy's Got Butt Trouble
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 296
   Posted 11/18/2007 4:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone.  I am hoping someone can help me and my husband get a grip on this and hopefully figure out what we can do to help my BIL.  My DH's brother was diagnosed with bipolar about a year or so ago (he's 30 or 31), however, he has exhibited this behavior for at least 3 years. 
 
Does this sound like bipolar (b/c it doesn't to me) and how can we get him back and get him help for good?  Here's our story....
 
about 3 years ago BIL was in another county.  He took off rather quickly and said it was for school.  One day we get a call, he said he was getting married in a couple months and to get our plane tickets.  We were so excited, especially me and started looking into getting a passport for our 1 year old.  Then within a few days, things started to unravel.  When I started asking questions like "how did you propose," "how did she yes." "when did you propose.", etc. the story started to not make sense.  A day or so later DH received a call from BIL's friend and said he was hospitalized - a psychiatric hospital. 
 
He met this woman, fell in love with her, but she didn't want anything to do with him in that regard.  He did propose, but she said no.  He kept after her, almost like stalking, and her family had to keep telling him to get away.  We aren't sure how he ended up in the hospital, but when we finally talked to him, he was now telling us he was Jesus and had healing powers.  Everything he talked about was religion and how I needed to baptise my DD and get DH to believe in Jesus and start going to church.  Our conversations were exhausting.
 
After about 30 days, the hospital realesed him with a psycosis/dillusional diagnosis and I believe a script for some scitzophrenia meds.  When he returned to the states, he stayed well for a while, but then last year around Christmas, things started falling apart again.  While there he seemed out of it, which he has always said the drugs made him feel tired and foggy, etc.  As far as DH and I know, he was not seeing a doctor, but just having his PCP refill his scripts.  He's been having issues keeping a job and seems to go through them quickly, claiming they are too hard for him.  He's a very bright man and held jobs in the past more complicated, so we just couldn't understand.  He finally had a really good job and seemed to like it.  So jokingly I asked when he was going to buy a house and move out of his parents house.  He said not until he gets enough money and that was pretty far off.  about a week after getting home from xmas, we get a call from BIL and said he bought a house near his job and is closing at the end of the month (January).  My initial thought was he is off his meds and making this all up again.  BTW, we have not heard him mention that he is Jesus since he returned to the States.  Well, he closed on his house and his parents threw him a house warming party.  All seemed well.
 
In the middle of March (this year), he was fired from his job and broke into his aunts house and tried to steal her wedding ring.  When my IL's arrived at the house, they tried to rationalize with him, but he pulled out a knife, started talking about he was Jesus and threatened to cut off his fingers if they didn't leave him alone.  The cops were called and was arrested and thrown into the hospital.  He was there for a couple weeks and was diagnosed with bipolar and sent home with meds.  He was supposed to check in with the hospital, but I don't think he ever did.  The entire time he was in the hospital and after he got out of the hospital, he still claimed to be Jesus.
 
Then about a month later, he appeared on a radio station saying he was Jesus, etc. and was thrown out of the station.  He parents hid his passport after the 1st incident and wouldn't give it back.  He was still talking about this girl from the other country and how he was going to marry her.  I believe he was still calling her.  When he wanted his passport and my IL's wouldn't give it to them, he basically said he'd give them eternal life.  When my IL's heard that, they were able to call the cops and have him put back in the hospital for observation.  Again, after 2 weeks, they released him and he was supposed to check in. 
 
He found a job and seemed like he was doing much better and still taking his meds when we saw him in September, but a couple weeks ago he either quit his job or got fired again, and took off to that other country to find a wife without telling anyone....undoubtedly the same girl.  We believes he is still Jesus and is talking nonsense.  His dad is dying and doesn't have much time, but refuses to come home to see him b/c God has other plans for him.
 
We are devastated.  We have no idea what to do.  We have no idea if the diagnosis is correct.  We feel the medical system and judicial system failed him.  Because he is an adult, we don't know what to do to get custody of him (if we can) and get him proper medical care and a 2nd opinion.
 
Does this sound like bipolar and what can we do to get him back in this country and get him help?  Sorry for the long story, we are at a loss here.
 
Sorry, but I have no idea what meds he was on.
 
Thanks!
 
Best Wishes,
Trixy (39)
dx Pancolitis, mild, w/more activity on left side & IBS
12 Asacol a day;
1 Rowasa at night during flare/1 a week during remission;
Nexium; Probiotic; Multi-Vitamin; Flax Seed Oil
UC manifesting to other organs: joints, eyes (Iritis) & skin (Erythema Nodusom)
Controlling w/MEDS & DIET (eliminating animal protein, white flour, sugar, dairy, eggs, & nightshade veggies)
Current Status:  11/2/07 Ending 5 month remission w/mini-flare :-(


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 11/18/2007 6:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh Trixy;

This must be just devastating, and first let me just extend some sympathy and say welcome to this board.

Next, I have to say that bipolar disorder, like most medical conditions, exists on a spectrum, and yes, some of this does sound possible of the extreme forms of bipolar mania I've heard of. For example, the National Institute of Mental Health site says:
 
"Sometimes, severe episodes of mania or depression include symptoms of psychosis (or psychotic symptoms). Common psychotic symptoms are hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or otherwise sensing the presence of things not actually there) and delusions (false, strongly held beliefs not influenced by logical reasoning or explained by a person’s usual cultural concepts). Psychotic symptoms in bipolar disorder tend to reflect the extreme mood state at the time. For example, delusions of grandiosity, such as believing one is the President or has special powers or wealth, may occur during mania." 
 
Here are some of the websites I recommend:
www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/complete-publication.shtml
www.bipolar.com/
www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_bipolar_overview
www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness&Template=/TaggedPage/TaggedPageDisplay.cfm&TPLid=54&Contentid=23037

And here's two really good books I recommend:
"The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide" by David Miklowitz
and "An Unquiet Mind" by Kay Redfield Jamison

You may also want to ask his doctor why he's diagnosed with bipolar and not with "schizoaffective disorder" which is similar but the delusions and hallucinations are even more prominent with that disorder.

Good luck, and please feel free to come here for free support and reality checks.

serafena


Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness. -- William Shakespeare

Post Edited (serafena) : 11/18/2007 6:09:14 PM (GMT-7)


Trixy's Got Butt Trouble
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 296
   Posted 11/18/2007 7:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Serafena. I feel like I'm all alone trying to figure this all out for my BIL. My DH and IL's take the word of what he tells them. Will we be able to ask his doctor that question due to the whole patient privelage thing? I guess that is where I don't understand the rules.

I did not realize symptoms of dillusion could be a characteristic of bipolar. It just sounds more like schizophrenia so that is why I was so confused, plus the meds that the Finland doctor prescribed. I don't know much about my MIL's father, but they are saying he had some mental issues, but never said if he was bipolar or what. My FIL said he used to be really into religion and would sit around reading the bible all the time. When the kids would come visit, he would read them stories from the bible. That's about all the informtion I was able to get from them. I guess my MIL's sister's son is Bipolar, but he has more of the classic symptoms and is not dillusional.

Is there something we can do to help him see that he is sick and that he needs to take his meds, or is this something he needs to realize for himself. Is there something that usually happens that will make him see he is sick - like a turning point? He thinks there is nothing wrong with him and went as far to say that his friend in Finland took him to a doctor there and they said there is nothing wrong with him. Of course, we know otherwise....how do we get him to see that? And, how do we get him back into the states? He is so intent on finding a wife that we are worried of what my happen....given his condition and the past with that girl. And, when he starts talking about Jesus and such with us, are we supposed to put a stop to it and remind him he is NOT Jesus, try to change the subject or go along with it.

Do you know if someone with these symptoms is possible of hurting others? I know he's not here now, but when he gets back, if he gets back, and when we go visit, I worry about the safety of my DD more than anyone else. DH thinks I'm paranoid, but given the fact that he tried to cut off his fingers, threatened to give his parents eternal life, he thinks he can save people, I'm worried that he'll do something to DD in hopes of saving her and bringing her closer to God. He always talks about how we need to do this or that with DD with regard to religion. I want to be supportive and don't want to put a wedge between me and my DH, but I also don't want to ignore my instints either.

Thanks again!
Best Wishes,
Trixy (39)
dx Pancolitis, mild, w/more activity on left side & IBS
12 Asacol a day;
1 Rowasa at night during flare/1 a week during remission;
Nexium; Probiotic; Multi-Vitamin; Flax Seed Oil
UC manifesting to other organs: joints, eyes (Iritis) & skin (Erythema Nodusom)
Controlling w/MEDS & DIET (eliminating animal protein, white flour, sugar, dairy, eggs, & nightshade veggies)
Current Status:  11/2/07 Ending 5 month remission w/mini-flare :-(


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 11/19/2007 12:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Trixy,

I'm absolutely no doctor, so I'd feel really uncomfortable saying whether or not he's likely to hurt anyone. I dont' know him. You'd be better able to say. My GUESS would be he's most likely to hurt himself if he'd hurt anyone, but I feel very uneasy saying anything about that. Go with your guts though. I wouldn't leave him alone with anyone at this point.

No, you can't take his word on anything. He's clearly psychotic and that's clearly the symptom of some kind of mental disorder, bipolar or otherwise. Bipolar, if left untreated, turns psychotic. If treated, we're pretty fine -- a little moody (okay some more than others. :-)) But extreme forms can get downright scary. Yesterday a man was telling me his father was in construction and at the height of his mania (and without his families knowledge) bought 20 !!!!! houses to "flip" at once. When his partners pulled out he was ruined. (And you thought your BIL was silly for buying 1!) My psych also told me about a manic woman without a dime who went to a dealership and bought 2 Corvettes!!!!

Delusions are a very serious symptom of the psychotic aspects of bipolar, if left untreated, and if he was raised with the bible, it's not surprising his delusions take the form of Jesus as opposed to say, great wealth. No, without hospitalization and medication, I don't think you going to "get through" to him. He needs serious medical attention. You need to get him to agree to see a doctor. You are right that a doctor cannot disclose your BIL's medical information to you, but you can voice your concerns to his doctor and ask his advice without asking him to disclose personal information.
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness. -- William Shakespeare

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