Hi, I'm a new poster and hope that no one minds terribly if I write a bit of a long post.
OK-- here comes a looong question/explanation of my problem. Your advice would be wonderful...
I was diagnosed bipolar about a year ago and have since been on Lamictal and Wellbutrin. I have noticed a dramatic change in my mood, and I feel few of the symptoms I used to. I've gone through medication adjustments, but I have finally found a combo that works for me.
That said, my concern now is actually about my husband and the possibility that he, too, is bipolar. (An odd coincidence?) I am aware that when he was in high school he suffered from severe depression that often turned into periods of severe anxiety, anger and reckless behavior. Since I have known him he has been an extremely irritable and angry person (punching holes in walls, knocking doors off their hinges, flying into rages over traffic, or minor disagreements with family, etc.) Since I was also suffering from bipolar disorder when we were first together, I had a hard time processing his behaviors and working to help him get treatment. He acknowledged that he had some anxiety/stress issues, but always shyed away from saying he was depressed. I only learned about his history w/depression in a conversation with his mother. He's also made it very clear that he hates taking medication.
Over the last year, since I was diagnosed and treated, things calmed down quite a bit for him and the rage episodes became fewer and farther between. I imagine my stability produced fewer issues over which he could fly into rages. However, I did notice him still seeming quite depressed, but he said it was just because work was really terrible (and I couldn't help but agree that it sounded like a bad environment) and because he was worried about finances. But more and more his reactions to problems (both big and small) have become more intense. He's seen a lot of doctors because he has been convinced that his problems are anything but mental. He saw a sleep specialist and started to treat severe sleep apnea, thinking that his irritability was due to sleep deprivation. But the fatigue and irritability persisted even after the docs considered it adequately treated. On the sleep doctor's recommendation, he went to an internist who found that he had a testosterone imbalance, and now he's being treated for that. Because of the residual fatigue after the apnea treatment, his internist also put him on Adderall. I convinced him to see a psychologist, but I'm not sure that he's been completely open with the therapist because the therapist has said that this is all just "stress", which I have a hard time believing.
So, since he started the Adderall a couple of weeks ago things have gotten much, much worse. I am beginning to see what look to me like manic behaviors. about two weeks ago he read an article about a person with a severe physical deformity and he became absolutely beside himself-- that something like that made him sure there was no God, that it just showed him what a cruel world this was. He made himself physically ill-- vomiting and crying and absolutely horrified by what he saw. Less so because of the strangeness or visual unpleasantness of the deformity, and more so out of terror and sadness for the afflicted person. For the remainder of the week he was consumed by it. Then over the past week he has been more and more upset about work, and more intensely angry over perceived injustices in the world. The moment I come home from work at night he launches into tirades hours long that start about his hard day at work and spiral into impassioned speeches about how terrible animal cruelty, health care, war, poverty, illegal immigration, the plight of people affected by the credit crisis are. To him everything seems interconnected. No amount of reasoning with him helps at all. He begins to say that he hates the world, that he feels like a victim of the world, that he can't imagine living in it anymore, and that the only solution is a "revolution." He'll also talk about taking out his rage in violent ways and talks about vigilante justice and how he has to make things right in the world. I am certain he would never act on these behaviors physically, but in the moment he's so passionate about it that it honestly becomes both frightening and exhausting. Last night his angry episode went on for over two hours during which I may have spoken once or twice. I've given up on trying to calm him and my suggestion that this may be a product of depression or a mood imbalance has fallen on deaf ears. At a certain point I just have to walk away. I want to be compassionate about all of this, but I feel helpless and, frankly, tired of it.
So, I have no idea what to do. I think his best bet is seeing a psychiatrist, but he is so tired of seeing doctors, paying co-pays, and trying new medicines that he vows never to see another doctor again. I want to drag him into my psychiatrist's office, but I'm not sure if taking him anywhere against his will will work.
The other weird piece of the puzzle is that he seems fine through most of the day, with some complaints of fatigue or frustration with work. But as soon as he walks in the door at home, all bets are off.
What do you think?
Thanks for taking the time to read this, if you have made it to the end... :)