I've been looking for sometime to find a support group for spouses of those suffering from bi-polar disorder. I was glad to find this forum. After reading the rules and several posts, my story isn't much different than most every other spouse on here.
My wife and I have been married ten years. We have tw o children together, and one form her previous marriage. My wife was physically and emotionally abused as a child. She was diagnosed about three years ago after a suicide attempt. Since then we've found out at least one of her extended family members is bi-polar as well. I am aware it can be hereditary, aand find myself watching our kids for signs of bi-polar behavior.
We are still trying to find the right meds for her. She still suffers from sleep abnormalities. Our relationship is strained, but stable. I try to be supportive, but i am constantly torn between my co-dependant behavior, my fear of her, my personal failings, and my dissatisfaction with how things are. Everyday seems to be a new test of patience or decision making. Do I ask about her meds, her mood, do I wake her when she sleeps the day away, do I tell her to go to bed when she's up past 3 or 4 in the am. Do I tell her drinking doesn't help, do I let her have "a few to unwind", do I really think I can "stop" or "let" her do anything...?
Then there is dealing with the things she says or does that really hurt, or make you question yourself. No need to go into detail about that.
I know I can only control me. Its hard to figure out how to be. Her disorder has changed me and our family. We have grown terribly distant, and seem almost like two separate families in the same house.
I know I need to stand up for myself, to expect her to do her fair share, but at the same time be understanding of her condition. In the end, I'm committed to her and the kids. I may get so frustrated I want out, but I wouldn't do that to her, the kids or me. If you aren't ready to say goodbye forever, you aren't ready for divorce. I can't hardly say goodbye at all.
I say all that knowing there's no quick fix, no absolute answer, but to say I too an a spouse of a bi-polar wife. I feel your pain, I feel your need. I'm glad I found a place with people who understand.