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Posted By : WendyT - 9/20/2017 2:20 PM
Hi everyone -
My mother-in-law has been diagnosed as bipolar a week ago. I've been married to her son for over 15 years and have never had a great relationship with her because she is very judgmental, rude and inappropriate. For these past 15 years I have been telling my husband that she seemed bipolar to me but she was only diagnosed as suffering from depression. I'm thankful we finally have a diagnosis and she is getting more appropriate medications - except - she's not taking the medications as she should, she denies that she has bipolar and she is in a manic episode. My FIL picked up and left today saying he can't do it anymore. My husband is permanently disabled and is suffering from depression himself. He is the only child. I'm not sure he can handle this on top of everything else....and honestly - I'm pretty sure I can't either. Hoping to find some sage advice here - thanks for listening!!

Posted By : kellyinCali - 9/20/2017 4:37 PM
Wendy, I am sorry to hear you are going through this. Is your husband worried about both your Mother and your Father? Is that what you are concerned about? I recommend that you reach out for support as often as to as many "safe" people that you can as this will be a trying time. Only your MIL can take responsibility for her dx and meds, as you surely understand.

Posted By : Tim Tam - 9/20/2017 5:39 PM
For your mother in law to have been correctly diagnosed in "only" 15 years might be a record, for brevity, for psychiatry. Usually it takes 20 or 30 years for psy. to get bipolar right.

Because, they see the patient in a depressed state, and diagnose as that. When they should think, if patient is depressed, maybe he is bipolar, not just a depressive.

They could ask, for instance, "Do you have racing thoughts?" and several other such questions.

I see from the replay to your post, that "FIL" must mean "father in law." I never could figure that out.

Maybe the father in law left because she's a bipolar who doesn't take her meds, and her behavior is so erratic.

If you could get her to take her meds, that would be great. My meds help me with that, calming my mania down, and keeping me undepressed.

Can you ask her if her meds are working? Why does she not take them?

Can your husband get treatment and perhaps take an anti-depressant?

Please let us know how this is going.

It's good that you reached out for help.

Posted By : WendyT - 9/20/2017 5:54 PM
Thank you both for your replies.
Yes, we are concerned for both my mother in law and father in law. We know he left today because of her behavior, he's been dealing with it for a long time and has reached his breaking point. Can't really blame him. He's tired and frustrated.
She is now home alone in a manic state - and says she doesn't need any medications because she's fine. She's just a little over excited because she just got out of a depression and she feels good, she's happy. She says she is not bipolar and those doctors don't know her so how can they say that. I'm not sure how we can get her to accept her diagnosis and take her medications - everything I'm reading says it's up to her. How can we ever get to a better place if that's the case? Is it better to try talking to her when she's not manic? Wait for the depression to come back?

Posted By : Tim Tam - 9/20/2017 8:18 PM
All great questions.

You say: "Yes, we are concerned for both my mother in law and father in law."

But then you also have your husband who is depressed.

How you're holding up is a miracle.

And you add:

"She is now home alone in a manic state - and says she doesn't need any medications because she's fine."


"She's just a little over excited because she just got out of a depression and she feels good, she's happy. She says she is not bipolar and those doctors don't know her so how can they say that."

Your description of a bipolar who has been in the depressed cycle, and has now gone up to the manic side, is very accurate. That's exactly what happens, which I as a bipolar myself have experienced.

We think people who accuse us of being equally sick when we think we have finally worked our way out of depression are jealous of us, are jealous of our happiness.

You point out: "I'm not sure how we can get her to accept her diagnosis and take her medications - everything I'm reading says it's up to her."

And "How can we ever get to a better place if that's the case?"

Maybe hospitalization, if she will agree to that. Do you have a hospital plan?

You note: "Is it better to try talking to her when she's not manic? Wait for the depression to come back?"

Very good question. When she's manic, she doesn't want to go back into depression. She needs to understand the Lithium (which I take for the mania, she may get another stgablizer) will not make her depressed, it will slow down the mania to where she can function. She will like it better than mania.

And, the anti-depressant she has (I take Mirtazapine for that side of my bipolar), will keep her from being depressed, which she is a lot of the time, and which the anti-depressant will keep her out of.

She needs to understand that the medicine will help her.

When depressed, though, it's hard for her to make decisions, like, should I take my medicine? So both sides are tough.

She may have to have an episode (I had a nervous breakdown). If she survives it, she may have to be hospitalized. Or agree to go to a psychiatrist, and just take the meds at home.

Or, just take the meds she already has. She should be glad she has you. If you can just talk to her over the phone, and maybe read to her what you have read on this website, and keep talking to her on a regular basis, maybe you can get through to her.

If she wants to contact this forum and talk to some fellow bipolars, that would be great.

Does she have a psychiatrist? When is the next appointment?

Post Edited (Tim Tam) : 9/20/2017 8:24:15 PM (GMT-6)

Posted By : WendyT - 9/21/2017 7:28 AM
Thank you Tim Tam - She was sectioned by her husband a couple of weeks ago - the hospital kept her for a week and then released her with the diagnosis of bipolar and the change of meds. She will not voluntarily go back to the hospital - again, she doesn't see that there is anything wrong with her and we all have the problem - not her. I'm not sure what meds they have her on. I believe they took her off of everything and put her on a mood stabilizer but I don't know which one, I will have to check the paperwork from the hospital. I think she does have a psychiatrist but he's the one that changed her meds and threw her into a manic state right before he left for Europe and told her to reduce the medication as needed shocked
She won't really tell us when her next appt is or who she's seeing. The Hospital and Dr's won't talk to us because of HIPAA. We apparently have no rights because she is an adult.
We are really just at the beginning of this fight I think and are unsure of how we can/should proceed with her.
Yes, my husband is depressed - he actually just started seeing a counselor (his first appointment was the same day his father decided to section his mother). He lives with chronic pain, has had 5 back and neck surgeries. He used to be a very physical person but has been dealing with this for 12 years. It has taken it's toll. I'm scared now that his depression will transition into bipolar. We have 2 daughters at home - 10 and 12, I don't like them seeing their grandmother this way. And they are old enough to be aware of the things going on.
I'm not sure how I'm holding up either, lol. I'm working full time to support my family, trying to maintain the household because not much gets done by my husband when he's in a bad state, and I'm feeling like I could break at any time. I just keep trudging forward because there is no other option. Ugh - thanks so much for listening, I probably should go see a counselor myself but I just haven't got the time to fit it in.

Posted By : Tim Tam - 9/21/2017 6:34 PM
I would try to stay positive that you can solve individual problems as they occur, and dealing with the situation overall.

I would try to get help from your children to pitch in.

Maybe buy meals at the grocery with the idea that they can put them into the oven for supper, buying TV dinners and frozen food so that maybe they can handle supper and cleaning the dishes afterwards so you can have some time off after work.

I would remind them that we are in an emergency state, not in an ideal situation. That with a full time job, you need some help at the house, and if they can put in a frozen dinner for supper each night, it would be a big help.

And if they can help with some of the household chores, washing clothes, cleaning house, that would be a big help, also.

Things are tough, but it could get worse, so let's try to avoid that, might be a message.

I know of a group of children who lost their mother and father somehow, and they were about to be orphaned off, and they would never see each other again.

So what happened was, the oldest child, let's say 15, took over the duties of the mother of the other siblings, and she would probably delegate to the next older child certain chores, and so on down the line. And they worked and stayed together as a family.

So, you might have to do a little bit of that. Tell them everybody is going to have to pitch in.

I would check in with the grandmother every now and then to see if she is taking her meds. Again, you can have her contact this board, but she may see your entries and get upset.

I would remind her of some of her most difficult times, and let her know the meds can stop that.

I don't know that depression changes into bipolar.

I would try to enjoy things as much as you can. As for myself, I watch TV in the evening, so I'm thinking if you can find something like that it might be a help.

And, again, if you think you can solve problems as they occur, you stand a better chance of solving them.

And if you think you can get through the larger situation, being positive helps with that, also.

Let us know how this is going.

Posted By : UserANONYMOUS - 9/26/2017 10:23 AM
Hi WendyT,

Welcome to the forum!

I am sorry for all that you have on your plate. Your MIL must be willing to accept help. This is the first step.
Is there anyone else in the family, or maybe one of her friends that she may talk to? Maybe you can try getting them talking to her.

I hope she changes her mind and is willing to accept help soon.

Moderator - Bipolar

Posted By : WendyT - 9/27/2017 1:21 PM
Thank you for replying... Father in law came back after a night away. He thought that would make her change :/

There is no one she will listen to right now - she is super manic. In her mind her husband wants to have her committed because there is something wrong with him - he is controlling and needs help.
She spent most of the other day washing and rewashing her clothes because she "can smell the mold" in them. She was outside last week pulling up grass under a tree and weeds in her flower garden because "she could smell the mold" there too. Then the other night she was cleaning the concrete floor in the basement - when her husband woke up in the morning the clothes dryer was pulled out and tipped on it's side. We have no idea what her thought process was on that one.

On Monday my father in law took her to visit a friend in NJ. We got a call at midnight last night that she had been in the bathroom for over 4 hours. She also sat in front of her friends closed bedroom door and took photos out of their frames. Then she went into her friends 86 yr old mothers bedroom (who was sleeping) and locked herself in saying she was scared of my father in law and that he had hurt her. At this point he has said he's leaving her in NJ and my husband feels that he will have to go get her if that happens. Which means I will have to take time off of work because we only have one car right now. I feel if she has the legal right to do what she wants then she can find her own way home - but I guess that's my frustration coming out.

Thanks again for listening - just wish there were some easy answers....or any answers at all really!

Posted By : UserANONYMOUS - 9/27/2017 2:05 PM
Hey Wendy,

Wow...sorry for all that has been happening. I can see that you and your FIL are trying your best. But again, if your MIL is not willing to seek or accept help, there isn't much anyone can do. I am soo sorry... Not too familiar with the laws there, but although she is an adult, would you be able to take her to the hospital for help if she is experiencing certain symptoms or it becomes severe (involuntary hospitalization)?

I know it is a lot for you. Please remember take care of yourself. Taking care of someone who is Bipolar can be tough and stressful on you as well. How are you doing with all this? Be sure to take some time for you...

Moderator - Bipolar

Posted By : Tim Tam - 9/27/2017 5:29 PM
I think if she's acting as you say, someone can have her committed to a psychological facility.

I knew a guy who on occasion acted in an unstable manner, and some sort of decree was signed by a psychiatrist, we'll say, and the police were sent out to take him to a mental hospital and they did.

He was up in a tree house at the time, but they got him down and took him to the hospital.

I think that's what they call the delusional part of bipolar.

I would check with someone, like a psychiatrist, or at a local or state mental hospital, or perhaps look it up on the net for your state, as to what the rules are for "committing" someone who is acting like that.

It is a bad thing, but if it gets too bad, the authorities can deal with that. I would check into it.

Posted By : theHTreturns... - 9/28/2017 1:04 AM
nothing you can do. except document......advise police and hosp of her state of mind. this is how it works, they see nothing wrong with them, however in the mania stage it becomes a very short fuse before an eruption and full blown psychosis kicks in, then she dangerous. she will then crash and be totally depressed. she will lie, cheat connive and give you all sorts of bs, don't fall for it. the mania ride is too enticing. keep yourself protected. peeps are real strong when psychotic, and will run through anything. until she in therapy and resumes meds in a complicent manner nothing you can do.

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