How do BP people deal with grief? *update*

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Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 2/26/2009 12:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Might be as simple an answer as "like everyone else" but my husbands grandfather died (was taken off life support) yesterday and I don't know how to help him.  He seems withdrawn, which to me is normal (to a degree), but I just wonder if grief and death might trigger a depression???  Is there anything I could do or anything I should watch for?  Sometimes I feel like I'm doing TOO much by asking him all the time how he's doing and feeling and stuff and I don't want to baby him either!  Thanks

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do."

Post Edited (BD_spouse) : 3/6/2009 4:23:56 PM (GMT-7)

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Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 2/26/2009 6:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi BD_spouse,

I'm sorry to hear about your husband's grandfather. That's very sad. You are right that you'll want to watch him because grief may trigger a depression in him, but you'll want to give him the same space you'd give anyone who is grieving. Watch to see that he isn't doing any better within a week or so, I'd say. If he gets stuck, really push him towards therapy (I can't remember if he's seeing someone yet or not.) And if he gets stuck, he may need some "extra help" getting out of the depression, and then it's time to see the doc, but give him some time before it comes to that. Let him grieve for a few weeks first. You just don't want him to get stuck there. You should start to see small improvements soon.

Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 156
   Posted 2/27/2009 8:33 AM (GMT -7)   


I am sorry to hear of your family's loss. It is hard on anyone to lose a loved one, but really hard on a BP person, as they don't usually deal well with the stress & emotional strain of normal situations, let alone when it is amplified with situations like this.

My wife was in the hospital getting treatment when her father was hospitalized in october. I wasn't sure if I should telll her or not, but decided that she would have people there to help her if she needed it. She didn't bring it up in group there beause she was afraid that they would keep her longer. Her relationship with her father has always been rocky because of her condition, plus we think he was BP also, but never sought help for it, throw in his alchoholizm on top of it all & you can see why there were a lot of clashes. She got out of the hospital on a Saturday & we went to see him on Monday, she wouldn't go in the room because he was getting in pretty bad shape & she didn't think she could handle it. I wish now I would have pushed her a little harder to go in the room because later that day while they were running a test on him he coded & they got him back, but had to put him on life support. Her mother kept him on the machines for 24 hrs & after several conversations with the docs telling her that the machines were the only thing keeping him alive, she decided to take him off. We all got a chance to see him one last time, & my wife did her best to try to make her peace with him before they shut the machines off. After they did, he was gone withina few mins. My wife & her mother stayed in the room while he passed.

My wife did incredibly well thru all of it. I kept telling her how proud I was of her for the way she was handling it all & doing what she did in the ICU. We had him creamated & had a small memorial service at our house for the immediate family about a week later. At the end we all had a small balloon that we took out on the deck & released to try to give everyone some closure since there wouldn't be a burial. The advice I kept telling her was that she had to let go of all the baggage that she had with her father when she released the balloon, just like when my Mother passe 2 years ago I had to put all my issues I had with her (whole nother story altogether)in the ground with her, because that relationship is over now & carrying all that stuff around still is useless. Like her therapist told her, her relationship with her father was what it was, nothing will change it now, so try not to dwell on it, work on the relationship you have with the people in your life now. It is hard for her because the last conversation she had with her father ended with them telling each other to F off & hanging up on each other. 

about a week after the memorial she got really bad, constant anger, becoming violent with me more frequently, constantly yelling, nobody could do anything right. She ended up back in the hospital for about another week. Came home for a few days, her behavior didn't change any, so she went back for about another week.  

She is still having some guilt issues over their relationship & sometimes it really gets to her. She was talking the other day about how depressed she was with her life & all, & her guilt about their relationship was one of the things she said was part of it, especially how she thiks that her father died thinking she hated him. How do you tell someone with her codition that the reason they may have thought that is because you kept telling them that. But I didn't, I just tried to comfort her & tell her he didn't think that.

Grief is a long road sometimes, & with a BP & their irratic & unpredictable emotions it can be even longer. It has been almost 6 months since her father passed & she still has bouts with it ocasionally. Something I am sure you know, but I'll say it anyway. Men are very different with these situations. He will let you know when he needs you, maybe subtlely, maybe very openly, but he will let you know. One thing that really got on my nerves when my mother passed was my wife & a couple of female friends kept asking me "are you O.K.". I appreciate their concern & all, but it really got old quick. I kept trying to get my wife to understand that I was fine, but she kept on asking. Like I said, men are different, they usually won't fall apart in front of everyone if they do at all, they will usually go off by themselves & reflect & work it out with themselves & come to terms with things. Just try to be there for him & when he is ready he will talk.    

Just remember we are all here for each other & like we have all found, someone here has usually already went thru what we are trying to work thru now, so don't be afraid to ask anything.
Take care,
"The struggles make you stronger, and the changes make you wise, and happiness has it's own way of taking it's sweet time.
Gary Allan- From "Life Ain't Always Beutiful"

red lightening
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 620
   Posted 3/6/2009 4:17 PM (GMT -7)   
My Bp hubby lost his father last year and he went to grief counselling.
We learned that there are several stages to working through the trauma
of losing a loved one. Shock, anger, betrayal, sadness,
husband turned to alcohol when we moved too far from the grief group. Now
he's sober and o.k. It's really difficult for people to lose someone when there
is unfinished emotional conflict between them. Writing a letter to the deceased and letting out
all the feelings was suggested to my husband. It seemed to help a lot. I went to
the support groups with him and that helped. I hope things get better. At least you are reaching out and that will keep you strong and connected. Also prayer helps me a lot.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 3/6/2009 4:23 PM (GMT -7)   

I've been watching my DH closely and either he was prepared for it, or it hasn't hit him yet. We didn't see his grandfather that much except at family functions once or twice a year and xmas. But his grandfather was also talking about wanting to go before xmas. He said he was done - so maybe he was just expecting it? Who knows. But so far he's coping. Going a little manic by selling all his SW stuff and buying a whole new collection, but it's money contained within his own spending and his own stuff and it makes him happy so, I guess it's harmless.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do."

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