New - Wife of Bipolar Spouse

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 7/26/2009 5:23 PM (GMT -7)   
I am new here and I'm looking for suggestions on how to get my husband into therapy.

He was diagnosed with Bipolar II about 2 years ago. I know that we are in a much better situation than most people. He shows very little of the symptoms of mania and does a pretty good job of keeping it under control. Unfortunately his depression is severe.

He is currently on medication which helps to some extent, but he has difficulty doing anything other than making it to and from work. He was getting talk therapy for a few years before his bipolar diagnosis. Once he figured out he was actually bipolar, and not just depressed, he got much worse. He has given up on the talk therapy. He says he has already talked about everything and there is nothing more for him to do. He thinks that nothing can be done for him and he thinks his only option is ECT.

I was able to get him to go see a therapist, a second time, for a brief period of time about a year ago. I think he is in denial and isn't being honest with himself so he can get something out of the therapy. I can tell he avoids thinking about how he is feeling. He cuts off any discussion around his situation. He didn't do any of the things the therapist suggested. I, myself, have stuggled with depression for 20 years. I went to appointments with a therapist on a regular basis for 8+ years. During that time, a lot of things came up that I had no about. I am convinced there is a lot more he can do before he does something as drastic as ECT. I think he is just looking for a quick fix without having to put in any effort into getting better.

I have done my best to not nag him too much, but I actually go to far and rarely mention my feelings at all. I don't want to make any waves. I don't like conflict and do pretty much everything to avoid it. I am getting really frustrated and worry that I am just going to give up. Until recently, I had been doing really well with my own depression. I started seeing my own therapist a few months ago because I am feeling very isolated in this situation. We have gotten to the point where I feel like it is a waste of time. I really need to be in couples therapy instead. My husband needs to be in his own individual therapy too.

Maybe I just answered my own question, but I don't know how to get from here to there.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1441
   Posted 7/27/2009 11:31 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Retta, blush

Welcome to Healingwell. I hope we can offer some support to you and your concerns.

IMO you have brought up some good ideas about what to do. I say why not take the approach of suggesting couples therapy to your husband. He doesn't seem to want to be involved in too much of anything concerning his issues and maybe by your suggestion he will realize that it isn't just about him anymore! He has allowed it to come to this, so I say definitely go for it!

Another thing is that you haven't mentioned if he is seeing a psychiatrist or on any medications. It may be time for an adjustment. He shouldn't be winging his bipolar without any medications.

Also as far as from what I have learned about depression and going through it myself, is that one REALLY needs to make an EFFORT to push themselves to do things, even simple little things. I would suggest that he try to accomplish one simple little feat each day. Nothing is too small. With time and commitment things will get easier. We can't sit idle and just wait for the better day to come. We have to get involved!

I hope some of this has helped you. Please continue to post.

 Bipolar - 2004
     Crohns disease - 1995 
Arthritis & Fibromyalgia 
Leo Buscaglia

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 7/27/2009 2:44 PM (GMT -7)   

Thanks Sukay!

My husband is currently on medication and this combination of drugs seems to be working better than anything else he has been on.  I have suggested he go back in to talk with his doctor.  Maybe another medication will work better, but my gut feeling is that he really needs to be in therapy as well.  I am going to start seriously thinking about pursuing couples therapy as well.

Once my husband found out that he was bipolar, he started to think he was a lost cause.  Is there a difference between the depression that a bipolar person experiences versus depression for a person that is strictly depressed?  Does the bipolar diagnosis make much difference in a person's prognosis?  I often compare my experience with depression to what my husband is currently going through.  I know what I had to do to make a difference with my depression and I wish I could help him to fast forward to that part of the process.  I realize that people have different experiences and maybe it is fair to compare, but it seems so similar.   


Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 139
   Posted 7/28/2009 8:32 AM (GMT -7)   
Welcome! This site is such a great help and we're glad to have you! You will see that there are a lot of spouses on here. I too am the wife of someone who has BP. My husband suffers more from the mania side though.

BP is such a hard thing to accept and the social stigmas don't help at all. It's getting a little better since we are finding out more and more, but we definitely have a long way to go before it is accepted in society as a managable condition.

Unfortunately there is nothing you can truly do to get your husband to talk therapy if he himself does not want to go. I started going to therapy by myself back in March and it has helped me a great deal. Perhaps if your husband sees you going and doing well, he may go on his own too.

If you think couples therapy is a good way to get him to talk about his feelings, then I say try it. You might have to start the dialogue and opening up to the therapist, but it may also get him to speak up too. There's just something about having that objective person there that makes people not only hear but listen to what's going on around them.

Also, your situation is a little similar but (and this is just a theory) your husband may be thinking that you are saying "see I did it - now why can't you do it?" instead of "it really helped me and I think it may help you too - why don't you try it."

Read all you can about BP and try to be as supportive of your husband as possible. Trust me - it's hard. But I love my husband so much that I don't care how hard it is to help him stay healthy.

Good luck and keep us posted.


New Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 7/28/2009 7:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks BPWife!

I appreciate your insight.

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