spouse at the end of their tether

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/23/2009 7:01 AM (GMT -7)   
 I am posting this for the first time ever because a trouble shared is a trouble halved they say, so here goes. Looking into symptoms of Bipolar on the Net I saw that stats speak about a higher risk of suicide with depressive patients, but what I was looking for was do spouses of Bipolar people ever get driven to that extreme ? Equally, do spouses of bipolar people often end up in hospital themselves ? I was brought up very religiously, and suicide was not an option in that religion, and although I don't follow that religion myself any more, my whole life experience - and I am nearly 60 - has reinforced my belief that it isn't right, it's selfish, it's to be avoided at all costs. Yet frankly I have reached the point in my life where total depair has set in, because of my Bipolar husband. We have been married since we were 22. It's been a rocky road, on off, even before the bipolar set in which wasn't until he was in his thirties. A highly strung, highly intelligent and gifted man, he had the most tragic start iin life imaginable - his mother was diagnosed with an incurable crippling disease when he was 6, not given proper care or counselling, and she killed herself. He found her. I knew all that when I married him. I also knew that he was an increasingly difficult personality to deal with. I didn't know anything about bipolar and by the time he started to get long intense black dog depressions in his thirties I still didn't realise what was happening. My denial lasted a long time. Our lives suffered materially more and more. He seemed to be jealous of me, and competitive with me but when I tried to encourage him and support him he rejected it. Ten years on and what I now see as mania or hypomania started. Wild enthusiasms, complete changes of home and job, followed by utter disillusionment, depression, he " fell in love " with his female employer, unreciprocated, he insulted his employers so that they fired him, and then offered to rehire him on far worse terms. Under the pressure he became very angry indeed, turned on me, blamed me for everything that was wrong in his life, and threw me out with menaces. We were apart for 8 years. I offered him an amicable divorce after 3, he took the papers, never returned them, and said he didn't believe in divorce. I had finally confronted him with my suspicion that he was bipolar and he got very angry indeed. He denied it. He said if anybody was mentally ill, I was. His job took a great toll of his health for 7 years. We still met, and although he had created the situation, he showed resentment that I wasn't there to help him !!!!! I was in a menial exhausting job, and eventually my health broke down. We got back together 5 years ago and bought a house together. He left it almost immediately saying he hated it. Then he came back and said he loved it. He had more and more episodes of rage. His fists were clenched and his eyes starting out. Usually it was directed at me and although not easily frightened I became so. Once during an episode I tried to talk to him. I asked him if he was angry. He agreed he was. I asked him why ? His answer was because of the war. Next day he had no remembrance of this. The anger coupled with the fact that he couldn't remember whole episodes made me fear for my life. I was so isolated. He has no medication, no support system. I have been away now for 2 years. Only a week ago [ after 35 years of marriage ! }he was saying I should come back. Two days ago he had changed this to he was very very tired, not eating much or sleeping,in a trance like state, and he wanted a divorce.  I am devastated by this but what can I do ?  I love him, he still loves me despite the foregoing, but I feel he is a desperately sick man, who is turning away the only person who cares about him. I feel responsible and yet it is beyond me.sorry to go on at length. If nothing else, could anybody advise me if it sounds like bipolar ? Remember I have no diagnosis, Hope other spouses have better luck than me. In hope for a better tomorrow.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 9/23/2009 11:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Sorry that you have reached such a low point. You've been fighting a tough battle and it takes it toll if you allow it too.
Are you looking for an answer to your question about depression? 
Many people who would normally be stable and mentally healthy can have situational depression brought on by factors like extreme stress.  What you are describing shouldn't be ignored, and I would recommend that you seek out help from a doctor who can either help you through this time with medicine or with therapy.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 9/23/2009 3:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Tedwina,

Welcome to Healing Well and to the bipolar board.

If you're feeling suicidal and depressed you need to seek some help. There's no shame in being depressed or seeking help. Call your doc and let them know what's going on with you.

My husband has also been in therapy a few times to help him deal with me when I'm at my worst. I really encourage bipolar spouses to look into therapy too, because it is so hard being married (or attached) to someone bipolar. If you're feeling isolated it's even worse.

It's good you reached out here. I hope it helps,
and do look into getting yourself some support as well.

Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II

"Bipolar disorder can be a great teacher. It's a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life." - CARRIE FISHER

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