Living with a Bi-polar husband

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/23/2009 4:51 PM (GMT -7)   
I joined just a few minutes ago after reading others openly discussing the challenges of living with a bi-polar spouse.  I have only been married for 6 years and we do not share any children together.  Although my husband is bi-polar he has a successful career and manages to provide for us without any problem.  We do own a beautiful house together and in our 50's we are enjoying financial benefits.  It should be a time when life is great, but it's not.  When we first married, he was not diagnosed as bi-polar and he was drinking large quanitites of vodka to help him cope with the bi-polar traits that we now realize were ocurring at that time.  Just one year ago, he hit is "rock bottom" with alcohol and got the medical attention he needed to treat his bi-polar problems.  His psychiatrist has put him on lithium, seroquel and .5mgs of clonazepam, 4 times per day.  I feel quite sad as it feels like the drugs have just replaced the alcohol.  He may not be drinking (which was a nightmare) but he appears stoned and after taking 400 mgs of seroquel at 5pm, his speech is slurred. I cannot understand what he says and then he gets angry at me for not hearing him.  I am told to get my hearing checked because he believes he is talking clearly.  The psychiatrist specializes in bi-polar and says that if this medication is not taken, then the likelihood of drinking once again is inevitable.  I feel that drugs have taken the place of the alcohol and I am still married to someone who is impaired and woozey.  We went out to a wonderful play just last weekend and throughout the whole play he slept.  I feel alone and lonely.  Yes, I know I could leave and that thought crosses my mind a lot.   There are some calmer times and the month of July was great and his mood seemed stable.  It never lasts and while I get "used" to this wonderful man, he changes before my very eyes.  This low mood swing he is presently in has been going on for over one month.  I was looking for a support group to go to in my city, but have not come up with anything nearby.  I am hoping this site may provide me with the strength to carry on.  The frustrating part is that he feels everything is my fault and I get blamed for absolutely everything.  We have a lovely holiday planned to Hawaii in December and all I want to do is cancel it as he sabotages every holiday we go on alone and I do wish to go through another holiday disaster.  Your comments and support is appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 9/23/2009 6:56 PM (GMT -7)   
It can take a long time to get to the correct mix of medicines, and there are about a handful out there. My stbx has had about five adjustments in this first year after being diagnosed. She has never been woozy or had her speech slurred, but she has felt emotionally dead, and actually had visual hallucinations when her doses were too high.

Its worth discussing a change of medications with his doctor. Just be aware that the adjustment period can be rough during the changeover.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 9/24/2009 7:28 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi foreverhopeful,

Welcome to HealingWell and the bipolar board. It's very hard to handle bipolar spouses at times. I highly recommend getting some therapy for yourself. It can be invaluable as a place to vent your emotions and frustrations and get professional advice on how to deal with your husband.

Good luck,
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

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 9/24/2009 8:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Forever Hopeful, Welcome. I too am a spouse to a H with BPII. I also have a teenage son with BPII & ADHD, and a younger son with ADHD (jury still out about BP), and a daughter that is borderline ADHD we think. I have been married 17 years, and it is not an easy life. The commitment I made to this family of mine sometimes carries the weight when the "in love" part wanes. Everyone tries hard, but as you shared, it is a revolving life of ups and downs. A lot of blame comes my way as well and that can get VERY wearing on ones soul. Serafena's suggestion of therapy for you is VERY good advice and I hope you take it. I also suggest, if you are not already in couples work, that you start. I find with my H that having that 3rd party to speak with together helps too....for both of us. Support groups for spouses are not easy to find. I have been with HW now for almost 2 years and it has been a total life saver for me. You are welcome here always.

While going through med adjustments, make sure you stay a part of your H's wellness team. Slurring speech is a sure sign that something is NOT right with his meds and you should definitely call his pdoc ASAP and let him know (are you sure he is taking them correctly?). The process takes time and can sometimes feel never ending....but eventually it can level off into more confined highs and lows so the ride seems gentler.

Best of luck to you. Welcome again. LFW
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