My husband and I were high school sweethearts. We dated for several years before we married and the year before the wedding we went through a 'rough' patch *so I thought*. We got through it and came out on the other side. No big deal, right? Wrong. Looking back, that was clearly his first hypomanic "episode". We married the next summer on a Saturday afternoon. He was actually a royal jerk that day but we had years of history and I am not the sort that needs fairy tales and I figured the stress of the wedding/extended family had gotten to him. The days leading up to the wedding, frankly I was very distracted with wedding stuff. Tuesday morning on what was supposed to be our honeymoon he woke up a different person in his second hypomanic episode. *sigh*
Fast forward 8+ years. He has been diagnosed (after being dragged and coerced by me into therapy) with Bipolar II, hypomania, rapid cycling. Forgive me if some of that is redundant, I'm still fairly new to this. By my guess/experience he has gone through only 2 depressive episodes that really aren't *that* bad. He cycles between being in a 'normal' state and hypomania. Of course as soon as the therapist tried to get him to acknowledge the Bipolar diagnosis and consider medication, he quit going. Nothing is wrong with him, just ask him. This has all taken place in the last year. I had tried putting some of the puzzle together myself but had never heard of hypomania. WOW, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g fell into place. I am still having a very hard time with his behaviors and am here looking for answers, advice, and insight.
I am not married to the same man I fell in love with so many years ago. He was never the most thoughtful guy but he wasn't like *this*. Even when he is not in a hypomanic stage his level of selfishness is astounding. When he is hypomanic, he is verbally and emotionally abusive, punishing me for his anger. I have still not figured out where the money goes. Where does the money go???!!! How is it possible to spend that much money with so little to show for it? He says he doesn't know where it goes and if it weren't so laughable I would almost believe him. On his way into a hypomanic state I can sometimes get him to recognize that this isn't normal or right but it doesn't last long. I do believe he had affairs for the first half of our marriage but due to unrelated medical issues that isn't really possible anymore. Of course, he denies it completely but there are only so many signs you can ignore. I used to believe everything he said because lying didn't play into our relationship before this. He ranges from taking on massive projects he will never finish to lying about drinking and who he is with during a hypomanic phase. He always, always, takes his anger out on me. Whatever good emotions or love we once had is dead but when I remember the relationship we once had, that man he once was, I still feel obligated to him through 'sickness and health' and all that if he really can't control his actions. I don't know though, some of the things he says/ways he acts makes it extremely hard to believe he isn't fully aware of or in control of what he is doing. We don't have children, won't be having children at this point so it's just me dealing with this. I have my own life and can manage mostly but it is so difficult, nearly impossible. It has come to a point where I cannot physically be around him during the 'peak' stage for safety's sake and to get away from the worst of it. He has never physically abused me but the anger is getting so out of control I wonder if he will. Sometimes I think he wonders the same thing.
I am in a pretty stressed state right now because it's coming again. I can tell that his next 'cycle' is on it's way just in time for the holidays. Ugh. His hypomanic states start out slowish, escalate to a peak and then eventually go away again. Over the years he has gotten worse during his cycles and has more of them, the last one lasted longer than expected. He has also over time become more irrational and unreasonable. There is absolutely no reasoning with him. He has also lashed out at one of his bosses in fairly recent history.
Is that common? Does any of this strike those with more experience as common or uncommon? Does anyone have advice for how long it takes a bipolar person in denial to get help? It really does not seem like he cares at ALL about anyone or anything other than himself or things that directly affect him. Do any others living with hypomania feel this way? If you experience the anger/irritability, do you mean what you say? (Yeah, I think I know the answer to that one but it can't hurt to ask.) Is anyone else a spouse that might have tips for getting through the worst of it?
Thanks in advance for any advice, insight, or other suggestions you may have to offer.