Jo and Shannon - GREAT news!

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 161
   Posted 4/16/2005 1:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Jo and Shannon: I wanted to let you know some fantastic news. My brother came back about 10 minutes ago. I have a big smile on my face and also pepper spray which is burning my lips. When he came in, he looked awful. He asked for a hug and I did, only to immediatly feel the burn on the pepper spray which was all over his entire body and iin his eyes (ouch!). Turns out that he didn't have anywhere to sleep last night so he slept in his truck and got drunk. The cops found him and he doesn't remember much. He must have put up a fight b/c they used a lot of pepper spray and he has red welts where the handcuffs are.
He feels SSSSOOOO bad about how he treated me. I told him that I finally realized that it was a manic rage and not the real him so I have forgotten and forgiven. He started crying and really said that he loves me ... big love fest. He asked to come back home and I said yes, under one condition: he takes bi-polar meds every day. (I had a good coach - thanks Shannon!) He agreed. He said that he feels suicidal and I told him that we may need to seek an in-house treatment center or something and he agreed. He said he has hit the bottom for the first time and wants to change - cut out the alcohol and pot and get help.
We had a short disucssion about his life - he feels like he has lived it poorly, not kept friends, runs away all the time. I said that it can all change if he is on medication. I shared with him about your stories and how it is possible to find the right medication and to get help. I said that he will become the most empathetic, kind, senstive person and will have so much to give to others and to himself.
So, thank you thank you soooo much for your help and encouragement. I have a few more questions:
1. My brother knows he needs help. How do we go about finding a treatment center? He has to also address his anxiety, drug and alcohol and gambling addition - all the great things that he has used to self medicate. He has seen my family doctor once so my inclination is to call him and ask for advice. Or call the hospital? Is there a hotline to help in times like these?
2. He has no insurance - what do we do then?
3. My parents want him to move back in and I'm torn as when he is healthy he is such a huge help to me with my boys - driving to school, watching them while I travel,etc. Am I being too selfish. He is the most amazing, positive, sweet, gentle, hilarous man when he isn't manic!
4. How can I help him best as he recovers and hopefully finally deals with his dreadful disease?
Thanks again! Liz

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/17/2005 8:06 AM (GMT -7)   

I am SOOOOO happy for you, Liz!  Sounds like he got a wake up call!  Until he is stable, tho, don't absolutely count on it - until he is stable, he is still very sick.  That's the way this disease can go, esp. when BPs are really really sick.  Do you have the meds he didn't take in the house?  Get them down him quick!! And your family doc is not equipped to treat BP.  It takes a specialist.

Is he on social security disability?  If so, he has Medicare and they will pay for a lot of his stay, but you need to look up the benefits of 2005, Google: medicare pays hospital stay 2005.  There are a lot of different variances.  If he doesn't have disability, ask your parents if they can add him as a dependent.  Most all mental hospitals treat substance abuse along with the disease at the same time.  He will dry out during the stay and get tons of counseling - all day.  They will get him stabilized before he leaves.  He cannot sign himself out until the hospital releases him and all the doors are locked.  They will get a court order to keep him if he persists.  I have also been a patient inside several times!!

Also, until he dries out, he will continue to drink and seek drugs.  He is addicted and cannot go without, (I've been there as well)  otherwise he WILL get ragey again.  If it takes too long to get him on your parent's insurance, find a county hospital, they are either free or on a sliding scale.  Most hospitals have an outpatient treatment counseling program after the inpatient stay.

Now for the possibly not so good news:  Since he is obviously type I, when he starts his meds, look for the "crash".  He will likely be slow, not "with it", maybe very depressed for a while.  It usually doesn't go from mania to perfectly stable.  Lithium doesn't stop the crash.  Most docs will prescribe Lamictal, also a mild mood stabilizer that has a really good antidepressant effect on BPs, but isn't the dangerous kind like real "antidepressants" (SSRIs).  The latter will cause mania, guaranteed in Type I.

As for where he stays, well that's up to you.  While he is recovering, he really is going to need someone there round the clock to monitor him, emotionally support him, make sure he takes his meds.  BPs when they start meds will frequently stop them due to the crash.  It feels awful and can go on for weeks, sometimes a month or two.  It happened to me, and all I thought abuot was suicide.  Unfortunately, my doc just kept telling me I wasn't used to being "normal".  What a joke.  I got a new one. This is a worse case scenario, it may not be that bad for him if he gets lamictal.  My doc was so afraid of the mania in me, she didn't.

When he gets "well", it would be great to stay with you, he would be busy and that is important to us.

Keep us posted on a daily basis if you can!  I love to help, it's what I live for!  I am on about 6 forums, not all BP, many general medical ( I did Internal medicine for several years, also).  It makes me feel like I am giving back, even tho I am not working.  Good karma haha!
But do get him into the hospital as soon as you can, becuase even when he is on meds, there is still the issue of the substance abuse and he won't get stable until he stops.
If you have any questions, please ask! Kisses!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 585
   Posted 4/18/2005 12:29 PM (GMT -7)   
That is great Liz. Let me know how things go. My brother is probably going to have to reach the bottom as yours did before he will start to get better. But I am sooooo happy for you!!!!
 ~ With Love ~ Dana, Pharm. D.
~ Diagnosed with Lupus in May of 2004 and Bipolar II in April of 2001. 
Disclaimer:  On any medical information I provide, please bring your concerns to your physician.  I have no financial interests in any drug or drug company.  I will try be as objective as possible.  If I am giving my opinion I will state it first. 

Jo A223
Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 45
   Posted 4/18/2005 3:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Liz, Yes that is so good to hear GOOD news!It was a huge relief to see your brother was ok, I'm sure.(Been there, too, with my son!)I agree with psychnurse that he needs to be gotten on some kind of insurance and as soon as son's on disability and gets his hospital stays paid for..and meds, etc.So if he can't work start the ball rolling as soon as possible on Social Security benefits.(my ex and I had to get him a lawyer to push this on through, but it 's worth it in the end!It would be extremely tough trying to manage without the coverage..meds aren't cheap!)And not trying to sound like a 'downer', but like psychnurse said, be ready for the flip side of this sweet side.This is the part that keeps us ALL(sufferers and family members alike)off center, I think.The swings back and forth between sweet and fierce in their personalties.It never totally goes away, but can be managed with meds and therapy.I am seeking help and support for me and my younger son, to deal with exactly that..the changes and frustration that WE have to deal with.Most cities have a an organization called NAMI(National Alliance for the Mentally Ill)...I looked it up online and found the leaders of ours in my town and they have support group meetings, and even some sort of classes coming up in the fall.Support is what we need, my friend, because we can't do this alone!It is just too overwhelming to deal with these things and all of our other life's responsibilities!!!!If they were all we had to deal with 24/7, maybe we could do it, but that is simply not the case!I also have an aging mother who lives in another state, am unemployed and searching for work, etc, etc needs energy and constant worry and powerlessness is a drain!So keep posting and check what programs you might find online for your area.take care.............

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 161
   Posted 4/22/2005 4:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Jo - sorry I havne't posted in almost a week - I've been at a national meeting with my company. My brother was released from detox a day early as he was doing really well and has been sober for five days. He watched my kids while I was gone on business and said the kids provided the right kind of distraction. He has been reading AA materials and book about living sober. His attitidue is great and he starts an outpatient program for alcoholics on May 5. He just found out today that the DUI charge (he had an .08 reading) was dropped thanks to the hard work on behalf of his attorney. This was great news for all of us. As I just arrived home, I'll talk to him about how he is going to address his bi-polar part and what meds he will be on. I have my brother back! I'm just gettting adjusted from being out, but hopefully we can have  a good heart-to-heart chat soon. I'll keep you posted .... Liz

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 4/22/2005 4:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Liz, that's great!  I was wondering today if you were going to keep us updated.  I am so glad you are feeling hopeful and living in peace now.  Take care. :-)
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