Posted 3/17/2012 10:29 PM (GMT -7)
I know that this is a slightly delayed response, but I stumbled across your post accidentally and felt compelled to reply (actually, I joined for the sole purpose of replying) because your wife sounds so much like me. Well, how I used to be. While the previous posts were entirely accurate in recommending that your utmost priority both your and your child's health and safety, but in your message you sounded like you wanted answers.
Why is this happening.
I can't give you an answer, but maybe (I hope!) my story can give you a little more insight, or at least give you something to consider when dealing with someone who is Bipolar. And I know, it's hard. There are no rational 'cause and effects.' I am Bipolar, and when I explain my moods to people, I tell them that it feels like I'm in a tunnel and no matter how far I walk, I know that there won't be light. Most people are able to say, "I'm sad because I got fired," or "I'm upset because ______," but for us, there is no 'because.' It's just 'I am' and I don't know how the hell I got here.
I don't know you, I don't know her, and I won't pretend that our lives are the same, but the description that you provided is eerily similar to how I would describe myself several years ago. Unlike your wife, however, I was raised in a strict, religious household and was the epitome of 'perfect child.' I began to struggle with severe depression at nine years old, and my mood swings grew more intense every year. My parents, though, didn't believe that depression was really an illness and, even though I asked them for help, told me to just 'get over it.'
All of this, and here is where my story begins to share similarities with your wife's, changed when I was sixteen and was drugged and raped by a good friend. I told my mother, whose response was, 'I knew something like this would happen to you.' Then she left. And something inside me snapped. Everything that I'd tried so hard to keep under control for so long, that dark alter-ego, erupted and took over. I went from a church-going angel, to a lost and broken creature. I started using drugs and became promiscuous, I was manipulative and irrational...I would - literally - fight anyone who tried to suggest that I change my lifestyle. I thought that because I was making those decisions, even if they were bad, that I was in control of my life.
It wasn't until much later that I realized I wasn't the one making those decisions at all. BPD, when out of control, governs your behavior and responses. When you're manic, you're one person, and when you're depressed, you're an entirely different person. And those times in between, when you aren't controlled by either side, get lost because the others are so extreme. It wasn't until I got pregnant and became a single mother at 22 that I really fully accepted that I was Bipolar and did something about it. It's one thing to acknowledge having BPD, and it's another to deal with it.
This is not to say that I am defending your wife. I'm not. It's her decision alone to accept and learn how to live with BPD, or to continue running from it. Escaping life through drugs and manipulating those who care, are probably the only tools she has for coping with the disorder. They offer an illusion, and through them, she can pretend like she's in control. When there's no explanation for the chaos inside your head, when you can't control or even understand your own patterns of thought, behavior, and reactions, it is an unbelievably terrifying experience. Because I couldn't control my interior world, I tried to control my exterior world. And I failed.
There is nothing you can do to help your wife if she wants to continue running from herself. Her world is too erratic to live in, and she'll probably blame the chaos on you. If she won't accept help, you know that you have to leave. If she is willing to consider that there is an alternative to the world that she currently perceives, and agrees to get help, it will be a long road, but the woman you love is in there. She's just hiding in the shadows.