Hi, Dee. First, I understand you want to help her. The best way is to just be there, support her, listen to her. The absolute worst thing in the world is to say things like, "you are stronger than this, you can beat this" or "You don't have any reason to be depressed, just think positive, think about
all you have and how lucky you are." These do not apply to BPs. It has absolutely nothing to do with attitude, strength or "negative thinking". Its purely a brain disorder. It's every bit a physical illness as diabetes or heart disease. Not only do we not "snap out of it", it is permanent and increases in severity with age. Those kinds of sayings make us want to hit people, haha! You will never know how miserable it is, whether too high or too low unless you have been there. PS I'm not yelling at you, but you need to know this.
It is very common to start having symptoms in the teens and early/mid twenties. Her behaviours, spending and affairs are totally classic, in fact in the last post I made to you, I had already asked about those two specifically, then thought better of it. I have bankrupted us. 47K on credit cards in 3 months. We do sleep around. I totally lost count of the number of guys I had by my early twenties. I have also run off with some total loser, when I have a saint for a husband. I have totaled several cars, and road rage and dangerous games was a daily occurance for me. It is not a conscious choice, it's a compulsion. Do you really think anyone wants to destroy their lives?
There is no proven link between childhood and the illness, but some studies suggest bad, abusive one can trigger it. No real proof, tho.
Yes, hearing voices, paranoia, losing touch with reality are all part of it, with BP I, the most severe form. I have had all of them. I thought I was a witch with supernatural powers and a special connection to the divine. (That's also considered grandiose delusions). They are suspecting a link connecting schitzophrenia and BP.
If your friend has been in the hospital and is doing that badly, I suspect she is not taking her medicine. That's another thing we all do, we are in denial for a time, sometimes years. Medicine also brings us down, almost like everything is in slow motion and we're slow, too. It's a horrible feeling. Not to mention many times it causes a "crash" - horrible depression that always follows a manic episode when it ends. BP depression is not like regular depression, it slows the entire brain function, cognitive thinking and physical ability. We can literally almost not move or think. Mostly bedridden in these cases and it can last for months. We cannot take antidepressants like other people, it causes a mania. Only one, welbutrin, but it is not quite a strong. It works if not in a deep depression like that. She is afraid to be slowed down, it is NOT pleasant. We don't know anything else! They will NOT release a patient that is still manic, delusional or unstable in any way, so the only explanation is that she is not taking it. They keep you on the same meds that stabilized you in the hospital. Someone needs to watch her swallow it every time. The combination could definitely be changed, of course. She needs to be seeing her pdoc and being closely watched by her husband, and you as much as you can.
I recommend that he take the Family medical leave act to be with her 24/7 until she is better, and to keep in very close contact with her doctor. She will need this monitoring to keep her out of trouble. My husband took a month off for me, it did help.
I hope this helps some, please ask anything else you like. There is a wonderful book by Kay Jamison called "An Unquiet Mind" That is a must read for anyone close to a bipolar person, it's a detailed account of what life is really like, not just the blanket "mania or depression" explanation. She is bipolar herself. It is about her real life struggle, and everythng that goes with it. She is a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins, specializing in bipolar disorder.
I'm so glad you took the time and care enough about
her to write in.