New to Bipolar, please help!

squrl77 Community Member April 10, 2007
  • What can I do to help my husband with his bipolar?  His family has a history of bipolar, but this is all new for me.  My husband and I argue all the time and he blames me for everything bad in his life.  He's on medication and goes to counseling and we just started going to marraige counseling, but what else can I do?  He doesn't follow the advise he's been given by his doctors or counselors.  When I try to talk to him about the things he's doing I just get accused of being bossy and controling.  We have two small children and I feel like I've become a single parent to them.  He's so focused on himself that he can't see how the things he does hurts the people around him.  This is just the beginning of a long road for us, and I can't help but wonder if staying with him will be worth everything in the end that the kids and I have to go through.  If anyone has any advise please help me!!

9 Comments
  • Anonymous
    Karen
    Jul. 27, 2009

    Leave him, rear your children in harmony, get a life, move on, and protect your children from his insanity.  Let him ruin his life on his own.  If a man refuses medical help and won't help himself, you have no obligation to put up with his craziness.  He will NOT change.  You can either change and learn to like it or you can change and make...

    RHMLucky777

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    Leave him, rear your children in harmony, get a life, move on, and protect your children from his insanity.  Let him ruin his life on his own.  If a man refuses medical help and won't help himself, you have no obligation to put up with his craziness.  He will NOT change.  You can either change and learn to like it or you can change and make a different life for yourself and your children. 

     

    I left mine, and now my boys are 20 and 22 and very close to me and thankful for what I did to protect them.  Their Dad is still crazy and married to a lunatic.  I couldn't save him from himself, but I could save my children and me.  And he is a psychologist himself!!!!!!!!! 

  • Anonymous
    MaDonna
    Jun. 26, 2009

    The things you must measure are 1.) Does he hurt you or them purposely?

                                                  2.) Does he...

    RHMLucky777

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    The things you must measure are 1.) Does he hurt you or them purposely?

                                                  2.) Does he want to change?

                                                  3.) Are you owning your part in the arguments?

     

    If he does not want to change, is hurtful and you know, without a doubt, that you are not leading him to a response that you know starts the cycle then it may not be avoidable to leave.  All bad behavior is not due to the BiPolar disorder and making excuses by your husband or his family or you and your family does not serve anyone well. 

     

    Medication, when taken regularly, does have good success at improving the emotions and behaviors.  The medications do take a while to become therapeutic and going off of them to justify bad behaviors is not valid either.  This is a lifelong illness.  But the medication makes it a managable illness, if the person wants the improvement. 

     

    So, if your husband is responsible and mature, and if your husband wants to be a hero for his children and you then you should see changes soon.  They may be small at first but they will continue to be noted until things are like normal.  When you see this change you can know the future will be improved.  If there is no change by him, then you may have to be the one to move off dead center.  Also, have yourself and your children examined because it is a disease that attracts others of the disease to it's self. 

     

    If you leave, remember that the guy who attracted you to him was BiPolar!  Do not step into the pattern of another REALLY fun guy who goes home and falls apart.  You have to see your part in this relationship and learn from it or be destined to repeat it.

     

    God Bless

  • Anonymous
    JM
    Jun. 17, 2009

    The most challenging part of bipolar disorder treatment us that people who experience it don't understand it. The changes in mood and cognition that result from the illness make it even harder to understand. It sounds as if your husband is still suffering symptoms. Blaming you and verbal lashing out are typical symptoms of manic and hypomanic episodes. He probably...

    RHMLucky777

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    The most challenging part of bipolar disorder treatment us that people who experience it don't understand it. The changes in mood and cognition that result from the illness make it even harder to understand. It sounds as if your husband is still suffering symptoms. Blaming you and verbal lashing out are typical symptoms of manic and hypomanic episodes. He probably needs a medication adjustmentk.

     

    Suggestions: ask your husband to see a clinical psychologist, in addition to a psychiatrist, to better understand his illness. Clinical psychologists have a better understanding of the disorder than counselors, and can work with the psychiatrist to assess whether and how ell his medication is working. Get yourself help, fiind a local support group for family members of Bipolar disorder (manic-depression).What you're going through is very difficult, and the more social support you have from people who understand the illness, the lower your stress level can be. If your husband refuses pursuing additional treatment, let him know that you need him to do this for the sake of maintaining his relatonship with you. This may be your only leverage to get him to seek more help. The good news is that bipolar disorder is highly treatable, and once the medication is working properly, his behavior can change dramatically. I have a family member with the illness, and once his medication began working, in conjunction with psyhotherapy, his life changed dramatically in a positive direction (both in his relationships and work). I know how hard this is, be sure to get yourself support even if he refuses. Best of luck.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Sep. 10, 2008

    I found a site at www.bipolarsupporter.com/report11.  The guy that writes the articles, his mother is bipolar and he is very good to help with this kind of illness.  Anyway, I think so.  Hope it wil help.

  • jfrago
    Jun. 12, 2007
    I have been living with bipolar for over 15 years.

    It has put me and my family through hell.

    I thank god everyday for my wife and son.
    My wife has had mental illness in her family as well as I have - growing up with it is what I mean but you know what it makes mental illness a little less scarier.

    Your husband has got to learn that you and the kids can't stick...
    RHMLucky777
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    I have been living with bipolar for over 15 years.

    It has put me and my family through hell.

    I thank god everyday for my wife and son.
    My wife has had mental illness in her family as well as I have - growing up with it is what I mean but you know what it makes mental illness a little less scarier.

    Your husband has got to learn that you and the kids can't stick around and wait till when he decides that now he will make an effort. His inability to take responsiblity is seriously hurting you and the kids. He need to be aware of that.

    He may be in a place where he can't get it and if that's true or he says he will try to make an effort. And in those couple of months he has not reaaly tried or still doesn't get it then ou and the kids will have to leave.

    There is a problem that he may try to hurt himself but you have to think of the kids.

    Now if he does try to help himself and follows the doc's advice, take his meds and get him into a support group (NAMI may have suggestions).

    Know this, it takes months if not a year or two just to get a handle on the meds.

    Just because he tries doesn't mean you are going to see an automatic improvement in the near term or even in a year but what is important that he is trying and continues to try and that needs to come out of his love for you and the kids.

    That awarness for him - may be a big help for him - in order to get through the rough times that are ahead.

    Like I said even though he tries - he may have good times, it may last a few days or even weeks but he may slide back and it could get bad again even though he is still trying.

    This will call for a great deal of strength and patience on your part as well as the kids.

    Bipolar disorder is a terriable illness.

    Think long and hard if you are ready for this.

    Bottom line if he doesn't try to help himself - it's goodbye. You have kids to raise.

    I have told my wife at anytime she wants a divorce she can have it. I do not want her to be tied done with someone who has this. And I have tried, for years - talk therapy, meds and over 30 ECT's. Things have gotten better but it is still very, very hard at times.

    So far she hasn't taken me up on that offer. Thank God.

    Good luck and God bless.

    jfr
    • squrl77
      Jun. 12, 2007
      Thanks for your advice. It has been a very hard time for me and the kids. My husband has decided to move out of the house, he says he needs his space. That has been really hard. I think a divorce may be in our future, which is sad for me and our kids. But as you said I can't wait for him to decide to get help. He has stopped going to his therapist and marriage...
      RHMLucky777
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      Thanks for your advice. It has been a very hard time for me and the kids. My husband has decided to move out of the house, he says he needs his space. That has been really hard. I think a divorce may be in our future, which is sad for me and our kids. But as you said I can't wait for him to decide to get help. He has stopped going to his therapist and marriage counseling only lasted two times. He is taking his meds, but I'm not so sure they are working for him. He thinks he's fine and doesn't need to talk with his doctor about different medication or more medication. You are right, Bipolar is a horrible thing for everyone.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Apr. 14, 2007

    Be patient with your husband. Is he rapid cycling bi-polar like myself, or can he go weeks or months depressed and then manic for several weeks? 

     

    Bi-Polar is a disease that can be managed.  Key factors for successful managerment are medication (I'm still hoping to manage w/o them some day), EXERCISE is vital (at lease 3 to 4 days per...

    RHMLucky777

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    Be patient with your husband. Is he rapid cycling bi-polar like myself, or can he go weeks or months depressed and then manic for several weeks? 

     

    Bi-Polar is a disease that can be managed.  Key factors for successful managerment are medication (I'm still hoping to manage w/o them some day), EXERCISE is vital (at lease 3 to 4 days per week 20 - 30 minutes cardio and light weight resitance), active reprogramming of once's thinking, and nutrition. 

     

    My medication mix is Concerta 18mg, Lamictal 200mg & Stratera 12 mg per day.  Mixed med therapy seems to have been the best approach for me.  I started with Lithium many years ago, but that clouded my thinking.  AFter that I was on a 4 year journey until I arrived at this mix of meds. 

     

    I exercise minimum 3 days per week (try to do 4 days). I swim 30 to 40 minutes, or do light weight resistance training followed by cardio exercise. 

     

    A good resource to retrain one's thinking is to purchase a couple audio CD's from www.thinkrightnow.com and listen to them while in the car or while sleeping at night. 

     

    I found EPA (fish oil) to be helpful along with some other supplements.

     

    Another important piece of the puzzle for me is sunlight.  I go to the tanning booth on average 1 day per week, never more than 2 weeks without. My Bi-polar is further complicated with SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

     

    Be patient and understanding, and if you believe in prayer, pray for your husband.  Pray that he will seek to learn how to "manage" his illness. It can be done!

     

    He is more than welcome to correspond with me if he wishes.  Support from others is helpful too. 

     

    Bottom Line:  1) Medication experimentation (with doctors help) until you get it right.  2) EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE.  3) Retrain your thinking.  4)  Nutrition supplementation.  5) If necessary, sunlight.

     

    Bob Brandt

    Yahoo IM:  bobbrandtchicago

    bbrandt1612@comcast.net

    http://2-b.us/?i=109681/BiPolarConnect.com

     

  • libra
    Apr. 11, 2007
    I am a bipolar husband who has been through what you are currently going through.  I was diagnosed 8 years ago during our second round of marriage counceling and on the edge of divorce due to the horrible arguing.  Marriage is difficult without being BP as indicated by the 50% plus divorce rate in this country.  When BP is added, 90% of those...
    RHMLucky777
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    I am a bipolar husband who has been through what you are currently going through.  I was diagnosed 8 years ago during our second round of marriage counceling and on the edge of divorce due to the horrible arguing.  Marriage is difficult without being BP as indicated by the 50% plus divorce rate in this country.  When BP is added, 90% of those marriages fail according to these websites.  Communicating early is a key.  When she withdrew from me physically and emotionally due to being angry, it just fueled the fire until the passive agressiveness came to a head and an all out verbal battle ensued.  It becomes a vicious spiral of her getting her licks on me and me getting my licks on her.  It solves nothing and we also have two small children and these fights definately affect them.  It has taken me 8 years to fully embrace and not be in denial of being BP.  After being put on Depakote and Wellbutrin, it was the first time that I ever felt in control of my emotions and anger.  When my wife continued to go off on me, I was able to not feed into the vicious cycle and just not react.  I was able to just let her vent.  My main issue has always had to due primarily with sex.  She can take it or leave it and turns me down more often than not due to being tired or some other excuse.  She is also non-affectionate because she is afraid I may expect sex.  Being BP, I tend to interpret this as serious rejection, although I know she works part-time and takes care of the kids the majority of the time.  These marriage issues will not go away with medication and you will still have to get to the bottom of what is causing the anger toward you.  Men express and receive love through physical connection, which I know from counseling is completely different from what a woman needs to get to that point.  I have found that I am much more responsive and help out more around the house when I feel that connection to my wife.  It may be considered self centered, but if your husband is anything like me (which sounds like it), but we tend to over think everything.  Men do not express our feelings openly, and if we feel threatened or that those emotions will be used against us, we will shut ourselves off to avoid that.  You are going to have to learn to trust one another if your marriage is going to last, and that takes a lot of work.  My wife had to give up the past and stop throwing it in my face everytime we had a fight.  The memory of a woman is a scary thing.  She also saw a seperate therapist and is also on anti-depressants, which has helped her allot in dealing with these issues.  We have lasted 8 years since I was diagnosed, and I can say our marriage has gotten better.  But communication is the definately the key, it may seem that it is better to internalize things to stop the arguing, but all that does is come out in a passive agressive nature.  The one most important advise I can give you is not to yell, scream, or raise your voice when you want to communicate an issue.  As soon as you do, he will hear nothing you say and go on the defensive.  It may take him some time to come to grips with having a mental illness, as no man want's to admit having a flaw or weakness.  It may also take some time to find the right combination of medications to bring him into a somewhat normal mental state.  So stay patient, affectionate and loving and don't feed into any fights he may try to start.  I think that once he reconnects with you and feels safe, you will find the person you married.  He will always have his up and down cycles, though hopefully not as severe.  You will have to learn to recogize the signs and adjust accordingly.  I hope this helps you and gives you hope.  I love my children dearly and my wife as well.  She has put up with allot of crap from me over the past 13 years of marriage.  I have improved due to medication and being more aware of what is going on with me and understanding myself.  Our Christian faith and allot of praying hasn't hurt either.
  • Polarimbi
    Apr. 10, 2007
    I am so sorry about what you are going through. You can survive this with strength, faith, support, and love. I have a lot to say, so I hope you don't mind all the space I am taking up. First, it is essential that you get support for yourself if you can manage it -- get your own therapist and also join a bipolar support group. At one point, we had five...
    RHMLucky777
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    I am so sorry about what you are going through. You can survive this with strength, faith, support, and love. I have a lot to say, so I hope you don't mind all the space I am taking up. First, it is essential that you get support for yourself if you can manage it -- get your own therapist and also join a bipolar support group. At one point, we had five therapists -- I had two doctors, my husband had a therapist to help him cope, our young son needed a child therapist from the trauma of my psychotic episode, and then there was the marriage counselor. (Make sure you find providers who you like, otherwise, you'll say, it didn't work. It can and does work). Second, this is hard, as you probably feel you are carrying the weight already, but right now, YOU have to be the stronger one, you have to try and rise above this awful illness. Try not to trigger your husband with stress or criticism and do NOT get sucked into his madness or rage. If he is being difficult, stay calm. Take the kids out (but don't make into a drama, just quietly say, we are going to let you relax). It's so hard because you feel so angry and let down by your partner, you have to keep a lot inside (which is why you need your own theapist and support!) but unleashing your own anger can fuel a vicious cycle. It's like adding fuel to a fire. My husband and I used to argue violently all the time, it was horrible and exhausting. And even though I was the one who was bipolar, I still felt so misunderstood and unloved. So try to muster up empathy and patience while he is working through this. I was not compliant with my meds because I was in denial, and perhaps he is too. Try to get at the bottom of what he is scared or resistant about. Communication is key to managing and keeping your marriage together. He needs you to be gentle, reassuring, and supportive. Constantly remind him how much you and the kids need him. Ask him, what do you need from us right now? (don't yell it, ask gently). Do you need space? Alone time? Try to do things that are enjoyable. Try to go out together on a date, without the kids, in a setting where he might feel that he can tell you how he is dealing. Just listen, and try not to judge or react (which is why having your own support is crucial). Ask lots of questions to understand his frame of mind and fears. Do the meds make you feel funny? Are you scared? Imagine that he is like a big bear with a thorn in his paw. He is trying to take it out. You are the mouse, trying to help. Finally, I highly recommend this excellent article from GJ Gregory, one the experts with bipolar disorder on this site, about how to support your mate: http://www.healthcentral.com/bipolar/just-diagnosed-2913-143.html. Search "10 ways" and it will come up. There is another book, Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder, I forget the author. My husband couldn't read it, it upset him too much, but you might try it. Hang in there. Keep reaching out and surround yourself with support. You are not alone. ~Polarimbi P.S. I just posted on my blog, some of my reflections about being married and having bipolar disorder: www.polarimbi.blogspot.com, if it helps.