Bipolar and Spouse/Lovers; give me some good news, please!

I just wanted to pop my head in and let you know that I’m a parent of a BP teenager and I understand what its like to live with a BP person.

Things are not always easy, and tend to be stressful. I know when she was first diagnosed, we all walked around on eggshells with her. (she is also suicidal and a self mutilator) After the first year, we realized that living in fear of what may or may not happen was not the way we wanted to live and we started with the tough love and calling of her bluffs. Eventually she has managed to calm herself and not use or abuse the fact, that even tho we don’t show it, we still live in a very real fear, that one day to prove a point, she’ll get it right.

It’s taken 2 years and 2 trips to inpatient care, but we finally have her on some meds that work for her. The ups are still there, and so are the downs, but the meds help her on her daily functions. Everynow and then as she cycles, we have these major blow outs, but for the most part, she is a regular teenager with attitude.

I don’t know what it will be like for her as an adult. We are hoping that having caught the disease early enough, and getting it under control now, things will be easier. I know its hard for me to sleep at night sometimes, not knowing what I will find the next morning when I take her her meds, but living in that fear is not productive to her or help her stay healthy.

As far on how to deal with your Husband , his meds, and your feelings as of now. All I can say is to just love him as much as you did before. Don’t feel like you have to walk on eggshells with him at all. I know with anyone, after you show them that their emotional outbursts and the things that are said or done (threats or otherwise) no longer affect you, they will realize it doesn’t work, and eventually stop.

scott evil I just want to literally wrap my arms around you and just hug you. I feel so bad that your SO is treating you like your disease is your fault (just my take on it) and refuses to walk thru this with you. :frowning:

I hope that one day he sees whats he’s really doing to you, and changes.

I vote that we start our own support group!! I have yet to find a decent one myself, so I’m down!!

Scott that sounds awfully hard. While in my previous post, I sounded like Tough Bitch Incarnate, I’m only in that mode if my partner is not taking meds or doing what needs to be done. He found in the year after he was first medicated that he was far more creative because he actually managed to finish the books.

I hope you find some solutions and soon.

I’m game. So what do we do?

scott evil, he shouldn’t be looking at this as “babysitting a mental patient”.
Yeah, sure he has his own needs, and if he loves you one of them should be you and your well-being, IMHO.

But to not even make an effort to go to the doctor with you just doesn’t sound right. I would like to talk to my husbands doctor just to make sure that I’m doing the right things for him and to make sure that I’m not driving him up the wall.

It may be just your side, but if what you’re saying is true…well, you just deserve better.

He told me last night that he’s been doing that for years now, and he’s “fed up.” He’s “moving forward in [his] life” and I’m not, so fuck me for something I have little control over. Last night was all about how far he’s come, all the mountains he’s climbed (or moved, even), how he has all these resources, how great his life is right now, save for having to come home to me. I said, “So this is all about you just telling me how much better you are than me?” I forget the response, but it was unpleasant, I’m sure.

All of the examples he used to point out what a worthless human being I am, I countered with examples of the same behavior on his part, either recently, or a year ago, or what not. For instance, he pryed and pryed about who I was talking to on MSN on Monday, and finally I told him who, and he started interrogating me. “So, why are you talking to [person]? What does [person] do for you? How long have you been talking to [person]?” Questions all of for which I had good, legitimate answers.

Meanwhile he goes onto Yahoo chat every night - once he gets rid of me by putting me to bed and making sure I take my nighttime meds that knock me out completely. I knew that, but last night I found out he’s having webcam sex with all of these people - none of whom I’ve ever interrogated him about. I muttered something about his chat addiction before relinquishing the computer - my computer - to him, and that’s what started the “discussion.” I reminded him that once upon a time, I used to be on the boards and in #straightdope chat all of the time, and he pointed out that it was getting a bit much, so I cut it back almost completely. Now, it’s him who’s on a leather/rubber fetish message board, and in chat, and then having cybersex (which is so tacky) with these people every night. But when I brought that up, you see, he said it was different, because I can’t provide for his fetish needs, so he has to get it elsewhere.

Oh, and he’s going on a date tonight. Did I mention that? He’s really good at finding ways to break my heart. Really, really good.

To me, his refusal to go to a shrink appointment with me is just in his character. He doesn’t care anymore, and has told me as much. He said he doesn’t give a shit whether or not I get better. He’s stated he will no longer try to “do the right things” for me, because apparently, I have drained him completely. Poor baby. When I said that however frustrated he feels, that I feel probably 100 times worse - that went right over his head. He just doesn’t care how I feel about anything. He’s beyond sitting down and talking to me and asking me how I feel and how he can help. Now it’s all about getting his rocks off with others and indulging his stupid rubber fetish. He’s got a one track mind, and now that he’s made a decision that his “needs” (read: fetish(es)) are more important than taking care of me, he’s completely washed his hands of me.

I think I deserve better from him. I think he needs to get his head checked out, but he insists he’s fine, and everything is all my fault or problem.

WTF, scott?
People who love you DON’T DATE OTHER PEOPLE! :mad:

If all that you have said is the honest truth, it seems to me that you deserve better than him.
Now I just want to put you in my pocket and feed you love and m&m’s. :frowning:

Oh, he’s just trying to push my buttons to show me how “serious” he is about his threats to leave me. I’m not afraid.

So, is there an actual date, or not?

If so, again I say WTF?
If not, I say “Mind F*ck” and that still isn’t right.
You especially don’t need that crap right now, being depressed and all.
From what I’ve read, stress is just liable to make symptoms worse.
Hell, if this behavior is SOP for him, then he’s probably the one making things go downhill for the both of you.

I know I love my husband, problems or not, but if he ever told me that he was going on a date with someone else, that would be the ultimate slap in the face for me.
But I know that it’s your situation and you are entitled to feel however you want to about it. I just have a hard time as finding your SO’s behavior acceptable under any circumstances.
And I agree that he really needs to see someone even if it’s just by himself. If he loved you, he wouldn’t want to hurt you.

I guess the first thing would be to see who all is interested in joining, and then go from there, but for whoever and whenever ya’ll are ready I’ll be waiting.

We had a good talk last night - the kind you have after a huge argument and things have settled down. And he was like he used to be, maybe a month ago: asking me what was really wrong, what contributed to my becoming so depressed, and giving me some small suggestions instead of berating me for what I’m not doing.

Oh, his “date” was canceled. I think it was just a get-together, but he phrased it as “date” to push my buttons.

As to getting over this depression, for me, it’s not like quitting drinking - getting and staying sober is about recognizing defeat (powerlessness over alcohol), stopping fighting the booze (because it really is futile), and the subsequent paradoxical effect of this giving you the strength to help you to stay sober a day at a time by not having that first drink. (This is AA program; he’s been sober 2 1/2 years and I’ve been sober 1 1/2 years. Please do not wade into this thread to slam AA.)

Depression, however, is a demon that needs to be battled. The reason is because unlike “that first drink” that I avoid, that “first drink” is already inside me. This thing I have to fight. Pills and talk therapy alone are not the answer. I know that, my shrink knows that, we all know that.

However, the meds are still important to help me maintain a baseline. We switched to another antidepressant and are cutting two others out. (I mean, if you’re taking 400 mg Wellbutrin - 100 mg over the “limit” - as I was, and you’re still depressed, it ain’t working.)

So I started the new med this morning, and we’ll see what happens. And I have to do a lot of work on my own. My shrink tells me that the bipolar depressive phase is far more difficult to treat than simple (no offense) unipolar depression. Like I said, I’m hoping the new med gives me a bit of a kick in the ass, and helps me get to doing the things I have to do to get better.

Another bipolar person chiming in. My ex-husband suffered from major treatment resistant depresson, as well.

I just wanted to offer some encouragement. There is usually (but not always) an end to the suffering that these diseases inflict on us and those we love. I am doing very well on my current medications, and my worst times mostly seem like a bad dream now.

My ex-husband’s support was crucial for me to get to this point. He put up with my mood swings and hateful words, knowing that it was the disease talking. We helped each other make and keep appointments and take our pills. We were both on various medications for years. Trial and error–I found something that worked, but he didn’t.

I am not up-to-date on what online support groups are out there, although for me the newsgroup was a lifeline. (See my ex’s advice posts there by searching for “braddock” and “depression”, if you like.) I do think it’s important for you to have contact with others in your situation, as well as with bipolar patients.

sometimes he’s not so good at remembering them.

Sigh. I know it seems parental, but he really needs your help here. They are easy to forget, since there is no obvious immediate result. They are easy to decide not to take, because you feel ok now after all. And they cause side effects that, at times, don’t seem worth it.

**With any relationship I know you’re going to have your ups and downs.

True, but with a mental illness it’s even tougher.

I love my husband, but now I’m starting to think that I might just need to love myself more, you know? How much should be “love and understanding” and how much is just “letting them walk all over you”?

This is always an incredibly dfficult choice. On the one hand, he needs you. It will be a hell of a lot harder for him to recover if he doesn’t have at least one person he can rely on. OTOH if there is no end in sight, and you feel you are sacrificing your own happiness, you do have a right to do what is best for yourself. I made this choice and it was, truely, agonizing. But when I left, it was really a matter of one of us sinking or both of us sinking.

Try to remember:
– that things like appointments and chores (and getting out of bed) can be debilitatingly difficult for a depressed person. Help him when you can.
– that his cruel words aren’t personal attacks. When I’m manic I just completely don’t understand that my words and actions affect others.
– that underneath it all he loves you and needs you

I know it’s frustrating (for both of you).
Good luck. I’m here to talk by email if you need to.

I’d like to add my story to the list, maybe it will help you a little in your situation.

I have been bipolar since puberty, so around 20 years now. Its a hard, hard thing to live with. It gets complicated by guilt when you get deeply involved with someone and they have to share your pain. I know I sometimes act like an asshole. I over-react, get upset at silly things. Its like being on an emotional roller coaster and man, it gets really old at times.

I tried many different medications, Prozac, Remeron, Paxil, Wellbutrin and more. I was never happy with the way they worked or the side effects and stopped taking them years ago. I think I can honestly say I am about as well off without them as I was with them. At this point I don’t know what the right thing to do is.

I suppose you have to ask yourself if you can live with someone who will likely have this condition forever and who may or may not effectively use the treatments out there. They did not work for me and many others. For all I know in 5 years a miracle drug will come along but aside from that the best hope is to first recognize that the condition exists, and then learn all you can about how it works.

Personally I worry a lot about my fiance. We have big plans you see, but what happens after 10 years of this? Can she stand to put up with me that long? Forever? I try and accept responsibility for the things I do wrong but its so hard to think rationally sometimes and stop myself before I say or do something I will regret later. Apathy is my worst enemy because sometimes I don’t care enough to do what I need to do.

If you love, truely love, the person you are with I guess you have little choice but to try your best to make things work. Ther CAN be a happy ending for you but the road getting there is long and hard. I wish you the best of luck, please do the same for me. :slight_smile:


I realize you are looking for support here and I do wish you the best. However, mental illness or no, and the other things you’ve mentioned aside, I would leave someone who called me names. Period.

Ditto for someone who expected me to parent them. Reminders, concern, comfort, encouragement and support with meds and other symptoms of an illness are part and parcel of “in sickness and in health” so no problem there. However for an adult with a disease to totally abdicate responsibility of the monitoring and management of his disease and meds in my opinion shows a lack of respect for self, partner and relationship. I’m not saying that partners shouldn’t look after each other and provide gentle reminders, on the contrary, those are loving actions. However being petulant and unkind about well intended med reminders and expecting them to be handed to to him after the age of about 16 is a huge red flag. Your support and encouragement is commendable but it’s his disease, he’s got to manage it. You are the support person here, not the captain of the ship.

Clearly you care for him. Please take care of yourself too. I wish you all the best.

FTR, both my parents are bi-polar.

That’s good to hear you two are talking it through, scott. I hope that his supportiveness continues and that your new meds treat you nicely. :slight_smile:
I’m sorry if I’m overly opinionated….it’s your business. You just seem like such a sweetie, my natural instinct is to try and protect you. :smiley:

I finally got my wish for more help around the house last night, but I think it came from a manic phase. I’m beginning to think that’s the only time he cleans.
He came to see me at work and killed some time by working on his web pages. He got really irritable while doing it, and when we got home he just went into a cleaning frenzy because he “couldn’t stand the mess anymore”.

He was slinging stuff around and acting just ill-tempered, complaining about how bad the house had become and he just couldn’t stand it. That made me kind of feel bad because as I’ve said, I’m the one who usually picks up and keeps things pretty neat until I hurt my back 2 weeks ago unloading a truck at work. It’s doing a lot better, but simply unloading the dishwasher last night had it aching for the rest of the evening.

To my “sensitiva" credit (would you believe that’s a pet name, Abby? :wink: ), I didn’t say anything about his attitude and just kept repeating in my head “He’s not mad at me and I should just leave him alone”.
Now, had he made any comment about me not doing my share, he probably wouldn’t have a head right now. :wink:

As it was, I let him finish cleaning (and man, he did a mean job of it too! :slight_smile: ), praised his work and gave him extra special attention the rest of the night. I think he feels real proud of the job he did, which he should!, and now it will be easier for me to keep it up with again now that I’m feeling better.

I guess I just get to a point where I want to pull my hair out, but instead of breaking down and boo-hooing I need to learn to be stronger and ride it out a little longer.
I just wish I knew how to be stronger. I even let total strangers that I don’t even care about make me cry and I take offense too easily.

Thanks for the well-wishing and right back atchya! :slight_smile:
I do want to do a support group; I feel a lot better just hearing from you guys.

Oh, I never thought anything you said was opinionated. As I’ve said before, this is my side of the story, and I can’t trust myself to always be rational when I post about this.

As for the meds, he really doesn’t want to hear about it, because he said “Just more pills. Pills alone aren’t going to make you better.” I replied, “I know that. And my shrink told me that. We’re not stupid.” This is somewhat ironic coming from someone who was so grateful when I went on the mood stabilizer because it make me somewhat more tolerable.

Anyway, my shrink switched me to Effexor XR, we cut out the Celexa, and we’re tapering off the Wellbutrin (though I might ask to stay on a low dose of it, say, 150 mg). This is day two on Effexor at 75 mg, and on day five I go up to 150 mg. We’ll see what this does for the depression aspect, since the divalproex is working well for the mania.