Families of Someone with Depression & Bipolar Disorder

Updated on June 20, 2008
M.B. asks from Loma Linda, CA
12 answers

Wondering if there is anyone who can give advice and support about depression & bipolar disorder.

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B.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

My husband is bi-polar and yes, it is hard to deal with. I pick my battles and give him space. I find that if pay attention to his mood swings I can keep on the "good side" of things. He should get medication ASAP as that has been a great help to my husband. Does he talk about it? Is it just the mood swings that are hard to deal with?

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C.N.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

Dear M.,

I don't know if you will get my other message, I was interrupted, and am now back to finish with the end of the advice.

Go to a family of bipolar patients support group. I did that for about 2 months and it made a world of difference in how I reacted to the bipolar people in the family. It was never fun, and was tension filled, but I survived. Knowing the truth helps a lot - So do it, but not forever. You can get the gist of the science and the family situation in a month or two and get on with your life.

The second and equally important thing is for the bipolar person to take his or her medicine regularly. "They" do not like to take it - making all sorts of excuses - and never mind about that. Too bad. They are ill, and their illness hurts all members of the family and they need to show respect for the family and take their meds. - Good luck with that one. If they do not take the medication, then when they finally decide to get back on them, it will take longer for the medicine to be helpful, and SOMETIMES, it never does work again. So pray a lot and ask for guidance and then DO something. It is your life too.

My son's wife made his life miserable and finally her egocentrism KILLED him. umhum, it did. I tried my very very best to help her to stay beside her to guide and mother her and no, it didn't work. He should have left her many years ago, but he would not do it because of the marriage vows. How sad. I suffer everyday of my life missing him. He was a wonderful person, and did not get a chance to be a wise old man. He was only 46.

There you are - the truth. C. N.

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L.Z.

answers from San Diego on

These illnesses are challenging because others can't "see" what is wrong. The really difficult part is that the sufferer often is unaware of his own behaviors and even if he were, is unable to make decisions about treatments, changing behaviors etc. It is very important that a good psychiatrist be consulted for medications. I have lived with depression only, for many years. In that time, I have tried to deal with it without meds and with psychotherapy only. The reality is, psychiatric illnesses are not behavioral, they are chemical imbalances that result in behavioral changes. The medical literature (I'm an RN) suggests that a combination of medicine and psychotherapy is the best treatment. The meds help get brain chemical balance that then lets the person explore (with a psychotherapist)feelings and thoughts and to cope normally, with various life challenges. The literature also addresses the impact of parental depression on children. Children who are reared by parents with uncontrolled mental illness deal with the results for the rest of their lives. So it is imperative for parents to get treatment. It takes awhile for medications to take effect. There are often unpleasant side effects. These are the barriers to using meds. The psychotherapy can be difficult, since it often brings to the fore, difficult issues. Having gone through all of it and seen the benefits for myself and our family, it is worth it. Hang in there. Be loving without trying to fix anything. Give support how you can.

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D.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

if u are local, south coast medical center in laguna, holds a support group every thursday nigth at 7pm for people with and families of people with bpd. DBSA is another community resource. Check it out on line. my husband has the same problem and it is really tough. WE have 3 sasmll children and the topic is not something that u can just bring up in playgroup! good luck

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S.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, M.,

Would love to help, but, not sure specifically what type of advice and support about depression and bipolar disorder you are asking for. Could you be more specific in terms of what you are wanting to know?

Sincerely,
S. M. Wolf, M.A.
Psychotherapist
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

1 mom found this helpful
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A.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am here if you have any questions from someone who suffers from this too.

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A.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear M.,

My husband was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 1996 (about two weeks before my son was born) He is extremely intelligent, and very successful at what he does when he is feeling good. Unfortunately for about 10 years, it was a major roller coaster ride until I left him. It was then that he was left to himself to discover that no one was going to help him unless he took responsibility for his illness. It was an extremely hard choice for me to make but I can say for sure that in my case, it was the right choice. Since I left, he has stayed on his meds, exercises regularly, eats well, has dug deep to rid "old demons" and is really doing very well. I know stress is a major factor in bringing on an episode as well as unresolved issues. I know in my husband's case he was in a state of "spiritual unrest". Meaning that he had some serious childhood issues that he needed to acknowledge and let go of. When he did that, it was like a ton of weight was lifted off his shoulders. Mind, body, and spirit. I truly believe that if one of them is unbalanced (in this case I believe it was his spirit) then unless it is addressed, problems will surface in a way that will hopefully make a person pay attention to what work needs to be done. Hopefully this helps, your road will be tougher that most but not impossible. It is important that your husband take responsibilty for his illness and is willing to do the work necessary in order to have a peaceful and fulfilling life. Stay strong, I know it is hard to maintain a structured environment when your spouse is not feeling well but it is really important to try to maintain a routine that your children can count on even in the midst of a bipolar episode. It's hard to believe but this will only make you stronger, and god willing, more resolved in what you want in your life as well as your children's. There are many people out there both dealing with bipolar disorder themselves or living with someone who does and have wonderful, productive lives. I wish you the best, I encourage you to keep reaching out to others who are dealing with the same issues. It will provide support when you really need it, help give you clarity when you feel your going crazy yourself, and most importantly keep you from feeling isolated. Your are not alone. The best to you and your family, A. A.

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S.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

My brother is bipolar... I would really sudjest you getting into some kind of support group. You need it to prepare for what this disease brings. Please feel free to e-mail me any time with questions or if you just need to talk. [email protected]____.com

Take care,
Steph

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A.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have a family member with depression, anxiety and possibly bi-polar. Your husband needs to STAY on medication. That is the only time my family member is "herself".

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A.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi,
I am 37 y/o with 2 kids ages, 3 and 5. My younger brother is 30 y/o diagnosed with bipolar at the age of 23. It has been an uphill battle with him. He does extremely well when he is on meds and going to therapy. He has a great job, hobbies, etc. However, when he goes off the meds, his whole world falls apart: irrational behavior, thoughts of suicide, etc. My best advice to you coming from someone who has been dealing with this for 7 years is encourage your husband to follow through on treatment and stay on meds, even when he is feeling better. There is no finish line/cure with bipolar. It is something that constantly needs to be managed. There is hope with consistancy.

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K.H.

answers from San Diego on

For depression and bipolar disorders, there is a product by Lifewave called Y-age (glutathione and carnosine). It really helps a lot with depression. No drugs or pills. Look at my website for more information. Good luck. Lifewave.com/kherihealth

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C.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

My sister in law also is "bipolar" or "manic depressive". THe first step is find help that really understands this problem. Be very careful here. My sister in law got treatment from a hospital that wasn't qualified and had to go to another to get "detoxed" before she could be put on lithium. If your HMO, PPO or medical insurance has a program, check it out. You are also in Loma Linda so if you need referrals contact the university hospital. If money is a problem, they should still be able to help. If your spouse is currently under good medical treatment then perhaps you are looking for a family support group. Search online or start with the university hospital. It has a very good reputation. The problem is never "resolved" but needs constant monitoring, but can be managed like an chronic condition like diabetes or arthritis. It is a chronic condition that may flare up from time to time, but proper medical treatment will help keep this to a minimum. Good luck.

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