Husband Recently Diagnosed with Bi Polar

Updated on March 13, 2008
M.D. asks from Flat Rock, MI
27 answers

I have been married for almost 9 years. When my we had our first child, I noticed my husband changing. When our son was about 9 months old, I found out my husband was depressed. But he was taking it out on me. Just being really mean. I just kept going. I was happy, I had the most perfect baby boy. We worked opposite shifts as well. I thought we were "working" on our marriage, things weren't great, but they weren't bad. Then we added a baby girl to our family. My husband was just not being normal, there was just something off. Long story short, he went on a spending spree that I did not know about. Then we went to the same shift, first time in our marriage that happened. It happened for a reason, it lead me to discover this spending spree that he was enjoying. He opened a credit card without me knowing. We both decided that we needed counseling because neither one of us was perfect. So we went to individual counseling. That really didn't get us anywhere. They put him on an antidepressant. Then we quit going. Then finally I went to a lady and she referred us to marriage counseling. So we started to go together. About 2 months into the counseling, she wanted to meet us separatly. She asked me how I would feel if I my husband wasn't lazy, that there was something wrong with him. I said that it would finally be answers to his behavior. Long story short he was diagnosed with Bi Polar disorder.
Is anyone married to someone with this illness? How do we get through this. He is one 3 medicines now, they appear to be helping a little. We started eating better. But I am trying to figure this illness out. It appears that he is in a manic state. But I am not sure, this is so new to me. My counsler said that it would take about a year to figure out what tiggers my husbands manic episodes. So I am trying to balance my work, my home, my kids, and helping him with this. I finding myself exhausted mentally and physically. To protect myself and the kids from his spending sprees, he removed himself from our checking account.
I guess I am trying to find someone who has been through this with their spouse and get some advice on how to get through this year of journal entry and lots of appointments.

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for the responses. I do have 2 books to read. But finding the time to read is tough with work and the kids. The hardest thing is trying to figure out what triggers him. We love the counselor we are seeing, she is very good. The Dr. he sees is good too. I have gone to the first 3 appointments with my husband to make sure he gives all the information to the Dr. I am keeping a daily journel on his moods too. Part of the problem is getting him to open up to me on what he is feeling. He is going to his first support group meeting this Sunday. From the emails, I guess I am on the right track, but maybe need to keep reminding myself that this is going to take time. Thanks again.

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K.C.

answers from Detroit on

If you need contact information for the local support groups and the national websites, etc., I can email them to you. Contact me at [email protected]____.com K..

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V.G.

answers from Grand Rapids on

My husband has been unofficially diagnosed with Bi-Polar and is being successfully treated for it. For him, it is a lot of meds - but they also have to treat some other issues at the same time. His trigger was really easy to find - winter, in a nutshell. He's fine in the spring, summer & fall - when there is a lot of sun. Winter hits and he goes into manic episodes. Fortunately he doesn't go on spending sprees, and only once has gone to the sucidal point. He just gets very depressed. My mom's boyfriend is also bi-polar, but they have never (and probably will never) find out what the triggers are. Each person is different, but the one thing that I have seen that does work with both of these guys is reassurance. Not only from you, but from the kids as well. I love yous, no matter what is going on, you're great at your job - whatever, just let him know the positive things you feel. I also let my husband know when he's gone to a point that has scared me - sometimes that helps snap him back. Because my husbands is seasonal based, we changed the majority of the lights in our house to a "sun" light bulb. This brings in more of the white/blue light versus the yellow light, and he has found that it has helped him a lot. Another thing that I've allowed is a lot of plants in the house (I don't like plants so that's why I say allowed). We now have 21 plants - a combination of typical house plants and Bonsai Trees. The large amount of green in the house reminds him of Summer and that seems to help him as well - not to mention that they clean the air! I think the most important thing though is to not letting the communication break down. When he's having a good day, ask him to think back over the recent bad days and ask him to tell you what would YOU could have done to help. Remember what he tells you for the next battle. Eventually you'll know what helps and what doesn't. Also, when he's in a good spot - take time for you, do something you like either with the family or by yourself. You can also take time for you at the end of a rough day with a simple soak in the tub, or immerse yourself in a senseless book after the kids are in bed.

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S.K.

answers from Saginaw on

I went through the same thing as you have Melissa. For me, I had a friend who was a psychologist who could not not counsel
us but supplied me lots of information. Things can be found on-line. It explained a lot that had been going on for many years. We are going on 27 years of marriage. Some signs to look for a manic phase are as follows: not sleeping much, not eating much, talking fast and not allowing you to respond-this has to do with their mind going so fast that they are afraid of losing their train of thought. Spending money is one of the things they do by the hundreds and thousands of dollars. We now own a 5th-wheel and a 1997 Camero. they will have big ideas-that can be great-but the follow though doen't always happen. The other thing that can get hard is they start talking about God-I am a born-again, spirit-filled Christian-but our son and i were sat down and lectured about the Word. The thing that helps my husband keep on an even keel is daily taking his meds. He gets tired of it but he is diligent about doing it for us. You might want to see someone to counsel for yourself. Tou learn the signs of when a manic phase is going to happen. You could go with your husband to one of his appointment with his psychiatrist to get more information for yourself and how to deal with the bi-polar.
S.

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L.C.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi,

I sure don't have any answers, but I am in a similar situation. Thankfully he hasn't gone on any spending sprees. He is usually in a depressed state. He is only on one medication for bi-polar right now, but I hope they will be adding something at his next appointment. He is easily angered, which makes things very difficult to handle sometimes. I have been feeling exhausted all the time because of the extra stress it puts on me. I am a mother of a 3 yr old boy and 6 yr old girl. Please forward any e-mails you find helpful. I could certainly use some advise as well.

L.

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K.H.

answers from Detroit on

Hi M.,
my husband is bipolar. he was diagnosed when he was in his early 20's. i've only known him for about 9 years and we've been married almost six years. he was on medication for quite a while before i met him and has done pretty well. there has been a couple of med changes since we've been married and the adjustment period in between each one was not fun at all.
the spending of money,not sleeping or eating for him really wreaked havoc on both of us. i'm glad your husband is no longer on your checking account. after the first med change with my husband i had to open a new account so he couldn't keep spending. over $550 in a weekend was a bit much.
i could go on for a long time, but if you want my experiences just let me know. my e-mail is [email protected]____.com
the biggest part of our marriage is total respect for each other. love just isn't all there is to it.

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R.B.

answers from Saginaw on

If you haven't already, get the book The Bipolar Survival Guide (http://www.amazon.com/Bipolar-Disorder-Survival-Guide-Fam....

It is really easy to read and full of great information about the disorder, medications, family support,... This was by far the most helpful book that I have found!

My heart goes out to you, Mellisa. This is such a difficult time, but it will get better. I am on the other side. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder shortly after my second child was born. It took me almost a year before I decided that I really needed help. That manic episode felt really good, so I didn't feel like I needed to make that go away. I went on a private spending spree (my husband had no idea) and stopped sleeping, became paranoid and just couldn't think straight. It can be very scary for everyone involved.

It took me over a year to get my medications right. Some would work for a while and then they would stop working or there would be some side effect that I couldn't live with (itching, twitching eyes,...) But I have found a good combination of medications for me and have been pretty stable for the last 3 years. My big trigger is sleep disruption. (They baby was up at night. I had to work an unusual 3rd shift. I had a deadline that had to be met...)

Try to remember that the crazy (unusual, bizarre) behavior is the disorder (I'm assuming that your husband didn't act crazy before :}) and he is struggling with it, too. I felt completely out of control at times and just needed someone to hug me and tell me that this is just a difficult time and that I will get through it. I always do get through it. And having made it through that horribly difficult 1st year of diagnosis, my marriage is stronger now than it was before.

Maybe I'm on the wrong side of this to be helpful to you right now, but I would love to talk about it, if you are interested.

R.

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C.P.

answers from Grand Rapids on

My father has Bipolar Disorder. He has had since before I was born and it has improved with counseling and medication, but it will never go away. He has the strangest behaviors, mostly doing small mean acts to annoy others and somehow it is funny to him. Like, once when I was little he poked me very hard in the rear with a skewer and thought that it was funny. He still does things like this all the time. He can't seem to control himself or to think before he acts most times. He is very impulsive and thinks little about the outcome of his actions. He also has severe mood swings. One minute things are lovely and we're talking and then he will swing off the handle and get all upset. None of us are sure what happened to make him up set. But, Bipolar sufferers have racing thoughts and that can make things pop into their head at any time causing a /angry reaction. He can't control these thought either. But meds help...once doctors figure out the right combination. It can take years sometimes to get the combo right so that they can function more normally. I'm not sure that Bipolar sufferers can ever be normal, but they definitely can improve. But, it is alot of hard work. I recommend alot of patience and a strong will, because it will be a really difficult journey for your whole family. It helps to be considerate too, at times, because you have to understand that they don't want to be this way either. It is very depressing and disheartening for Bipolar sufferers. My father is always so disappointed because he tries his best and still feels like he is never good enough for the rest of us. He feels incomplete and empty most of the time. What helps him most is to have specific activities throughout the day that make him happy. He really needs more time to relax then most people and gets easily frustrated, so he usually takes time to relax with a movie or by talking to friends or something like that. Bipolar sufferers seem to need more attention from others, but they can't handle stress as well as the rest of us sometimes. You have to be really accommodating in order to make it work. But, don't forget to take time for yourself too! Otherwise you will get burnt out really fast and be no good to your family at all! This is all just my opinion, I am not a medical professional, but I have dealt with several Bipolar people and I find that the circumstances are mostly the same. It is a very difficult life for them and us. Blessings!

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T.A.

answers from Detroit on

I was married to a man who was diagnosed Bipolar. However, we did not know it at the time. We would get into knock down drag out fight. He would get anger over the littlest things. I even was not allowed to talk to him for the first hour after he got up. We even worked together and I was not allowed to even discuss work with him. This was very frustrating. Needless to say we divorced even after marriage counseling. After we divorced he started to going to counseling and discovered he was Bipolar and is now taking medications to correct this. Thankfully he is much easier to deal with. On the down side this disorder was passed down to our daughter. This can be a huge struggle. She is also on medication for Bipolar and is much better than she used to be. She struggles in school and even though she has friends at school she stays secluded in her room when she gets home. I have her in counseling as well. Now that I have her meds straightened out and in counseling the struggles are getting easier. I just have to pick my battles with her since she is a teenager and some of the issues she is dealing with is hormonal. At least you know now what is causing your husbands problems and can move forward from there. You need to find a counselor that you both like and that you feel comfortable with and make sure that your husband is on the right medications. Each day can bring something new so stay strong and remember during all of this you need time for yourself to recharge and regroup. Best of Luck.
T.

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C.J.

answers from Lansing on

M.,

I can't attest to having a family member with this disorder, but I can suggest a coping mechanism for you. If you haven't heard or tried yet, check out www.flylady.net. Membership is free and the site has a lot of useful ideas and suggestions.

Marla Cilley - aka The FlyLady - has a wonderful control journal that you build yourself and she teaches you how to deal with things 15 minutes at a time. You can keep your daily journal, husbands health history, current meds, ect. in the same place.

FlyLady used a control journal when she was taking care of her sick mother. There were many doctors appointments, different meds, bills, and forms to fill out. Marla kept everything in one place and it helped her to stay organized in a very difficult time of her life.

I can guess at how hard this time is for you and your children. Having a routine written down that you can refer to daily may help you to focus when you feel everything else is in chaos.

I know that a number of the bi-polar members of flylady.net have sent testimonials to Marla to thank her for such a wonderful service she provides. They have said that the control journals, daily routines, and reminders have helped them get through their "manic" times without everything going to chaos. If your husband wants to try, it might be something he could do too. (I have a control journal for my 6 year old son and we both love it. I only have to ask him to do his routines, and rarely are we late for school these days.)

One last thought about your husbands spending. You might want to talk with him about a pre-paid credit card. When he is feeling balanced and organized discuss an agreed upon amount and see if that might help to limit his spending.

Good luck. I know you, your children, and your husband can get through this difficult time and my prayers are with you.

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S.D.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi M.,
I have been on both the living with end of this kind of a situation as well as having clients who have had it. It is a real roller coaster life no matter which way you look at it.
You first move should be to do a lot of reading. Buy books, do searches online (you can go to mental health sites which will help to give you an idea. Bipolar is just like it sounds, these people are either really really happy (mania) and life will be perfect in this time for them. Quite often they will be full of energy and you may not be able to get them to relax. When the depression hits though it can really get rough. I have seen some people get suicidal when they hit this time. Be assured there will be nothing you can do to help or hinder them during either time. This is because it is all a chemical situation effecting them just as if they had diabetes. You really will need to develop a support system wherever you live. Check with your local mental health agency to see if they have a support group for family members. Quite frequently they do or will be able to direct you to one locally. Bipolar is often genetic so his family members might have someone with it whether it is diagnosed or not. Counseling will have to be continued for all of your safe well-being. Above all take care of yourself - nobody else will do that for you and you will be no good to either your husband or children if you don't. Second of all make sure your kids are a top priority with you. Sometimes we have to make choices for their wellbeing that may not be good for others in your life.
Take care

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K.F.

answers from Saginaw on

Mellisa, I am SO SORRY, You are in an unending hell. First, Join a Bi polar support group, they can tell you many things and help. Keep seeing the counselor, as a couple and separately.You have the biggest job ahead of you! YOU MUST make it clear, you will kick him out or leave if he does NOT stay on his meds. You must always be in control of the money, if he gets another charge card, you will do the same. It takes at least 6 weeks to get his system in balance,(if it works). Start a calendar to keep track of his ups and downs, he will still have them, just not as strong on meds. Please be strong, learn all you can, there are many BiPolar web sites, and books to learn from. I am so sorry, hon. My step daughter is BiPolar, has been 6 years now. Our support group has saved us. My best friend is also. You are free to write me any time. K.

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D.J.

answers from Kalamazoo on

I'm not sure how much help I will be but when I was 12 or 13 my mother was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder and my father wasn't around. It was just me an my sister. Now, she didn't go on spending sprees she tried to take her life so she was in and out of hospitals. What would trigger my moms manic episodes is when she tried to talk to my grandparents about some tramatic things that happened to her when she was younger. This was just the beginning. Then it would be just a high level of stress from what I saw. She went to counceling for years and had different combinations of medications before they found the right match. After she got the meds under control and was in counseling for awhile, her episodes went away for a long time. The last time she had an episode was about 7 or eight years ago. Just hang in there with your husband. He is going to need your support. I know things are probally difficult right now but things will get better in time. I think him removing him from your joint account was a wise decision until he gets this under control. I know my mom has talked with newly diagnosed Bi-polar patients, if you want I can ask her if she would talk to you or your husband or both.

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E.S.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hey M., I'm not married to someone with bi-polar disorder, BUT my sister in law whom I'm close with has this, so does my sister, and my 2 foster sisters. Try not to get too lost in it all yourself. I watch my brother struggle with my sister in law and they're still trying to get her meds adjusted too. Sometimes I see so much anger in her I wonder where it all comes from, but that's part of the disorder. I'm glad to see you reaching out. Bi-polar disorder affects as many people as depression does. You're not alone in your efforts to get through this. Like the doctor said, it will take a while to learn what triggers him. But you already know that family adjustments is one trigger. So you'll know if you plan on more children that it will be hard on him. Plus anything that changes your family- death, moving, job promotion or demotion- things of that order. When it seems rough, remind yourself that it will get better. "Our lives are like the course of the sun. Even at the darkest moment there is the promise of sunlight"

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K.B.

answers from Saginaw on

Hi,

I too was a working mom with 2 children when I was diagnosed with bipolar. My husband left within 6 months of my diagnosis and we were ultimately divorced so I was a single mom too. I cannot help with the spouse part. Perhaps I can help with the mom part of your question. First and formost - pray a lot. Believe me, it will help. Second, contact your Community Mental Health Clinic to find out where they have workshops and support groups for people with Bipolar disorder and their families. They are out there. In Saginaw, there is a support group that meets every other week. These meetings are key to you and your husband's success to working together to understand all the issues surrounding Bipolar Disorder. If you can't find a meeting, ask your doctor to refer you to one. There are typically numerous meetings in cities since Bipolar is becoming more and more diagnosed. When I was first diagnosed 20 years ago, there were no support meetings available. Also, see if your husband qualifies for a Case Manager - you will probably have to ask - and for a Psychologist. By surrounding yourselves with qualified resources and meeting with them together you CAN make it through. It will take both of you with a sincere desire to work through the issues with the help of professionals to make - AND YOU CAN MAKE IT - the resources are available - all you have to do is ask. There is also a Bipolar Hotline (I don't have the number) that you can get from your doctor's office to help if needed. I will pray for you both. May God bless your journey.

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D.R.

answers from Benton Harbor on

My step-father has this disease! They suffer from ups and downs, both to the extreme!! It is very confusing for family members!! The best thing I can tell you is to make sure he stays on his medicine!!!! He will start to feel better and think he no longer needs it, but he DOES!!!!!! Honestly, be glad he only has spending issues, b/c my dad would get violent and tried killing himself more than once!! I wish you the best, but if things get worse, please don't let your children suffer the consequences, it is'nt worth it!! God Bless!!

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S.F.

answers from Detroit on

Hello M....I myself have bi-polar disorder and I also have went on manic spending sprees. I had to refinance the house twice and then file for bankruptcy...it is a good idea for you to handle the finances until your husband gets his illness under control. It can take a lot of searching and trying different medications before your husband finds the ones that work for him. He needs a psychiatrist that he likes and trusts in order to be able to work together to find what works, and it takes time. The best thing that happened to me is that my husband educated himself on the disorder and supports me when I get ill. Currently I am in an outpatient psychiatric program because I had an "episode". Understand that even when your husband finds the right meds he can still have episodes. Even when stable they may not be as bad, but it can happen. The worst is what is called a "mixed episode"...this is when the person is feeling manic and depressed at the same time. Try to be supportive if you love your husband...I know it can be exhausting but these episodes are no fun and I can only explain them as painful. Your husband may even like his manic phases because they can make you feel like you are on top of the world, but the person eventually "crashes" from these episodes. I tend to get irritable and angry when manic...I do not know the case of your husband but if you would like to educate yourself on bipolar disorder you can go to NAMI.org which is the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and learn more. There is also mi.nami.org and you can find out about support groups there. nih.gov is the National Institutes of Health...I hope that this information helps and if you have any other questions that I might be able to answer please feel free to ask.

Sincerely,

S.

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T.G.

answers from Detroit on

Hi Melissa. Sorry to hear about your pain in dealing w/ this. I have never had a spouse or partner w/ bi-polar, however, I do have friends w/ this disease and I have worked with several people w/ bi-polar disorder as I work human services. Bi-polar disorder is a very frustrating disease for everyone involved. I read a book once called "the unquiet mind". It gave me a lot of insight to the disorder. If you have the time you may want to pick up a copy. The hardest thing about this disorder is many people w/ this quit taking there medication. They don't like the way it makes them feel. The say "they don't feel good" on the meds. It's because they don't have the "highs". They are just more even keel. Again, if you have a chance try and read "the unquiet mind". It's written by a doctor who suffers from the disorder and will give you a lot of insight. Take care. T.

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V.B.

answers from Lansing on

I have been diagnosed with BiPolar disorder. I never had the spendin ect. just overwhelming depression. This anger he displays is the depression side of the BiPolar. In the past I was in and out of the hospital with this. I have seen many different therapist. My suggestion is you get an psychiatrist that is good with bipolar disorder. Psych meds are difficult.
Regular MD's are not trained very well with psych meds. Second, I suggest finding a theapist that practices psychoanayaltic methods. You can go on line and enter psychoanalytic and your town and state. This should give you some therapist names and they should say in there bio if they are psychoanalysts. In my opinio, BiPolar is not a cognitive issue. It is a very deep problem. Psychoanalyst is the best way to get permant releif. It is long and tedious, but more than well worth your time and money. Good Luck. Also, this can be healed with diligence and persistence with psychoananalysis. I am a living example of this. I have improved 100 fold in this type of therapy.

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S.S.

answers from Detroit on

My husband isn't Bi-polar, but he is Obsessive Compulsive. I know it's not the same; but, the frustration with carrying the load and what to do is. It is a hard road. I have to tell myself often that he is sick when he goes into his moods. (He will take it out on my son and I.) At one point I was so depressed about his behavior that I too took an anti-depressant. Stopped that some time ago and gained weight. Yuck! Finally, I was introduced to a dietary supplement for stress and anxiety called "Bliss". It works. My husband doesn't make me angry every day now and my son calls it my chill pill. My mom takes them too and jokes that she has one Bliss days and two Bliss days!

That may not be what you wanted to know, but I wanted to share how I cope. Probably need a therapist, but the last one told me that my husband wasn't going to ever be different and I'm uncomfortable with divorce. So, we take the good when we can get it and take "Bliss" the other days!

You can get it at www.marketamerica.com/thevoiceoftruth .

Good luck.

PS: If you don't pray, that might be good advice too! God is able.

S.
[email protected]____.com

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D.A.

answers from Detroit on

WOW - I feel for you and I will pray for your family. Can't really elaborate, but, will say - trust your momma gut at all times, do WHAT EVER is necessary to protect your children while your husband deals with getting help. If he decides to stop getting help at ANY time - do what you have to do to be safe and keep your children safe. Feel free to call me ###-###-####. A mom who cares and can relate.

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A.B.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi~I am not going to give any advice about the actual diagnosis because I don't have any experience with that, but I do hope that it will be an answer for you that can help things to be better and I wish you the best of luck. What I do think you really need to do is be so careful with the finances. I would recommend that you call all of your credit card companies and banks and put flags on your accounts so that you are notified if spending has gone beyond a certain amount (you pick the amount). I would also sign up for credit monitoring through equifax or something similar. They will give you monthly (or more often) updates on your credit report and you will be able to tell from that if any new cards, loans, etc. have been taken out in your names. I know it might sound a bit like you aren't trusting your husband, but at this point I really think you need to do it to protect yourself and your children.

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C.S.

answers from Detroit on

I have a son that has bi polar. He is usually manic around holidays and seasons. Winter time is always the hardes. Hopefully you will see a change in him once this weather breaks. Try to get outside in the sunshine as much as possible in the winter. It will help. It is a very difficult disorder to figure out. Don't drive yourself crazy. I was almost hospitalized several times because of my son and trying to figure it out. Just know that he is or isn't in a manic state and your health will be better.
C.

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R.C.

answers from Detroit on

My heart goes out to you. This is a desease that I am still trying to understand what triggers the spending, depression, odd behavior ...etc. My niece who is now 34 was diagnosed at age 30 and we the family have gone through hell and back from her attempting suicide,husband divorcing her,creating huges debts, and temporary loss of her children. I did a lot of research about the disorder on the internet that helped but it doesn't quite tell you how to detect the signs that the victim is falling or near an episode. The biggest problem my niece face is accepting the disorder. She can't accept the fact that all her life she was fine so at times when she is really doing well she will just stop taking her medicine and no one knows until we get a call indicating she has done something off the wall and we have to have her admitted until her levels are back to normal. I do know that my niece can not have caffiene, nicotine, alchohol or large amounts of sugar all of which will set her off if she does not take her medicine. I may suggest that a rigourous routine of exercise helps tremendously. The only issue is consistent exercising.My niece is a very brilliant person and is amazing with her talent but this disorder henders her success professionally and mentally.
I hope this small chat helps. Just hang in there and be understanding and make sure your husband gets the correct dosage of medicine because too little or too much causes issues as well. Once his dose is accurate to his body and he takes the medicine consistently he will be fine and normal but he has to commit to taking the medicine.

R.

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L.C.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Dear Melissa D.,

This may sound weird to you, but I suggest you and your husband get into a Bible study with weighdown.com. I used to be on anti-depressants for being bi-polar and have been delivered from all the drugs and have learned how to run to God rather than the food/over spending, over talking, nagging, controlling all around me, etc. The Bible studies teach us how to stop being "self-centered". Thousands have been delivered and no longer "need" to be taking the anti-depressant drugs that have all kinds of bad side effects that our bodies don't really need. Some of the side effects are often harder on our bodies/brains than the problem that caused us to get on the drugs in the first place. You can both take the Bible studies over the internet if you don't have a house near yours that is offering it. They have an 800 number: 1-800-844-5208. Some of the drugs I was on had side effects that caused me to eat more sweets and I was already very over weight. I did not need something causing me to eat more sweets so that was not good at all for me.
Weigh down is not just to lose weight. For most people any overweight is just the tip of the iceberg. Check it out; what have you got to lose?
I have lost over 70 pounds and was never able to stay on any diets before. You don't eat any special foods; you just eat less of them. And the real stuff tastes so much better than the low-fat and no-fat. My body feels happier being less overweight and I am still going down.
I'm praying that if this is the route God wants you to go, it will take place.
One thing I forgot to mention is that with most/all drugs, you eventually become immune to it/them and have to either be placed on a higher dosage or different drug because eventually the first one won't work any more. I have a close personal male friend who has been in/out of the psychiatric ward so many times when his meds quit working and his life has been so difficult because of it. All the local police officers know him by name because when he has the bad episodes, somebody inevitably has to call the police on him. If you could get plugged in to weighdown.com and learn how to deal with the ups/downs of being bi-polar with God's help, it would be less costly than all the drugs/hospital stays and the shame is dealt with in a much better way because God heals you in time and you learn how to live better while he is healing you.

L. C.

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H.B.

answers from Detroit on

M.,
My heart goes out to you. I am the Bi-Polar one in this family. For years I had a hair-trigger temper and I still go into depressive states often. I did find that the more meds I was on the worse it was. I am finally on one med, Lamictal. The problem with psychiatrists is that it's a guessing game. They don't really know how or why the meds work for each person. If something isn't working, instead of switching the med, they give another one. Next thing you know you're taking 5 meds and in worse shape. You husband has to be the one to say exactly how each one makes him feel, he has to be aware of it and be adament about what he's willing to take or not take and why. I have yet to find a medicine that helps with the depressive side, but the Lamictal helps me not to go on spending sprees and have outbursts. My son takes prozac and trileptal, and those seem to be working for him. He can't take the ADD meds, even though he has it, they make him violent.
Another thing, have him tested for ADD. I'm not kidding. It's usually an underlying cause to things.
I'll be honest with you, though, what helps the most is prayer. If he's at all a spiritual person, or if he at least believes in God, it's the first place I'd start. I had to learn not to ask for it to be removed from me, because that's just not going to happen. I also had to learn not to beat myself up over slip ups, but to let myself just move forward or I'd make it worse for myself.
May I say that you, as a spouse, need to remember not to take it personally. I know that's easier said than done, but know that your husband has a problem that you can't do anything about except to be patient, and that he's not trying to direct it toward you. You'll also have to be diligent about educating your kids at a young age about his problem, to the extent that their age allows for explaination, and that he himself talks to them about it and makes sure they understand that it's not their fault if he loses his temper, and that he's sorry, and that he's trying to do better. He'll need to give them a lot of quality, happy, personal time to make up for the mood swings.
You're never obligated to stay and put up with it, but if you love him and he's really trying to get help, including counseling, and as long as he's not hurting the kids or you, it's the loving thing to do. "In sickness, and in health". My husband is loving and patient, and it's helped me to get through the worst of it to where I am now. But the weight of healing really does fall on his shoulders and he needs to be willing to confront it head on. I wish the best for you and your family.

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C.H.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Bi-polar runs in my family. My brother was diagnosed with it about 4 years ago. It is a mental illness that is very hard for the person who is diagnosed to sometimes deal with. Medication is very important in controlling symptoms, etc. Regular evaluations to see how the medications are working are also extremely important. There are different options, and sometimes it takes awhile to find the right "mix" that seems to help. My brother ended up declaring bankruptcy (had the "spending spree" problem also), ended up having a violet temper, and tried to commit suicide. Looking back in his past, the bipolar diagnosis really answered a lot of questions. My brother has said he "hates" the disease; but now that he is aware of what the problem is, has learned to deal with it better. It does take time to learn how to deal with it. It also takes much patience on the part of those supporting the person with it. There will be good days and bad days. The thing to remember is that it is a mental illness that can be dealt with by taking medications as well as possible counseling. It is definitely not an easy situation at times to deal with. I feel for you as well as your husband because it can be very frustrating for him as well. Reading information about the disorder is very helpful in understanding a lot of the symptoms and answer questions. Hang in there and if need be, seek out counseling to help keep your family together! I'll keep you in my prayers!

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L.J.

answers from Saginaw on

My boyfriend is Bi-polar and I have been with him a year and a half and I just started seeing him act a bit strange. He kept telling me he was "Bi-polar" over the year and a half, but I thought maybe (probably hoping) that it was a title he liked to give it. One day he just wigged out . I mean , he lost it. To the point where he had to leave his professional job position on "stress leave" for a month and say he could not take it anymore. The psychiatrist diagnosed "type 1" and I spent the next 3 days looking up things about it on the internet. I find myself scared of setting him off and making him mad. He told me I am "expecting" too much from him. Meaning, that he feels like he has too many responsibilities etc. All he wants to do is be lazy now. I cannot see myself married to a man like that. He eventually wants to marry. I cannot fathom it right now. I have a 13 year old son....and I have to watch.
He has not been himself. It is scary. I know it is a mental illness. But, it affects all parts of their lives AND ours.

Hope this helps.

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