I've been married to my husband for 22 years and he had an affair a year ago and started self harming and having suicidal ideations and I wanted him stable. We went to a marriage therapist and was told on the very first visit he saw depression and Bipolar in my husband. We then made an appt with a psychiatrist and he received official diagnosis and prescription for Depakote and Seroquel. He had textbook signs of Bipolar during this manic episode in which the affair occurred according to both professionals. This is so hard to live with, finding out that the person you thought was sweet, passionate and an around good guy turns out to be a cheater, liar, and manipulator.
I have loved my husband so deeply for so many years, just to now find out how easily he can step outside of the marriage and fall in love with someone else. They both told me there was no sex only kissing but thats hard fetched if you asked me. Who carries on with someone for three months and there's no sex? I did read the texts between the two of them and hers were of the "sexting" nature and his were of someone in love. I convinced her finally to be a better person and speak to me, in which in the conversation I questioned why her texts were all seductive and his weren't. She just answered with she was following what her husband had done in his affair. She proceeded to tel me that my husband loved me and if I loved him, to forgive him and move on. Ooh that set me off, I asked why didn't she take her own advice and kept the heck away from my husband then?!?! Which of course, she didn't. That's how it all got started. She came to him to "get help" on her husband's affair. Just my luck this was when mine was in hypomania and on top of it starting taking a stimulant diet pill and it sent him off into mania. What fortunate timing for her!!! Lucky me!
I want out of the marriage so badly but yet I know from reading about Bipolar plus what the psychiatrist is telling me, the illness is what caused his behavior and he was not in control. He had always been very controlling in our marriage, has outburst, anger really bad, and has told me just before the manic episode he was very paranoid I was talking about him to everyone and that I didn't love him. He said during this time he was in a very dark place. Since (or at the end of the mania) he was having hallucinations and was seeing really crazy stuff. He said he was delusional during the episode, and as he explained everything to me, he did not make sense in his explanations and also said it wasn't him that did it along with a "force" pushed him thru it all.
I hope to hear from others that have gone thru similar experiences and how they have coped with all of it.
I am a mental health professional who just happened to marry someone with bipolar. My husband is in denial of his symptoms and has dropped out of treatment and is not taking his meds. Right now he's in a depressed state and sleeps all day, not speaking to me. We have also been trying to get pregnant for five months, but seeing as he's depressed he refuses to have sex. And he's always low when I'm ovulating of course. I can't talk to him about his symptoms because he starts complaining that I'm nagging. His mother told me to just ignore him and let him fend for himself when he's like this, but if I wanted to just sit alone all night I would've stayed single. I'm used to working with people already in treatment with long histories but I don't know how to get him into treatment to begin with. I would love for him to get treatment at my clinic with a doctor and counselors I trust but he won't go anywhere where he would have to see my friends.
I am the new guy.
I have read so many of your posts, and my heart goes out to all of you. And I always come back to the same question...How do we do it?
So here is my story:
We were married 35 years ago. One year, when we bought a new house, both got new jobs, and got married: my wife suffered breakdown. She was diagnosed with Bipolar. For the next 32 years, she would take Lithium. She would go without it for long periods of time, per doctors recommendation, due to concerns with kidney function. She even went without it when she was pregnant. But sooner or later, she would become depressed and unable to get out of bed. So she would go back on the Lithium. We managed as her "extremes" were not that bad and not that often.
In the summer of 2012, we noticed she was becoming very lethargic and un-coordinated. She was hospitalized for toxicity from the Lithium. Her new doctor refused to let her take it anymore, as it had weakened her kidney functions. Since that time, my wife has been hospitalized 5 times, and undergone countless ECT. The results have only been temporary. Maybe a good month here and there. Overall, she has been struggling for 50% of the time. It has been little things. Days of not getting out of bed. Or periods of unable to make a decision. Or hours of too afraid she might do something wrong. Overall, I am afraid to leave her alone. She does not do anything dangerous: I just worry she might. Friends call me a saint. Others tell me to leave. And, for my own sanity, I have tried finding an apartment or home for her, and a caregiver to assist. But it just is not financially achievable.
Believe me, I have spent countless days and hours attempting to find a way with Medicaid or Medicare or personal insurance. I have juggled all the numbers. And based on my financial situation,the only solution that works for me , is to love her, support her and babysit her the rest of my life.
But I need help. I cry every day. I need to hire a caregiver so I can have some piece and relaxation. But I can't afford it. Friends can only help so much. . I joined the Local NAMI group. Their support is very helpful, but some days I just feel like getting In my car and running away.
I will continue to struggle every day, while calling countless support sites and groups that all tell me to "hang in there". And when the day is done, it will think of all of you and I will continue to pray for a cure.
In July 2014 my wife came to me and said she did not want to take her medication anymore and deciding to smoke Marijuana instead. Next thing I knew and saw was her toward me quite rude and abusive. We have vrry small children and been together for six years. She started to not come home in October and we were going counseling and all of a sudden we got into an argument and she said she wants a divorce. Now the counselor said she's either bipolar or has borderline personality disorder which made things a little clearer when she started to yell and cuss me out. Calling me a loser, I never loved you, what if I fu-- a guy would uou leave then , and then I find out that she has been sending half naked photos of herself and stating she is a unhappy whore and monogamy is for losers. Thinking the courts would help me out she files a false claim and receives a restraining order on me and kicking me out of my home, who is there to protect my children. To this day she hates me and can't control her emotions around me and my counselor says she needs in patient care. She has been hospitalized twice and I'm afraid that she is doing more harm to her and than she realizes in this manic state of mind. Can anyone give me guidance to deal with her trying to have me arrested to pretty much what she says" I hope you fu---ing die" in front of our children. My therapist says be patient and be there for her because soon she will fall. How much more lies and abuse can I take and most of all my children they don't deserve any of this. Please help me.....
I need advice, because unfortunately my feelings are really mixed up. I have been married to my husband for 2 1/2 years now. We are both in our 40's, so we have both had our children as well as have been divorced. Everything was fine for the first year with his bipolar, I had not seen an episode, I guess we were in the high of it. We moved to Arkansas to start purchasing a house together, both of us starting a new life together. His teenage son lived with us at the time. February of 2014 started off horrible, his first episode started, and lasted over a month, resulting in me having to notify the police in order to get him into a good treatment hospital. And believe me, it broke my heart to hear the handcuffs placed on him. He was charged with disorderly conduct (which was dropped). The episode was horrible, he seemed to take out everything on me and his son. I was devastated. The beginning of the month, he started getting very agitated, blaming his son of putting thoughts in his head. Said that he wasn't allowed to play games on his tablet cause he was controlling him with the games. Claiming we were not even allowed to sit at a table and play chess, cause we were controlling him with each move. I tried to be supportive. I was with him at the emergency room for 2 days, the doctor would just put him on medication and send him home and say come back in 12 hours for another dose. Needless to say, the whole weekend he became more agitated and started getting aggressive. The final trip to the ER I explained that I couldn't have him back in the home for fear of safety. They put him in a hospital, Within 7 days he was back home, prescribed medicine we couldn't afford. I knew when I picked him up, he still was not acting right, but what could I do, they dismissed him. The doctors at the hospital wouldn't even listen to me when I explained he was acting himself. Needless so say, within 10 days is when I had to contact the police. He broke his sons tablet. He poisoned vegetables & herbs I had planted, claiming we were poisoning him. Claimed I was a witch, and that nobody was allowed to have the mio flavored water, cause that was my brew used to poison him, etc. There was no sleeping in the house, he was on a tyrant the whole time, he would sleep for an hour, jump up ready to argue, would wash and dry load after load of laundry, literally dump clean clothes back in the washer. The courts sent him to a good hospital. Almost 2 weeks later, things seem to slowly go back to normal. By normal, I guess I mean calm, but he wasn't the man I married. Well here we are, a year later, and it is starting in again. His son moved out, my 25 yr old daughter moved in, had a baby, and is expecting again. A stressful situation due to the fact that we have the baby while she works nights. It is like there is a competition if anybody is in the house, he has to have all the attention. I have a lot of medical conditions, and the stress is wearing me down, I am seeing the warning signs again. We are all trying to avoid him, cause he watches everything that we do, just to turn and nit pick it. I tried to point out to him that I am noticing some changes in him, and he snapped, and now it is my daughter that is trying to break us apart. He talks to her in such a mean, intimidating way, and she runs off crying. But he seems to do it, when he thinks that I am asleep and can't hear him. He is thinking we are talking about him, and I offer for him to read my texts to prove we are not. He is disabled cause of the bipolar, so he is home all the time. I have suggested he find a hobby, and he declines any suggestion. Tonight was another blow up night, which has left me once again not wanting to be around him. He says such cruel things, and it is hard to forget them. I have had physically abusive relationships in the past, and believe me when I say I would rather be hit than to hear the words he says to me. This is the 1st time that I have actually got married and said my vows, so I am desperately trying to hold through this rough time with him. But he is making it impossible. I am not saying my daughter and granddaughter living here is easy, but he has went to the point to tell me to choose between my daughter and him. Has even told me that she is to be out of the house before the other baby is born, he doesn't care if she has nowhere to go, she has to be out. I have no say so again. Once again, he is "the man of the house". If I don't get her out than he is leaving. My daughter apologized for being emotional, he was furious cause she didn't say it to his face. Started calling her names, and she just stayed in her room. I explained, that once again, everyone starts running from him when he acts like this. He snapped, said well he is running now, and took off out the door. He went to a friend of ours who is a 1st responder, and our friend came back with him, and walked in the door to find out what was going on. I had to start this humiliating explanation. I don't understand how someone can talk so cruelly to everyone in the house, yet go by somebody else and act all calm, like it is us, in the household. He doesn't understand why I don't care to be intimate, but I feel like I am being emotionally abused. Honestly I don't know what to do. He has lied about my daughter, and I literally verified it. Yet he still insisted it was his way. We are walking on egg shells around here again, and I know we have not hit the climax yet, but how long can I hold out? My health is horrible, and this is just more added stress that is making my condition worse. He is lying to his counselor and doctor about how he is acting and feeling, yet he is still taking his medication, but I don't think it is working as well anymore. What happened to the strong, gentle, considerate and loving man that I married? I have not seen a sign of him since the last episode. What do I do? Does anybody with bipolar disorder sit and emotionally abuse the members of their household, yet act civil and calm with outsiders? He makes me feel like he is trying to convince people we are the crazy ones. We normally eat dinner together, the past 4 nights, he makes his plate and just ignores us, even if the whole meal isn't ready, he picks what he wants and sits down to eat. I can be across the table from him, and ask him to do something, example: can you please take the baked squash out of the oven, he gets up, fixes his plate, and has not even heard a word that I said to him. My daughter looks at me, and what can I do but shrug my shoulders, and be afraid to speak for fear of an argument. My friend suggested to call his counselor, omg, he would totally flip out if I did that. Let alone, it is not like I have the privacy to do so. Example again, I can be using the restroom (I have to leave the door unlocked because I have fallen in there) and my daughter will walk in to ask something, then he comes in there. Nothing like having 2 adults in there while you are using the restroom. He can be in the kitchen, and see my daughter come in the bedroom to talk to me, and he comes rushing in and has to be right there. I can't even have a private conversation with her about her emotions, cause he always thinks everything is about him. And he definitely does not like me to pay attention to anyone else, I have discovered that. During the last episode he made accusations that his son and I were having an affair. Trust me, not gonna happen, I am an old fat woman, lol. My husband used to boost my spirits, now it seems he just wants to knock me down. If anyone could please help. I am sorry this is so long, and yet, this is the short form of what is going on.
totally & emotionally confused
My very loving"wouldn't hurt a flea" bipolar ll husband has actually pushed me to make the very difficult decision to detach from him.
My (our) story begins more than 20 years ago. Married to our 1st spouses, we met at church; both in our late 20s.
His wife was expecting their 2nd son. I had 2 girls who were a few years older. We met among a group of other young parents through our church's nursery.
Through the years since we met, my husband carried the labels most undiagnosed/untreated bipolars earn . Workaholic, absentminded, scatterbrained etc.... Never on time, we used to tell him an event began at 7p but actually began at 8-8:30p. This worked a few times until he was being ribbed for it by another member of our group.
Although quirky and nervous acting, he and I always got along and enjoyed a very close bond; absolutely platonic in every way.
We went through each other's 1st divorces and I, along with a few others, attempted to talk him out of marrying has 2nd wife. He didn't listen and found it necessary to leave her less than a year after they married.
After I married for the 2nd time, he and my husband became friends and got along quite well. They would have guy nights and trips with the other husbands in our group.
He remained "quirky" and would "spin off" at times. He would call these anxiety attacks. They were actually manic episodes gone very wrong. He would get all grandeous about something that the rest of us didn't see as that way and someone would confront him. We didn't know the first thing about dealing correctly with this much less he even knowing there was something really wrong with him.
After his 2nd divorce, he kinda disappeared from the social group we were apart of. He would resurface now and then, but for the most part was hard to locate. What we didn't know was he had been a closet drunk and had hit bottom. He began 12 step meetings and the way of life that entails. He has now been sober close to 13 years.
A few months after my 2nd divorce, our paths crossed. Both single and our children grown and off on their own, we renewed our friendship. Soon after, we connected romantically.
Shortly before our wedding he was becoming aggrivated and more grandeous than usual. He was strongly encouraged by a fellow recovering alcoholic to check himself in to a local psych hospital. He relented and was there for 4 days once out, he began taking a few meds.
I have a very close female friend who is bipolar 1 and very open and honest about her struggles. She taught me about bipolar and how to help her with the signs of mania and depression she would experience. I had to make the decision once to call police and get her into a facility.
I expected the same cooperation and openness from my husband. I knew that with good communication and working together we could stay on top of his illness.
Up until a year after his hospitalization he would say his hospital stay was due to a bad anxiety attack. I would question him about it...what did the doctors say his diagnoses was? What did his chart say? So goes my biggest issue with my husband.......avoidance and denial.
He has always taken his meds and attended all scheduled visits with his caseworker and nurse practitioner but that's where it stops.
After we got married, the meds began taking affect. He continued his energetic, outgoing and fun behavior until about 6 weeks after we got married.
He began withdrawing, sleeping during the day and 12 plus hours at night. He talked less and stopped initiating many activities......mainly sex. I'm very aware of the sexual side effects caused by many psych meds. I also did not want him to feel bad or think I felt bad towards him because of the change in him.
Desperately (this word describes me to a T) I tried to keep our boat from sinking. I caused so many fights and problems with my not knowing how to deal with the fact our relationship had changed due to the meds and how he felt about himself and his illness.
One day before a visit with his nurse practitioner I asked if it would be alright with him if I asked the diagnoses listed in his chart. He said he didn't mind. What I minded was that I was more curious and interested in his condition than he was.
"Bipolar ll" Her voice was very matter of fact. She assumed he and I knew that!!!! He just throws the responsibility on the hospital....no one ever told him.
I was so relieved and glad to know what it was we were dealing with. With my new information I searched the Internet and talked to my bipolar friend, with my husband's permission.
It wasn't hard for me to deal with. I didn't care. I was in this for better or worse. I had always admired him......I wasn't stopping now.
We would have many lengthy talks about his changing and how he was so disinterested in mist things.
The thing that began to stand out to me was I was the only one doing the talking. He had no opinion on his diagnoses or changing personality. The only opinion he would clearly talk about was my insistence on trying to change him and that I talked too much and that I resented him for being bipolar and being on meds.
I, of course have responded in all the wrong ways and repeated this time and time again with little relief.
My main issue at the time of this writing is the same as when all this first began......ignoring problems, sticking our head in the sand, avoiding uncomfortable situations AND denying that any of these are being practiced.
We both have been in the recovering community for years, so we both understand dynamics of what to do and how to deal and most of all when to ask for help.
I recently got with a recovering friend and they suggested that for my mental health that I may need to detach.
I am nuts about my husband. This is a fact that I make quite known to him and those around us. I believe in honoring and respectig him and speak this way to him and about him when he is not around.
If asked, he would totally agree with my actions and that I speak very highly to and about him on a consistent basis.
So.....what's the problem? Why am I acting out in fits when not feeling close or attached to him and he doesn't? Because he doesn't have to...I'm always right there. I start most conversations and am the biggest contributor to them.
There is a facade I have been a part of and am the culprit that has kept it going......until a few days ago.
Actually, I attempted this several times in the past 2 years. My plan would be to go about my business and let him alone unless he initiated. That wouldn't last long because I would panic and break the silence with one or two tactics: tearful confrontation or small talk.
That was it. And neither has ever worked! The latter slid us back into our normal routine. Me crawling all over him and him just kinda standing there. At least that tactic didn't include a screaming and blaming session.
A few days ago I found myself in another one of our "talks" where I talk and he stares at me. It was of a relationship nature; he usually avoids being involved in those . I walked away as he was falling asleep (that has happened more times than I would like to recall) and I realized I was the only one who wants what I'm trying to sell him!
Not that he doesn't love and care for me. So many issues we used to be on together got lost on the side of the road on HIS side of the road after the hospitalization and med taking began.
We travel a lot for different reasons. I have caught myself arranging how the trip should go based on him taking a nap or two during the day and his need for being in bed early at night. Not a bad idea when you have the condition he does, but when someone else is doing the thinking and planning ALONE something is not right.
Now, I have no problem with any of this. I totally understand and get the effects of his medication and side effects. Even he has agreed he does not feel I look down on him for needing them. I go get them from the pharmacy at times and call in refills. We both take part in this and this is an area I feel we both work very well together.
He goes along with anything I ask. He has even said "I will do______if that's what you want" or "Just tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it". He's even offered to go off meds to make me happy. I would never and never have even eluded to this without his initiating it and inquiring about it.
How do I detach ? How do I detach from the things I find objectionable but still be true to him? Well, I worried about that so much that that's why I never stuck to it. If he lays down, I lay down. If he watched TV for hours, so did I. If he didn't want to go to a meeting or friends house or shopping, neither did I . I
I realized I was robbing him of the very thing he needed to get better: desperation. I have been the one responding in desperation. I have been the "fixer" he hasn't had to or grow a passion for a change in our life because I have so panicked over it.
I had to decide what I found objectionable and stop engaging in it. If I don't want to stare blankly at a TV for the day, I need to get up and do something different even if he doesn't . That has been the hardest task and what has kept me from really moving forward.
I hate that this diagnoses and meds have come into his life. I hate that he has it and not me. I hate that it exists at all in the world, but it does and I have the necassary tools to do something different. I was not wanting to leave him behind. But, in that I was not setting a good example for him and I was going against my own values so I could get someone to do something they don't see neccnecassary for their life.
I feel at times I'm blowing him off or giving him the cold shoulder. I had to realize I'm not mad at him so it's none of those things. He may or may not comment on what I'm doing different for a while. He's seeing it as giving me my space or leaving me alone . If he asked me if would force us to talk about it and I don't feel he's ready to dhave a o that. Also, he's seen me do this before and he probably saw it as a break from my ranting on about how I want more communication between us.
Husbands usually have a problem with wives not be clear or expecting them to be mind readers. There is absolutely no way my husband does not have a clue as to what is bothering me. He has accused me on more than one occasion that I hammer it at him or I cry about it or bring it up constantly......and he would be right!
My plan as of today, is to be nice and courteous and none judgemental towards him. If he comes to me with anything, he has my full care and attention. Fact is that except for money or daily type issues, he doesn't come to me for anything. I come to him about everything! There is nothing I hold back. I yak to him about the same way I used to...before the meds and hospital....before the embarrassment he developed as a man as a result of the illness.
I am the same as before that. Same energy, same get up and go, same passions and plans about our life ahead.
He's carrying a lot of guilt and shame. I've attempted to extract those. Even he would admit that, but until he wants something different, I am POWERLESS!!!!!!
My husband and I have only been married 2 months now and I question everyday whether or not I can really handle this for the rest of my days. It's definitely a struggle and I am at a loss for what to do most of the time. The emotional abuse has gotten out of hand. He feels a need to control my every move and if I fail it progresses into an ongoing fight for days, sometimes violence ensues. He breaks glass, hammers furniture, and has now resorted to destroying my clothes. I try not to express my feelings to friends and family as I don't think they will understand the situation. I realize this is an illness he can't control at times and don't want him to be negatively judged. I just need advice on what I need to do when he is having an episode. The name calling and abuse is taking a toll on my heart. I love him dearly and hope for a successful marriage.
Thanks so much for creating this space, already I have learnt loads.
I have been married for around 15 years to a lovely lady whom I dearly love. We have two children 8 and 10. Four years ago my wife started showing the symptoms of seasonal bipolar but of course we didn't know what is was then. She would be unstoppable for 6 months and then hit a very low low. I managed to cope for the first few years of the behavior although it was very very tough. When she was on a manic episode (sorry if the terminology is incorrect I'm new to this) she really didn't want to know me and thought any wisdom or counsel I was giving her was 'dragging her down' and that I lacked 'faith' in her, in God and in life. She made extremely poor decisions, took on too much work/responsibility and emptied the bank accounts. I eventually secretly took her cards off her and thought she'd lost them. She was accusing me of not loving her, having affairs and she was essentially being abusive. She will get one or two hours sleep a night and get into regular conflict with others. I am also sure there has been sexual activity with others but just have to live with it. I am a pretty strong and tough person and because I didn't understand the illness at the time of course I refused to be walked over and only stayed with her because of the kids. All of the cruel things she would say would mount up and eventually I would respond by being far more cruel and cutting. The end of 2013 and start of 2014 was a very very difficult time and then her 'mania' all came crashing down and she hit her low. Lows are in some ways better than the highs as at least she is around more for the children, although when she is down it is also difficult.
Eventually I and one dear friend convinced her to see a doctor. Last year she did and we have had some great advice and she is on medication. She tried two kinds and the kind she was on from last June has made an amazing impact to our lives. For 7 months our lives were back to normal.
Sadly though it didn't last. She had a serious infection which we believe disrupted her medication. She stopped taking it regularly (very sporadic) and spiraled downwards. This particular 'down' she is in eight now is very bad. Essentially I do everything - wake up the kids for school, get breakfast, get their snacks ready, get them ready and then get myself ready for work. I go off to work and when I come home I cook and then get them ready for bed, often doing homework and get them into bed while my wife is sleeping (she goes for a "little rest" at about 6pm). During the night my wife may wake up and also wake me up (at 1, 2, 3 or 4) and start saying "I know you don't love me and when I'm well I'm leaving and taking the children" - when I say that I do love her and that we will stay together she then starts raising her voice.... so I try and ignore her and tell her to go back to sleep of which she will reply "See you never ever want to talk about the terribly state of our marriage and your attitude stinks". Mornings are particularly hard as my wife follows me around the house, as I'm getting everyone ready, bitching, moaning and criticizing everything I do or say often in front of the children. She wants to constantly 'talk' about how I am unresponsive, how I am a 'bastard', how I have ruined her life, how she achieves nothing, how I am responsible for her bipolar, how unaffectionate I am and how I am constantly unwilling to discuss the total mess I have made of our lives and our family. All of which is really not true apart from the fact I will not and do not get into things with her in the mornings as the kids are around and we are all getting ready for work and school. This goes on for 2 hours until we all leave the house. I then get about 60 texts or emails per day and the contents range from the bizarre to the ridiculous. I don't get into 'text' arguing with her and tell her she'll be ok soon. The doctors have put in place a plan to get her back to her normal levels and she has been, fair play, pretty good for the last 2 weeks in taking her medication. We all hope it will kick-in soon.
I try and work out nearly everyday as to keep myself in good physical shape and spend as much downtime with my children. Of course I admit that self-protection measures kick-in and I have hardened towards her which is now what she claims is the whole problem. I am a fantastic father and very widely regarded for the work I do... my self esteem is ok but it is still a very sad situation and I am weary.
I have no idea if ignoring or refusing to get into debates and arguments is the right approach as it seems to just wind my wife up even more as it appears I am unloving and uncaring. When i tell her that everything will be ok she doesn't believe me and says that for everything to be ok I need to change and our lives need to change and the kids need to change. She frequently swears at me and and although I am tough and have broad shoulders it is exhausting. Also the children know that she is very down and worried and despite my eternal optimism when i am chatting to them about it I know they are hurting... my wife actually refuses to allow me to explain to them she is unwell but I have had to do it for their sake.
So.. I hope by sharing this it helps me express my experience and also if there are any pearls of wisdom I would be grateful. The doctor reckons that it should be another 2 weeks before she is better but both of us worry that the 'blip' will be permanent and that we will be back into the up and down cycle... and to be honest I am not sure I can cope with this cycle.
THANKS for reading.
This is my first time posting anything about my relationship and marriage, but I need support. I apologize ahead of time, for this is quite lengthy. I just feel like you need the whole story, and I also don't know how to shorten it. I know I'm not alone. I know there are so many others who are suffering, and with far worse scenarios.
I am 34 years old, have been with my husband for 10 years, married for 7, and have 3 children. When I met him he had not been diagnosed, and the first year or two were great. I had a 2 month old son when we met (his father and I split up before I even knew I was pregnant), and I was not interested in dating anyone as I had a newborn at home; but this man was convincing. We met when we were both Realtors and I began working at the same office as he did. We lived near each other, so when we took classes or needed to travel for conferences we would carpool. He finally managed to convince me to date him and our relationship was pretty great. We got engaged after only 6 months, moved in together, and began planning the wedding for the following year. Unexpectedly, we found out we were pregnant 6 months later and moved the wedding date as I refused to be pregnant at my own wedding.
Things started getting a little strange after we found out we were expecting. His behavior became a little more erratic, but I chalked this up to a combination of pre-baby and pre-wedding jitters, so I didn't become too overly concerned, wedding planning and surprise babies are always a little stressful. We had our daughter and continued on, I had met a man that I loved and I wasn't going to be one of those people who bailed on their relationship just because it wasn't perfect. Lets face it; nothing is perfect, and anything in life worth having is worth working for. That's how I used to think anyways.
Things became even more stressful and erratic the month before the wedding, I began to doubt that I was making the right decision, but again, I thought it was just stress and pre-wedding jitters; nothing to be concerned about, it happens. We continued on, got married, had a wonderful honeymoon, came home, and the "bottom" began to fall out of what we called life.
By this time our son was almost 3 and our daughter was approaching 1 (he has always looked at our son as his own since he has raised him basically since birth). My husbands mother, an incredibly unstable woman, had told me just before I married my husband that he had been sexually abused as a child by his father. My husband had never mentioned this, and I understood why he wouldn't want to tell me. The feelings of shame are hard to erase even though he had nothing to be ashamed about. I talked to him about it, but he told me it didn't happen to him, only to his brother. I didn't question that he wasn't telling me the truth, or what he believed to be the truth, but 6 months later his mother showed me medical reports from the doctors that she took him to, confirming what she was telling me. Evidently he has repressed these memories. His behavior kept becoming increasingly agitated, he would be completely irrational at times; yelling at me, throwing things around the house, yelling at the children for no reason, which he didn't understand. I begged him to go see someone, but he refused. I also became a stay at home mom, not trusting him alone with the kids.
A few months later we were offered a transfer for his job to North Carolina, (he was no longer a real estate agent as this was after the market crashed). We took it with excitement. I had never really like living in Connecticut, and we figured the worst case scenario would be that we could always move back. He was also very happy that it would take him away from his highly unstable family. We were gone within 3 months, far away from both of our families, one happily and one with remorse, and things got even worse from there. I became pregnant again, despite an IUD, and while I was pregnant with our 3rd child, another boy, was when our life became hell.
My 3rd pregnancy was awful. I was exhausted from taking care of a toddler and a 4 year old, and had no support system in NC. We had just moved there and didn't know anyone. My husband slept, fought, and worked. One morning after a particularly bad night, he saw the holes in the walls as evidence of an episode that he couldn't even remember and I was able to convince him to go see someone and we started trying different medications, and he was then given his bipolar diagnosis. I had the baby, and life was going pretty well. We decided I would go back to work a few months later, a 3rd baby was expensive and we needed the money, and since he was doing better I was no longer afraid to leave him at home with the kids.
This didn't last though. He felt better, so he stopped taking the medication. Things were so awful that I told him I wanted him to leave, that I couldn't have him there with the kids acting like that, and that maybe we should consider a temporary separation to work on things. He left after a terrible fight, and 3 hours later I received a call from the psychiatric hospital asking me if I felt he should be held inpatient. My husband told them that I was working for a psychiatry practice handling clinical triage, and because it was my job they wanted my opinion. I said yes. I gave more details about his behavior and told them about him stopping his medication. A week later he came home, and though he wasn't anywhere near well, he was better than he had been.
Being incredibly stressed out, I told the doctors that I worked for what was going on to let them know that I may need to leave unexpectedly that week. Since they were psychiatrists I figured they would be the first to understand, and they did. They asked me about a little more history, and that was when we discovered that our children were my husbands triggers. His abuse started when he was around 3, and when our son was reaching that age, even though he had repressed those memories, he was a trigger. Being a mother, I freaked out and took my son to the doctor to make sure that he had not been abused in any way, and he hadn't, but I had to check considering my husbands history.
Now the question became, how do you prevent a trigger that is not preventable? You can't. My husband had to stay on the correct regimen that would stabilize him, or he would automatically cycle. Now, we are lucky in that we didn't have to shop around for the correct regimen much, except for the fact that he wouldn't stay on it.
The last 3 years have been a predictable cycle. Medicate, stabilize, feel better, stop taking the medication, manic/depressive episodes begin. This usually happens every 3-4 months. Last year, when we had 6 months stability and a happy family, I decided to go to back to school to eventually become a psychiatric physicians assistant. I thought we were over the hump, so I decided to do something that would better all out lives, as well as many others that I could help suffering from mental illness, but once again he stopped taking the medication.
This is our life. I have become his caregiver instead of his wife. Everyday I ask if he's taken his medication. I watch him to make sure he hasn't stopped it; and then when he does stop, I have to referee and oversee everything. All while working full-time, going to school full-time, and being a mother of 3. I would go to work, come home, do dinner and bedtime, then go back to work after the children were sleeping so I could work on my homework without him coming after me yelling and screaming about something. I was getting 3 hours of sleep per night if I was lucky. Something had to give, and not wanting to quit school because I knew I would never go back, I quit my job.
He got worse.
He stopped taking his meds, I did horribly in one of my classes because I couldn't get my assignments in on time and the instructor wouldn't take late work, our home became filthy because I couldn't get the energy up to clean, be a mom, a student, and a referee. The last time it happened I begged him to not let it happen anymore. I told him that I can't live this way and come out okay afterwards. I had already started taking antidepressants myself, but pills could only do so much when living a life of misery. In September he did it again, and this time I seemed to have just shut down. I don't even remember much of the fall and the chaos that accompanied it. I did what I could to keep the kids out of his "line of fire", and ignored him as best I could. The kids and I would stay out of the house as long as possible on his days off.
Then, the week before Christmas we still hadn't gotten the tree up. I asked him to please just clear the area that the tree needed to go in while I went out for some last minute things we needed. The kids and I were gone for 6 hours battling the weekend before Christmas rush, came home, and the area for the tree had not had anything done to it; he was sleeping. It's so little, and yet it was my breaking point.
I decided that I cannot do this anymore, and that while I do love him, I no longer felt the same way that I did for my husband, a man who willingly makes his family's life incredibly difficult. I cannot love a man as a husband whom I have to take care of like a child, and cannot even trust at home with our kids. My mind was made up. I would break it to him once he was once again stable. I didn't even cry. I was resigned to the fact that while I care for him, we do not have a marriage, it died long ago, and I knew that. I made a plan. I planned our living arrangements, and when the children would be with me and when they would be with him, providing he was taking his medication. I knew that we would be able to get along because I wasn't angry. We could still do birthdays and holidays together with our children for their benefit.
Then I told a few people, and one of them told me that I was not living up to my marriage vows; in sickness and in health. I believe in marriage. Then I cried, not for me, but for my husband, because as this person told me, what will he do without me? How will he react? Will he be okay? Once again I am the caretaker; it's what I'm going to school for and I cannot shut it off, the worry over other peoples well being. I cried because I knew I would hurt him, and despite everything, I am still his friend. Leaving will be better for me and better for my children, but it will not be better for him, and he has no one but me because he has isolated himself completely (part of his agitation and anxiety). And while I could act like an adult and not be mad that our marriage didn't make it, could he?
Leaving will probably destroy another human being, but staying will destroy me. Can I really just leave? I don't know anymore, and how do I tell him, knowing the damage that I will cause. Maybe it will make him see what he needs to do and his next relationship will be more successful; or it could go very badly.
I wanted to tell my story and ask for advice. My husband and I have been together 5 years married for 2, no kids. I met him while he was somewhat depressed but he was very charismatic and charming, the life of the party. He suffered through some indecision about his major in college over the next few years and finally landed on something to pursue. Over this time he also had several menial jobs that he would never stay at very long (8-14 month periods) but I chalked them up to being shitty jobs. All "normal" young adult stuff. We were married and life was hectic but good.
Recently he entered graduate school and personal life has become quite stressful. (I support us while he's in school). On top of that, his father has been very sick which has set off a slowly building mania over the past couple of months. Culminating in several bizarre conversations with professors and family. He's been deep in thought and think he's reached a higher plane of understanding. Enlightened even. None of it has been particularly negative, no anger towards me, not the excessive spending, gambling, reckless, or cheating I read and hear about with bipolar. He's actually quite attentive and professes how much he loves me and that his ideas and thoughts are focused on how to provide for me and our future family, how to be successful. But it's all future focused. He doesn't help me around the house, doesn't make dinner, and isn't even very engaged with his studies anymore (he spends most of his free time lost in thought).
He has not been diagnosed, we have our first psych appt coming up soon, so I'm still hopeful. But I can be very cynical about our future too. I read others accounts; the struggles of non-medicated spouses, dealing with raising children while trying to keep everything together, trying to financially and emotionally support your families. It scares me! I'm young, we have no children, I don't necessarily feel trapped but I am scared. I do very much love him and believe in the commitment I made. What mostly scares me is the children aspect. Our plan was always that once he got through school we would settle down and have a family and that I would stay home. Right now I don't feel like this would be an option with his diagnosis in question and his past inability to hold a steady job. I'm struggling with the possibility of having to potentially continue in my sole-breadwinner role and adding the stress of having children to that (along with raising kids in that environment). But I've always felt called to be a mother. I feel like my options right now are honor my marriage commitment but have no kids, or move on from the relationship with the possibility of having kids in the future? I just feel so guilty for feeling this way.
What do you think? Do those of you with children feel yourself just completely overwhelmed? How do you manage with a financially unstable or potentially unstable spouse. I feel like I'm complaining here after reading some of your stories. Am I being too cynical?