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Need help re family member with bi polar

(16 Posts)
Pimpf Tue 18-Feb-14 07:50:05

Firstly i apologies if i get any termanology wrong, im new to this and dont really know what I'm doing. Also sorry if this is long

My cousin is bi polar, was diagnosed a few years ago and mainly seems ok but has a few manic episodes.

She was sectioned a few years ago and I helped her see that it wasn't because her parents were against her it was because they wanted to help her and went to visit her at the hospital.

We're friends on Facebook, I don't see her much because of distance and family commitments but she knows I'm here if she needs me. I spoke to her a few months back as her fb postings seemed to be getting more and ore manic, she assured me she was fine and it was just an issue she had with another family member and that she was fine. All seemed good for a while. Recently her posts have become very manic again and confusingly accepting of her condition and thankful re her family but at other times very angry, I was debating calling her parents again to alert them but at 4.30 this morning I got a call from her asking for help. She feels that her immediate family are against her and want to section her again, I've asked if she's spoken to her psychiatrist, she said she has and that he's happy with ther but feels its her family that are the cause of any issues right now.

She's asked me to be her next of kin I've said yes but I'm worried this might be another manic period where she does need help, I'm not there and can't see what's happening, her parents and siblings are. What do I do?

Pimpf Tue 18-Feb-14 07:50:48

Ad sorry if I don't reply for a while, have to go to work now and not sure ill get chance to look at this again, though I will try.

Suicidal5833 Tue 18-Feb-14 08:24:45

She sounds manic to me and always remember a manic person will not realise they are manic.

Suicidal5833 Tue 18-Feb-14 08:25:21

I don't think you should be her next of kin personally.

nirishma Tue 18-Feb-14 08:34:28

Does she take medication? Surely she must be prescribed some for recurrent episodes but whether she does actually take them is a different matter. Perhaps you could persuade her into taking her meds? Does she ever get depressed or is it always mania (possible with certain types of bipolar disorder)?

I know I find it hard to remember my medication every day and I don't have mental illness so perhaps you could encourage / remind her to take it?

It's very hard to convince a bipolar person to take their medication due to the nature of the illness.

However, if her parents wish to section her it may already be too late for her current medication to make a difference and it is likely she will need support from her clinic/ hospital.

Pimpf Tue 18-Feb-14 10:04:26

She is on medication and from what I can gather she is taking it, I think they changed it recently and it had an adverse effect, they have changed it back.

She does not trust her parents or siblings at all right now (she feels that they are only ok if she's in their control and does as she's told, also past history of her dad hitting her - she claims) I'm the only person she feels she can come to.

I think I managed to calm her down this morning and she has said she has managed to get some sleep and is feeling better this korning

Pimpf Tue 18-Feb-14 10:05:11

Out of interest, why should I not be her next of kin?

Suicidal5833 Tue 18-Feb-14 10:26:12

Because it sounds like she is manic and her family see her the most and are best able to decide if she needs to be sectioned. I often feel like you describe when manic and accuse my dh and family of being controlling and my dh of being a rapist.

AphraBane Tue 18-Feb-14 10:31:49

Phoning out of the blue at 4.30 am is a classic sign of a manic phase, at least from my experience of dealing with MIL for many years.

In your position I would not accept the responsibility of becoming next of kin, particularly because you are not nearby to deal with any urgent crises but her parents and siblings are. How are you supposed to attend meetings with doctors and sign papers if necessary at a distance? However, it is of course troubling if her father has hit her in the past and she has understandably lost trust as a consequence. Have you thought about talking to her siblings to ask their views - perhaps they would agree to the father taking a back seat and a more trusted sibling taking the lead. You could continue being a confidante, someone she can talk to, but without the legal responsibility.

People with BPD are in a particularly unstable position when their meds are being adjusted due to bad reactions etc. MIL developed an intolerance to lithium which the doctors never managed to control, to be honest. I'd say (from a non-medical perspective) the priority for her treatment has to be stabilising the meds so they work effectively without too many side effects - who in the family is keeping an eye on that situation?

Pimpf Tue 18-Feb-14 10:31:51

Shit. That's sounds awful.

I just don't know what to do for the best. On the one hand, knowing my family as I do, I can see that they are controlling and she could well be telling the truth. On the other hand, she does sound manic!

I don't want to betray her trust but I also want the best for her

Pimpf Tue 18-Feb-14 11:04:25

Am trying to get hold of her to see if she'll authorise me to speak to anyone so I can let them know what's going on

Thanks for your advise, I really do appreciate it

Pimpf Tue 18-Feb-14 11:04:35


Pimpf Tue 18-Feb-14 11:52:59

I've just spoken to her, she sounded disparate when I said I was concerned re next of kin saying that there was no one else.

She's given me permission to speak to her psychiatrist so I can ask his advice and check that him telling her to go nc for a week is correct. She won't let me speak to her parents

Suicidal5833 Tue 18-Feb-14 11:54:51

She definitely sounds manic it is not easy to get addmitted as any mentally ill person who is in their right mind knows.

livingzuid Tue 18-Feb-14 17:49:29

Sorry to be a terminology bore to a pp but BPD is actually the acronym for borderline personality disorder not bipolar. Just didn't want op to get confused.

I'd issue a slight caution about family members here. It sounds like she trusts her psychiatrist but not her family. When we are descending into a phase our paranoia frequently extends to health professionals. Just because she is manic does not mean she is making it up about being hit by her father and mistrustful of them. She needs support not to feel even more agitated about another person to not trust ie you.

I can't stress how important it is to have someone we trust around us when we are in a phase. I never go near my family but my dh is often my only lifeline connecting me to reality and liaising between me and my care team. Yes he is my next of kin too, but you can still fulfil the role of trusted person without being next of kin.

It's also imo impossible to get someone in a manic phase to listen to you. The best thing is to share your concerns with her psychiatrist and crisis team and let the professionals take over. I really hope she gets better soon and she is very fortunate to have you smile

Pimpf Tue 18-Feb-14 20:32:17

Thanks. Just had a long call with her. This afternoon I felt she was quite calm and maybe not as bad as I originally thought, now though I think she is having an episode. She's given me permission to speak to her parents, so I've had a good chat with her dad, luckily he knows its not her, it's her illness talking and he's hoping that getting back on the right medication will help.

Just to confirm, she's been taking her meds, they were changed (NHS guidelines, keep costs down etc). Obviously not working and they've been changed back.

Anyway, got to call her back now try and keep her calm.

I have a feeling the next few weeks are going to be tough for us all.

Hope it's ok for me to come back on here asking for advice

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