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Being married to someone with Bi-polar is very tough isn't it?

(33 Posts)
needastrongone Sun 06-Mar-16 10:36:21

Just that really! I'm feeling pretty flat at the minute.

DH is bi-polar. Been diagnosed 8/9 years. He only started taking medication about 2 years ago, so I've had to deal with a lot of highs and lows (he rapid cycles).

He's in a trough at the minute, although not as unable to function as when he wasn't taking medication. It just manifests itself in never ending negativity. I find this very wearing. Everything he says is negative and everything I say he turns into a negative...

I sometimes wonder if I have the energy to ride out the lows. I feel a bit angry that he's putting us through this again, although I accept this is not rational or fair.

He's a wonderful man, kind, thoughtful, sensitive. I love him very deeply. I just find living with someone with bi-polar very hard at times.

Thank you.

warham Sun 06-Mar-16 12:30:39

I'm not sure what you're expecting to gain from posting this here.

Many people who suffer from mental health issues feel guilty enough as it is about the impact they have on those around them. The guilt can be crippling at times. I know how difficult and selfish and negative I am at times and how awful I am for the family. I feel so guilty and ashamed at times that I think about killing myself to make life better for them. So that they don't have to live with my misery.

It's an illness, one with NO CURE. If you don't think YOU can handle it, then this is a problem in how YOU handle the relationship. A post best put on the relationship board. Not here.

I think posting on a mental health forum which is most commonly used by people with mental health illnesses is really quite insensitive. A lovely little reminder of just how shit we are to the people who love us? confused (as if most of us don't know that already)

16Sneezes Sun 06-Mar-16 12:36:34

I think thats a bit harsh, warham (although maybe the OP's title was a bit insensitive).

Being bipolar is hard. Living with someone with bipolar disorder is hard. Its not a competition.

I think those who are caring for /supporting a loved one with a serious mental health condition should feel able to talk openly about the difficulties they face.

Radiatorvalves Sun 06-Mar-16 12:47:21

You have my sympathy OP. I have no direct experience but my brother's exW is bipolar. He did everything he could for her for over 10 years. The most supportive DH. She was (a bit) violent, sweary in front of DCs, said she found him controlling, spent a fortune, drank loads....and had an affair. It wasn't easy and still isn't.

Good luck.

howcanikeepdoingthis Sun 06-Mar-16 12:51:15

People who experience symptoms of bipolar are not all the same. Your husband might not be very easy to love with at the moment but please don't generalize that everyone unfortunate enough to be given that label is the same.

mrssmith79 Sun 06-Mar-16 12:56:48

OP, are you accessing carer support? Getting any 'me' time? 6/7 years married to someone with unmedicated rapid cycle bipolar would be enough to push anyone to the limit.
Don't sacrifice your own mental health in the process. Hopefully medication is helping dh but it often takes time, years even, to get the mix right - along with psychological therapies too. That this situation will last forever isn't necessarily a given if the work's put in but there's no shame in holding your hands up and admitting it's getting too much. flowers

FuckyNell Sun 06-Mar-16 12:57:15

Op it's okay to feel like you do, of course it is. I've no advice but to say people shouldn't belittle your feelings, I'm sorry that you and your husband are suffering flowers

Kewcumber Sun 06-Mar-16 13:11:27

I'm not sure what you're expecting to gain from posting this here. support.

Or are partners not allowed any? hmm

needastrongone Sun 06-Mar-16 13:16:11

Thank you.

I am in tears writing this. That doesn't happen all that often, I generally cope pretty well. No, I don't have any carer support. It is getting on top of me at the moment. I think that's one of the things I miss the most, the mutual support.

I did speak to my GP about 2 years ago, just before he agreed to medicate and I really felt like I was at my wits end.

Sorry, I hadn't meant to upset any body. I haven't meant to be insensitive. I hadn't meant to generalise about anyone.

I just don't really know how I am any more. I spend an awful lot of my life treading on eggshells when DH struggles mentally, so as not to trigger anything negative for him.

Please be assured he's a wonderful, brilliant man, I love him unconditionally and will support him again. I just know if I wobble mentally, then that brings him down, so it's really tough.

It just feels a bit relentless when you get all sorts of emotions thrown at you and whatever you try to do to help is rejected.

I KNOW that when he's feeling less low, this won't happen.

needastrongone Sun 06-Mar-16 13:18:05

*who I am.

Thank you.

wonkylegs Sun 06-Mar-16 13:22:38

It can be tough on family as well as individuals. Both my dad and my MIL are bi-polar and I would say they have had quite different effects on the families but that doesn't make it any easier. You need to work out ways of making it through together. I would say what has worked for my family is very different than for my ILs but talking about it rather than ignoring it does help. I'm not saying all the time but just sometimes, you just know when the right time a short conversation helps.

warham Sun 06-Mar-16 13:25:09

Oh FFS of course OP is entitled to support I never said she wasn't.

But perhaps from relationship board or 'chat' as I felt it seemed a little insensitive to those struggling with there MH to ask for it here.

But read what you like into my reply. I don't care and won't post on this thread agin.

needastrongone Sun 06-Mar-16 13:28:22

wonky We talk a lot when he is 'even', for want of a better word. Loads. I think he's maybe at the bottom of a low at the minute, so it's been going on a few weeks, but it will be a few weeks before he's fully ok. And it feels a bit lonely for me at this stage.

warham The only I would mention in response is, a few years ago, is a paranoid stage, DH accused me of having an affair. I had to stand there and take that, knowing it's the illness. He was incredibly sorry when feeling well again. But it doesn't stop it hurting, your DH accusing you of infidelity, even if the rational part of you knows it's the illness. I know my DH feels terrible too, but it doesn't stop me hurting too.

Halftruth Sun 06-Mar-16 13:29:31

I love my partner to piece's and the biggest problem i find with it is adjusting back and fourth from supportive happy loving partner who is openly affectionate to this emotionally delicate state where she can't cope with herself let alone anybody else . i'm just starting to adjust to her staying at her mum again for half the week as i'm busy and can't be there for her (she needs Constance supervision when she get ill) but it eases her guilt of letting us down . i 'm more than willing to love her even when she doesn't love herself .

needastrongone Sun 06-Mar-16 13:30:54

And it affects my mental health, or does at the minute.

But, I am sorry for causing offence, as that wasn't my intention. I tread on enough eggshells at home, should have done here smile

howcanikeepdoingthis Sun 06-Mar-16 14:04:20

I'm sorry if my response was abrupt, im particularly sensitive to people been viewed through a lens because of a diagnosis they have been subject to. This is a very supportive place generally and of course you are entitled to such support. I'm sorry that you and your husband are having a tough time and echo what has been said about maybe finding a carers support group. I hope you both are able to move forward and find a more peaceful way. I cant imagine what it is like to see someone you love so much suffer in this way and I think its really brave to ask for help. I know of others who have found it really useful to share their experiences of living with someone with mental distress.

needastrongone Sun 06-Mar-16 14:43:46

half It's very hard isn't it? Adjusting back and forward all the time. I love my DH dearly also. I don't know what to say or do when he's down. Strangely, the DC (teens) cope with it better than I do, although they tend to make less 'allowance' for his mood.

Halftruth Sun 06-Mar-16 14:57:26

I find it's the tone of voice she uses on me when she says things to me . what she says i can let go over. My head but the tone can cut me in half sometimes . it isn't easy but it's worth it . like i said when she great she awesome . hope it get better soon really

Halftruth Sun 06-Mar-16 15:02:50

Maybe some off these people could help explain what helps them ? How would you expect your partner to react,cope ,adjust and support you as well as just love you .loving someone seems to be the easy part . has anyone got any good strategies with there partner they could share genuinely asking blush

16Sneezes Sun 06-Mar-16 15:36:36

I have bipolar disorder. Should have said upthread. I'm type 2, which is often seen as 'less troublesome' than type 1 (Ha! is all I can say to that).

Initially - for a good 10 years - I was rapid cycling, but it has settled into classic longer periods of depression interspersed with shorter hypomanic episodes over the past few years.

I'm currently well and have been for an amazing 20 months (yes, we count!). But I have subjected my (wonderful) husband to absolute shitstorms of awfulness in the past. I am in awe of him - his love, his commitment, his ability to see past my illness to the 'me' underneath it.

Personally, I take my fucking hat off to anyone living with a partner with bipolar disorder. I couldn't - possibly wouldnt - do it. You have to be an incredibly emotionally resilient, mature, loving person to pull it off, OP, so you must be a pretty awesome human being.

I agree that looking into support groups may help. My DH won't do that sort of thing - the old school, stiff upper lip approach etc - but he has found relief at times in talking things through with a good friend who's wife also has BPD. You are a person, too. You need and deserve some understanding and if possible, some respite flowers.

needastrongone Sun 06-Mar-16 16:06:09

16sneezes That's an incredibly kind post, thank you. I am sorry that you suffer, I really am. I absolutely understand what you mean about having a long period of wellness, we had this, albeit not for as long, when DH first medicated. I think it made him feel like putting on a pair of glasses for the fist time; suddenly you realise you couldn't see as well as you thought and it's a revelation. And a relief, it was a joyous relief for us all.

I think maybe every cycle takes a little bit of my resilience away. I've got some unresolved anger issues about the period of time it took for him to agree to medicate, which are irrational, as it was his decision to make alone, but they are there non the less.

DH was also involved in a serious car accident when working abroad about a year ago. He felt it was such a life changing event that he would come off his medication as he didn't need it any longer. He didn't tell me. But I knew. I DO actually think that this was a selfish decision to make, so I need to figure that one out in my head too.

The most draining thing is I am DH's emotional crux, but if I waver, it sends him down, he feels rejected and more worthless. But in reality, I had a cold last week and felt crap, that's all. In his eyes, my 'emotional shutters' were down. It's wearing sometimes, that's all.

Yes, it's time to consider some outside help I think.

Thank you.

McPheeNicks Sun 06-Mar-16 18:29:21

It's worth having a look if there is a local Bipolar UK group somewhere near. They welcome both people with the condition and family members. Talking to people with similar experiences might be just the thing sometimes.

www.bipolaruk.org/find-a-support-group

nooddsocksforme Sun 06-Mar-16 19:10:21

Mental health issues are incredibly difficult to deal with no matter what the diagnosis. It is so difficult for the person who has the difficulties but also heart breaking for anyone who cares for them. It is difficult to see someone you love going through such a terrible time and sometimes you feel so helpless because there seems to be so little you can do to change it-apart from being there for them. It is very wearing and you should not feel guilty for feeling that way. That is not to make anyone who is feeling ill feel guilty- of course you cant help it if you have mental health issues-it can happen to anyone. We accept that if someone has cancer their family will also need support and there are lots of resources for this-Maggies centres etc. It is so sad that the same resources are not available in mental health

KeemaNaanAndCurryOn Mon 07-Mar-16 11:31:07

I have bipolar and I'm currently in hospital after having a relapse. The stress it puts onto my DH is immense and I'm just grateful that the good times are enough for him to keep on working through it with me. This time was particularly harsh on him as part of my nuttiness was accusing him of wanting to kill me.

Of course I feel guilt about how it impacts on him and also our children, but I can totally appreciate how hard it is for him to have a wife that periodically wants to die and then runs up massive credit card bills and god knows what else when high.

I can understand why your DH is reluctant to take the meds as the side effects can be vile, but I think you need a proper talk to him about how his choice not to medicate puts a strain on your relationship, and perhaps a way forward would be for him to speak to the psych to see if they can find another option with fewer side effects, but that can get him onto an even keel.

I also think that you need to look into getting support for you too. Certainly in my area there are things like Carers cafes and other support groups where you can go and talk things through with people who are in the same situation as you are and maybe even get some advice on how to handle your own feelings. While he is the one with the illness you matter as well.

16Sneezes Mon 07-Mar-16 12:44:31

Hey needastrongone

I absolutely understand what you mean when you say 'I think maybe every cycle takes a little bit of my resilience away'. This is where I think its crucial you can find some coping mechanisms and outlets for when you feel you're on your knees with always having to be the strong one.

Have you had any counselling or therapy yourself? That could be something to look into, alongside a carers support group (Bipolar UK have listings, I think). I am also a carer (as well as being bipolar!), because I have a child with autism, so i am in a strangely double-edged position grin. I haven't found talking therapies particularly useful from a bipolar POV, but as a carer, it has really helped at times to have someone to talk to, cry to, complain to, rage against etc when my caring responsibilities get on top.

Also, do you get time away from your DH and all caring responsibilities? Time to just relax and be free? I know that sounds like such a trite suggestion, but I really believe that giving your mind some regular time to 'play' and be free helps with stress levels. My DH goes to football without fail on a Saturday, and friends joke about me being a 'footie widow' etc, but he honestly needs that few hours each week where he can go and be with friends, have a few drinks and a bite to eat and chat, just relax his mind basically. Without that, I dont think he'd necessarily cope so well in the long term with my illness.

The 'unresolved anger issues' you mention sound familiar - I am sure this is very common in partners of people with serious mental health conditions. Your DH makes shit decisions when he isn't well e.g. not taking his meds and then you're supposed to pick up the pieces, right? Very tough. Again, counselling might help you process that. But I think its also about feeling you are allowed to be honest with your DH about your feelings, too (in calmer moments, when he can take on board what you're saying).

My DH has a lot of unresolved anger over he credit card debts I ran up when high, but the only way forward really has been for us to discuss things when I am well, so that he is really able to express how he feels and its not always about me and my feelings. We've also made practical plans together to try to ensure it doesn't happen again, so for example I dont have credit cards anymore and run any purchase over £100 by DH (not for 'permission', but discussion). It might be that he needs to consider allowing you more say in his medication, care plan etc. That can be hard to take on board for someone with bipolar disorder - giving up 'control' - but it might be necessary.

xx

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