Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.
Bipolar Episode - feeling lost :((16 Posts)
A year ago, whilst going through a very acrimonious break up, I by chance bumped into a dear old friend from my school days. He too had separated from his wife some 4 years earlier. We became very close, he supported me, would be a shoulder to cry on, at the end of a call if needed. And over the months we developed feelings for each other.
Due to the nature of my break up, and also in the best interests of my children (DS15 and DD9), I did not them of this relationship. I would when the time was right but I wanted to ensure this man was right before I did so.
He is lovely in every way, kind, caring, polite, gentlemanly, fun and engaging.
Then 2 months ago I watched my new-found friend, unravel before my very eyes. Unbeknown to me, my NFF is bipolar 1. Unbeknown to me, he had an episode 5 years ago following the break up with his long-term partner of 23 years and mother of his children DDs 26 and 19. Unbeknown to me he was taking meds to control his moods. Unbeknown to me he stopped taking those meds without prior consultation with his GP at Christmas time. And faired extremely well, until he imploded at the end of August. The pressure of a job interview, moving house, and my situation with an abusive ex husband.
I am utterly devastated, this was the man I was considering introducing to my children one day, this is the man I felt could be a long-term partner. We are both 47, and I gelt he may be the one I see out my years with. I never in a million years would have guessed he was Bipolar, he did say that there was something he wanted to tell me but when he did eventually tell me he thought I was going through enough and was waiting for the right time.
I now know I knew nothing about Bipolar, even if he had told me would I have known it could lead to him being hospitalised and now sectioned whilst they try their hardest to find the right balance of meds to bring him out of this manic episode. I don’t think I would, Bipolar is used so loosely these days to describe people when they have ups and downs.
So here I am, with the person I was falling in love with, sectioned in a secure psychiatric unit. Only my sister and a close friend knows of our friendship. He in his current mental state refers to me as his future wife and with that he expects that I can come and visit everyday as if we were in a full and open relationship but we are not. His mum, dad and sons know now because it was me who had to take him to hospital to be admitted.
With the stigma this illness has and the fact we were just embarking on our relationship, I cannot just breakdown and share it with just anyone.
I am splitting myself in two, making up gym appointments so I can go visit. Trying to be the best Mum I can be for my children following the split (which had been a long time coming and needed to happen – ours was a toxic marriage) and also trying to be there for him is just so hard. Obviously, my children come first, but how do you tell someone who is currently mentally ill that you need to step back a little, that your children need you and you will try to be there when you can but it cannot be everyday.
My NFF well would understand that, my unwell, well I just don’t know.
We are 6 weeks into his stay, he has had some leave and a couple of overnight stays but when he went home, he missed some of his meds and ended up almost in a worst state than when he went in, which resulted in him being sectioned. Originally he was voluntary.
He was allowed leave this weekend just gone, and as my children were with their dad he stayed with me one night but I couldn’t be with him every hour of the day he came out due to commitment I had with my children.
During the time he spent on his own, he went shopping and my NFF who was normally so careful and sensible with his money, blew £500+ on food shopping, DIY stuff from B&Q etc, flowers and plants for me. On top of that he smoked ciggy one after the other all evening and when he wasn’t smoking he was squirreling away ornaments and toiletries in strange places in my house. He clearly was/is still very unwell.
I am so desperately unhappy, yet trying to put a brave face on everything that has happened as I have mentioned only one person really knows what I am going through.
They say the last stint in hospital was 12 weeks, and I would say he hasn’t come far in 6 so we are looking at 12 weeks + this time I am sure.
And then when he gets well, where does that leave us, my children have been through enough with their own father and me. 6 months ago, I seriously would feel that in 12 months or so I would be happy to introduce my NFF to my children and when he was well again, I would still be confident to do that but my worry is what happens if he relapses, there are no guarantees.
I just don’t know what to do or where to turn and I miss his company terribly.
When I split with my ex, I did say to myself I would be happy to it being just me and the children and it may look as though that is how it will be except a little bit of my heart is now broken and there is a gap there which wasn’t there before.
In some ways, I wish we had never reconnected but we have had some wonderful times, so better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?
Gosh, it sounds like he is in an incredibly difficult place. I really hope that his hospitalisation helps him and he can return to an even keel.
How much of a 'stigma' does this disease hold for you?
My Dad has bipolar. He is a difficult person to know at times, he has no boundaries, he is complicated, he has made bad choices. He has also done many things very well. Beyond that illness, he is a human and he, like the rest of us, is a person before the disease.
As much as I appreciate this must be shocking and difficult for you, is the purpose of your post to gain some sort of absolution from ending the relationship with him? Because we can't do that for you. You are considering whether or not this relationship has a future, and that is for you alone to decide. Should my husband leave me because I am depressed? That is his call, I know I am not easy to live with, he says he loves me beyond the illness, I hope he always feel the same.
Good luck with your decision.
Thank you x my head is all over the place at the minute. I don't want to end our relationship - I love him, it would break my heart to end it, I suppose there's more than just me to consider and that is my worry.
I also worry that he needs more than I can currently give and may still need more when he eventually recovers. That by staying with him I'm stopping him meeting someone who is truly free. That I would sacrifice my love for him so that he could find it with someone who can be there for him by hook or by crook. The main reason I posted was to just let it out and to gain strength or advice from others in a similar situation and I thank you for posting x
What a difficult situation. I am no expert when it comes to bipolar but I believe bipolar 1 is the more severe type that often has episodes of psychosis either with the mania or depression. My DH has episodes of psychosis (he's not got bipolar though) so I have some insight into how frightening and confusing it can be.
I remember the shock and confusion of my husbands most severe episode (which finally led to diagnosis and support from MH services) which turned our world upside down. We seperated for a while during this time and I had to ask myself a lot of very hard questions about our future. As PP said you are the only one who can answer those questions. What I would say is that you don't have to make any decisions right now.
My advice to anyone who is supporting someone with their mental health is to put yourself first. If you go under you can't support anyone else. Get some support in place for you either through your GP, occupational health at work or privately if you can afford it. I have found counselling incredibly useful during these tough times to help me work through things. I also have carer support from DHs MH team which has really helped. Your friends MH team may offer something similar for friends and family. I would also educate yourself about bipolar. The Mind and Rethink websites are very useful. Threre is also a good book by Mark Lukkash "My lovely wife" which gives an honest account of his life with his wife through her experiences of bipolar.
As for if you can offer him the support he needs, you can offer him the support you can offer and only he can decide if that is enough. You can't make that decision for him and right now he's not in a position to make that decision rationally. He has professional support around himnow and will do when he leaves hospital. They would support him I he was single and they will support him in a relationship too your support Is an added bonus.
You need to do the right thing for you.
thank you NLAC, I think you're right, I'm overthinking everything, how it is now, how its going to be in the future. I just need to step off those trains of thought and deal with the here and now x.
I now have carer support through Mind and a counsellor.
My NFF is currently too unwell to receive visits and has been like this for the past 8 days, I haven't seen or spoken to him during this time.
In some ways it has given me the space to get on with my life with my family.
When he's ready I will see him and when he recovers fully we can look at the future together x
It is very tough when our loved ones are unwell and our relationships hang in limbo. I found it helped during the time my husband and I were seperated to focus on looking after myself and get myself in the best place possible to deal with whatever the future held. I'm glad you have support from mind.
He is well at the moment thank you last time he was stable for 3 years, then his psychiatrist stopped his medication and he relapsed 18 months ago, he is stable again now so long may that last.
That's good news my NFF worse than ever I'm willing him through this xxx I pray I get him back soon xxx
Sorry to hear that. He will get through this eventually. Keep looking after yourself.
Thank you it's been a rough ride these past two months but thank you for giving me hope xxx as our relationship is pretty much under wraps there's not many I can turn to for support xxx
I think the starting point needs to be your children. It's about protecting them from things you think would be detrimental to them.
Then it's looking at how the man you love fits into that scenario.
There is no easy way. Compromises will need to be made
i totally agree. As with any new relationship after a break up, you have to be very careful not to rush anything. We were taking baby steps, going on a few dates, he appreciated I have children and was happy to just take it slow. I was not ready to introduce him to my children and he totally understood that. This scenario has added a very unexpected element to what was a blossoming relationship. Now I am focusing on me and mine and can only wait and see how his recovery progresses to see if we can pick up again slowly where we left off x
There is definately hope. It sounds like your friend had been stable for sometime before this blip so there is no reason why he can't get well and have a long period of stability again in the future.
NLAC just to let you know almost 13 weeks later he is back 100%.
We will see what the future holds but just wanted to add the good news element to this story xxx and possibly give hope to people who's partners may have suffered a similar situation xx
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.