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DH/DP Bipolar, how do you get on with life?

(24 Posts)
pwf Wed 17-Sep-08 12:13:09

Hi there,
Just a bit about me:
I have married to DH for 7 years and have 2yo ds.
He has always been a bit moody and shouty, but great when well and charming and fun.
He has his great highs, and depressing lows. And I had learnt to live with that and just kind of treated him like a spoilt kid.

A couple of years ago, he was very stressed at work/new baby and had a breakdown where he was prescribed with AD. He was well for months and then stopped taking them.
Tbh, I didn't take much notice of this as I was busy with Ds, but I realise now I should've asked him to see the Dr if he wanted to stop.

Anyway, we had a bit of an incident over the weekend where I had to call the police as I got scared with the shouting and ds being stuck in the middle, he had been moody for the last few weeks and I think he finally burst then. I felt I needed to call the police out of anger (and at the time wanted him away from us) and also cause I thought he needed a wake up call to seek help.

I have now told him that I am prepared to be patient and help him get help and then when he is better that we can attend marriage counselling as I feel we need help to get the magic back into our relationship iykwim.
I realise here, there are mild and extreme cases, and I feel DH's case it’s quite mild as he hasn't done anything silly (physical harm, etc)
We have looked online at the Bipolar symptoms and they look just like what dh suffers from, which is what he will talk to the Dr about next Monday.

Does anyone have expreience this, and how do you get on with life? I know this a long time process and would like to share experiences.
How is medication helping and also any other remedies helped?

Best wishes

simpson Wed 17-Sep-08 23:00:58

Hi pwf

Sorry no advice but will be watching this with interest as DH had his first breakdown in 2004 and is currently having another. sad The first one put down to a "pyscotic (sp) episode"

I have had to leave home with 2 Dcs and go to my mum's as he was becoming increasingly volatile and aggressive.

We have a small baby (7mths) and things have got worse in the last few mths since she has been born.

He has been in A & E today for 5hrs being assessed and someone is coming round to see him tomorrow.

Don't have diagnosis yet, but would be good to hear from other people going through the same thing, advice etc but obviously sad that snyone has to deal with this sad

mummylin2495 Thu 18-Sep-08 23:18:33

hello pwf .m sis has bi-polar and i can talk to you about the experiences with her if this is what you want ,but i am going off now so will need to do it tomorrow if this is ok.

ladylush Fri 19-Sep-08 09:30:19

pwf sorry no personal experience but I am a CPN(community psychiatric nurse). What I would say is that if he does have BPAD, your support will be crucial to him but also you will need a lot of support. There are various groups around for carers and family therapy is very useful too. Some people do manage without medication but I still feel some kind of talking therapy is important because otherwise there is all this emotion in the household with no where to go - eventually it explodes and the fall out is horrible.

pwf Tue 23-Sep-08 08:59:51

Hi Simpson, hope things are getting better for you, thanks for your post.

mylin, thanks! that's very kind of you.

Ll, Dh, went to the see the doctors yesterday (finally) and told him everything, he came back in a bit of a state, very sad as the DR confirmed he was BP, but I am relieved that he has finally been told so and now we can deal with it.
He was prescribed Venlafaxine and he straight away contacted a local group that he's going to join. He has also been sent to see the CPN, we just have to wait for the letter.

You are right, I think I need support to, will try to get a book about it and find out how to deal with his "episodes" but in the meantime I'm trying to distress (my stress levels were up the roof lately!)

Anyway take care

specialeyelin Tue 23-Sep-08 13:57:25

hi [ its mummylin] i will post for you tonight] .Glad you now have the diagnosis ,at least you now know what dh is facing.

zippitippitoes Tue 23-Sep-08 13:59:36

hi pwf

glad you are sounding happier

is it the gp who has made the diagnosis?

or a mental health consultant?

mummylin2495 Tue 23-Sep-08 21:39:37

hi,here goes then.My sis has bi-polar and i have to say there has been some very trying ,sad,funny and difficult times with her.At one time she refused to speak to anyone except me and was told things by her wouldrather not of heard,to be qite honest.But i promised i would be there for her and i was.They have times of very very manic phases ,but you also have to learn to cope with the lows.It is very hard to watch someone struggling to cope with this illness and all you can really do is support them ,listen to them and just be there.I found it helpful to look up as much as i could because I just didnt understand why she was doing certain things.Now after three and a half years ,she has a new toyboy boyfriend,she is back working and is living a good life once again ,she has actually been quite stable for the past year.So although it is hard and there is no knowing when the episode will end ,there is light at the end of the tunnel.If i can help you further dont hesitate to ask.

dustyteddy Tue 23-Sep-08 21:49:01

My mother is bipolar, and tbh it has been quite hard on us as a family. Especially for my father. Unfortunately, she goes on mad spending sprees when on a high, literally running up thousands in debt. My father has had to bail her out of these debts on so many occasions. I think he is at a loss of how to deal with it now

She is on medication, but I think it doesn't solve all the day to day issues that cause so much stress to the family.

mummylin2495 Tue 23-Sep-08 21:58:38

i agree dusty,unfortunatly this manic spending is part of the illness,as you will know. My sis took to going out to lunch everyday and putting on airs and graces.She was spending money she couldnt afford.She became very vulnerable and each week as paying to go and see a different therapist.One would tell her one thing ,then the next week another would tell her something different.ONe said it was because of her childhood ,which is a joke as she is the one who had it all and out of six of us siblings she was by far the brightest.The trouble is when someone had planted a seed in her mind this would then grow out of proportion,but by the next week there was a nother reason from a different person !She was lucky enough to qualify for the priory as she was covered by her dh,s work.When she came out of there she never went back to her dh who had actually been a brick,and got a flat on her own ,she had two teenage kids.Divorce followed,and then a complete meltdown of her family !!! It is a very painful thing to watch someone in your family go through this.She has had two really bad times of it,but as i said at the moment she is stable.

dustyteddy Tue 23-Sep-08 22:08:23

I know mummylin it is hard to deal with a member of your family going through this. My mother has been one of her shopping spree's again and I had to ring my father to tell him, because I know it will cause a row between them when the credit card bill turns up.

I just don't know how to help them. My father is at a loss of how to stop the overspending. But the banks insist on offering more money, the more money she gets the more she spends, it is a viscous cycle! Makes me so angry with the bank that they she has bipolar and yet they make it worse by offering more money, aargh!

Sorry to hijack you're thread, just need to rant.

Hope your sis keeps stable.

mummylin2495 Tue 23-Sep-08 22:16:34

it took a while to get where she is ,iam very proud of her ,she has had a hard struggle.I know how you must be feeling ,never knowing what to expect from day to day.i used to get phone calls late a night and then had to go and meet her down the road somewhere.she has also tried to overdose on tablets and that also was a terrible time and i was so scared she would end up dead.But i the end i decided i wasnt going to spend all my waking hours worrying about her,Instead i decided to deal with the problems as they cropped up and this worked well.She forbade me to tell anyone in the family certain things and this was a further strain ,buti had promised and to be honest would only of worried the rest of the family ,Of course they knew she was ill,but i just used to tell them the basics as i didn want my sis to lose her trust in me.I wish your mum well and hope that you and your dad will eventually ,get to where we are now.

dustyteddy Tue 23-Sep-08 22:24:05

I'm glad things are getting better for your sis mummylin. I actually think my mother is getting worse. She is spending more than ever. My father has tried to deal with her for over 30 years and we are yet to see an improvement in cycle of overspending. I'm not sure how it will all end up, my father reckons she will probably spend all the money my father has worked for his whole life, especially if he dies before her. I feel it's so much on my shoulders, as my brother died 10 years ago, and I am now an only child

I just hope she doesn't end up in hospital again. That is my fear if we can't get her psychotic moods under control.

dustyteddy Tue 23-Sep-08 22:25:38

I'm glad things are getting better for your sis mummylin. I actually think my mother is getting worse. She is spending more than ever. My father has tried to deal with her for over 30 years and we are yet to see an improvement in cycle of overspending. I'm not sure how it will all end up, my father reckons she will probably spend all the money my father has worked for his whole life, especially if he dies before her. I feel it's so much on my shoulders, as my brother died 10 years ago, and I am now an only child

I just hope she doesn't end up in hospital again. That is my fear if we can't get her psychotic moods under control.

dustyteddy Tue 23-Sep-08 22:26:37

sorry for double post! blush

mummylin2495 Tue 23-Sep-08 22:36:31

i too have had a sibling die,we lost our younger sister,so of course it was hard for our mum to take all this in and and one of the reasons that i didnt tell her about overdoses.It sound like you have all been through a really tough time and still going through it,I thought it was bad enough for the last couple of years and you have had to cope much much longer.I dont know what to suggest to you .I think its very wrong that your mum still has access to money to go on her spending sprees.You would think the banks etc would be more helpful.But of course its not really your mum doing these things,it an effect of the illness.You would think they would of been able to sort out something by now to help to make her more stable .Of course i know you dont want her to go into hospital but at least it gives your dad a little break.he must be a hero to cope for so long.You have my utmost sympathies at what you are coping with.

mummylin2495 Tue 23-Sep-08 22:58:10

i am off now ,but will look in tomorrow eve if you want to chat.night

pwf Wed 24-Sep-08 11:19:23

Hi girls,
I'm glad to hear that your sister is doing well mummylin, sounds very positive.

And I'm sorry dustyteddy about your Mum.

I noticed my dh was a bit of a spender since we met, so when we got married I took control of the finances and I keep all cards.
he only gets pocket money.
Now I understand why this has been happening.

I tend to avoid going shopping with him, but have had little rows in the middle of the supermarket or shop cause he fancies buying something I don't think we need/or can afford.

zippi, the diagnosis was made by the gp, he is yet to see someone else, not sure how long the waiting list is?
Has anyone had any support from any charities?

mummylin2495 Wed 24-Sep-08 17:53:06

hi pwf,yes we are lucky in that for now she is stable ,but it was a long rough road to travel at the time it was all happening.But hopefully she could now go for years being well ,or it could be this year or next year,we just dont know.My sis is 47 and has now got herself a boyfriend of 25 !!! but she sems happy ,whati am afraid of is that he will dump her and break her heart and it will all start up again,but of course she has to live her own life.She has just moved from our town to go and live with him in kent.We will have to wait and see.But if/when it happens again i know i can cope with it. I dont actually know if he has any idea of her mental health problems.

arionater Wed 24-Sep-08 19:34:14

Hi, just wanted to leave a positive message. I am bipolar, but it's quite well controlled and I'm not on any medication at the moment. The most important thing in terms of a good prognosis is "insight" - that is, being able to tell when you are unwell, or going 'off' in either direction. Some people do just have it more than others, but you can really learn to be better at it too by monitoring your moods carefully and discussing it honestly with other people. In terms of lifestyle, a really strict routine is probably the most important thing - especially getting a consistent amount of sleep (too much or too little can both be destabilising), and neither too much nor too little social stimulation, plus a healthy diet. Regular exercise also makes a huge difference - some studies suggest it makes more difference than any antidepressant (and it's a mood stabiliser too - so stops you going too high as well as too low). Your DH should probably avoid alcohol completely, and certainly really cut down. A lot of bp people drink/smoke etc to 'self-medicate', because at some level they know they need to calm down or whatever - but really it makes it a lot worse, alcohol is a very major depressant.

I know lots of people have it more seriously than me, and also I am quite young so I don't imagine I have 'cracked' it, it's bound to keep popping up. But there really is stuff you can do, and being in a stable relationship is a good start and should help a lot (as support, and also because it's someone else to check his own self-perception of his moods against). The diagnosis is a bit sobering, but actually it's helped me realise that I wasn't just being "useless" in the past - even as a child I had very long periods of being terribly low and I always thought I was just really really bad and useless at 'getting over things', I was very ashamed of it as it seemed so silly. Being able to see it more as a mood state in me that I was blaming on events has helped me accept myself better.

Nooneshome Thu 25-Sep-08 13:13:20

Hi pwf and others
My DH has BP diagnosis. One major breakdown/hospital 5 weeks last year - just completely manic/psychotic/ unrecognisable and one this year (hospital 7 weeks) where manic and completely changed personality, threatening divorce etc. Up until last year absolutely no sign, he is normally extremely level, consistent, always mildly happy, eextremely high achiever holding down impressive job etc.
We have 2 kids and another on the way (in 5 weeks). He is starting to accept the diagnosis but it is very early days. He is now completely back to normal, better than normal really and our marriage seems better than ever. He is very gratful for my support and loyalty. He is anxious about his future career prospects and ability to earn money like he used to and is a bit lost without the structure of work and the purpose of a career, but not really depressed.

My advice is to read loads to try and understand the illness and really take good care of yourself and kids when episodes are occurring. When they are ill, there is not really much you can do and it can be so painful, distressing, stressful and just downright emotional that I think you have to get your own space to get through it really. My approach is to ship DH out of house eg to hospital or his parents when an episode is occurring as there is no way I can cope and I don't want our small kids to see it. Its too upsetting and distressing. When your partner is well make agreements about what should happen the next time an episode occurs and make sure your money is safe and access to spending is restricted. My DH tries to float companies, buy buildings worth more than our home, make huge investments and buys so much stuff when unwell, the chaos of it all is one of the worse things and has caused me huge stress. The Bipolar Organisation (Manic Depression Fellowship) run local support groups throughout the country and are very helpful if you call them up, I'd recommend you join them, and attend a support group, and get him to go as well (not necessarily at the same time as you). This time I kept a diary detailing what my DH was doing/saying to show him how out of character and ill he was as he was massively in denial about the illness. He has been in the process of accepting the diagnosis for about 6 weeks now but has still not read the diary although he asks me to tell him bits now and again. He is a bit fragile about the whole thing and I have to go easy. I'm hoping that he will face up to it all and do what he can to reduce the frequency, length and severity of future episodes. But its early days for us. He won't take maintenance medication but is at least seeing a psychiatrist regularly. We'll see but I admit I'm scared, really scared about the future.

pwf Mon 29-Sep-08 12:53:04

Hi there,

mummylin, hope it all goes well for your sister! best wishes for her. Glad to hear she is enjoying her life.

Thanks for the tips arionater, very helpful, have mentioned to dh a few things (obv not telling him I posted this on mumsnet!)

Sorry to hear your story Noon, I can fully understand!.
So has your dh taken any medication in the past or has he changed his lifestyle?

Unfortunately the ad that the gp prescribed (without a mood stebilizer) made dh so ill in the last few days, literally a zombie, couldn't eat or sleep, on the way to an early grave basically. I could not cope with that as he would just sit there, so today he is chatting to the doctor and stopped taking them 2 days ago. He does seem a lot more concious of his moods and is taking bicomplex and cod liver oil.

Will look into the charity and def join them.
Thanks again,

mummylin2495 Tue 30-Sep-08 21:33:08

PWF thanks for your good has ben a struggle for her to get where she is now ,but thankfully she has and you would never guess at the awful times she has been through.At the momnet for her its a new lif e,new partner and anew outlook on things.I hope things turn out s well for your dh although it dosent happen in five minutes .How is he doing now ?

piecesofeight Wed 08-Oct-08 00:41:03

pwf, I just wanted to say I'm thinking of you. And also Nooneshome - you too. My ex-partner more than likely has bipolar disorder. He has had what might be considered two [hypo]manic episodes now, as well as several depressed spells, and my life over the past two-and-a-half years has been a rollercoaster I no longer wish to ride. My ex left mid-high last year, in the throes of spending over £100,000, sleeping around, setting up four or five companies and being a wholly different (not in a good way) person to the person I knew and loved. He is now low, consumed with remorse and regret, feeling overwhelmed at the financial and emotional mess he needs to deal with, and wants me and DS back.

The problem is, I have lost respect for and trust in him. I have been publicly humiliated by his behaviour. And I am weary of his changing moods, which have seen him be his stable, happy-go-lucky self for a matter of months over the past couple of years. And yet I still love that person he can be, and choosing not to reconcile with him would mean letting go of that lovely person too. It is very, very difficult.

Nooneshome, your strength and supportiveness are inspirational. I don't know that I can be as supportive as you. I know I can't go through the fall-out of a high again - nor put DS through it. But of course, bipolar is cyclical, so it is very likely to happen again. I have told my ex that I will not consider reconciliation until/unless he tackles bipolar head-on and manages it, which at the moment isn't really happening (depression is managing him). I don't know if my imposing this condition is fair or even realistic, but I do know that I need to self-protect and that some boundaries are necessary.

I'm sorry that this post isn't more encouraging: it is a reflection only of my particular circumstances, and there are other more hopeful posts on here.

All this ramble has eclipsed my original intention to simply empathise with you. Good luck, pwf and Nooneshome. I'm crossing fingers and toes for you both.

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