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okaaaay .... it's possible that dh has bipolar disorder

(43 Posts)
Miaou Sat 27-May-06 17:36:31

He went to the gp on Wednesday and she said she definitely isn't ruling it out, though she is going to change his ADs to see if that helps at all.

It's not a shock as we have suspected it may be the case for some time. But he has struggled to work over the past 10 years or so and I think we have to accept that working is just simply not compatible with his condition, whether it is bipolar or just straightforward depression.

I wasn't feeling too bad about it until I wrote this out but seeing it in black and white is quite hard actually. Ho hum.

Miaou Sat 27-May-06 18:05:17

bump - I need someone to say "there there"

dinosaure Sat 27-May-06 18:09:05

Hi Miaou, I don't know a lot about bipolar disorder or depression come to that, but didn't want to leave your post unanswered.

Do you work? Would you be able to get by on your salary, at least for a while? Could DH find someothing a bit less stressful, perhaps part-time?

SenoraPostrophe Sat 27-May-06 18:09:11

well if it is bipolar disorder, then it's good news because he can have a more or less normal life with the right drugs (at least, i know some people can)

zippitippitoes Sat 27-May-06 18:11:36

I echo that it is possible to have bipolar and work and even run a business..will add some more later as I have to get some food now!

Miaou Sat 27-May-06 18:14:40

Dh is not working atm (lost his job at christmas due to losing his driving licence). I really don't know about working - he won't get his licence back until Aug 2007 and there is no possibility of working before then because of where we live. Problem is, because he is pinned to the house it increases his depression, which doesn't help.

WigWamBam Sat 27-May-06 18:15:10

My sister was diagnosed with bi-polar about three months ago after many years of problems which we all thought were alcohol-related - turns out the alcohol problem is bi-polar-related. Since they changed her medication three months ago things are far more settled, she's more "herself" again, and is actually at the stage where she's thinking she may be able to go back to work for a few hours a week.

From what she's been told, once the condition is properly treated there is every chance that she will be able to function pretty much as normal - including full-time employment if she wants. Part of the problem seems to be that standard ADs make bi-polar worse, so once your dh's new medication starts to kick in you may find that things improve beyond your expectations.

I really hope that the medication can make things better for him - and for you.

Miaou Sat 27-May-06 18:16:31

I work p/t at the moment but we're planning to have another baby so it won't be forever <ducks and runs for cover>

Miaou Sat 27-May-06 18:20:18

Thanks zippi and wigwam - we're a way off a diagnosis yet but although I was quite positive earlier in the week I'm feeling a bit weepy about it all just now.

vitomum Sat 27-May-06 18:20:58

there is a strong history of this in dp's family. His father has been very disabled by it - but then again he has a very 'particular' personality and consistently refused to accept and respect professional help and this, in my view, is very contributory to the problems he has had. On the other hand dp's cousin's bipolar is very well managed and she has not had any episodes for a number of years and is an amazing and happy person. Getting a diagnosis can often be a really positive thing. i hope you have a GP you can trust and work with. I think in total i know 4 people who are bipolar and they are all affected really differently. 2 find it hard to work and 2 don't - with one having a very successful career. so it is very hard to generalise and anticipate what the future holds. Sounds like things have been quite hard for your dp for a while so hopefully a diagnosis could lead to him moving forward a bit. incidentally everyone i know with bipolar identifies themselves as 'manic-depressive'. quite interesting that they choose to reject the newer pc term - have no idea why that may be. hope things start to work out for you.

Overrun Sat 27-May-06 19:51:36

Hi Miaou, If your dp has not had mood stabalising medication before, it may make a huge difference and he may well be able to work in the future. Bi polar affective disorder is a very difficult illness to come to terms with, as not only are you looking out for your mood going down, you and your loved ones end up mistrustful of any positive feelings and happiness which i think is really sad.
For the person who is experiencing mania, they can feel on top of the world, invincible etc, but for those around them it can be very scarey. There is a very good and proactive organisation for people with BPAD, so if he gets diagnosed this might help.
Don't know if this has been mentioned already but a diagnosis of BPAD may require going to a community mental health team, your GP might refer you. I would advise this, as a Psychiatrist will be better placed to prescribe the right medication, as there are a lot of mood stabilisers, not just Lithium, which used to be used almost exclusively. You may well then receive support from a community psychiatric nurse, or psychiatric social worker. There is also an obligation on them to carry out a carers assessment on you, which may highlight ways of supporting you to support him etc
Community Mental health teams also place a lot of importance on getting service users back to work, so this could be a plus. There are specialist workers now.
So if your partner is offered a referral to the CMHT, and you are wary of this, maybe it might help to think of some of the services they may be able to offer.
Hope this helps, I have a feeling that I have come into this half way through, so some of this might also have been raised,

Blandmum Sat 27-May-06 19:54:45

fwiw I once worked in a university department and one of the professors there was bipolar. One of my inlaws is bipolar

morningpaper Sat 27-May-06 19:57:34

Hi Miaou, does your DH want this diagnosis?

In a way, it changes nothing, probably not even his medication. How long has he been using medication for?

Does he have a therapist?

Don't feel that it is a death sentence (as it were!) - lots of people in my family have this diagnosis - including me (and I have been working full and part-time for over 10 years) and my sibling (who owns and runs a huge global business). It is not so much the diagnosis that is important, but the management of the condition.

zippitippitoes Sat 27-May-06 20:01:39

It is true that some ads can make you manic.

On the upside he has probably been suffering for years with the illness so knowing what it is can only make things better.

There have been a few posts recently about manic depression/bipolar...it is though a very individual illness and lots of arguments and controversy about treatment. I always recommend the book Touched by Fire by Kay Reid Jamison whoich is a good read and actually makes you feel quite good about the illness as she relates it to artistic expression as well as telling her own story. She is very pro medication. I found this such a good book that I once bought 6 copies of it and gave them to people I wanted to read it (was ill at the time!!!)

I am personally not keen on medication as I had bad experiences with it. However I do have a typical manic depressives relationshuip with alcohol, or "self medication"..but on the other hand I do have my own business too.

The essentials for keeping well are plenty of sleep,omega 3 may help, avoiding stress (I'm hopeless at that one), avoiding alcohol (see above).

The other factor which I follow is accepting the illness and making it pay its way.

(Does the gp think this may explain his drink/drive thing)

Marina Sat 27-May-06 20:02:01

My sister's b/f has managed to stay in work (in a demanding social service area of the public sector) p/t for most of the time since she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (and her diagnosis came about through a spectacular breakdown and sectioning )
She even managed a healthy pregnancy and is now a happy mum.
It may not seem like it now miaou, and I can imagine how distressing this potential situation must be for you right now, but all may not be lost on the employment front for him.
Bipolar disorder runs in my mother's family. It is daunting but it can be lived with. Not so long ago your GP would have been signing him for up ECT...thank goodness better treatments and support are available now.

Sending you lots of love XXX and a big librarianly "there there". At least you don't have to worry in the slightest about what your colleagues will think librarians very unfazed by mental illness IME.

spacecadet Sat 27-May-06 20:07:22

miaou-if your dh does get a diagnosis, with the right treatment he can lead a normal life, fwiw many famous people have bpd, spike milligan had bpd.
as someone else has mentioned, ads intended for depression can exarabate the situation as bpd is a different kind of illness.

morningpaper Sat 27-May-06 20:09:57

Yes true

He could be the next Spike Milligan!

But try not to worry too much about that

I had to fight not to be put on lithium, as I was quite sure that it was not right for me. I was quite anti-medication because I wanted to take control myself - through psychotherapy etc. But it is difficult, especially when you are fighting the CPNS/hospitals that are supposedly taking care of you.

There are lots of happy endings, Miaou.

zippitippitoes Sat 27-May-06 20:11:10

And I agree with whoever said it is difficult to know whether you are "ill" or just enjoying yourself...extremely hard to weigh up the pros and cons of decisions as they may be risks or they may be normal good ideas!!!

It's also possible to start things in a fit of enthusiasm and really struggle to bring them to a satisfactory conclusion because the depression and stress has set in.

Like Marina's sister I had a breakdown and 3 months in hospital so he is not doing too badly!

Overrun Sat 27-May-06 20:13:41

Hi Morningpaper, did you find that the CPN's just wanted to talk about medication and were not interested in looking at other options?
It is a very individual thing I know, I do feel that medication can work well, but its much more effective in conjunction with other therapies.

morningpaper Sat 27-May-06 20:20:14

Well CPNS are so different aren't they? Mine was a bit of a tosser TBH. Actually I didn't have a very good experience of NHS mental health services at all. My GP was heavily into the medications, so I would get a different load every week. I was considered a suicide risk so I had to pick up my drugs every week from the Pharmacist. I ended up on NINE different drugs. It was terrible. The counselling/therapy offered on the NHS was also extremely inadequate. In the end I found a London-based (I lived there!) psychotherapy service (called ICAP - still runs today) which was extremely low-cost/free of charge and I spent two years in quite intense psychotherapy. It was fabulous and I haven't looked back. It gave me the tools to deal with a lot of my illness. I have not had a major relapse since then. I am aware that I am always going to be looking for the signs of it, and I am terrified of getting ill again, but I know that I would be far more able to manage my own treatment now. I would refuse a lot of medication now, and I would also refuse hospital treatment.

It's amazing how simple things - like learning work skills I enjoy, so I can immerse myself in work, and exercise and a healthy diet, can make the difference in the management of things.

But it's all very personal and different people find different things helpful. So it's hard to generalise.

Miaou Sat 27-May-06 20:22:05

oh thank you everyone, you are all so supportive!

I think I/we are lucky really atm, because dh has never come close to needing inpatient treatment - which was why we haven't explored the possibility of bipolar disorder until recently as we didn't think his ups and downs were severe enough (though his downs are severe enough to stop him being able to work). He has been on ADs since last August and they have helped tremendously in that they have evened out a lot of the kinks, but he is still noticeably manic or depressed. He has just recently come out of a manic phase and is heading downwards just now (fighting all the way!!), so I am really hoping that these new ADs might help.The GP is great - she said that diagnosis is a slow and careful process and she wants to try changing his medication before pursuing BPD any further at this stage.

morningpaper Sat 27-May-06 20:23:26

She sounds very sensible Miaou

Does he see a counsellor/therapist? I'd really recommend it

zippitippitoes Sat 27-May-06 20:24:37

I also found the NHS crap...I was a complete loony by the time I got into hospital and had a terrible locum psychiatrist when I came out..I told him I wasn't going to continue with lithium and he said in that case I shouldn't be seeing him, so I said fine and that was that.

I was lucky I actually lived long enough to be admitted to hospital in the first place...

Overrun Sat 27-May-06 20:26:00

that's the thing isn't it, I think often with these things its the luck of the draw, and getting professional help for a problem on the NHS shouldn't be a lottery, but it is!
Glad you found something that worked for you anyway. It's all about options I guess, but you were obviously able to be a proactive. There are alot of people, either because of the severity of their illness or their personalities who just accept what they are given.
HOpe that you stay well, and I am sure as you say, that you now have the skills and insight to know what the warnings signs might be, and what to do if you think you may be relapsing.
Thanks for talking to me, I was being nosy I guess!!!

Miaou Sat 27-May-06 20:26:49

Interesting re. the comments about CPN and psychiatric counselling in general - because of our remote location and dh not driving then this could be a problem even if it was available.

Also meant to add - neither dh or I are worried about the implications of a diagnosis - if it meant appropriate treatment then that would be a bonus. Where we live there is an extremely high alcoholism rate (so much so that none of our neighbours batted an eyelid when dh was arrested for dd!), so "problems" are accepted and tolerated much more here than perhaps elsewhere.

MP I'm glad you found a way that works for you - it's a complicated issue, isn't it?

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