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Looks like DH has bipolar - I am so sad...

(38 Posts)
Nooneshome Tue 27-May-08 20:52:09

Been with DH 11 yrs, married 6. 2 kids aged 5 and 2. Me 17 wks pregnant. We both aged 36. Things going great until adult stresses started to get to us eg work, building project, sleepless nights and his first breakdown 15 months ago. We hoped this was a one off. He was in a private mental hospital for 5 wks then convalesed at home for a few months, got over the exhaustion and then seemed fine. He stopped taking medication about 8 months ago and all was well until about 2 wks ago. He was thinking about returning to work. Then tell tale signs but nothing as obviously wrong and spectacularly dramatic as last time.

Had a week of cat and mouse with me admitting him to hospital, him denying anything wrong and leaving - he was not then ill enough to be sectioned, probably is now. He is now more accepting of being in hopsital and taking medication but mentally is unrecognisable as my husband. Have mananged to keep it from kids by saying Daddy working away - they remember when he was working prior to his first breakdown that he was away a lot.

His father is difficult character, helped a lot last time but this time has just got really angry and let out a torrent of abuse against me essentiallly saying I have caused this. This has really upset me, I am furious that he could add that kind of stress to all I have to deal with already. I am really worried how his comments will affect my/my husband's and kids' relationships with the parents inlaw in future. I feel his comments were full of hatred for me and unforgivable.

But more than this I am just so sad about our future. I come from 2 broken homes and so wanted to have a much better family life for my own kids. I always went for very stable boyfriends with still married parents t o combat the dysfunction that I come from. I love my husband so much even though we've had marital difficulties this last year. I so want to be with him for the sake of our kids and his and mines sake as well but am just scared about what we all face. I feel so lonely that he is not here, I miss him so much and am increasingly feeling so sad and tearful.

posieparker Tue 27-May-08 20:55:30

I have no advice but I saw your thread and I wanted to let you know that i'd read it. There must be support groups for partners of people who are bipolar, perhaps you could look locally.

posieparker Tue 27-May-08 20:56:19

Samaritans are lovely if you need a friendly ear, take care.

crochetdiva Tue 27-May-08 20:57:20

Again, no advice, just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you and your family.

margoandjerry Tue 27-May-08 21:01:53

No advice really but huge sympathy. A dear friend has bipolar and has a very good life so it is possible but I guess it's very hard to get the drugs right and it seems like condition that can vary hugely.

You sound like a very strong and loving person in very difficult circumstances. Hope you get some good advice on here.

onepieceoflollipop Tue 27-May-08 21:03:43

So sorry to hear this. I have no personal experience but work as a mental health nurse so have some awareness of what you are describing.

Also so sorry to hear about the reaction of your fil. I have very difficult ils myself so sympathise on that score as well.

Just a few thoughts, I know that services vary depending on where you live, so trying to think of different suggestions.

Are you able to speak with the hospital staff/attend the ward round and speak openly about his illness with them.

There should be someone like a "Carer Support Worker" - may be called something slightly different. If there is one he/she is likely to be an experienced social worker or similar who you can talk to in confidence.

Has your dh had a community nurse or other support (Out Patient Appointments etc) since the last time he was in hospital. Is he in the same hospital this time round.

onepieceoflollipop Tue 27-May-08 21:05:01

Sorry for all the questions but did he stop taking his medication with medical advice or was it his own choice?

Ignore any questions that are too intrusive, just trying to be supportive rather than nosy.

SexyMilf Tue 27-May-08 21:06:14

I also have no advise, but wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you, take care xx

ShowOfHands Tue 27-May-08 21:06:48

Hello there.

I don't know how much any of this will help you, but I can talk to you about my Dad who has bipolar disorder.

Once upon a time things were very bad indeed. At its worst the bipolar controlled his life, the lives of those around him and at times he was suicidal, suffering psychotic episodes and we didn't know if any of us would find happy times again.

He was sectioned and given appropriate treatment. Once they had sorted out his medication things improved dramatically in a very short space of time. My Dad today is a happy, well-adjusted, stable and content man. He does still have ups and downs and always will but he is control of them, knows they are happening and has the strategies in place to deal with them.

Medication was the first step in helping him to lead a happy and normal life. A wonderful psychiatric team who have been with him for years now allow his disorder to be monitored and controlled. The CPN offers support to him and my Mum and is the best person to point you in the direction of help for you. You need support too.

Things can and will be settled. He will need support from you and you will need support for yourself. It's not the end, it's the beginning.

onepieceoflollipop Tue 27-May-08 21:07:17

Also this website may be helpful.


ash6605 Tue 27-May-08 21:07:25

This is so hard for you

I can't really advice but wanted to keep this bumped for you.My mum was Bipolar so if you have anything more specific to ask I'll try to help.

Iknow your children are still young but please try not to hide this from them,they need the truth when they are old enough to understand it.

I take it you have posted this on two threads!!

ash6605 Tue 27-May-08 21:08:47

Just wanted to add that my father used to go to a local carers support group which helped him an awful lot.

tribpot Tue 27-May-08 21:09:33

Nooneshome. I'm not sure I know what to post, so will probably not send this. I completely understand and empathise about your desire to give your kids a different life from you. Your kids can have a better life, even with a dad who's poorly. My dh is chronically ill and very depressed as a result. Every day is a torment to me, and every day is a guilt trip of what have I done to ds, but without dh there would not be ds. Without ds dh's life would be immeasurably poorer, we honestly could not do without each other. We can't be a picture postcard family unit, that was never really on the cards. Maybe it's time to let go of a vision of the what the 'perfect' family is and think what your family is and can be.

I'm not trying to belittle your problems, of course, just maybe untangle what is your reaction to illness and your perception of the classical family, versus what is a clear and reasonable reaction to the stress of dealing with a depressed dh.

If he will seek treatment, the attitude of his father is an irrelevance, he probably has no idea what he's talking about and just lashing out finding someone else to blame. You can be a bigger person than that.

Keep posting, we are here for you.

bossybritches Tue 27-May-08 21:11:03

No-one it's a HORRIBLE illness- not only for the suffrer but the family too. My darling younger brother has had it since age 15 -he is now 45 & is a lovely kind gentle soul when well & never violent when ill just not "himself". It has affectged our whole family but we are closer than ever now.

Medications are SO much better now than 30 years ago, hopefully the hospital will get him on them & then you can slowly start building up your lives together again, just with a different emphasis.

You will learn what triggers off an attack & how to avoid it & deal with it, there may be no pattern but it has to be managed just like diabetes or epilepsy.

Your FIL is lashing out , he doesn't understand,many don't, maybe given time he will see what a difficult time you are having. Maybe getting yout DH's nurse or doctor to explain it to him might help.

Feel free to CAT me if you want a quiet chat.

Big hugs .

onepieceoflollipop Tue 27-May-08 21:13:19

ShowOfHands has given good advice imo.

It may be that with your dh everyone hoped it would be a one off episode (which can happen) so rather than give him a label and long term medication it was assumed he was better.

It is likely that once his medication is sorted his mental state will stabilise and there will be a big improvement.

Community support imo is vital, for ongoing monitoring (especially in the early weeks following discharge). Also it is important that everyone involved in his care (including your dh himself, you and his mental health worker) are familiar with the early signs of potential relapse.

Some people with this illness remain stable for years, but on occasion (e.g if there was a stressful situation such as a bereavement or whatever) they may show signs of becoming unwell again. Early intervention such as a review of medication and closer monitoring can prevent another hospital admission.

tigermoth Tue 27-May-08 21:20:03

No advice to add, but wanted to say I am sorry you are feeling so alone with this. It must be so horrible for you right now. xx

Nooneshome Tue 27-May-08 22:28:16

Thanks for all your helpful words. Have just been on the phone to my sister in law for an hour and a half. She has been my best ally in dealing with DH this last week as his dad fell to pieces (his Mum doesn't really understand and gets very upset although she is good at chatting to DH about gentle subjects to try and calm his mania). The consensus is that FIL should not see DH until DH and his Dad!! stabilise. FIL really lost the plot and got irate at the things DH was saying to him about his fathering etc and just abandoned him at a major sporting tournament with no way of getting home, saying I've had enough of him, he's a bloody nutcase. I was shouting down the phone - he's mentally ill I need your help and he just put the phone down and drove off from DH. Let alone that he should never taken DH there - I specifically advised that life should be as quiet as possible, walks round the village, across the fields and watching telly. That was the whole point of getting him out of London. NOw FIL is yelling at MIL that if DH is sectioned it is her fault for not allowing him to visit.

After the first time he came off medication in accordance with his own wishes. The Consultant said you might relapse, you might not and that you don't know until you try. We were so confident it was a one off pyschotic episode as he has never shown any signs of depression - he rolls along in a very consistent mood of mild happiness and contentedment! We really couldn't see that Bipolar was the correct diagnosis. But now with a relapse the Consultant says it really must be Bipolar as the mania is so classic. He says in the early days of the illness it is known to have a couple of incidents of mania without the depression following but eventually the depression comes.

My attitude then and now is not in front of the children, I just want him in hospital or away in countryside until it passes. And I will go and visit to help as much as I can but atthe minute I feel so useless as the mania is s entrenched that he really is disinterested in anyone other than himself. He introduces me as his ex-wife as he has decided we are getting divoced. Although as some as you have said (and my SIL tonight) kids do grow up OK with this sort of thing. My daughter was really caught in the horror of the first breakdown and I feel so strongly that I never want that to happen again for both their sakes and so as not to affect what is a great relationship that they have.

I'm feeling a bit better than earlier. I looked up divorce rates for people suffering fromBipolar and found a few istes saying its 90% and that just set me off thinking years down the line of him being all alone and it happening and the kids being called to deal with it - and the tears have started again

onepieceoflollipop Tue 27-May-08 22:35:29

Obviously bi polar illness can have a major impact on relationships/marriages. The 90% statistic is not one that I have seen before.

However ime I can only say that it is very rare that we see people divorce due to the illness. Yes it can happen, and it must be a very frightening thought for you, but now he is in hospital he is in the best place (as you already know)

Mania is such an awful thing to observe, to see someone you love so out of control both in words and actions.

Hope he is more stable again very quickly, and that you get some appropriate support in rl too.

ash6605 Tue 27-May-08 22:42:17

Oh no-one sad
With this illness,it's important to take one day at a time.You need time to get your head around his diagnosis before making any long term decisions.
I'm sorry if I sounded insensitive earlier by asking you not to hide it from your dc's,it's just that I found it easier to cope with once I actually understood what mum's manic episodes were all about.ut of course,you have years yet to think about you have much support in RL?people other than his family who are there just to support you rather than him?

DKMA Tue 27-May-08 22:45:53

sad for you but fwiw medication for bi polar is so much better these days - and getting better (I know a bit about them if you have any questions - due to the job I do).
Hopefully he will find something that is right for him - many people with bi polar can continue with very normal lives and become very good at recognising trigger factors.
Stephen Fry is a very good example of someone who has a very full life and bi polar.
Must be very worrying for you though at the moment?

bossybritches Wed 28-May-08 14:42:06

NOH -how are you today?

anchovies Wed 28-May-08 14:54:13

Am so sorry about what you are going through. Just as a happy thought for you, my dad has bipolar and although I can remember bad times (mainly around the first breakdown) they don't stand out against the rest of my childhood and he and my mum have been happily married for 30 years. His medication for the past few years has been fantastic, mood stabilisers have meant that the majority of the time he is absolutely fine and the times he has been slightly manic have been entertaining(!) rather than scary as they used to be. With time hopefully your dh will stabilise and things will be better. I am thinking of you.

smallwhitecat Wed 28-May-08 15:02:06

Message withdrawn

mummylin2495 Wed 28-May-08 15:24:50

hi i just wantd to say that i have a sister who suffers with bi-polar.It can be alarmimg to see whn the sufferers are having a high or a low,but just to cut a long story short ,my sis has ben seeing a physciatrist for the last 4yrs and just last week he has told her she dosent need to see him again.Yes it has been a long road and it hasnt been all bad over this period , would say the first 12 months were the worst.I would suggest in order to help yourself cope with it ,find out all about this terible illness,and to help your dh just be there for him.My sis and i have been down a very strange road to get where she is now and at times despaired,it was difficult because she wouldnt see or talk to anyone in the family except me ,indeed if she was here in my home and our mum or one of our brothers popped in ,she would hide in my bedroom until they had gone ,but we coped.and you will too. if i can be of any help to you i wil give you my email address. all the best.

Nooneshome Thu 29-May-08 22:08:33

I feel I'm calming partly because it can't get any worse.

I'm trawling through his financial transactions - he's basically cleared his savings account which was huge, bought a flash car (we've been happy with a bashed up Fiat for years and he is very anti flash cars) - luckily I can cancel this as I know the vendor, insured flash car at huge cost and put his very bemused mate on insurance but not me - insurance company have said they will let me cancel on his behalf, he's given away a vespa we were going to sell - I'll deal with that later and ordered a new flash motorbike which I have unordered, he's invested alarming amounts of cash representing most of what we've got in various investment funds - luckily I have some connection with 2/3 of them and have asked them to hold fire and I have done masses of research into the legal steps I need to take to undo all of this or else stop him doing anything else which he is threatening to do.

BUPA are being prats and saying they won't pay for his second admission to hospital. I admitted him once at weekend on basis of telephone call to his consultant who said don't involve GP right now as it will just alarm DH and make things worse, just bring him straight in to hospital. Then got a retrospective referral letter from GP to cover it on the basis of me describing how mad he was. But he wouldn't stay in hospital and was not quite mad enough to be sectioned so he went off to his Dad's who could take no more after a couple of days. So then to his sisters and I went as well and basically shadowed him for 2 days while he did various crazy things. The climax was him shaking in a field of horses for 45 minutes like he was having some religious experience and then laying on grass in a cemetary for 20minutes, in the most exhausted state. Quite rationally I thought this is getting worse we his family can not cope he needs to go back to hospital. I didn't feel I needed 7 years of medical school to help me on that one. I had been in regular contact with consultant who said bring him back if it gets worse. So I did, again I did not trouble a GP, it was midnight at the weekend, we were away from our normal area and we spent 3 hours talking him into goingback into hospital with the help of his oldest friend. A stranger would have made things worse. BUPA did this last time, threatened not to pay caused me no end of distress (his medical bills were £40,000+) and then paid up. And I fear we will have the same crap this time.

My daughters fretting and is making lots of cards for Daddy asking him to come back soon and we keep going to post box to post them and my father in law has not apologised and is still not speaking to me.

And when I visit my DH I get the most aggressive abuse for putting him in hospital and lots of other things that I am sure are not his true thoughts but it hurts just the same. I have the urge to smoke lots of fags and drink myself stupid but luckily I'm pregnant and sensible so won't do this. I just have so many thoughts going through my head, I feel like its going to explode. I've had a constant stress headache for about 1 week.


But I'm so bloody angry now that I have stopped crying and just want to be really selfish and take the kids on holiday to the Caribbean or something - I won't do this but I just long to be completely selfish (but including kids). I am having a couple of days off to spend with kids. I'll just have to find some time to speak to endless cretins at BUPA to no effect as they don't allow you to speak to anyone with decision making abilities and others on my battle list.

On positive side DH seems to have accepted he needs to be in hospital although does not seem to agree he is ill and is tolerating medicine well and saying and doing less abnormal things. Still a fair way to go but I know we are going the right way.

But BUPA are saying I need a second referral from a GP, just a few days after the first and don't seem to understand anything about commonsense or menatlly ill people.

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