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DH in BIpolar episode says not coming back - how do I cope with this one

(10 Posts)
Nooneshome Sun 29-Jun-08 18:12:37

This is his 2nd episode. So far he has only had manic episodes (no depression). He basically becomes high with ideas and his personality changes and he becomes reckless and argumentative. He is impossible to be with during these periods. This time he has been functionning throughout and has become very angry with me and his Dad. He has been in hospital for about a month and is not really accepting of medical opinion about the illness. He reckons he wants to leave me and 2 kids aged 5 and 2. I am 5 months pregnant. We had problems in our relationship anyway and have been struggling for a while. He has work addiction problems and I am sick of being such a low priority and our relationship is just one of co-parenting and functional sharing of childminding and some chores.
We had recently decided to do marriage counselling and try and sort everything out. He was very committed to this as was I but we have both been hurting a lot.
The pain now is unbearable. I don't want to be alone with 3 kids and deal with the pain my kids will inevitably endure on top of my own loneliness. But I am worried that he is flawed in terms of his personality/illness and it will be extremely difficult for us to overcome all of this. I just have no vision of what the next 12 months holds. Other than the fear that I will have a third child alone.

Any ideas?

Judessis Sun 29-Jun-08 20:23:34

First - virtual hug coming your way. Second - my view. My DH's Mum has bipolar and I'm nurse so I have experience of this type of thing. I think that you have to hang in there until he is stable on his meds and his mood is also stable so that you can give marriage guidance a go. At the moment he isn't in a place to make a decision as he isn't able to weigh up the options and be realistic about what he wants. You sound like you haven't got many close friends to turn to - I would be inclined to find some other Mums who could at least be with you in hospital if the birth is the "having a child alone bit", although I suspect that its the general "shit its hard enough with two parents how will I cope on my own?" bit. At the end of the day, worrying right now won't change anything and the kids will pick up on it - try and carry on taking 1 day at a time until he is in a place where he can give the relate a go. Sorry about the long post, take care.

izyboy Sun 29-Jun-08 20:29:41

lots of hugs sweetheart - is the bipolar diagnosis recent but has he portrayed 'patterns of behaviour' that fit with the diagnosis in the time you have known him? I agree with Judessis no way he could do relationship counselling now.

I suppose you will have to really concentrate on yourself and the kids DH is going to have to be supported by mental health services atm.

Nooneshome Mon 30-Jun-08 06:46:38

izyboy - after his breakdown last year, we thought it was a one off although the doctors warned it could be bipolar. But he didn't really fit with bipolar - no depression and no mood swings previously, although the mania is classic bipolar. Literally all was well, he working excessively hard but always has and leading pretty stressed life and at 36 has a major breakdown. Then he recovered well for the last year so we were really confident it was a one off. But now we know it isnt. The stessors this time were just normal life, our relationship is in a rut and both of us realise it is making us unhappy and he was thinking seriously about returning to work or setting up a few businesses. He is go go go with anything to do with work and money and pretty addicted to it all wheras he is content to ignore me and life right under his nose.
I don't think that between these episodes he has had any sympotoms other than the work addiction thing

EffiePerine Mon 30-Jun-08 07:08:56

Noonesahome: you can have bipolar without the lows IYSWIM. My mum has this and has had recurrent episodes of mania (needing hospitalisation) for years. She's now on continual medication (lithium) and has been well and out of hospital fo over 10 years, which is a record . So not necessarily a gloomy diagnosis.

Would agree that if he is in the middle of a manic episoide he is not in the position to make decisions about his future.

However, if you have been having probs I htink you both need to look at the relationship (with counselling) after he recovers. Does he take any meds in between episodes? Might be something to consider.

The 'triggers' thing sounds v familiar: with Mum it could be anything from a bereavement to our neighbours having building works hmm. The difference now is that she knows when she's getting bad and goes to the docs, which means things stay under control.

It's a hard thing to deal with please CAT me if you want to chat about it offline .

Nooneshome Mon 30-Jun-08 13:09:24

EffiePerine - I'm very interested to hear about your Mum only experiencing the mania. My DH's psychiatrist feels sure the depression must be coming but it is difficult to believe as my husband has been in the same mood for the whole time I've known him - almost 12 years (with the exception of these 2 manic periods). He is always in a state of low level happiness or contentedness.

I am so up and down right now and experiencing a huge range of emotions and feeling very uncomfortable about not knowing what my future holds as well as very excluded from his care (he has taken me off consent list so doctors won't speak to me) and very concerned about him and our children.

Can i ask you whether you were aware of your Mum's condition as a child and if so when and what you thought about it. My kids are very little, 5 and 2 and thus far I've been able to say Daddy is working away which is common although not for this length of time.


EffiePerine Mon 30-Jun-08 13:58:21

As they get older, be honest with them. I remmeber being told that Mum had broken her leg when she went into hospital (I was 4 at the time) and was pretty resentful later on. It's a serious illness like any other illness, there are a lot of taboos and misconceptions around mental health issues. Try contacting MIND or SANE - they might have stuff on explaining things to children.

How did it affect us? Hmm, we were affected, but mainly when she got to the danger stage (which happened sporadically, every 6 years or so) when we had to watch what we said or did in case it 'made her ill'. Again, a good reason to explain things and how it isn't your kids' fault. The main effect was that we had to be pretty self-reliant from an early age, but that I think was from a) it being my mum and not my dad, b) dad working f/t and c) not having any close family nearby. All very individual to our situation.

The positive thing is that I am much more aware of mental health issues and the stigma surrounding them, and know that it is possible to be a good person and a good mum at the same time

Nooneshome Mon 30-Jun-08 19:52:39

EffiePerine - I'd like to talk some more about this. i find to very reassuring to hear about how things could be for me and my family. I am being told that just having manic episodes is very unusual and can't find much about it on the internet.
Can I ask you more questions?
How do I CAT you? Sorry I'm not a very experienced MNr.

EffiePerine Mon 30-Jun-08 20:09:52

Sure - you have to sign up for CAT (Contact Another Talker) or you can just email me at personal not business at gmail dot com

miasmumma Thu 17-Jul-08 23:46:22

hi there
i was diagnosed with bipolar 5 years ago although my first episode was a depressive one most of the ones after that were manic and any depressive episode was not as major as the manic and could go almost unnoticed by the crisis team so it does happen and most of the people im friends with who have the same condition tend to have more manic episodes to and find them much harder to deal with i found the mdf the bipolar organisation really helpful

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