Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife - Page 2 - Talk About Marriage
Physical & Mental Health Issues Marriage and relationships are difficult by themselves, but coping with physical or mental health problems can make things even more difficult.

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post #16 of 74 (permalink) Old 12-29-2014, 10:41 PM
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

I'm so sorry you guys are going through this. I don't know if you pray so don't be offended if not, but I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

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post #17 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 12:30 PM
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

Hi Frank,

I am that wife. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder w/psychosis, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder 20 years after we got married. Unfortunately, neither one of us knew the full extent of my illness. Fortunately we do not have any children, but the illness has taken a huge toll on both of us.

Things didn't really turn around until I landed in the hospital's psychiatric ward in 2012....I drove myself there because I feared for my own safety and was very delusional. They put me on the right med combination, gave me the right diagnosis, and recommended that I look into DBT group therapy along with individual therapy as well as p-doc visits. I decided to do whatever it took to feel better for myself and our relationship.

When I started DBT group and therapy, it helped me to take responsibility for managing my own illness. If you haven't heard of DBT it's a system of learning how to use specific tools and strategies to handle every situation. It is the ONLY thing that has made a difference in all my 20+ years of regular therapy. Nothing else ever helped.

I just wanted to let you know that things did eventually get better between us. Not saying you should wait around for the next 40 years to see improvements with your wife because ultimately that is your decision. Just know that in our case things turned around and started moving in the right direction again.

There is so much more I could add, but the details are irrelevant. I'm just so thankful my husband loved me and had patience with me....without that things could have turned out much differently.

I hope this helps, God bless.

Hope
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post #18 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

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How does she deny it? Saying she isn't sick or not bipolar? How does she explain her medication and what the Drs tell her? The first step is accepting the illness and then researching it (her, not you. You clearly know your stuff).
She says she is not sick, that she is a victim of "racism, sexism, and jealousy". Even so, she takes her medication. It helps she has a seizure disorder (long stable) and one of her meds covers that as well. She is still on Trilafon, which she had been on early in adulthood, so she accepts that medication as a matter of habit. Last, she understands that if she is not on medication, that I will leave, and she says she doesn't want that.

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I'm so sorry you guys are going through this. I don't know if you pray so don't be offended if not, but I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
I do pray, and I am thankful for your prayers.

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Hi Frank,

I am that wife. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder w/psychosis, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder 20 years after we got married. Unfortunately, neither one of us knew the full extent of my illness. Fortunately we do not have any children, but the illness has taken a huge toll on both of us.

Things didn't really turn around until I landed in the hospital's psychiatric ward in 2012....I drove myself there because I feared for my own safety and was very delusional. They put me on the right med combination, gave me the right diagnosis, and recommended that I look into DBT group therapy along with individual therapy as well as p-doc visits. I decided to do whatever it took to feel better for myself and our relationship.

When I started DBT group and therapy, it helped me to take responsibility for managing my own illness. If you haven't heard of DBT it's a system of learning how to use specific tools and strategies to handle every situation. It is the ONLY thing that has made a difference in all my 20+ years of regular therapy. Nothing else ever helped.

I just wanted to let you know that things did eventually get better between us. Not saying you should wait around for the next 40 years to see improvements with your wife because ultimately that is your decision. Just know that in our case things turned around and started moving in the right direction again.

There is so much more I could add, but the details are irrelevant. I'm just so thankful my husband loved me and had patience with me....without that things could have turned out much differently.

I hope this helps, God bless.

Hope
Thank you for your comment. I had to look up DBT. It seems interesting. I'll mention this to her P-doc at the next visit.

Just so I don't make it appear that every day is gloom and doom, we do have our good days. She is a very loyal wife. I know with bipolar disease involved people often seek others for sex and companionship, but my wife has been extremely loyal to her whole family and to me. It's just that "space alien" inside her that is eating her soul up, that is bothersome to us all.

Then there are the days when she
--misplaces everything and it's all the fault of people sneaking into the house--she once changed all the locks on our house while I was at work because of this!
--Or the begging for an extra $60 or $100, or $200 because she spent all her allowance on things other than her bills, and she needs to be bailed out. My answer most of the time nowadays is "no" as I don't want to enable her.
--Forgetting that she's got food on the stove, and burning it.
--Misinterpreting what my son and me tell her.
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post #19 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-12-2015, 12:18 AM
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

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Frank,

Really sorry you are going through this. This is one of many stories that supports my belief that people with mental illness or on treatment should be required to disclose this prior to marriage so the other person can research and make an educated decision. Your post indicated she may have disclosed this to you prior to marriage.

I'm going to be bashed for this and I sympathize for those with mental illness, but its immoral to not disclose something that could affect the marriage so deeply and it's especially immoral to have children knowing this and not disclosing it. I have read some folks here with mental disorders who have made the conscious decision NOT to have children so as not to expose them to the illness or even passing on the genes. I applaud them for that and would do the same if I was in that situation.

As far as the op, without true effort from your wife to improve, things wont get better. You can send your child to camps and other mitigating methods to cope, but ultimately the stress and heartache will destroy you. Keep going to IC and make some long term decisions.
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I agree completely that if you have a mental illness you talk it about extensively with someone you are dating. It means you can find someone who supports you and excludes people who say things like someone with a mental illness should not have children.
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post #20 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-12-2015, 12:29 AM
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

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Hi- My husband is mentally ill. He told me that he was depressed during his first year of college. He told me this once and did not really go into detail. I guess, we say depressed as almost a casual thing and I didn't think " mental illness". He obviously had a bout of the depression when we moved far away, but I thought it was just transitioning to living half way around the world. Anyways, sometimes I kick myself for not seeing that he was ill before I got pregnant and married and sometimes, I know that he knew he had an illness and did not tell me.
It infuriates me. I do feel cheated. His mother told me that he was emotionally unbalanced and incapable of having a relationship right before we moved away, but they were so mean to me, I thought that they just didn't like me and were trying to break us up. As my husband said they had told him the same thing about me!! Ha.
Now, it is ten times worse. When I ask him where that guy went that I married, he says he is dead and that he is sorry he made me love him. Like indicating that he acted a certain way to get me to marry him.
Anyways, I am starting to not feel any type of obligation to him and only stay so that he will not influence our son half the time. He is very angry almost all the time and yells, lies and has regularly threatened to kill himself for the last two years. (He won't take meds or see a psych regularly) But he told me that one of the reasons he had depression in college was because of his difficult relationship with a girl that turned out to have schizophrenia. Now I am wondering if he was actually the one with it. I am of course the cause of all of his problems now. Ha.
HIs family told me to stop bothering them and yelled at me when I told them he was threatening to kill himself. The therapists tell me to divorce him and to call 911 if he threatens suicide anymore, but I tried to once and he called his mom and she told me it was really awful of me to threaten to do that right before he had a presentation and that I was in the wrong!!! And then told him how to get out of going to the psych ward if the police did show up!!
So, this all leads me to believe that this is not the first time they are hearing of my husband wanting to kill himself. Isn;t there a way that I could see his medical records?
How do I get to keep my baby and get away from him? Please help. Thank you
I'm sorry you are going through this venuslove. Living with someone with mental illness is very difficult. You cannot really be angry with him since he did disclose that he had an illness and you chose not to investigate further. It sounds like he is not being very responsible for his treatment, however. Have you contacted a divorce lawyer? You have as much right to your child as he does. If he is untreated the court may not look favorably on that so you may not have a problem keeping your child. I would contact a divorce lawyer to proceed.
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post #21 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-12-2015, 12:36 AM
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

I just want the woman I married and was with for 12 years back. I want the space alien (just a joke, OK?) who took over her mind to leave. Is that so selfish of me to ask?


No. Completely understandable. Take good care of yourself. I'm so sorry you are all going through this difficult time.
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post #22 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-23-2015, 03:05 PM
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

I just want to share my perspective, it may not be the same situation as you, but...

My wife was diagnosed as a teen with bi polar, I recognize many of the drugs you have mentioned. After, much research by her and me and her new therapist, it was decided that she would ween herself off the meds that she had been taking for 15 years. A different person emerged, after a very rough time. She began to seeing this new therapist who spent several months evaluating her, guess what, she is not bi polar, but actually suffers from complex PTSD. Things are improving, things are still really tough, and there are many days I want to just walk out the door. But at least she is on her way to a normal life, and maybe that was my path. I am not suggesting that you take your wife off meds, I am suggesting that you might look into complex PTSD, I have read a lot that they are finding more and more cases of people who have been diagnosed with a personality disorder are actually suffering from trauma upon trauma.
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post #23 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-23-2015, 10:54 PM
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

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My wife... began to see this new therapist who spent several months evaluating her, guess what, she is not bi polar, but actually suffers from complex PTSD.
JFK, as I explain in my post at your Infidelity thread, complex PTSD (C-PTSD) is not listed as a disorder in the American diagnostic manual (DSM-5) or in the European diagnostic manual (ICD-10). You therefore may be dealing with strong traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder).
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post #24 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-24-2015, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

JFK, I am lucky in that I haven't had to deal with infidelity or physical abuse. I happened to read your thread and if my wife were doing those things to me, I would be out.

In my case, even with my wife's poor insight into her condition, she is at least willing to take medication and it is that compliance that keeps me around--she's at least willing to try to be better.


Speaking of her....
We have an appointment with her P-doc coming up in the next few days. One of her issues is that she likes to control her P-doc visits. Whenever anyone presents anything different from what she thinks to be her condition, she becomes hystrionic, accusing me and her own mother of trying to hold her back. I have learned to get through the bluster and just say what's really going on, no matter what she thinks of or says to me afterward.

This time round, for instance, she asked me a couple days ago what I was going to say to the P-doc. I told her "you've had more bad days lately". This turned into a half hour of "I do everything I'm supposed to and you're going to stab me in the back? I sis another example of sexism! I had people who were drunk in my class and they were able to pass their exams and go on in their career" and so on in a disjointed fashion, not addressing my point, going off tangent, and indeed proving my point. I said only what I started the conversation with. Yow.

There was a time when I let her go to the P-doc by herself, and this led to lowering of the medication doses because "I'm fine." Her mom and I (either or both) now go to her appointments to give the real scoop.

At this appointment, I'm going to insist on either a change in medication or some type of talk therapy, or if the P-doc is out of ideas, a referral to a sub specialist. Given some of her issues, she likely needs some sort of talk therapy to get her through her issues and like P-docs everywhere, this psychiatrist largely depends on mess.

Again, if anyone knows of a P-doc specializing in bipolar or its variants, I'm all ears.

Last edited by anonfrank; 01-24-2015 at 05:27 AM.
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post #25 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

One of her big concerns is her large student loan debt, in the neighborhood of $250k. The fact is, in ten years, she has been unable to obtain employment because of her condition and the way things look, she will never be able to make more than a dent in her loan debt.

Today, I made the suggestion that maybe she should look into a disability waiver. Given her current cognitive condition, it would be a completely honest way of dealing with the problem. I said, exactly, "Perhaps you should have your psychiatrist sign a disability waiver for your student loans."

Ohhhhhhhh boy......this led to an immediate tirade. "I am not disabled! I intend to pay off my loans by finding a job!"
--OK, good on wanting to pay on the student loans.
--Problem: She graduated ten years ago and without further training, she cannot go forward in her chosen field. Until the last two months, she has been unwilling to work in any capacity that was not her chosen field. However, she hasn't been able to pass the exams required for licensing or further training.
--Her reasoning despite this: "I can't pay my loans because of sexism, racism, malpractice, and everyone is signing off on this to keep me down!". And she said that repeatedly as if repeating it would make it true.

I actually said nothing else during the discussion other than the sentence I mentioned above. When she was done with her tirade after about 15 minutes, all I said was "OK." I've learned that you can't reason with crazy, so why try?

To her credit, she is now actually applying for various jobs, which is a pleasant change. However, she still suffers some psychosis and I'm a bit anxious about how this will go. We'll see.

We'll see what the psychiatrist has to offer at the appointment tomorrow. Today is one of those days I'm fed up with her and want to tell her to pack her **** and move back with mother until she is healthy....but I'm not going to do that. I probably should......

What will happen is that the P-doc will get a full accounting of what is going on, no matter how pissy dear spouse gets. And if she can't take that, then maybe it really is time for her to go.

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post #26 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-30-2015, 11:57 PM
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

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At this appointment, I'm going to insist on either a change in medication or some type of talk therapy, or if the P-doc is out of ideas, a referral to a sub specialist. Given some of her issues, she likely needs some sort of talk therapy to get her through her issues and like P-docs everywhere, this psychiatrist largely depends on mess.

Again, if anyone knows of a P-doc specializing in bipolar or its variants, I'm all ears.
WHAT? You mean she is not in talk therapy and only seeing a P-doc for med checks? OMG how the hell does this happen?

Without talk therapy her meds won't bring about the kind of emotional stability she could achieve!

Without talk therapy there is no one spending sufficient time with her to fully recognize her thinking patterns AND appropriately work with her to mitigate them!

Frankly, I think you should replace the P-doc with a new one. One who isn't so arrogant to think that meds alone will treat such a pervasive mental illness.

YES, get her into talk therapy with a PhD level clinician, pronto!

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post #27 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-31-2015, 06:19 AM
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

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WHAT? You mean she is not in talk therapy and only seeing a P-doc for med checks? OMG how the hell does this happen?

Without talk therapy her meds won't bring about the kind of emotional stability she could achieve!

Without talk therapy there is no one spending sufficient time with her to fully recognize her thinking patterns AND appropriately work with her to mitigate them!

Frankly, I think you should replace the P-doc with a new one. One who isn't so arrogant to think that meds alone will treat such a pervasive mental illness.

YES, get her into talk therapy with a PhD level clinician, pronto!
I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that.

Anon, I feel so badly for what you're going through . I have no advice, but I strongly believe this woman needs to be in weekly talk sessions at a minimum.

I have a friend whose father overcame a very deep depression about 10 years ago with electric shock therapy. I'm sure it has a different, more clinical name than that, but it was a last ditch resort for him and it worked amazingly well.
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post #28 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-31-2015, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

She gets enough talk therapy from the psychiatrist to know that the meds are helping little. That's about it. The psychiatrist had an emergency and had to cancel the last appointment this week. I have a message in now, awaiting a reply.

My plan is to ask directly, without an appointment, for different medication for her, perhaps going to a newer one like Latuda, and to initiate talk therapy with a psychologist. I've also considered asking for electroshock therapy.

I've also been asking around for a psychologist for me to start IC. I work 80-100 hours a week, in a very demanding field, but I need to do this to help myself. It's really hard to find a psychologist who isn't booked months in advance.
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post #29 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-31-2015, 11:26 PM
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

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One of her big concerns is her large student loan debt, in the neighborhood of $250k. The fact is, in ten years, she has been unable to obtain employment because of her condition and the way things look, she will never be able to make more than a dent in her loan debt.

Today, I made the suggestion that maybe she should look into a disability waiver. Given her current cognitive condition, it would be a completely honest way of dealing with the problem. I said, exactly, "Perhaps you should have your psychiatrist sign a disability waiver for your student loans."

Ohhhhhhhh boy......this led to an immediate tirade. "I am not disabled! I intend to pay off my loans by finding a job!"
--OK, good on wanting to pay on the student loans.
--Problem: She graduated ten years ago and without further training, she cannot go forward in her chosen field. Until the last two months, she has been unwilling to work in any capacity that was not her chosen field. However, she hasn't been able to pass the exams required for licensing or further training.
--Her reasoning despite this: "I can't pay my loans because of sexism, racism, malpractice, and everyone is signing off on this to keep me down!". And she said that repeatedly as if repeating it would make it true.

I actually said nothing else during the discussion other than the sentence I mentioned above. When she was done with her tirade after about 15 minutes, all I said was "OK." I've learned that you can't reason with crazy, so why try?

To her credit, she is now actually applying for various jobs, which is a pleasant change. However, she still suffers some psychosis and I'm a bit anxious about how this will go. We'll see.

We'll see what the psychiatrist has to offer at the appointment tomorrow. Today is one of those days I'm fed up with her and want to tell her to pack her **** and move back with mother until she is healthy....but I'm not going to do that. I probably should......

What will happen is that the P-doc will get a full accounting of what is going on, no matter how pissy dear spouse gets. And if she can't take that, then maybe it really is time for her to go.
Can you talk to the doctor directly and get him to sign the disability paperwork? Even if she gets employed do you think it would last very long? My spouse went thru too many jobs to count and I heard much of the same, the supervisors hate her, its because she is a woman, they are jealous because she looked better than them, you name it.
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post #30 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-01-2015, 09:28 AM
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Re: Need some help coping with "bipolar" wife

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An outpatient psychiatrist felt... she had bipolar with psychosis.... She is always snapping at our son for no good reason. She spanks him sometimes when not appropriate....
Frank, have you considered the possibility that you're seeing bipolar-1 combined with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)? I ask because a recent large-scale study found that 36% of bipolar-1 sufferers also have full-blown BPD. See Table 3 at 2008 Study in JCP. If that is the case with your W, the BPD could explain two symptoms you are describing.

First, it could explain the always-present, underlying anger that can be triggered in seconds by any mild criticism (e.g., you left the wet shower curtain hanging outside the tub). Irrational anger is one of the defining traits for BPD.

Second, it also could explain the paranoia (one of the 9 hallmarks of BPD) that can cause BPD to sometimes be mistaken for schizophrenia. Indeed, even if she really does have schizophrenia, it appears to have substantial comorbidity with BPD if 2010 study results are representative of the general population. Although it examined only a small number of clients, it found that 19 of 33 schizophrenia patients also have co-occurring BPD. That study concludes:
BPD and schizophrenia frequently coexist, and this comorbidity has implications for diagnostic classification and treatment. Levels of reported childhood trauma are especially high in those with a BPD diagnosis, whether they have schizophrenia or not. See Similarities of Schizophrenia and BPD.
That said, you mention a very strong contraindication for BPD: the five perfect years you had at the beginning of your relationship. I've never heard of BPD lying dormant for five years. Because it is believed to be created (by trauma and/or genetics) in early childhood, it typically shows strong symptoms starting at puberty. It will lie hidden only during the infatuation period, which typically lasts 4 to 6 months.

Yet, because BPD has such a strong association with both bipolar-1 and schizophrenia, I believe it may be worth your while to ask your psych about BPD. It is important to rule BPD out because, given that BPD is a thought disorder created in early childhood, medications won't make a dent in it.
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