I am the husband of my high school sweetheart. We have been married for 22 years, but dated 10 years prior to getting married. We are both 49 years old and met when we were juniors in high school. Roughly 7 years ago, my wife suffered a major psychotic break/episode, that led to her being placed in a Mental Health facility for a week. She was never actually given a singular/specific diagnosis, however, the reference to bipolar was mentioned. She was place on a variety of meds and eventually recovered. Combined with a deepening of her Christian faith, she felt so confident that after roughly 2 years of taking her meds, she stopped - so she's been med-free for almost 5 years now. Over the past several weeks/months, and particularly over the last few days, I have begun to notice some very concerning signs. She isn't sleeping well. Her speech is extremely irratic, fast-paced and disjointed. She seems extremely moody, very quick to anger, very quick to become emotional. In short, I am extremely concerned that we might be heading down a path that could lead to a place we found ourselves 7 years ago. My heart races with my own anxiety when I see her this way. We have 3 kids, aged 19, 16 and 12. I sooooo don't want them to be adversely impacted by anything that is happening, or, might happen... I believe I am going to have to sit down with my wife and discuss what I am seeing. I guess I might even have to suggest that we see a Psychiatrist... I posting here as I really don't have anyone to speak to about this situation, as nobody can fully understand or appreciate the situation. If anyone out there has any supportive words of wisdom/advice, I am all ears. I love my wife dearly and I am committed to helping her in any way possible... I pray that what I am seeing is only a momentary situation and not the beginnings of a more serious problem. However, the signs are so strong... Thanks for allowing me to share and again, appreciate any and all feedback. Thank you...
I would definitely have her see a psychiatrist to be officially diagnosed and properly medicated if need be. If she has bipolar, then she will NEED medication just as if she were diabetic and needed insulin.
So that would be my first step - make an appointment with a good psychiatrist and go from there. If she is indeed bipolar, then she didn't recover from bipolar - she may have had a period of time where she wasn't symptomatic, but bipolar is a physical illnees that requires medication to help control. Also, seeing a good therapist in conjunction with medication is oftentimes (usually) suggested because medication alone can't fix old thinking patterns and behaviors.
Thank you for sharing your story here, and I hope all the best for your wife and yourself! Keep us posted on how things are going and what you decide to do and if you need anymore help, ideas, suggestions, etc.
Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different --Unknown
Thanks for the reply Debbie... So, after another sleepless night last night, this morning I mentioned to my wife that we should perhaps consider seeing a doctor. Well - she flipped out... Screaming at me that she is capable of "fixing" herself. That I should worry about me and she will worry about her... I knew this was not going to be easy. She is incredibly stubborn. I'm going to have to be very careful about how I deal with this going forward. We live apart from the rest of our families, so we're out here in AZ all alone. However, she does have a sister in Seattle who I can confide in and who might be able to have some influence on my wife. This is going to be a rocky, challenging road... Ugghhhh....
Welcome AZJoe: I to have a wife with Bipolar and every thing you have typed I can relate to it minus the children. I even understand the alone thing my wife and I moved to TX which is way away from our family also. I absolutely agree with DDNOS your wife needs to get medical help and medicine ASAP. I feel for you on that part because I can not count the times I have had to out stubborn my wife on the issue of getting with her psychiatrist to have her medicine adjusted changed or even admitting she may not be taking them at all. I grew up around those who have Bipolar and will out stubborn my wife every time when it comes to her getting help I pull out all of the stops, every trick in the book I can come up with and then some. But I will do what ever takes to get her the help the help she deserves. It sounds like your wife may be having a major manic episode. Do you know what your wife's manic activities look like? You may want to keep a close eye on the money situation and watch for over the top behavior. I have heard and even noticed when people with bipolar go in to a major manic episodes a lot of times they will do what ever makes them happy at the time with very little self control. Some women like to spend money in various forms of shopping weather they have the money or not or put all of there energy in to partying and or some activity with high energy required like over the top cleaning or exercising. Men like to go travelling or doing something adventures like start a new expressive hobbies weather they have the money or not. I am glad to see you on the board. My wife and i have been struggling with extreme bipolar disorder for over eight years. I do not have any medical training but have been around those who have bipolar most of my life. If you ever need to some one who gets what it like to have a bipolar wife I am hear for you. One warning it may take 24 hours or more for me to get back to you especially on the weekend when I work long hours. I hope things get better for you and your wife soon.
You can't make her get "help" if she doesn't want it. In fact, the only thing that's going to do is put a wedge between you and her and cause other problems. This is not her being stubborn. This is her knowing that she can take care of herself, and you meddling past where you should. if she's screaming at you about it, then could it be the way you approached the subject? Think hard. Don't just say, "No". Remind yourself of how you would feel if she came to you and said, "I think you need help with ----- " (fill in the blank). Would you respond well to her? If you can not find any flaw in how you approached her, then still understand that she has a reason why she doesn't want to get tested or talk with a psychologist. Maybe next time, try to find out what her fear is. Does she not want to be labeled? Does she not want it on her record? Why did she not have a diagnosis? Was it because she avoided getting diagnosed? Because the avoiding could have been smart. But she probably should understand that even though she never had a diagnosis, medicine and medicine, and her hospital stay is on record, anyway. Is she concerned about who will get that record? That hospital stay is on her insurance record. How does she feel about it? Does she not trust you? Does she not feel like she can talk to you? Or is she worried that you won't love her if she is completely open and vulnerable with you? Is she scared? All of these questions you can ask her very soon, because I assure you the subject WILL come up again. If you aren't arguing now, you will be in a few hours or sometime this week. You have upset her, so she may attack you back for it. But be gentle. Find out why it upsets her. Find out what the options are. If she refuses to go into the doctor or talk to a psychologist, then would she sign onto this website with you and type in her symptoms? Then maybe if she sits down and does that, and spends 6 or 8 hrs with you researching stuff online, then she might be open to another step after that, such as reading a book or taking an anonymous quiz online. It may be that she got upset because you started a suggestion that is far from what she is willing to do.
Try two different profiles, and ask her if she'd be willing to put in her symptoms of her hospital stay several years ago into one profile and what she feels now into another profile - but don't word it that way! Maybe do three profiles. Her at her worse, her at her best, and then the hospital stay several years ago. And you will have to do it with her, so you aren't attacking her. You are your best. You are your worst, and you sometime when she hated you - so she can bash on you some. Realize what you are doing by bringing this up is very hurtful to her, even if she does need to be taking better care of her health and even if you aren't doing anything technically wrong.
"This is going to be a rocky, challenging road" - be careful to have a positive attitude. And rocky and challenging is like off roading in a Jeep. You're a man. So tough it out. She obviously needs support from you right now, so give it to her, even if she pushes you away.
last thing, do not - I repeat - do NOT show her this post! Consider having the administrators delete it if she's going to sign up for her own profile, because if she sees it, you're toast!
cjpxx Welcome to the board. Let me start by saying that I am not trying to be angry or adversarial with my response. But there is no one way to talk or deal with some one who has bipolar when they are severely manic or severely depressed. Some times talking to them at all is out of the question if the person is in to bad of a place. I have tried the slow and understanding approach with my wife it was a complete disaster. It ended with her setting fire to a trash can / our apartment and her trying to break the window of our truck with a rock before the police took her to the ER of there choice and she got put in the over crowded super mental hospital were they treated her as a number and not a patient even when her public defender got a judge to sign her release they made every excuse to try to keep her a week past that. Most likely because she had insurance paying 100%. Many people tried to give my mom understanding and trusted her when she said she had things under-control and she had things under control all the way to her self inflicted death. As for prayer it is a two way street just as god can work with the person who is ill. God can also give wisdom to the the wife, husband or other care givers to do what ever it takes to insist that the person who is ill get help before things get so out of hand. So to sum it up there is more than one correct way to handle every situation.
ditto Matt - and not only more than just one way to handle each situation, but the "correct" way may work for me, but not for matt or you, etc., I would LOVE it if there was one basic way or method of dealing with situations or people in the context of this thread because then we could all use it and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, that's not the case.
Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different --Unknown
cjpxx, First let me say a couple of things, and I will try to be as polite as possible about it. To start, SHAME ON YOU for belittling someone who obviously loves and cares for his wife enough to ask for advice on how to deal with his obviously sick wife. He should be applauded for doing so, not belittled. You have no idea how rare that kind of love is these days, especially when the significant other has a mental disease. It's so much easier to just throw up your hands and say I quit. Thank you AZJoe for being brave enough to stand by your woman. Second, and I speak from experience, Christianity and/or prayer is not always the answer. You can pray and pray for healing, but the fact is, most mental illness is genetic and you can't change genes. Not that I haven't prayed for my share of relief in my time. Finally, sometimes it takes a kick in the pants to get a manic person off their hands and into treatment. I know that without my husband pointing me in the right direction I never would have felt it necessary to seek treatment. He continues to keep me on the right path to this day for which I am eternally grateful. I don't know what I'd do without him, he's an integral part of my treatment plan. I wish there were more people like him. I'm extremely blessed, and wish everyone who suffered from mental illness was as fortunate.
Now to what I agree with. Yes, it is difficult and challenging at times living with a bipolar but we just make life more interesting that way. And a positive attitude helps with everything, but especially with bipolars. And I am so sick of hearing you're a man, tough it out. That's the problem with society today. They teach our young men that it's "not cool" to be sensitive or loving, that they have to be "macho" all the time. They don't. We should be teaching them to be caring loving adults who care for their wives and children. Divorce is tearing our society apart. But I'm getting on my soapbox. Just be careful who you down in the future. We stick up for one another on this board. Have a nice day.
Thank you Matt and jselleck. So, my wife ended up having a psychotic break yesterday. She was at a yoga class and toward the end if the class, she snapped.
She was sent by ambulance to an ER, where she remained for roughly 10 hours. Once she was hydrated and got some sleep, she came back to us and was lucid once again. Still, the clinician in the ER strongly suggested that she be placed into a Behavioral Health facility, which is when they made that transfer at roughly midnight. At 3am, I received a call from my wife who said the facility deemed that she was not in need of inpatient care. We need to get to her Psychiatrist first thing this morning however...
I saw the signs building yet, I was not able to prevent the breakdown... I feel terrible - for her... She is a beautiful, loving and caring woman and does not deserve to be so tormented... She is a huge people pleaser and has never been able to say "no" to anyone. She takes on the full weight of the world and allows herself to become stretched and stressed to the point of total exhaustion. Somehow... Someway, she will need to develop better living/life skills that prevent her from getting to then point where her mind and body completely collapse.
Appreciate the opportunity to share...
AZJoe Sorry to hear about your wife and I hope things continue to get better for both of you. If possible let us know what the Psychiatrist determines this to be. But boy does this sound like bipolar from your description. I have known more than one person with bipolar to meet that exact description of nice and trying to take on the weight of the world. Either way do not be stranger more than one person in our community has taken interest in you and your wife's story and I am sure we are all rooting for your wife's full recovery.
Wow! Thank you for your perspective! I'm sorry to hear you have to deal with all of that, but you have opened my eyes to bi-polar a bit more. I'll be interested to hear what AZJoe has to say. I hope it isn't that bad. Blessings to you, and take care. My prayer goes out to you that you can be strong and protected by the hand of God.
I am absolutely not belittling this man at all. In fact, I am expecting he is strong enough to hear my words - Just the opposite. It is very obvious the deep love he has for her and the strength he has also.
I appreciate your perspective. Thank you for teaching me.
cjpxx I like your post. I am glad I could open your eyes on this subject a little but if you are serious about knowing about bipolar disorder then you should check out the book called the bipolar survival guide written by David J Miklowitz. it is not a christian published book but the author does a very good job of describing bipolar disorder and gives some good ideas for dealing with the disorder. If nothing else keep the people who suffer from Bipolar disorder in your thoughts and prayers.
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