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I'm Convinced My Spouse Is Bipolar

I have been married to my husband for 2 1/2 years and to be honest I married him because he was the life of the party, do anything for anybody,always cracking jokes, and a hard worker.  He always been able to stay up for days on end and then go into coma like sleep but I always chalked it up to his military training or work schedule.  He becomes super focused with a project and cannot be stopped even to eat.  Things were getting a little dicey between us this past year because he was working way too much and in the same breath started talking about having kids.  I kind of freaked out because with his "I going to do 20 things at once" thinking I have had to adapt by taking care of the house on my own.  Calling people to complete unfinished house products, take care of the finances,etc.  Although I really want children, a kid would just add to my work load. 

A few months ago, he was cheated out of money by a business partner and chose to leave the company (read "no paycheck for the last few months").  Since then the "ups & downs" have been worse, lately he only wakes up for a couple of hours says he has a headache and goes back to bed.  I am a mental health proffesional so even though I felt like I was at work I attempted an intervention a couple days ago.  I explained how I felt and that I was frustrated that he has not attempted to call a doctor or start working.  This did prompt him to have 2 days of activity and he even got outside a little bit (he had not left the house in 3 days), however he stayed up all night yesterday and is still asleep today at 8:30pm.  It's a little lonely here and I feel that it is difficult to share my situation with our close friends because I would be betraying him somehow.  I hope things can change.

Blanca30 Blanca30 31-35 21 Responses Apr 6, 2009

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The best book ever written on the disorder "An Unquiet Mind".

I have been married to a manic depressive bi-polar for 15 years. To all of you young girls jut getting started RUN AWAY. Get as far away from them as you can. My husband is medicated and it doesn't help. The doctors have told me it gets worse as they get older. My life has been a nightmare. A living hell. It ruined my children and one moved across the country to get away from him. At 56 years old I'm trying to figure out a way now to leave.

I've been married for one year, we blended a family, had a baby, and lost his mother within this year. He has these emotional events about once a month (yelling, thowing things, blaming me which turns into hate, then a few days of silence without any remorse). Originally, I just thought it was pressure from allyou of the events occurring so quickly and some financial issues. So, I decided to get a job and that brought out his worst episode ever! He's said he no longer wants to be married (for the umpteenth time), he's emotionally distant and is sleeping on the couch. Again, this happens about once per month and he blames me everytime. We've gone to one marriage counseling session and he says he doesn't want to go anymore. I'm planning on going for my own issues and answers because I love him but I think staying without any intervention will cause more harm than good. Are there any books or resources availbale for living with, communicating with a person who is emotionally unstable? <br />
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Thank you in advance

Just a word of advise as I have a husband who is bipolar and once they start to feel better they feel that it is not necessary to continue takeing the meds. Big mistake to make they feel better because they take the meds.

I lived with a bi-polar husband, and your post doesnt sound like someone who is bi-polar. I think you are only focusing on one aspect of what makes someone bi-polar. Workalholism, is just one tiny tiny piece. Mania, is not what you are describing, and you dont seem be describing anything related to the manic phase. As a mental health professional, I understand your projections, but these seem to be misplaced. <br />
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Your relationship sounds like a typical relationship frought with ups and downs of getting along and living together.

He needs to get treatment. It is not up to you to caretake him. He needs to take the responsibility to get his illness under control. <br />
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Yes, you can be supportive and you can provide love. But, it is not your job to manage him. If he is totally out of control or in danger of self harm, section him. If not, let him know that you expect him to be responsible for seeking help and following through. <br />
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You can't have any kind of healthy relationship as long as you play the co-dependent rescuer. <br />
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Mental illness sucks. I am bipolar, and I know the strain it has placed on my family and friends. I do my part to ensure that I manage my illness so that I am able to care for myself and allow my relationships not to be defined by the bipolar.

Dearest Blanca,<br />
I think you two just need to communicate to each other your feelings. All the sleeping you describe sounds like a depression, but I'm not a medical professional. So do as my wife did to me through our 28 year marriage. 1. Share your feelings with him, sounds like you did during the intervention. 2. Call your family physician and tell him, then he will get your hubby in and test him. Seems like all of Gen X is on Anxiety Pills of some sort, so why shouldn't your hubby be on some to help him not worry so much while looking for a job. Glad you shared with us. <br />
Sincerely,<br />

I have been married many years. You are VERY VERY wise NOT to have children until HE (not you) has a hold on this. Of course, take all the wonderful advice that has been offered regarding how to help him get better but at the end o f the day--HE has to be the one to do it whether he is bipolar or has a drug issue.<br />
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In a loving way, set a reasonable timeline that you expect for him to take reasonable steps to get better.<br />
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In the meantime, you need to have a plan B.Hopefully you will never need it but because getting better and staying well is tough work and some people just cannot do it. Your plan B has to set you up in advance for having an exit strategy. Having your own separate credit cards, making sure that you keep you career and employment going, making sure you do not get pregnant, try not to incur joint debt (if not you could get stuck paying off his debt long after you separate).<br />
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Hugs and best of luck

Constantly walking on egg shells! You're not alone, I've been going through this type of ordeal for several years

My sister has been bi-polar since I was 14; I'm now 47. I've noticed that many times she'll listen to an ob<x>jective third party, before she'll listen to family or friends. That is, if you could get her to listen. It's hard to deal with an irrational person using rational thought. He really needs to be convinced to go in for evaluation and treatment - the latter being the difficult part. Then the tough part is getting a B.P. person to stay on med's consistently. Many "feel better" and make the decision on their own to stop taking med's; the problem is that the disease is like diabetes: treatable, but not curable.

I'm sorry but I wouldn't listen to people who say that someone is using illegal drugs. My husband use to have an irratic sleep cycle: up for days at a time with no sleep then would sleep for 16 hours straight. Then up for another 3 days without sleep, then asleep again for a long while. And he did NOT use illegal drugs. I know this because we were in the same one bedroom apartment for a year when this took place. Some people just need sleep differently than others. I love him and never doubted that it was just a strange sleep cycle. I would agree with those that suggest you try looking into other hobbies for him and seeing if he can restart the same business without the corrupt partners. Take care of you both. First you then him. Voice your concern about having kids at this point in your lives. Suggest when would be a better time for them.

Glad to read that you have gotten professional help. <br />
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I have a Bi-Polar spouse.<br />
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Untreated Bi-polars are time bombs just waiting for a major emotional life-crisis (death of a parent, job loss, etc. ) to trigger a major flare-up. And you can bet that a manic episode will be followed by a depressive one. Many Bi-polars are resistant to staying on meds, particularly males, and particularly after they start feeling better on the meds ( "I'm cured. I don't need to take this stuff and deal with the side-effects anymore")<br />
Self-medicating with alcohol or other drugs can be an issue as well.<br />
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A good psychiatrist is key. It's a manageable condition but it IS a challenge, for the affected person AND their loved ones. The alternative of going untreated is just a disaster waiting to happen.<br />
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Best of luck to you.

Thank you all for your comments and support. Just an update after some couples therapy my husband did decide to see a psychiatrist and is being treated. He is also working not consistently but working. Things are not completely great but I think we are on the right track but I know it's a long journey with lots of hills. Thanks again

I,m from China as a graduate student , and my E-mail is , anything I can help you if you meet in trouble

I am so sad hear this

well I don't a lot about bipolar things but u maybe could get him a counselor or therapy person.

When I read your post it sounded like you were describing my life in the last few years after losing a job after 22 years and watching my son attempt suicide losing the love of my life (wife).The guilt and shame drove me to not want to get out of bed for days more like months and also self medicating with drugs as mentioned above I didn't care if I died that was my way out well I started going to therapy and getting on some depression medication and also going to 12 step meetings & going to church not in that order. I can tell if I don't take the medication I feel tired and don't want to leave the house and or the bed, I have had to be responsible for my recovery nobody is going to do for us this is an inside job. being in the field of mental health I'm sure you know all this. I also help others when I have the opportunity and I go to meetings I have people I can be honest with and share my feelings for guys this is tough. I would be very grateful to know its a bipolar disorder and not a drug addiction I'm grateful for both now but its just one day at a time and focus on things that I'm grateful for. The price we pay for love !! We have to love our self's first take care. He will get it when he wants a change nobody can make us do any thing. GOOD luck and God bless. I just noticed this is an old post when this was posted I still had 22 days of hell before I got the picture. This to me is funny Thank you all

As I read your post, I thought that what you were describing with your husband sounded more like drug use than bi-polar symptoms, but I could be wrong.<br />
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The kinds of things your husband is doing are classic signs of someone who is using cocaine, crank, or meth. The fact that he is so focused on projects, stays up days at a time and can't eat, and then has to sleep for long periods of time, followed by being depressed are classic drug scenarios. You might just want to see if he is spending lots of time in the bathroom or other similar things because this could be the issue rather than bi-polar disorder. Also, someone who is using drugs usually doesn't want to go to the doctor....

Lots of people think that about bipolar people. It mimics drug abuse. However, lots of bipolar people self medicate using uppers and/or downers. many bipolar people describe some of their symptoms and it seems very similar to drug abuse. They often don't want to medicate due largely to the absence of the "high" when they do. That high is much like being on drugs some of my clients have said.

Somehow get him into therapy to find out if he is bi-polar you could both benefit from the knowing. There are probobly more stories like this from well intentioned people and their mates but the problem is getting really stubborn people to make any admission to needing help. Make an appointment for the both of you to see a psychologist your husband might just thank you for it later. I wish i had tried that , i might have still been with the girl of my dreams instead of sinking into the inevitable outcome of such a union.

I am a Bi-polar person..and so is my husband...we are unpredictable only to a point....yes things trigger us...and depression is one of our major signs....we will stay up for long periods of time, that is because what has ever triggered us deeply to up set us...our minds will not allow it to stop bugging us, we obsess over it...and therefore we are trying to figure out the why and how it came about, and therefore that is where the insomnia comes in...and then yes we will crash because our bodies cannot take it any more.........<br />
Manic is another key issue with us..we can be manic HIGH or manic LOW....when we are manic "high" we are hyper, active top of the world, racy, can't sit still...when we are manic "low" then we are depressed.....lifeless to a point, low energy. The manic highs and lows are due to our SERATONIN....too high we are too up...too low...we are depressed and and very low.....we need to keep the balance to the norms to function properly so we are not on that constant roller coaster! and yes the wave of emotions, we can flip in and out quite quickly...some can cantrol it, some cannot......<br />
and just as you described we found each other...was the same, we were life of the party kind of thing, high energy, loads of fun, out going, sense of humor out the anything for anyone, and yes we are hard workers.....we were a match...but both of us being is a clash at times, our moods, our fights....we have learned when to not clash, and when we were elevating on each other and take a time out...not the easist at times........<br />
it is not easy living with a spouse who has Bi-polar....some days it is, other days it is not. when something devestates us (like your husband being cheated out of his money and leaving the company) it upsets our whole cycle, we do not know where to put it, it unbalances the mood cycles completely, and we slide in and out, and yes the ups and down rapidly, it is a "low blow" to us...making us feel incomptent, attacks our self esteem, our confidence, makes us feel like a failure, and we focus on what has damaged us too much, and thinking how can we make it better....<br />
what you should try and do is find something to replace what he lost, make him feel worthy again, explain his loss is not a reflection on him, and encourage him to try another angle at something. If he is sleeping so much, locked in this depression, has no interest in life it self....tha means his seratonin is very low....if it hits too low, it sucks the very life out of us, and yes we sleep, no energy......he needs assurance that he was not a failure, it was not his fault, he is probably doubting him self, how he could be cheated out of his money, how could he be such a fool he is probably asking him self, how come I did not see it coming? those are probably what he is asking him self.....<br />
We use a substance called " 5 HTP" it a natural, herbal product to balance out our seratonin, we have been using it for a long time, and let me tell you it has worked for us, keeps it at a good level where we can function quite well with out all the other medication garbage we were on....and when the stress hits us we can deal with so much better...not as bad.....<br />
He needs something to catch his eye again...something to lift his interest...what kind of buisness was he in? can he not re-start that buissness else where? he needs is hard...and yes good communication as how you feel is great....but try not to make to sound like he is too blame for your feelings.....that he is ruining you to kind of thing, again...try to get something he is interested again to perk that interest....need to raise that serotonin......<br />
I hope you can get him back on the happy path again...that something brings him back to life so to thoughts and prayers with you big time!!

Thats really great advice,and im interested in that 5 HTP stuff,can you please inbox me,been bipolar for almost 12yrs now,a pretty well maintained by only one medication now.

Tell him you are afraid. That Being up for that long and crashing for such a long period is not normal and that your are lonely... <br />
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HONESTY and COMMUNICATION are KEY! Despite if he is bipolar or not.<br />
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the sleeping for three days ... that is definitly depression but it might be situational (ie he is upset over the $ and business partner thing) bipolar people are generally unpredicatable... things trigger them. My husband it was once we had kids ...noise, commotion, not being "in control" all the time... that frustrates him and makes him angry and he shouts a lot...<br />
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Manic and depressive.... its like riding a constant wave of emotion never knowing when the next wave is going to go over your head. <br />
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Are you feeling sea sick? If so he is probley bipolar if not ... he still needs some help!<br />
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Thinking of you!