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
21 Responses Apr 6, 2009

Can you do something about it, are you scared?

Hopefully Blanca was able to handle this situation in the last 6 years. I'm curious to see where they are now. Still managing? How are treatments going..

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.

Sorry to hear that. Have a father that only gets worse over time and he is putting us (his family) through hell. It is so not funny!!!! I am realy sorry to hear your situation...!!! I feel with you!!!

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 yuyizmb@163.com , 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.

Say the same as chsdbyevil, but want to mention one thing more. There are many with bi-polar that don't see that they have a problem and also often think it is the others, than rather them self. Beacuse they can't see it, then they don't understand why they need to see a doctor and it may even to some anger them much to hear someone saying they need help....

I have a father with bi-polar. He has lived with it for many years un treathed, beacuse he doesn't want to see that he needs help. (and doesn't make it better, that his father says that if one goes to doc for something like that, then they are week and nothing worth...).
He can't see how more and more unrealistic he gets and much bigger mood swings and only gets worse. Not so normal one meets him when he is on the ground and realistic and calm and so on. Many places says were he used to work say they don't want him work for them any more... He is the type who you want get away, from when he gets mad beacuse he has control any more... What ever happen it is always everyone else fault and he is has no problem and so on.... We have tried long to get him see a doc, but he doesn't see any problem...
It is not unnormal, that people with bi-polar don't see any problem with them or see anything strange about they are or do.... And not unnormal that those who can't see it, don't go see a doc....

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.

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!