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Bipolar Disorder / Manic-Depression

Mahealani770
January 24th, 2007, 01:30 PM
Hello all,

Some of you already know that my partner is bipolar and that I have a pretty turbulent relationship with her because of it. She's on a downslide and has been on it since December. Life is so hard when you love someone who has a mental illness. Does anyone out there know what I'm talking about? Do you love someone or are you in a relationship with someone who is bipolar? It makes it a lot more difficult dealing with my wife, especially since my Mother was also bipolar and committed suicide not too long ago. Maybe that's why I love my partner so much and can't imagine leaving her for "something better". She and everyone else constantly tell me, "you can do so much better, you deserve better". This may be true, but I can't turn my back on her. A scum bag man turned his back on my Mother and look what happened. I refuse to do that to my partner..besides..I love her so much. It's just so difficult when you're married to someone who is so unstable. From one day to the next she's different. One day she doesn't mind going to work, the next she is crying and having a panic attack about going to work and then calls off. She can't keep jobs and she'll probably drop out of school because of her constantly changing mood. She's getting to the point where she may have to go on social security because she can't deal with people in an "at work" or "in school" environment. We had plans on buying a very nice, expensive home, but I can't pay for it on my own. We had plans on having a baby, but if she doens't work, how will we afford it? How will I get to stay home with the baby while she's at work, if she has no job? What kind of parent will she be? This is not how I envisioned my future.
Anyway, thanks for letting me vent.
~M~

phoenix
January 24th, 2007, 01:50 PM
I'm sorry you're going through this M :grouphug: I don't have any advice to give, but I think you're amazing to stick by your partner in hard times. Will she consider medication?
I hope that you reconsider having children until things are much more stable- it's much too difficult to add that to the mix.
I wish you well. I wonder if there are support groups for people living with partners with mental illness?

Mahealani770
January 24th, 2007, 02:14 PM
Hey there Phoenix,
Thanks for the comment. She is on medication but the frustrating thing about bipolar disorder is that it's a chemical inbalance of the brain, which means that a combination of meds might work on Monday but not work on Wednesday. A human being's moods are constantly changing, so to try and medicate a mood that is constantly changing is like trying to throw a net on the energizer bunny. :crazy:

As far as children go, we won't have kids until she is much more stable. The tough part is that I'm getting older and I can't wait much longer. I don't know. It's just a sad situation. :sad:

I do not belong to a support group because the are all far from me. However, I do have an individual counselor that I meet with once a month. It's just not the same as being in a group of people who are going through similar things, yanno? I dunno. Thanks for the hug though :o

Shamrock
January 24th, 2007, 02:53 PM
Mahealani, I'm so sorry to hear of the sad loss of your mother, my deepest condolences.:grouphug: It's always a tragedy to lose someone you love, but particularly hearbreaking when lost in this way. I know first hand the strain of coping with a loved one's mental illness and the shattering impact of suicide. My heart goes out to you. One can never "get over" such a profound loss,but I hope you've been able to gain some peace of mind, some healing of the heart.

You are quite right about mood swings affecting everyone.. but I wonder if a review of medications might be in order? Sometimes a meds adjustment or trying a diffrerent one can help a lot.

I understand the worry you have. A serious disorder such as bipolar presents many challenges. Your love and support is surely of the utmost importance to her wellbeing, and it's so commendable that you are there for her. Her condition also impacts you greatly, though, and cant help but cause frustration and anxiety. Concerns about the future are natural and normal.

An online support group might be something to help you, Mahealani - there are many out there, and can offer quite a benefit, I've found.
Here's one..http://health.ivillage.com/mentalhealth/mhdepress/topics/0,,4vd6-n2,00.html

Whenver dealing with special circumstances in life, it's always comforting to know that you are not alone. Talking with others who share the same issues can be a great benefit in gaining understanding and coping strategies.
My best wishes to you for improvements for your partner's health, and for happiness in your future together.:grouphug::goodvibes: :grouphug:

Mahealani770
January 24th, 2007, 02:58 PM
Awe Shamrock, thanks so much for the comforting and kind words..you made me cry, but in a good way :cloud9:

My partner had a pretty bad breakdown today at work which caused me to have to go get her, which puts my job in jeopardy everytime this happens. So, she has to go to "triage" (first come first serve) tomorrow to get her meds looked at, since her psych appt. isn't until Feb. 7th. Her meds have been changed 3 times since August, so lets hope the fourth time is a charm.

My Mother experienced dozens of medicine cocktails and still never found the right combination. She lived to be 47 but wasn't diagnosed until 36 and was born bipolar, as my spouse was. Can you imagine living 47 years and feeling "crazy" every day of your life? It sucks! I don't know what's worse..being bipolar or being a loved one who can't do anything except sit back and watch helplessly.

I always appreciate your supportive comments. I will go look at that link you provided me. Also, I am sorry for whatever you have gone through with a loved one in your lifetime. Mental illness is a terrible thing and a lot of support is needed. Thanks for yours.
Thanks again,
~M~
:grouphug:

Mahealani770
January 24th, 2007, 03:09 PM
Sorry Shamrock, I was editing! :o

Hunter's_owner
January 24th, 2007, 03:11 PM
I just wanted to say that I am sorry for what you are going through:grouphug:

My Aunt whom I am very close to has bipolar disorder, but luckily she works for a very good organization that recognizes mental illness and has given her to ability to work from home.

Hopefully things will get better for the both of you:grouphug:

Puppyluv
January 24th, 2007, 03:28 PM
Mahealani, I have encountered bipolar disorder twice in my life. I had a coach for three years who was bipolar, and while hopsitalized one summer, I met some truly wonderful bipolar inpatients. Your wife is on meds but is she seeing a psychiatrist? Psychotherapy, in conjunction with medication is an extremely successful way of treating the disorder. There are several forms of psychotherapy that specifically target bipolar disorder. Traditional psychotherapy has not been seen to help, but a specialist in bpd can be a god send. Bpd therapy generally focuses on 5 things: Identifying signs of relapse and making plans for early detection and response; Using education to increase agreement between doctor, patient and family about what it being treated and why; Emphasis on the need to stay on medications even when well; Stress management, problem-solving, and focus on improving relationships; and Regular daily "rhythms" for sleep, exercise, eating, activities

While in the hospital I met patients who were admitted to the psych ward on just medication, and after just weeks of therapy, they made huge leaps in their treatment. I know bpd can be extremely difficult both for the patient and for their friends and family, and I really reccomend that she sees a therapist at least weekly.

CyberKitten
January 24th, 2007, 04:08 PM
I have a friend from univ - who a group of us still tend to watch out for who has had schizophrenia - and that has been hard. You never know when hospitalization will be required. And while I have no family members who are bipolar, have a friend who is brilliant and when he is manic, an allow it to get in the way of his studies and work. One night, the RCMP showed up at my home with him - he had been somewhere and something had happened and he felt he had no where to go. (He did not feel he could to his own home for some reason). So I don't know exactly what you are going through but do understand the disease. Take care of yourself because it cane be an emotional roller coaster as I do no have to tell you!! :grouphug:

Maya
January 24th, 2007, 04:55 PM
Mahealani770, I'm not sure of your partner's situation exactly but it sounds similar to mine. I was labled with many different disorders and given many different drugs over the course of about 15yrs.(bipolar was the most popular) Eventually I got to the point where I felt I was keeping them in business. They sent me in circles for years possibly with good intentions but without a deep understanding or interest of who I was or what my real problems were. It was easy for them to say you have a personality disorder, bi-polar, p.t.s.d., brain injury, chemical imbalance etc..Here try this medication take these steps. When things don't work it's on to the next medication, the next counsellor and around it can go indefinitely. Something that also tends to get over looked is how being labled mentally ill might effect you and how that might work if you tell people. It's frustrating because we rely and hope that the "professionals" will be able to help us. I'm not saying they don't help at all, I guess I just wanted to say it can have some risks so be careful. Always look into the possible side effects of the drugs that are prescribed, many are now being linked to parkinson like disorders and even bone loss.

I think there is a certain "space" needed for healing. Finding it is a delicate balance and on going process that doesn't always work. Sometimes it means sitting back and not having a lot of expectations. I hope things get better and start to feel more stable for you both. I sense your dedication and love and that is the most important thing you can offer.:grouphug:

trippincherri
January 24th, 2007, 05:36 PM
I don't totally understand your side of the story Mahealani but I do somewhat understand how your spouse feels.

I have been having problems "coping" with a disease I have had for almost 23 years now(I am soon to be 25), coping was never a problem for me before until last year when I went through a tough period with the disease and I spiraled out of control.
I became severely depressed, didn't want to leave my house, felt worthless and I also developed anxiety problems.
This is all new to me and I am still learning how to deal with it since I was never one to be sad or confused. I was hospitalized for a week in November and Dr.'s diagnosed me as depressed and anxious. They put me on some meds to help with the anxiety but because I am already on so many meds due to my disease I quit them shortly and sought other help.
I started going to a therapist bi-weekly, she helped a lot and taught me techniques to control how I feel.

I know that this is not nearly what your spouse is dealing with but she should talk to someone who knows how to deal with her condition. It feels like a huge weight lifts off your shoulders even it is only temporary it makes the bad days more tolerable.
And I tell my spouse the same things "go find someone normal, go live your life like it should be lived not babysitting me blah blah blah.." but I would be heartbroken if he did though and he knows it.
When you are someone who is suffering from any kind of mental illness it is very hard NOT to feel like a burden, especially since your already depressed and then you start feeling guilty and then it all builds up and you crash. I know how that feels, I go through phases where I feel like no one cares and it does not matter what anyone says to change my mind. It's scary to feel like that.
You need to know that she needs you A LOT,she may not always act like it, but that is her disorder speaking, it taints every thought that gets into one's head.
Look for the good in everything okay? Don't let one bad day set you back 3 weeks, just move ahead and hope for a good day tomorrow.
Plus keep looking at the bright side of things, there are so many breakthroughs with medications nowadays that there's going to be something that works.
And RESEARCH all meds she is prescribed, if she does not feel comfortable with taking it after reading about it she shouldn't take it. Make sure to be very vocal with the Dr's, they can't read your mind remember.

And I thank God there are guys like you in the world, my spouse is one of those guys too, you are angels in my book.:angel:

Take care of BOTH of you, :grouphug:

Golden Girls
January 24th, 2007, 05:40 PM
I'm really sorry to hear about your mother, may she be :rip: It must be a very difficult time. I also don't have any advice to offer I'm sorry but I hope you feel a little better being able to share. Please take care of yourself :grouphug:

jiorji
January 24th, 2007, 06:12 PM
awww that sucks :(

I had a friend who was manic depressant. And well it's very difficult and I was young and well I kinda broke off our friendship. I couldn't handle it. :sad:
BUt i too would suggest that your wife maybe see a psychiatrist. Maybe that would help. I mean it could take a lot of weight off your shoulders, because you don't always know what to say. My friend was given cards to read when her mood would change. She had cards that would say "you're worth it..nobody wants you harm"..that kind of stuff.

Maybe if she can be helped to identify what triggers her mood swings she can learn to shift her focus so that she keeps a positive outlook. Does thinking of something positive or a good memory help her remain calm and happy?(i read about that in a book) I know it's not that easy and i'm no psych but maybe with routine things can improve.
ANd it's important in any health issue to encourage and say that she's improving instead of thinking that things are getting worse. Keeping positive always makes thinks easier to deal with. :thumbs up

Good luck

Skryker
January 24th, 2007, 06:56 PM
:grouphug: :grouphug: for both of you, Mahealani. My sister is bipolar (or isn't, depending on the therapist) and it is a terrible burden to live with-either as the person with it or as family bystanders. The meds need constant adjusting, and some of them, like lithium, can build up to toxic levels which cause their own problems on top of everything else. It's hard to know day to day what to expect.

Both my brother and I suffer from severe anxiety problems, including panic attacks and agoraphobia, and the accompanying depression (we tease my parents all the time about lethal DNA combinations :rolleyes: ). Both of us have 10 year relationships with patient and understanding spouses. I can't speak for my brother but I know that I have given the "you should leave and find someone better-you don't deserve this and I don't deserve you" speech to my hubby in my worst moments. I usually know somewhere inside that it's ridiculous and over dramatic and I don't really mean it, but it's impossible not to say. It's like when you get locked into a bad state, you deliberately go out of your way to make everything around you as miserable as possible. And you fear that you will drive away the person that you love, so in a twisted way, when you don't feel like you're in control of anything, you try and take control of what you're sure will happen. You know that they are going to leave (because you are so lame and awful and rotten) so it's somehow better if you force the issue. Doesn't make any sense, I know, but that's part of the thought process.

I won't tell you not to take it to heart-it's impossible not to. Just know that she does appreciate you and your support, even if she can't always tell you (or yells and acts like she's feeling the complete opposite). You're doing everything you can just by sticking around and holding on.

My hubby wants to add his sympathy and support. The only advice he can give is to hold on, enjoy the good days and ride out the bad days. Try not to take it personally-she's not lashing out at you but the world in general.

:goodvibes: :goodvibes:

I forgot to add, rather than drop out of school, has she approached the school and been open about her condition? It's difficult to do, maybe, but I found the last university that I attended was terrific about work-arounds for me-extension on deadlines, my lab supervisor was willing to run make up labs for me after I explained what was going on, the counseling department found note takers when I couldn't go to class...maybe her school will be able to make some adjustments so she doesn't have to drop out. In one of my seminar courses, the school arranged for someone to videotape the classes for a disabled student that was house-bound. Doesn't hurt to ask, right?

Spirit
January 24th, 2007, 08:08 PM
She and everyone else constantly tell me, "you can do so much better, you deserve better".

Sounds to me like you need new friends.

Living with something like this is not like being unfaithful or physically abusive, and I'm sure it's certainly not a choice in life that she's made herself. Loving her is to stand by her and support her through the rough times, regardless of her "mood swings".

I don't know anything about this situation other than what I just read in this thread, but it sounds to me like you already have "better" (and so does she).. :lovestruck:

Frenchy
January 24th, 2007, 08:16 PM
I'm so sorry Mahealani770 :sad: , I have a friend that has manic depression. But she has it under control. I wish I could help you. Support group may be far from your place but you have us here. :grouphug:

Prin
January 24th, 2007, 08:20 PM
:grouphug: I agree- you need new friends who are more supportive (like us! :)). My friends said the same thing about my man forever and now they all can't believe how good he is to me. :shrug: Outsiders just don't have the inside info to judge well.

I agree also on the psychotherapist. IMO, they're better than psychiatrists (personal opinion) just because their goal is to go wayyyyy back to where the patterns and trauma started. I saw one for about 5 years because of an eating disorder, anxiety attacks and depression and she really did give me tools for coping better and for "fixing" things as they came so I wouldn't be constantly overwhelmed.

The way anxiety was explained to me was as a cup full of water. You drop one more drip of water in it and it overflows right away. So you "cope" and mop up the overflow, but the cup is still full. You have to empty the cup and only then will a couple of drips not matter so much anymore and not always be so overwhelming. And I just think it applies to a lot of mental things (which is why I'm mentioning it). I just think if your girly emptied the cup, then maybe the meds might have a better chance. But I'm not 100% edumacated on bipolar so I could just be totally wrong too...:o


I just wish you luck, send you hugs, and hope that there's some way to get everything sorted out to the point where you can get everything you want.:grouphug:

jessi76
January 24th, 2007, 09:31 PM
I'm not even going to pretend I have a clue what you're going through, because honestly, I really don't. but I wanted commend you on putting such effort into your relationship, it's that kind of dedication, understanding and love that will see you and your dw (dear wife) through tough times. we should all be so lucky to have someone like you in our lives.

you've gotten some great advice regarding mental health from some really great members here. please know we're here to help or just listen whenever you need to vent.

Mahealani770
January 25th, 2007, 10:04 AM
First of all, let me say how truly appreciative I am for each and every one of your comments. I was feeling very isolated and alone yesterday so I went out on a limb and aired my problems, which isn't easy to do. Thank you all for making me not regret it. I am completely overwhelmed at all of the support, advice, and care that you all have given me in this thread and in pm's. Needless to say, I'm in tears again...

Originally posted by: Jessi76
I'm not even going to pretend I have a clue what you're going through, because honestly, I really don't. but I wanted commend you on putting such effort into your relationship, it's that kind of dedication, understanding and love that will see you and your dw (dear wife) through tough times. we should all be so lucky to have someone like you in our lives.

Jessi, you have no idea how much I appreciate you saying this. Being in a relationship with someone who is bipolar can make you feel like nothing you do is appreciated. I feel as though I'm constantly sacrificing myself over and over for her. Sometimes she recognizes it and other times she doesn't. So thank you. I appreciate your comments.

Originally posted by: Prin
I agree also on the psychotherapist. IMO, they're better than psychiatrists (personal opinion) just because their goal is to go wayyyyy back to where the patterns and trauma started. I saw one for about 5 years because of an eating disorder, anxiety attacks and depression and she really did give me tools for coping better and for "fixing" things as they came so I wouldn't be constantly overwhelmed.
The way anxiety was explained to me was as a cup full of water. You drop one more drip of water in it and it overflows right away. So you "cope" and mop up the overflow, but the cup is still full. You have to empty the cup and only then will a couple of drips not matter so much anymore and not always be so overwhelming. And I just think it applies to a lot of mental things (which is why I'm mentioning it). I just think if your girly emptied the cup, then maybe the meds might have a better chance. But I'm not 100% edumacated on bipolar so I could just be totally wrong too...


Prin, thanks for your support. Danita, my wife, was seeing a psychiatrist whom she absolutely hated, so she is supposed to be assigned a counselor at the county mental health clinic. Anybody who has had to turn to a county facility or government funded facility knows what a slow and frustrating process it is to get aid, as we do not have the money for her to see a private psych. It's an awful cycle, especially when you don't have the money to get the help you really need. As far as the cup full of water analogy, I think I'll share that with her and see if she can relate, so thanks again.

Originally Posted by: Frenchy
I'm so sorry Mahealani770, I have a friend that has manic depression. But she has it under control. I wish I could help you. Support group may be far from your place but you have us here.

I really appreciate that Frenchy, you have no idea :grouphug:

Originally Posted by: Spirit
I don't know anything about this situation other than what I just read in this thread, but it sounds to me like you already have "better" (and so does she)..

That was very sweet of you to say. You made me smile, so thank you!!

Skryker - Thank you so much for posting your personal business like that. I am so sorry to hear of all the problems that you all have been facing. I know exactly what you all are going through. Your comments hit it right on the head! You know just what you're talking about. Danita, my partner, likes to cause chaos. She likes to run. She has left me several times already and broken my heart each and every time. But this time she's fighting herself and trying so hard not to cause drama, chaos and seperation. Before I forced her to get on meds, she was self-medicating with alcohol. That has been a challenge in itself. Now that she is on meds, she's actually on the opposite end of the spectrum and is acting very needy instead of wanting to leave. Day to day it's an emotional roller coaster ride. Dealing with my Mother's suicide and Danita's disorder has caused me to have to get on some anti-depressants. As far as telling her school about her disorder..we're getting close to that point. I'm afraid she'll also have to tell her job but she's interviewing for another job tomorrow so she may not have to tell her current job anything. At the beginning of the week she was experiencing anxiety about nobody calling her back for interviews, but by the middle of this week she was crying because she felt anxiety about going to the interview and begged me to not make her go. It's an awful, awful roller coaster. It would be great to have a partner who is stable, but the same way I looked after my Mother, is the same way I'll have to look after Danita. Sad, isn't it? But I love her and I can't turn my back on her..no matter what kind of pain and heartache she puts me through...I know "she" is in there somewhere...even if I only get to see her once in awhile. Thanks for your support and how sweet of your hubby to pass on his. That was sweet :cloud9:

Originally Posted by: Jiorji
Maybe if she can be helped to identify what triggers her mood swings she can learn to shift her focus so that she keeps a positive outlook. Does thinking of something positive or a good memory help her remain calm and happy?(i read about that in a book) I know it's not that easy and i'm no psych but maybe with routine things can improve.
ANd it's important in any health issue to encourage and say that she's improving instead of thinking that things are getting worse. Keeping positive always makes thinks easier to deal with.


Identifying the triggers is a difficult thing to do. She and I feel like it gets worse when she's about to start her cycle. But that's not always the case either. She says that the only thing that makes her feel better is to be with me, or to talk to me. This makes my day at work very stressful. There's a lot of "sneaking around to talk to her and whispering on the phone" going on at my desk on a daily basis..but I gotta do what I gotta do to keep her safe. Thanks so much for your comments and support Jiorji, I appreciate it.

Originally Posted by: Golden Girls
I'm really sorry to hear about your mother, may she be It must be a very difficult time. I also don't have any advice to offer I'm sorry but I hope you feel a little better being able to share. Please take care of yourself

Thank you so much GG. It is definitely quite difficult to get through the mourning stage for my Mother's loss, when I have another bipolar loved one to try and take care of. It's never too far out of my mind that she could end up like my Mom :sad: Thanks for your supportive comments, I truly appreciate it.

Originally Posted by: trippincherri
And I tell my spouse the same things "go find someone normal, go live your life like it should be lived not babysitting me blah blah blah.." but I would be heartbroken if he did though and he knows it.
When you are someone who is suffering from any kind of mental illness it is very hard NOT to feel like a burden, especially since your already depressed and then you start feeling guilty and then it all builds up and you crash. I know how that feels, I go through phases where I feel like no one cares and it does not matter what anyone says to change my mind. It's scary to feel like that. You need to know that she needs you A LOT,she may not always act like it, but that is her disorder speaking, it taints every thought that gets into one's head.

You sound just like my spouse...bless your heart for sharing that publicly :grouphug: My Mother felt like a constant burden and trying to convince her otherwise was an ordeal in itself. My wife does the same thing. It's like I'm married to my Mother, but she was MUCH worse than my partner. Thanks so much for your supportive words and kind advice. I really do appreicate it.

Originally Posted by: trippincherri
And I thank God there are guys like you in the world, my spouse is one of those guys too, you are angels in my book.

Thank you so much tc and bless your heart, but I'm a girl :laughing: That made my day. You made me laugh :p

Originally Posted by: Maya
Mahealani770, I'm not sure of your partner's situation exactly but it sounds similar to mine. I was labled with many different disorders and given many different drugs over the course of about 15yrs.(bipolar was the most popular) Eventually I got to the point where I felt I was keeping them in business. They sent me in circles for years possibly with good intentions but without a deep understanding or interest of who I was or what my real problems were. It was easy for them to say you have a personality disorder, bi-polar, p.t.s.d., brain injury, chemical imbalance etc..Here try this medication take these steps. When things don't work it's on to the next medication, the next counsellor and around it can go indefinitely. Something that also tends to get over looked is how being labled mentally ill might effect you and how that might work if you tell people. It's frustrating because we rely and hope that the "professionals" will be able to help us. I'm not saying they don't help at all, I guess I just wanted to say it can have some risks so be careful. Always look into the possible side effects of the drugs that are prescribed, many are now being linked to parkinson like disorders and even bone loss.
I think there is a certain "space" needed for healing. Finding it is a delicate balance and on going process that doesn't always work. Sometimes it means sitting back and not having a lot of expectations. I hope things get better and start to feel more stable for you both. I sense your dedication and love and that is the most important thing you can offer.

Bless your heart Maya. Thank you so much for sharing. It seems like you have experienced exactly what my Mother went through. She struggled for years with tons of doctors and tons of medicine cocktails that never worked. It's especially difficult for us family members who are not 'allowed' to know what goes on in the counseling sessions. We feel that if we knew what my Mother was talking about in her sessions, maybe we could've saved her. Patient-doctor confidentiality killed my Mother. I wish you so much luck in finding something that will truly help you. Feel free to pm me anytime. Thanks again for your support. :grouphug:

Cyberkitten - Thank you so much for your support and I am truly sorry for your friend's condition. Is he ok now or have you lost contact?

Originally Posted by: Hunter's_Owner
My Aunt whom I am very close to has bipolar disorder, but luckily she works for a very good organization that recognizes mental illness and has given her to ability to work from home.

I am so sorry to hear about your Aunt. How lucky she is to find an understanding company like that. Those places are one in a million. My partner loves to work with her hands, primarily with metal so she is a machine operator. She would not be able to do that from home, but thanks for the suggestion. I think her anxiety is getting so bad that she may be going on social security. This is devastating to me because I'd like to live a certain lifestyle that S.S. wouldn't support. Oh well, guess I'll have to be the breadwinner!

Originally Posted by: Puppyluv
Mahealani, I have encountered bipolar disorder twice in my life. I had a coach for three years who was bipolar, and while hopsitalized one summer, I met some truly wonderful bipolar inpatients. Your wife is on meds but is she seeing a psychiatrist? Psychotherapy, in conjunction with medication is an extremely successful way of treating the disorder. There are several forms of psychotherapy that specifically target bipolar disorder. Traditional psychotherapy has not been seen to help, but a specialist in bpd can be a god send. Bpd therapy generally focuses on 5 things: Identifying signs of relapse and making plans for early detection and response; Using education to increase agreement between doctor, patient and family about what it being treated and why; Emphasis on the need to stay on medications even when well; Stress management, problem-solving, and focus on improving relationships; and Regular daily "rhythms" for sleep, exercise, eating, activities. While in the hospital I met patients who were admitted to the psych ward on just medication, and after just weeks of therapy, they made huge leaps in their treatment. I know bpd can be extremely difficult both for the patient and for their friends and family, and I really reccomend that she sees a therapist at least weekly.

Puppyluv, thanks for sharing this information with me. I have never gone with my partner, Danita, to a session because neither of us thought it would be allowed, however, when she goes on Feb. 7th, I'm taking off work and I'm going with her. I'm also going to print out the section of your post about the five things to focus on and ask her doc what we can do to exercise those things. Thanks so much for your support and taking the time to post.

Shamrock - Thanks again for all your support and your willingness to share. I truly appreicate you and look forward to many pm conversations..lol
:grouphug:

Originally Posted by: Phoenix
I'm sorry you're going through this M I don't have any advice to give, but I think you're amazing to stick by your partner in hard times.

Phoenix, thank you so much for that compliment. It was much appreciated.


WHEW!!! Did I forget anyone?? lol I think I have carpel tunnel now!! lol

Mahealani770
January 25th, 2007, 12:36 PM
*Bump* :evil:

Prin
January 25th, 2007, 12:44 PM
I just wanted to add that I think your wifey is so lucky to have somebody "for better or for worse" like you. It just seems so rare these days and it's really wonderful.:o :grouphug: :goodvibes:

Rottielover
January 25th, 2007, 01:09 PM
I am so sorry you are going through these hard times. It is great of you for wanting to stick by her through thick and thin....we are here if you need to let loose

Mahealani770
January 25th, 2007, 01:43 PM
Thank you Prin and Rottielover...I really appreciate that :grouphug: This is a very special group of people and I'm so blessed to have met all of you.
Thanks again,
~M~

papillonmama
January 25th, 2007, 02:19 PM
Hi Mahealani,

I know exactly what you are going through. I was in a relationship for 5 years with a man who is bipolar and manic, something that he hid from me and his family for years. So all of the years of the extreme ups and downs were completely unexplained to me, I was dragged around and I stayed with him all of the time. He went in and out of jail, we lost apartments, we lost friends, and his behaviour made me lose jobs too. It's the most difficult thing to have to support someone who you know can take care of things themselves, sometimes.

Then there were the up times, when he had a stable job, he would save his money, buy things that he really needed, things that he wanted, get nice clothes, remain in good health, be kind and respectful to others, including his family. Then just as quickly he would turn around and be a completely different person, he would say mean things to his parents, be abrupt, take off for days without telling anyone where he was or if he was alright.

When I still didn't know what was wrong it got to a point where I just couldn't bother arguing with him about anything anymore, I would try to talk him out of the things that he was going to do, but I couldn't because he would just go balistic on me, and just like you I had everyone tell me that I should leave, his own brother told me, this is what he does, he doesn't deserve anyone like you, you deserve to be with someone who won't hurt you the way that he does. I told him I couldn't, that he was my best friend and that I would never leave. And it's true, I never left him. I'm sure your relationship is stronger than ours was. And maybe your partner isn't as far gone as mine was. After five years he left me.

If you think about it differently, what your friends are really saying is that they worry about the fact that you put so much into your relationship and that they wouldn't be able to. You are a strong person. Stronger than most, having inner strength to be able to deal with something so close to you is what gives you more strength. Many people can't handle the extremes, My best friend is manic and a lot of people including his family let him go. This was something that I just couldn't do, he's been through everything, including drug addictions, which to him were the answer to his extremes, instead of leaving him I just kept on him, I love you, but you have to help yourself, I want to help you, but you have to want to.

I want you know know, I'll be here for you, if you want to pm me you are more than welcome to. I do know what you are going through, and I also know all you can do is love them and try your best to support them, but that doing that is draining and sometimes heartwrenching. Don't think that she doesn't appreciate the things that you do, only that sometimes helping doesn't seem like the same thing from one view to the other, especially when it's being skewed by chemical imbalances. Sometimes it's hard to recognize.


http://www.bipolarsupport.org/ This site says that it's not just for the bipolar, but also for friends and family, maybe joining in on a forum like that could take some of the pressure off. It's a lot easier to deal with difficult things when you know other people are going through the same thing.

TeriM
January 25th, 2007, 02:27 PM
Just wanted to add my well wishes and a big hug for you :grouphug: .

trippincherri
January 25th, 2007, 02:36 PM
OOps :rolleyes: now I feel like an ass.
Oh well I love sticking my foot in my mouth.
Sorry Mahealani :laughing:, you made my day for saying that I made YOUR day if that makes sense to you!!

And it was so weird that you said you know "she" is in there somewhere, because that is how I feel. I feel like I am a shell of who I once was and I really do miss ME.
But on the upside my days are getting better and better with fewer set backs, and I notice that I am acting like my usual sarcastic, smart assed old self more and more.
So :fingerscr maybe I am returning to somewhat normal.
Your spouse needs to look for that silver lining in her days, how ever dull it may seem there always is one, some days it may be something as simple as my dog laying his head on my lap...especially on a bad day I then see that I am important to someone even if he is a dog.
He needs me, and that is what makes my day look brighter because then I have a purpose. It's not always human contact that is helpful, pets are wonderful therapists!!

erykah1310
January 25th, 2007, 03:53 PM
M there have already been such wonderful words written for you, I know you are a super caring person and very helpful. (I still thank you so much for all your great advice)
I dont have anything to offer you at this time, but definately wanted to give ya a big hug:grouphug: :grouphug: , k 2 big hugs:D

Rick C
January 25th, 2007, 04:18 PM
True story . . .

A relative in my wife's family was essentially homeless, living in shelter's or under overpasses, for about 10 years. He couldn't keep a job. He dropped out of society completely, dropped out of their family completely except occasionally asking his mother for a handout.

Finally, this last Fall he showed up and asked my wife to help him.

I'm somewhat distrustful of all this and I saw zero point in putting him up in a motel room . . . or paying for an apartment for him . . . . . he's lied to us before and is a pretty good con man.

With winter coming and him being essentially non-competitive in Calgary, I bought a cheap, small house in rural Saskatchewan and put him in it . . . he has a roof over his head.

Next step, my wife has gotten him a doctor in Saskatoon and he's been diagnosed as Bi-Polar. Medication has been applied and he is much better, although he did want to flee at one point but was calmed down.

He has a cat now.

His other family members and ourselves provide him with a small (very) budget for groceries, utilities, etc. His other family members bought him a cheap truck to get around in.

Next step appears to be to see if he can hold a job in the Spring. He grew up on a farm and is very handy with wrenches, hence rural Saskatchewan being a good spot for him. That was my thinking anyway. (When he first got there, he did get a job immediately and quit the first day . . . . before medications.)

Failing that, if a doctor will declare him non-employable, we'll be looking at government subsidies to provide for his daily living expenses.

My risk in buying the property for him is pretty much nothing as I own it and he's fixing it up a bit.

If he's successful at re-integrating into society, we'll probably work out some arrangement for him to purchase the house on a rent-to-own basis.

Interesting thing is I haven't seen him or talked to him throughout this process, even though the offer to buy a house was my idea. I've actually never visited the house either . . . . but my resolve is to drive out there this summer.

Hopefully, this is a case of bi-polar which can be thought through and solved.

And good luck to you Mahealani770 in your situation.

Rick C
www.goldentales.ca

Maya
January 25th, 2007, 05:42 PM
Thank you Mahealani770, I really appreciated your response. I wanted to add that the suggestion to try a psychotherapist is also a good idea if the chance ever arises, something I think could have helped me. It's unfortunate it's not an option unless you are able to pay out big money. Also the idea to let people in school and work know you may need some accommodations could be helpful as well. Just be sure to think it through carefully, maybe even have something written up, it can be tricky. In my experience people are quick to say they understand but when it came down to it actions proved otherwise.(some schools are better about this than others) It's difficult to stand up for yourself when you are in a compromised state which makes the whole thing that much more of a challenge. Having little "get away plans" in place when it comes to taking care of yourself is wise. E.g even really simple stuff like having a line to say to your boss or teacher when things seem out of control. Mine is that I need to get some fresh air. Things that protect you both when in the middle of a crisis. Anyway lots of information in this thread, hopefully not too overwhelming! You can always come back to it later. You are both also welcome to p.m. me if you think I could offer anything else that might be useful.:love:


[edit]Something important I wanted to add was that I don't think knowing what went on in your mums sessions could have necessarily helped you to prevent her suicide. I don't know the details, but I believe leading up to that level of distress are often vague confusing periods. Getting tired of the same painful experiences, wanting them to stop can be the only reason a person might have, or not knowing what the "main problem" is and feeling there are no choices left because you've tried everything you've been told to. There may not have been any verbal clues and many variables as to why it happened when it did. Some drugs have even been linked to self harm behaviour. One that I was taking is or was in a class action lawsuit for not mentioning it could have the opposite effect intended. They do seem to help some people so I guess it's just not an exact science yet. You don't need to feel like it's up to you to prevent it from happening again though. Know that just being there as a friend is a powerful medicine. I think because of what you've been through in your life it helps you understand your partner better but remember to take breaks. I was actually quite relieved when my b/f started seeing a counsellor, it made me happy to know he was addressing his own challenges. Lots of luck to you both and give your wrist a good rest.:)

Frenchy
January 25th, 2007, 06:52 PM
Wow Rick C, it's pretty nice of you to take care of this family member , I hope he gets better :fingerscr

Skryker
January 25th, 2007, 11:13 PM
More :grouphug: :grouphug: Mahealani! I know that it is tough but bless you for holding on. Trippincherri said something about feeling more like her old self now-and it does happen. I'm much better than I was 4 years ago, feeling more like me most days. My sister recently did a huge turn around that surprised us all, and my brother has made huge strides, too. He's in a good job that he likes and has been working there for about 4 years now. There is lots of hope that a time will come when the good days outnumber the bad days for your wife. Especially since she is getting help. :goodvibes: and :fingerscr for both of you. And we're always here, the pets.ca community. Vent away.

Mahealani770
January 26th, 2007, 12:48 PM
Papillonmama - Your post really touched me. Thank you so much for sharing. Let me tell you how very sorry I am about your relationship with your bipolar boyfriend. How painful it is.. I know. And then for HIM to leave YOU after all you had endured? Oh..terrible. What a strong woman you are to stay and endure all that you did and for a whole five years too! It's only been 2 years for Danita and I, but Lord knows it feels like 10! One day she wants to play children and a house and says she pictures us growing old together and then the next day she wants to leave and be single. Im getting used to it now that I know what's going on. But in the beginning when I had no clue what her problem was and she left me for four months, I was devastated. I thought I would die without her, then my house burned down and my pug died inside the house. Talk about depressed! But, because there was so much going on with being homeless and trying to find a place to live and getting a new job, I guess I was too busy to allow her to keep me down. So, I eventually moved to another side of town, got a new job, new apartment and I was dating again. Low and behold, 4 months go by and guess who pops up? lol I felt like she was my soulmate, she said she wasn't "crazy" anymore and felt really bad for what she had done to me, so I let her come back home. We got "married" 6 months later and one month later she started the same mess. She wanted to start drinking again and to leave me. I couldn't take the b.s. anymore. I cried and cried and started getting used to the idea of her not being in my life ever again. But, something clicked in her head, she came back around, got on meds, stopped drinking and decided that she never wanted to live without me. I took her back once again and here we are! :confused: It's so hard to try and make plans like "normal" coupled do because we just aren't "normal". You can't make plans with someone who changes from day to day. It's very stressful. Anyway, sorry, I got off on a tangent there, but I appreciate you sharing your very similar story and thanks for extending your friendship. I just might take you up on that :cloud9:

Rick C - WOW! What a nice guy you are. Words cannot express what you have done for your wife's relative. You should really be commended for your actions in helping this poor soul. Bless your heart, Rick C., thanks for sharing, and thanks for the well-wishes. I appreciate it. ;)

(*(*(Maya)*)*) (*(*(Erykah)*)*) (*(*(TeriM)*)*) Thank you so much!

Skryker - I am so happy to hear that you, your sister and your brother are doing much better. I wish nothing but the best for you all and thanks again for your support! :grouphug:

Trippincherri - You are HILARIOUS! lol :grouphug:

papillonmama
January 26th, 2007, 07:30 PM
You're welcome to it anytime Mahealani, if I don't get back to you right away I promise that I will as soon as I'm back online.
:grouphug:

You're so brave, I never told any of my friends that we had problems. All those years I just kept it to myself. All of our friends were envious of our relationship, because for me, it was just easier to pretend. Even though I was lost inside, it was just easier.

I'm so glad for you and Danita that she wanted to get help. The five years we were together he never made any attempt to talk to anyone or get medical or any other help. I keep trying to think of something more that I can say. But, really I just know, it's so turbulent and hard to know where you'll be next, so I'll just keep my offer open, anytime you need to talk about it, I'll listen.

Take care :cloud9: <--sending you some happy thoughts....:cloud9:

Inisfad
January 28th, 2007, 01:24 PM
I suppose this is just a small lesson in teaching us that it is good to communicate and let things out. Often times a family has a problem such as this, and they don't communicate and all sorts of things get misinterpreted. I think Mahealani 770 it is essential that you and your wife are able to communicate between each other in whatever way possible. This will not only solidify your relationship but will also make both you and her feel better, in the security of knowing that you can talk to each other. This is also essential when it comes to therapists of any description. Having some background in psychology, it is of the utmost importance that your wife likes and respects the judgment of the therapist she sees. Going to a therapist she hates can be as harmful as not going to one at all. She needs not only her meds regulated on whatever schedule, but to speak to someone in a clinical environment, so that she is able to intellectually understand that this is an illness, and not to be ashamed of it - you would not be ashamed if you had another chronic illness, like irritable bowel syndrome, right? I also think it is important that you seek out some kind of professional therapy as well, as often it is just as difficult to be in the role of a caregiver as it is to be the sufferer, and you need a place to speak your feelings with a professional whom you respect and like. It is unfortunate that you live away from a network in which you could pick and choose. It is the same in Ireland, and consequently 10% of its population is clinically depressed, with no outlet whatsoever for treatment. The key here is proper, constantly adjusted medication, behavioral therapy which trains your wife to be aware of certain signs in her condition so that she can help foresee and possibly control manic and depressive events, and ongoing, constructive communication both with you and a professional. For you, the Internet is a great way to learn about all the different therapies and schools of thought regarding this illness. And don't be afraid to talk to any of your doctors by thinking that they're better or smarter than you. They are the same as you, only that they've read different books. And, if you don't like one doctor or therapist, fire them and go to another! (If someone was coming in to clean your house and not doing a good job, you'd fire them and get another, right? Same thing!) And all the best of luck to both of you. Your wife is lucky to have you, and I am sure that, in many ways, you are lucky to have her, as well. God bless.

Mahealani770
January 29th, 2007, 07:31 AM
Inisfad - Thank you so very much for your kind words and advice. I really appreciate it. I wish I could sit in on some of Danita's counseling sessions so that I could tell the counselor what Danita does and what I think she needs. So very many counselors just sit there and "let you talk". That is Danita's number one complaint and I agree with her. She needs more than to just talk. She needs skills, advice, and tools to help her get through these breakdowns that she has and I'm not sure that the counselors at this government run facility have that kind of knowledge that is specific for BPD. It's just very frustrating.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. I really appreciate it:goodvibes:

~M~

Inisfad
January 29th, 2007, 03:56 PM
I don't know if you are going to look at this thread again or not (as it kind of seemed that you were ending it on your last post), but just in case I had a little something to add. Where I originally come from, near New York City, it seems like everyone has gone to some kind of therapy at some point in their lives. The therapists there usually insist on family members coming in to the sessions at some point - it's called networking - the theory being that when a therapist sees the patient only, they get a one-sided (ie the patient's side) of a situation, which, although real insofar as it's the patient's view point, may not be tremendously accurate. Networking gives the therapist a more realistic and 3 dimensional view of the patient and the way they deal with the outside world, and it is very helpful, not only for the patient and therapist, but for family members who can come in to a clinical setting and discuss, in a directed and non-threatening way, the way they feel and respond to various issues. The therapist is able to guide the discussion, so that it is done in a way that might be more constructive than if you and your wife attempted to discuss some of these issues on your own. Often, people (all of us) do not really know how to communicate in a constructive way, and end up doing more damage than not communicating at all. People need to learn to discuss things in a therapeutic way - it often doesn't come naturally. For example, probably when Danita says you should leave her and you can do better, she doesn't mean that but is 'fishing' for positive reinforcement that despite her difficulties you find positive things about her and care for her. Often in conversation people are threatening, circuitous, etc., and nothing constructive comes from it as people misinterpret the motive for what is being said. A therapist cuts through all this, and can teach you to communicate in an honest, non-threatening way.
Anyway, I'm being long-winded, when all I mean to say is that if Danita doesn't mind (and she may actually want this) you should be able to come to some of her sessions with her, as a good part of her life and therapy will revolve around you. This is an important aspect of therapy, and there is no reason why Danita's therapist should be against this (they may want to see her for a bit on her own at first, but at some point it is essential that you are able to attend). If Danita agrees, she should tell her therapist that she would like you to attend some sessions. It will help you to be able to cope with issues that happen outside of therapy (ie the majority of the week!) I strongly urge that you discuss this with Danita and see what she says. If the therapist won't let you in on any sessions, find another one who will. And remember, if one's motives are honorable, no situation is insurmountable, even though it often feels like it from time to time.
Another aside, as well....you advise that there is not a tremendously good network of therapists where you are. May I suggest that you get on the internet and start learning about bi-polarity for yourself. Often, many other therapeutic conditions are inaccurately lumped under the umbrella of bi-polarity (the same way other illnesses are misdiagnosed, as well), for the ease and convenience of the therapist. The more educated you are about the situation, the better prepared you are to make sure that your wife is getting the best treatment possible.

Mahealani770
January 30th, 2007, 07:34 AM
Good Morning!
Inisfad - Thank you so much for all of your informative comments. You seem like you know a tremendous amount of information about therapy and things of that nature so I truly appreciate your insight. I totally agree with you. I will not stop searching until I find a therapist that we can afford. The problem is money and on top of that, Danita's job has laid her off for one day a week which is severely cutting her paycheck. We think that they will be closing their doors soon so that has added a huge stress to our relationship right now. Also, Danita was in school lastnight and called me while I was in school, saying that she wanted to drop out. I went to pick her up and she fell to pieces in my arms. She sobbed in my arms for a good 10 mins in the parking lot because she just can't get what the professor is trying to teach her. She said she just couldn't do it anymore. Today she is dropping out of school. She begged me not to leave her because of it. It absolutely broke my heart. She is in a downswing right now and it's as if her meds are not working AT ALL! She can't see her doc until Feb. 7th, but she sees a counselor this Thursday. I'll type up a list for her, like I always do, of things that she has said and done and felt for the past month. She is getting pretty bad lately. She is very anxious and nervous about going to work. She doesn't want to be there and cries and begs me not to make her go or she'll beg me to stay home with her if she calls off. This has only been going on for the past few weeks. She was doing so well on her meds but something has gone horribly wrong. She says that she doesn't understand why this is happening to her, why her brain isn't normal like mine, and how she just can't handle life. It's as if responsibility scares her and she wants to run from it. She has become totally dependent on me just within this last month. Something is terribly wrong with her meds. I don't understand what's happening. She was doing so well. So, guess it's time for another "cocktail"! Anyway, she wants me to go to school with her today to withdraw. I'm so disappointed, but I'd never let her know that. I was really hoping that she would at least commit to school. But until she gets her meds fixed, she can't handle anything. I know this won't last forever, but it wears me down more and more each day. Lastnight was the reality check for me. I think I realized that Danita may never be a stable, level-headed, productive, responsible partner :sad:
Thanks,
~M~

chico2
January 30th, 2007, 08:12 AM
Mahealani,I just read through all the responses and your posts,Inisfad especially..
I have dealt with different fixable medical emergencies,however
Psychological problems are the most difficult and heartbreaking,watching a person you love deteriorate not beeing able to make her feel better.
You also have the added financial burden with medical expences we here in Canada don't really have to worry about.:sad:
As for sitting in on therapy-sessions,no therapist can deny you that right,as long as you don't have a negative effect on the patient,which you clearly don't.
I can only hope the future will bring you and Danita some relief,that with the right therapist,the two of you will be able to have a wonderful life together:pray: :grouphug:

Mahealani770
January 30th, 2007, 12:59 PM
Thanks Chico,
It's so painful to feel like all I can do is sit back and watch her suffer, helplessly. I've pulled every trick out of my hat that I can think of. I'm running out of positive words. Nothing helps. She has always bragged about how much she loves working on machines and with metal and she was so excited to go to school for that. Now, she's quitting school today and she called me a little bit ago telling me that she wants to go work in customer service. She HATES customer service!!! I feel like I don't know who she is when this happens! I just want to SCREAM!!:mad: I can't wait for her to see the doc on 2/7. I'll be there and I'm going to tell him what's going on.

All I've ever wanted was a strong, stable, responsible, supportive partner. How ironic it is that that's how I have to be in this relationship and I'll probably never get any of that back. But what do you do when you love someone who needs you like a patient needs a nurse? :confused:
Sometimes I feel like I could never leave her and we are soulmates. But when she breaks down like this and wants to quit school and quit her job, I do secretly wonder what it would be like to have a partner that is totally the opposite of her. Someone who is mentally stable and healthy. I can feel myself sinking into a depression right along with her :sad:
By the way, for people who asked, I am on an anti-depressent called Lexapro and I have a counselor at the same place Danita's Doc and counselor are at. Dealing with Danita has caused me to have to seek medication and counseling. So, at least I have that. I'll update as the week goes on. Thanks for everybody's comments and I will not close this thread, Inisfad :o
~M~