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advice?

J

johnmadden

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Hi - I am married to someone with a long-term diagnosis of biplolar (sectioned twice). Since the second hospitalisation she has been on lithium, and attending a psychiatrist at 3-6 month intervals. All well until the last couple of weeks, when I began to notice what I think are indications/ signs that something is not quite right. She insists that nothing has changed and perhaps I am being overanxious and imagining things when there is nothing wrong. She has an appointment to see the psychiatrist next week, but I'm not sure what to do in the meantime - keeping a 'watch' on her behaviour really does annoy her, but it is hard not to be very watchful. Any advice would be welcome.
 
Fairy Lucretia

Fairy Lucretia

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welcome x if you are really worried you could ask for her to be seen sooner x but i can understand how you might think you are over worrying ,its not long until the appointment so maybe just try and relax and do nice things together in the mean time
i hope she will be ok and she is very lucky to have you x
 
K

keith74

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Hi - I am married to someone with a long-term diagnosis of biplolar (sectioned twice). Since the second hospitalisation she has been on lithium, and attending a psychiatrist at 3-6 month intervals. All well until the last couple of weeks, when I began to notice what I think are indications/ signs that something is not quite right. She insists that nothing has changed and perhaps I am being overanxious and imagining things when there is nothing wrong. She has an appointment to see the psychiatrist next week, but I'm not sure what to do in the meantime - keeping a 'watch' on her behaviour really does annoy her, but it is hard not to be very watchful. Any advice would be welcome.
It is good that you are being vigilant. I have learned that in a relationship where someone is bipolar, it is a shared responsibility in terms of maintenance and treatment. She needs to understand that. My wife is bipolar 1 and since her last episode, I have been checking in with her moods more often. You are closest to her and would be best at noticing any signs regarding a mood shift. Trust your gut. It is crucial to catch this early. Last summer, my wife showed some small signs which my gut told me may be related to her getting hypomanic. I disregarded them because I know she can get sensitive when I bring it up. Guess what? I should have listened to my gut. My wife had her worst manic episode ever (hospitalization, 911, etc), followed by a severe depressive one. ~9 months later and finally things are starting to get back on track. Now, I check up on her all the time and she appreciates it. For your wife, I would continue to ask how she is feeling (and let her vent, etc), make sure she is taking her medication, and sticking with her appointments. If you feel she is heading towards mania, plan some activities that you know are calming for her and encourage her to gets lots of sleep. Continue to be proactive, but try to find a way to be proactive without causing your wife irritation (which can be tough if she is getting a bit manic). Good luck!
 
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SFGuy

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keeping a 'watch' on her behaviour really does annoy her, but it is hard not to be very watchful.
That's hard. Of course surveillance annoys her, but, as you say, you're in a bind. Are you concerned about dangerous or suicidal acting out? Do you think that's realistic, or is it catastrophizing? If a danger of acting out might exist, a call to someone who knows her and has mental health expertise seems like a good idea.

My husband went through a rough patch and became cadaverously thin. I felt responsible to fix whatever was wrong because I thought he was in danger. I called his psychiatrist, his GP, and my GP. All said they wouldn't do anything unless he fainted or stopped making sense. I was enormously relieved. I stopped watching over him and trying to push him in the right direction, which made me less anxious and our home life more peaceful.

If your wife might do something dangerous (even if it's with the credit cards), you might have to keep an eye out even if you're annoying. That's a really difficult decision to make on your own. I hope you can reach out to a professional for help.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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Hi John, welcome. What signs have you noticed and is she definitely still taking her medication?
 
J

johnmadden

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Thanks for all the responses here.
She’s never been suicidal or self harming so that is something at least. The signs I’ve noticed are relatively small. She’s much more irritable than usual and forgetful and there are lots of times when she just doesn’t seem to be ‘there’ or ‘present’ if you know what I mean. They’re not things other people would notice. They might be something or they might be nothing. It’s been 4 years since the last major episode (hospitalisation), and she is taking her medicine. I hope it is ok until her appointment.
 
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johnmadden

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Developments are: started behaving manically, so I had to bring her to doctor. May be admitted tomorrow but where I live we have very bad mental health services. Been up with her all last night and now again tonight to stop her doing something dangerous
 
LunaBloodmist

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Just do what you can to keep her safe. Sometimes we are not in a good place to make decisions. All you can do is be there for her and protect her the best you can. My bf had to take the knife from me one night when I was freaking out. Even if she gets irritated at you for being concerned, she will thank you in the long run. I wish you both the best.
 
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SFGuy

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John, I'm sorry you and your wife are going through this. She is blessed that you two are going through it together. Please keep us posted when you have time.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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All the best John. Take heart from one thing: at least you know what to look out for and can get at it quickly. I hope things go well.
 
J

johnmadden

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Thanks for all the support here. She has now been hospitilised and it turns out that she stopped taking her lithium a couple of weeks ago. I'm not clear whether an episode triggered her feeling that she didn't need the medication any more, or whether she just decided she had been well for a while and therefore didn't need the medication, and a couple of weeks without the lithium caused the episode.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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Ah John, that's exactly why I asked about it, it's a pretty common thing for us Bipolar folks to get to a stage where we feel fine and think we don't need our meds anymore, or to feel so blunted by them that we don't want them anymore, and if asked we'd always say we were still on them. So obviously going forwards this is something you're going to have to keep an eye on. I hope she gets on okay, and yourself too. All the best.
 
K

keith74

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John - good to hear that she is getting the treatment she needs now. Wishbone is so correct regarding why some people decided they don't want to take meds. My wife has done this too - she is stable for awhile, gets annoyed with the side effects, wonders if she is even really bipolar, and starts to feel like she doesn't needs meds anymore. You can guess how this turns out. After her last recent episode, she swore never ever to change her meds without discussing with her psychiatrist and me also. I hope this stays the case.
 
J

johnmadden

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Thanks, Wishbone and Keith. It is frustrating to find out that she stopped taking the medication without mentioning it to anyone, and while swearing that she was still taking it. I understand that there is a sense that a person should be able to decide whether they want to take medication or not, but there are other people involved, not just me but our daughter, and then there is the trauma of going through a manic episode and having to be hospitalised. It damages trust as well having been lied to for weeks.
 
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