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Bipolar spouse never rests

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Emmagal123

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Aug 18, 2021
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Hello, this is my first time posting on a public group such as this. My husband has bipolar type 1 and is strict with taking his medication (though not so much with therapy or exercise unfortunately). He has rapid cycling so lots of ups and downs and can be quite exhausting at times. He is never happy with where we are or what we have in life, always has to be planning the next BIG thing. We have young children right now and there is nothing I would love more than for him to slow down and be present but he just can’t seem to do that. On the outside we have the perfect life but on the inside we can’t enjoy it because I never know if we are moving or staying or selling or buying or up or down…. When I resist or push back on his next big plan because I just want some stability he gets upset and acts like I am the most evil person of all. I am just getting so tired of the same pattern over and over again. Does this sound familiar to anyone else out there in internet land?
 
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BlueWater

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Sounds familiar from friends of friends who deal with this with their spouses or siblings. Your husband's meds may not be right or he needs different talk therapy. He may need a different strategy altogether. This isn't fair to you or your kids.
 
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BlueWater

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Does he take a mood stabilizer? Lamotrigine helps me. No, I do not have a bipolar diagnosis, but mood stabilizers work for a variety of people. Mine evens my moods which were changing rapidly and in extremes everyday. It's not perfect but I do see myself better and do my best not to make others feel evil because I don't get what I want.
 
Amazingly

Amazingly

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Hi @Emmagal123
My diagnosis is Bipolar type 1 and bottom line, I need my meds. I’m a rapid Cycler also.
Sounds like your husband may need a medication adjustment.
Being on a mood stabilizer is vital for this illness.
I’m on 2 different mood stabilizers, an AP and a PRN benzo for anxiety and mood stabilization.
I would discuss it over with him so he can get in touch with his doctor.
Good luck!
 
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Emmagal123

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Thank you for your reply. He is on Lamictal and benzos but no mood stabilizers. He has a heart condition also (he had a heart attack just last year at 35) so is worried that they will cause weight gain and in turn make his heart weaker. We should talk about it again with his doctor though. Thank you for your input.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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A mood stabiliser is a med that is aimed at stabilising your mood, so Lamictal would be that. I see two things here as possible reasons for how he is:

1.) He's on the wrong meds. In my own research I've not found Lamictal to be effective for rapid cycling, it's more aimed at keeping depression away more than anything. So a medication review and hopefully a change is what is perhaps required. Or...

2.) He's not taking his meds, or at least not taking the Lamictal, but is saying he is (we do that anyway let alone if he's scared of them giving him a heart attack), hence why he is never settled in any way. Double check his meds, the dates etc to see if he is. My money would be on this one but also the fact that his meds aren't the right ones.
 
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keith74

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He is on Lamictal and benzos but no mood stabilizers.
1.) He's on the wrong meds. In my own research I've not found Lamictal to be effective for rapid cycling, it's more aimed at keeping depression away more than anything. So a medication review and hopefully a change is what is perhaps required. Or...
I agree with wishbone... he is not on the right meds. He needs something to help with his mania and Lamictal is more geared for depression. The benzo can help a bit by calming him down and making him drowsy for some sleep. But it is not enough for his mania. He needs an anti-psychotic or a mood stabilizer like depakote/epival.

Also note that meds is only one part of the equation. The other parts are therapy and a healthy lifestyle. If you truely want a stable relationship, he needs to work on those also.
 
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Emmagal123

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Aug 18, 2021
Messages
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Canada
A mood stabiliser is a med that is aimed at stabilising your mood, so Lamictal would be that. I see two things here as possible reasons for how he is:

1.) He's on the wrong meds. In my own research I've not found Lamictal to be effective for rapid cycling, it's more aimed at keeping depression away more than anything. So a medication review and hopefully a change is what is perhaps required. Or...

2.) He's not taking his meds, or at least not taking the Lamictal, but is saying he is (we do that anyway let alone if he's scared of them giving him a heart attack), hence why he is never settled in any way. Double check his meds, the dates etc to see if he is. My money would be on this one but also the fact that his meds aren't the right ones.
I agree with wishbone... he is not on the right meds. He needs something to help with his mania and Lamictal is more geared for depression. The benzo can help a bit by calming him down and making him drowsy for some sleep. But it is not enough for his mania. He needs an anti-psychotic or a mood stabilizer like depakote/epival.

Also note that meds is only one part of the equation. The other parts are therapy and a healthy lifestyle. If you truely want a stable relationship, he needs to work on those also.
Thank you for the advice. I think you are right in saying he needs to be on a mood stabilizer. We have discussed this before but I’m going to bring it up again. His anxiety since his heart attack has been very high and now there rarely seems to be a stable period like there used to be between cycles. Thanks again.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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Did you check his meds to see if he is actually taking them?
 
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SFGuy

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there rarely seems to be a stable period like there used to be between cycles.
That's how my brain operates now. I have continuous mixed states if I don't have an anti-manic mood stabilizer. Depakote works for me now. I hope life stays that way.

I'm one of the lucky patients who hasn't suffered the weight gain side effect. You never know 'til you try, but many do gain weight on Depakote.
 
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keith74

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That's how my brain operates now. I have continuous mixed states if I don't have an anti-manic mood stabilizer. Depakote works for me now. I hope life stays that way.

I'm one of the lucky patients who hasn't suffered the weight gain side effect. You never know 'til you try, but many do gain weight on Depakote.
My wife has been on depakote for over 20+ years and never had an issue with weight gain. It is more the antipsychotics that cause her to gain weight (quetiapine, olanzapine, risperidone), which she keeps at bay with exercise and a good diet.
 
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Emmagal123

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Thank you both. I will definitely look into depakote.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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I'm also on Depakote but by the looks of it I've needed an antipsychotic with it to really get me well and settled and feeling good.
I say this because I've only been on the antispsychotic as well for about three weeks so it's early days really. Before that I was on Depakote alone with the option to take a PRN antipsychotic when needed but that didn't get me where I needed to be, so this may be a way to go.
 
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Gratefultobewell

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Mar 4, 2021
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Do they have NAMI (national alliance for the mentally ill) in Canada? They are really good at helping the families of mentally ill patients. Maybe they have something similar you could go to. It sounds like you need some support, and they are good at that.
 
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