How to Handle Girlfriend's Mania

J

jsm1963

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Joined
Apr 18, 2019
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2
Location
Los Angeles
A girlfriend is currently going through her 4th or 5th manic episode since 2006. All the usual symptoms are there:
  • having higher-than-normal energy levels
  • being restless or unable to sit still
  • having a decreased need for sleep
  • having increased self-esteem or confidence, or grandiosity
  • being extremely talkative
  • having a racing mind, or having lots of new ideas and plans
  • being easily distracted
  • engaging in risky behavior, such as having impulsive sex, gambling with life savings, or going on big spending sprees.
Every episode seems to have been triggered by medication. This time around she decided to tackle a post-nasal drip issue and started taking antihistamines, which I've never seen her take before. This all happened while she happened to be staying at my small apartment. I got to a point where had to ask her to leave. I offered to take her back to her usual hotel, but she insisted on walking out in the dead of night.

Staying at my place allowed her to to save some of her social security money, but she quickly went through that with her spending sprees in the past month. She insisted on staying at a DoubleTree at at least twice the rate of her usual hotel. She's convinced herself that her usual hotel, the entire hotel, has a mold issue. She's dropped hundreds of dollars at places like Nordstroms, Macy's and L'Occitane. She went from having $1,700 in the bank to being $1000 in the red. She got her first credit card in years and maxed it out. She's down to hawking heirloom jewelry from her safety deposit box. I paid for some of her hotel, and I believe the only other friend of hers still supporting her gave her some money, but I can't afford to do anymore. Many would argue I should have never given her any money in the first place.

After not sleeping for weeks her body is also falling apart. She's already had 3 ER visits for bronchitis and can't afford the medication.

She seems to find a reason for me to come out to her every day. Last night she left messages asking me to drive 10 miles and bring her the coat she left at her most recent hotel. She was a block from the hotel and eventually got it herself. I'm probably going to go out today and bring her a piece of her jewelry she left here.

Given her history I've kept my continued association with her a secret from my family, except for one sister who's a retired nurse and who's advice I value.

Many have advised me to just walk away from this, and I can't say they're wrong. I've made the mistake of continuing to listen to her voicemails and read her texts. I'm probably better off simply not knowing. Part of the problem is I just don't know how this "tough love" approach is going to end. What we should expect from it. The other friend still supporting her wants her to get medication for the mania, but she's been resistant to medication so far and I know it's also not that simple. That there's a lot of trial and error finding the right medication.
 
Mayflower7

Mayflower7

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Location
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Hi,
Welcome to the forum
Sorry about your girlfriend, she really needs help and medication.
Are there any schemes that can help her?
Often a combination of drugs helps.
She is ill and can't help her behaviour.
Take care
 
Z

zusy40

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Sep 27, 2013
Messages
73
She needs intervention, can she call her doc? Or can yourself or a family member call her psychiatrist? I take it she has not been complaint on her psyc meds for bipolar. She really needs some intervention rather than help with coats etc and paying hotels....hope you can get her to the docs..
 
J

jsm1963

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Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
2
Location
Los Angeles
She needs intervention, can she call her doc? Or can yourself or a family member call her psychiatrist? I take it she has not been complaint on her psyc meds for bipolar. She really needs some intervention rather than help with coats etc and paying hotels....hope you can get her to the docs..
Great point! She really does need to get back into some kind of therapy.

She hasn't been in therapy since at least 2014. Medication hasn't worked for her. Two of her therapists have recommended ECT, which she has been reluctant to do. First there's the out of pocket expenses of about $1100 on her social security. Doctor also says she needs to stay with someone for the month long treatment so they can keep an eye on her. Generally speaking though, I think the process just scares her.

It's like a worst case scenario, because she doesn't really have any family here. Only child, father died when she was young, mother died a few years ago. She has an aunt here, but she's a horrible person. She has other relatives in Europe. She's alienated all of her friends during her first manic episode back in 2006, save for two of us, and one of us lives hundreds of miles away.
 
Z

zusy40

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Joined
Sep 27, 2013
Messages
73
ECT is very last resort, it must be different in USA as it's not a month long treatment but maybe they mean a couple of sessions over a month.

If medication hasn't worked it may be more a case has she ever given it long enough, as it can take time to find the right med and the right dose. That's really sad about her situation but try not to feel too bad as part of it needs to come from her within too - she needs to accept her health is also her responsibility, to be compliant with docs, take care of her own health, recognise any warning signs so steps can be made to help prevent a bad relapse etc
 
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