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Husband's Bipolar episode; give him support or space?

M

MindyNBiff

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Dec 7, 2020
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united states
My husband experienced a severe manic episode and went missing in late November. It's been 6.5 weeks since he has been gone and about 7 weeks of full blown mania. Police made contact with him in another state; he had flown there with nothing but the clothes on his back. We have talked a few times briefly on the phone with some one line emails here and there to me and 2 of his friends, but he still won't tell anyone where he is. He was adamant that he is staying where he is, engaged in a project, and is divorcing me and "starting a new life" there. He quit his job here, left me with all of his unfinished projects and logistics to care for; pretty much blew up his life.
This past week he has pretty much stopped all communications with me, his sister and friends. I fear that he has entered a depressive period and is completely isolated in an unfamiliar place. I think I have enough information to figure out where he is.
Question is; should I seek him out and try to get him to medical care at this point or do I continue to give him time and space?
I wasn't able to help him or convince him to get medical care when he was home, so convincing him now may be futile. However, he may be in a different state of mind at this stage in the episode. I just don't know enough about bipolar disorder to guess or know the pattern.
Playing this "wait and see" game is absolute torture; I want to help him! At what point do I or his friends try to intervene and seek him out??
Any input is welcome.
 
OmniscientNihilist

OmniscientNihilist

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he might come crawling home once the mania turns into depression
 
JessisMe

JessisMe

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Nashua NH
I would give him time and space. He has already rebuffed your efforts to help him. Intruding on his space when he has made special efforts to conceal it may come across to him as a violation and he may resist further and further push you away. I understand you wanting to “solve” or “heal” this because it is a source of such anxiety for you. You may just have to learn to sit with these uncomfortable feelings and uncertainties. Respect your husbands wishes. They are very real for him now. Express your concern and let him know that you think it’s best that he seek help and that you are happy to help him in this. But unless he is a harm to himself or others there is no way to force himself to get help. That is something he has to come to on his own. I hope things get easier for you. xo, j
 
Ruma55

Ruma55

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Apr 25, 2020
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56
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Southern Maryland
My husband experienced a severe manic episode and went missing in late November. It's been 6.5 weeks since he has been gone and about 7 weeks of full blown mania. Police made contact with him in another state; he had flown there with nothing but the clothes on his back. We have talked a few times briefly on the phone with some one line emails here and there to me and 2 of his friends, but he still won't tell anyone where he is. He was adamant that he is staying where he is, engaged in a project, and is divorcing me and "starting a new life" there. He quit his job here, left me with all of his unfinished projects and logistics to care for; pretty much blew up his life.
This past week he has pretty much stopped all communications with me, his sister and friends. I fear that he has entered a depressive period and is completely isolated in an unfamiliar place. I think I have enough information to figure out where he is.
Question is; should I seek him out and try to get him to medical care at this point or do I continue to give him time and space?
I wasn't able to help him or convince him to get medical care when he was home, so convincing him now may be futile. However, he may be in a different state of mind at this stage in the episode. I just don't know enough about bipolar disorder to guess or know the pattern.
Playing this "wait and see" game is absolute torture; I want to help him! At what point do I or his friends try to intervene and seek him out??
Any input is welcome.
I’m so sorry you’re going through that, I can’t imagine being the family member of someone going through a major manic episode it must be truly awful to feel so helpless.
My best advice to you is to really take this time to focus on yourself and take care of you. I agree with what someone else said that he’s already rebuffed your efforts to help him. I think you need to step back and let him do whatever he’s gonna do, and focus on making sure you take care of your own mental health. Unfortunately just like with substance abuse or anything else, you can’t help someone who doesn’t want help or to help themselves. All you can do is make yourself available for him if he needs you and that you stay healthy and take care of yourself.
 
K

keith74

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Sorry to hear your husband is still dealing with his manic episode. I also agree with the others that you did all you could and for now to leave him be while you focus on yourself. Maybe just every few days, briefly reach out to him to let him know you are willing to help if he is interested. But if he does not respond, just let it go. I know it must be so hard. He will eventually come back but unfortunately it could take awhile. It took 8 weeks for my wife's mania to really subside. And this was when she was put on medication starting at week 5. Without any medication or treatment, it could be a few months...
 
M

MindyNBiff

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united states
I’m so sorry you’re going through that, I can’t imagine being the family member of someone going through a major manic episode it must be truly awful to feel so helpless.
My best advice to you is to really take this time to focus on yourself and take care of you. I agree with what someone else said that he’s already rebuffed your efforts to help him. I think you need to step back and let him do whatever he’s gonna do, and focus on making sure you take care of your own mental health. Unfortunately just like with substance abuse or anything else, you can’t help someone who doesn’t want help or to help themselves. All you can do is make yourself available for him if he needs you and that you stay healthy and take care of yourself.
Thank you for the reply I really appreciate it. I have been focusing on my own needs and mental health and wellness and continue to learn about the disorder that he is living with so I can better support him if/when he comes home or reaches out and is ready for it.
 
M

MindyNBiff

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Location
united states
I would give him time and space. He has already rebuffed your efforts to help him. Intruding on his space when he has made special efforts to conceal it may come across to him as a violation and he may resist further and further push you away. I understand you wanting to “solve” or “heal” this because it is a source of such anxiety for you. You may just have to learn to sit with these uncomfortable feelings and uncertainties. Respect your husbands wishes. They are very real for him now. Express your concern and let him know that you think it’s best that he seek help and that you are happy to help him in this. But unless he is a harm to himself or others there is no way to force himself to get help. That is something he has to come to on his own. I hope things get easier for you. xo, j
Thanks; I appreciate the clear and blunt response. I have been doing my best to sit with these unhcomfortable feelings and uncertainties but some days are easier than others. I am learning a lot through this forum, a family support group, my own therapies, reading about bipolar disorder and am taking an 8 week class through NAMI soon. I will continue to express my concern and love for him and hope that he will eventually reach out and get help or ask me to help him get help. Thanks.
 
M

MindyNBiff

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Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
18
Location
united states
Sorry to hear your husband is still dealing with his manic episode. I also agree with the others that you did all you could and for now to leave him be while you focus on yourself. Maybe just every few days, briefly reach out to him to let him know you are willing to help if he is interested. But if he does not respond, just let it go. I know it must be so hard. He will eventually come back but unfortunately it could take awhile. It took 8 weeks for my wife's mania to really subside. And this was when she was put on medication starting at week 5. Without any medication or treatment, it could be a few months...
Thanks Keith74; I know that this is out of my control and there relly isn't much effective action I can take but it helps me to hear it from all of you on this forum - it validates my actions (or inaction in this case). Although I've been learning so much about bipolar disorder it is still hard for me to comprehend the strong grasp it has on his mind and actions. The whole situation is just so surreal; one day we are happily married for 15 years and the next day he is on a plane without telling anyone and says he wants a divorce. I do email him every few days to give supportive messages and to remind him that I am here and love him. That's all I can do for now I guess. Thanks again for the words of suport for me throughout this episode. Mental health issues are traumatic; for the individual who has the condition and for their loved ones impacted by the condition.
 
M

MindyNBiff

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Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
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Location
united states
he might come crawling home once the mania turns into depression
He may or may not; I think he believes he is a "burden" to me and that may be part of why he fled our home and all that is familiar. I think he knows that he is going through something but doesn't want to label it or admit he has no control over it and wants to address it through natural means. It scares me that I don't know if he is depressed, manic, his regular self or what. All I can do is wait and see what happens next which is a horrible feeling of helplessness.
 
OmniscientNihilist

OmniscientNihilist

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Canada
He may or may not; I think he believes he is a "burden" to me and that may be part of why he fled our home and all that is familiar. I think he knows that he is going through something but doesn't want to label it or admit he has no control over it and wants to address it through natural means. It scares me that I don't know if he is depressed, manic, his regular self or what. All I can do is wait and see what happens next which is a horrible feeling of helplessness.
mania can feel very empowering at first
 
soul searching

soul searching

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Clearwater, Florida
I know how you feel MindyNBiff. Have the same feelings about my son, who has some form of PTSD and/or depression and our roommate who is bipolar. Also,they are both also conspiracy theorists(Ugh, you can't change their minds no matter what you say) Neither one of them wants help. I'm so desperate to help my son especially. I keep bringing up getting help.I get so frustrated, I have to remind myself to try to come from a kind and loving place. I just wish I could do something more. Their lives are passing them by. It's so sad.
 
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