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Living with a bipolar spouse

F

Fictionprison

Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2020
Messages
6
Location
TN
First of all, I don't normally post to message boards. I am a very private person and tend to shy away from revealing my personal business. However, I have been struggling with numerous issues with my bipolar wife and I have no support base to speak with. So I am here hoping to learn more, gather advice, and maybe get some answers to her odd behavior.

Let me give you a bit of a back story so you know my current situation. I am a 49 year old male and I met my wife in 2009 and we married in 2010. She seemed perfectly normal, happy, and a very loving woman. I had met the love of my life. We shared the same interests and are both like-minded in many other ways as well. We were very happy together, never fought and she used to tell me all the time that I was her "perfect." She had never been diagnosed with any mental illness in the past, but she had never sought treatment. A red flag that I missed was her family mentioning the cycles of trouble she would get into when she was younger. I just took that as a rebellious teenager or young adult. I didn't really pay much attention to the stories.

I am in the military (about to retire) and in 2016 I was away for a military school for 4 weeks. During that time we spoke every day, and she began complaining that she couldn't sleep at night. When I got home, she wasn't there to greet me like she normally would be when I return from travel. I called and texted her, and she finally replied a few hours later. She never did come home, she stayed gone for a couple months and she refused to speak with me. I had no idea what was going on, so you could imagine my dismay and confusion. Then out of the clear blue she called me, and from the tone of her voice, she was clearly scared. She told me that she had travelled to Florida to meet a "friend" she had met online and he was trying to force her to have sex with him. I told her to run out of the house, get in her car, and drive away, which she complied. I stayed on the phone with her for 12 hours as she made the trip back to home. The next day I took her to the doctor who recommended a stay in a local hospital for evaluation. It was there during an inpatient stay that she was diagnosed with Bipolar I and Complex PTST (previous abusive husband).

She was placed on medication and everything was back to normal until August 2019, where she suddenly started complaining about not being able to sleep. After her first episode, I had read and researched just about everything I could on Bipolar Disorder and realized that she was entering another manic phase. When I asked her to commit herself to the hospital again, she became angry and left. I found out later that she had became agitated at her psychiatrist earlier in the year for not showing up to her scheduled appointments, so she just stopped going. In return, her prescriptions had run out and she had not been taking her medication. I was oblivious to that, and I do blame myself for not paying better attention.

I did manage to finally convince her to see another psychiatrist, and I set everything up for her. She did start visiting the new psychiatrist and is back on meds. It took another 3 months for her mania to subside, and that was March 2020. It is now September 2020 and she still hasn't come home, even with her mania gone. Now she claims she doesn't know why she can't come home. She has been living with her mother, just a mile down the road. Even being so close, she only visits me about 1-2 times per week, and only for a short time before she gets antsy and has to go. She does usually call me every day, sometimes several times a day, but with intermittent periods where she breaks off communication for a day or two.

I just don't understand this behavior and even though I have researched, I can't figure out what is going on with her. She claims she isn't depressed, but rather says her emotions are just all gone. From what I have read, this may have something to due with her meds and emotional blunting. But due to Covid, and the fact her Doctor just retired, she hasn't been able to see a doctor in 3 months to address this issue. She still has meds on hand but I have no idea if she is taking them since she doesn't live with me.

Honestly, I am so exhausted with the emotional roller coaster. She will get close for a day or two, then pull back. This cycle has been going on weekly for months now. Pretty much the same thing each week, she will visit for a few minutes to an hour or two a couple days in a row, then she will stay away for several days (with a lot of excuses). I just don't know if I can take much more. I have looked into divorce, but I feel bad about that since I know that she is sick, and I wouldn't abandon her if it were cancer or some other illness. But then again, my mental health is taking a toll. I am now on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds and my overall health has taken a downturn. I just keep holding out hope that she will get better someday soon and the girl I married would come back to me. Right now I don't know who the hell she is anymore, she isn't the same person.
 
Fairy Lucretia

Fairy Lucretia

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 9, 2011
Messages
36,138
Location
Magical fairy wonderland xxxx
welcome to the forum
my boyfriend has bipolar and i have BPD ,we try and support each other and i have to be honest i find his depressive states more difficult to deal with than his manic states x
there are a number of bipolar sufferers on here ,i hope you find the forum useful and get good advise soon
love Lu x
 
Mayflower7

Mayflower7

Well-known member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 4, 2013
Messages
14,758
Location
England
Hi,
Welcome to the forum,
You have researched the illness which is good, glad you've come to us for support.
Please post any questions that you may have.
Take care
 
C

Consideration

Active member
Joined
Feb 6, 2020
Messages
37
Location
England
Morning,
I feel your pain with experience of the same symptoms.
When we meet she was in full-blown mania which was exciting and very positive. I had no experience with mental health.
She moved in after a month, went on holiday, and planned our future.
Then after 9 months came the Bipolar 1 Depression with Psychosis and then hospital!
What was happening to my beautiful partner?
I studied and investigated her past.

After 4 hospitalizations and medication changes, we still work on the solution.

You need to accept the person you meet will never come back, you have to adapt to the person she is.

Only time will tell if your relationship will become stable and only you can decide if you have the strength to carry on to the end.
It will never be a normal relationship but it can work with dedication from you BOTH!

All the best - and luck after yourself which is the best advice anyone can give.
 
F

Fictionprison

Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2020
Messages
6
Location
TN
My wife was able to see the psychiatrist yesterday and they determined that her meds were not working properly (like I have been saying for months!). Her dosage is being adjusted. I made her sit down and talk to me yesterday (we have tried many times before and she wouldn't talk) and she finally admitted that her odd behavior was due to her struggling with severe depression for the last few months. That's is why she comes around a day or two, then isolates for a week or so. She tends to hide her emotions very well, and I think that comes from her abusive past. I had a suspicion that it may be depression, but since she doesn't live with me and I only see her for a short time a couple times a week, I wasn't sure. And she wasn't talking. So basically, she would put on her game face to see me, then when the depression began to overwhelm her, she would leave and stay away so that I wouldn't know. Once she let that secret out, she began to cry, which is the first time I have seen her cry since she became manic in 2019. I am not sure of the significance of that, but it is a change from her flat and emotionless demeanor that she has been displaying for the last few months. She did tell me yesterday that she is considering checking into the hospital until they can get her meds right (I did not bring this topic up, she volunteered this info to me). I think its a great idea, so I am fully supportive of her on this.

I appreciate the advice, I will just have to accept that the girl I married is gone and will try my best to adapt to the stranger who has taken her place. Deep down inside, she is still in there though, I see glimpses every once in a while. I will stay the course and just wait patiently because the process of finding the correct meds and dosage could take a long time from what I have read. It has been 4 years since she started treatment so I hope it wont take too much longer for someone to figure this out.

And yes, she has had psychosis as well. I am not sure about this recent manic episode since she stayed hidden from me for the first 3 months, but during her episode in 2016 she said god was talking to her and telling her to start a cult. And she says she doesn't remember a lot that happens to her when she is manic, although she remembers enough to be full of guilt and remorse. I think that is one reason her depression is so bad right now. I understand depression is a normal part of bipolar disorder cycle, but the guilt and remorse only seems to add fuel to the fire, from my observation.

I am dedicated to our marriage, even though I waiver at times due to the emotional toll its taking on me. The problem is that with her being depressed, she is not dedicated at all right now. She doesn't care about anything and just wants to give up. All I can do is be there for her and let her know that she isn't alone.
 
F

Fictionprison

Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2020
Messages
6
Location
TN
Update: She is now wanting a divorce. She told me yesterday that I deserve better and that she is too messed up. I told her it was the depression talking, but she wouldn't listen. When I looked into her face, she looked tormented, like she was struggling with something internally, but she wouldn't tell me what. So I made a deal with her, if she checked into the hospital, and only once she was stable, would I speak to her about divorce. If she still feels the same way once she is stable, then I will do as she wishes. I will not act on her decisions when she is not in a stable mental state.

Is it that memoires of her manic tornado have returned and she is suddenly overcome with grief and guilt? Last week she said she couldn't remember much, but then suddenly something happened. While the mania was horrible, the depression is almost just as bad in my opinion. Instead of destroying everyone around her (when manic) she now appears to be trying to destroy herself.

My question to the community is, has anyone else dealt with something similar? I would appreciate any thoughts on her behavior. I know its purely speculative, but I am really struggling to understand her better, and she isn't talking.
 
C

Consideration

Active member
Joined
Feb 6, 2020
Messages
37
Location
England
Hi,
Have you investigated EUPD?
With Medical advances, my partner was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 (15years ago) and after the latest hospitalisation, her discharge papers confirmed EUPD as well.
After reading the symptoms of EUPD it makes for a clear understanding of her symptoms.

Maybe this is something you could read and consider.

Regards
 
F

Fictionprison

Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2020
Messages
6
Location
TN
This is not something that I have looked into yet. As far as the symptoms, she definitely displays all of them at some point or another. She does go from loving me to hating me at a drop of a hat, and has a very unstable self-image at times. Sometimes she intensely overreacts to the smallest thing, blowing it way out of proportion. Then other times she is extremely reasonable and calm. She does tend to get very impulsive without any thought to consequences when manic, and has talked about suicide when depressed. She did have an abusive childhood, so I am really wondering if this could be part of her issue? So is there any kind of help for this issue if she has EUPD?
 
C

Consideration

Active member
Joined
Feb 6, 2020
Messages
37
Location
England
As with all mental health issues the subject is complex ...
Science has moved on with new and clever Psychiatrists.
Emotionally unstable personality disorder gave us the tool, to begin with, therapy involving cognitive talking.
There is no cure for PD but there is something the person can consider which is "DBT-Dialectical Behaviour Therapy".
It teaches the person to recognise the symptoms of the condition and try to turn the negatives into positives.
We have our first today which is seriously needed!!
The alternative will be overthinking the negative and going back into Bipolar depression with psychosis.
It's getting the individual to accept and consider the diagnosis.

Regards
 
T

TheHeartHasAVoice

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 14, 2020
Messages
338
Location
Australia
This is not something that I have looked into yet. As far as the symptoms, she definitely displays all of them at some point or another. She does go from loving me to hating me at a drop of a hat, and has a very unstable self-image at times. Sometimes she intensely overreacts to the smallest thing, blowing it way out of proportion. Then other times she is extremely reasonable and calm. She does tend to get very impulsive without any thought to consequences when manic, and has talked about suicide when depressed. She did have an abusive childhood, so I am really wondering if this could be part of her issue? So is there any kind of help for this issue if she has EUPD?
Hey there, sorry to hear of your issue. She seems very emotionally disturbed. Try and encourage her to let out whatever pain is going on inside and that you won't judge her. Give her time and space if necessary for this process. You can see that when she cried it was actually progress. She may be bottling up a lot of emotional pain. Are you sure you didn't notice anything in the relationship until you came back from overseas? If so that's a long period of emotional stability for her...
 
T

TheHeartHasAVoice

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 14, 2020
Messages
338
Location
Australia
I'll also add that before I was diagnosed with Bipolar I had racing thoughts one night and I couldn't sleep. That triggered an episode and a diagnosis. So I can relate to what happened.
 
K

keith74

Active member
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
37
Location
Canada
I can sooo relate to this thread. Met my wife in 2010. We got along perfectly. She told me of her bipolar diagnosis but I loved her so much that I decided it wasn't enough to dissuade me from marrying her. We were having a great marriage. We had one bout of depression in 2015 which I helped her through. But right now she is going though a huge intense manic episode which started with a nasty psychotic episode. She is currently hospitalized but in denial regarding her diagnosis and fighting taking meds and fighting all the doctors. She has said things to me that I didn't think she would be capable of saying. It has been rough for me to see her. She is so convinced that this new manic version of her is the "new" her that I am worried I may never see the woman I fell in love with and married.
 
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