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Manic spouse is missing

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MindyNBiff

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Hello, I am new to this site and need some guidance. My spouse suffers from what we think is bipolar disorder. He had his first episode at age 46 that hit us like a freight train and required hospitalization. He was one meds for about a year after that but "felt really good" so stopped. We thought that maybe it was a one time period of psychosis. Flash forward to now, 3 years from the first episode and here we are again. This time he had a mixed episode where he would be energetic and super creative and then irritated and angry the next moment. He went missing and was picked up by law enforcement after he had walked for 14 hrs in the cold. When he returned he told me he wanted a divorce. For a few days he was in and out of the house doing mystery "chores" and in a manic state. He acknowledged that he "had a short circuit" in his brain. I tried everything to get him to take meds, herbs, go to hospital, see a counselor, go to accupuncture etc. He agreed to see a counselor that he had seen a few years ago and asked me to make him an apt because "phones scare me". I happily agreed, left the house for 1 hr and when i returned he was gone. I filed a missing person report and he was contacted by law enforcement in another state. He had flown to another state with nothing but the clothes on his back! They brought him to hospital but was discharged after a few hours. Nobody has seen or heard from him since. That was 10 days ago. I have reached out to friends in that area, called numerous hospitals, jails and hotels, and have tried to do damage control. I am distraught, angry, frightened, devastated and heart broken. I want to know that my best friend and spouse is safe. I do not know if he really wants a divorce or of it was the mania blowing things out of proportion. We have a pretty stable and happy life together, we just have a few minor relationship issues, aside from the BPD. Please let me know what you think i should do, or is it just a wait and see situation? How long do these episodes last if untreated? Will he ever reach out to me or is my spouse lost forever?
 
Bipolarbear808

Bipolarbear808

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Oct 15, 2020
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USA
Hi MindyNBiff,

I'm really sorry that you're going through this, I can't imagine what it must be like for you right now! Quite a few people on this forum have gone through almost the exact same thing you're going through, so I'll let them answer your specific questions. One thing I do know is that when people are manic; their personalities are very different and most of the things they say in that state they won't mean when they return to normal. Another thing I've learned is that mania does not last forever and you spouse will eventually return to normal--however, everyone is different as to how long there mania can last. I hope you find him soon and wish you and him the best!
 
K

keith74

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Sep 14, 2020
Messages
436
Location
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Mindy, I'm sorry to hear of your situation. It really does sound like your husband is going through a severe manic episode based on what you described. The good news is that he will eventually come down from his manic episode and you will find that much of the things he said during his mania were either untrue or grossly blown out of proportion. The bad news is that without treatment (meds and therapy) for his acute mania, it can take some time before he comes down from his manic episode. How long is anyone's guess. I totally understand the fear you must have given that he keeps wandering off and goes missing. It is unfortunate that the hospital he was brought to discharged him so quickly, without getting the treatment he desperately needs. Wishing you the best of luck as you weather this storm...
 
K

keith74

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Messages
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Please let me know what you think i should do, or is it just a wait and see situation? How long do these episodes last if untreated? Will he ever reach out to me or is my spouse lost forever?
Forgot to answer in my last post - all you can do is try to somehow convince him to take his medication and see a therapist. Otherwise you can't keep him locked in the house against his will. To be honest, if he is very aggressive it may be better for your health that he leaves. During my wife's recent manic episode, her mood would get so bad that it was better for my mental health if she left and stayed somewhere else. After she calmed down some, she came back and we are doing much better since then.
 
M

MindyNBiff

Active member
Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
27
Location
united states
Hi MindyNBiff,

I'm really sorry that you're going through this, I can't imagine what it must be like for you right now! Quite a few people on this forum have gone through almost the exact same thing you're going through, so I'll let them answer your specific questions. One thing I do know is that when people are manic; their personalities are very different and most of the things they say in that state they won't mean when they return to normal. Another thing I've learned is that mania does not last forever and you spouse will eventually return to normal--however, everyone is different as to how long there mania can last. I hope you find him soon and wish you and him the best!
Thank you, it helps just to hear your reassuring words. What thread titles can i look for to see posts from people who have experienced similar or the same thing with their spouses? Thanks again.
 
M

MindyNBiff

Active member
Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
27
Location
united states
Forgot to answer in my last post - all you can do is try to somehow convince him to take his medication and see a therapist. Otherwise you can't keep him locked in the house against his will. To be honest, if he is very aggressive it may be better for your health that he leaves. During my wife's recent manic episode, her mood would get so bad that it was better for my mental health if she left and stayed somewhere else. After she calmed down some, she came back and we are doing much better since then.
Thank you for taking the time to respond. I burst into tears just knowing that others have experienced this because it really is a scary and lonely situation especially during a pandemic when we dont have our regular social supports. In fact, it seems that COVID 19 made things worse; he tested positive for it during the very beginning of his manic episode (realized in retrospect), isolated in the guestroom so he wouldn't spread it to me, and it basically pushed him over the edge. At some point in his head i turned into the "bad guy" and his paranoia made him think that i had "locked him up" in the house and that i am tracking him. At least that's what he told the police in the state he ended up in. Never a good sign when the one person trying to help is now seen as the enemy. Last time he wouldnt sign the ROI at hospital because he wanted me protected from the Epic battle of good and evil" that he was "chosen" to particpate in. So even if i do locate him i dont think he would talk to me. And even when he was here in person i couldn't convince him to seek medical help, so what makes me think i can do it from afar? Has you spouse ever turned on you in this way during an episode and if so how did you respond? I feel like I've don't all that i can do and now must wait for him to reach put to me or his family, or for police to make contact with him again. This is traumatic for him but also for me, in much different ways I'm sure. I've got a counseling session set up for myself but its not until 2 months from now. So much for our mental health system....
 
K

keith74

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Sep 14, 2020
Messages
436
Location
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Thank you for taking the time to respond. I burst into tears just knowing that others have experienced this because it really is a scary and lonely situation especially during a pandemic when we dont have our regular social supports. In fact, it seems that COVID 19 made things worse; he tested positive for it during the very beginning of his manic episode (realized in retrospect), isolated in the guestroom so he wouldn't spread it to me, and it basically pushed him over the edge. At some point in his head i turned into the "bad guy" and his paranoia made him think that i had "locked him up" in the house and that i am tracking him. At least that's what he told the police in the state he ended up in. Never a good sign when the one person trying to help is now seen as the enemy. Last time he wouldnt sign the ROI at hospital because he wanted me protected from the Epic battle of good and evil" that he was "chosen" to particpate in. So even if i do locate him i dont think he would talk to me. And even when he was here in person i couldn't convince him to seek medical help, so what makes me think i can do it from afar? Has you spouse ever turned on you in this way during an episode and if so how did you respond? I feel like I've don't all that i can do and now must wait for him to reach put to me or his family, or for police to make contact with him again. This is traumatic for him but also for me, in much different ways I'm sure. I've got a counseling session set up for myself but its not until 2 months from now. So much for our mental health system....
You are not alone. What you are going through is unfortunately not unusual when a spouse is in an acute manic episode. COVID certainly made things worse. My wife was triggered after a routine surgery. Because of COVID, I couldn't be at the hospital with her and I believe if i was there, I could have helped calm her down. I definitely was the "bad guy" for a long time. She screamed "divorce" at me more times than I can count. She accused me of colluding with her family to lock her up in the hospital. It was a rough ride that has has thankfully calmed down. If you are interested in my story, see:

Yes you need to make sure you protect your mental health too. Therapy for yourself is important. Also, you may need to keep your distance. I had come to the point where I felt I needed my own space away from my wife during this time. Yes, I was prepared to have her off doing her own thing for months and hoping she will eventually calm down and come back (or get hospitalized again). I was lucky that it did not take that long as she was hospitalized and eventually (after a long battle) take some antipsychotic meds that was able to clam her down over time after she was discharged.

It was a traumatic experience. But I'm happy to say that despite my worst fears, my wife's mania did subside and currently close to her healthy baseline. It can/will pass... but (as always) it is a rough ride. I hope your husband somehow finds the help he needs so that he comes down from this sooner than later.
 
Mayflower7

Mayflower7

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Hi,
You are doing everything you can, I'm so sorry this has happened.
I hope your spouse is found safe and well very soon.
Hugs
 
N

NoOne5

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Sorry about this. I hope your spouse returns safely. :sorry::grouphug:
 
Zero One

Zero One

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Hello, I am new to this site and need some guidance. My spouse suffers from what we think is bipolar disorder. He had his first episode at age 46 that hit us like a freight train and required hospitalization. He was one meds for about a year after that but "felt really good" so stopped. We thought that maybe it was a one time period of psychosis. Flash forward to now, 3 years from the first episode and here we are again. This time he had a mixed episode where he would be energetic and super creative and then irritated and angry the next moment. He went missing and was picked up by law enforcement after he had walked for 14 hrs in the cold. When he returned he told me he wanted a divorce. For a few days he was in and out of the house doing mystery "chores" and in a manic state. He acknowledged that he "had a short circuit" in his brain. I tried everything to get him to take meds, herbs, go to hospital, see a counselor, go to accupuncture etc. He agreed to see a counselor that he had seen a few years ago and asked me to make him an apt because "phones scare me". I happily agreed, left the house for 1 hr and when i returned he was gone. I filed a missing person report and he was contacted by law enforcement in another state. He had flown to another state with nothing but the clothes on his back! They brought him to hospital but was discharged after a few hours. Nobody has seen or heard from him since. That was 10 days ago. I have reached out to friends in that area, called numerous hospitals, jails and hotels, and have tried to do damage control. I am distraught, angry, frightened, devastated and heart broken. I want to know that my best friend and spouse is safe. I do not know if he really wants a divorce or of it was the mania blowing things out of proportion. We have a pretty stable and happy life together, we just have a few minor relationship issues, aside from the BPD. Please let me know what you think i should do, or is it just a wait and see situation? How long do these episodes last if untreated? Will he ever reach out to me or is my spouse lost forever?
It seems like you did quite a lot already. I would just wait it out.
 
M

MindyNBiff

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Dec 7, 2020
Messages
27
Location
united states
Just wanted to thank you all for responding to my posting during this traumatic and heartbreaking experience. Yesterday, 13 days after disappearing from our home, he finally called me from another state a thousand miles away. He said that it has taken him this long to "get his bearings" and he just got a phone because he had thrown away all of his things. He won't tell me exactly where he is and he is still insisting that we divorce but it's a start that he reached out at least. I have hope that after some time away that he will want to come home and work on his health (primary) and our relationship (secondary). Any suggestions as to what I can do from afar to support him are welcome. I haven't called him directly yet because I want to respect his need for time and space but it is very difficult to do as I really want to convince him to see a therapist and medical provider wherever he is. Sounds like he is in denial though as to having BPD; he seems to think he is having a "mid life crisis" and needs to divorce me, move away and start "fresh". That won't, however, treat his illness and solve everything....
 
K

keith74

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Messages
436
Location
Canada
Glad to hear that he at least reached out to you and is relatively ok. Disregard all the talk of "divorce", "mid-life crisis", etc for now. My wife used the same exact words during her recent manic episode (she is also in her mid 40s and was talking about going through a mid-life crisis among many other things). She was also in denial about her illness. The best you can do to support him is to listen to him when he calls and to keep encouraging him to get help (therapy and take medication). It may irritate him and make him lash out at you but it is important that you stay firm on that. One of the best ways to help him from afar is to be firm that he is not well, and on what he needs to do to get better, instead of giving in to him to avoid irritating him. Also, don't let him verbally abuse you. That is a piece of advice that I definitely found helpful from the great folks on this forum. Don't be afraid to hang up or keep your distance if you feel that he is unable to keep some level of respectful conversation. In those times, let him know he is abusing you and that you will not let him do that and to call you only when he won't do that. I know it is hard but now that you know he is relatively ok, try to focus on bit on yourself... try to get some rest and do things that make you feel better. Maybe reach out to some friends/family to talk to. It's tough - believe me I know! But it is important to try to look after yourself too. Hoping for the best for you and your husband.

One other minor unrelated thing - i believe most people use the acronym "BPD" for "Borderline Personality Disorder" instead of bipolar disorder. To avoid confusion you may want not use "BPD".
 
M

MindyNBiff

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united states
Its amazing how similar your wife's symptoms and actions were to my husband's during his episode. Thanks for sharing and for your guidance. I can talk with friends til i am blue in the face and they will never fully understand what i am going through like you and others in this forum do. Thank you for being so open about your story. Also, thanks for the tip on not using the term "BPD", I had no idea. Am learning a LOT lately! I hope my husband continues to reach out and comes home soon as i really don't think its wise for him to be alone through this, during the holidays and a oandemic to boot. Also, i truly miss him. Wondering if it is confrontational for me to bring up the fact that he needs treatment during our next phone call or if i should i ease into so i dont scare him off again. I'd hate to have him go MIA again....
 
K

keith74

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Messages
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Location
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Its amazing how similar your wife's symptoms and actions were to my husband's during his episode. Thanks for sharing and for your guidance. I can talk with friends til i am blue in the face and they will never fully understand what i am going through like you and others in this forum do. Thank you for being so open about your story. Also, thanks for the tip on not using the term "BPD", I had no idea. Am learning a LOT lately! I hope my husband continues to reach out and comes home soon as i really don't think its wise for him to be alone through this, during the holidays and a oandemic to boot. Also, i truly miss him. Wondering if it is confrontational for me to bring up the fact that he needs treatment during our next phone call or if i should i ease into so i dont scare him off again. I'd hate to have him go MIA again....
yes, it is a little uncanny regarding some of the similarities... but then again I had others mention the same to me when I shared my story. Hence this just reinforces the fact that the symptoms we are seeing in our spouses are definitely not unusual for people going though an acute manic episode. Hence you are be reassured that his thoughts and actions while manic are not his true feelings. That still doesn't make it that much easier to deal with however. It is definitely not confrontational to bring up that he needs to get help... but I agree that you may want to ease into it. Don't make it the first thing you bring up. Try to get him as calm and pleasant state during your conversation and see if there is an opportune time to mention it. Once you do though, be firm that this is how you truly feel. And be prepared that no matter how calm and pleasant he seems, talking about meds and treatment risks agitating him and can have him turn on a dime emotionally and cause him to get angry (like my wife did). But stay firm regarding the need for treatment and meds.
 
M

MindyNBiff

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united states
Ugh. I called him tonight and he was surprised that I had his new phone number; the one he called me on the other day. It's like he doesn't remember things during his manic episode. He is definitely still in it; he is "walking around doing his thing". He likes to walk for 14 hours or so when manic apparently. He was marveling at how much warmer it is where he is now. How nice for him that he is having such a great vacation while I literally throw up every day of my life worrying about him, trying to do damage control and tending to my broken life. I told him that I got his car towed home and he thanked me and apolgized at how much of a pain the arse it must have been. So he understands the damage he is causing and was very apolgetic to me the other day when he called. He told me he quit his job today by phone. So there's that. He spoke about how his step mother violated him as a child, which he had never told me before. When I asked him if he was talking to a counselor at all, he said "I gotta go babe, love you, bye!". And that was that. How long do these episodes last?? In my estimation he has been full blown manic now for 3.5 weeks, with some minor symptoms leading up to that for about 3-4 weeks. I feel like the guy I fell in love with and have been with for 17 years isn't here anymore; he is like a totally different person. It scares me. It's so painful to see him destroy his life and it hurts to know that he could just walk away from our 15 year marriage just like that. I mean, it was literally one day he was thanking me for taking care of him during COVID and how nice the xmas decoartions are to the nect day telling me meanly that "we are divorced!". Ouch. And selfishly this couldn't have happened at a worse time; during a pandemic when I can't travel to be with family, I can't have friends over, I am alone. He was my person. He was my bubble. He was my best friend. I feel like I have lost so much more than my husband and I fear that I may never get it all back.
 
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