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My wife seems changed.... permanently...

one light

one light

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Aug 19, 2020
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England - Up North
Such a difficult one to advise on this - I haven't got advise on meds, I'll leave that to specialists here - but I know this, 5/6 years ago I was in a dark place MH wise, when my daughter took me to the doctors and got me on strong meds, not a clue what they were now all these years on...

But I can tell you this, for 3 years ive researched the power of the mind, self healing energy - and now zero prescription meds for me in this time at 67 years old, apart from the odd annadin or a few of the occasional half blood pressure tablets I was prescribed many years ago, if i'd overdone it online etc...

I would say this, if you spend time looking up 'power of the mind' - 'self healing energy' - 'human energy vibrations' - somewhere in there is the 'key' for improvements, how much improvements depends how much effort is put into it, and possibly make it a hobby the research... good luck to you and your wife...
 
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WestCoastGirl

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Yes and I'm not sure I like the person I have become. I sincerely hope she gets through this and that, while it may not be a popular opinion, that you do what is best for you. You can be there for her without always being present.
 
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keith74

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Canada
Just wanted to give an update: After 2 weeks after discharge and 3+ weeks on Olanzapine, her mood seems to have stabilized a lot. She appears more calm and our interactions have been much more positive. Her personality is showing more glimpses of what I remember before her episode. We had a lot of frank (but calm) discussion about what happened over the past few weeks and our future together. We are still evaluating things but it sounds like she is more positive about things, as am I. There are still some unknowns going forward but I'm definitely more hopeful than I was just a week ago. We are contemplating living together again (she has been in and out periodically). She is looking to it more than I as I am still a little worried about her mood changes if I don't pay her enough attention when I am working from home while she is there. But we may give it a try since she seems to be in a better frame of mind.
 
JessisMe

JessisMe

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Just wanted to give an update: After 2 weeks after discharge and 3+ weeks on Olanzapine, her mood seems to have stabilized a lot. She appears more calm and our interactions have been much more positive. Her personality is showing more glimpses of what I remember before her episode. We had a lot of frank (but calm) discussion about what happened over the past few weeks and our future together. We are still evaluating things but it sounds like she is more positive about things, as am I. There are still some unknowns going forward but I'm definitely more hopeful than I was just a week ago. We are contemplating living together again (she has been in and out periodically). She is looking to it more than I as I am still a little worried about her mood changes if I don't pay her enough attention when I am working from home while she is there. But we may give it a try since she seems to be in a better frame of mind.
Looks like she has quieted down some when truly faced with what might be lost.
 
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keith74

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Looks like she has quieted down some when truly faced with what might be lost.
I'd like to think that but I'm sure a lot of it also has to do with the Olanzapine starting to kick in. I noticed that she is sleeping a lot more recently - something I expected sooner since Olanzapine is supposed to make you sleepy. I also think we had a really good discussion where we both aired out all of our feelings honestly and calmly. I noticed a change for the better after that. But that same discussion would not have worked well a week ago as she was more irritable then.
 
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Maria08

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I haven’t commented yet but I have been reading and I’m so glad your wife is showing signs of improvement.
My mania isn’t bad but when coming out of psychosis the olanzapine takes longer than 3 weeks. It’s strange when people eventually start mentioning those glimpses of personality as I don’t see it all till much later. It should keep getting better.
I suppose soon she will feel more rested and notice the sleepiness is coming from olanzapine, I wish you both all the best in finding a long term medication she will stick with. I have previously used olanapine when acute then abilify for maintenance with some seroquel before I could get rid of it.
 
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keith74

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Hi Maria,

Thank you for the feedback and well wishes. It has actually been almost 4 weeks now on Olanzapine. But before then she was on a mix of various medication while in the hospital. She was incredibly inconsistent (resisted more than half the time) taking her usual medication (Depakote/Epival and Seroquel) there for over 3 weeks but since she was on it a little, her mania had already been brought down a bit by the time they were able to convince her to try Olanzapine for last week+ stay there before discharge.

As she calms down more, she is not so angrily resistant to taking another mood stabilizer. Still reluctant but perhaps can be reasoned with now. Hopefully she can find a good long term medication plan she can live with.
 
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Failing Heart

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Apr 8, 2020
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Virginia
Hello all,
Many of you have been following the plight of me and my wife, and I have gotten so much support and great feedback. Thank you for all of that.

After 5 weeks of hospitalization for her mania and nearly 2 weeks of taking Olanzapine (after constantly refusing her old meds), she seems a bit calmer but still overall manic. However, it seems like she has really changed... permanently. I know it is hard to say this while she is still coming down from mania but she is SO CONVINCED that she is a new person... that I kind of believe her. She is a more aggressive person, someone that I'm worried that I don't get along with anymore. She said that she experienced a lot of trauma at the hospital and did weeks of self reflection and became reborn into a new changed person. Said she "finally figured her past issues out for good" and it made her change into someone "stronger". It is really convincing. I'm starting to believe this change is permanent. Does that make sense? I mean people can permanently change after some trauma. I've been told that Olanzapine is good for treating acute mania and it has been nearly 2 weeks now and she still has this aggressive new personality. I know she is still manic and she acknowledges she still feels it a bit, but says her new personality overall is here to stay.

Had anyone feel their overall personality permanently changed after a severe manic episode? Am I being paranoid and need to give the Olanzapine more time? Or maybe Olanzapine isn't as effective on her (she refuses to take her old meds). Granted I've never been with her through a manic episode but even her sister (who has been through a few) feels that this time "it feels different"...
I am so sorry you are still going through this! One of my hallmark bipolar “talents” is that I am convincing...I could sell you a shirt you are already wearing so it doesn’t surprise me that she is so Insistent. When I convince myself that something is the truth while manic....there is NO talking me out of it, no listening to reason, because I KNOW to my core that I am “right” and what I’m saying is “true”. Literally the only thing my loved ones can do is ask me questions and keep it to themselves that I’m acting out of my mind (otherwise I get furious and feel attacked and like they are raining on my parade). It only makes me more determined when they disagree.
Reading the description you just gave of your wife was like reading something about myself when I’m manic. Don’t give up on the meds yet. I’m also famous for insisting the meds aren’t working when Ive only been on them two weeks...the fact is, sometimes it just takes longer to tell if they work or are in the correct dose. Everyone is different and reacts differently which is a large part of what makes treatment so hard.
if I had a dollar for every time I have said “I’ve finally done it! I’m cured/normal/new “ etc. Hearing that she is aggressive and “stronger” makes me think she is still pretty highly manic. This is that “exaggerated confidence “ or “superpower” that you read about in reference to mania. It scares me a little to relate to your wife so much honestly. I am still not hearing you talk about what her doctors are telling you...are you able to communicate with them? Her best chance of getting better is having a team that will work together and that most definitely includes you.
I have never read or heard about mania permanently changing someone but I’m not a doctor. I do recommend that you ask her about the trauma she is experiencing in the hospital. It will (or would make me feel) like you are on her side, concerned, and ***trying to understand***what she is going through. I know that seems like such a small thing when things are so messed up but the hardest part about this disorder (again, just my opinion) is that people don’t understand what you feel and they don’t try...it’s the ultimate form of loneliness.
good luck friend! Hang in there and don’t give up.
 
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Failing Heart

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Virginia
I know that she is still a bit manic. She admits that she is still working down from it. And yes, aggression and confidence is definitely part of mania for sure.

It is just that she is SO CONVINCED. And she seems to have a decent amount of clarity. And a lot of the stuff she is saying is not wrong. In fact, there is a lot of truth. It is just that it is so contrary to her usual personality.
Clarity...ahhhh. Yes, I’m sure she feels like she is thinking clearly for the first time...like a veil has been removed and a breakthrough has been reached. I know the feeling (mania) all too well.
 
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Failing Heart

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My wife did indeed cross the line with me a lot. We actually had a decent talk about it last night and I asked what happened on Tuesday (the last huge blowup). She said that she was feeling angry and I was the only one there to direct her anger against. She actually apologized and said she'll try not to do that again. She's apologized a bit for some of her other outbursts in the past only to do it again so we'll see what happens. This time she promised not to do it again. When she is calm, she is open for reconciliation. So if her personality does indeed soften more as the olanzapine continues to work through her system, then there is hope. However, as of now (despite the apology) her personality is still at a stage where I am not sure reconciliation will work. Hopefully it is still mania that needs to subside.

Thank you for the great advice. You are right, I need to be more patient to see if her mania will subside more. I got fixated on the 2 weeks regarding the olanzapine since I read somewhere that it can start working at that point. But as you said, it can take longer to have full effect.
I don’t want to burst your bubble or kill hope for you...but I don’t think that is something she can promise. No matter how much I love my partner and would never want to hurt him...I still direct my rage at him time and again. The embarrassment, guilt, shame, and regret makes it extra hard to apologize. I am not convinced she has solved all her problems so quickly....once she is level, THEN she can start to heal and fix....but no matter how much she wants it, that is not going to happen while manic in a matter of weeks and months. Realistically, more than likely, this will be an on and off lifetime struggle. She will have periods (sometimes years) when she is well and she will have episodes. Sorry I am such a downer:( I would consider her apologies to be a major break through though! That is a result of work and progress.
 
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keith74

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Failing Heart - thank you so much for sharing your input and experiences. It is good to know that what my wife was feeling/saying is not unusual (or maybe even common) during a manic episode. Actually, you may have missed my last post where I update that my wife is doing better and that the mania seems to have subsided somewhat so that I see glimpses of her old personality. During those times, we had a good discussion about the last few weeks (including her hospitalization trauma) which was very helpful for both of us. I'm still guarded and being cautious... but I also see hope...
 
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Failing Heart

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Failing Heart - thank you so much for sharing your input and experiences. It is good to know that what my wife was feeling/saying is not unusual (or maybe even common) during a manic episode. Actually, you may have missed my last post where I update that my wife is doing better and that the mania seems to have subsided somewhat so that I see glimpses of her old personality. During those times, we had a good discussion about the last few weeks (including her hospitalization trauma) which was very helpful for both of us. I'm still guarded and being cautious... but I also see hope...
I think hope is the most important ingredient in these types of situations! Hope things continue to improve and look up for you and your wife:)
 
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keith74

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Olanzapine can sometimes take up to 4 weeks for it to have maximum effect, so perhaps its too early to say at this stage.
H - you were pretty bang on with this. After she hit the 4 week point of taking Olanzapine, her mania really came down. Things are looking much more promising and she seems very close to baseline. Seems like my fears that she radically changed permanently were overblown just like everyone was telling me...
 
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Nukelavee

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Seems like my fears that she radically changed permanently were overblown just like everyone was telling me...
I think it was a realistic thing to fear. I'm just glad the group opinion turned out to be right. And glad things seem to be going this much better.
 
HLon99

HLon99

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H - you were pretty bang on with this. After she hit the 4 week point of taking Olanzapine, her mania really came down. Things are looking much more promising and she seems very close to baseline. Seems like my fears that she radically changed permanently were overblown just like everyone was telling me...
Glad to hear it. Yes, manias can get really bad but mental illness doesn't necessarily define who someone is as a person. I guess for bipolar people, it just becomes part of the parcel to deal with in everyday life. As with most other things in life, when something breaks down you just pick up the pieces and try and move forward as best you can. Now that she's stable, it in both your hands to decide where you want to go from here and how best to work through your issues together.

Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best of luck and good health for your wife and yourself.
-H
 
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