• Welcome! If you'd like to talk with people who know what it's like

Nervous about Husband with Bipolar Disorder coming home for a visit after episode

M

MindyNBiff

Active member
Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
27
Location
united states
Hi all,
My husband of 17 years had a severe manic episode 4 months ago that resulted in him hopping on a plane with nothing but the clothes on his back and ending up on the streets of a city far away. After a few weeks he reached out to me and we have been intermittently talking by phone but he hasn't given me his exact location until very recently; now he is living/camping on a friend's piece of land. He doesn't exhibit many of the signs of mania anymore but is still adamant that he is divorcing me and not coming back home. He wants to come for a visit to take care of some things and to pack up his car and ship it to his new location.
I have been waiting for 4 long months for him to get to the point of coming home but this isn't what I expected; I wanted him to come home and rebuild his life with me and my support. He insists he is not "mentally ill" and that it was his decision to get on the plane and "start a new life". He refuses treatment of any kind; wont' even talk to a professional because "there's nothing wrong with me".
I am not excited about his visit at all. At this point I don't even want him here making me feel sad and scared and awkward in my own home. Not only am I now dealing with the trauma of him disappearing and having an episode and all that went along with it, now I am dealing with the trauma and grief of a divorce that I don't want.
He wants to act like we are buddies and nothing is wrong and that we are amicably splitting up. Its infuriating . I mean, wouldn't you want to talk and work it out after 17 years? We haven't even gone to ONE counseling session. He just wants to come pack some things and take care of logistics, ship his car down there. That to me says he's not even thinking about reconsidering his choice to stay there so whats the point? Don't even come then! He says he wants to talk to me about what happened in person though, not by phone. I fear he will try to just sweep everything under the carpet as is his pattern but I won't allow it because this condition impacts me as well as him.
How should I approach this situation? Be gentle with him and just wait until he is ready to talk about it or allow him to act like everything is cool and avoid the topic? I was thinking I could schedule an apt with a marriage counselor and if he is willing to go under the guise of "help us figure out how to move forward with divorce" and see what comes out during the session. If he says no I will cancel it.
Suggestions? Seriously, if he doesn't have me in his life there will be NOBODY there for him next time an episode happens.
 
Jolly

Jolly

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 26, 2020
Messages
1,473
Location
United Kingdom
I am so sad for you going through and what is happening. 17 years is a long time. I have no answers but just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you xx
 
T

timing

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
84
Location
Indiana, USA
I would try with the marriage counselor idea and be prepared for him not being at all interested. 17 years is a long time and it must be so hard to deal with all this.
After just 4 years of marriage my husband was manic and left to join a carnival in another state.
He came back 2 months later and announced he was cured. I knew he was taking meds but only the ones that made him feel good.
I had yearned for him to come home and did'nt seem to realize, nothing of his mania had changed. Within a month all hell broke loose. Drinking, falling all over the place with ongoing stupor. When we agreed it was time for him to get his own apartment I thought it was a big step forward.
He went to put the deposit down and came home with a gun instead. That was it, there was no more I could do. I left him. It was like a death, so much grief. I knew he had to get better on his own, with no contact from me.
The thing I kept telling myself was the saying, "like a bird, you have to let it go and if it comes back to me, it was meant to be." Nine months later after he chose treatment over madness we reunited.
The next 12 years were the happiest of my life. He passed away in 2012 and I never regretted the decision to leave.
Be strong
 
M

MindyNBiff

Active member
Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
27
Location
united states
I am so sad for you going through and what is happening. 17 years is a long time. I have no answers but just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you xx
Thank you. Yes, it is so very sad especially since this is a condition that can be managed like others; it takes so much work to find the "right" balance of meds/treatements for each individual person and the thought of that effort must be part of the mix of factors preventing him from coming home and getting treatement. He could, perhaps, also still be experiencing some level of mania too.
 
T

timing

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
84
Location
Indiana, USA
I did not explain there about the gun. I did call the police and wrote a statement of the circumstances that led up to the purchase. They immediately went to the house. He was outside in a lawn chair. They asked where the gun was. He took them inside and gave it to them with no problems.
 
M

MindyNBiff

Active member
Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
27
Location
united states
I would try with the marriage counselor idea and be prepared for him not being at all interested. 17 years is a long time and it must be so hard to deal with all this.
After just 4 years of marriage my husband was manic and left to join a carnival in another state.
He came back 2 months later and announced he was cured. I knew he was taking meds but only the ones that made him feel good.
I had yearned for him to come home and did'nt seem to realize, nothing of his mania had changed. Within a month all hell broke loose. Drinking, falling all over the place with ongoing stupor. When we agreed it was time for him to get his own apartment I thought it was a big step forward.
He went to put the deposit down and came home with a gun instead. That was it, there was no more I could do. I left him. It was like a death, so much grief. I knew he had to get better on his own, with no contact from me.
The thing I kept telling myself was the saying, "like a bird, you have to let it go and if it comes back to me, it was meant to be." Nine months later after he chose treatment over madness we reunited.
The next 12 years were the happiest of my life. He passed away in 2012 and I never regretted the decision to leave.
Be strong
Thanks for supporting my idea of trying the marriage counseling apt, I realize I have to keep my expectations low (or not have any at all which is hard) because he may not agree to it. Perhaps if I tell him it is more for me than him and even if he is hesitant we need to do it to help me through this process, maybe he will go with me. Information about his illness are bound to come out in the apt. I hope there are counselors in my area that are seeing people in person because if it's zoom he can just walk away. I just hope he is ready to talk to me once he gets here becuase otherwise what's the point? his visit will just make me an emotional wreck for nothing.
Sounds like you went through the ringer with your husband too; sorry to hear that but glad he eventually got treatment. I can only hope the same for my husband. His first episode and subsequent diagnosis was 3 years ago so this is relatively new to us. This is only his second episode that I know of.
Even if he does come back to live here and wants to reconcile with me, there are conditions. He needs treatment of some kind, we need marriage counseling, we need an advance psychiatric healthcare directive in place, no guns in the house ever again, etc. He will likely not agree to those terms so maybe this marriage is truly over? It's a pretty devastating thought for me.
 
K

keith74

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
455
Location
Canada
He doesn't exhibit many of the signs of mania anymore but is still adamant that he is divorcing me and not coming back home. He wants to come for a visit to take care of some things and to pack up his car and ship it to his new location.
Sorry to hear that you are still going through such a hard time. Based on what you have written, I've pretty sure he is still quite manic. Maybe he has come down a bit and is no longer acute manic, but still manic. It can take a LONG time to fully calm down. During this time, the person may seem like their old self more, but still have thoughts out of the norm. I speak from experience. I thought my wife's mania was mostly gone after about 3-4 weeks of being on meds. She seems more like her "old" self. But she had some opinions that were still out of the ordinary from her baseline. I thought maybe all her trauma from the manic episode changed her and it would be something we would have to live with going forward. Over the next 4 weeks, she calmed down more and more to the point where she really came back to her baseline (before she slipped into depression). Looking back, I realized that after the 3-4 week mark of taking meds, she was out of the acute manic phase but still had some remaining mania that took another 4 weeks to fully address (while continuing to take her meds). This is likely the case with your husband also. But because he is not taking any meds, it is just taking that much longer unfortunately.
 
M

MindyNBiff

Active member
Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
27
Location
united states
Sorry to hear that you are still going through such a hard time. Based on what you have written, I've pretty sure he is still quite manic. Maybe he has come down a bit and is no longer acute manic, but still manic. It can take a LONG time to fully calm down. During this time, the person may seem like their old self more, but still have thoughts out of the norm. I speak from experience. I thought my wife's mania was mostly gone after about 3-4 weeks of being on meds. She seems more like her "old" self. But she had some opinions that were still out of the ordinary from her baseline. I thought maybe all her trauma from the manic episode changed her and it would be something we would have to live with going forward. Over the next 4 weeks, she calmed down more and more to the point where she really came back to her baseline (before she slipped into depression). Looking back, I realized that after the 3-4 week mark of taking meds, she was out of the acute manic phase but still had some remaining mania that took another 4 weeks to fully address (while continuing to take her meds). This is likely the case with your husband also. But because he is not taking any meds, it is just taking that much longer unfortunately.
Well, he's here. He seems pretty much like his regular self but is adamant that he is not living here anymore, is divorcing me and doesn't seem remorseful or bad at all about what happened and how it impacted me. He's actually really dark, edgy and a bit mean. He refuses treatment but did go to counseling alone and once with me which was fruitless since all he talked aboit was divorce and not the giant bipolar elephant in the room. He is taking care of some logistical things while here with the plan to come back in summer to do the rest and move out. Apparently i have no say in any of this. Theres really nothing more i can do and whether or not he wants a divorce because he is ill or not, bottom line is that its what he wants. I am exhausted and haertbroken and losing patience. I asked if we coukd resume talk of divirce in fall to give it some time, he agreed. Honestly though i don't even like being around him anymore, his personality has changed and not for the good.
Any suggestions as to how i should approach the rest of our time together during his visit?
 
K

keith74

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
455
Location
Canada
Well, he's here. He seems pretty much like his regular self but is adamant that he is not living here anymore, is divorcing me and doesn't seem remorseful or bad at all about what happened and how it impacted me. He's actually really dark, edgy and a bit mean. He refuses treatment but did go to counseling alone and once with me which was fruitless since all he talked aboit was divorce and not the giant bipolar elephant in the room. He is taking care of some logistical things while here with the plan to come back in summer to do the rest and move out. Apparently i have no say in any of this. Theres really nothing more i can do and whether or not he wants a divorce because he is ill or not, bottom line is that its what he wants. I am exhausted and haertbroken and losing patience. I asked if we coukd resume talk of divirce in fall to give it some time, he agreed. Honestly though i don't even like being around him anymore, his personality has changed and not for the good.
Any suggestions as to how i should approach the rest of our time together during his visit?
Honestly, you know what I did when my wife came home but remained dark, edgy, and mean to me? I asked her to leave or I would. I decided that I would not tolerate being treated that way. Interestingly it was my wife that said I disgusted her and that she rather stay at a hotel instead of be around me. I called her bluff and said that is a good idea. She then tried to back track and said she will not leave. I then told her that I will and started to pack. Then she decided to leave and I helped her book the hotel. It ended up being a good thing for both of us. I didn't want to deal with the verbal abuse and she needed time alone to cool down. She stayed away for a few days and then would come back for a few before repeating. By the third cycle, she had cooled down enough where we decided we could live together again. She admitted she was still manic during those times (and even when she moved back in for good she was still a bit manic). My advice to you is to tell your husband in no uncertain terms that you will not tolerate being verbally abused or talked down to in any way. And if he does not respect that, then either he or you will leave. It will be the best for your mental health.

Unfortunately because he is not getting any treatment, it is taking such a long time for his mania to really subside. But it really does sound like he needs to come down more before he will listen to reason :(
 
M

MindyNBiff

Active member
Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
27
Location
united states
Honestly, you know what I did when my wife came home but remained dark, edgy, and mean to me? I asked her to leave or I would. I decided that I would not tolerate being treated that way. Interestingly it was my wife that said I disgusted her and that she rather stay at a hotel instead of be around me. I called her bluff and said that is a good idea. She then tried to back track and said she will not leave. I then told her that I will and started to pack. Then she decided to leave and I helped her book the hotel. It ended up being a good thing for both of us. I didn't want to deal with the verbal abuse and she needed time alone to cool down. She stayed away for a few days and then would come back for a few before repeating. By the third cycle, she had cooled down enough where we decided we could live together again. She admitted she was still manic during those times (and even when she moved back in for good she was still a bit manic). My advice to you is to tell your husband in no uncertain terms that you will not tolerate being verbally abused or talked down to in any way. And if he does not respect that, then either he or you will leave. It will be the best for your mental health.

Unfortunately because he is not getting any treatment, it is taking such a long time for his mania to really subside. But it really does sound like he needs to come down more before he will listen to reason :(
Thanks for the comments and guidance Keith74. It's uncanny how similar your wife's symptoms and behavior were to my husband's. There really are some pretty predictable patterns; if only they could see those when they are in the thick of it. He isn't being verbally abusive when we don't talk about his illness or what happened or the fact that he wants a divorce for now danm good reason. Last few days we have been just attending to logistics and spending time together cooking good food, went to a play, took some walks, etc. I think being home is grounding him to some degree although he is very attached to his "new life" elsewhere and the adventures and "freedom" they allow. He says he wants a divorce being our sex life is lacking, I "always tell him what to do" and I told him that he was crushing my dreams. To me, these are all things that can be worked on if he actuallhy gave a danm about our 17 year relationship and are not major issues enough to divorce. And for teh record I didn't tell him he was crushing my dreams, I honestly told him that his illness impacts me and it was frustrating. He is interpreting things to an extreme; he seems like a selfish teenager right now with no regard for how his words and actions effect others. He still can't seem to think beyond himself yet he isn't aware of this limitation. At least he (just now) admits he is "ill". that's progress, but sadly, not enough. He extended his stay here by a week to take care of logistics and frankly I think he is enjoying the comfort of being home....his ultimate plan is to come back in a few months and sell or pack the rest of his stuff and finalize our divorce. I am glad I got him to agree to waiting a few months; woudl hate to see him completely blow up his entire life and leave his marriage only to come out of his episode to regret it all. Best to not make any big life decisions right now. I will continue to set and keep my boundaries; I need to be safe and to control the few things I actually can control. I am in therapy and support group and have the support of my friends so I feel confident that I can get through this; whether its a happy ending or not.....but man oh man I understand now why 90% of marriages where one person has bipolar and one doesn't ends in divorce. Kudos to you and your wife for managing and handling this with patience, reason and grace. She is very lucky to have you in her life.
 
K

keith74

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
455
Location
Canada
I'm part of a support group for spouses of bipolar partners and there are certain some common trends when a partner is manic. That is why our spouses exhibited similar symptoms/behavior - they are common ones for a manic partner. One of the most common behaviors is feeling that their needs are not being met in a relationship and wanting a divorce. This desire almost always dissipates when the mania fully subsides. Yes my wife was not always verbally abusive. As long as I only talked about stuff she wanted to talk about and agreed with her, she was relatively fine to be around (basically "walking on eggshells"). Basically, everything you described about his behavior sounds like standard manic behavior, very similar to the stories of other spouses tell of their manic partners.

I agree 1000% that you never want to make any big life decisions during a mood swing. I'm also very happy to hear you are sticking to your boundaries and getting some support. My wife is much better now but she was a darn handful when she was manic. These days when we talk about her manic episode, she is in disbelief that her brain was able to make her say some of the things she said. She also asked me to not believe anything she says next time she is manic. Your husband is still in that state - his brain is making him say things that he very likely does not mean one bit. I hope he continues to make progress and one day calms enough to realize that he needs to get real help.
 
M

MindyNBiff

Active member
Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
27
Location
united states
I'm part of a support group for spouses of bipolar partners and there are certain some common trends when a partner is manic. That is why our spouses exhibited similar symptoms/behavior - they are common ones for a manic partner. One of the most common behaviors is feeling that their needs are not being met in a relationship and wanting a divorce. This desire almost always dissipates when the mania fully subsides. Yes my wife was not always verbally abusive. As long as I only talked about stuff she wanted to talk about and agreed with her, she was relatively fine to be around (basically "walking on eggshells"). Basically, everything you described about his behavior sounds like standard manic behavior, very similar to the stories of other spouses tell of their manic partners.

I agree 1000% that you never want to make any big life decisions during a mood swing. I'm also very happy to hear you are sticking to your boundaries and getting some support. My wife is much better now but she was a darn handful when she was manic. These days when we talk about her manic episode, she is in disbelief that her brain was able to make her say some of the things she said. She also asked me to not believe anything she says next time she is manic. Your husband is still in that state - his brain is making him say things that he very likely does not mean one bit. I hope he continues to make progress and one day calms enough to realize that he needs to get real help.
Ah yes, the ol "walking on eggshells". I know it well. From reviewing old journals and thinking about the events in our 17 year relationship, I realize that I've been walking on eggshells for a very long time. A few days after him arriving home for this visit I stopped trying to ask questions about what happened and have found that he is slowly starting to have the ability to think beyond himself more and more and he is talking about it on his own volition pace and way. He says he had a "shift of consciousness" that I wouldn't understand if he even tried to explain it and he knows he absolutely cannot go back to the way he was living before that shift (during mania and psychosis). I requested, again, that we not make any big life decisions til Fall. He agreed and said that he would be willing to go to therapy with me to allow time for him to explain his stance - NOT with the goal of saving our marriage. I agreed. Will see what happens. I do suspect that he is still slightly manic or hypo manic and those delusional thoughts are the last to let go of. But. I could be wrong too; maybe this has nothing to do with bipolar disorder and it's really what he wants. He is definitely still in denial as to his diagnosis; he has never accepted it since diagnosed 3.5 years ago. In any case, I think waiting a few more months will benefit us both. If at that point he's singing the same tune of divorce then at least I can be sure that it's what he truly wants. It is all incredibly unfair to me that I have to go through the trauma of his episode, wait for it to subside, handle the trauma of divorce or be in limbo. But that's bipolar disorder and it's why 90% of relationships where one person has bipolar and one doesn't end in divorce. Kudos to you and your wife for figuring it out together.
Are you able to share the name of the support group with me or is it a private local thing that doesn't allow for sharing? I am interested.
Thanks for your insight.
 
K

keith74

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
455
Location
Canada
If you are "walking on eggshells" even when he is at what you would consider "baseline", then that is a greater issue. This is likely because of lack of acceptance of his diagnosis and reluctance to get proper treatment. This, unfortunately, puts you in a very difficult position. Yes, divorce rates are high for marriages where one person is bipolar - but the rate goes down considerably if the illness is treated properly. But to get it treated properly, they person needs to accept their diagnosis.

Again, this is when the person is at baseline. When in a mood swing, especially manic, it is normal for the person to refuse their diagnosis/treatment. But when back at baseline, for the relationship to work that person needs to accept their diagnosis and look for proper treatment.

I sent you a private message regarding the support group.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 20, 2019
Messages
1,588
Location
England
I would just like to reiterate the point for the Bipolar guys and gals out there, and I know you two will kind of understand this, but not quite for obvious reasons, but you have to realise that when someone is manic and/or delusional, things they say and do are beyond them. This is why it is an illness of such severity. There's a false idea floated that Bipolar is some wonderful ride full of energy and it's somehow cool - it's hell. When you go through it and come out the other side and see the pieces of what you've left behind, and it keeps happening and you can't do anything about it, you are very much the victim of yourself, of your illness. So it's easy to say things like "Put big decisions on hold" but the reality is, if you're in that state, you won't; it's easy to say "we can work on these things" but if you're in that state, you won't want to.

@MindyNBiff He does sound more delusional at the moment rather than manic but still, it is part of it. Once he settles then is the time to address the illness as much as possible, but he needs to accept he has what he has and do the things he needs to do in order to stay well for himself and for you.
P.S: you mentioned the sex thing, have you asked him if his sex drive increased or was it just things weren't quite going how he wanted?
 
K

keith74

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
455
Location
Canada
Oh yeah, the biggest lesson I learned from my wife's last dysphoric manic episode was to not take what is said seriously when the person is in a deep mood swing. Though it is easier to get through to the person to "put big decisions on hold", etc when in a depression than when manic.

As for the sex thing... again, asking someone who is manic will not yield any useful answers. My wife said something somewhat similar when manic and adamantly said that she always felt that way but after the mania subsided she said that it was not true and she doesn't know why she felt that way when she said it.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
M How to calm bipolar husband who is manic? Bipolar Forum 40
M Husband's Bipolar episode; give him support or space? Bipolar Forum 11
S Help My Husband has Bipolar and I dont know what to do Bipolar Forum 5
C Hi everyone my name is ... and I have bipolar disorder. Intro Bipolar Forum 6
G My nephew, Bipolar Bipolar Forum 7
M Sleep disorder tied to Bipolar 2? Help Bipolar Forum 46
H Supporting possible bipolar partner Bipolar Forum 18
I Bipolar II Diagnosis Uncertainty/Confusion/Concern Bipolar Forum 33
C PTSD or BIPOLAR ? Bipolar Forum 3
C Anyone on the Autism spectrum and have Bipolar and how do the 2 interact for you? Bipolar Forum 1
N Bipolar and pregnancy advice? Bipolar Forum 5
M Jobs For Bipolar Bipolar Forum 20
B Bipolar Analogy - What do you think? Bipolar Forum 10
P Does "mood disorder" mean bipolar? Bipolar Forum 19
F Would love some help/advice understanding my first experience with someone who has bipolar - Bipolar Forum 21
T Natural ways to deal with bipolar depression and anxiety Bipolar Forum 13
P Is this bipolar? Bipolar Forum 20
R Bipolar - lamotrogine Bipolar Forum 6
E when did you start to realise that you have bipolar? Bipolar Forum 17
J I am looking for answers for my Bipolar II symptoms. Bipolar Forum 7
T My Cousin has bipolar disorder and is a life threat to his parents Bipolar Forum 3
A Can i have BPD and Bipolar? Bipolar Forum 3
BONE My Bipolar...My ADHD... Bipolar Forum 5
M Stress and Bipolar Disorder Bipolar Forum 19
L Son with bipolar Bipolar Forum 9
A BIPOLAR FACTS REASONS AND TREATMENT Bipolar Forum 18
P Bipolar psychosis Bipolar Forum 11
A Bipolar or BPD and terrified of meditation.. Bipolar Forum 5
P Aren't bipolar moods supposed to be more extreme? Bipolar Forum 17
M Bipolar Group People Are The Best! Bipolar Forum 5
M Bipolar meds Bipolar Forum 21
R Bipolar and ADHD. Bipolar Forum 8
P bipolar disorder experiences? Bipolar Forum 11
P I do not feel I have Bipolar at all Bipolar Forum 25
T My view on whether Bipolar Disorder can be cured Bipolar Forum 8
C Bipolar type ll and moving on. Bipolar Forum 2
M Advice: Medications for Bipolar Depression Bipolar Forum 14
G My parent is bipolar and I show a lot of syptoms but the doctor knows best. Bipolar Forum 4
G I can't bear bipolar any more Bipolar Forum 9
M My on/off partner has shown all signs of bipolar, and I need help & advice please Bipolar Forum 7
HLon99 Sweating the small stuff; staying organised with bipolar Bipolar Forum 3
G Stress and bipolar episodes Bipolar Forum 16
P How often do you experience psychosis (question for people with Bipolar)? Bipolar Forum 7
Q Is overspending an actual symptom of bipolar? Bipolar Forum 7
J Bipolar help Bipolar Forum 19
G bipolar arguments? Bipolar Forum 2
Q I'm bipolar and I'm always afraid Bipolar Forum 12
T Bipolar with histrionic features? Bipolar Forum 3
Someone_alone I think I might have Bipolar Disorder Bipolar Forum 10
Huckleberry Manic depressive/ bipolar Bipolar Forum 6

Similar threads

Top