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Would love some help/advice understanding my first experience with someone who has bipolar -

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flabbergasted

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Before I start my "novel" let me say that this is such a wonderful bunch of people on this site. After just reading articles about bipolar (worthless as far as help to someone like me) I started looking thru forums. This one is wonderful!!! I've read many threads and there's certainly lots of information to be gained from others experiences.

I had all of this blocked out of my mind (took a lot of working at it to do so) and then a friend asked me if I'd heard from "John Doe" lately. She knew I would have called her if I had heard from him -- sometimes women get "snarky" with each other - I hope men don't do that. Now, it's back on my mind and I want to see if I can understand it (or at least some of it) and put it back out of my mind and get on with my life and my own problems. SOOOO, I will greatly appreciate any info you guys have to offer. Here goes but feel free to take a few naps if needed cause it will be long:

About 1-1/2 yrs ago I re-connected with a guy I'd dated back in our mid 30's - now mind you - we were both 68 at time of that re-connection so we are not young chickadees! He lives 2 states away from me, so this is all taking place over phone. I never gave any thought whatsoever that there would be a "let's get together and try again" point. We talked right at 10 months when he dropped me like a "hot tater".

He has bipolar - as far as meds - he talked about everything but I can remember lithium and honestly I believe he said he was on 3 antidepressants. There was a medication at night to help him sleep and he made it very very clear that getting a good nights sleep every night was very important. He made it very plain at how important it was to take his meds regularly and not skip a day - he had learned that the hard way years ago when he stopped antidepressant on purpose and he ended up in a really bad mess - took a long time to get back to normal - (said first thing he did was call a friend to come get his guns out of the house) couldn't get out of bed, couldn't go to work, etc. He had his own company for many years and was very fortunate to have good employees who carried on for him. He would get to a point where he thought he could handle work, but couldn't deal and would just go home and go to bed. He ended up just being the delivery person for the company for quite a while before he could get back into the swing of dealing with people over the phone, etc. As far as physical problems at one point driving down freeway a piece of plywood from truck in front of him blew off, came thru his windshield, hit him in forehead. He said that was a long surgery and damaged his neck which required fixing - that surgery left him where he couldn't lift arms above head and had to have plastic surgery to forehead area. Then later on a ruptured disc in back which was fixed successfully - then about 11 years ago, one leg started getting numb, went to doc - it was spinal stenosis which is narrowing of spinal column and puts pressure on spinal cord - requires surgery. That left him with some damage to nerves, a certain amount of "foot drop" which can and does make him fall sometimes, knee brace needed because knee doesn't stop like ours- it goes back too far and is painful, can't lift over 20 pounds, walks with cane on dry days but feels more secure with crutches on rainy days. No longer can wear bluejeans due to balance problems - too hard to deal with - so is limited to jogging pants. So, this last surgery definitely changed his lifestyle - he was very active before. Also, he sees a doc of some sort (therapist, psyc....??) every 2 weeks and has for a few years, after checking himself into the hospital after taking a trip to california for 2 weeks with an old friend of family - said after 1 week he started not feeling right but continued to stay as to not ruin the other man's trip and got home and within a few days or so checked himself in as things got worse. WHile in the hosp. is where he met the doc he sees every 2 weeks.

Okay - the first 5 months talking were fantastic - laughing, joking, talking about anything and everything - last 5 were NOT fantastic. During first 5 it eventually got around to discussing me making a trip to where he lives to put it to a test and see if we could try for a relationship - obviously phone calls wouldn't tell the story like a good old face to face visit would. I would say we talked 4 to 5 hours a day during that time so we covered a lot of territory - you name it and it was talked about.

I have read on here a thread about triggers. Stress was a big one - well after the 5 months of good stuff, stress was like an avalanche coming down on him. I read also that a move/relocation could trigger in some. Well, when I first started talking with him he had been in a new home for 2 months after moving from a neighborhood he absolutely despised living in because it had changed soooo much (lived in big city and moved to small town on outskirts of big city). I bet it took him 4 months to get totally finished moving because he hated so badly to even enter that area. Plus when he went, he'd overdo it and have to wait due to back hurting for a while before going back. I would notice a bit of stress when he'd be preparing for another trip to that neighborhood. Then it would subside afterwards - but I think it only took 4 more trips to get finished with it, and then the place was never mentioned again.

The avalance of stress came from what I'd call "the brother from hell" - I had one also - carbon copies of each other. Neither of us had any idea that we both had one of those creatures! He and Bro had inherited a company plus a farm from parents so they were sort of tied together. His bro was a total crook just like mine was - and like a "wrecking ball" for dishing out hurt to family and others who crossed their paths. The farm was leased to cattle owners - the guy with the lease while I talked to him was not going to be renewed due to damages he'd caused to the property. So, that was a bit stressful waiting for him to get his cattle off the property. Then there was a cattle company wanting to lease - would have been fantastic - and as he's driving the men over the property, way on the back side the fence is down for quite a distance - he said it would probably take between 30 to 40 thousand to fix it. That was damage he wasn't aware of - the other was just to roads which would be easily fixed. Anyhow, he calls Bro from hell who politely (or not so politely I believe) let him know he wasn't putting one dime into it - that "my guy" could do it himself if he wanted it done. (But, he expected his portion of lease money every year.) So needless to say, that brought out what I would call "rage"??? In the 'will' from parents, "my guy" was supposed to receive $$ from the company(which Bro managed) each year but hadn't in years, so he brings that up to Bro-from-hell. They get all tied up fussing - more stress.

No need for more details - it was awful - and from this point on, my John Doe was almost unrecognizable. It was nonstop rage - or at least that's all I know to call it. Loud and nonstop, every night every time I talked to him. I remember wondering "is this bipolar"? All I knew to do was to try and build him up that he could handle this, that afterall, he'd ran his own company for many years so he could handle this too. I remember one time him almost screaming something like "I'm fighting as hard as I can to not get into the "funk" I got into years ago that took me 14 months to claw my way out of!" It broke my heart. Let me make it clear - this "rage" was never directed at me - it was sort of like maybe I was a good "sounding board" for him or something. I remember a couple of times talking to him where he was having back spasms sooo bad I couldn't stand to even listen to him. It was just horrible and it worried me horribly about him. Then along came covid - I had flight reservations to visit him - which I'll admit, I was certainly questioning whether I should go or not the shape he was in. Wanted to ask him if I should put off trip until all this passed but didn't really have the guts - because the trip was never mentioned at all during this rage period anyway.. SO, covid gets worse and worse - the city where I would fly out of in my state was our hotspot - it was absolutely covered in cases at that time - we didn't know to wear masks at that time - and I get a e-mail from southwest air that my flight has been changed from a 2 hour flight to a 6 hour flight. So, I called and it was of course due to people not flying so much - I had to make a choice - I could go early to airport and sniff virus for couple hours before flight then get on packed airplane and sniff it for 6 straight hours cooped up close to people - or cancel. I chose to cancel because I and John Doe both are at age for it to kill plus underlying problems - and I just didn't want it period - too risky. So, I told him about the e-mail and my choice and he acted like he totally understood (there were times I wondered if the fact of me coming to visit could possibly add more stress to him). So, he's still raging - but after I told him the visit was cancelled, the phone calls started being less frequent. I'd call him and it was still rage, but we just weren't talking as much. Then he disappeared from phone calls totally. He stopped calling and wouldn't answer when I called - this went on for the last month - I e-mailed - got no answer but half the time he wouldn't even look at his e-mails. ANyhow - I was worried - did he have covid?--had he fallen and broken a hip??--could he have checked himself into a hospital?? (which I had been secretly hoping he would do). No way for me to know anything --- soooo what happened was he called my number and when I answered there was no one there - I returned the call immediately and he would not answer (later said it was a "pocket call"). That at least told me he was able to mess with a phone. So I waited a few days and I really got pissed - I called and told him that he had 48 hours to call me and let me know how he was doing and what was going on or else I would start googling his friends names and if I could find one I'd call them and they could tell me how he was. He called the next day.

That phone call was "the call from hell" for me. His voice was soooo different - no emotion whatsoever - I can't even describe it. I remember one time him saying he felt "flat" - I wondered if that voice was a flat voice. No way to describe it. I asked him if he could tell me why he quit taking my phone calls and he says "because I didn't want to talk to you" - in the dullest like a dead person talking voice. I asked him what the deal was - did the thoughts of me just make him want to puke or did he hate my guts or what? - No he didn't hate me at all. (in that lifeless voice) He said something like "Well, I won't lie to you - it did a number on me when you cancelled your trip to come here" - Now - I thought I heard a tiny bit of emotion in that - but heck, did I really OR did I just WANT to hear some?? I don't know. He said he wanted to find a nice lady close to home to have a relationship for the rest of his life with. He said 9 months was long enough to wait for me to come visit (not a true statement - but I wasn't going to argue over the timing). I told him I totally understood everything he was saying - just wished he could have told me about it, but I hoped he found that lady close to home and hoped they would have a wonderful life together because he deserved someone to be very very good to him and make him happy. I also told him that I would always regret not being able to make that trip to try it out, but asked him if he still realized that covid was the reason I cancelled - and he said yes, he understood it was because of covid but it still did a number on him. All in that lifeless voice. Of course, from my end even tho I knew he was right about not waiting because covid was going nowhere and it was obvious no trip was coming - it was like jabbing an icepick clear down into my bone marrow! - OUCH! OF course, no one likes rejection, even when based on common sense facts.

Okay - now please let loose with opinions, advice, anything. Was that "rage" I was hearing?? For me, I thought underneath that loud "raging" I could hear pain mixed in and that, of course, hurt to hear. Back in the fall - Oct or Nov my bro-from-hell passed away - I did call and leave a message on John Doe's phone about it. He called the next day and said his Bro-from-H had died the day before mine did - freaky?? He had a lawyer ready to look into things that had went on at the company his bro ran and was going to continue with it. I didn't go to funeral on mine - covid and not in same state for it. He said he'd have to go because small town, he'd look like the worst s.o.b. that ever lived if he skipped but wished he lived far enough away to not have to go. Then a few days later called and said he was at Bro's funeral talking to an acquaintance and a strange man came to them. Acquaintance introduced my John Doe to stranger who shook his hand and said "Oh, nice to meet you, I'm the one who bought the company" Then maybe next day or so he talks to sis-n-law and said she stammered and stuttered and said "OH, we didn't sell - we just leased the company"....So, he was getting will and other papers ready for the lawyer and I sure wish him luck on it all. More stress - but he sounded calm (possibly medicated?? - whatever it was I'm thankful for it - maybe docs helped him with stuff... I apologize for the length of this and I'll wait for any comments what so ever. I will say this, if what I experienced is common with bipolar, then my heart goes out to all of you with this and I hope I'm never diagnosed with it. My anxiety problems are bad enough, but they are kindergarten stuff compared to the pain I heard in this guys voice. And he, just like all of you are just toooo special to have to deal with this.....
 
calypso

calypso

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Hiya. That was a "novel" to read :). I am diagnosed with bipolar and recognise some of what you say here. You rightly realised that stress is a trigger and he seems to have been under an enormous amount of it. It sounds, although I can't diagnose on a forum obviously, that he had a manic episode first followed by a depression. Mania isn't always being hyper and happy as some will tell you, it can also be raging and anger. But depression can also lead to this behaviour.

As for when he said he wanted someone nearer to home, that could be him being kind to you and not wanting to put on you any more. Depression in bipolar can hit like a sledgehammer and break you in two. It can hit quite quickly too and that is why its dangerous. Personally, if you are up to it, I would try to talk more to him and see what he says. Bipolar is a severe illness which can destroy lives.

There is abook which is very good called "Bipolar the Ultimate Guide" by Amanda Saunders and Sarah Owens which is very good and written by two women who are carers for people with bipolar. There is also a book called "An unquiet Mind" by kay Redfield Jamison which is excellent also. these might help you with deeper insight into the condition.
 
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flabbergasted

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Gosh...thank you so very much for your reply - I had wondered if what I thought was rage could actually be mania - but most of what you read does have mania being very hiper and happy - he was neither and certainly, like me, is never revved up with lots of energy to conquer the moon. I'm so glad you clarified that. As to me calling and talking to him, I would love nothing more - but can't do that when they won't answer. That "farewell" call was June of last year. Several weeks went by and out of the blue he called (I was thrilled) - he sounded a whole lot better - no rage at all - but by no means back to normal - in fact I guess I'd say his voice was sort of tired sounding. Of course I bragged on how good he sounded and how glad I was that he was doing better. It was almost timid talking if that makes sense. I told him that whatever he was doing to please keep doing it because he sounded so good - he said he'd take that as "an atta-boy". It wasn't a long conversation at all, but I was thrilled and soooo glad he sounded "not in a rage" but still tired sounding. Then maybe 2 weeks later he called again - still sounded about the same, but definitely still not back to old self. I bragged again. During that conversation he said something and the connection was skipping, so I had to ask "what" because I didn't understand what he said - and he just said "never mind" and I told him that the phone had skipped and I couldn't understand what he said and he said "never mind, I shouldn't have gone there". Of course, I told him he could go anywhere he wanted to, that it was me he was talking to. But it didn't work and it was short but nice and I felt better that he sounded better but tired. Now - since fall when our Bros-from-H. conversation, I have called twice several weeks apart - no answer but both times I just said something like "you crossed my mind today and I thought Iwould give you a call and see how your are doing - call me if you feel like talking" -- that's it - nothing and no call. I had told myself that the last phone call was it, I'd never call again, but now I don't know. THanks again for your kind response and explaining the mania part because I was sure confused on that. Well shoot - this is at least 1/3 novel here - I need to learn to cut it short!!
 
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keith74

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I agree with calypso. It sounds like all the stress (which can be one of the top triggers for bipolar) caused him to have a dysphoric manic episode (a.k.a "mixed manic" episode). The "happy" mania you are thinking of is called "euphoric" mania. "dysphoric" mania is quite different in that it is an "angry" mania


Then it sounds like he came down from it and slipped into a depression (which is common after a manic episode). Sounds like he may have bottomed out and is slowly coming out of it - though still depressed.

My wife recently had a severe dysphoric manic episode followed by a severe depressive one. It took her about 8 months to get through it all. This was with meds (though she was not med compliant during the first month of her mania) and therapy. It can take longer if untreated. Hopefully he is still taking his meds and getting therapy.

One thing regarding his meds - your mentioned he is on three antidepressants. Note that certain types of antidepressants can trigger mania. So it is not usually recommended for people with bipolar. But sounds like he has a psychiatrist so I guess that is where he is getting his prescription from. Without more details on what exact antidepressants he is on, it is hard to comment further.

As for how best to handle this - it's hard. Looks like he wants his space for now so continue to give it to him. But it is great that you periodically check up on him and let him know you are there for him if he wants to reach out. That is the best thing you can do. Also try not to read too deeply (and emotionally) in everything he has said during this time. You need to understand that his mind has been compromised during this time (some people like to use the word "hijacked") and his thoughts and actions are severely impacted because of this. Once you can accept this very important fact, you will be able to tolerate the emotional pain you are feeling (it took me a long while myself).
 
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flabbergasted

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I agree with calypso. It sounds like all the stress (which can be one of the top triggers for bipolar) caused him to have a dysphoric manic episode (a.k.a "mixed manic" episode). The "happy" mania you are thinking of is called "euphoric" mania. "dysphoric" mania is quite different in that it is an "angry" mania


Then it sounds like he came down from it and slipped into a depression (which is common after a manic episode). Sounds like he may have bottomed out and is slowly coming out of it - though still depressed.

My wife recently had a severe dysphoric manic episode followed by a severe depressive one. It took her about 8 months to get through it all. This was with meds (though she was not med compliant during the first month of her mania) and therapy. It can take longer if untreated. Hopefully he is still taking his meds and getting therapy.

One thing regarding his meds - your mentioned he is on three antidepressants. Note that certain types of antidepressants can trigger mania. So it is not usually recommended for people with bipolar. But sounds like he has a psychiatrist so I guess that is where he is getting his prescription from. Without more details on what exact antidepressants he is on, it is hard to comment further.

As for how best to handle this - it's hard. Looks like he wants his space for now so continue to give it to him. But it is great that you periodically check up on him and let him know you are there for him if he wants to reach out. That is the best thing you can do. Also try not to read too deeply (and emotionally) in everything he has said during this time. You need to understand that his mind has been compromised during this time (some people like to use the word "hijacked") and his thoughts and actions are severely impacted because of this. Once you can accept this very important fact, you will be able to tolerate the emotional pain you are feeling (it took me a long while myself).
keith74 - thank you for responding and for your kind words. If he had a dysphoric manic episode (known as "mixed manic") which I totally agree with you on that - what does the "mixed manic" mean? Does that strictly refer to dysphoric or does it mean the mania could be dysphoric or euphoric and therefore referred to as "mixed"??

I'm sorry for what your wife has gone thru as well as everyone else on here. We live in a very ignorant world toward things like this - and I was very ignorant about it. In my mind I thought if you took your meds you lived a life as if there was nothing wrong. I didn't even consider stress, relocations, or anything that would affect things - just thought if you took the meds you were okay.

I tend to think he would definitely still take his meds - when he first told be about the bipolar, I told him that I really didn't know much about it except that it was important to take medicine for it - and he spoke very very firmly about the importance of the meds and getting a good nights sleep, etc. And told me about the time years ago when he had dropped his antidepressant on purpose and the long horrible recovery process. He did not want a repeat of that. So unless that "hijacked" mind does something, I believe he'll be faithful to the meds and to the therapist (?) he sees every 2 weeks. I wish I'd asked the name of antidepressants - but back then didn't even give it a thought - except that it shocked me that anyone would need 3 antidepressants.

As to dealing with this - I had worked very hard to totally block him out of my mind - takes work, I'll tell you. I had to pay close attention to my own mind and when I'd catch myself thinking about him, I'd find some way to "change the subject" - and eventually it does work. And unfortunately, at first after that hurtful conversation - it was on my mind nonstop - so I HAD to do something because of my anxiety problems. I think the few phone calls he made after that farewell one probably helped my feelings some, but also, I think I've built up some pretty sturdy walls where he is concerned for protection. The couple of calls I've made to him since last fall just to let him know I thought about him didn't really hurt me at all - I did not expect him to answer and it was okay - there's just something inside me that feels the need to let him know that I do care about him - with nothing pushy to it and no strings attached to it. THanks again for responding - it means a lot..
 
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keith74

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"mixed manic" is another term for dysphoric manic. The "mixed" part refers to the fact the it has elements of BOTH mania and depression. It has the high energy and irritability of mania with the negative feelings of depression. The result is an angry, agitated, negative mood with racing thoughts and paranoia.

Yes I thought if you just took your meds, you'd be good. But meds are only one part of the equation. It is still quite possible for a mood swing to happen if the other triggers are strong enough. A healthy maintenance for bipolar includes a good balance of meds, mindfulness, and healthy (low stress) living. He's right, sleep is extremely important to avoid a mood swing (especially mania). My wife's main triggers are stress, poor sleep, and health issues.

When someone is manic, it is very very common for that person to feel they don't need medication anymore. That is the biggest challenge with someone who is manic - they don't want to take their meds anymore. Very often, someone who is manic feels like they are totally fine and meds are no longer needed. They need quite a bit of insight to (voluntarily) continue taking their meds while manic - and insight is often lacking during a manic episode. If he was still consistently taking his meds when he was manic, then that shows a lot of insight on his part. I think though when someone is depressed, they will be a bit more med compliant. Since they feel miserable, they are willing to try something to feel better. That is the behavior I saw from my wife for sure. She is very med compliant during her depressive episodes while the opposite when manic.

It sounds like you have the right approach in regards to keeping healthy boundaries with him and trying to take care of your own mental health. That is good. I think you are handling it as best you can.
 
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flabbergasted

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"mixed manic" is another term for dysphoric manic. The "mixed" part refers to the fact the it has elements of BOTH mania and depression. It has the high energy and irritability of mania with the negative feelings of depression. The result is an angry, agitated, negative mood with racing thoughts and paranoia.

Yes I thought if you just took your meds, you'd be good. But meds are only one part of the equation. It is still quite possible for a mood swing to happen if the other triggers are strong enough. A healthy maintenance for bipolar includes a good balance of meds, mindfulness, and healthy (low stress) living. He's right, sleep is extremely important to avoid a mood swing (especially mania). My wife's main triggers are stress, poor sleep, and health issues.

When someone is manic, it is very very common for that person to feel they don't need medication anymore. That is the biggest challenge with someone who is manic - they don't want to take their meds anymore. Very often, someone who is manic feels like they are totally fine and meds are no longer needed. They need quite a bit of insight to (voluntarily) continue taking their meds while manic - and insight is often lacking during a manic episode. If he was still consistently taking his meds when he was manic, then that shows a lot of insight on his part. I think though when someone is depressed, they will be a bit more med compliant. Since they feel miserable, they are willing to try something to feel better. That is the behavior I saw from my wife for sure. She is very med compliant during her depressive episodes while the opposite when manic.

It sounds like you have the right approach in regards to keeping healthy boundaries with him and trying to take care of your own mental health. That is good. I think you are handling it as best you can.
WoW - there's a lot to learn about this....while I "tended to think" he would stay on his meds I really don't have a clue, do I?? I need to remember that "hijacked brain". You said your wife recently went thru this and was not med compliant during first month of dysphoric mania - so does that mean that she was taking meds and was "triggered" into the dysphoric mania which made her become angered/irritation, etc. and she quit her meds at beginning of dysphoriic because she no longer thought she needed them? And was it hard to get her to start back on the meds? As I said - my experience was only over phone, so I cannot even begin to imagine what face-to-face would be like. After a few months of it, of course it was getting gradually worse as time went on because the stress just came on and on - but i upped my anxiety meds to cope with it - now, covid had me nervous and upset also, but it was hard to listen to - to hear someone hurting is soooo stinking hard. And I think I could definitely hear the pain under all that rage. Like hearing him yell that he was fighting with everything to keep from getting into that "funk" from years ago - he sounded soooo hurt and desperate. So, I hope your wife knows how blessed she is to have you. YOu have such a great understanding of this and sound so calm about it too - and I would imagine that would be important. I'm sure this is probably a very individual thing, but wonder how long most go without an "episode" because life is just full of triggers for all of us, really.
 
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keith74

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You said your wife recently went thru this and was not med compliant during first month of dysphoric mania - so does that mean that she was taking meds and was "triggered" into the dysphoric mania which made her become angered/irritation, etc. and she quit her meds at beginning of dysphoriic because she no longer thought she needed them? And was it hard to get her to start back on the meds?
It was a little complicated. She actually was being inconsistent with her meds before the episode happened. She falls into the common trap that many people with bipolar disorder fall into druing times of long stability - she wondered if she really needs all this meds and maybe she can reduce her meds on her own (without approval from her psychiatrist). This is seldom a good idea. So when she became manic. She was pretty erratic with her doses leading up to it (skipping days, taking a half dose, etc). I'm sure this made her more vulnerable to the triggers that happened that made her manic. In any case, once triggered into mania, she completely ditched her meds since she felt she was "cured" or "never really was bipolar". Once fully manic, it is typically extremely difficult to get that person back on meds. She was hospitalized for her mania (against her will) and it took the hospital over a month to get her on some meds. And this was only possible because the hospital was finally able to take her consent away (and give it to me) after several hearings. Before she lost consent, she constantly refused her meds. She likely would not have gotten back on her meds if she didn't lose consent at the hospital.
 
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flabbergasted

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It was a little complicated. She actually was being inconsistent with her meds before the episode happened. She falls into the common trap that many people with bipolar disorder fall into druing times of long stability - she wondered if she really needs all this meds and maybe she can reduce her meds on her own (without approval from her psychiatrist). This is seldom a good idea. So when she became manic. She was pretty erratic with her doses leading up to it (skipping days, taking a half dose, etc). I'm sure this made her more vulnerable to the triggers that happened that made her manic. In any case, once triggered into mania, she completely ditched her meds since she felt she was "cured" or "never really was bipolar". Once fully manic, it is typically extremely difficult to get that person back on meds. She was hospitalized for her mania (against her will) and it took the hospital over a month to get her on some meds. And this was only possible because the hospital was finally able to take her consent away (and give it to me) after several hearings. Before she lost consent, she constantly refused her meds. She likely would not have gotten back on her meds if she didn't lose consent at the hospital.
Thanks for responding - you answered another thing I was wondering about - sooo - someone can stay stable for a long period of time and then decide meds might not be necessary and then the bad times start. As I said, I'm glad your wife has you with her for her well-being. I think my brain is actually exhausted from thinking about this. I plan on ordering the books calypso recommended - found them on amazon. This is a really complicated illness. Gosh I think I just punched a wrong key on my laptop and I don't have a clue what it did but it made a noise with it - so if something strange pops up we'll know who did it!lol You know, when my friend first started with the rage, anger after the first big plop of stress hit him, it wasn't just immediately apparent that it was sort of "overboard anger" because most people would have become angered at what had been done - but as time went on and more big old plops of stress occurred it got worse and worse - I remember thinking "GOlly, is this his temperment - he didn't used to be this way?" But as I've said, inside myself I thought I could hear pain under it all - and I remember 2 or 3 times thinking "Is this what bipolar is?" I am soooo thankful I didn't say something "smart-a...." to him over the constant raging. I wonder how many times that happens to an individual -- that hurts me to think about. Okay - I am rambling once more - too much to think about right now. Thank you very much for your in put in this - both you and calypso have been so kind to respond - and man have I learned a lot - but bet I haven't even touched the surface of it all, have I?? Have a good day..
 
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keith74

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Yes, it is pretty common for someone who has been stable for awhile to have the urge to reduce (or stop) their meds. One reason is a bit of wishful thinking that maybe they are "permanently better" now. But the more common reason is because they get tired of dealing with the side effects of their medications and start to to feel like they can risk less meds to reduce the side effects because they have been stable for so long.

Yes this can be overwhelming when first experiencing it. Hang in there. The key things to remember (for yourself) is that he will return back to a stable mood, and to remember that his mind is currently "hijacked" during these episodes so that he may/will not act like the person you know and that he cannot help it. Do your best to (politely) encourage him to take his meds and get treatment (if he is not doing so already) and let him know you are there for him as long as he respects your boundaries. And take care of yourself too.
 
F

flabbergasted

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Yes, it is pretty common for someone who has been stable for awhile to have the urge to reduce (or stop) their meds. One reason is a bit of wishful thinking that maybe they are "permanently better" now. But the more common reason is because they get tired of dealing with the side effects of their medications and start to to feel like they can risk less meds to reduce the side effects because they have been stable for so long.

Yes this can be overwhelming when first experiencing it. Hang in there. The key things to remember (for yourself) is that he will return back to a stable mood, and to remember that his mind is currently "hijacked" during these episodes so that he may/will not act like the person you know and that he cannot help it. Do your best to (politely) encourage him to take his meds and get treatment (if he is not doing so already) and let him know you are there for him as long as he respects your boundaries. And take care of yourself too.
Well, keith74, now you've made me think of another question!lol Since my experience was totally over the phone, there's definitely a possibility I will never hear from him again. Now that I know more, I will occasionally try and just leave a message that I'm thinking about him - just not too often - BUT when an episode is over and they are back to being in that stable mood do they ever talk about that episode they went thru?? Are they sometimes like "boy, I can't believe I acted like that" or is some of it not even remembered due to that "hijacked" brain, or are they sometimes embarrassed by their behavior or do they slowly and gradually get over it and become stable and it is never discussed? Or is that an individual thing depending on a persons "personality", I guess. It is very, very possible of course that he will meet someone closer to home and become involved (and I wouldn't blame him - it would be easier), and therefore me never be thought of again. I do know, tho, that if he became stable, started calling and if it got back on a "let's have a visit and see if we can have a relationship" level - then this would all have to be discussed. How open are they to this discussion happening most of the time (of course, I'm referring to when they are stable). This is a guy that I will always care about, no matter what happens......but I would not go anywhere near him without first having discussion where he would tell me about "his" bipolar and how it works in him - an explanation (his version) of what to expect over time and how to deal with it (from his perspective), how many times has this happened, etc. And I don't mean to sound hateful about it or anything and I would be very caring in the way I discussed it all (because I do care) - but I too have my own problems and that would have to be discussed in detail with him also. As I have learned from you and calypso - it's one thing to be told "I have bipolar" when you are just thinking 'oh, well, no problem if you take that med" - but totally different to experience someone during an episode when you are very uneducated about the illness. I feel very fortunate he didn't turn that rage on me, and it might be because it was a "telephone relationship" rather than in person. I can remember wondering (doubting) whether he could actually stand to be around another human for even 48 hours on a 24/7 hour basis in same home together. I think my experience would have been totally different possibly if I had been visiting him during this episode. And I don't even know what you mean about the boundaries?? Hate to keep after you, but please give an example....it may be that I'm thinking "rules" and it's same as boundaries???
Have a good one....
 
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I just wanted to say that a mixed episode can also be mania and depression in quick succession, as well as mania and depression at the same time. This is quite a complex subject, as you've mentioned above; once you start looking into it, there really is a lot to know.

However, I wonder if this is the best relationship for you, given that you have your own problems with anxiety. It sounds to me as if you might have fallen for this man already, in which case, I'm sad for you, as I don't think it's ever going to be easy, he sounds as if he has quite a debilitating presention of bipolar. (It's a 'spectrum' disorder, which means some people have it mildly and some more severely.) I wish you well, whatever happens and however you decide to pursue this relationship. Kind regards, GK.
 
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flabbergasted

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I just wanted to say that a mixed episode can also be mania and depression in quick succession, as well as mania and depression at the same time. This is quite a complex subject, as you've mentioned above; once you start looking into it, there really is a lot to know.

However, I wonder if this is the best relationship for you, given that you have your own problems with anxiety. It sounds to me as if you might have fallen for this man already, in which case, I'm sad for you, as I don't think it's ever going to be easy, he sounds as if he has quite a debilitating presention of bipolar. (It's a 'spectrum' disorder, which means some people have it mildly and some more severely.) I wish you well, whatever happens and however you decide to pursue this relationship. Kind regards, GK.
Ginger Kitten - thank you so much for responding - my mind is just blown at this point. Calling it a "complex subject" is putting it mild, if you ask me! I haven't quite gotten the meaning of these terms down good yet but trying my best to soak all this new info in. Yeah, I fell for him, but it's not anything I can't handle - I mean I can handle the "falling for him" - I don't mean that I could handle a relationship with him. I dated him 30 something years ago and we had a very good relationship, then we broke up (my doing - not because I wanted to but had to do it to protect him/his company from being totally ruined by my brother - ugly story) so it is sort of like there was never a proper closure to the relationship because there was not really a proper reason to end it. So, after several weeks of talking, when the flirting started, it was real easy to fall into the routine - after all, this was that sweet decent guy that I was crazy about years ago - and he seemed like that same person. - Well, I guess really he is that same guy except he just has bipolar, right??

How do you tell about the "debilitating presentation" of bipolar - help me out with this. Is it the length of time he was raging? I certainly thought it was "severe" but it was my first glimpse of this, so I think anything would have seemed severe to me, because it was like months of dealing with/enjoying John Doe #1 and then so much stinking stress started - just one bad thing after another and then I meet John Doe #2. I'm really curious about the difference in mild and severe if you can give me an example, so I can understand.

I totally agree that this might not be the best for me. Especially after getting on this site and learning a bit, I was already thinking that, bad as I hate to say it. THat's why I said in my last response on here that everything about bipolar would have to be discussed in detail with him - plus every detail on my own problems - and it just might not mesh too well. And of course, there may be no reason to even worry about a relationship because I certainly haven't heard from him - and may never. As to how I pursue the relationship - I wouldn't pursue it - that's his job, not mine. I don't mind every once in a while calling to let him know I'm thinking about him - that's safe - because he won't answer the phone..

Okay - you said mixed episode could be mania and depression at same time - I've always said and still think with all my being, that while he was raging, I could hear or detect "pain" underneath all the rage. The stress was coming from his brothers actions - who (like my bro-from-hell) had caused years of hurt in his family. During his raging - he would repeat things he'd already told me - instances of things the bro. had done to their mother, him, others that were very hurtful. So, could that be an example of mania and depression at the same time?? It was very hard to listen to (sad is what I mean - it hurt me to think he was hurting). I think the reason I could handle it was due to having a bro. just like his - so I could understand exactly where he was coming from, but at a certain point I got to wondering "is this bipolar" or is this his temperment when it just never let up.

Okay - another question - when in an episode of mania does a person "rage, if it's dysphoric" to everybody they talk to??? Or do they have control of who they let loose on?? If we consider it a "hijacked brain" you'd think there would be no control of who they "let loose" on. I wondered about that because he really took a chance unloading on me like that - you know, I could have been a total bitch (excuse please) and told him where to get off, that I was sick of listening to that. I would never do that to anyone - not in my nature to do that to someone hurting - but he didn't know for sure if I would listen on and on. Or did he feel like he was safe with me to unload it all?? IN the midst of the raging, I asked him one time about some good friends (from college-married couple) who lived close helped him a lot - they went out to eat together, church together - anyhow I got the chance to bring it up and asked how they were doing - he didn't know, hadn't talked to them in about 3 months but figured they were okay......so, he had cut them off evidently. I was glad I got to ask about them, because in my head I was thinking that I bet he was NOT 'raging' on them. I think he would try (if he could) and hide that side from them.

Okay, I am sooo sorry that once again it's toooo long - but girl, I can not help myself with this stuff - it has just absolutely blown my mind - and I think this illness is so sad - make me sad too. I do appreciate soo very much your advice, and again I apologize for the length of this.
 
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flabbergasted

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Hiya. That was a "novel" to read :). I am diagnosed with bipolar and recognise some of what you say here. You rightly realised that stress is a trigger and he seems to have been under an enormous amount of it. It sounds, although I can't diagnose on a forum obviously, that he had a manic episode first followed by a depression. Mania isn't always being hyper and happy as some will tell you, it can also be raging and anger. But depression can also lead to this behaviour.

As for when he said he wanted someone nearer to home, that could be him being kind to you and not wanting to put on you any more. Depression in bipolar can hit like a sledgehammer and break you in two. It can hit quite quickly too and that is why its dangerous. Personally, if you are up to it, I would try to talk more to him and see what he says. Bipolar is a severe illness which can destroy lives.

There is abook which is very good called "Bipolar the Ultimate Guide" by Amanda Saunders and Sarah Owens which is very good and written by two women who are carers for people with bipolar. There is also a book called "An unquiet Mind" by kay Redfield Jamison which is excellent also. these might help you with deeper insight into the condition.
Wanted to thank you again for your help when I first posted on here. I hope, if nothing happens tomorrow, to order the Bipolar the Ultimate Guide - Amanda Saunders - found it very reasonable on ebay - I think I should start with it, however I did look up Kay Redfield Jamison and that does sound very interesting. I'm sure I'll have to read and re-read for this to sink in - my mind is now officially boggled...

I want to ask a question (promise I'm keeping this short) - if you can't answer I understand - and I know - no diagnosis on a forum. Question is - things I read on here about mania - referring to dysphoric - kind of portrays a pic of the dysphoric person is rude and mean to at least their significant other or whoever is close - and that being a classic symptom??? My "person" never ever directed his "rage" or anger at me, was never rude - as I said, it was like I was a good sounding board for him. His rage was aimed at his brother who was causing this ongoing nonstop stress. You mentioned that depression can also lead to same behavior meaning raging/anger - so how do you tell the difference between the two?? Does dysphoric absolutely have to be mean to another to qualify - does just being extremely mad and angry and raging without being mean to another also qualify?? How do you tell the difference between mad/angry/raging dysphoric and mad/angry/raging depression?? Hope you have an opinion on this cause it's really bugging me.....seems like one question just leads to another....Thanks
 
calypso

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Hiya. In mania, the dysphoria will be accompanied by pressured speech, flitting from one subject to another, not able to concentrate, obsessions with something whereas in depression he could have also very sad, thinking about death, unable to function in daily life due to sluggish behaviour, feeling anxious, low self esteem and often numb. Does that help at all? Look up the symptoms of depression on the internet for better description. It is what is associated with it.

Anger isn't always aimed at one person at all sometimes it a general anger at the world, an inability to have insight into your own behaviour too.

Does that help? I'm not feeling too good at explaining today.
 
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