I'm having some difficulty. My wife is having a hard time understanding how this started all of the sudden. I've struggled with depression for a long time. The bipolar part of it has just surfaced within the last few months to a year. She is very frustrated with me. I'm not sure she believes me that I feel the way I do. I think she would be happier if I went off my medication and just continued to deny anything was wrong. I don't know what to do. I really don't. I love my wife and family more than anything in this world and would do anything to keep us together, including stopping my treatment. I never hurt anyone before but was just secretly miserable during the depressive times. Of course everyone had a blast with me during the high times.
How do you explain that this happened all of the sudden? Can it manifest over a period of months?
Speak to your psychiatrist as perhaps your medication isn't working or is worsening some aspects of the bipolar. Definitely don't go off medication. It may just be a matter of finding the one that works and your psychiatrist could help you with that.
maybe you can share some of the posts in this Forum with your wife so she can start Learning about the illness, Understanding that you need your meds and perhaps beleiving that you Do have Bipolar....
I've been with my husband for 12 years, wonderful life togehter (+a beautiful 2 year old) aside form mild depression that actually got much better as our relationship flourished, he really had/showed no major symptoms of Bipolar until 4 months ago, at age 44, when he had a horrible Manic Episode that led him to try to commit suicide...he is 4 months into diagnose and treatment and he is still very ill, very lost, and for about 3 months he pretty much told the world I was his number 1 enemy, that I was the reason for his misery and so on....he even moved out of the house but since the meds starting kicking in (about a month ago --Finally!!!) I have seen minor improvment and he actually moved back in (thank God)!!!!!
But progress is slow and patience and love is Key. AS his wife, I try to educate myself as much as I can about the illness, I also take care of my self, I see a therapist to help me through teh tough days, and most importantlymy family and his family are in this 'journey' togehter, with lots of love and understanding .....Really , talk to yuor doctor but do Not come off of your meds wihtout telling him. If you are Bipolar you need you Meds!!!
Bring things home for your wife to read, bring your wife to your doc's appointments, do couple's therapy ...maybe she'll start udnerstanding that none of this is fun for you either!
Best of luck!
Mental illness can just happen suddenly or gradually. It can happen for a while subtly and then suddenly become severe without warning. I think bipolar disorder can be like schizophrenia as well where it can be confusing because a person can become gradually more unstable but they don't realize it until it has become extremely severe.
The trouble with bipolar is that we are very good at putting on an act of normality for periods of time. Unfortunately this causes such stress that we end up either manic or depressed because we just can't cope with pretending we're ok anymore. This is pretty much what happened to me. I became so tired and lost the strength to keep up the pretence. Since being medicated I am much more stable but only in the sense that I am able to put on the pretence once more :-/
The other thing is, is that I only show my face when I'm having a good day so people assume that I'm ok and when they are told I have bipolar they don't believe me because they never see behind the mask. This illness is made doubly hard by the judgement of others. Your wife will need time to learn and understand what bipolar is and how it effects you but if you follow the great advice given by vsantos then I think that would help enormously.
Whatever you do don't come off your medication, things will balance out eventually with the reight meds, therapy and support.
I agree with bernie about being able to hide behind a mask. Bipolar is not a visible thing and can disguise itself as other things. Also, it is progressive so in the beginning you may have been milder in certain areas but as you have aged your bipolar has changed. I'm sure it is frustrating for people who do not have it to deal with us. Has your wife looked into any education or support groups for herself? It might be useful for her to get to know others who are also living with loved ones with bipolar.
I can relate with what Bernie's said too. There were some, including family who found it extremely difficult to accept that I was bipolar, because I would only socialise when I was relatively well, or well enough to put on an act of normality. They never got to see the darker side of the disease. I would not communicate my real thoughts and feelings and would come home worn out from trying to maintain my 'normality'.
My last episode gradually got worse over a period of 6 months but accelerated quite quickly into psychotic mania toward the end (scary). The medication really made a difference, so I suggest that it would be a positive step for you to continue with yours too. All the best.
There are books in the major bookstores about Bipolar disorder, what it is, what are the triggers, taking medications, sleep, exercise, the symptoms, working with your doctors and therapists, living with somebody who is bipolar and being a friend of somebody with bipolar, etc. These books help the lay person understand what is going on for those with bipolar disorder, as well as a good resource for the patients themselves.
I understand how one hides behind a mask of health and everything is fine etc., but this disorder can be very lonely for the person if they don't have somebody who knows and understands this disorder. It is not a personality or character flaw, you must understand this. It is a biochemical imbalance within the brain, just like Diabetes is a imbalance between the body's ability to make adequate insulin. It is not a character flaw. It is physical and not brought upon yourself by anything you could have caused. Bipolar predisposition is inherited, through your genetics. Somebody in your family has suffered from this themselves, sometime. Environmental stresses could also push those with the predisposition to actually begin experiencing the bipolar symptoms. But it is not something you did wrong, or caused this upon yourself. It just is. Day is day, night is night. It just is. We need to stop feeling guilt and shame or to blame anybody who has bipolar. Those who are not part of the solution, are sometimes part of the problem. Educate yourselves as much as possible about this disorder. Knowledge is power.
I was also very mild for years, even took antidepressants and didn't go manic (maybe hypo...) and now at 35, it got worse and I need the meds daily. My husband was also surprised and confused, saying that I was never like this before. But I was, it was just more subtle.
There are quite a lot of great posts to you, here. I am sorry that as ILADVOCATE
said, your meds may not be the right ones. Sometimes it does take a while for adjustments that will "fit" your bodies makeup. I don't believe it just comes on. I believe we believe it is situational. I had a LOT of situational, but at about 42 I could no longer live without medications. I hope you have a psychiatrist and not a general practicioner...that could be one of your problems if you are not seeing a psychiatrist. Been there, was wrong, wrong, wrong.
No matter how much our family loves us, each has a different reaction and internalizes what is happening to us in forms of grief, disbeliefe, anger and alienation. My husband it is grief, but tries to understand, one daughter it is extreme internalized anger and the other daughter it is alienation and believes as her husband that it is caused by the meds, self centeredness and the way of life of the seventies.
I am, at times, riddled with guilt. I have been for the first time since eleven, without depression. Yet it is returning with a vengeance. I will have to tell my psych and will have to succumb to meds and will not be as mentally sharp as I have been for almost seven months. But this is the disorder, not me! Not my doing!
If you can read some books, short basic ones found in bookstores, have her read it.
Write to her how much you love her and did not cause this to happen. Again, you probably had it longer than you have been diagnosed. Assure her, that on meds you can lead a fairly normal life and just ask your doctor about the ones that can affect your intimacy with your wife and STAY off those...Geodon is powerful and I can't take it but for the time I was on it my husband grinned from ear to ear. I hope this helps and that the two of you can resolve the For Better of Worse, In Sickness and Health.
Actually, that sounds like a symptom of agoraphobia, which is part of an anxiety disorder. Not being able to leave the house is a pretty big deal. I would say to go to your doctor, but that might not be the easiest thing for you to do. But you do need to speak to a psychiatrist somehow. You may or may not have other issues as well, but only a doctor can diagnose you with anything. There are psychiatrists that specialize in anxiety disorders and treatment and they can help you get your life back in order.
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