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How to make my family accept my Bipolar Husband?
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Bipolar Disorder is also known as "Manic Depressive Disorder". This forum is for questions and support for people with, or for loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder. The forum covers topics ranging from Aggressive Behavior, Affect on friends and Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Appetite Changes, Chronic Pain, Denial, Depression, Difficulty Concentrating, Euphoria, Guilt, Manic Depression, Medications, Mood Swings, Poor Judgment, and Sleep Disorders

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How to make my family accept my Bipolar Husband?

  As most of you know I’ve been living a rollercoaster ride with my husbands recent BP diagnose (5 months ago).
    I’m lucky to have a family who is helped/supporting me through this (his family too). Now, 5 months later, he looks and feels much better. He is finally coming out of the ‘shadows’…he did distant himself form all his friends and family (my part of the family hasn’t seen him since he tried to commit suicide 5 months ago!).
     Though my family is well educated and have made a point to read about BP, they can’t help but feel ‘weird’ about Reuniting with my husband. Specially my sister who has been the main source of support, giving me ‘shelter’ when I couldn’t stay home with our daughter, and listening to all the ‘bad’ things he was doing or saying to me!
     Today (January 31) we’re celebrating my daughter’s 3rd birthday at my sister’s house, just the family. And of course I told my husband, though I didn’t tell him he HAD to go. But I did inform my family that since he has shown great improvement, there could be a chance he will come….My sister told me she doesn’t feel comfortable seeing him (yet). And I feel everyone else is somewhat uncomfortable too. I guess part of it is the stigma behind Mental Illness. My husband had a really bad Manic Episode and 4 weeks ago, had a ‘relapse’ and got angry…so to them it’s as if either He is ‘crazy’ ‘psychotic’ or Not, they don’t understand that healing is a process and it is not a Black and White situation.

    What do I do to make it easier to Re-unite the family. I’m trying my best to make my husband see/understand how supportive we are of him and part of it is to make him feel part of the family again.
    Suggestions?
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I would let my family know you and your children and husband all need their support and they need to make up their minds if they will be part of the support system you all need.  
I am sure if your family saw how good he is doing they would feel alot more comfortable.  Do they understand that people w/Bipolar are not crazy but have chemical inbalances and can lead normal lives with meds.  Also a person w/Bipolar is not always in the middle of an episode?  Some people have only one episode during their life, a person must suffer 4 major espisodes to even be considered for social security disability.  Everyone is different and their Bipolar is different too.  

I also have Bipolar I and have experencied the way people think you are crazy.  It is alot of not understanding the disease.  The more information provided to your family perhaps they will come to semi understand the disease.

My best you and your family.  Hey Jude
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  Jude,

Yes, my family has educated themselves about bipolar, and they have been extremely important during these first 5 months...the things is , my husband chose to distant himself from everyone. And on the top of that his illness /distored  thoughts made my life Hell, not just the fact that he wants to separate, but the lies, insults, he brought me t court alleging I was hurting my daughter...
     All of this when he was still Manic....and of course I cry many times, and couldn't hide the suffering from my family...They are totally on my side....so I don't know they are a bit 'uncomfortable' with reuniting with him since all of this is still very New to all of us, his first Manic Episode was 5 months ago...up until then we lived a really nice, happy, productive married life...
    So we're all still shocked and 'confused' ...and as for my family they feel my Pain (sometimes they just want to make things better for me, but this time they can't!).
     My sister said she needs time to get used to the idea of 'liking' him again. I also forgot to mention that he is NOT ready either to reunite (yesterday he chose NOT to come to our daughter's b-day). I'm assuming he is embarrassed and still working on his own feeling too!!!!
      Very difficult to keep everyone happy in times like this!!!!!!
      
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The thing is, you can't make them accept him. Some people just never get over the stigma of it all. Other people don't understand that it is a bio-chemical disorder and they think that you're a "fake" or "tryingto get attention" and so on. Other people think that you are automatically "crazy" and a harmful person. And yet other people think that once you're medicated you're "cured." There are so many misconceptions.

The only thing he can do is try to get his life back on track and become as stable as possible. There is a good chance he will have to make whole new friends and may never be accepted by your family again, or they will be civil with him and whisper behind his back. It is not easy and unfortunate that everyone ended up knowing. For example, with my family I have no told my family anything. None of them know. I would just rather they not know at this time for these exact reasons.
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After reading the addional info, I can see why your family is reluctant to welcome with open arms and why he is reluctant to face them.  I think Xila31 gave you alot of helpful information to consider.

It may take along time before your family trusts your husband again...actions speak much louder than words.  Yes, I'm sure most if not all of us have done some pretty rotten and embarrassing things during our episodes and I can relate being embarressed to face some people that have been in my life before...it may not be fair but that is just the way it is sometimes.

Just a note for you...your husband may go back into a manic episode again. It would be beneficial that both of you discuss how and what he needs to do....if he doesn't recognize what is going on than you need to be aware of his behavior and get him to the p-doc as soon as possible...the longer you wait the worse it can be.

At this point I agree totally with Xila31, give them both plenty of time to heal.  Best of luck to you.  Hey Jude  
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