Those of you who have BP who had a long lasting manic episode (lasting months) and hurt their spouse, mainly through telling them that you don't love them anymore, and leaving them, or cheating etc. From what I can read, many bipolars truly believed you didn't love your non BP spouse anymore, but what happend to change that? What made you realise you still loved them? Did it happen automatically once the mania ended? Did your feelings for them simply return once the mania was gone?
Did the process happen instantly or was it a gradual return of the feelings? For example if you truly believed you didn't love them, perhaps even hated them (during mania) even for several months. Did the feeling and love instantly appear over night or was it a gradual process of the feelings returning to normal over a period of weeks or even months as the mania gradually went away. I am assuming that a long lasting manic episode doesn't just end in 1 day, the brain takes time to shift back the other way?
I'm speaking from observations of my bp spouse (Keep in mind that we by no means have a great functional relationship nor do we have a full grip on bipolar at this point). All of these observations are about untreated episodes:
1. Recovery from mania is not instant. After my wife's first manic episode (each one has been a little over a week) she went into a depression and sort of emotionally empty period for over a month. After her second manic episode she was edgy and "off" for about 10 days. After her third one she recovered more quickly because she wound up hospitalized and on meds.
2. "I don't love you. I never did" and variations on that. I was surprised at how often that comes up in bipolar relationships. Reading this forum and seeing patterns across bipolar relationships/discovering that such things are bipolar rather than unique to me has been a real help. Now, my sense of this is that that set of negative feelings is almost always there, dormant, like a scratch-and-sniff sticker: most of the time it's just a sticker (something that was said once upon a time), but scratch it (trigger some stress), and lo and behold it stinks. This makes me think that it may in fact be a kind of warped defense mechanism: the going gets tough and an instinct to push loved ones away kicks in. Maybe the person is unhappy or insecure with him/herself but uses this line as a way to externalize that unhappiness ("It's not that I don't love myself; it's that I don't love you/OR I don't love myself so how could I possibly believe that you love me--I better reject you before you reject me."
You question might get more responses from people with bipolar if posted in the Bipolar Support Group.
The answer to this question is black and white for me, just like BP, night and day. While I was manic I said "I don't love you anymore, never have" several times over. While I was manic I truly believed this because my mind was lying to me. Never at anytime did I really ever stop loving my wife, she is my soul mate. So when I would crash, my depression was usually brought on by knowing all the pain I had caused her while I was manic. Whenever I crashed, she was the first one I thought of, not to rescue me, but because I broke her heart AGAIN. I never stopped loving her, and that feeling came back for me as soon as the mania lifted and allowed me to think for myself. I hope this was helpful.
04/18/2012 08:12 AM
Posts: 3167 VIP Member
It helps me. I often wonder about my wife and what will happen when she finally crashes. I wonder if she can hate me so much that it will sink into her very being, so that when she does crash, will she still hates me? I wonder how she will remember me. It is just so scary how her love has turned into such loathing.
04/18/2012 08:25 AM
Posts: 147 Member
Thank you for sharing with us, it does help. You have come a long way and I am glad to read about your progress.
04/18/2012 08:40 AM
Posts: 1444 Group Leader
Thank you very much for that reply Hooba. It gave me chills to read it. It's hard to believe that you said those words to me with such hate in your eyes so many times in the past. All I see now is love. I am very thankful for you and all that you have done to be the father and husband that you are today. I'm seriously sitting here at work about to cry as I write this.
04/18/2012 08:42 AM
Posts: 147 Member
Thank you both for sharing your story with us, it encourages me greatly.
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