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05/14/2012 11:12 AM

Help me understand what it is like

Posts: 3
New Member

I hope someone, perhaps the spouse of someone that has been diagnosed, can share with me what it like to live with someone that has bi polar. I have suspected for years that my wife of 15 years suffers from a mood disorder. I am in a desperate search for information and real life experiences not to diagnose or imply but to understand and to determine if I can relate to another's experience. My marriage has over the past 10 years become a complete train wreck. Despite extensive counseling it has not improved and I have always felt that there is a force beyond marital conflict that is present. It was only recently after another intense, raging, unprovoked, verbal onslaught from my wife, in which I refused to engage, that I felt compelled to reach out for answers.

I won't bother recounting the long series of events over the years that make me suspects something more.


05/14/2012 11:30 AM
Posts: 4020
Group Leader

notthisagain, welcome. I encourage you to look at the thread "You're Not Alone, this has happened to many of us", it gives bullet points of what we spouses endured when our spouses were unstable and undiagnosed. There are other topics that will help you see similarities if you really feel she has a mood disorder, many are standard with this disorder.

Read all you can, learn all you can, there is a lot of information on this board and a lot of experience, strength and knowledge, so don't feel alone.

05/14/2012 11:32 AM
Posts: 80

To me, being married to a bipolar spouse is like being married to two different people.

When my spouse is not manic and sober, he is amazing. He is the man that I married, loving, caring, funny, and understanding.

When he is the other person, he is impulsive, reckless, angry, and his actions show only regard for his desires. He does not care who he hurts or pushes away, or maybe he can't see it because he is so self-absorbed at the moment, I dont know.

05/14/2012 11:38 AM
Posts: 1489
Group Leader

I agree with hopefulcb. There are so many different threads on here that will help you determine if she might be bipolar.

It is as waterlilly89 explained it for most people. If you believe that your wife is bipolar, then the next step will be to set up an appt for a psychiatrist (pdoc) and get her diagnosed. My husband has now been stable for over a year after being diagnosed in 2000. It will not be easy, but knowledge is power. There's a whole lot of knowledge here!!!

05/14/2012 11:40 AM
Posts: 11540
Group Leader

notthisagain, I bumped (moved to the front page of discussion) two threads you should read--about Newbies Have you Been Through This and You are Not Alone, This Has Happened to Many of Us.

The main thing to do next is get her to a psychiatrist to get diagnosed. Would she be willing to go if you made an appointment?

If so, they do that right away.

If not, well, getting someone to accept they are mentally ill is very hard and we will have lots to say about that too!

05/14/2012 12:40 PM
Posts: 423

I feel for you. I remember thinking what you're thinking--you want to be fair, you want to be supportive, and what you get is a verbal beating, or your wife drops into a depression and you're each kind of alone despite being in the same room. The clincher for me was when I saw my wife in a manic state (rapid speech, euphoric, sleepless, grandiose, bizarre behavior and beliefs)--I typed all the symptoms of the past years I could think of on google and the first 50 pages or so were all about bipolar and schizoaffective disorder (I had suspected this for a while). I encourage you to not sit on this until you see mania up close. It's one of the most disturbing, isolating, sad things I have ever seen (and I've seen some things). I couldn't get my wife to see her behavior as abnormal; eventually she wound up in a jail cell for attacking random people on the streets; I took her to the hospital where she was diagnosed. She still doesn't fully accept that she has a mental illness. Hopefully you can find a way to explore this with your wife before it gets that out of hand.

For me, every time I put the key in the front door and turn it to come inside after work, I think to myself, "I wonder who's on the other side today?" It's a question that fills me with sadness and desperation. I've found myself very inhibited at home because I don't know how she'll react (I've been doing well at my work and won a few coveted awards--sometimes she says congratulations, sometimes she rants at me and stomps her feet like a child). I find myself always sort of waiting around for the next big episode. She thinks I should be able to act as though none of this has happened, that bipolar is her personal problem, like an infection or lazy eye. But it's something that invades every part of my life.

Have you thought about bringing this up in counseling? You might be able to get some reality testing from the counselor.

Have you talked about this with people who know her? My wife would rage at her closest friends, people she's known as long as she's known me, and they'd call me up to ask, "What the hell happened?" Back then I was focused on patching up her friendships, but looking back I missed opportunities to explore possibilities and intervene.

Good luck!


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