Bipolar Disorder

edited September 2017 in General
As a very infrequent contributor (but very frequent listener/reader), I feel weird asking for advice here, but...has anyone here had experience having a spouse with bipolar disorder?  My husband was diagnosed about 6 months ago.  He has always had very extreme ups and downs emotionally, so he has feared this diagnosis pretty much our entire marriage (it will be 10 years next March).  Things really escalated within the past year, which led to my husband finally seeking professional help and getting diagnosed, for which I'm very grateful for and proud of him.  I've been doing my best to be supportive, helpful, a calming influence, etc.  I've read a ton of articles on how to be the best partner to someone who is bipolar, but I'm still looking for advice wherever I can get it.  I can't help but admit that I've been having some issues myself coping with the stress of it all.  I do NOT reveal this stress level to my husband, as he has his hands full with his own mental health right now.  Any tips out there?  I try to always recognize that for every bad feeling I have, he has it tenfold.  

Comments

  • I don't have any advice per se, but I can offer some hope.  BD can be a very treatable illness, especially if the person has a partner to help them maintain a schedule etc.  A combination of medication and therapy often have great results that make the symptoms very manageable.

    My suggestion to you is to get help for yourself.  You're dealing with yourself while also trying to be there for your husband and that's a lot to take on and might leave you feeling like you don't have anyone to lean on.  Friends and family can be helpful, but an objective professional can be an invaluable resource in helping you deal with the stress and pressure of your husband's condition and that will in turn make you a better partner to help him through it all.
    gguenot
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Thank you both for your comments. I try to do a lot of what you both spoke about, but I'm sure I could do better. Getting help for myself has been a real hang-up for me that I know I need to shake. I really appreciate you both taking the time to read and respond to my post.
    gguenot
  • Entirely agree with @CretanBull and @akritenbrinkThe most important thing you can do to help your husband is to help yourself. Go see a professional that can help you understand, empathize and cope with the challenges of your husband's disorder. It also might be useful for the two of you to see a counselor together, even if it's just once or twice a month. 

    I know this isn't easy. My mother suffered from Bipolar Disorder her entire life, and never dealt with it. Instead, she shifted the burden of her disease onto her friends and family. And all that did was lead to misery. Which is a shame because it's treatable, with medication, therapy and lifestyle changes. I've had a several friends who are bipolar that have gone through treatment and have much more "normal" lives. So, your husband has taken the most important step. But if you don't help yourself, you won't be able to support him. 
    gguenothall1114
  • gguenotgguenot CA
    edited September 2017
    I have a diagnosed bipolar and boarderline mother (who i haven't spoken to in 3 years) BUT everyone's situation is different and I think with professional help it can be easily managed. The good news for you is that he's seeing someone and seems to be willing to work at it.
    @CretanBull and @akritenbrink nailed it by saying how important it is that you talk to someone as well about the emotions you're going through.

    I think its also important to set some boundaries in terms of your emotional heath. For example, if his lows have a abusive aspects-- doesn't have to be physically, or severe, but maybe bouts of lashing out at you-- you should be able to set boundaries with the help of a professional and him present. By setting the boundary or expectation you're saying "I'm here for you, I'll work hard for our relationship, and I'll be patient with you, but I deserve respect and to be treated with such.

    This specific example might not apply to you, but I've seen a lot where a spouse is supporting their partner with a condition and they allow themselves to become the punching bag thinking they're making a sacrifice to help their loved one. You need to be healthy and strong in order to help your loved one and marriage be healthy and strong.
    hypergenesbhall1114
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • JaimieTJaimieT Atlanta, GA
    "Getting help for myself has been a real hang-up for me that I know I need to shake."

    "Things really escalated within the past year, which led to my husband finally seeking professional help and getting diagnosed, for which I'm very grateful for and proud of him."

    If you get help for yourself, you should be proud and grateful too. :)
    gguenothypergenesbhall1114
  • gguenot said:

    I have a diagnosed bipolar and boarderline mother (who i haven't spoken to in 3 years) BUT everyone's situation is different and I think with professional help it can be easily managed. The good news for you is that he's seeing someone and seems to be willing to work at it.
    @CretanBull and @akritenbrink nailed it by saying how important it is that you talk to someone as well about the emotions you're going through.

    I think its also important to set some boundaries in terms of your emotional heath. For example, if his lows have a abusive aspects-- doesn't have to be physically, or severe, but maybe bouts of lashing out at you-- you should be able to set boundaries with the help of a professional and him present. By setting the boundary or expectation you're saying "I'm here for you, I'll work hard for our relationship, and I'll be patient with you, but I deserve respect and to be treated with such.

    This specific example might not apply to you, but I've seen a lot where a spouse is supporting their partner with a condition and they allow themselves to become the punching bag thinking they're making a sacrifice to help their loved one. You need to be healthy and strong in order to help your loved one and marriage be healthy and strong.

    Yes, a thousand times yes. "Set emotional boundaries" for yourself. That is a hard thing for some people to learn, but this will be critical to maintaining a emotionally healthy state for yourself. A therapist can help you develop this tool. 
    gguenothall1114
  • Thank you all again so much, and sorry it takes me a while to respond :-) I do want to be clear that there's no abuse present, verbal, non-verbal, etc. Believe me, I get the irony of being so proud of him for getting help and being hesitant to do it myself. But I should, and I will. Honestly this little forum post has been incredibly helpful too. I really appreciate the community that the Bald Move guys have built here!
    gguenothypergenesbJaimieTCretanBull
This discussion has been closed.