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Bipolar Spouse: How to help?

First of all sorry this will be long. But to understand you need some history.

9 yrs ago with the birth of our daughter DH began experiencing some mental health issues. It took 2 yrs to be diagnosed properly as Bipolar type 2. At the time we were both working together at a pet products company. He was my boss and manager of the department we worked in (printing). Our boss (Fred) realized there was some kind of problem with DH and of course asked about it. My husband is honest, and he told him that he was having thoughts of hurting others (coworkers). He was going to see a psychiatrist and for several years he was on medication. During that time Gloria (Freds wife and co-owner) tried to get DH to tell them what kind of medication he was on. That is illegal and of course DH refused to answer. That was the end of that.

Fast forward to Summer of last year and Fred dies. Gloria takes over and for awhile things were fine but tense. Gloria is the type that thinks she knows all and can never be wrong. DH and her butt heads over business several times the next few months. But otherwise its business as usual.

Then mid Dec. Dh is fired for terroristic threatening. Gloria said that Dh had threatened to kill coworkers. Honestly, he had said he had thoughts of it years ago when he was first diagnosed, but since then no he said no such thing. He worked a total of 15 yrs at this job, I'd think if he was a danger to others he'd have killed someone by now!

I'm 39 weeks pregnant (Due Sunday). We decided to leave our state in favor of getting help from family and friends. Which means we are living with my MIL. We are on state assistance and to have our cash benefit he has to participate in the job search. He's been putting it off though and has put us in danger of loosing our benefits twice already for not following through with the rules.

I keep telling him what he needs to do. He keeps avoiding. Today he went to his training session with the case worker and when he came home he was crying. This is a man I've only saw cry very rarely and never to this extent before. Yesterday he went out to put in an application but only got a little ways before he ran someone off the road. He said he was focused on what he'd tell them when they asked why he was fired and spaced out.

He's completely afraid of 1, letting me and his family down, 2, what to say to answer that all important question. IMO Gloria fired him because she's always been afraid of him. She's a total bitch and their personalities just clash. I believe she planned to fire him as soon as her husband (who always protected DH's job) died. She waited till the end of Dec when it would hurt us the most (xmas) and me being pregnant was just icing on the cake.

Dh has to go see a psychiatrist again, and I hope they don't give him the runaround. He had a great doctor before, but after loosing insurance he's been meds free for over a year. He was doing ok as far as moods until now. Stress has just put him in a tailspin.

I feel bad I can't do my part since I'm about to give birth. I feel I should really pick up the slack but can't because of the baby. I don't know how to support him through this. All I can do is hug and kiss him and reassure him we'll get past this. But I'm really afraid of whats going through his head that I know he'll never share with me.

Has anyone done a mental disability? Perhaps that is the best way to go for him, though to me it seems like avoiding rather than solving the problem. I really want to stay home and breastfeed the baby. But I know I'm going to have to find work sooner than I really want to. Which means I'll be working to try to support us and breastfeeding. I probably won't find a good enough job to get completely off of assistance. I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders and don't know what to do.

If you got through all that, bless you! Any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions are welcome.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 12:52 PM on May. 5, 2011 in Health

Answers (7)
  • Oh Mommy.. I am SO sorry... I have mental illness but not BiPolar so I can't fully understand or imagine what you must be going through. All I can say is I am SO sorry and wishing the best for you and your family and husband!!!

    Answer by maxsmom11807 at 1:04 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • Wow

    I'm sorry you guys are going through all of this. The best advice I have is for you to reassure him that you are there because you want to be; and that no you are not better off w/out him. Often times people in this tailspin think themselves too big a burden on their family and convince themselves that you'd all be better if you didn't have to take care of him etc...that is likely why he doesn't share everything w/ you; he doesn't want to burden you w/ his dark thoughts. He likely has a lot of guilt over this. You are doing all you can do at this time by being there for him; just keep supporting him and get him to that Dr.

    Good Luck & Best Wishes

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:09 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • I work a full time job and still qualify for a state-funded psychiatrist and meds. Please, please find out what's available in your area. There are some things I will never share with my family. It's not because I don't love them, it's because I do. Please don't take offense to what he does or doesn't share. It's hard sometimes to make people understand that you love them because they "are" not because the "do." Sounds like you've done a good job of letting him know you love him for him. Take care.

    Answer by swizzleday at 1:47 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • Yes I know he keeps things from me and thats fine. He does it to protect me and my feelings. But as anon said, I don't want him to start thinking I'm better off without him. He's gone to the local mental health clinic here in town. Not sure if he will see a doc today or what but hopefully he sees someone.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 1:50 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • Too long, maybe I'll read later after work.

    Answer by meooma at 3:06 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • I'm the anon poster from earlier. I only went anon because I'm speaking from experience of dealing w/ a friend and him confiding in my rather than his mother/GF so as not to 'burden' them and I don't wish to infringe on those conversations by 'outting' myself or him inadvertently.

    His issues are significantly more severe; but the underlying feelings of being overwhelmed of not wanting to impose on others etc is all essentially the same. Even though there is a rational part of his brain telling him he's being ridiculous the other part is too strong to ignore.

    I mean he met & married his wife after he was fully into knowing his diagnosis. She definitely *choose* to be there. So I remind him of that ... (often; lol) This isn't something he's doing 'to' her; rather this is something she wanted to be there for him thru etc...

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:53 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • Cont'd from ^

    OP I'd tell your husband that he either needs to confide in you; OR he needs to see a DR/therapist so he has someone to talk about those feelings; thoughts with. It's unhealthy (and IMO cruel to yourself) to be trapped alone w/ darker thoughts; or sadness; grief; etc that you can't share w/ someone anyone...

    If it's too hard in person see if he'd be willing to join a site like this - there are msg boards and groups for just about anything you can think of just need a google search or two...but he needs to 'get it out' and to also hear that he's not unique in this; there are other's w/ the same struggle; some have to fight still; but other's have already made vast improvements and are leading happy lives; and that he has the same opportunities...

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:56 PM on May. 5, 2011

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