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Re: Advice and support - husband just been diagnosed with Bipolar 1

Thank you so much.  Just feel incredibly sad.

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Re: Advice and support - husband just been diagnosed with Bipolar 1

Hi @Cloud9 , 

 

Being so far away from him while he was in hospital would have been an awful experience for you both, and the lack of communication from the staff is really disgusting in my opinion.  I work as an advocate in that area and see it a lot, and it's not acceptable.  

 

My partner has Schizophrenia and was discharged a couple of weeks ago from his latest stay during which his medication was altered and if things keep going the way they are he'll be back in there soon.  Happily this admission was smoother than previous ones - this time I wasn't a government agent trying to enact nasty things ( had to subsititute the word I had there! ) to him and managed to see him every day.  I've had many conversations where he begs me to knock off work early to visit only to get there and have abuse hurled at me because he's been "told" I'm cheating on him and bribed the doctors to keep him locked up so I can carry on my affair or other such sagas.  Then after I've bawled my eyes out in the car park and driven home, he calls to tell me he's sorry and he loves me.

 

I have Bipolar 1 and after 20 odd years of suicide attempts and treatment for depression I was diagnosed about 7 years ago though we can retrospectively track sypmtoms and episodes from my late teens. I loved my manic episodes because I go so much stuff done, but the inability to control my actions sometimes was problematic especially the really rash decisions.  After working 2 or 3 jobs my whole life and the final breakdown after 4 years managing an organisation I fell into mental health work during my recovery.  

 

I have some rather strong opinions on some things so apologies in advance if I offend anyone especially doctors who are respectful, polite, communicative andconsumer centred in their treatment of people but a few thoughts:

  • Psychiatric inpatient facilities tend to be for management of acute episodes, full of doctors and nurses and therefore very medical rather than educational.   Doctors are also terrible at communicating with families and they also consider their medical plan to be the only plan you need.  Best practise however suggests a more holistic view of the management of mental illess is more useful in preventing hospital stays.
  • Lying during mania is very common yes.  It starts with just one, then another to hide the lie followed by a handful more and before you know it the truth is a long forgotten memory and therefore rewritten.  I'm a very truthful sort of person but lying suddenly becomes really easy in a manic episode.  I'm grateful though that I've been really tame compared to some.
  • Employment is good, but stress is not a friend of bipolar so he definitely needs to consider a different job especially in the early stages.
  • Medication takes weeks to work effectively and most people have changes made to it.  Once the right medication and dose is on board it does get better.  Sleep, rest and diet are equally important.  A few sleepless nights and skipped meals can cause a slide.

And some suggestions for the future:

  • Find and complete a management/recovery plan that suits the two of you, then give it to everyone involved in his care.  A good recovery plan includes a crisis management plan where he gets to document his needs and wants whilst he is still well, and you can shove it under his nose when he's unwell and tries to deviate from it.  Other stuff includes triggers, safe people to talk to, calming things and observations of things he, you and anyone who's willing to contribute notice as he starts to become unwell.  This should be a fluid document and change as you learn more.
  • Research your state's Mental Health Act and the rights and responsibilites as a mental health consumer.  
  • Look up the Carers Recognition Act - you have rights as a carer and they will try to say you don't.  See if there's a carers charter in your state too.
  • Try separating your husband the person from the illness.  Draw 2 people on some paper, one is your husband and the other is bipolar.  Write all the things that attracted you to your husband on one and then on the other what is caused by the illness.  It helps heaps to have that up in sight when things get tough.  I have the one I did of my boyfriend taped to the sides of my monitor today to remind me he's not a foul mouthed, sexist jerk but a sweet, respectful love of my life.
  • Find a therapist for yourself to help you sort through your feelings about everything that happened.  You may end up deciding you can't continue but the memory of it could potentially chip at you and also impact any future relationships.  

I'm obviously making the most of being able to "talk" uninterupted right now; not something I've been able to do much today ;-)  Good luck and look after yourself - carers are notorious for neglecting themselves.  

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Re: Advice and support - husband just been diagnosed with Bipolar 1

Hi Cloud.

Your story is almost identical to mine. Married 19yrs was diagnosed a fee months ago and literally same behavior. One min im the worse wife,controlling, wanted to leave me then next min crying apolgising couldnt live without me. I had been dealing with this for a year and all sorts of things crossed my mind. He started drinking heavily and had never touched alcohol before, and did some drugs because he didnt know how to deal with it. Im finding it so hard to trust him, its confusing to know whn its bipolar or if hes back on anything. Hes on medicatiom and although hes been getting better some days when he hides away all day in the room all sorts of what ifs go through my mind. Hardest time of my life

 Before this he was a freakn great husband and father. I have days where im adamant in going to leave then i see bit of old him and i cant. I mourn him like he has died at time. So i feel you to the core. I pray both our hubbies come back to us ♡

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