Trying to understand what it means when someone is diagnosed as being bi-po

My husband of over a decade was diagnosed as being bi-polar last week. He's attending evening group therapy sessions and was put on Abilify. Kids and I have been living away from the house which puts all sorts of extra challenges out there. I joined this group to get a better understanding of what's ahead, what my expectations should be, what kind of time frame we are working with and what kind of optimism can I have regarding my marriage.

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lucky for him. I was diagnosed at age 50 and have had no network of support or groundswell of caring. I'll just keep on thinking the world is upside down and not me. I hope he has not picked up on your attitude. Why are you living away from the house. He he some sort of danger to you? When I asked my psych if I was dangerous his reply was "I don't know, are you?

Frankly I'm more afraid of you than your husband. It sounds as if you are looking for blessings to dump him.

Good luck to you all

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Wow! He is a danger and police have been called on more than one occassion. His therapist told me to get out of a toxic environment.

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It is very much easier to understand where you are coming from when we hear the whole story. Sorry, all you delivered was "escaping". I am the manic depressive while he is the alcoholic, narcissistic verbal sniper and frankly I feel he is more dangerous unless he keeps up his behavior.

Sincerely, high hopes of getting out of this mess.

carol

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My son in law is bipolar. Diagnosed 11months into their marriage (6 yrs ago), he is severly affected. He and my daughter have lived with us the past two yrs. another family member has lived with bipolar disease for decades. My brother in law is schitzophrenic. I've heard of people who have bipolar that are schitzophrenic affected as well. I've not seen violence in the bipolar men, but my BIL was very scary and also needed police intervention many times.
If I were in your place I'd encourage my husband to continue to seek medical help and find out if he's got more than bipolar to deal with. If you and the kids still care for him tell him so- often. I've observed a big difference in these men's responses to how they've been encouraged or rejected. Telling him you care but can't be with him now for all your sakes. It's very good to hear he's accepted medical care and even going to therapy! Some never get that far.
You and the kids need councilling just about as much as he does. Children need to know this an illness not something he can be blamed for.
If you believe in God then prayer is your best tool in dealing with all this. Whether or not you do, I will pray for all involved. No one has to be a victim; we CAN emerge as survivors.
Be pro-active, educate yourselves about this, and be safe.
Sincerely,
Sharon

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Well I feel sorry for the guy....being diagnosed bipolar and then his whole family dumping him....imagine the group thing isn't easy on him...probably a lot of bent up emotions in his head and a lot of buried stuff from his past....men are very good are burying things way deep down inside....till it turns to anger and it is beat into them to not share it or cry because by god you have balls and your a man.....think if you cared about your marriage, him, or your kids father you would ask him these questions and find out what is ticking in head....because sadly the next step is suicide....

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Dear Red,
Perhaps Cooljjay didn't read the part about your husband being a danger. Your husband sounds like he's trying and we can hope he learns enough about his illness to no longer be considered as such at some point. Hopefully it won't take too long. The fact that you are here trying to understand and help EVERYONE in your family affected by this horribly cruel disease, tells me you haven't dumped him. But for now the children's welfare must come first. I would imagine your husband feels the same way when he's able to see things more clearly. With medication to control the manic part I understand that life is often swings between milder depression and suicidal depression. There can be moments of happiness sprinkled through it, though. He needs a lot of encouragement with no condemnation for having an illness.
Hang in there,
Sincerely,
Sharon

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How well is the abilify working.... do you think it will work as well with out counseling.... I am losing my father to bi polar disease. I am desperate to help him....

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Dear Red,
How are things working out? I am a father, husband, and bipolar of some 20+ years. I would be glad to answer any questions you may have. I commend you on coming here for help, however you kind of walked into the lions den unawares. ;-) Seeing some one you love change so quickly... you must be at your wits end. My advice is what your husband (healthy) advice would be: focus on your children's best interest first, then do all you can to help your husband. Sometimes all the medicine and therapy fall short though and the only remedy is time. Stay strong and keep hope alive. Your support and hope means more to your whole family then you'd ever know.

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Sjg. How do you get someone help who thinks there's nothing wrong with him. I live far away. I fear for my mom.

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My husband has basically given up on the group therapy sessions. He goes sporatically, then leaves early or doesn't attend as often as he's expected to by the therapists running the program. He's had the cops called on him more than once and just doesn't believe he has an illness nor needs medical help. It's hard to try and help someone who refuses the help.
As far as the Abilify, he says he takes it but I haven't seen any changes and it's been six weeks or more.

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That's one of the hardest things; to actually accept this illness. You know something about you is different, not all of it bad, I think of hypomania i.e.. Step one is either disaster strikes or, and this I hope for your sake, a look over symptoms and/or reading about others with BP and feeling a kind of kinship.
The only way, though for someone to realize and accept a bipolar diagnosis is finding a medicine that works. Unfortunately, that takes time.
Btw, there is never anything wrong with a bp. ;-) We'll all tell you that. Keep trying medicines. One WILL work. And he'll know very quickly that it does. As will your mom.

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I love western medicine, treat everything with a drug....if it doesn't work, by god we will find five more to put you on that will work....

I do smell a WWIII coming on, maybe when we don't have these drugs to prescribe to people, then maybe we may realize that just because your kin is different a magic pill in a bottle won't make them normal.....because in reality, aren't we all just trying to be normal? Hoping that pill will make us normal? Because we have learned that in society being different is the worse disease known to man kind....

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That makes me wonder- how DO other cultures deal with bipolar disorder? Is anything out there we don't know about in north america that has been helpful?

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Living with bipolar person is very difficult thing. I lived with my husband for 18 years which his family hide this truth from me. When he had several attacks ı was shockd and did not know what to do.....

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My Dad went to see someone but he stopped after 2 visits and he was on medz 5 days. Now he thinks we lacking in fact or reason. And he's just having a run of bad luck. It's like you said, not all of it bad but the parts that are bad are really bad and really scary. Like he bought ice cream for all the people who came into the ice cream shop where he was one day. But then later that same night he and my mom were asked to leave the hotel at 2am because of his behavior. I don't even know how to survive around him. When I was little, I would hide under my bed. But, this Is worse. How can I help him see that he needs help? Can I bargain with him? Is there anything I can say?

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Hey Red, et al

Visit this site and anyone else who is interested: Stand Up for Mental Health. Just Google it and look at the U-tubes. This site is for people who are learning Stand Up comedy from a counselor with a mental health diagnosis himself! Anyway, the comedy is to fight the stigma of mental illness.

That's why lots of folks deny their mental problems: I denied I had G A D (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) for years for myriad reasons, but a big one was the STIGMA. It is just like back in the day when the last thing you wanted to do was admit you were gay or something. Similar feelings--different problems.

At any rate, it is a very hopeful and FUNNY site and will help you all AND your loved one.

@ Cooljay: Yes. It really is too bad that there is not more talk therapy available these days, but there is a great RECOVERY movement afoot in the mental health field that is soooo encourgaging and totally peer-driven. We're sick n tired of being sick n tired and we're doing something about it.

For caregivers and those with diagnosis as well:

Google: N A M I

Google: Peer Support Specialist also and investigate those hits. Here in Phoenix Metro, it requires a state certificate, then you can work to mentor another person with a mental health diagnosis and get paid for it !!!

The PEER Model is here to stay and gaining momentum every day. Check it out everyone and feel free to cut 'n paste this reply to any other threads you want to. Good to spread the word !!!

God Bless Us, EVERY ONE !!!

GwynnerWinner
In Mental Health Recovery
Triple Negative Breast CanSurvivor also !!!

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Dear Red, I'm so sorry to hear that your husband isn't sticking with his recovery program. Many people with bipolar have good outcomes if they stick with their program's. I was lucky and got the right meds first time and the cognitive behavioural techniques my psychotherapist taught me - combined with my 12 Step program to stay off alcohol and drugs - have resulted in me having a life I never thought possible during the 20 years I was misdiagnosed. In fact I only went back to a psychiatrist because of how badly my husband was suffering. His father had been a violent bipolar alcoholic and although I wasn't violent my mood swings did scare him. And me. Now I never get really really high or really low and suicidal. Nor do I find myself wanting to pick fights with strangers in the street. For four years now I have been normal. Quirky but normal.

So to answer your question I'd say each outcome is really individual. Bipolar marriages can work... But only if the bipolar person is motivated enough to stay on their program. And pretty much everyone needs meds for it because there's a biochemical imbalance that we're born with.

I'm so sorry for the situation with your husband and I hope for the best for. All of you, but especially you and the kids.

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Red, the best advice I can give you is to check out NAMI.org. Find a local group and GO to their meetings. Check out their family to family class 2 very informative and will give you a really good understanding of the illness, the meds and how to deal with various things that undoubtedly come up. My 25 year old son is Bipolar 1, has ADHD, and Tic disorder, diagnosed at 12. This summer we had our first psychotic break caused by severe manic episode. Meds are important in Bipolar - they must take them or they are dealing with fire. As a family member, encouraging adherence to meds even when they feel fine and don't think they need them any more is critical to managing this insidious disorder. Structure and routine is also extremely important. Ther are a number of books also on bipolar. Get your hands on som and educate yourself about Bipolar. I will pray for your family.

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