TheRealSharon's Blog











{July 18, 2011}   My husband has a silent disorder

It’s not easy being married to someone with a silent disorder, especially when you have one yourself. I’ve had depression for years and my husband is bipolar. This sometimes can make my depression escalate even worse and can be a real struggle. One of the hardest parts is finding people you can talk to about what you’re going through that will actually understand and not judge my husband. Some people just could honestly care less, some people believe that bipolar isn’t real or that it can never actually be helped. Then there are those who if you confide in them, they will be horrified at what you go through and want to help you out…as in OUT of your marriage. Therefore, a lot of times, the spouse of a bipolar person leads a secretive life, wanting to hide their spouse’s episodes from others fearing that their spouse and them will be judged harshly by others.

I know because for the past two years I have tried to quiet my husband’s manic stages in fear of what others will think…the general public not so much as my friends and family. And I shouldn’t have to either….I’m coming to realize that more and more. My close friends and family that do not get it should educate themselves so that they can understand.

My husband was diagnosed with Bipolar II as an adult. I found out about him being Bipolar shortly after I started talking to him and I admit, at first, the idea scared me. It scared me because of the image that you see on TV of this disorder. When I told my mom, she was kind of taken aback and worried and then considered the idea of it being passed on to our kids if we were to get married. To be honest, the idea of him being bipolar would have completely scared me off if it hadn’t been for working at a preschool the summer before where a kid WAS Bipolar. This kid had other problems too, but it really made me see that there was more to it than what television shows you. So I gave him a chance and I found him so accepting of my sometimes “extreme” depression because of his being bipolar. It really made me happy to see someone in my life that could completely get me and understand when I would get really down and depressed. He didn’t expect me to just “put on a happy face” or “grow up and get over it” because he too had down times occasionally.

When he’s in between phases, he is the man I first met and fell in love with and to me, that’s the true Chad. It’s the one that he would be at all times if things had turned out differently for him.

The “ups” or high times in his moods are the hardest for me. He can be either extremely happy and giddy which is good but has its disadvantages or he can be really irritable at the point of lashing out at the ones he loves the most. When he is really happy, he can tend to come up with these great ideas in his head that are usually not so great at all. He can suddenly want to try some get rich quick scheme or want to go to the store and buy a bunch of stuff. For these reasons, I am the one in charge of the money……which is strange for me because I hate math and I’m not so good at it but I’m forced into that role so we can afford the things we need every month. I despise the “up” times for these reasons because you can’t talk a bipolar person out of anything during this time….you just have to try to make them want to wait until later and hope they return to normal by then. If not, you have to say no and then irritability shows…..when he shows this side just to me, it hurts and I can’t lie. It can be really hard to stop at that time and tell myself, “It’s not him talking, it’s the bipolar. Remember the real man…the one when he’s normal.” I don’t win this battle often, I usually lose and I know it tears him apart when he calms down to see how much he has hurt me. Even more so because it’s beyond his control. If I tell someone of this, they usually don’t get it…..most people would react with saying, “He is a grown-up, he CAN control it. Don’t put up with it!” So how do you tell them that they are so wrong…he really can’t control it. Well…you really can’t. You can refer them to sites and books to get information but they are going to either come to the realization on their own or they will always believe just the way they choose to.

I remember the first time my husband showed his manic side around my family. I was embarrassed……embarrassed for him because I was afraid of what they were thinking. Afraid they wouldn’t understand. I have had looks from people that tell me they don’t completely understand. My whole family knows he is bipolar but I don’t think they ALL really get it. When he gets into a mood and wants to go NOW or do something right NOW, I see the stares that tell me they probably think he is acting childish and he could control it if he wants to. What they don’t realize is I leave those situations and I cry….I cry because I feel like my own friends and family don’t understand my husband. I cry because they aren’t able to look past it all and see the man I love underneath it all. I want so badly for him to show his real side 100% of the time to them and it’s just not possible.

He takes his medicine all the time but what people don’t realize is that it can takes months or years to get the medications and dosage right where the stages are further apart. And even then, there are triggers such as moving, stress,  and other BIG changes that can bring them on early.

When he gets into his “lows”, he will sleep A LOT and tell me he is depressed. He will not want to do anything that he usually loves. Although during those times, I don’t have to worry so much about hurtful things said to me…..it’s still hard because I love him so much and I hate to see him so sad. When I’m feeling depressed during the same time, it can be particularly hard because I have to fight my own depression in order to be there for him. To be the one who tells him “It’s going to be OK and I love you.” I have to be a sort of caregiver to my husband and sometimes it’s draining. I can feel so mentally exhausted that I just don’t feel like doing anything.

This is a hard post to write because I’m not sure how people will respond to this. I’m hoping writing this will be therapeutic for me, though. I feel like I am unburdening myself from something I have kept secret so long. I just want to take this weight off of my shoulders and drop it. I hope that people will learn to educate themselves about mental disorders more. People with mental disorders aren’t stupid and they are not psycho. It’s not their fault they were born with this. When a depressed or Bipolar person says I don’t feel well today…they may look perfectly fine to you physically, but inside they could be hurting worse than any physical ailment. Please remember this and try not to judge so harshly.

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Sharon, that is a great testimony. My idea is you need to blog about where others can get help for bipolar or how to deal with it. Or create a site. I just created http://thewritershelp.wordpress.com for helping others in their writing. Just go for it. Create another blog directed to just that.
Why you say?
I have had to deal with a manic depressive barber for 7 years! It was not easy. One day I told him off and took off and the next day he acted like nothing happened. He was an drinker on Lithium too. So when you drink you delete the medications. So say you and I share depression which is real too. If I drink it deletes my medication.
The up and down moods are in regular depression; I am moody in different weather conditions. Right now going through mid life crisis of finding who I really am and menopause. I have no friends but the other day my best friend from a boarding school contacted me on facebook and now we IM every day when we both don’t have migraines! I need to vent, to share, to get it out, for no one to judge me either…so Tracie does that for me. That is it. I have other issues and having JUST ONE friend is better than no one. Oh I could go on and on and on but you understand me. I feel for you and pray for you and hubby as you will be okay and everything is just as it’s suppose to be just remember the day you two got married on the down days. 🙂



I don’t think I would be able to give another blog or site the time it needs right now. Maybe at another point in time…thanks for the good wishes!



preachersdaughter69 says:

Sharon you have my complete sympathy and understanding. I told you before that my ex-boyfriend is bipolar. I only wish that I was as strong as you in being able to deal with it. I really do love him very much, but I just didn’t know how to deal with all of the ups and downs that he went through and that he put me through. Like you said, it’s really hard for people to understand sometimes. I admire you so much for following your heart and staying with the man that you love. I just wanted to let you know that and also that you’re in my prayers. Stay strong beautiful lady. 🙂



Thank you so much for that…I appreciate it so much! 🙂



Well, that’s quite a challenging situation. I’m not sure what you’ve seen on TV about bipolar people. The most famous character I can think of was Sally Field on ER. Her character was on and off the show over the years but I always thought Sally Field did a wonderful job at portraying a bipolar person struggling to have a normal life.

I think the most important part is to find adequate treatment by someone who really understands bipolar disorder. I would guess most doctors don’t, even when they say they do.

As for depression, it needs to be treated in several ways, not just medication. Counseling, exercise, lifestyle changes. I don’t think one thing works by itself and that’s why most people give up on treating their depression. They think they can just pop a pill and when it doesn’t work, they give up. Again a good doctor/counselor can be very helpful.

Hang in there and make sure you and your husband get the care you need and deserve. And you’re right about being responsible for the money, even if you don’t like it!



I never have watched ER actually…I just know there’s a lot of stereotypes about it and misinformation out there.
I agree with the treatment thing…my husband goes to a center that is for mental disorders and sees a psychiatrist that prescribes his medicine and he has appointments every few months to talk to him about it. Most general practitioners or doctors aren’t certified to diagnose and treat mental disorders. With the depression…the thing is I have never been “clinically diagnosed” with it. I told my regular doctor years ago things I was dealing with and she just put me on Prozac and said I was having depression…every time I have been taken off, it gets worse, so she puts me back on it. My husband has told me that I should talk to one of the doctors at the center he goes to to see about being clinically diagnosed where they could possibly offer me more advice and he’s probably right. I’ve never had counseling….but I feel like it would be a good road to take….if I could set up some free of charge or on a sliding scale……my husband has Medicaid but I don’t have any health insurance at all. I know there is more than just the medicine that treats it.
I’m hanging in here the best I can…..I recently read a book about loving a spouse with bipolar and learned a few things from it….for instance, the fact that I am stronger than I think I am…and that I am overprotective of my spouse.



There I go, dating myself again with references to ER! But seriously, Sally Field gave a face to bipolar disorder that was very human.

You should look into getting free services from your community clinic. Most clinics offer them or at low cost and it would be worth getting the right diagnosis and treatment. Or try to get on Medicaid if possible to benefit from the services. It’s worth looking into it, especially if you need to feel well to take care of your husband.



I have heard of ER, my mom used to watch it all the time…I remember George Clooney being on there….I just wasn’t ever interested in watching it at the time.
The clinic my hubby goes to will take you without insurance so I guess I will just have to make an appt. to talk to them soon.



eof737 says:

Thank you for sharing honestly Sharon, there is no shame or fear attached to being Bi Polar. It is becoming more and more an accepted term in mainstream society and many who suffer from it lead productive lives…. I know it must be really hard to try and explain it to people who don’t understand what it’s all about…
But you are doing the best you can and your devotion and love for your hubby and vise versa is where it counts. We are all here to support you.
This no longer a silent shameful illness… It is mainstream and affects millions of people who manage it with treatment and live their lives.
Thank you again for sharing your story… I’m proud to be your blog friend… 🙂
E



I AM seeing that….I just wish more people close to me would learn just a little more. When someone comments about my husband’s bad behavior that is part of a manic mood, it hurts me because I feel like when they judge him they are also judging me. After all….this is the man I fell in love with and chose to marry….do they doubt my reasons for marrying him?
Thanks so much for the nice words and support….it means ever so much. I never expected such a loving response to this post. I am just so happily shocked by it and it makes me feel so great knowing there are people who care.



Thanks for sharing this, I’m sure it wasn’t easy to write about. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have bipolar disorder, I have a friend who has it and I know it’s deeply affected her life. She can go from super giddy and cheery to irritable and anxious, and sometimes even suicidal. It can be hard sometimes to be out with her when she’s all overly-happy to then be out with her when she’s turned really angry or depressed, but I try and remind myself too that it’s the bipolar disorder and not her. It is tough though, as you never really know what to expect or what she’s really thinking. I’m sorry that it seems like some of the people in your life aren’t all that understanding of your husband, and that you don’t really have anyone to talk about it with. There are support groups on facebook where people will share their stories and talk about what they’re going through, as I saw my friend wrote some posts there, so maybe that would be worth a shot. You do a lot for your husband, and I’m sure he is very appreciative. I admire your strength for the times when you’ve been feeling depressed but you still find it in you to help your husband when he’s feeling depressed or down on a low. That takes a lot of willpower and devotion to your husband. He is a lucky man.



It wasn’t easy but it was good for me to get it out and the response I have had so far has been great!
Thanks for your words!



[…] to all those who read my post about my husband being bipolar and offered kind words of advice and support. I was really grateful of the response I received […]



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