Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Good News

I haven't posted in awhile (is that the most common phrase to start a blog or what?). I'm glad to say it is because things are going very well. We are going through Julie Fast's book, Loving Someone With Bipolar and are in the process of developing Health Cards. We have about 1 day a week that works out to really work hard on this so it is slow and we both have to be in the right state of mind to work on it. Even though we don't have one totally completed, he has opened up about what he is going through more and we have managed a couple of mood swings together because of the tips we have read.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Seriously, Am I?

I've been going just a little crazy the last few weeks. The more I read books on bipolar, the more I think it is not just him, but also me that suffers from this disorder. Here is why I think I have it:
  • manic spending sprees (they start small and continue to escalate as I come up with things I need to get---usually supplies for trying something new)
  • irritable constantly (Sometimes I can't sit at the table with my family because I hate the way my son breathes when he eats)
  • writes letters in my head to people I'm mad at (found myself dazed and focused on this for 20 minutes)
  • negative and pessismistic most of the time
  • swing from mood to mood (around certain people, I am usually chipper, others not so much)
  • can be so up I dance and do stupid stuff in front of people
  • talk non-stop at times (Will be the center of attention)
  • overstimulated easily
  • cannot tolerate being around lots of little kids running around or loud kids in a car
  • can't make lunch and have a conversation at the same time without having some major anxiety
  • will delve into projects and lose the day working on them...but as soon as I master, I move onto something else (after money is spent)
  • think my kids and husband would have a better shot at life if I left
  • focused on one individual and how she has hurt me (even though my brain knows it's not intentional)
  • past times of panic attacks (didn't realize at the time that is what it is called)
  • not able to verbalize how I need help, just know that I do and frustrated that nobody is helping
  • feel like i just need people to do things for me because I can't do it myself (find me a doctor, make me a list, etc.)
  • angry when I'm not met with love and support when I step out on a limb with an idea or thought (usually met with opposition either by my mom or husband)
  • did I mention, negative? I think I always know what's best and that I could do it better.
  • Cry daily
  • Want to tune out what is doing on around me and ignore my daily schedule needs (okay, I know I'm depressed right?)

I was on Prozac for about a year once (it took a friend of mine seeing me in total disarray and unable to help myself for me to be convinced I needed it). I know my hormones are out of whack...but I have been dieting and excercising for about a month and no change in symptoms.

I wonder how much of this is in reaction to living with my bipolar husband and how much of it may be who I am with or without him. We did personality type testing with our counselor a few years back and the results came back nearly identical. The counselor said he'd never seen to people so much alike. This was before the bipolar diagnosis which explained so much more.

Anyway, I feel like a dope today. NO ONE would believe me if I told them any of this. My husband would think that I'm just trying to justify my actions or take the attention from him. My parents would definitely not believe me and chauk it up to "stress." I'm hoping that is what it is. Afterall, I've gone through these symptoms off and on throughout my life....it's just that now I've been experiencing all of them at the same time for about 2 months now...especially in the last 3 weeks. Something needs to change. I can't go on like this.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Follow Me on Twitter

I am now on twitter. Follow me and I'll follow you! My Twitter Name: BipolarBites

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Excercise 1: Bipolar Disorder and Your Relationship

Taken from Julie Fast's book, Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder. Excercise 1: Answer the following questions in your journal. 1. How has bipolar disorder affected my relationship as a whole? Bipolar disorder has caused me to not trust my husband when he is in hypomania or neutral mood for fear of his actions when he hits depression or anger/irritability. Bipolar disorder has caused us to enter a cycle:
  • Climactic Episode (Him)
  • Reconciliation (Both)
  • Open Communication (Both)
  • Desire to make an effort (Both)
  • Depression (Him)
  • Resentment & Hopelessness (Her)
  • Makes an Effort (Him)
  • Pandora's Box-Releases bottled hurt (Her)
  • Anger & Depression (Him)
  • Depression (Her)
  • Depression & Irritability (Him)
  • Makes an Effort (Her)
  • Climactic Episode (Him)

2. How has it affected me as a person?

I have become insecure because I cannot rely on support from him and feel like I have no one who appreciates me or helps me get through my own tough times.

I worry about his mood and focus on trying to keep peace.

I am resentful and bitter because the reality that life is not what I had hoped it would be.

I am distant and cope by isolating myself from him and the kids (when he is around) in order to just get through the day without confrontation or disappointment.

I have distanced myself from God.

I am afraid to get too attached to any new ideas or activities because of his changing moods towards things.

3. What is the hardest thing I face daily regarding this illness?

When he arrives home from work depressed and knowing the evening will be spent in silence. Wondering if I should talk to him or if he's going to get mad if I ask him the wrong question or if he is just going to reject me by being distant.

4. What do I want to see change right now?

I would like him to make an effort to bring up his thoughts and begin making a plan to deal better with bipolar instead of me pushing him to do it.

5. What do I need in my own life to find happiness?

I need him to communicate with me daily about what he is dealing with even if it is a good day and even if it is a bad day.

When he is feeling good, I need his support with the daily functions of the house and kids.

6. If things stay as they are, where do I see my relationship in the future?

One of us leaving for good and the kids resenting him and becoming very angry as they reach teenager years.

What I am willing to do:

1. I am willing to learn new techniques to help him get well.

2. I understand that bipolar is an illness and I am willing to work with him instead of blaming him.

3. I agree that I need to makes some lifestyle changes in my own lifestyle to help him stay stable (exercise, journaling, routines, social obligations)

4. I am willing to try the techniques in this book for 6 months and if things are not working or he is not ready, I will reevaluate...but I will give it 6 months (until our Anniversary on August 9)

5. I agree to examine my own behavior in regards to the effect I have on his bipolar symptoms.

6. I understand he is ill and not sick on purpose. I will remind myself of this when I am frustrated with his progress.

What I desire us to do together:

1. Work on bipolar disorder together---as a team.

2. Use the techniques in this book even if they don't work immediately.

3. Agree that big changes will take time.

4. Agree to love each other and strive for our relationship to be healthy and whole.

5. Agree that we can't continue as we are if we want our relationship to survive.

6. Figure out how we can help our kids and communicate with them together.


Today was a good day overall. I spent about an hour with him this morning before I went to church. He chose to stay home. He was very tired this morning even though he went to bed on time and slept quite a bit later than normal. I think he is coming back down from hypomania yesterday. He seems to be leaning toward the depressive side again. I can see it developing in his eyes as usual. I made a big effort today to remain positive and not bring up anything that would cause him anxiety or negativity. We both started doing the "Love Dare" from the movie "Fireproof." I did today's task and bought him something to let him know I was thinking about him. I was disappointed that he didn't do the dare. I'm not so sure I like this book because I will be expecting him to do the tasks and I'll be disappointed when he doesn't and feel more unloved than if I hadn't known. I taught a class all afternoon and he sat at home and read a book and did some picking up around the house. When I got home he wanted to go to the city to get an antenna (stupid digital conversion) and eat supper there. The trip went well although I probably had more anxiety than him throughout the evening. I was just so tense and trying really hard to remain positive. It seemed the more joyous I was, the less he would communicate with me. He is happy to just sit and stare into space. This makes me irritable and want to leave because it is boring and pointless. But I put on a happy face and tried real hard not to complain that our waitress was REALLY slow. Who has bipolar? I read my bipolar books on the way home and it just sent me into a bad place. I am really taking the reality of this disorder hard. When will I stop mourning the death of what I have always hoped for in our relationship? I feel like I have so many needs and it just hurts to look forward into the selfless caretaking life I will have to lead to go through this with my husband. Then frustration set in because here I am pouring my life into figuring out what to do to help him and he is doing nothing other than trying different meds to help himself. The last time he left, the first few days there was a lot of communication and then right back to silence and coping. No plan was ever put in place. Meds were changed, but nothing was done by him to learn how to deal. So here we are again. Cycling. The first day after the climax a lot of communication. Today, none. He says he's willing to talk about whatever I want. BUT I DON'T WANT TO BE THE ONE MAKING HIM DO THINGS. WHY DOESN'T HE WANT TO DO SOME THINGS FOR HIMSELF??????????? I mean, I am ready to move just to have a support/mentor to get him better or functioning or something. So we return from the city and within 10 minutes I find him in bed, not a word that he is going to bed (which I have asked him to please at least let me know if you are going to bed). Tomorrow starts the work week and time will be limited for talking and making a plan. I am so frustrated. My thought pattern turned to writing him a letter telling him I'm just not able to support him like he needs and making plans to move out. I sit here and cry and cry and cry. Sometimes I think it will take him losing everything to take this more seriously and communicate with me. He needs me to be patient. I'm just having a hard time handling all of this and I don't know if I can stick with someone who won't help himself (other than just meds). I feel like I'm married to someone 20-30 years older than me. There is so much I want to do and I feel so held back. Again, I'm having a REALLY hard time coming to terms with the loss that comes with accepting bipolar disorder. Going to bed at 9pm every night? Tucking the kids in by myself every night? Throwing away all spontaniety in order to stick to a schedule? Never traveling because of his insecurities? Never being able to voice my own struggles because it will cause him anxiety? And on and on and on. To say I am mourning the loss of my husband would be an understatement. It's as if he has died and someone that looks like him moved in and I have no choice but to live with him even though he's not who I chose to marry. About once a month he resembles the man I married....but only for about 1 hour. So here I am being selfish, impatient, and hopeless. I know I am so vulnerable to having an emotional affair. I wish for it sometimes, but thankfully God has protected me from that temptation. I probably sound like a big baby to most of you out there. If you are living with someone that has bipolar, I guess you understand. If you're the one with bipolar, maybe you can read this and realize how much the person who loves you is probably hurting and just wanting you to talk to them.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

An Episode

Things kept progressing in a downward spiral from my last entry. When he returned from work the next day, I made an idiotic comment about not being appreciative to me when I make supper but him giving his mom (who lives with us) a "thank you that was really good" comment everytime she cooks. What was I thinking????? I get so needy sometimes and it is always at the wrong time. Well, one thing led to another and next thing I know he's packing all of his clothes into 3 suitcases and leaving me and the kids "for good" again. He left fairly calmly, but due to the days leading up I should have known this was an act of bipolar disorder no matter how calm he appeared. I don't feel like reliving what happened so I'm not going to go into details. He ended up staying in a motel and his mother moved out the same night. He forgot to take his meds with him (he really did forget rather then leaving them intentionally). The next day I called him to see if he was okay and he was not doing well at all. He said he would come back when he was fixed or dead and was having a major struggle with suicidal thoughts. He was at work but had a doctor appt at the end of the day. I did some fanagling and got the doctor to call him in for an earlier appointment. He took the bait and they gave me Xanax to calm him down. He came home and it totally mellowed him out. I spent about 10 minutes with him before he went to bed. He said he was still a little mad at me, but not much. He got up and went to work for the day. I talked to him a few times on the phone and he was in a good mood. That night was a "normal" evening. He was chatty about the last days' events and ready to talk about what happened. He talked with his mom and chose to forgive her for leaving. Today was a good mood day, but we were also able to purchase a lot of items we have needed and didn't have money for. We got our tax return yesterday and we got caught up. He is making wise decision and not just blowing it. I found Julie Fast's website, bipolarhappens and did a lot of reading. I signed up for her newsletter and today I bought some of her books. We went on a valentine's day date and I did some reading to him from the books to see if the statements in the book were true. I think it meant alot to him that I AM trying to understand what he goes through and he verified many things that I read were true for him. The books are bringing me hope to deal with this disorder better. Another great thing, a guy from our church who was healed from bipolar gave him a call the day after the episode and spoke with him for awhile. This meant alot to him and helped him get through this quicker. If you have a relationship with someone who has bipolar, you are invaluable to helping them get well. I know my husband has pushed away as many people as possible, but a few hang on and they are a real blessing.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Another Woman's Anger

I found this on "Living With the Dragon." I thought, "Why reword what has been so perfectly written as if it were my own words and feelings?" Thank you Kristall for so honestly posting your thoughts. I sat here and cried as I related to every word. EXPRESSING ANGER Let me start out by saying that I have many, MANY issues with anger. I have a hard time expressing it or even admitting that I'm angery most of the time, especialy when my BRAIN tells me I should be more understanding. I have anger, no RAGE at this disease and I find myself holding this anger in. I try to read too much about BP and rationalize my husbands behavior as "not him" but BP. In theory, this sounds good, but in life, it eats me up inside. I HATE when he is suicidal. The fear I have of finding him dead causes me to swallow the real feeling I have about it, RAGE! The fact that he would think of ending his life without even thinking of how I, or his family, or my son would feel. I hate the fact that he gets so selfish when he is very depressed, he closes his eyes to everyone, especialy me. I hate, when he gets so manic, he's psychotic. I hate being afraid of his anger and him not seeing how out of touch he is. I hate when he gives up fighting this disease. When he accepts the fact he will always be misserable and doesn't tell the docs or anyone how bad he feels. He takes it out on those who love him, by being mean and spitefull. It wears me down when he is like this. I resent him for it, but I find it hard to tell him. I HATE when he decides to stop takeing his medicine. There is no reason good enough to excuse this, no matter what they cost or how good he feels. It makes me feel like he is hurting me on purpose, and destroying all the progress he has made against his illness. I HATE when he blames me for his mood, I have no control over how he feels, none at all and have enough issues dealing with this as it is, let alone wen he TELLS he it's my fault. I do HATE this disease, I wish I could tear it from his mind and stomp it, stab it, and rip it to pieces so it would never hurt me or him again. I hate the fact that it's so hard to treat. There are so many medications that just don't work for him, and so many combinations of meds, I'm wondering if they will ever find the right ones. I also hate being the saint, the one who is supposed to be so strong and understanding that I can not hurt, or be emotionaly unavailable to him. I am not perfect, I never claimed to be and I shure don't want to start now, I have a hard enough time trying to pretend I am. I'm shure I'm not the only one who feels this way (at least I hope so). If any of you need to vent, email me and we'll have a Bipolar Hateing Party, ( the diesease, not the people!) lol. Good Luck in your hate of the Dragon, don't let it eat you alive!