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Topic: Not coping with a bipolar 2 husband

9 posts, 0 answered
  1. Calli
    Calli avatar
    3 posts
    8 December 2017


    I'd appreciate any insight into the below.

    My husband and I have been together for 7 years. We've had quite a few medical issues during our relationship including each of us having major surgery (his meaning that he can no longer fully participate in the sport he loves and was very good at), me having life threatening blood clots twice, a miscarriage, me experiencing perinatal anxiety and then life threatening sepsis immediately after the birth of our child.

    It's felt as though it's just been one thing after the other and our relationship has suffered. We've been to marriage counselling to try to resurrect some fun and love into our marriage as I was carrying him through life (something he agreed with and he was a willing participant at marriage counselling).

    I felt that my husband was also depressed and encouraged him to seek help. Fast forward visits to our family doctor and two psychiatrists and he's been diagnosed with bipolar 2.

    Anyway, hubby doesn't fully agree with the diagnosis and thinks the diagnosis doesn't take into account some of the tough times we've had. As a result, he's slow making any follow up appointments, doesn't stick to any psychological or lifestyle treatments (e.g. doesn't stick a mood tracker, doesn't stick to mediation, doesn't stick to taking fish oil, eats inconsistently) and is very reluctant to take drugs to manage it.

    The result is that I just feel so angry and frustrated. We have a toddler and I don't feel as though I have a husband anymore - I have another child to manage and I'm not coping. He's a great father (he jokes that because he's the same mental age as our toddler), but 80% of household responsibilities sit with me.

    We've addressed it in counselling, but given I know he has lows I just don't know where to go from here and the counsellor didn't really factor his bipolar into our sessions.

    I really want us to have a happy marriage, but it pains me to say that sometimes my life is easier when I don't also have to do all the thinking for him too and worry about his moods.

    I don't know where to go from here. I'm not even sure how anyone can help! But any advice or insight would be much appreciated.


  2. quirkywords
    Community Champion
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    quirkywords avatar
    13093 posts
    9 December 2017 in reply to Calli

    Hi Calli,

    Welcome to the forum. Thanks for taking the big step in reaching out here .

    You and your husband have certainly been through a difficult time with major health surgery and health issues.

    Many couples could go through 30 years of marriage with out the stress these issues have had in your relationship in 7 years.

    Just one person in a relationship having major surgery would be a lot but for both you plus now a diagnosis of Bipolar 2 , it is so much for both of you to cope with. Has your husband has any manic episodes?

    No wonder you are angry and frustrated when you have coped with so much and still do.

    Is there anyone in your family who can help you.? How is your health now?

    Is it possible that when your husband is in a healthy mental state ,to explain to him about your needs and concerns. Just tell him how you feel about things from your perspective.

    I have bipolar and I know when people tried to talk to me about matters and wanting me to make decisions when I was depressed or manic, I would find it very frustrating.

    I can understand how difficult it is for you managing what feels like that you have two children and most of the household responsibilities. Is it possible to let the people around you know when you are going through an especially trying time.?

    Is it possible to learn to relax when you don't have to be on guard.

    Do you manage to get out by yourself and to exercise. You have to look after yourself and care for yourself.

    I tend to ask questions so I hope that's ok so its up to you whether you answer them.

    There are people reading this post who will be able to relate to you.

    There are other threads here that may help you as well.

    Thanks again for being honest about your story.


  3. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9424 posts
    9 December 2017 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Calli welcome

    I too would like to know the answers to Quirkys questions

    Eventually you'll break. You simply cant continue this workload.

    Often its only when the marriage falls apart do they realise they arent acting responsibility.

    Here are some relevant thteads I started that might help.

    Use google

    Topic: is there room for stubborness- beyondblue

    Topic: does stubborness have a place?- beyondblue

    Topic: who cares for the carer?- beyondblue

    Topic: medication is a whirlpool- beyondblue

    Finally, Like Quirky I too have bipolar2. Some character traits arent associated with our illness

    One example could be say...laziness. Another immaturity. Take that into consideration.

    Responsibility, laziness etc is not your responsibility and he should not rely on you so much.

    I hope you find the threads helpful. Just read the first post if each thread if you like.

    Tony WK

  4. Calli
    Calli avatar
    3 posts
    10 December 2017 in reply to quirkywords

    Thanks to you and white knight for responding - particularly as you both have bipolar and I'm really trying to understand what he's going through better.

    To me, the depressed episodes are much clearer than the manic episodes. Maybe because we're both so tired with a toddler and he's never done well when he's tired, so when he's manic, it seems to be that he's just functioning 'fully' whereas when he's having a low, it's like he's a ghost in the house.

    We don't have any family in Australia (which doesn't really help with getting a break from the toddler even though we have some great support from friends) and apart from our doctor, I've only told my best friend and I don't think he's told anyone at all.

    I'm in good physical health now, but sometimes the feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious can get a bit much (like on the day I wrote this post!).

    Hubby and I talk about our situation a lot (usually instigated by me though), although I'm not sure it's always on the best days. He's usually very receptive (or just tells me when he doesn't want to talk), but nothing really changes long-term so it feels like being a rat on a wheel.

    His psych wants us to both go in to discuss next steps which I'm really supportive of, but the appointment has been waiting to be made for 2 weeks and I can only remind him so much.

    I want to be supportive (and I've been trying to use CBT to help manage some my reactions to him), but to white knight's point, it'd be good to have some parameters and better understanding about his bipolar and how I can support him through the lows and how we can bounce back afterwards.

    He's pretty lonely and a bit lost now that he can't compete in his sport, so I've tried to suggest alternatives to get him out of that lull, but I can't do it for him.

    Anyway, I'm thinking that I'll start to keep a track of how I perceive his moods in case there's a chance of spotting a pattern - is it common/usual for there to be a pattern in moods with bipolar 2?

    Sorry for such a long reply.

    But thanks so much for the response - it's really helped!

  5. Calli
    Calli avatar
    3 posts
    10 December 2017 in reply to white knight

    Thank you so much for your response and advice.

    I'll definitely check out those links to get some more insight.

    I want to be supportive, but being honest I'm not really sure what that means and how to balance household and parental responsibilities with having bipolar.

    His pysch wants to have an appointment with both of us, so that's definitely one of the questions I have.

    Thanks again for your response - means a lot!

  6. Rustler
    Rustler avatar
    7 posts
    14 December 2017 in reply to Calli

    Hi Calli,

    I'm feeling for you. My partner has bipolar 2 and it is hard..really hard sometimes. The hurt you feel when they completely disconnect. The denial there is a problem. The sleeping/"laziness"/TV watching. The lack of participation. I also felt like I didn't want to keep "burdening" my friends with it. That I should be able to manage.... but the truth is you can't manage alone.

    Please see a post called bipolar partner where I asked similar questions to you.

    What I have learnt so far is this:

    There actions towards you aren't personal. It isn't a reflection of you as a person, it is their bipolar. This is easier said that done but if you can take a deep breath and remind yourself of this before you react to them then try to do so. It will help you diffuse things and put it in perspective.

    When they are really bad, try to take anything they say with a grain of salt. My partner at times doesn't even remember saying something that I've been ruminating over for days!

    Continue to do nice things for them even when you don't feel like it and are getting nothing back from them. Sometimes these little acts of intimacy seep in for them - even if only for a while. For us I give him a shave. I'm aware you are a bit time poor with a toddler and probably exhausted but maybe it's spending 5 minutes rubbing his neck before bed. Just some small connection.

    Understand that when they are down you cannot rely on them. It probably feels like it would be easier on your own as a single mum! It's essential you have some back up plans in place. Friends who can support you. A half day even of day care to give you some time to yourself. Don't be afraid to make plans without your husband. You need to keep up your social network and if you go out without him you will often feel more relaxed and rejuvinated too.

    Keep talking to him and let him know how his actions have made you feel but don't keep on about it. Having said that, I recently had a situation where I told my partner I felt I was watching a train wreck in slow motion and I wasn't going to watch anymore. He restarted his meds and finally booked the psych appointment.

    Finally, you can't fix him and you didn't cause this. Look after yourself however you can.

    Good Luck x

  7. Mumma4
    Mumma4 avatar
    10 posts
    26 December 2017 in reply to Calli

    Oh Calli I feel for you. I too have a husband who is currently being diagnosed with Bipolar - still in the process since May this year as he has needed to be taken off two other types of med's before he can be properly diagnosed and this is proving to be an incredibly long and frustrating process. I don't really have much advice for you as I have jumped on these forums to get some advice and support for myself! But I did want you to know you are not alone.

    I too am not coping with my husband at the moment, he's similair to Rustler's husband with his low currently involves lying in bed until 9-10am, then just sitting on the couch all day watching tv. If pushed he will interact with the children (we have three ranging from 19months-7 1/2years) but otherwise its like you say - having a ghost in the house. It absolutely breaks my heart and I am getting sick of the constant cycle of this and don't know how much longer I can cope. I too feel like it would be easier as a single parent rather than having to worry about him as well as the children. I want to be supportive but it triggers a lot of my own issues and add sleep deprivation and I'm not really much help to anyone!

    I try to go for a run but when I come back home the house is usually an absolute bomb site as the kids have just trashed it and he doesn't bother helping them clean it all up so it's like I get punished for getting some time out. My family tries to help but my mother works full time, and when she does look after my kids its while I work so I don't really get a break at all and it's starting to take it's toll, especially as it's only the beginning of the school holidays!

    We went away for a few days and he managed to crack a smile every now and then but I feel like it was such a waste of time and money. I'm finding I'm such a grump and not speaking nicely or coping with the kids - and to know that this will continue for the rest of his life I truly don't know if I can or want to go on.

    Big hugs and will keep checking in on this post for further advice

  8. Rustler
    Rustler avatar
    7 posts
    9 January 2018 in reply to Mumma4

    Hi Mumma4.

    Hugs to you. Don't give up. My partner went from being as you described above (for about 10 months) to back to "normal" in a day... and he's been pretty good for about 3-4 weeks now. It will get better. Just keep looking for good things to smile about and know what he's going through isn't a reflection of you.

    bipolar is with you/him for life and so there may come a time where you decide you can't do it anymore... just try to make that decision from a rational place rather than a reaction to a tough day (and I know there will be a lot of tough days).

    Thinking of you xx

  9. Racheeii
    Racheeii avatar
    3 posts
    3 April 2018 in reply to Calli

    Hi Calli, I too have a husband who has Bipolar, we have been together 15 years. I am also at a point of dispair as he refuses to take his medication, he says it makes him too dumbed down, I have tried several times to get him to take it but continues to say he doesn’t have a problem and doesn’t need it. What I really struggle with is when he blames me for our issues in our marriage and at times says some really horrible things to me and then has no recollection of saying it. I’m trying really hard to keep our marriage together, I love him dearly and will continue to support him but I also don’t want to be to over bearing.

    I also suffer from anxiety and depression plus to top it off I am going through early menopause, I’m 45, so as you can imagine things are a real struggle at the moment.

    I am after some tips on how to deal with things at the moment but I will continue to hang in there.

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