Medical Questions > Mental Health > Bipolar Disorder Forum

Losing My Family As a Result of My Illness

Hi...I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder five years ago. I had my first psychotic episode in january of 1998. I had just given birth to my twin daughters. My husband was very supportive and helped out alot. As the years rolled on, I had two suicide attempts, severe manic episodes, and crippling depression--all resulting in numerous hospitalizations. I was unable to care for my daughters and I alienated my husband. In march of 2003, my husband and I separated. I see my daughters three days a week and cherish every moment with them. I tried to use my time during this separation to concentrate on myself and get through a devastating depression. I could not bear the guilt I had while being around my husband and daughters and not having any feelings for them. I was numb. Just as I was getting a grip, my husband suggested that we divorce. He has since been living with another woman and my children. I'm having a hard time letting go. I can't help but think that if I wasn't bipolar, I would still have my family.
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First Helper cae
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replied May 19th, 2004
Re: Losing My Family As a Result of My Illness
Of all the things I do not understand about my wife, the one thing that keeps coming to mind is: how much can I take? Do you really think we can go years and not know if you love us today? Will you love us tomorrow? Did you ever love us? My wife is diagnosed with depression because all she will tell her doc is about the low times and complain of stress. She has been exhibiting symptoms of bp disorder for only 7 or 8 months and I am just about done. If your spouse lasted 5 years he is a saint. Please give him some credit and praise. He has most likely been in love all by himself several times over that time, and I can tell you that is hurt beyond compare.
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replied June 28th, 2004
Dear 'cynbad',

my sympathy goes out to you.

I understand the emotions leading to medic 1's reply to your post, as my own family has recently been torn apart by my mother's bipolar disorder, but I don't feel that it is fair for him to direct his emotions towards you.

Whilst I feel hurt, traumatised and sometimes even angered by the manifestations of my mothers illness, I understand fully that she, at no time, bears the responsibilty of choice over them. ****this one factor stands as paramount.**** that doesn't mean that I am capable (or should have to feel guilty for not being capable) of subjecting myself (my own mental health) or other members of our family to 'the situation' though. Sometimes, after we give as much as we possibly can, it's only possible to detatch to some extent - in order to not fall completely apart ourselves.

I feel, from your post, that your husband supported you through your illness with as much love and as much consideration, for as long a time as he possibly could. Perhaps it was this very love, consideration and time that played a significant role in your abilty to start to 'get a grip' and recover. Sadly, you have to come to terms with the fact that during this process his own resources must have become depleated to a point whereby he needed to restructure his own life, separately.

Although you must feel deeply, deeply sad at losing the relationship that you had with him, especially bearing in mind your lack of choice regarding the illness that contributed to this separation, please try to hang on to the fact that you do still have a family that loves you.

In the same way that your husband has begun the process of restructuring, you have to recognise that, rather than mearly being a woman who has lost a great deal, you are a woman who has *come through* a great deal, and that this is the platform from which you have the seeds to develope your life, from this point onwards. It won't be the same life as before, but it is your life and your daughters' life.

Do not blame yourself for a situation that you were powerless in, but also, do not deny that the implications of this situation were choicelessly life changing. Try to feel positive about the future that you have yet to create and discover - turn any guilt you have regarding your children into conscious motivation towards being the best (most contented) person/mother/role model that you can be from this point onwards. The love of your children is most precious and so obviously given because they must now feel safe in the knowledge that their mommy loves them. What better building blocks...?

Keep on looking forward and remember that you have *made it* through.

Much love,

jessica
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replied September 14th, 2004
Medic 1 Is a !**@! Retard
Loneliness is lying awake in bed at 4 in the morning, after a sleepless night, wondering if anybody will cry when they're told you're dead. Loneliness is lying awake in bed at 4 in the morning, after a sleepless night, thinking you'd rather just be burried, no funeral, priest, ceromony, family or friends, because you'd rather be commited to death as you lived in life. Loneliness is lying awake in bed at 4 in the morning, after a sleepless night, pondering what you should leave in your suicide note, or if you should even leave a note because there won't be anybody that cares enough to read it. Loneliness is lying awake at 4 in the morning, after a sleepless night, realizing your family loves you, and you love them so much you want to distance yourself so they can't be destroyed by the shadow that haunts you, and pains every breath you take. Loneliness is lying awake at 4 in the morning, after a sleepless night, considering the fact that people say they love you, but when they find out you have a devastating disease, and they too realize that it's vicious and has no answers, decide to fall away from your side, and abandon you to die. I hope you hug your wife, kiss her, realize she can't win the battle on her own, come to grips with the fact the pain you'll feel is a fraction of her own, and resolve to help her survive. I also hope you get mugged, and somebody kicks the living sh_t out of you for writing what you did.
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replied September 14th, 2004
Cynbad36...you're a Soldier
I know what it's like to lose family members because of being bipolar, and I can't tell you it's ok, because I know what it feels like. It knocks the wind out of you...And I don't need to tell you what it's like. So I guess what i'm trying to say is, you're not alone in your pain, and realize you're loved by all those who have gone through, and go through what you're enduring. You're a soldier, and just keep marching until you win the war. You won't win every battle, but if you win enough, that's exactly what you'll do.
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replied September 19th, 2004
Re: Medic 1 Is a F***ing Retard
Amen....... Xo
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replied September 29th, 2004
Re: Medic 1 Is a F***ing Retard
There is nothing wrong with what medic 1 said. It is the other side of the coin.

My mother has bipolar disorder. We watched the ups and downs for many many years before she got the treatment she finally needed. And, as it will always be, it is still a roller coaster ride that is hurling at times.

I wonder sometimes how my dad can do it. But, he comes from the era when divorce wasn't such an option. You stick it out no matter what. I respect him for that. And, I hope one day mom will appreciate it.

The behavior that one exhibits with this disorder tears a lot of familys apart. Expecially when not properly diagnosed and treated.

Don't blame the messenger for telling the truth.
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replied October 3rd, 2004
Experienced User
Re: Medic1 Is a F***ing Retard
I completely agree!

And in response to " don't shoot the messenger for the truth", this "truth" is one person's reality not actual reality. And truth should never be used as a sledge hammer on an innocent by-stander's head!

Medic1 needs to go to some anger management courses so he will stop lashing out at complete strangers.

Mia
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replied October 3rd, 2004
Experienced User
I dont usually come in here, but I seen the topic name and felt an urge. My heart goes out to you. I am 16 years old, and my mother is bipolar (and does not take any medicine for it). I wish that she could open her eyes and see what she is missing out on. We dont live together, and I have a son who's life she is also missing out on. My heart goes out to you.

Having this doesn't mean it wouldnt have happened anyway.

Stacie
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replied November 4th, 2004
I Feel For Everyone
My mother in law cant hardly handle the grandkids coming around. We can never drop the kids off and go out cuz grandma cant handle them alone. And my wife is getting unbearable. And I understand how some would feel like the need to leave. I have dealt with my wife three years and I tell myself its not her fault, and go one loving her,but the constant outbreaks, name calling accusations,destruction for no reason really wears a person down.
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replied November 5th, 2004
Wow What About the Family?
Being a wife a a bipolar husband I can relate to the questions medic is asking here....Love, just when, and how can bipolar affected people just turn it off and on like that???And for those of us who do not have a mental illness just how do we comprehend this???? I understand it is a illness and feel for you but I also believe you are in charge of your illness and if you can not be find someone you trust and then when they say you are in need for different treatment or hospitalization, or change of meds believe them....Because there are times when my goodness you bipolar people think you are god himself! I am sorry if this seems a bit hard....But I believe family members of the bipolar person suffers just as much if not more then the member of the family who is bipolar! We care and can not turn if off.....Sometimes I wish I could!
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replied November 7th, 2004
Loosing Your Family...never!
You can never loose your family.
You love them and that never goes away.
Not even death can seperate you from the love you share with you daughters.

I otto know....
My father died when I was 11. I still feel his love and support today.

I was diagnosised as bipolar ii in 2003. I struggled for 30 years and I would have to say that like you my husband had a grounding effect on me. My disorder got worse as I aged and I up and left my family (and were the baffeled!). My daughters (ages 24 and 1Cool are still angry and do not want to hear about bipolar or depression. But I still love them. I will always be their mommy.

Perhaps you are going to be better off than I am. Your daughters are young and they are seeing their mommy get help to be healthy. The twins mommy focus all her attention on them when she is with them. Wow keep up the great work as a loving mommy.

I know there are days that just the mention of my daughters has me full of sorrow and tearful. Not living with my daughters feels like a lump of clay is lodged under my ribs, it hurts bad! When will the hurt leave? I don't know. But I distract myself, or tap dance in my kitchen, and get on with the life I live now.

Have you joined a dbt or cbt therapy group? Do you have a support team of at least 5 people that will listen to the tears and applaude you when you jump over another hurdle with this disorder? I pray that you will get to speaking with people who are in your situation. It really helps.
One of my support team members has estranged children that they has not seen or talked to in years so those days I want to cry they have just the right words to say to me....Sniff, sniff....

I can support you in prayer. If there is anything else I can do let me know. I am so glad that you had to courage to start on the road to healthy living. Bipolar illness is treatable.

Your children can never be seperated from you! Ever! Your love keeps them connected to you.

Ruby
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replied November 7th, 2004
Respond to Ruby
Ruby: when you up and left your family did you know you did the wrong thing or in your eyes was it the right thing? And if you don't mind me asking why did you up and leave? My husband left many times but when he returns he does not answer questions that I need answers for. I know that not all bipolar people are the same however what they do is. Maybe you could help me out here....Thanks she who wonders
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replied November 8th, 2004
Leaving My Family
No I do not mind answering questions.

I left 6 times and the 6th time I left for good.

I was in a manic state when I left and I wanted to get away from the craziness. I took it with me however.

Looking at the big picture, if I had not moved away from my family I would not have gotten the professional help I needed. After 14 years of asking... Not one of my friends or family could see what to do to help.

After the mania, which I did not understand, it took three years and two insightful friends in my new community to get me the help I needed.

How long has your husband been on medication?

Ruby
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replied November 9th, 2004
Ruby: thanks for answering me and I wish you the best! My husband has been on meds for 25 years.....His father was bipolar also and was diag. The same time my husband was...It took him fifty years to find out thank god for modern med. Sometimes I feel just so frustrated I just don't know what to do to help him when he does not and will not even talk to me....She who wonders
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replied November 9th, 2004
Husband Does Not Communicate
Okay she who wonders,

just an idea, when my husband did not talk to me, and that was often, I did this....

Every time I passed him I stroked him, on the shoulder, his cheek, you get the idea. Communication is not always verbal.

I got less frustrated with my 'non-speaking husband' after reading the book, love languages for married couples. (can't remember the author)

i am an extrovert who likes to talk and my husband is an introvert who kept most everything inside.

The language you want to speak is love. There is many ways to express love....
Physical

giving of gifts

words of affirmation

acts of service

quality time spent together

so sometimes just trying another mode of communication is more helpful than going to a therapist....

Let me know if you have any more questions...Ruby
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replied November 9th, 2004
Ruby, I know all that but thanks, my husband leaves does not call I don't see him and have not for months. He started adjusting his meds going down on his pills in no time was hypo manic when he gets like this he wants out. He is self medicating now going up and down on his pills and is by far normal. He gets angry, and runs from the people who love him the most. He does not want anything to do with me or his children, when confronted with anything he is doing that is not exceptible behavior, (which is most of his behavior at this point) he laughs and says we are the ones who need help he has never had such a clear mind. He does not come back until depressed and then when he does come back is on his way into the hosp. And remorsefull for all he has done. I know that stress trigers his moods and in may this house was very stressfull...My sister died, his father died, our children and grandchild moved away alot of change for him, alot for me. I did not keep a close watch on him at this time, however I am his wife not his mother and at his age he can or should be able to watch himself! Sometimes I wonder is it worth it? I thank you for writing back so soon take care ...... She who wonders
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replied November 14th, 2004
Losing My Family As a Result of My Illness
Dear cinbad36,

i really feel for you and I don't have any children because I am scared of losing them one day due to being bipolar. You are not alone. All the best to you.

Gina1975
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