"We're not broken, just bent. We can learn to love again."
My WS is not (yet) diagnosed, but I think bipolar played a role in his A and our S/D. His brother and father both have it. His sister had issues with self harm. His mother is paranoid and has multiple personalities. All of them have been diagnosed and in treatment (or refusing it) since I met him.
He was more or less "normal" when I met him, but over the years developed OCD and went through major ups and downs. We had one really bad spell around 2007 and I tried to get him to get help. He wouldn't go. Instead he'd ignore his work and go to the gym for hours. When he did have to work to help us pay the bills, he would blame me for making him work too hard to support an extravagant lifestyle (which it wasn't). Right before the A, he started having trouble at his new job for the first time, had started drinking (he didn't consider it a lot-- a few glasses of whiskey at night-- but my gut told me something was off about it), and started doing weird things like talking/yelling to himself when I wasn't around (I'd walk in on it).
By and large, when he was with me, I seem to have kept him accountable and "stable." He wouldn't lash out. He was never anything but a kind and gentle man. But as his behavior began to change in the months leading up to, and including, the A... he was a little bit curt and dismissive. Didn't engage in any of our shared hobbies or interests anymore. Occasionally even said a few things that, in retrospect, may have been intended as insults (e.g., saying something about me leaving the house without makeup on).
Anyway, he was completely unglued DDay and after. I never knew day to day if he'd be remorseful and crying that pulling himself "out of this dark hole I'm in" was only possible if I were there to "save" him-- or whether he'd be angry and start emotionally abusing me. He went into IC for the first time since I met him. He told me he was afraid he was unraveling like his parents. But the IC seems to have just focused on helping him not feel guilty about his A.
Once he started getting verbally aggressive and using ILYB language, I was out of there.
I contacted his other brother (a therapist) and asked him to please keep an eye on him. I half expected in the weeks after I left to get a call that he had checked himself into a facility. It was that bad.
But he seems to be doing fine. At least, he's functioning. Still with OW (who fanned the flames of this paranoia about me that came out during the DDays-- that I would leave him someday, that I only wanted his money, etc).
I sympathize with this role of helping our mentally ill spouses through their disease. I didn't realize how much burden his illness (whether or not it was actually bipolar) put on me over the years, until I was free from it. And it creates a really difficult dynamic because-- to this day-- if I found out he finally got diagnosed and checked in somewhere... I would feel a sense of obligation to help him. It's not his fault he's sick and I made a promise through sickness, health, etc.
Although this sometimes agitates against the knowledge that, regardless of his issues, my WS certainly knows right from wrong... and the A and the way he treated me (and my family) was wrong.
At the same time, near the end, I was beginning to get ill myself. I was breaking out in rashes and had stomach aches all the time, joint pain. My physicians thought I was developing an autoimmune disorder. As soon as I walked away from WS, all of that stopped.
I wish I could give you some advice. I really don't know what I would do in your situation. But I guess I'm just sharing my story to let you know that I hear you and you're not alone...
[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 2:18 PM, October 8th (Tuesday)]
It is a very challenging road because there are many other issues that co-present with bipolar, including addiction, impulse control, etc. It can also take some time to get the right medication cocktail. Your partner has to be willing to work on it. He has to want to get better and once he's better, he has to stay on his meds.
It's also important for you to understand the illness and take care of yourself. I learned in IC that I was codependent because it was easy to blame everything on the illness. I put up with a lot of stuff and have finally decided to take care of me.
There are a lot of online resources for spouses of bipolar people. Reading other stories and sharing support helped me learn about the subtleties of the illness and find ways to minimize triggers. It helped to know I wasn't alone because that ride is very isolating.
Just keep in mind that a bipolar diagnosis is no excuse for bad behavior.
For those of you who have read my story: This is the whole reason I feel that I have no right being upset about my H's "A". Please read my story if you feel the need to comment on the above.
However I can console myself that he chose to have sex with the slut at least in part because he was unsound in mind at the time. No surprise because seriously she is such a skank. At no point have I actually felt threatened by her supposed charms.
It's like when someone commits a crime with the plea of diminished responsibility. The crime remains but does it make a difference regarding how you see them?
Incidentally he has not said him being bipolar makes it ok. He says it was in the mix as to why it happened and more than that he should have dealt with his bipolar years ago. His pre existing KISA stuff, poor boundaries and low self esteem are not bipolar related. Although he has heard me say that and agrees.
I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.
I do have to say ,though, that many good things came out of facing my A and my disorder. My H and I are closer that we ever were. We know each other and cherish each other in ways that we didn't express earlier in our marriage. I can only hope that everyone here can feel that good about themselves and their relationship at some time in the future.