Many people stay with their spouses who have a diagnosis of bipolar II or manic depression, as some know the name. I am not one of those people; I tried far too long because I believed in the vows I took back in 1986. Had he took his medicines things would have worked out. He refused all of the medications to control the bipolar illness.
I totally admit I was not one of those spouses who stuck it out with my spouse who has bipolar disorder. I walked away after many years of trying to defend myself. I tried to stick it out but after dealing with this mental illness for too many years, I realized the fight had gone out of me.
The delusions, which come with bipolar disorder, are not fightable. It is a lost cause to convince the patient that they are not real. I remember my when my ex-husband was living with me; he accused me of countless affairs with every man who walked. This included men of all ages with whom I attended college with and in the end even my brother-in-laws. I was staying home, and not doing anything for the most part except for attending classes. I felt that since I was home he would not accuse me of cheating. While I was home the world became his playground.
My college grades reflected that I was a serious student, and when I got the transcripts at the end of the semester, I would show him. He was as proud of me and I was; but when the ugly head of the bipolar disorder reared, I could do nothing to defend myself. Some days he was happy I was going to college and excelling, but other days when those voices took over he listened to them.
We had big plans for after I finished college, on most days, he shared in those plans and even helped me get through the classes. I could not have passed the philosophy classes, which made no sense to me what so ever without his help. He could understand that stuff and explained it to me in a way that I could understand for which I was thankful. My ex-husband was very gifted when he was not suffering the agonizing affects of bipolar disorder.
These mixed feelings encompassed our entire life, sometimes he was happy being a dad and a husband, but that was not always the case. It all really depended upon the day, and if he was in a bipolar disorder cycle or not. He often went from one extreme to the other when he cycled with his bipolar disorder within a matter of hours. It was not only sad to watch; at times that it was scary.
I could not defend myself against the voices in his head during a cycle of the bipolar disorder. In the time when we lived, together as man and wife, I can honestly say I never cheated nor had the desire to do so. Only after he was out of the house and I closed the door on my marriage did I feel the need to move on and experience life elsewhere.
I realized just how much life had passed me by because I had sat home for those years, and then I got mad. I wasted so much time fighting a disease that was not mine to fight. I wasted time helping someone who did not want the help. I wasted the time dealing with his illness.
It was so hard to know who I had to be at any given time. I know that seems funny to read but if you have known anyone who has bipolar disorder than you know what I am speaking. When my ex-husband was in the depressive state, he had a hard time functioning so I had to make all the decisions. When he was not in either state, I helped make all decisions, but when he was in the mania stage, he made all decision solo.
With some bipolar disorder medications, he seemed to stay in a cycle for longer periods of time, which made life seem unbearable. When he got depressed, he would stay that way for months and the professionals call this mixed state of bipolar disorder. A mixed state of bipolar disorder occurs when a patient has four or more episodes of cycles within a 12-month period.
He drank a lot of alcohol trying to deal with his bipolar disorder. The professionals call this self-medicating. He would be verbally and mentally abusive towards the kids and me.
He would not eat, and he would loose so much weight it was unreal. He called me a wench often, because he felt that was all I was worth. My body was his when he wanted it, it did not matter my thoughts on the subject.
I was to have supper on the table when he walked through the door, even though his hours were sporadic. I was supposed to drop everything I was doing to sit, and talk when he wanted, and this bipolar disorder made life very hard.
When he was in the mania stage, my ex-husband would spend money as if it was endless. This is also very typical of people with bipolar disorder. I should have removed my name from the checking and saving accounts but I did not. I wish I had done this, yet I did not and as a result, there were more then a few times where I had to pay a few months of house payments rather quickly or save the utilities from being shut off.
It is not as we did not have the money, when he skipped those three months of house payments. I had them made up in less then a month. He was the only one working as I was home at this point with our youngest that required lots of special help, so I was needed here at his therapists visited our home.
I hated the depression parts of this bipolar disorder mental illness as much as I hated the mania parts, but I stayed for so long because I knew eventually that he would return to the middle of the road part.
By staying in this marriage, I feel at times I put my kids in danger and showed them how to have a bad marriage. I also showed them how to do everything you can to help a spouse who has an illness like bipolar disorder. I believed in my vows all the way, in sickness and health but when the part about to keep unto each other was broken, I knew it was time for me to close the door.
I am in a relationship now where I am an equal partner all the time; I no longer walk on eggshells. I am happy and I think my ex is happy as well. I answer the phone when he calls to talk to the children, but only when they are here.
Twice this past summer he told me, he loved me during those calls. Perhaps he does still love me, but I keep thinking to myself in our last ten years of marriage he never told me he loved me.
Perhaps he is just realizing what he lost due to his bipolar disorder and his willingness to take the medicines and do what he could to get better. It does not matter to me either way. I am out and I am staying out. There is nothing that can erase that pain or the hurt that I feel this bipolar disorder illness has caused to our family.
Bipolar disorder resources