Author Topic: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want  (Read 1612 times)

Sunshine

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Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« on: October 28, 2015, 03:07:21 PM »
Mr Sunshine seemed to be getting more cheerful and I assumed he was happier with life because we had a bit of a rough month. On Thursday he seemed too happy and the way he was talking about work it sounded like he was having too much fun and chat with customers rather than working. Friday morning I mentioned to Mr Sunshine it was nice to see him more cheerful to which his matter of fact reply was Oh I stopped taking my meds a week ago  >yikes< Everything feel into place and straightaway I saw the happy, witty insightful man before me turn into a person on the way towards being happy HapPy HAPPY next stop asking for the credit card, elation and a feeling of superiority genius and well we have been there done that and dont want to go there again. Mr Sunshine then stood in the kitchen took his meds and complained about there being no chocolate milk. He said he misses being manic and tried to describe how lovely it was. I was left thinking how am I going to stop him hurting our life together or himself when I am already so tired after consecutive night of him wanting to talk more.

It is now Monday and he is coming down hard, all the shine is gone and I feel like a jailer. He was rotated off over the weekend so today is his first day back. I suggested he tell his boss about ' the situation' he got angry so I stepped off and said it was up to him.

I am not sure why I started the thread. Maybe it is because I know shouting at Mr Sunshine wont help, getting  >bleep< and  >bleep< that he put not only himself but all of us at risk by stopping his meds without telling me is not going to help. Part of me wants to rage  >angryface< but then he might stop his meds again saying I want him to be happy not grumpy, intolerant and tethered.

Bipolar Disorder is so different to the physical illnesses I have in that when Mr Sunshine is ill he can enjoy life more (for a time) than when he is well.

It is a bit of a risk posting publicly about this but I just think talking here about it could help.

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2015, 05:07:43 PM »
I really feel for both of you on this, as I can relate to what Mr S says about being manic - have never taken illegal drugs, but wonder if people using amphetamines or cocaine get a similar 'buzz' to mania.  It can be a magnificent, omnipotent sort of feeling, and obviously hard to describe to those who've not experienced it.  Fortunately (though I didn't think so at the time) my own mania was interlinked with psychotic episodes, so I was already in hospital when it 'came through' and didn't have too much chance to wreak havoc anywhere, so to speak.  And it did have its disadvantages being in that environment with not sleeping very well and all that. 

But.... tempted though I might have been once 'released' to stop taking meds, especially when I sank into the most horrible depression I've ever had, something stopped me.  I think it was out of consideration for mum and dad (who are like my official carers even though I don't live with them) and also because, yeah, I was frightened of the psychosis and what that entailed.  I wondered, you said Mr S was 'happy, witful and insightful' on his meds yet he describes (I assume he means his medicated self) being 'grumpy, intolerant and tethered'.  If he's feeling that his natural spark - not his mania! - is being suppressed, could he organise a meds review with his consultant?  Do you feel you could suggest this calmly?


Sunshine

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Re: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2015, 06:55:21 PM »
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I wondered, you said Mr S was 'happy, witful and insightful' on his meds yet he describes (I assume he means his medicated self) being 'grumpy, intolerant and tethered'.

Sorry my sentence was ambiguous both descriptions were what I was saying albeit I meant witty not witful. That said your suggestion is still a good one and Mr S did drop in to the GP surgery and make an appointment with a GP to ask for a Psych referral to see about reducing meds. It is with a GP neither of us have heard of so they must be new. I checked the online system for appointments today and there is an appointment available sooner with Mr S's usual GP so I suggested he take it. I got a growling arsey reply of why what for etc.

Mr S rarely describes how he feels when not on a high and it is rather like the door slams shut on many conversations. I wish he could just say something like he is having a bad day and feels snappy so I know there is not much I can do about anything right then.


Defying Gravity

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Re: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2015, 07:26:44 PM »
Hello Sunshine, this is a tricky one. I also have an idea of how Mr S feels, it can definitely feel as though you're a lesser person on meds. However, it's been a while since I looked at the research but I think I remember that although there's a general idea that there's a link between bipolar highs and being creative, productive etc, it isn't that straightforward - e.g. artists with bipolar actually don't do their best work when manic, I guess because it's so hard to stay in the energised and creative zone and no tip over into the chaotic zone. I remind myself of this when I feel I've lost my spark or am struggling to grasp something .

The other thing I wanted to say is that I actually don't think it's unreasonable for you to ask Mr S to say if he's having a bad time. It doesn't have to be detailed, just saying 'II woke up under a cloud' or something would do it. This is a common relationship tip - it stops the other person thinking it's about them, snapping back etc. I also don't think it's unreasonable of you to expect him to mention that he's stopping his meds, in the same way I would expect my partner to mention any decision that might have a significant impact on our life together. I don't want this to sound like a criticism of Mr S, but having a mood disorder isn't an excuse for bad behaviour - we can't help how we feel, but in the early stages of an episode,  or between episodes, we do have some control over how we behave. Has he ever done any kind of bipolar self-management course? That would usually include things like managing medication and the desire to stop taking it, monitoring your own mood, identifying potential triggers and signs that you're becoming unwell, and looking at support networks/relationships and boundaries.

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2015, 09:10:43 PM »
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Sorry my sentence was ambiguous both descriptions were what I was saying albeit I meant witty not witful.

How did that 'witful' get in there?  Oops  >doh<

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...I actually don't think it's unreasonable for you to ask Mr S to say if he's having a bad time.

DG, I fully agree - a short phrase as you suggest would be a start...

Fiz

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Re: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2015, 09:01:42 AM »
Very wise post DG

And I agree a slight reduction in his meds might help him feel less drugged and more himself, it takes time to find that delicate balance.

Sunshine  >hugs<

Sunshine

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Re: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2015, 09:29:26 AM »
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I guess because it's so hard to stay in the energised and creative zone and no tip over into the chaotic zone.

DG,

I definitely see this in Mr S.  At the best of times he can have trouble getting his point across because he expects people to know stuff without him explaining step by step. It gets worse when he is on a high. It can be hard to figure out whether he is making sense and I have not kept up or if he has lost it. He also chuckles and laughs when he talks, ordinarily it is a bit of a nervous stress release thing but when he is high it becomes something else. As I write I am realising that a big stress point for me is how other people react to him, it meant I did not want to go to the supermarket with him because I did not want to be the responsible adult getting annoyed and worried about what he was saying and doing. When he got home it sound like he had fun talking to staff about the way prices are labelled in the pastry section and comparing ingredients of pork scratchings. It is okay as long as he does not go off a cliff and spend hundreds of pounds and have security escort him to the tills. Maybe I am being a doomsayer and should have enjoyed his high while he was in it. The switch to dower  and uncommunicative is so sad.

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his is a common relationship tip - it stops the other person thinking it's about them, snapping back etc.

Exactly and for years the way he behaved when in a black mood made me think someone was going to get hit. An over the top reaction because my dad was an alcoholic and did hit people. I have got over that now and unfortunately that has put more weight on me to go with the way he prefers, which is if it is me he is annoyed at he will tell me - yeah right  :-( Thank you for reminding me that he can make a difference himself when well enough. I have to try not to make him having Bipolar Disorder an excuse, it is difficult not to though when there is so much he does for me. He sold the shares he had to pay for Bran's vet treatment, takes the dogs out, collects my prescriptions, waits in the carpark when I am at the dentist, allsorts of things.

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Has he ever done any kind of bipolar self-management course?

His answer is that is how he always lived and he does not need a course. His family did not recognise he was ill on and off from his late teens onwards and he let people put labels on him that are more suited to a personality disorder.

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That would usually include things like managing medication and the desire to stop taking it, monitoring your own mood, identifying potential triggers and signs that you're becoming unwell, and looking at support networks/relationships and boundaries.

Maybe I should let him get back into a routine then address this again. He finds people at self help meetings annoying. I am  not sure that is enough of a reason not to go though.

Kizzy,

I thought it was me lol I had to reread my opening post. No worries.

 :-)



Sunshine

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Re: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2015, 09:31:23 AM »
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And I agree a slight reduction in his meds might help him feel less drugged and more himself, it takes time to find that delicate balance.

Sunshine  >hugs<

Thank you  >thumbsup<

Defying Gravity

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Re: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2015, 10:05:55 AM »
It sounds as though (and I might be entirely wrong) that he isn't quite fully aware of how his internal mood affects his behaviour and you. For example, he might think that it's better not to tell you when he's feeling down, because it doesn't help and if he was annoyed with you he'd tell you. But he might not realise that you already know there's a problem (because he's being grumpy or dour and uncommunicative) and it would be much easier for you if he just acknowledged it. And perhaps you haven't been able to tell him clearly, because that's an uncomfortable conversation for anyone!

The same goes for the idea that he's always lived life like this - he may well have done, but now he lives life with you, and so it affects someone else, not just him. The people in self-help groups might be annoying, but a bipolar self-management course is about gaining the tools to live a more stable life, not about group therapy - he doesn't have to engage with the people, other than being polite, he just needs to get hold of the techniques. There might even be an online version.

Hurtyback

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Re: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2015, 04:00:39 PM »
Sunshine  >hugs<  I'm afraid I don't have anything helpful to add, but I didn't want to read and run.

NeuralgicNeurotic

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Re: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2015, 06:43:19 PM »
Sunshine >hugs<

Sunshine

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Re: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2015, 02:01:30 PM »
DG,

After reading your reply I decided I should at least try to have a conversation with Mr S. It was mostly me talking and leaving pauses then talking a bit more but he did say a few things. He said he can't tell me when he is feeling 'grumpy' because he does not feel it so much as that is how he is, which is interesting because he does comment on being too high. Putting the pieces together I realised what happened after his motorbike accident has left a scar. He stayed in the mental health unit voluntarily for three weeks but describes it as being sectioned because the doctors told him if he decided to leave they would have to think more about what was best for him. He takes this to have been a threat to section him if he did not stay. I remember him talking to me about fellow patients back then and some who were in there under section told him it was much harder to get out when sectioned. Mr S said get in touch with the social worker who helped me back then and it was like he thought I had the power to put him away. Maybe I am reading too much into what he was saying.

My physical illnesses and disabilities constrain what I can and cant do, whereas it seems like mental illness brings other people into the lives of those with mental illness and the dynamic is different.

Anyway I told Mr S I was annoyed he put our home-life at risk stopping taking his pills and asked him if he wants to do it again let me know. He has backtracked or forgotten what he had said about seeing a psych and reducing his meds so I did not push it. I did say if he wants to go and see the psych I will come with him and help explain things. The 'conversation' was less than 20 minutes but both our moods improved afterwards. There was a time I would have been loud and angry and maybe that potential added to the black cloud over our heads and having a careful quiet conversation moved us away from that- does that make sense.

I know I have not been able to change how we are living and the flaws in the way we live. Starting this thread and pushing forward from one day to the next with the replies here helping me has made a difference. Mr Sunshine did talk in the context of 'things being like this since he was 15', I suppose being asked to change approach could feel scarey and threatening.

Hurtyback and NN,

 >bighugs<

Hurtyback

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Re: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2015, 03:52:53 PM »
Well done for broaching the subject Sunshine, I know - from experience - that it can be a scary thing to do  >hugs<

Defying Gravity

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Re: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2015, 04:45:44 PM »
Yes, well  done Sunshine. One conversation is rarely all it takes to make a big change but well done for talking and being able to express some of your concerns.

NeuralgicNeurotic

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Re: Bipolar Disorder - unsure of what I want
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2015, 05:40:05 PM »
I'd just like to add my 'well done' to the thread >bighugs<

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There was a time I would have been loud and angry and maybe that potential added to the black cloud over our heads and having a careful quiet conversation moved us away from that- does that make sense.

That makes perfect sense. I have no real insight into mania or hypomania, but have been on the receiving end of loved ones shouting or being loud due to behaviour caused by my MH. A calmer conversation always does help to make me less defensive and able to be more open, and all concerned seem to be more willing to speak honestly about how the situation affects them in a less emotionally fraught environment. I hope this is the case for you and Mr S.  >bighugs<