February 9, 2009
My nightmare started a little over a year ago. We have been married for almost 23 years and have been together for almost 27 – ever since we were teenagers. We have 3 teenage children ages 17, 15, and 14. My husband started drinking probably about 10 years ago. It was sporadic at first, a couple of times a week, but progressively got worse and became a daily affair.
Around October of 2007, I started noticing changes in his behavior, but it never crossed my mind that it could be a sign of a mental illness. We had been together so long, and I had never observed anything that would make me think that there was anything wrong with him. He started being very preoccupied, avoiding my calls, and seemed confused and disoriented. I thought it had something to do with the drinking. Then around Christmas I left out of town with the two younger children, and he was supposed to follow the following week. To make a very long story short, he was in an accident that night, speeding his car over 100 miles/hour on I-95 and lost control and hit the median. Thankfully no-one else was involved.
Instead of being taken to the hospital he got arrested (not for DUI, he never drove drunk) but for disorderly conduct and obstructing traffic. Apparently he was dancing in the street, claiming he was Jesus Christ. His friends bailed him out and took him to the hospital. He ended up being Baker Acted because of he things he was saying. When I saw him the next day (after I flew back), he was in full-blown psychosis, thinking the FBI was after him, that there were spies in the hospital, etc., etc. He was released 4 days later without a real diagnosis and grabbed his passport and flew back home to Greece because he believed he was not safe here anymore. It took his brother about one week to figure out what was going on, and he got a court order and hospitalized him again. This time he stayed for 3 months.
He came back home in May of 2008, and we kept going to regular visits to a psychiatrist who, because he was not sure what was wrong with him, decided to take him off all meds and treat the symptoms as they arose. My husband had difficulty sleeping; actually, he claimed he could not sleep at all, so he started on Ambien 10 mg of which he needed 2 to sleep just a few hours. He fell into a depression and took Wellbutrin for about 6 weeks, which worked great for him.
Towards the end of 2008, things seemed to be moving along, he was constantly apologizing for everything he had put us through. He had not had anything to drink, and we thought that he was making remarkable progress. Then, about a month ago, everything changed. This is why I am convinced now that he is Bipolar, and his doctor agrees. He started behaving very erratic, sitting in his car in the driveway and playing the music very loud. Constantly going in and out of the house to the car and back again. Leaving for a few minutes and coming right back and leaving again. His speech became very rapid and his thoughts even faster. He is stressing out everyone around him. He gets very aggressive very easily and refuses to see his doctor. He started smoking cigars one after the other (about 6 or 7) even though he never smoked in his life. He has no self control; when you tell him to stop doing or saying something, he stops and starts right back up.
He started taking 3-4 Ambien per night and sleeping only 2 hours. He is very mad at me for not getting him out of the hospital in Greece, something that he had thanked me for previously and now he accuses me of ruining his life. He has become overly obsessed with religion and thinks that he was possessed. The situation at home got so bad for the kids that in my desperation I asked him to leave the house if he was not going to see the doctor. He left two weeks ago after he threatened to kill me if I try to Baker Act him. I turned to his doctor for help, who said that there was nothing he could do since he had not seen him lately.
I turned to a lawyer who said that the only way to force involuntary inpatient treatment on him is to declare him incompetent or if he gets arrested and then the state can force him to. To declare him incompetent is a 2-3 month process, and he would hire his own attorney and fight it. I turned to the police who said that he would have to be homicidal or suicidal in their presence for them to Baker Act him. But the Baker Act will only put him on hold for an evaluation. It does not guarantee the inpatient treatment that he so badly needs. I will not risk everything for a 72 hour observation during which he will not come across as suicidal or homicidal and then will be released to come after me.
Since he moved out 2 weeks ago, things have calmed down at home. He now says he wants a divorce. The reasons are because I keep thinking that there is something wrong with him and keep asking him to go to the doctor and because I do not believe in God according to him. I love him so much, but I don’t know what to do. It is very clear that he is having a manic episode. It is hard for me to describe all of his erratic behaviors.
If anyone has any advice, PLEASE HELP. He is my life, and I don’t want to loose him. I am inclined to try an approach of tough love. Let him run out of money, because in his condition I cannot see anyone giving him a job. Maybe he will fall back into depression and will be more inclined to accept help. The hurt that I am feeling is overwhelming at times. I am left to take care of two businesses we have as well as our three children, while at the same time the love of my life says that he wants to move on without me.
I know it is not him talking but the illness, but I don’t know what to do other than go along with his demands at the moment. If he doesn’t get his way, he becomes very overpowering, threatening, vulgar, and scary, and I feel that the system has let him as well as me down.