Posted July 24, 2010

I am a 46 year old woman who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder just over three months ago and I have so many unanswered questions….

My current struggle is about a big decision my husband and I just made. In a moment of mania, I signed an agreement regarding a living and ministry situation that was presented to us. I now realize that I made this decision with haste. I’m not sure how to get out of the agreement? (It’s not a legal & binding document).

My wonderful husband doesn’t understand what I’m going through, and I’m not sure how to explain this all to him.

Is anyone able to give some suggestions, I would appreciate it.

And yes I am on meds; Seroquel and Fluoxetine (Prozac).


  1. Dear Kathleen, I could write a book I suppose. My husband and I have been married 48+ years. He had his first manic episode back in 1966. The others were 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1994, and 1998. Those were all manic episodes followed by severe depression. Each manic episode required hospitalization because he became psychotic, thinking he was Jesus or God and everything else that accompanies this horrific disease. He would be hospitalized up to 8 weeks for the mania. He’s had depresssion with each one, the severest being his first episode. During this time he tried to commit suicide on 2 occasions. He had one time that was only a 6 week depression (no mania preceeded it) where he slept all the time and only got out of bed to eat or go to the bathroom. Going through a manic episode is like going through a hell on earth, for the non-afflicted loved one. Going through a depressive episode is like a hell on earth for the afflicted one. My husband started on lithium back in 1971, but didn’t want to take his medicine. After the episode in 1973, he became faithful to do so. Now he takes both lithium and depakote. He takes wellbutrin also. I think these medications are a gift from God. They have helped my husband to live a normal life. They have helped us live a normal life. (We had 2 small children when this first happened and I was expecting our 3rd child. Four years later we had one more child. Now they are all grown and happily married.) Oh yes, our lives get interrupted when an episode happens, but basically his disease is under control. I feel like every episode seems to wipe a year out of your life between the 2 month mania and the several months of depression. My husband is a wonderful man, it’s not his fault this happened to him. But it is very hard on everyone when these episodes happen. I give God the glory for all He has helped the two of us through.

    About any decisions you made while manic, you should not feel bound by them. A person who is in a manic state is not capable of making sound decisions. Just explain to the person you were not well. My husband openly discusses his manic depression. I know a lot of people prefer not to. How does your husband feel about your decision?

  2. I would contact your local or state NAMI affiliate. While they do not give legal advice, they could be able to connect you with legal assistance (an organization or names of lawyers that have worked with mentally ill people). I needed legal advice a few years ago and didn’t know who to contact – I didn’t want to just pick a lawyer’s name out of the yellow pages. They were able to help in this fashion.

    Regarding manic episodes, I also suffer from the spending spree/horrible money decision affliction during those time. I have trained myself to save every receipt and every box/packaging, and put them in a specific place. That way – when I come back to my “middle ground” or when my parents come to intercede (if the episode is lasting too long and money is draining out of my accounts) – anything extreme/unnecessary that I have purchased can be returned.

    I have found that the key to managing my illness is to set up safety nets, steps to take and ingrain them during my normal phases, so that they are routine to me even in my manic phases. I hate coming out of one and feeling bad about all the money I spent, so being able to return everything is the solution I found. This way, I may feel a little shock or upset but realize I can fix it.

    Regarding this decision you took that are now possibly regretting, you mention that you made the decision with your husband. So he is ok with it? It is possible you could just be suffering from the usual “buyer’s remorse” and just need reassurance. I would talk to your husband about your concerns before seeking legal advice – but that is just me personally. If you want the legal advice then go for it – using the resources I mentioned above.

  3. Yes Bipolar II can have mixed eedpoiss. More often they are mixed eedpoiss of depression. The basic differences between II I is the severity of the disease, and the length of the cycles. Bipolar II’s are known as rapid cycler’s which can have cycles within a short period of time, even within the same day, they have more tendencies to be depressed rather than hypomanic. BPII’s also don’t have the true manic eedpoiss that last a week or longer. Rather it’s termed hypomania. To meet criteria in DSM-IV it has to last at least 4 days. Where the mania has to last a minimum of a week. While BPI’s do have more of the mixed eedpoiss that doesn’t rule out BPII’s. When people think of BP’s they think of those who hide out in thier rooms for months at a time then come out and are all over the place, talking, spending money, etc. The BPII s are harder to diagnoses because the swings are so rapid and are mixed with periods of time when they function normally. They often don’t seek treatment until they are hitting the more BPI like attributes, or extremes. And if they are not seen by a professional familiar with the disease, all the spectrums, and new break throughs in research, they are often misdiagnosed. (This was the case with both myself and my son) Bipolar is a progressive disease. Meaning untreated, it can start out as BPII and move into BPI which is the more aggressive part of the disease including the physchotic feature not associated with the BPII’s. There are many spectrums of Bipolar. There is new research out monthly opening up more and more of the unique differences between them all. To sum it up, BPI and BPII are not the only Bipolars. However it is imperative if you are suffering and can recognize mixed eedpoiss you discuss it with your doctor as soon as possible. Often medications need to be tweaked or added. Remember the disease is progressive. Thankfully, as has been my own personal experience, my son’s and those I work with as a support team and advocate, there are many new medications or combos, and other tools/treatments out today that are very effective and have less side effects than the old standby’s most people use or know about.

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