Posted May 17, 2008
My husband is 53 years old. I am 49, and we have been married for 31 years. We have 3 kids, 23, 21 and 16. Our 21 year old daughter has a 2 year old daughter and they both live with us. Also our 16 year old son lives with us.
After at least 10 months or more of depressed and manic behavior last year (2007), my husband went “crazy” in November and ended up being diagnosed with Bipolar I, severe mixed episode, psychotic.
In retrospect, he has struggled with bipolar since he was an adolescent. He also has adult ADHD. Since last November, when he was diagnosed, he has been trying to find the right cocktail of meds. About 5 weeks ago, he started feeling better and functioning better. That lasted about 3 weeks. Then after a doctor appointment, he misunderstood what she said and came home telling me he was supposed to wean himself off of Risperdal. Accordingly, I started reducing it .25 mg a week. After two weeks, he and my son got into a fight where my husband punched him in the back and then proceeded to throw about six books down the stairs at him.
So, last week, I went to his next doctor appointment with him. She said my husband had misunderstood and apparently, the Risperdal was necessary to help control his anger. I immediately raised his dose back to where it had been. Almost immediately, he seemed better.
Early this week, he was feeling good, functioning well, and his business (which he had trashed during his episode last year) had actually gotten three contacts, one of which had already produced a job, one verbal commitment and one possibility. I felt hopeful again. Things had become so dismal and impossible.
A little background; my mother died last summer (2007) and left me some money. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what I was dealing with and did not protect the money. Due to the fact he had trashed his business and was also spending on ridiculous things, we were blowing through the money at a record speed. When Mother died, we were on the verge of losing our house, so I had to make 5 house payments and also 4 car payments (on two cars). Of course, we were behind on other bills too, so right off the bat, I had to spend a chunk of money.
He had been telling me he was going off to work but was going to play golf, every day! Then he started going to a strip club where you could bring your own booze and blew tons of money. In fact, that is how he got busted. The stripper left a message on his phone that I picked up the end of October. This was totally out of character for my husband. He normally didn’t even drink and had never frequented strip clubs. One thing led to another and after tons of strife and investigation, I finally discovered what had been going on. All of this led up to his “losing” it in November.
He pulled every drawer out of my two dressers and threw them, dumping clothing and breaking the furniture. He tore up my closet, looking for his Klonopin. He threatened me because I wouldn’t give him the bottle of pills and threw things at me. Then he found a pistol in the closet, loaded it and started waving it around, threatening suicide. It was 7 a.m. in the morning, I was still in my robe and here I was chasing him from the back driveway to the front yard, begging him to stop and not kill himself. He jumped in the car and screeched off, while I frantically called 911.
Then I had four police in the house and I was hysterical. I just knew he was going to kill himself. Long story, short, he drove from north central Texas to North Carolina, and back, nonstop. He didn’t sleep for about 65 hours. That is how he ended up with the Bipolar diagnosis a week later.
So, back to current day, he came home yesterday, at 2:00 p.m. and announced he had bought a car. Here we are, no money (the inheritance is gone), no income yet (for several months we’ve had none), two existing car payments, and he buys a car! He didn’t even discuss it with me. He doesn’t think he did anything unreasonable and does not accept that this is classic manic behavior. He is in complete denial. I told him to take it back (he has a 72 hour buyer’s remorse window) and he has refused. I said, it’s the marriage or car and apparently, he’s choosing the car. He said it will be just fine. He will work weekends and nights at extra jobs, if necessary, to pay for it. Excuse me, he is too sick to work his one job, much less two more!
To top all of this off, my 21 year old daughter appears to be suffering from bipolar symptoms also. The last three years with her have been one fiasco after another. She bristles at the very suggestion that she has a problem. My son is ADHD and has a lot of anger. Yes, I know, he might be bipolar too. In fact, the daughter called the police on the son Monday night during a ridiculous squabble. She will probably end up with a misdemeanor C for doing that. They are both lucky one of them didn’t get arrested. I’m about to loose my mind. Really! I cried and cried last night. There is no reasoning with any of them. It is just one crisis after another. I don’t know what to do.
I have stayed home and raised children for the last 23 years. Now I keep my granddaughter every day while my daughter works. I have been out of the work market for so long, only have a high school education and don’t know who would keep the baby (the only bright light in my life). We have no money except equity in our home. Unfortunately, I have to have a living space large enough for my son, daughter, grandbaby and self. The mortgage payment on the house is cheaper than an apartment would be. So, my equity is tied up.
Believe it or not, I still love my husband. I’ve been with him since I was 18 years old. My marriage has been hell, but when he isn’t cycling, we are very compatible. We don’t have health insurance, because we can’t get underwritten due to mental health issues. Of course, we can’t afford it now either. Our income is so low right now, my husband is getting help through the state mental health program. However, he is not getting very good therapy care at all. Plus I need therapy and guidance to cope. My family needs therapy before it explodes and everyone is in jail. I am at my wits end.
My friends and family don’t know everything, but they do know some of it. I don’t tell them all of it, because it is embarrassing. Unfortunately, they don’t understand mental illness or the extreme distress I’m under. I feel hopeless and completely confused. I’ve tried to take care of everyone and do the right thing, but it all comes back on me. When they are acting out, they turn it around on me and say it is my fault. No one is grateful or even kind most of the time.
I know from reading things on the Internet that others are suffering similarly, but everyone around me just shakes their head. They can’t comprehend the constant chaos our family creates for itself. Sometimes when I look down the road and see nothing but more of the same, I don’t think I can bear it. I really don’t know how I’ve stayed out of the mental hospital myself!