Help please. My wife has bipolar

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i have joined this forum in the hope I can learn more about my wife's bipolar and how I can help our family.

my wife suffers from bipolar we have been together for 7 years and married for 3 years. When I first met my wife she was on lithium. We have been happy together and wanted to start a family, we worked towards my wife coming off lithium so we could have our first child. Over the 7 years things have been good. A few highs and lows but both have been manageable. We got married in 2011 and had our second child in January 2013. In December 2013 my wife had a bad episode of depression. I had to take time off as my wife couldn't face the day, taking our child to nursery ect. She was prescribed fluoxitine which helped her out of the depression. The fluoxitine may have pushed her to the "higher state". We have had a tough 2 years whilst I have studied part time at university. My time has been taken up by study and I have not been able to help as much as I could have. The last few moths I noticed my wife showing signs of becoming "high": excessive drinking, smoking and talking on the phone, On 15th June my wife left us, she went to be with her cousin who suffers from alcohol addiction. She said he needed her ;she's only known this cousin for a couple of months. My wife felt it was her job to help him out. I understood and thought my wife was doing a good thing, 

my wife didn't return home for a few days I had to take time off to look after our children, then at 5:30am one morning my wife phoned me and said she didn't love me and wanted a divorce, she said she had not been happy fir moths (news to me). I've never treated her bad. I pay all the bills bad I don't have a lot left over to spend on taking us out to dinner. 

I found out my wife wS then sleeping with this cousin. I felt like my life was falling apart. I confronted her and said I was going it divorce her. 

After a couple of days I thought this was not fair on my mentally ill wife to divorce her, I apologised and told her I didn't want to. I had read up on bipolar and understand the chemical imbalance in the brain and the descision making process is effected. 

I have been off work for 7 weeks looking after our children and I am unfit for work (stress). I have fallen out with my patents over the choice not to take my wife to court. 

My wife wouldn't return home despite our 4 year old son sobbing his heart out to her. She continued to stay at her cousins house. 

My wife said she would come back when SHE was ready, as she was angry at me and didn't want the kids to see her in this state.she's fallen out with her family and friends following her actions. 

My wife can home a week ago and has been taking medication (olanzphine)? But she still feels the need to "escape" to her cousins as his wife suffered from bipolar and "he understands her". This hurts me as she tells me they as best friends now, I have tried saying to her I love you and I don't want you to go but she thinks I'm controlling her bad this makes her not want to get back with me. My kid spine after her every night which reduces me to tears (not in front of them). I hVe put the children in to child care for 3 days a week but recently found out I am entitled to £0 child tax credits. So now have a big nursery bill. 

I'm falling apart emotionally and financially as I gave my wife £350 (after increasing my overdraft) which lasted her a week as she went out and got hammered. 

I don't know how to carry on, it's killing me. I'm doing a good job of looking after the kids - her parents say they are better off with me! 

My wife says if we are to get back she needs her space to help her recover, she spends the day at our house then drives to her cousins and stays there, she comes home when the kids wake up.

any advice would be greatly appreciated.


2 likes, 6 replies


6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Rob, All I can do is advise you from my point of view. I have Bipolar and have been very unwell and unstable lately. I believe whether your wife's behaviour is the result of having bipolar, the affects of alcohol or indeed rational choices she is making, you need to take some steps to protect and care for yourself and children. However financially difficult, emotionally frightening or practically difficult, you and your children need some peace, some calm. It is imperative that the children are safe, secure and kept away from any arguments, ill feeling and abnormal behaviour. You can do this Rob! You are their Hero Rob and they need you now. I believe your wife will find the path she is seeking, and it may be with you orit may not. Please please allow yourself the gift that is calm, peace and normality. Don't know what else to say, or even if it helps at all. But i believe if you tell your wife you love her, will always be there for her tell her
  • Posted

    sorry.... it went before i'd finished.

    tell her that you need to focus on the children..... She will sort her self out and make some choices.

    I wish you well Rob...


  • Posted

    smartypants71 I agree with comments, very positive and kind.

    Your wife stopped lithium during each pregnancy, to carry the children to term without any side effects of the lithium.  After the second pregnancy she fell into depression, could this be post natal depression psychosis? The Psychiatrist put her on fluoxitine, from reading your text was this the first time?  Are there any reasons why she couldn't continue her lithium after the birth?

    An undergraduate course or postgraduate course is incredibly demanding for a single young person let alone a mature student like yourself with the responsibilities of a young family.......and thrown in, a young wife trying to battle with Bi Polar and remain well.  

    Your drive will be your children.  And the love of your life your wife for the sake of your children will have stretched you own mental health to it's absolute boundaries.  The demands of your course, your work and your present severe emotional dilema means you must insist on your own well being,  to preserve your stability so that you can protect your children and give them the secure family life they deserve and need.

    Firstly, stop blaming yourself.  Hitting yourself over the head is not going to strengthen you or make things any better.  

    You feel you could have supported her more, but your studies overtook your concentration and your wife was left to cope on her own.  Everything in life is a very fine balance whatever your distractions are including/or ill health that may avail an individual. The Bi Polar is not your wife.  The Bipolar is an illness.  Your wife is a/"the" completely different person to whom you learned to love and respect, to which you both chose to share two beautiful children.  That wife, believe or not is still in there.

    For years it has been known that there are many individuals who are un diagnosed Bipolar sufferers, who have masked their illness through alcohol abuse.  As for excessive smoking, addiction to nicotine and the short term of calming the nerves alongside stemming the appetite giving a weight loss affect, are some of the reasons that may encourag smoking.

    Whatever the reason we know it isn't such a good idea because it is detrimental to health,  and of course cost.  

    We all talk on the phone, women are generally prone to it!  However, bi polar on a high, we will can quickly flit from one subject to another, become incoherent,  incensed devil meglomanics!

    In all relationships, outside parties may need help, with all good intentions, whether a cousin, an elderly parent, a friend......................the help that is needed externally can put a strain on the nucleus of a family internally.  

    In this case an unsuspecting husband granting a wish for a caring loving wife, whose intentions were well meaning for a very needy cousin.  

    Suffering bi polar you can feel an overwhelming unexplained love for an outside individual, when your already in a stable loving relationship. There is no logical reasoning behind it..

    Your wife tells you her cousin needs her.  And of course you tell her the children need her and so do you.

    The wife and cousin appear to be two very addictive personalities.  He's an alcoholic, and she suffers from Bipolar of which she has now started drinking heavily.  

    A little commonsense, will tell you this is not a good mix,  and which you cannot unravel by yourself.

    Don't fall out with your parents.  They are the children's grandparents, and they will have you and the children's best interest at heart.  

    You need as many trustworthy allies to assist and support you as need be.

    Court, I presume you are talking custody?

    Well, the children are at home with you and she has chosen to live for the time being with her cousin and his bi polar wife.

    Nonetheless, your wife's tooing a throwing is affecting the children badly? Her display of little emotional interest in the children, is making them cry and the concern is that it may be damaging to them.

    You need to assess quickly, what is in the best interest of your children to maintain their well being.

    At the moment you are trying to keep the situation under your control, because  if it is out of your control it will go into the hands of the authorities. This would mean decisions for your family will be taken out of your hands and will be in the hands of others.

    There mayt be some truth in it, if your wife is finding support from people who understand her experiences.  Though this situation as regards to the nucleus of you family, is far from ideal.  Try to distace yourself from hurtful dialogue, reason positively as best you can, and try to move forward.

    I take the arrangement your wife suggests for you to get back together is not agreeable to you.  

    Until your wife is stabalized, make an agreement with her on how often she sees the children to get into some form of routine.  So the children know that she is coming, and when to expect her to arrive, and she ensures that she is in a good mental state so that she can concentrate on them.  

    It maybe that it starts with fewer visits at first and increases over time.  This will hopefully decrease the likelihood of her letting them down when she is unable to see them, and over a period of time she gains her stability.  A lot of this is about careful negotiating a lot of patience and calm.  And probably as much wisdom  and wits you can bring all your energies you can muster.

    The arrangement could allow her to continue to live with her cousin and his wife, for the time being, till you both decide what you would like the outcome to be.

    This is an alternative to the solution of divorce or social services, for the time being.

    You really do have to give it time if you can.  Infidelity is old hat.....................(keep your pride in tact, it's an old story and it's been going on since time and memorial and it will continues to go on in the human race)

    If you are fortunate, you might be able to work things out, and she may come home but then again you need to have the strength to accept that she may choose not to come home.  

    With emphasis, she is still the same person that you once knew, the bi polar is the illness,  not her.

    Your children are really upset by all this, and rightly so.  You have to get yourself together.  Basics, sleep, rest, eat properly and look after yourself.  Excercise, take the kids swimming, go bike riding.  When they cry about mummy reassure them, and tell them how much you love them and how much she loves them, and she's not very well at the moment. Accept your parents and friends help gladly. Ask them kindly, not to berate your wife, and certainly not in front or to the children.  Do not speak badly about your wife to your children and ask your wife not to speak badly about you. Your children need security they need you both. You have to be fighting fit and secure and strong in your own mind.

    Make an appointment with the principal of the nursery, or their finance officer.  Explain your financial position, and if they would consider waiving the fees.

    They may have access to bursaries upon which you might be able to qualify for. It may not be neccessarily a financial criteria, it could be a community criteria.  Anyway ask.  If they are insistent on part or all the fees, as to pay in instalments.  And aim for the smallest instalments they will accept over the longest period and interest free.  You really do have to try, and be honest with them.  What you won't know is the amount of people who will have defaulted from paying all of their nursery costs, to which the nursery would be grateful for instalments as an alternative.

    Well, it seems to me you can't afford to giver her £350 a week to get hammered. You might be able to afford a small amount of maintenance for her.  But if she is not living at home, suffers from bipolar, is unemployed, she maybe entitled to means, and none means tested benefit. If she lives with her cousin, they could ask for rent for letting out a room to her.  She may be entitled to housing benefit.  

    You really need to get your head round things and think logically.

    It seems to me the kids, are probably better off with the pair of you, when she is well and stable.  This is not an easy situation for any of you.  You may need to go and seek counselling yourself through your GP, to help you keep an even keel, and to enable you to resolve any problems yourself.  And only if this method suits you.

    Doesn't do your ego much good if she keeps wanting to go back to her cousins, or insists on staying there.  You've to get your mind sorted out.  You have some tough decisions to consider.  Only you can make those decisions, but whatever you decide, you have to live by them.  These things take time.  Your going to have to be sassy, controlled, calm and willing to give things time.  Your priority, is yourself for your children and slowly reitegrating your wife their mother.  Keep loving them and allow your parents, and her parents to do the same.




  • Posted

    Dear robin, 

    My heart goes out to you, I am sure that your wife loves both yourself and your children dearly.... mental health problems can be hard to deal  with as you cannot help or change their suffering...

     I have three sons with problems, twin sons who both suffer from paranoid schizophrenia, and another son who suffers from severe social phobia and OCD.

    My twin sons before treated were different people, mental health problems are complicated, but I am sure that your wife loves you and your children very, very much.

    Please do not give up on her, for her sake, your sake and especially your children's sake... I sincerely wish you and your family the very,very best, you will be in my thoughts and prayers... Deirdre x

  • Posted

    Hi. I just joined this site so I apologize if I'm not aware of the proper etiquette quite yet. I was diagnosed as having Unipolar Depression for seven years until I had a manic episode that I couldn't "hide". For full disclosure, I have Bipolar 1 with rapid cycle. Most of my major episodes are depression my second most common are mixed states and the least common episode I've experienced is full on manic states. 

    It it sounds like your wife has a lot of manic strikes. All these states have disastrous effects on one's personal, professional, and personal lives. After I was correct fly diagnosed, I pleaded with my mother and sister to attend support groups for friends and family so they could understand what I'm going through - although each individual experiences this illness differently - and to learn how to communicate with me and assist me when I need it.

    it took them 8 years to attend a 12 week course on this illness bit I'm very happy they did. They realized how wrong they were by not attending sooner.  Almost all if the friends and family who were at the class have been attended support groups for over ten years, at least. 

    I good friend, for whom I volunteered at hisnon-profit during one of my disability  episodes, went to a therapist regularly for many months, not for himself but to learn about my illness and to understand how he could assist me more. 

    I didnt quite make make it through your entire message but have you supported your wife in any way such as this? Do you know the facts about Bupolar? Have you put together, with your wife and her doctor,  a game plan if things start to go astray? Have you, your wife, and her doctor identified pitential triggers for depressive or manic episodes? Does your wife have a support system if people who are watching out for her to see if any triggering events occur?

    my wife, my sister and my girlfriend have all spent time getting to know my primary doctor. They have made numerous phone calls to him late at night on his mobile when I was I trouble. I'm I pin disability once more but before I went on, I was saying some dark things. My doctor set up an emergency appointment for me. My girlfriend came with me. My doctor almost wouldn't let me leave because he was concerned about what I may have done with the numerous (I,e. 5) medications that l need to help me. Once my girlfriend agreed to handle my medication and to hide thenpm fro me, he let me go home. My girlfriend lays out my morning pills and my evening pills every night. Sometimes, I just do't want to take them because there are so many I feel like a lab rat. But she makes sure I take them. My girlfriend has also started attend friends and family support groups. 

    It sounds like things have been extremely hard for you. At some point, you may need to save yourself and not go down with the ship. But before you do that, I hope you do at least the things that others have done to help me. Believe, no matter how difficult life has been for you, it's been much more of a nightmare for her even if she's been sexually promiscuous. 

    Just to to give you some facts.  Only 60 % of the people with Bipolar hold jobs for any length of time. A full 20 % of the people with bipolar "successfully" commit suicide. The average life expectancy of someone with bipolar is almost ten years less than the average individual's. 

    It's tough. It's been a nightmare for me. I've tried a combination of over 20 medications so far. None of these medications have helped me work more than three year. I was on disability for 5 years until 2011. I worked my way into a Management consulting company, was promote two years in a row. After two years, I had to go on leave of absence for 2 months. After that, I landed a job as a Vice President in Global Risk Mamagement as a significantly important financial institution. (SIFI, as they refer to it in fiancé. After six months', I'm back on disability. This time probably ling-term.

    no one chooses this life style. In fact, I've done myself great harm but not accepting all of me, including my Bipolar. For years, I tried to think if it as any other illness one might have, such as high-blood. Once I find the right medication to lower my "blood pressure", I can go back and accomplish all the goals I gad when I was twenty. 

    After this his last episode, I realized my life will continue to be in shambles if I don't change my oerspective my bipolar effects every decision I make. The medications and therapy only take me so far. I have to create an internal and external environment that creates the conteppntment and stability I so desperately need. I will still gave episodes but, hopefully, they won't be as destructive to my life and the lives of my loved ones as the past episodes gave been.

    sorry for the long note but the only real way for me to provide any assistance to you is to share my extensive experience. Loving  someone with bipolar is nice. But what people with bipolar need is for loved ones to be proactive by learning about the illness, attending support groups, researching ways to help. There are so many things one could do proactively to help. If you live her, you should do as many of these supportive, proactive things that you're able to do. IMHO, of course. 

  • Posted

    Hi Robin.  I too have a child with my wife who has bipolar disorder.  I don't know if you've been back at all to check the replies - 8 months being a long time, I suspect you may not get to see this.

    You are clearly a kind and loving person who prioritises his family above all else.  I've been doing the same for years now and I'm a pretty broken to be honest.  I'm not here to talk about my issues, so anything I refer to in my situation is only to allow you to compare or put in context.

    Most of my relationship issues come from the fact that my wife is 90% of the time in denial of her condition.  Your circumstances however sound as though your wife has come to terms with it, and has been medicating properly for several years.  In this instance however, your wife's behaviour sounds like she is experience a manic or hypomanic episode which should not occurr provided she is properly medicating.  Your wife saying that she needs space to recover and going back to her cousin's must be extremely difficult for you.  It is possible that your wife is suffering from a delusion - you know yourself the facts, just by your actions I think everyone would agree that you love her more than anyone ever could, yet she is convinced of something else.  These delusions are some of the most testing, upsetting, stressful, hurtful experiences that anyone can go through.

    Unless I have misread the situation, your wife really needs to accept that she is unwell and may be delusional before normality can be fully restored.  The fact that she has fallen out with her family doesn't help much, as you are likely going to need some help convincing her of these things.  If there is someone close to her who is on your side (I'm sure there are lots) then they really need to get her to realise that no loving man that "understands" bipolar properly would encourage a married woman to leave her two children for him.

    All this being said, and despite I have myself had to accept that my wife has slept with other men during our marriage, your situation sounds particularly hard to accept so I would recommend you seek professional councelling for it.  Many people in our situation end up with their own mood disorders or depression.  Rather than let that happen to yourself, you really need to direct your effort  towards your children.

    Having said all of this Robin, remember, you too are a human being and entitled to your own happiness.  If you wife is exploring avenues of happiness (through illness or not) at the cost of your happiness, that is not fair and if your wife is a good person deep down, which I'm sure she is, then I would be certain that she would understand any decision that you made to protect yourself and your children when she is of better health.

    Best of luck to you my friend, and anyone else reading.


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