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PLease Help me help my Husband

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Its a long story but I'll try to keep it as short as I can.

The reason I'm posting is hubby doesn't internet forum chat if that ameks any sense but I told him about this forum and he wanted me to post to and ask and has seen this post and we would both appreciate any advice / help.

about 4 years ago hubby was becoming more and more distant and down. It took a year of this to finally get him to admit that he was depressed - ended up going to GP and was precsribed anti-depressants. For the next couple of years it was a yo-yo - anti depressants seemed to work for a few months and then wouldn't so either upped the dose or changed them (eg Lexapro, Cipramil - the ones I can remember offhand).

Anyways, we had a baby and he seemed to get worse - severe depression - couldn't get out of bed kind of depression - sweats etc etc. Then the scary stuff started - we had an argument one night after he came home from a night out and he ended up walking out in the dark in the middle of the countryside - I didn't realise he had gone and got a phone call from him saying he was scared, he was afraid of the dark, he said he was going to talk to 'Daddy@ - his dad dies when he was 18months old and it turned out he was walking to the graveyard. I got in the car and I didn't really realise what was happening so I said what in hell are you doing ... it snapped him out of it ... he didn't know what he was doing. We went to his doc and he said that it was a coping mechanism - his subconsious or something took over.

It turned out that another time previously hubby had ended up driving 2.5 hours in the wrong direction and ended up at the airport - when he got there he didn't know why he was there. He only told me about this after the graveyard incident. He was under a lot of stress at work at the time so all I can think is these things happen in times of stress.

We went to the doctor and he sent him to the public hospital psychiatric unit. They put him on Seroquel - BAD idea!!! He had hallucinations, heard constant buzzsing in his head, slept 34 hours almost solid - basicall couldn't function at all .. he was terrified! We tried to get an emergency appointment and went in to see a junior doctor but all she wanted to do was pop more pills - the consultant whom he was supposed to be under hadn't even seen him and when we saw her that day (waited 3 hours to see her) she turned around and said that she didn't have time to see him but would try fit him in at the end of the week (this was a Monday).

So there and then we deided to go to a private mental health hospital. He was admitted on the Thursday or Friday. It all seemed great going in - we were given a booklet with their ethos etc. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do is leave my husband there! We both knew it was what had to be done but it wasn't easy.

Neither of us got to speak to his consultant and long story short, although he is now on meds that he can 'cope' (????) with, it is not an outcome he or we can live with for the forseeable.

It turned out that on the outside everything appeared good but on the inside hubby only got to see his consultant once for no more than 10 minutes when he was admitted. The consultant went on holidays and wasn't back until the day my husband left. He was put on meds and was supposed to have meetings which were missed by various professionals and this just caused anxiety for him. The hopsital was 3 hours away from me so I couldn't be there. I ended up having to ring and see why he wasn't being told what the plan of action was / why he wasn't seeing people he was supposed to .. lots of things - and he ended up being very very anxious. I made an appointment to see the junior doctor he was under and went and spoke to him and asked if it would be ok for me to phone and speak to him a few days later to speak about blood results due back / course of action etc - he said of course, you can speak to me anythime. The same doctor went to my husband the following day and told him that he did not want me phoning him! I was NOT interfering with anything, I only asked to spaek to the doctor because my husband didn't feel he was able to get the answers he needed and was getting worse because he was so anxious.

I'm telling all this for a reason ...

Anyways, there, they diagnosed my husband as being bipolar. We questioned this from the beginning as he only ever seemed to experience severe depression and not any highs. When he went into the hospital he was a little loud / jokey ... I told them that that is how D copes with situations he is very uncomfortable with - he tries to make a joke out of it - but they said that that is mania.

He was always a life and soul of the party kind of guy, great sence of humour, and the person everyone always wanted to be around. Yes, he liked to be the joker and be at the centre of things but that as far as I can see was the extent of it. I have known D since 1993 and he has always been the same - good fun but not manic that I could see. ... Now maybe I'm wrong and I suppose we trusted that they were the professionsla and we werent - AND we had tried different anti-d meds.

So - they put him on Lithium.

He has been steadily increasing the dose since last July (when he was put on it) and is now on 1400mg per day.

The thing is, he still gets down - not as bad as what he used to. He doesn't have 'mania' the odd time I wall say to him you're a little high now and he will say yes but these are very very rare and very short periods and the only way I can pick them out is that he might speak a little quicker or something.

The thing is though, he used to be very social but now he doesn't want to see anyone, gets panicky if he has to go in a group situation, is on calmax as needed (which seems to be getting a bit more often) and is also on Zimovane sleeping tablets since the hospital too.

He has vivid bad dreams and often can't sleep.

He says that he has no feelings - that he doesn't experience things like he did - he doesn't find things funny anymore, doesn't experience joy from the things he loved (supporting his beloved football team, meeting the guys for a game of cards etc).

I feel so so sad for him - its not a life I want him or us to live for the rest of our lives - there HAS to be something better!!!

I miss my husband truth be told and I want him to have some sense of normality.

He hasn't been able to work (was out of work before the hopsital stay) but hoped to get a job - now neither of us think he could cope with a job - especially dealing with people which is ironic as he was in sales before and could sell sand to the Arabs.

The more we're looking at it we think the Lithium is not the med for him.

Is he even Bipolar?

Bipolar II ???

He does not want to go back to the hospital or even deal with them - he gets extremely anxious and agitated even talking about them. His doctor has been monitoring his meds / bloods but really isn't a psychiatrist BUT he would go along/help us if we could figure out the best route.

We have no idea what we should do.

I'm trying to do as much reading up as possible but its a minefield.

I've read about Lamictal and am wondering if that would be better than lithium ... something has to be better.

And then we're both terrified of him getting worse again ....

So much for a short post - I am so so sorry but I wanted to give the whole story.

I greatly appreciate any advice anyone can give us on this ... I want my husband to have some sort of life and so does he.

Thank you for reading if you got this far!

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So sorry to hear about your troubles. This is a first person site for those of us that have some sort of MI, but having said that, you're more than welcome to look around, there is a tremendous amount of good information here.

No one can diagnose anyone over the internet, but I think once you study up on bipolar a bit more, it's not that hard to believe that's what your husband was diagnosed with. There are lots of meds to try, and it is possible to have a normal and stable life. Two important things to note - bipolar won't get better on its own, and if that's what it is, your husband is looking at being on meds for the rest of his life. Google 'bipolar kindling' and you'll see what I mean. Also, many people with bipolar are on a combination of meds, which often seems to work better than a single med. Good luck to you.

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So sorry to hear about your troubles. This is a first person site for those of us that have some sort of MI, but having said that, you're more than welcome to look around, there is a tremendous amount of good information here.

No one can diagnose anyone over the internet, but I think once you study up on bipolar a bit more, it's not that hard to believe that's what your husband was diagnosed with. There are lots of meds to try, and it is possible to have a normal and stable life. Two important things to note - bipolar won't get better on its own, and if that's what it is, your husband is looking at being on meds for the rest of his life. Google 'bipolar kindling' and you'll see what I mean. Also, many people with bipolar are on a combination of meds, which often seems to work better than a single med. Good luck to you.

HI Catnapper, I'm really sorry if I posted in the wrong ... its just that hubby doesn't feel comfortable posting but I thought this was a great site. I was hoping he would post himself but he asked if I would ... am really sorry for butting in. ... We're just in no-mans land a bit now and the more I'm reading the more confused I'm getting tbh ... sorry!

We both realise life will be lived medicated on meds but we just want a little bit of normality ... he hates the fog hes in - just wants to experience happy feelings again is how he describes it.

Thanks for not taking the head off me for posting where I shouldn't have!!

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No worries, you're not butting in, maybe your husband will want to join us. And you're always welcome to look around. Hopefully you will locate a good psychiatrist for him and get the treatment he needs.

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Only, I strongly encourage you to find a good psychiatrist in your area for your husband. Your family practice doctor or GP might have some referrals. I do think it is possible your husband is bipolar but that is impossible to diagnose on an internet forum. You need a good doctor. And medication and therapy are the treatments for bipolar.

It can take time working with a good doctor to establish the right medications and their dosage. However there are a lot of people, me included who work, function in the world, and are good spouses. So keep the faith.

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Thank you all for your replies! I will certainly look around the site.

I think my husband is afraid of dealing with it again - he had such bad experiences with the psychiatrists in the past ... and some of the meds too - hes afraid of revisiting it and although the lithium is far from ideal he looks on it as better the devil you know. I suppose I'm the one that does the research on it and kind of relay the information to him - that way he doesn't feel like he's thrown in the deep end I suppose.

Where we live there isn't very much choice in Psychiatrists and because its not really spoken about (small community) recommendations are hard to find.

Thank you all for your comments and maybe - hopefully - my husband will feel able to come on here himself.

Thank you all


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Only, I live in a rural area also, so I go to the regional hospital for anything beyond what my GP can handle. There is a medical school attached to this hospital, and I can see doctors with all sorts of specialties. It's over an hour's drive away, but worth it. Maybe you and your husband should be looking to the nearest city for a good psychiatrist.

Once he is somewhat stabilized on his meds, he won't need to see the pdoc more than once every 8-12 weeks. (That seems to be the norm here at CB, anyway.) If he builds a relationship with the pdoc, it might be that his office can suggest a therapist to you both.

I do agree with everyone that you should encourage him to come here. If he reads some of the posts in the Bipolar forum and gets a feel for how involved we all are in getting competent care, it might give him a little boost in the right direction. We all need to take control of our own health care in order to get really good care.

You sound like a loving wife and I hope you can help him to help himself.


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Thank you Olga!

I love my husband very much and if Bipolar has done one thing its that it has brought us closer than ever before. ... Every cloud and all that :-)

The hospital we went to with him was supposed to be THE best mental health hospital ... we're in Ireland so it really is very limited.

I am going to speak to him again and see if I can get him to join you all on here 9We have PC problems at home at the minute so once thats sorted!)

I am also going to keep looking and see if I can find any recommendations for Psychiatrists here.

Thank you all!

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Hi, I'm in Yorkshire, so Ireland's not so far away! It's fairly common to struggle with the UK mental health system, and to have a period where the diagnosis is hard to reconcile with, and meds not to work so well. It's not a sign of incompetency as much as it is the chaos that services are in right now. Some thoughts:

Bipolar presentations vary. Some people have a lot of obvious mania, some people have less obvious, a shorter periods of mania, called hypomania. There are several types of bipolarity. Your husband may not identify with the classic presentation, but even one mild episode of mania is enough to qualify. Some people have a state that is a mix of depressed and manic, agitated, impulsive, angry or disturbed, but not that happy mania. My family finds it hard to identify when I am manic, it's very difficult for loved ones and spouses to be objective enough to see it.

You need to strike a balance in your relationship. It's natural and normal to want to help and protect your spouse. But he needs the space to seek his own treatment and talk to his doctors when he goes inpatient. I understand he is not that assertive and able to talk, but by being over involved, you're making that worse and also irritating the doctors, who won't feel they have space to properly assess and treat. I'm not saying don't be an advocate, but don't let it get too far. Doctors can only take assessments and give treatment options to him, he is the one with the bipolarity. He needs to be able to understand and take responsibility for it too.

You need an assessment by a pdoc. Your GP can and should refer you to one, there will be a waiting list but you should expect a 45 min assessment at least. A good pdoc will talk about current health and lifestyle, past history, childhood, what the symptoms are (from the patients mouth) what previous treatment they have had etc. A diagnosis may not be given, but medication is usually prescribed. If Lithium isn't working, there are several other mood stabilizers to try, you don't have to go down the anti depressant/anti psychotic route. You should have a community mental health team who can also assess and get access to a psychiatrist.

About the inpatient anti psychotic, Seroquel is notorious for side effects to begin with, the exhaustion of being ill combined with the sedative effect can make it feel horrendous. It can and does for a lot of people get better. I didnt get on with Seroquel at all, but Risperidone (another AP) works very well for my bipolar.

You might want to look at mental health advocacy services, to make sure hubby has someone who can help him raise his own concerns, it will be more useful and empowering for him.

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Thank you for your reply Tina, and your insight into bipolar. I do find it hard to see the mania with D - the 'fun' D was always a part of normal life with hubby I suppose.

And yes you are right, I want to do the best by my husband. He was always the strong one in the relationship but now I don't see the person I knew before - and that is sad. I want him to be strong again and will do whatever I can to help that happen and if that means stepping back and throwing him in the deep end a bit more then thats what I will do. But honestly, I am sort of afraid of doing that as even small things set off panic attacks and depression these days ... and if I leave it totally to him now I know he will plod along on Lithium as he is so afraid of revisiting it all :-(

But I just want to say that the only time I 'interfered' was that time when I phoned the hospital and made the appt with his doctor and the only reason I did that was because D phoned me and was in such a state. He said that the doctors / nurses weren't listening to him, he wasn't being told what was going on, appointments by the professionals were missed without any explainations even when he asked why - he really was in a bad way and he asked me to contact them. When I met the doctor I explained all this to him and at the time the doctor said that it would be no problem me telephoning him but then he turned around and said the exact opposite to D ... thats the way it was in there. D said that they said one thing but then did another - and this really threw him. He just wanted to know what was going on and in order to try and help him I made the phone call and the doctors did then actually communicate a little bit better with him - they actually told him what their plan was - he hadn't been told anything before only that they were going to start meds, then that didn't happen but no-one told him why and this went on for almost 2 weeks before I phoned them. I stood back from his treatment and diagnosis until then and at that time we felt there was no other option but to contact them. ....

I'm not sure how the mental health system works here other than the public hopsital they he went to and the private one. He does not want to go back to either of them ... I think the problem with the public one is that it is just overstretched. We would definately go private again but its to find what route to take .. where to go .. we thought we were going to the best place before but for D, it wasn't ... it scared the hell out of him and he doesn't even want to mention the place - it sets him in a panic :-(

Just don't know where to go :-(

We would travel if we thought it would help but even then - where ....

Sorry- just a bit lost with it all at the moment

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The description at the PsychEducation site might help you understand bipolar that can look like anxiety and depression.

Antipsychotic is just the name of a class of medication. Treating psychosis is only one use. They are prescribed for everything from anxiety to OCD. Most with bipolar take them as mood stabilizers because they often are very effective stabilizers.

Effective medication can be found. Unfortunately, it often takes a number of tries to find it. Your husband will have to be persistent, see psychiatrists regularly, and advocate for himself. This is the way bipolar treatment usually works all over.

I encourage you to encourage your husband to join our site. There is good info in this thread and you can find more by reading through the many posts here. I also encourgae you to seek out sites with the purpose of helping those with bipolar family or friends. We are, as mentioned a few times, a first person site. We are not really equipped to help those supporting a mentally ill person. For that reason, I am closing this thread.

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