Friday, May 1, 2009

Loving a Bipolar Abuser.

Part 1

I mentioned in my previous blog that my ex hubby and me were together for 17 years. Almost half of my 40 years on earth. Now, would I say it was a waste of time, a waste of my best years? Maybe of my best years. . . But honestly – not of time. My character is to help other people. In these 17 years I had a lot of chances to do that, that’s for sure, but most of all I gained a lot of knowledge and experience to help others, either as bipolar sufferers, spouses of bs, abused women, drug abusers etc. So if I look at the bigger picture I have to believe that God has a plan.

Fortunately (sometimes foolishly) I am very analytical, which lead me to try to understand and analyze my ex’s weird behavior. Unfortunately though, not from day one and that is where the problem began.

To attract unstable people, you have to be slightly unstable yourself. I was a trouble teenager with a couple of issues with rejection. It did not stop me from being social and a successful student, but it did make me open to be a co-dependant. I loved adventure and met my ex on the way home after a rather boring evening with friends. He was hitching a ride and I had time to give him a lift wherever. That was the beginning of a rollercoaster ride and it took us a loooong time to be ready to pull up the brakes.

In retrospect I can see how I misinterpreted his hypo manic spells as adventurous trips and his depressive spells as the torment of a highly intelligent, though misunderstood soul. All the time I was sucked in deeper, getting more and more entangled in the web of unconditional caring, my own fears of rejection and a growing co-dependency.

It is difficult to say where the downward spiral started. I had to think hard and far, but with some information I gathered from him over the years (in far and few honest and sane moments) I could come to some conclusions. Together with the moods and adventure, sexual promiscuity and infidelity are also major side effects of bipolar disorder. Thus, the beginning of the verbal abuse was guilt driven after a night out in the red lights of the city. It was unknown to me then and frankly, unthinkable. At that stage I was quite good and had eyes only for him, so it was a great shock to all of a sudden be called a whore and a slut, only good for sleeping with other men in our own bed while he was at work. Nobody has ever called me a slut. I was molested as a child, my mother failed to protect me, boys lied about sleeping with me, etc, but never has anybody insulted me that blatantly in a relationship. At first I was too shocked and ashamed to react. In fact, at times I even sat down to think if there was something he knows that I forgot, his insinuations driving me crazy. Endlessly trying to figure out what I did wrong or did I speak to somebody or did I dress provocatively. Until one day, I remembered how they do it in the movies and I slapped him through the face. That was the beginning, because 17 years later he could still say I was the first to lift a hand in our relationship. . .

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bipolar TWO, Married to Moods

I am writing this blog as an ex spouse to a Bipolar sufferer. We were together for 17 years and have two beautiful children together. After being divorced for 2 years I still find the need to Analise this again. It seems to help to make sense out of a lot of things. It also, sadly, reminds me to remember why I got divorced when my ex seems so normal at times.
So, my first blog will just be some facts around Bipolar. I chose to write about Bipolar Two as I think his diagnosis and pattern is closer to B Two.
Unlike Bipolar One (manic depression), Bipolar Two does not involve manic states. However, the person afflicted suffers from extreme mood swings. Hypomania being one of the main states.
People in a hypomanic state may experience increase anxiety, sleeplessness, good mood, or irritability. The hypomanic state can last for more than four days and the patient will find a remarkable difference in feelings from when they are in a depressed state. Hypomania may also cause people to feel more talkative, resulting in an inflated self-esteem. During a hypomanic state the person may find themselves extremely productive and happy. This can make diagnosis difficult. They can seem totally normal and even come over as a very nice person, making it difficult to understand when they strike the other extreme.
Those in a state of hypomania are typically the life of the party, the salesperson of the month , which is why so many refuse to seek treatment. But the same condition can also turn on its victim, resulting in bad decision-making, social embarrassments, wrecked relationships and projects left unfinished. Racy thoughts may lead to rash decisions, such as indiscriminate sexual activity or inappropriate spending sprees.
Hypomania can also occur in those with raging bipolar and may be the prelude to a full-blown manic episode. For some there may be long symptom-free periods between episodes. Episodes can last for days, weeks or months. The average person with bipolar disorder has four episodes (manic or depressed) during the first ten years of the illness. A minority of people may have several episodes of mania and depression with only brief periods of normal mood in between.
If properly controlled by medication, a person can lead a full, productive life. If left untreated, moods will continue to swing from one extreme to another and cause severe impairment in functioning. The time period between episodes usually narrows and episodes become more severe. In such cases, suicide is a real danger especially if the person abuses substances and/or suffers from anxiety. Substance abuse is often the case. Sufferers don't always know what is wrong, especially when thoughts starts to race and substance abuse silences the head. To some it may sound as a lame excuse, but to the sufferer a single joint may just turn a potentially hectic day into a normal one. Unfortunately it contributes to confusing the chemicals and adds to dysfunctional relationships and other social problems.
Being a spouse or a child of a Bipolar sufferer is certainly trying. And even though I divorced him, I am adamant to find out how this could have been treated. He went to several therapists and councilors over the years, but was never diagnosed correctly or at all. After our divorce our suspicion was confirmed and he was diagnosed with Bipolar (and severe ADD). So what happened? The incompetent psychiatrist handed him a subscription for drugs and wished him good luck. What a mess - no life wholeness plan or any help in that direction. It is so much easier then, to go back to the conditioned coping mechanisms. For now this is as far as this ex-spouse is going with the first post. I want to contemplate further.