Struggling to cope

Hi, I’m 23 years old, and my husband has bipolar 2. He was originally diagnosed with depression when he was 17, but after years of medications not working, and having periods of what we now know was hypomania, he has finally got a diagnosis of bipolar 2. He had been doing well for over a year, but has entered a state of major depression again in the last couple of weeks. This is the first time he has been in this stage since I have been working full time, and I am finding it increasingly difficult to do my job, as well as care for him, and do all the household chores. To add to things, we are having our wedding day in just over 2 weeks, as our original date last year got cancelled. He is currently very suicidal, and I am struggling to think of life without him if he did do something. I have a fear of leaving the house without him, as when he previously attempted suicide, it was when I was out for the day. I am really struggling with finding ways to help him. I guess I just want to know if anyone else has been in a similar position and what they did. Thank you

HI Chloe,
This sounds a very stressful situation to be in.

I’m sorry I don’t have experience of this, but didn’t want to leave your post unanswered.

Just in case you haven’t looked already, you might find the Mind website helpful

Take a look here too


Hi Chloe. First of all - don’t try to cope with this alone. Tell family and friends about your partners ongoing depression, especially HIS family and friends. Ask them to phone him and/or visit him.
Try not to leave him alone for too long - I realise you’re working - can you take some time off work?
Let him know how much you care about him. How does he feel about the wedding? Is he worried about the wedding? Does he want to postpone/ cancel it?
What about financies? If your husband is not working that would understandably make him feel depressed and affect his self esteem.
I don’t mean to sound harsh- but is this really the right time to be getting married? It may be that he’s going through with it because he doesn’t want to upset you.

I am so sorry to hear about your problems. I think it is important you need to know how bad it can get so you can make an informed decision or stop going down the rabbit hole that I and my husband have slipped down, look out for the warning signs as it were. I am not saying that this is what you have in store but I wish I had been told this as I have wasted so much time with unrealistic expectations. No one unless they have lived with a person with Bipolar will know or understand what it is like. Don’t get me wrong all the times have not been bad and I have two amazing daughters who I love more than anything and keep me going.

I have a great deal insight into what you are going through. My husband was diagnosed with Bi polar 2 officially in 2013 after years of suffering from depression but it took 3 years to get a proper diagnosis only after a psychotic episode where he went to a forest and thought he was being chased by dogs and men. My husband has not worked since 2012 partly because of physical issues but mentally he could not hold down a job any longer and the stress and anxiety worsens his symptoms. I have been the sole breadwinner and virtually a single parent to our children who are now adults since this time. Despite often threatening to kill himself so far he has made no attempts but last year he ended up being sectioned for 5 weeks after a change in his meds and his first proper manic episode he is now diagnosed as Bipolar 1.

Whilst he was manic he started getting increasingly aggressive, controlling and manipulative. He would say terrible things making me feel worthless and upset. Shouting at me and being aggressive, belittling me in front of others and gaslighting. I was terrified and despite me telling his doctors about this help came too late and he had a psychotic episode again. I was forced to call the police when my daughter and I had to barracade ourselves in the lounge to stop him from getting to me as I do not know what he would do. Despite the mental health team visiting 2 days prior to this they left him with us with no help saying they would have to find him a bed and call the police if we were concerned for our safety. I still cannot believe they left him with us and both my daughters and I were so terrified we had to sleep together with chairs against the door whilst he charged around the house as he had not slept for days shouting abuse through the door. In the end we were forced to call the police who took him away in cuffs. On top of everything I also found out later that day he had been seeing a women for 4 months whilst he was having his manic episode (the first time in a 36 year relationship). The last 12 months since he has come out of hospital had been terrible and a rollercoster. Initially he could not get past that I had called the police and he did not understand how ill he was. When they sent him home he was still manic I think and only sent him home due to covid and lack of beds. We had family therapy which he refused to do after 3 sessions. I have had 6 therapy sessions to try and get over the trauma because that is all I had funding for. I cannot afford to pay for private therapy due to be the only one that works and furlough and my husbands CPN does not think talking therapies will help my husband, Unfortunately, his meds are not exactly working well enough to prevent his aggression and has suicidal thoughts and they refuse to make any further changes.

Whilst this has been going on all I have been told to do is not engage in talking to him if he is being mean or wants a row. Easier said than done when he follows me around the house knowing exactly what buttons to press and the next minute expecting me to do everything for him. If everything is going the way he wants it all is fine. However, life is not like that and there is always an outside influence which starts him off or if he is feeling agitated if I don’t respond the way he likes it then he gets super aggressive. For example, tonight he got instantly angry and swore at me when I left the house to pick up my daughter at 10pm he wanted me to go and get him a kebab, I asked him why and where from as I was tired and I didn’t feel comfortable standing in the local kebab shop at that time of night. 2 years ago he would not have dreamed of asking me to go to the doggy kebab shop saying it was not safe for me. So I refused saying I would not do him a favour if he spoke to me that way. Life has been tough for the last 11 years but since his hospitalisation I have lost all hope. Now I know what being hospitalised means (being drugged up so you are a zombie, being threatened by other patients and having no access to any other forms of treatment or therapies). How can I condemn him to that if he threatened to commit suicide? I am at the stage I cry myself to sleep every night, and am depressed and try my hardest to spend the least amount of time with him as he is either so low and negative that I feel the life being drained from me or he is so aggressive that it just triggers some sort of PSTD in me. So unless you have a lot of money and can afford private treatment this is what you could have in your future. I am so fed up of seeing rich and famous people saying its good to talk. Yes but who too, unless you can afford £80 per session. I’ve had my 6 sessions I feel no better and my husband apparently doesn’t respond to talking therapies. What is next for us?

Your partner needs the help of whatever, services are out there so find out what is available locally and fingers crossed in your area you are lucky. Read lots of books about Bi-polar and how to love someone like that. Your partner will be especially bad at times of stress and trying to reduce this as much as possible will help. But mostly what is happening and what he feels is not your fault and you can’t stop it whatever you do (I have been told by therapists I have nothing to feel guilty about) however, although the head knows that the heart is another thing. You will go from feeling love when they feel vulnerable to hate when they are nasty and aggressive. When they are low and aggressive just find time away to yourself. Don’t you dare feel guilt for this time because without it you won’t cope at all. It is not our fault they are ill. It is ok to have days when you are doing a bad job at caring for them as depending on how your own mental health is on that day will determine how good your are at dealing and coping with the motherload that comes your way. Laugh when there is something to laugh about and don’t feel guilty for this either. Think long and hard - have you got what it takes to see this through to the end. You will need strength and you will need resilience. Good luck and I wish you all the love in trying to decide what path you want you life to take. XX