My Journey with a Loved One Suffering from Chronic Depression and Bipolar Disorder

We both suffered for years in a limbo state, not knowing what the heck we were dealing with. Neither of us could understand his behavior. My husband was depressed from the moment I met him, and stayed that way. First, he was depressed because his dad had died 3 years prior to us meeting each other. Then, he was depressed over a huge lie he told me at the beginning of our relationship. He always seemed to be riddled with guilt over everything that happened to him, whether or not he had any control over what happened. He was easily depressed over incidents that happened across the globe, at work, to our neighbors and just about the entire newspaper made him depressed. He was like a raving lunatic, waving his arms around, jumping up and down. His moods of being really, really sad or extremely upset or excited seemed to me to be deeper and change from one extreme to another rapidly. He could not remember anything to save his soul. He even forgot what he would say to me, 5 minutes after he said it. We needed help, and we needed it to be from someone that knew what was going on with him.

The first mental health professional we went to, said he was just depressed over his dad’s death and everyone took different lengths of time to come to terms with the loss, and to work through the stages of grief. Some people work through the stages within a year, some take years. At the time of seeing her, my husband’s dad had been gone for 4 years and he was still in major depression about the loss. Both my parents are still alive and so I had no experience to compare to his and gave him what comfort and understanding I could. It just seemed that he could never move past into the acceptance stage of losing his dad. The professional therapist also said that he was feeling immense guilt over the lie that began our relationship and just how many people had been hurt by that lie. She tried to help him understand that he needed to confess what he did, ask for forgiveness, accept that forgiveness if it was given, which all parties had for my husband, and then the important part – he had to understand not only about the hurt the lie caused, but to want not lie again – to repent in other words, forgive himself and move on. My husband constantly thought about what he had done, and would not move on. This piled on more depression. After about 2 months of seeing this professional and being told the same things by her, he refused to go back. He wanted her to tell him that he was not a bad person and that what he had done was not really so bad. It is hard to understand why this is so important to him. Years later, he is still in that rut. Feeling so depressed over all the lies he tells and the resultant damage those lies cause. He feels terribly guilty, but cannot seem to stop lying.

Six years ago, he was diagnosed as being “Chronically Depressed, Bipolar in emotion and thought”, and in 2005 of being a “Chronic Liar”. The mental health agency we had been using throughout the years, has a family support group, and the director of this group told me upon hearing his diagnosis that he does know that a lot of their patients who are diagnosed with being Bipolar will also receive the diagnosis of being a Chronic Liar, he was not sure why there is a connection, only that he has seen this happen a lot.

His behavior has also manifested itself in anger and frustration because he is unable to cope with life. He has trouble coping with the small and the big things in life. At times he and I have trouble knowing just which behaviors are associated with his mental illness and which are just his personality traits. His behavior, the lies, the deceptions, the mania episodes of going from really depressed and suicidal to being extremely agitated to the point where our daughters and myself are afraid of his wild ranting; have initiated 9 separations during our 11+ years of marriage. We have now been separated for almost one year and I know that we will never live together again. The girls and I need a more stable, healthy atmosphere.

The best advice I can give to anyone who has any type of mental illness, or knows of a loved one that suffers with one, seeking professional help, not only from doctors, therapists, and agencies, but reading reputable books, and websites, can give you the knowledge and understanding to help you and them cope with what ever mental disease they and you are dealing with. The person suffering and the people living with them can no handle this alone. Medications can help minimize the suffering if the patient will take them as prescribed with out missing doses or taking themselves off the medicine without being weaned by the doctor. My husband has taken himself off his heavy duty medicines 6 times, that I know of. Each time causing possible brain damage, according to his doctor. When he is taking his medicines as prescribed he is easier to live with and he is less confused, more able to focus his thoughts and emotions and can cope with life better. He is less depressed and is not suicidal. When he is missing doses or not taking his medicine, he is suicidal often, he gets angry, and very confused and unable to make even the simple decisions on a day-to-day basis. Having Chronic Depression and Bipolar Disorder is devastating to the one who suffers from it, but just as devastating to the family members and others who care about the suffer. They do not suffer alone. Getting help, becoming knowledgeable about the disease and showing the person you care about them are the best possible ways of handling these diseases.

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