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Fri Feb 14, 2014, 04:34 AM

 

Any suggestion on dealing with a bi polar sibling?

For the past five years I have been the caregiver for my sister, Anne. During this time I had to work with my 78 year old mother and a younger sister Sue as they both were out of state and would visit from time to time. Over time the fighting became unreal. Somehow I got through it. Two weeks ago Anne died. After 30 months on hospice she finally escaped her failing body. While I grieve for her long suffering and miss the vital funny being that she was before she became so ill, I would not have wished her to stay one minute more in her worn out body. It was a gift that I could help her in her final years.

Sue refers to herself as a fighter and in a meeting once told the hospice folks that we are fighters and nothing would change that. My question was , 'who's we?'...in my head. It got so hospice would not return calls because they did not want to be caught in the middle.

Sue argued in the funeral directors office, fought about funeral details and now is fighting about the estate. While she fights the process she seems unable to organize or follow a time line of how events actually happened. She forgets conversations, can not recall things that she agreed to and when she feels cornered becomes livid, reciting a repertoire of her view of me as a person. These spoken words are identical to tirades that she has written to me in emails. It was strange enough when she wrote them but when I saw her go into it in person I just didn't know what to say. It was frightening.

Here's the kicker, Sue works at a hospital that just got a new CAT scan machine. The employees were asked to volunteer if they wanted a free scan. She took them up on it because she has always worried that she might have the same disease as Anne (spino cerebellar ataxia) and wanted to make sure that her cerebellum was OK.

Last week she got a call from the neurologist. He asked her if she was having any neurological symptoms. First he was talking MS but basically he was thinking that the person who went with this test result must be symptomatic. After looking at the scan herself Sue has decided that it looks like a scan from someone with bi polar/ depression. She will have more tests to determine the actual cause, if possible. She is currently being treated for depression. For a long time I thought she suffered from Borderline personality disorder.

Long story short Sue has always had mental health issues. She is high functioning at her profession but a wreck in her personal life. The symptoms seemed to get worse with the stress of Anne being sick. Anne's death and the activities around that seem to have amplified Sues problems which I feel are verging on out of control.

If you have any tips or techniques that may work to help me understand what she is going through or ways that I can work with her more effectively I would love to hear them. I am not looking for diagnosis.

I am sorry this is so long but am thankful for any input that you may have. Peace, Kim




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Reply Any suggestion on dealing with a bi polar sibling? (Original post)
peace13 Feb 2014 OP
Warpy Feb 2014 #1
peace13 Feb 2014 #2
chervilant Feb 2014 #6
Warpy Feb 2014 #40
chervilant Feb 2014 #45
Victor_c3 Feb 2014 #3
peace13 Feb 2014 #7
Scuba Feb 2014 #18
Victor_c3 Feb 2014 #31
Sweet Freedom Feb 2014 #37
Sweet Freedom Feb 2014 #29
Victor_c3 Feb 2014 #33
Sweet Freedom Feb 2014 #36
bettyellen Feb 2014 #42
raccoon Feb 2014 #52
PowerToThePeople Feb 2014 #35
gwheezie Feb 2014 #4
steve2470 Feb 2014 #8
peace13 Feb 2014 #16
peace13 Feb 2014 #10
chervilant Feb 2014 #5
peace13 Feb 2014 #11
bravenak Feb 2014 #9
peace13 Feb 2014 #13
bravenak Feb 2014 #14
Hekate Feb 2014 #12
peace13 Feb 2014 #15
Demeter Feb 2014 #17
peace13 Feb 2014 #21
Phentex Feb 2014 #19
peace13 Feb 2014 #20
OregonBlue Feb 2014 #23
peace13 Feb 2014 #24
peace13 Feb 2014 #22
jwirr Feb 2014 #25
peace13 Feb 2014 #41
hunter Feb 2014 #26
peace13 Feb 2014 #39
Xolodno Feb 2014 #27
peace13 Feb 2014 #32
unblock Feb 2014 #28
missingthebigdog Feb 2014 #30
peace13 Feb 2014 #34
peace13 Feb 2014 #38
TBF Feb 2014 #43
peace13 Feb 2014 #44
lumberjack_jeff Feb 2014 #46
peace13 Feb 2014 #47
lumberjack_jeff Feb 2014 #48
LiberalEsto Feb 2014 #49
peace13 Feb 2014 #50
Notafraidtoo Feb 2014 #51
peace13 Feb 2014 #53

Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 04:45 AM

1. It's sad but unless you can catch Sue in a more lucid and less belligerent moment

and talk her into getting a real evaluation as an inpatient, there's not much you can do. If what you suspect is bipolar disease and she's only being treated for depression (common, since that's the mood swing they never want to come back), the drugs she's on might be making it a bit worse.

Unfortunately, we have too narrow a definition of "harm to oneself or others" that basically forces us to wait until the person is brandishing a weapon at us before a cop can take them in for a 72 hour involuntary committment. It's too restricted and too short.

Bipolar disease is all through my extended family. The ones on drugs are doing fine while they stay on the drugs but they miss the highs and go off them periodically. The sadder ones are the ones who self medicate with alcohol, which actually works for a while but eventually leaves them as alcoholic bipolars.

Good luck to you both. It's hard enough to mourn a death without having to cope with crazy at the same time. I hope you can both beat the odds and get her some real help.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 05:02 AM

2. Thanks Warpy.

 

I appreciate the information and the kind words!

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 05:38 AM

6. Please be careful with the word "crazy."

Bipolar is a serious disorder, and sufferers get angry and defensive about "crazy" as a label or a description of their disease.

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Response to chervilant (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 03:20 PM

40. Oh, please.

My cousins describe themselves with that word frequently, especially when they look back at how they were off their meds.

Do continue the Bowdlerization Project on the Whole World, starting with DU, but we're done here.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #40)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 07:23 PM

45. Wow.

Quite a defensive response, Warpy. Forget I asked.

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 05:06 AM

3. I have a bipolar wife

From what I understand, it usually takes on average 7 years from the time a bipolar person is first diagnosed with depression before a bipolar diagnosis is made. Apparently it is a hard condition for psychiatrists to diagnose.

The quote "high functioning at her profession but a wrench in her personal life" sounds just like my wife. I don't doubt at all my wife's intelligence and her proficiency at what she does, but all of her relationships that I see seem to follow the same basic patterns - especially deeper relationships. Also, when you mentioned the email and verbal attacks, it sounds again like my wife.

Unfortunately, from what I've seen, it is a difficult condition to reign in. People with it are resistant to therapies that involve talking to psychologists and are often reluctant to take medication that will help relieve symptoms as well. My wife has had a diagnosis for a couple of years now, maybe 3 or 4 years.

I'm currently in a really bad relationship with my wife as a result. She can be a nasty awful person at times and she isn't the same person I married 9.5 years ago. When I'm home, I basically avoid her all that I can, I know better than to start any conversation with her, and I keep my answers to her questions or conversations as short as I can. The only reason I'm still married is because I have to kids who are aged 3 and 5 with her and they would be devastated to be separated from their mother or myself as a result of a custody battle.

I keep telling myself that she is the way that she is as the result of a legitimate condition that she can't help, but it is still hell. I try to be understanding, supportive, and helpful but nothing I do can help her. No matter how much I try to show that I support her or love her she'll just turn anything around and bash me with it.

I'm really only touching the surface of my experiences here but suffice it to say that it is extremely hard living with a bipolar person.

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 05:40 AM

7. Thank you so much for this.

 

I understand completely what you are saying. Your comments mirror what I am seeing. Our mother shows the same attributes and as a result Sue has actually tired to consult with psychiatrists and has studied various techniques to deal with what she is experiencing. It is the last several years that the wheels have begun to really wobble. Now she seems unaware that she does not remember conversations.

I send you love and energy. It is hard to protect our little ones and I know that is your first concern. I will tell you the same thing that I have been told over the last five years. Be sure to take care of yourself! The one thing I found helpful was dynamical meditation. It has been a lifesaver!

Best wishes and thank you so much. Peace, Kim

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 09:51 AM

18. Firstly, here's hoping things work out well for you and yours. Secondly ....

 

... please consider carefully the well being of your children, and if keeping them around their mother is really better for them.

I certainly don't know enough about your situation to judge, but have seen other children badly harmed when parents stayed together "for the kids".

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Response to Scuba (Reply #18)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 01:23 PM

31. Thanks for the thought and the concern

The well being of my kids are the forefront of my concern and I believe in my wife's concern too.

I can't think of one instance when her rage has been directed at our children. Fortunately, whenever she gets overwhelmed, she'll give me a call if I'm at work and I can come home and take care of the kids while she hides away in her room for the rest of the day. I work 10 minutes from home and my boss is very understanding.

I'm not happy about it, but I can take someone freaking out at me all day. I wouldn't tolerate it for a single instant if she did the same to our children.

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #31)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 01:51 PM

37. Victor, they know.

Don't think they don't. My ex was the same -- everything was directed at me, never at or in front of our daughter. After he moved out, my daughter floored me when she told me something was "wrong with daddy" and she was glad he was gone. She was only 7 years old.

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 01:20 PM

29. I am so sorry

I can empathize. I was married forever to a man with borderline personality disorder, which sounds very similar to bipolar disorder. I considered staying with him for the sake of our child, but my life became unbearable and I left him (and changed my username to Sweet Freedom). Best decision I ever made for me and my daughter. You may want to talk to a therapist about your children. I did, and I am so grateful that I did. I was considering staying until my daughter went to college, but I learned the young don't remember and divorce can actually be harder for them the older they get. It sounds like your life is hell. I doubt you want your kids to grow up thinking this is normal. I just wish I knew then what I know now. I would have left sooner. I am happy and so is my daughter. You deserve to be happy!

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Response to Sweet Freedom (Reply #29)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 01:33 PM

33. You know what, I think I will talk to a therapist about my kids

I have my own issues with PTSD (which are tame in comparison) and I have weekly visits with a psychologist. It'd be too easy to ask my psychologist some general questions and get a very informed and accurate opinion.

Thanks for your note.

I really want a divorce and I know she does too (in fact, she throws it in my face all the time), but I'm really scared about what it'd do for my kids.

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #33)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 01:46 PM

36. Good for you!

This may be the first day of a whole new life.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #33)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 03:40 PM

42. good to hear you are taking that step. you will be setting a great example by coping with the issue

 

rather than sweeping it under the rug. no matter how hard it is to go through a break up, it will be better for the kids to have a positive environment where everyone's happiness and health are made a clear priority.
I grew up in a house filled with mental health issues, a lot of strife and tragedy.... and my two brothers who tried to ignore or forget it, instead of cope and process, are both pretty hopeless alcoholics now. They never learned self care, coping, drawing boundaries, etc. I got a lot of grief for actually admitting we had experienced so many things that were painful, but I chose not to gloss it over, or to live in shame over it any more. I wish they had been able to see that takes more strength than burying their heads in the sand. Stoicism -in the long run- is an overrated quality. Please find the best allies you can to help you through this. Good luck.

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #33)

Sat Feb 15, 2014, 07:35 AM

52. I think you also should be scared of what living in that kind of situation will do to your kids. nt

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 01:44 PM

35. wow victor.

 

I have a 4 year old. I am a single father now, partly due to my situation being pretty similar to what you describe. I know it is tough on my boy, but I think it is better now than it was prior. I am happier now and do not have to live in fear in my own house.

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 05:18 AM

4. She needs a complete work up

I would also suggest neuro-psych testing. I don't know if she meets criteria for a 72 hour hold, each state has different laws, you might want to contact the agency that services the mentally ill in your county or city in case you need to get her help fast.
As far as the testing, you might want to appeal to her intelligence and curiosity in a calmer moment. I have bi polar relatives, some were initially misdiagnosed and therefore did not get the appropriate treatment, so it would be very important to her to have an accurate diagnosis. It sounds like she is open to hearing a difficult diagnosis, it indicates to me she knows something isn't quite right, also there may be something organic going on, I might approach it that way. I've had more than a few patients who presented with manic like behavior who turned out to have thyroid disorders. Also if she is on medication for depression, she may need it adjusted if she is having manic episodes. It's interesting the doctor found some structural abnormality on the scan, has she ever had a head injury? All these questions can be answered with a more thorough work up.
As far as her behavior, it's hard to step back when you are dealing with someone who is attacking you with irrational thinking, you feel the need to correct her thinking. It's hard to do but I would avoid engaging in her tirades, if she is borderline it winds up being sucked into the black hole of her drama. I have had this experience several times, you can feel it happening. Sometimes the hardest thing is to step back, let the person know you will listen to them but not listen to attacks on yourself and you will speak to them later.

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Response to gwheezie (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 05:40 AM

8. excellent post

An accurate diagnosis is critical, so I second the workup suggestions. I also agree with not subjecting yourself to tirades. You have to take care of yourself also. Once you are satisfied that she is not going to hurt herself or anyone else, it's time to disengage and let the situation de-escalate. Hopefully she will get appropriate treatment soon.

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 06:29 AM

16. Thank you Steve.

 

I think she will get the work up. The timing was awful with the funeral and all and then coming back to work and getting the questionable result. She had vacation scheduled before any of this came up! When she gets back I think she will follow up. I know she was just looking for a healthy cerebellum and found something else. Very sad!

I am beside myself trying to communicate with her. The anger and hate live ever so slightly beneath the surface. Focusing on space and de -escalation will help.

Thank you for your input. Peace, Kim

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Response to gwheezie (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 05:55 AM

10. Thanks for this

 

I know she will follow through with additional scans. It was unfortunate that the opportunity for the scan was so close to the death of our sister. My heart goes out to her. Watching someone slowly 'melt' as we did with Anne, it becomes painfully clear that the brain holds all of the cards!

To my knowledge she has not had a head injury.

Your advice about not getting sucked in is invaluable. In the past I have been guilty as charged. I will focus on that and set business aside until a clearer window appears.

Thank you for your comments! Peace, Kim

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 05:33 AM

5. My sister was diagnosed bipolar more than 10 years ago.

She has since denied that diagnosis. She has steadily worsened in her personal and familial relationships. Now, her daughter is likely bipolar, with the same symptoms and coping strategies. Her daughter is also in denial.

A friend suggested two books by Kay Redfield Jamison, head of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins and bipolar. I recommend "An Unquiet Mind." The other "The Fire Within," is also good, but was more difficult for me to read.

Bipolar is a challenging disease. My niece is with me at present, having a respite from her mother. My niece is rude and obnoxious, and treats me like I'm dumb as a box of rocks. She is defensive about her disorder, and doesn't want to do anything but sleep and watch movies (she owns more than six hundred, and considers herself a movie "expert". She "suffers" from a laundry-list of physiological disorders (lactose intolerance, fructose intolerance, SIBO, a rare urinary disease, and bursitis), but her biggest presenting problem is her bipolar disorder.

I have to keep reminding myself that my niece experiences everything through the filter of her bipolar disorder. It's a difficult and challenging disease.

I wish we could form a support group. Hope this helps.

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Response to chervilant (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 06:02 AM

11. Thanks for the information.

 

I will check out the books!

I am sorry to hear about your sister and niece. It is exhausting to try and have a positive relationship of any kind. I hope that she gets some rest and can move on. You have your hands full for sure. I send you extra energy to face the day! Peace, Kim

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 05:50 AM

9. I had to do inpatient treatment before I could see that I really had a problem.

 

It help me so much, just to be around other people who were dealing with my same feelings. Couldn't take the medicine, but the group therapy helped me manage my symptoms. It's like being on a constant roller coaster. The memory problems she's exhibiting are worrysome, I never experienced that and she might want to talk to someone about that.

Let her know you love her, but you are too tired to fight with her anymore.

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Response to bravenak (Reply #9)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 06:09 AM

13. Thank you for the advice.

 

Sometimes it is so hard to love her. I will be better about telling her.

I will try and talk to her about the memory issue if a calm moment arises. I try to use email as much as possible in order to have a record, although that does open me up to cutting tirades.

You are an inspiration to me. Thank you for writing. I will encourage her to seek out a group.
Peace, Kim

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Response to peace13 (Reply #13)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 06:11 AM

14. Good luck.

 

It's very hard to be in your position.

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 06:07 AM

12. 5th Rec for a little more visibility

I hope others can help. Peace to you

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Response to Hekate (Reply #12)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 06:11 AM

15. Thank you so much!

 

I appreciate your help! Peace, Kim

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 07:20 AM

17. Since Sue is dealing with it herself with the help of qualified medical facility

 

I would back off, be supportive, and encourage her efforts to get a good diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment will make all the difference. Then you can work on your sibling relationship and family issues.

PS:I didn't know a CAT scan could reveal such information!

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Response to Demeter (Reply #17)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 11:41 AM

21. Neither did I until she told me.

 

I googled bi polar CT scan to see what she was talking about. She is a nurse anesthetist and has some medical background. They told her that they wanted to do a more detailed scan. I hope she finds an answer.

I will try to back off, in the past we have had breaks from each other. With my others sister's estate to settle we have to work in cooperation at times. It is not good. That is why I called out here to see what I could do to diffuse the situation while still moving forward.

I try to be supportive. Maybe the universe was on to something, giving her the opportunity for the free scan and then delivering the news a week after her sisters funeral. Originally I thought it was awful timing, but if she can get some help at a time when she is at her lowest maybe that is best. Maybe even life saving.

Thank you so much for the support.
Peace , Kim

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 10:50 AM

19. You and the others here are describing...

my sister and the struggles we are going through. It's exhausting! Right now she is in retreat mode and while I feel guilty about it, I am a little relieved she is leaving me alone for a bit. She does take medication but she needs regular therapy and she will not take the time to do this.

If anyone is interested in a support group outside of DU, I'd be very open to it.

Kim, you are not alone and I thank you for posting about this.

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Response to Phentex (Reply #19)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 11:12 AM

20. Thank you for the kind words.

 

I am sorry that you are having to deal with this too. I feel sorry for our peeps as well. This disease when not controlled is a very hard place to live. I can see the suffering. I know she tries but most times I wish she tried harder!

Peace and love to you. Give me a holler if you get any other takers on a support group. From the responses here I think it is helpful to hear from both sides of this.

It is hopeful to me that many with the disease can work their way out of the despair. It is just helpful to see the line of thinking.

Peace,
Kim

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Response to peace13 (Reply #20)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 12:12 PM

23. I hope she pursues treatment. I have a son who is 36 who has been bi-polar his whole life.

The problem is, it's a very hard diagnosis to make and it actually sounds to me like there may be other disorders that may be happening at the same time or something else all together. A scan can usually only detect an abnormality, it will not reveal specifically what her condition is. Often there is more than one disorder happening at the same time.

At any rate, there is very little you can do to make her pursue it. Be very supportive and be willing to listen to her if she expresses interest in getting help. I guarantee she knows something is wrong but has been too afraid to admit it and seek treatment. Until she decides to get help with her disorder, you can do very little. Just don't spend too much time with her in-person and do encourage her to find out what is really going on.

If in fact she is bi-polar, there are some newer meds that seem to work much better than the old ones with fewer side effects.

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Response to OregonBlue (Reply #23)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 12:31 PM

24. Thank you for this.

 

I appreciate your wisdom and experience.
Peace, Kim

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 12:11 PM

22. Thank you so much for the valentines!

 

This my first post here in weeks so I know there is a chance that you may see this thank you!

The responses to this post help me understand that many struggle with these same issues. Not feeling alone is a huge help.

Thank you all so much.

Happy Valentine's Day to you!

Peace,
Kim

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 12:32 PM

25. Much of what you are telling us sounds very like my brother who was diagnosed years ago. All I can

say is love her but do not let her run over you because you are also important. What we did for my brother is make sure he had a place to live and support him when he asks for help. Otherwise we back off and let the medical profession handle it.

One of the problems with that though is that many mental health services are not available at an affordable price. Not sure how ACA is with mental health. My brother has been on social security disability for years so he does not have to try to work. When he as a kid working was hell as he too cannot keep to a schedule. If he had a job that gave him free run of how he did it he could work but there are not that many jobs like that.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #25)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 03:20 PM

41. Thank you for this.

 

She has a husband and he too is now depressed and takes medication for it. They look after each other for the most part. I have to interact with her at this point to finalize estate issues for my other sister. If I didn't have business with her I would let her take a holiday for as long as she liked. Instead of working together she has assumed prize fighter stance and engaged in a fight at every corner. I need to settle down and realize that things will take time and that is all there is to it. Let her fight her shadow until she tires.

Thank you so much for adding to this conversation. It was very helpful! Peace, Km

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 12:35 PM

26. Anti-depressants can make bi-polar symptoms worse.

Quite a few people get diagnosed that way...

Other modern medications work pretty well but often people quit taking them because they miss the manic "highs," or the meds make them feel less focused.

Functional, or even successful at work, with a completely chaotic, high drama, dysfunctional home life describes a lot of people in my family. My grandma may have been bipolar (among other things...) She never missed work, she was respected there, but her personal life was a never-ending high drama catastrophe. When she retired she became a danger to herself and others and had to be removed from her home. She fought off the police and paramedics for hours. After that she'd get kicked out of extended care homes, and live with my parents, peaceful for the most part, until she wasn't.

How to deal with it? I compare it to treading water in a giant surf, just beyond the break, at a beach covered with jagged rocks and freshly broken glass. You bob up and down with the waves, and when a big one is about to break on you, you dive under it. Whatever you do, you do not ride a wave into the shore. The rocks and glass there will cut you up.

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Response to hunter (Reply #26)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 03:07 PM

39. That water treading visualization is wonderful. Beautiful!!

 

I understand completely. This will come in very handy. Thank you so much! Peace, Kim

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 12:43 PM

27. As someone else implied...

...don't force the issue. My wife has BPD and thank God she recognizes she has this problem and actively manages it.

Your sister needs to come to terms with this on her own. To encourage her in continuing with treatment, be supportive and stress the physical aspects they are finding. (too many negative society connotations where mental illness = crazy...and no one wants be "crazy".

Personally, I think the word "Mental" should be dropped as these illnesses are associated with physical problems with the brain. We know concussions can make a person irrational, high blood pressure can make a person angry frequently, etc. and yet this is all considered "physical". BPD, Bi-Polar, etc. are all physical illnesses that just happen to originate in the brain...which is an area medical science is still studying and working on.

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Response to Xolodno (Reply #27)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 01:27 PM

32. Her blood pressure has been an issue in the recent past.

 

It is good to know about the possible connection there. That may explain some of the abnormalities in the scan. Thank you for your observations. I appreciate your input. Peace, Kim

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 12:47 PM

28. my recommendation is to take care of yourself first.

bipolar disorder is a condition that often does more harm to the people around the patient than the patient themselves.

more important, bipolar disorder is notorious for making patients non-compliant. it can take years to convince them to get help (or for them to have an episode where "the system" can force it on them), and even then, they'll often go off their meds. worse, going off meds usually puts them straight into the hypomanic phase, convincing them that they're cured and made the right decision to go off the meds. then when they go full manic or depressed, they're back in the clutches of the disease and can't see reason enough to go back on the meds.

you, on the other hand, are suffering real pain and are quite capable of benefiting from therapy. you'll be in a much better position to help sue, or at least to copy with sue, once you have gone through that adjustment.

my whole family has done this. my grandfather (long since dead) had and my younger brother has bipolar disorder. at the moment he is incommunicado and off meds, but the rest of the family is at peace with his decision and his condition.

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Response to unblock (Reply #28)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 01:22 PM

30. This.

It might seem cold and uncaring, but the best thing you can do is take care of you.

People with bipolar disorder can be extremely demanding, and can be very good at making you feel as if it is your responsibility to help. It is exhausting and thankless. You need to be healthy and strong so that when she is in a crisis taht really does require your intervention, you can be there for her.

Hugs to you. I know how hard this is.

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Response to missingthebigdog (Reply #30)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 01:35 PM

34. Thanks for this!

 

I have started dynamical meditation a year ago and have completed level one Reiki in that time frame as well. Both have been a life saver to me. I would highly recommend both to anyone who needs to reduce stress levels. The care giving to Anne was an olympic effort. I should have guessed that that was not to be the final hurdle.

Thank you for your wise words. Peace, Kim

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Response to unblock (Reply #28)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 01:52 PM

38. Thank you for this.

 

I understand what you are saying here. I use dynamical meditation, Reiki and yoga to cope at this point. All of this is very helpful for me. I really want to make sure that I am able to understand where she is coming from so that I can respond without the drama. I have learned so much from these posts!

I wish you and your family well. At one point I gave myself a one year vacation from my mother. My husband refers to it as the best year of our lives! : ) My best to you and yours! Peace, Kim

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 03:48 PM

43. Cart before horse -

You said you are not looking for diagnosis but that is exactly what you need. You stated "Sue has decided that it looks like a scan from someone with bipolar/depression". It may well be, or it may be something else. Even if she is a neurologist she should not be diagnosing herself. Once you have an actual diagnosis from a competent physician you can move forward with treatment.

As for dealing with her it is like anyone else - set boundaries and if she shares details with you in an acceptable way then try to be supportive. I wouldn't be a door mat or put up with tantrums/explosions.

I'm very hopeful that if she gets the diagnosis you expect that she can get help for it. But she is the one who needs proper diagnosis and treatment. You can't do that for her.

I know it's hard. ((hugs))

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Response to TBF (Reply #43)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 04:41 PM

44. Thanks!

 

I understand what you are saying. In the end it is all about boundaries....and being rested. Fatigue, be it battle fatigue or age does not play well when working with this situation.

She has struggled with something her entire life. If this is the moment she decides to dig a little deeper then it will be. Until then all I can do is the best I can.

Thanks for the much needed hug!
Have a great one! Peace, Kim

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 07:43 PM

46. One can detect bipolar disorder or depression from a CT scan?

 

Organic problems can create or exacerbate psychological disorders. If I were her sister, I'd have a longer conversation with the neurologist than the post above implies.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #46)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 08:29 PM

47. This was a preliminary look at a test scan. The doc thought that what he was looking at was....

 

MS. My sister who is a nurse anesthetist, not a neurologist thought it looked like scans of depression/ bi polar. Of Course she is the patient, while she is fully aware of her symptoms she could be projecting.

I totally believe that she will do further testing. As I stated we have been a family in crisis for quite some time. I was looking for help in the immediate to deal with problems she is experiencing. Problems that are creating huge communication issues at this time.

Thank you so much for your comments! Peace, Kim

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Response to peace13 (Reply #47)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 08:31 PM

48. I wish I could help more, but my local chapter of NAMI is a good resource.

 

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #48)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 09:34 PM

49. I was just going to suggest NAMI too

 

and I'm glad you did

They have classes, support groups of all kinds, learning materials and more.

NAMI: National Alliance for Mental Illness

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #48)

Sat Feb 15, 2014, 01:58 AM

50. Thank you for this! N/t

 

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Response to peace13 (Original post)

Sat Feb 15, 2014, 04:04 AM

51. My Ex Wife was Bi-polar

My Ex Wife was severe Bi- polar and much of what you describe are things i had to deal with in our Six year marriage. The first thing you need to do is research, Its important to understand she has little control over many of her actions. That way you can prevent yourself from being consumed with resentment and anger at some of her manic episodes.

My ex destroyed our finances with out me knowing during manic episodes she had no memory of resulting in several months in prison for her. She was a sweet woman very compassionate and by no means a criminal but when the disorder took hold she was a different person for short periods of time resulting in a lot of destruction to her self and others.

Here is some tips

1. Don't hold a grudge she is sick, i know it seems like its her fault but it isn't.

2. Don't give her responsibility or put her in stressful situations.

3.She may come up with Lies out of whole cloth, weird story's that could never have happened and judgments of others that are harsh and slanderous, don't believe them and do not take offense again she is sick.

4. In my ex's case meds were not always effective even though she took them daily and we saw a doctor regularly, bi polar disorder is very tough to treat and not all people can avoid manic episodes even with treatment.

5. I know this sounds harsh but i would never allow my children around someone severely bi polar with out supervision, any thing can happen during one of those episodes, my Ex shook a crying baby once even though she adores children, she doesn't even know why she did it.

6. Logic doesn't work when they are manic, no amount of math, common sense or rational self interest will stop them from jumping off what ever invisible cliff she might be obsessed with at the moment.

Be careful, compassionate and understanding. After my experience with her i am convinced the prisons are full of people who are simply bi polar and need treatment instead of punishment.

In the end i wasn't strong enough or wealthy enough to endure the destructive things she caused.I had to work and couldn't always be home with her. I almost went to prison because she forged my name to steal money and she cheated on me. She doesn't even remember her actions. I loved her and i forgive her, I only hope one day they have better treatment for her before she ends up dead or in prison for the rest of her life.

I know what i wrote makes her sound horrible but in truth 90% of the time she was a perfect loving angel that made me very happy and all her friends adored her until she did something off to them that burned the bridge so to say.

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Response to Notafraidtoo (Reply #51)

Sat Feb 15, 2014, 08:38 AM

53. Thank you so much for taking the time and energy to post this!

 

I can understand the roller coaster you were riding on. So much of your list is things that I have witnessed with my sister. When my older sister got sick it seemed like Sue's problems really escalated. My mother also exhibits these same symptoms yet as you say, appears 'normal' to most people much of the time. For much of the five years people didn't know who to believe. In the end both my mother and sister had lit into hospice employees, assisted living employees and the final blow...the funeral director. It has been three weeks since Anne died. My mind is numbed by the actions of my surviving family. I will follow up with research as you suggest and try like hell to separate the disease from the person(s).

The lying and memory loss have really blistered over the past three years. It is scary and hopeless to deal with.

You write that this list makes your wife sound horrible but I think you have painted the living hell that she has to live in. I think your post is a tribute to you both and paints a picture that many people find themselves in. You show love and compassion for someone who has run you through the ringer. You are a caring and kind soul and I thank you so much for sharing this!

I wish the best for you! Peace and love, Kim

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