More threads by Waiting


My wife has been having some problems throughout most of our marriage. It took a number of years to catch on, but we grew to expect an episode 3-4 times per year that would last 2-4 days. These episodes will take place just before or after Christmas; just before or after school stops for the summer and just before or after school starts in the fall. Some times there would be one thrown in at no particular time for good measure. We expected it and could tell a day or two in advance when it was coming by her behavior. These varied in intensity, but seemed to get worse over the last couple years. We never seeked help and once they were over, they were accepted as being over (altough not forgotten) by me and our kids.

In late June she had the "mother" of episodes which has never ended since that time. At that point she cut all contact with her mother (and still has) and our youngest daughter cut contact with her (and still has) because of it and not being able to forgive her actions.

Once she got to a point I could talk to her we both agreed that she needed some help. After seeing our family doctor she saw a psychologist for anger management for 3 or 4 sessions. This seemed to make things worse and she stopped saying it was of no help. Our doctor has since put her on antidepressants and we've been waiting since August for a late January psychiatrist appointment.

This has torn our family apart. Altough she hasn't been diagnosed as bipolar she meets a lot of the criteria for it or NPD. Right now she feels there is nothing wrong with her but that the whole thing is a plot by me.Our family is concerned that if she goes to the psychiatrist he will not get the background of her condition.

Is there anything we can do to insure this happens?

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
You cannot receive information from your wife's psychiatrist or psychologist because that would be a breacj of her confidentiality. However, you can transmit information to her therapists. Write a note with your observations and concerns and send it to the doctor. Any good practitioner won't take what you say as gospel but will take it under consideration.


Waiting wrote: "In late June she had the "mother" of episodes which has never ended since that time. At that point she cut all contact with her mother (and still has) and our youngest daughter cut contact with her (and still has) because of it and not being able to forgive her actions."

This theme of disconnection from family during a time of trouble rings a familiar and still uncomfortable chord in my personal experience. Although I did not cut off contact with anyone intentionally, my actions were such that a lot of people cut off contact with me, including my own daughter. She was unable to forgive me for behavior for which I felt I was not at fault. Once I got better, I had to prove it first before winning back her trust.

I'm not sure I can pinpoint exactly what my feelings are around the way that people acted toward me when I was having my lengthy manic episode in 2004, but logic tells me their behavior must have been a direct response to the way that I was behavior toward them. Like an alcoholic in denial who cannot see how his actions while drinking are affecting others, might not the manic person also be in a kind of denial over his illness? In my case, I experienced a sense of elation that was much too intense for the people around me. And let's face it: I'm a pretty intense guy to begin with, even without a manic episode. But I couldn't correlate the universal disapproval of others with what I mistook at the time to be a positive experience.

When my brother first began to suspect that I was getting better, he called and told me that I had been coming across as though I were really angry, and that it had been making people uncomfortable. In my conscious mind, however, I was not angry. I was feeling unusually happy, though on a very intense level.

By this time I had not only lost all my jobs and accounts, but I was literally out on the streets, staying in cheap motels and homeless shelters and worse. A friend of mine was finally kind enough to take me in for a month or so down in Southern California, and when I described some of the things that had happened to me, she said: "people in our society don't know how to relate to mental illness."

And I think it's true. I don't have an answer either, but I have since seen people become very uneasy when they can't tell which way someone is going to turn. It just somehow irks me that the general response is often rejection, rather than compassion. But on a positive note, one does find out who his real friends are at times like these.

I think this is all stuff that I have to work through, and at the same time I think it's healthy to let go of a lot of it, and move forward with confidence and hope. I'm one of the lucky ones who got most of his life back. A lot of people have been through this kind of thing, and have not come back.
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