Shocking trait of bipolar disorder finally revealed

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How’s it going?

I wanted to write you today about something
that’s rather interesting–a shocking
trait about bipolar disorder.

I have noticed now for many years that
there’s something really strange about
bipolar disorder. Well there are many
things but I find this one particular
thing most disturbing.

What is it?

It’s the fact that bipolar disorder episodes
wind up striking or occurring at the worst
possible times. The times that you are
least prepared. When you absolutely
don’t want an episode to occur.

I have some theories on this and
I will get to those in a second.

BUT, I want to remind everyone that
we have several holidays and events
coming up.

We have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas,
New Years, and the New Year (I call this an
event as well).

You have to start to plan and think about
what you are going to do if your loved
one with bipolar disorder goes into an episode
or if you do.

During the next couple of months, many
people will have a difficult time coping
and dealing with bipolar disorder. Both
bipolar supporters and bipolar survivors.
This is a fact for the most part of bipolar

The key is to be prepared and realize the
shocking trait of bipolar disorder that
is strikes at the worst possible times.

Here is some advice. Start to think of
what you will do if a bipolar disorder episode

Things to think about:

How do you get a hold of the doctor/therapist
especially on a holiday.

What are you going to do if you are your loved
one with bipolar disorder is too manic or too
depressed for one of these holidays or events.

How are you going to handle other friends and
family members.

How are you going to handle the transition from
fun and holidays to the new year that is not
so fun and exciting (for many this leads to
depressive episodes).

What are you going to do if there is drinking
and you are there and you or your loved one
can’t drink.

How are you going to handle diet restrictions
for the new year.

What are you going to do about not having
money to spend on present if that’s the case

These are the kinds of questions you need
to ask and start thinking about. You have
to making a plan and can’t just hope for
the best.

I like to think about bipolar disorder
as like a person or “being” that inhabits someone
and it’s a slick person. It’s cunning. It works
hard to cause problems. It sits and waits
for the best time for it to strike. When
people’s guard is down. When people don’t want
to deal with it. When people’s resources
are low. It doesn’t strike when a person
is in front of a hospital or team of doctors
where it would be easily overcome, it strikes
when it has the greatest chance to create
the most problems.

Now some might read this and think I am
out of my mind and that it’s not a “person”
or “thing” and that if I think about it like
this I am crazy or that I have a mental illness.

When I do think about it this way it helps
me separate the bipolar disorder from my mom,
it helps me plan better and it becomes kind of
like a game–me versus the disorder. Who’s smarter.
Who will win. I am competitive so I take the challenge
seriously. I have taught this thinking to many people
and they find it helps them as well.

If you start to think of bipolar NOT your loved
one is the real problem and enemy so to speak
it becomes easier to deal with as well.

With that said, take some time today and figure
out a plan. Grab a blank sheet of paper and
start to brainstorm.

If you need help get one of my courses/systems
because I cover virtually every problem you will come




I must say, for three years in a row
AFTER my mom’s big bipolar episode, I let
my guard down. I know this sounds dumb but
I thought my mom had “used up” her big
episodes and there wouldn’t be any more.

For three years my mom went from stable to
unstable in as little as 7 days and then
the system kicked in and she went back to being
stable. BUT, I must say I had to intervene
and if I didn’t, I am not sure if the system
would have done everything without my intervention.

BUT the good news is that I rebuilt all I learned
into my current courses/systems to prevent these
type of “doomsday scenarios” from happening
during holiday periods like we will
see over the next two months.

I know some people think I am negative or a major
downer but I just want to warn you so you don’t
get caught and then have to scramble and suffer
during the holidays and fun time.

I know that many people know exactly what I am
talking about. I would appreciate if you share a
story about bipolar and how it strikes at the
worst possible times.

On one last thing. Remember it’s the bipolar NOT
you or your loved one. There’s two separate things.
No one wants to have bipolar and many times what
is done is done because they can’t help it.

One final thought. I believe the reason why
it appears that bipolar always strikes during
the worst times is because bipolar episodes
are triggered many times by stress or events.
So during holidays or fun times that can push a
person into mania and then afterwards push a person
into depression. Fun events can in some cases fuel
bipolar episodes. And it’s during fun periods of
time you don’t want an episode so it winds up happening
during the time you want it least. Make sense? Hope so.

Well I have to run. I have a million things to
do. Catch you tomorrow.

Your Friend,


P.S. Don’t forget to take a look through the
different programs I’ve put together… each one is designed
to help you with a different area of bipolar disorder whether
you have it or you are supporting someone with it.
You can see them all and get the details by visiting:

P.P.S. Check out my F.ree blog with copies of emails
that I have sent in the past and lots of great
information for you:

P.P.P.S Check out my F.ree podcast. Hear me give
mini seminars designed to teach you information
you can’t learn anywhere else.

  1. I agree with today’s newsletter. It is not just holidays though… it is every event… whether it is a child’s b-day,someone else’s b-day, a minor holiday, a special event for one of the children at school, etc. I do believe stress is a large part of it… but how do you avoid an episode? I am truly dreading the upcoming holidays! I used to LOVE the holidays and have always wanted to make them special for my children… but it seems as though things are worse with each passing event.

  2. Im new to all of this my husband has bipolar depression we have been married almost a year and I agree totally with todays newsletter I noticed that holidays and birthdays trigger an episode and I dont know what to do. His episodes are becoming more intense and sometimes he has violent rage he has never hit me but Im afraid he might He wont take his meds. Im a nurse and it is difficult not being able to help him.

  3. As your first post says—there’s no mystery as to why bipolar attacks on holidays etc. It’s a stress reaction. We react badly to stress. We need to avoid it as much as possible. At other times we need to learn appropriate relaxation techniques—deep breathing, visualisation, meditation can all help. If this doesn’t help then having a little valium around often can….During the holiday period others need to understand that we may need to have ‘time-out’ periods to ourselves so we don’t get overstimulated by others or the sights and sounds around us.

  4. jan
    I can not agree with you more, a period never comes at a good time whether it is a holiday, christian festivity or a very normal day.
    The incovienence with those special days is indeed that help might not be available.
    Keep on taking your medication and take your rest.
    most probably i will not send in any reaction for months to come and thus all be it a bit early: merry christmas and happy new year period free for all of you.

  5. I have a real good friend who has bipolar disorder but I notice that she only has episodes when I am not around. She always tells me that I am the only person that makes her feel happy and safe but I can not be with her 24/7. Her husband works 12 hours a day and she is always left alone and this is when she gets suicidal and actually hurts herself. I am taking care of her through the in-home-supportive services but they only give me 6 hours a week with her and her docter says she needs care 12 hours a day 6 days a week while her husband is working. Would you happen to know how I could get to care for her longer hours a day? I am scared that one day she will go to far and there will not be anyone there to call 911 when she hurts herself. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

  6. Dear Dave,

    You brought up great points in today’s email. I’d like to add as both a survivor of bipolar disease and as a support person for my mother, the more we learn about our own manifestations of the illness, our personal early warning signs, we have a fighting chance to stay on top of it. My name for my bipolar is “The Blob.” I call it that for several reasons, the main one being it is slimy, insidious, cunning, sneaky and can seep into every area of my life. Without constant vigilance on my part and the part of MY support system, bipolar can become a thief as well. It can and has, robbed me of relationships, jobs, contact with my son, self esteem, and most of all, hope. With treatment, in my case medication and therapy, my life is rich and full with a fulfilling job, people who love and respect me and folks who allow me to love them. I maintain my self respect and can give service to others. Is there much more to ask for? Anyway, the other reason I name my illness is that (as you said) it effectively separates the essence of me and the behavior that occurs when the illness is in full bloom. For me the name removes the shame and shifts the blame from me and my intrinsic worth onto the illness. I hate the Blob! I have worked too hard and come to far to allow it to win. It is chronic, no question about that, but it is manageable. My continued health is my responsibility, not my friends-althow they help, not my family’s, not even my doctor’s responsibility but mine. I know my earliest warning signs for the beginning of depression and hypomania. I have mad a detailed list that I have given to my psycopharm, my therapist and three of my closest friends. This list has become my most powerful tool for a healthy life.

  7. I agree with your letter David. My bipolar kicks in when I go to an event or Im around alot of people. My episode now has lasted 2 weeks. I even have to go to a family gathering Thanksgiving, that should be fun. Thats when I feel my bipolar runs me. It does not seem to get any better.

  8. I also agree with today’s newsletter. I have noticed for years that my son seems to have an episode, usually the night before, a holiday or birthday. We try to make it things as stree free and as routine as possible but yet he still seems to have an episode.

  9. I also with today’s newsletter…my Mom has bipolar and lives about one and a half hours away from the rest of the family. She will be so prepared and so excited about coming down to see the family. It seems like she is good for weeks b4 the event and then she gets here and she can barley stand up or keep her eyes open. She tries to smile and carry on conversation with the family and her grand daughters, but it usually does not go well.most of the family including myself does not know enought about bipolar and we tend to think that she has over medicated her self to feel more comforatable of calm her nerves…you have just opened my eyes to think that we all could be VERY wrong


  11. i agree with u events do trigger episodes, i never thought about that until u mentioned it i am hoping i will cope a bit btter realising its the bipolar not just me i have 2 children who may also have it so im prepared thank you for your information very useful

  12. I also agree with todays newsletter. my husband is bipolar & the holidays or any magor even puts him in a bad state. The end of August his oldest daughter went back with her mom for the school year & the next day he left me & his youngest & still to this day has not come back. I go from being heart broken to mad, it’s like he doesn’t want any part of his life that he had with me. He says I made him misserable & does not want our marriage. I have to keep reminding myself of the illness but he has abandoned us. he is starting a new med so hopefully he’ll do better. But with the holidays coming up I’m afraid he will get so depressed & he’s his own enemy. It’s very hard to be a supporter when the person acts like he doesn’t want your support.

  13. Anytime I am outside my comfort zone I feel stress and visions of failure dance in my head. Will I do or say something stupid? Since I alienated some of the family during my early diagnosis and medication trials the holiday is extremely stressful because some of the family still loves me while the rest thinks I’m a piece of garbage. I’m hoping that since I’m stable again and I have learned to forgive myself and others I will handle this years holiday differently internally. I used to be so angry with my family for their lack of support and understanding. This year I forgive them for their ignorance. If I were disabled and living in a nursing home they would also be the ones that never visit me because they can’t handle it. I pray peace to all of you during times of stress. And a special thanks to all who support us through the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  14. My daughter has bipolar but has raised two kids on her own for 5 years. She married the father last year and he took the kids and filed for divorce and custody. She has a new baby now that is 2 months old (his) and he is trying to take him. The father was only in and out of their lifes and everytime he was around she had an episode. He knew what buttons to push and he is holding all that against her.. How sad to have to punish your own kids for selfishness. We are fighting this in court because they have always been with their mom and she has always provided everything for them. He just doesn’t want to pay child support or work. She sees a doctor on a regular basis and they seem to think she is doing great.

  15. Dave’/s email today comes at a time when the advice he gives is especially poignant for me. I was made bankrupt a fortnight ago, and among many consequences was the confiscation of my car, an old car worth only its scrap value if I tried to sell it but really really useful, because my lady love suffers from bipolar and as she lives 300 miles away, a car is the only speedy and economical way I can get to her to give support when she is in crisis. She has attempted suicide before and was only saved from success by the help of a dear friend. The friend died a few months ago, and my beloved has been in grief ever since. Twice I have had to drop everything and drive up as fast i can to support her until thoughts of suicide fade away. I explained all this to the Receiver but she showed an appalling indifference to my love’s welfare and my submitted need to keep the car. She even admitted that by the time the administrative costs of collecting and then disposing of the car were taken into account that it was unlikely she would gain more than a few ┬ús to give to creditors and maybe nothing at all.
    I kept trying to make her change her mind but would not. People who are bankrupt have to expect this sort of thing but we are entitled to expect some flexibility in interpreting the letter of the law. I’ve seen businessmen who have cheated people, driving away from court in top of the range vehicles, back to their millionaire houses. They can afford expensive lawyers to make sure going bankrupt doesn’t affect their lives. I’m a State Pensioner – one of the reasons I used credit so much to make life tolerable.
    My loved one is sensible and has arranged extra medication and therapeutic counselling to help her in the grief, but there is no doubt in my mind that her state of mind is very fragile and could easily be triggered into life threatening thoughts. A year ago we planned to take a holiday together, plans made in good faith and ignorance of the fact I might be bankrupt and have the holiday cancelled. The Receiver is demanding that she give them her authority to cancel my half of the holiday through the tour organisers. She has refused, bless her, but if they put pressure on her, who knows what could result in her present depressed state? I have warned the Receiver of possible consequences and if they try to make me persuade my loved one to change her mind I shall refuse point blank. This is not something one would usually expect to be prepared for, but maybe, given that financial problems often happen with bipolar, when folk are preparing their plans to deal with crises, plans to deal with things like this would be a good idea. If my lady love needs me again, I will be able to get there but not half as promptly without a car, and twice as expensive. When it happens, I might not even have any money available, and with no credit to use, the thought of that terrifies me. I was so taken aback by it all, I never even told them that I need a car too for own personal problems, like COPD, intermittent claudication and back troubles which means I can’t walk much or carry shopping.

    I’m 70 yrs old and so have nothing to lose if anything happens bad to my beloved as a result of not being able to help her in time.Whateve life had left to me after that I would spend bringing the Receiver people to book.
    We’re trying sort things so we can live together next year, and then I won’t be so worried about this official cruelty that’s causing her so much stress. Seems big business alway get state suppport from civil servants, who are employed to be at the service of every citizen. Ordinary people have to battle with them all the time.

  16. I strongly agree with Dave’s comments about how episodes happen when least expected as that’s how it usually happens for me, especially when I have no way to pay for a hospital visit or even an extra Dr.’s appointment and often times during some holiday, unfortunately. I’ve been lucky so far – been without a big episode for about two years now and hope to stay that way forever!

  17. I have Bipolars and what you have been say describes me .I know what Bipolars people can do and the Holidays are very stress for me but everyday is stress for me lately.I was in Oklahoma all my life and then we move here in Kentucky and life don’t seem to be fair away from my family .I was always close with my family now living 13 hours away from them is really killing I think of ways for us to go back ,but my husband is in the Army and we got transfer here for 1 1/2 years and I just want to go home back to Oklahoma.

  18. lorie

    Yes, I also agree. Things have been pretty quiet for a couple months,but I see signs money spending things you can’t say much about.I was hoping to avoid episodes again.your letter today todayreminds me it has nothing to do with hope its reality I must stay focused on.


  19. Dear Dave,
    You are so right about the holidays. I never understood that how they could be fine for the weeks ahead and unable to carry on a conversation with others on the holidays. I was always making up excuses and never really knew what to say.
    Now I have found out my son has bipolar and he is only 12. I always knew he was alot like his father but little did I know he is so much like him.

  20. Thank you for your information on bipolar disorder. My son died recently at age 24. He accidentally overdosed on drugs and died of respiratory arrest. I wish I could have helped him more. His life was such a mess. He hid his drug problem from us. I’m just glad I told him how much I love him the last time I saw him 2 days before he died.

  21. I agree with your posts today. I also want to thank you for your site. I feel all alone. Currently my husband of 3 months, has shizo-affective disorder bipolar type. There has been a lot of stress over the past year. We purchased a home when he was feeling well across the street from my parents. My husband went into a mania episode, very irrational behavior, including burning my clothes, and destruction of property inside and outside the home.Needless to say my parents, family and neighbors are terrified of him and doesnt understand how or why I love this man, bt I do..I know he is in there somewhere. I think all the stress triggered his episode, he is now in custody in the county jail and has been there for 2 weeks.There was an emergency protection order out against him and when he was released from the hospital after staying 10 days, he came home, the order stated we could have contact, but if any destruction, rage, or harrassment it was in violation. Needless to say, we were eating lunch and he had applied for a loan and got turned down , went into a rage and said George Bush was out to get him, then it was me and all my fault,to top it all, he was the one who phoned the police, I tried to contact his social worker at the hospital to get him back in the hospital, but legal issues prevailed. He has never physically hurt me or even suggested that. However on 1 occasion he did lie and say I threatened to kill him and was viloent towards him which never occured, he had me put out of my home, which I purchased a few months before we married. Our finances are in tormoil at this time, he took my credit and debit cards with my name only on them and has ran them up to the max limit..some overdrawn without permission. He has lost 2 vehicles and has no idea where they are, so he says..I just dont know what to do anymore..I want to be there for him, he has always said everyone gives up on him and cant take it. He was mad because I couldnt bail him out on bond, but due to the restraining order, I would be held in contempt of court. I went to court today for a hearing and they said he needed a public defender and now the order stands until November 5, 2007. I dont feel jail is the place he needs to be right now, but the court system seems not to understand. I wish someone could help with some advise, at this time Im afraid he feels like I am his problem and its all my fault. Thanks for letting me express my concerns and feelings as I dont have anyone who understands or wants to help support. Chotzey

  22. Never before have I seen so many people agree! Yep, I agree with all of you and Dave. The holidays are a stresser and clearly a trigger for me. I think one time I was manic; the rest were all very deep and near fatal depressions. I hate the month of December: my birthday, my son’s birthday; the loss of my son and the death of my father the week before Christmas. Every year I relive it. The attempts and the hospitalizations have always been in December. I had to call my daughter–form the psych ward–and tell her I wouldn’t be able to see her for Christmas and WHY. Now I have a plan, I know the triggers, I know what NOT to dwell upon and my supporters know this is a dangerous time for me and watch out, too. Now we work together and work the plan, take the meds conscientiosly and things usually goe OK. The holidays and similar events are definately triggers and we need to make sure with have the “safety” on! God bless you all. Jim

  23. Hi, I am very grateful for this site. My boyfriend has bipolar, goes on episodes where he wont take his meds cause he thinks they are not doing well. He hates me to baby him and control him so I think he uses that as an excuse to just get away from me. We just had a beautiful baby 2 months ago, working on getting her back from CPS and I’m so scared his disease is going to screw something up in the last month. My family is backing me up and I continually lie for him because I dont want his disease keeping us from getting our baby back. I have about 3-4 weeks to get her back and i think that event is killing him, he sees how strong i am having a baby at 43 with no complications, taking care of business in a strong and professional matter and not running to alcohol or drugs to temporarily feel better. that shit makes things worse, i guess bipolar people think they need something to make them feel better, i just get sick of of it and wish there was a cure not that he even wants cured, i dont understand why he dont just tell his doctor that the medicine dont work for him and they can give him something else. he beleives that pills caused his fathers death and he hates to take pills even for a headache cause he thinks ibuprophen killed his dad. it is so hard going thru all this almost alone, i have a baby and myself to think about too and yes i love this man with all my heart and it hurts me that he has to run to his ex girlfriend at the least little bit of stress, i guess she is all he knows to get a different pace/ he hates to be around me because i am so called normal and his x is worse than bipolar so i think he feels more normal around someone with even worse problems. thank god for websites and mental health programs for support of i would of left him thinking he is just a snake.

  24. Well, Dave, as eecummings used to say: “Don’t be too happy, happy – it’s the happy-happy people bust hard when they bust, and they do bust hard when they bust.” I’ve been afraid that when things are going too well, and I’m “on top of the world” and my work is going well, and my social connections couldn’t be better – THAT’S the time I have to watch out, not only for hypomania, but the hypomania to turn into a full-blown manic episode. It NEVER fails. I’ve felt this way EVERY time I’ve had to be hospitalized, and every time I had to go to the hospital, it was the very WORST time in my life to have to do.

    My first hospitalization followed the euphoric time when I got my dream job in Washington working for my Senator, had my own apartment, and was engaged. Then, the great breakdown I WASN’T expecting. I was labeled a “mental patient,” and ever after, had to “hide” from it for the rest of my life.

    The second hospitalization was when I had a great job, my own apartment, acting in a play, and was having random sex with strangers and drinking too much. I absolutely COULDN’T be having another episode – but I did, and it nearly killed me.

    My last hospitalization couldn’t have happened at a worst time. I had just switched jobs for higher pay; owned my own apartment house; had a LOT of good friends, slept around and drank a lot. I was President of the local Republican Women’s Club. I COULDN’T afford to “get sick.”

    Yes, Dave, manic episodes DO happen when you least expect/want them. That is why your advice to “be prepared” is so important. Not to say I haven’t had hypomanic attacks, but they were treated on an outpatient basis. I now have the opportunity to contact either my psychiatrist or someone else on an emergency basis at our Community Mental Health Clinic. Just because my last hospitalization was 30 years ago, doesn’t mean the old “monster” won’t reappear at the unlikeliest moment. I struggle EVERY day with bipolar, knowing that if I get “too happy-happy” it COULD/WOULD happen again.

    I am planning a week-long trip to TX in December to celebrate my birthmother’s 82nd birthday, and visit with my brother and his family. I’ve secured the airline tickets and my lodging, but it STILL bothers me that the “anticipation” of this trip may throw me into hypomania. What if – what if I “go off” in the plane? What if I exhibit bizarre behavior at my brother’s? What if I get so confused I miss my connecting plane? These things DO bother me.

    I hope that with the right meds and counseling I can make it through this one. I completely missed Christmas of 2005 after I returned from WY to spend my mother’s birthday. Of course, I was carrying a fever of 103, but I was literally “out of my mind.” A good natured friend brought me Christmas dinner, and I ate it in bed! This episode was handled outpatient, fortunately, but it could have been sooo much worse.

    I wish everybody on this blog a HAPPY HALLOWEEN and the ability to recognize their “symptoms” of the illness so they can get the help they need when they need it.

    BIG HUGS to all bipolars and the ones who love them. My prayers are with you.

  25. I have been with my boyfriend for a bit over four years now and every holiday he gets very weird. He always breaks up with me somewhere between the months of October and February- every year. Then 3 weeks later, he comes back. He told me he probably acts weird around the holidays because of his bad childhood. But now I see that it is more likely because of the bipolar. So I get to look forward to a breakup soon. Fabulous! He also has been separated for the four years we’ve been together and during these holiday months he starts to rethink finishing the divorce. It’s very annoying and honestly, sometimes I have no idea why on earth I stay. He says the papers will be all signed within the next 2 weeks according to his attorney. We shall see. This is his last chance, though, because this is SO not fair to me. My family does NOT believe he is even getting divorced and that he just intends to stay separated. I really don’t know what to do anymore…

  26. My Mom is on another stint of beliving that everyone is against her, when we all love her and just want her to be healthy and happy. She has been fighting w/ her boyfriend non stop for months now..she will call us every night and tell us all the bad stuff that he says…but when we talk to him we also find out all the bad stuff that she has also said. I am so worried were she will go if the finally break up. She can come to my place although I live in a 1 bdrm apartment w/ my fiance…but she falls asleep with smokes in her fingers all the time and well my fiance would prolly end up moving out..she can not go to my Sisters house as she has 3 kids and Mom tends to drop all sorts of pills on the floor, it would not be good for the kids to see her daily the way she is now..and it takes months to get into housing. She is burning ever bridge do I help her understand that she does not have to be so angry all the time. I am sure I would be pretty angry at the world if I had bipolar. I tried to talk to her tonight about the stuff that I have been learning from this site..and she just says oh you think you know everything about bipolar..I might as well just not be here anymore (she is threating suicide again) so in other words if I bring up the subject again she is going to commit suicide and it will be my fault. I feel like just not talking to her for that right????

  27. My daughter…fighting with boyfriend and he moved out…she now has no way to pay bills….HELP!! Just found out she’s bipolar

  28. I have found this to be very true. My husband is not only bipolar but he suffers from SAD. The holidays can be horible sometimes. I think one reason is he trys so hard to make them good he stresses himself out.

  29. I am a supporter of bipolar. I grew up with my best friend suffering from bipolar from the age of 15 years of age until her suicide about 6 years ago. Ironically, I married a man who also suffers from bipolar, but he does not want to confront the fact that he has it. He willingly accepts the fact that he was dignosed with depression, and even takes medication for it. Well, for those of us who know how antidepressants effect someone with bipolar, you will know that his mania last longer now and he cycles more rapidly. But, hey, no major depression – at this point I would take the depression. It seems that any time something is coming up he has some type of episode, each time the one it impacted the most was me. Holidays by far are the worst. I recently finished college, but ironically he just happened to manic and have some type of episode during my midterms and final. Talk about challenging. What I want to know is when does it become his responsibility to take care of himself and deal with the disorder? Being a supporter we are told to hang in there, to do this and do that to avoid the escalation of an episode. My family’s world already revolves around him and what he wants. He does not have no regard for when I am sick, or when the kids are sick. I am tired of doing everything I can to help him. I have tried everything, but it comes down to my husband not wanting to accept the fact that he has bipolar. Rather than complaining, I always took action, but now I have ran out of options.

  30. Chotzey,
    I read your blog and I feel sad that some one has to go through so much pain. I know that all of us are in pain, but you are in a situation that is beyond comprehension, and beyond anything that you can do on your own since your husband has schizo-affective disorder and bipolar. Was your husband diagnosed with bipolar with schizo-affective tendencies or does he have two different diagnosis’? I ask this because with bipolar you can experience schizo-affective behavior, or psychosis, during episodes. I was just wondering if you were dealing with these disorders separately. If you are dealing with schizo-affective disorder, I can relate. My ex-husband was diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder. Ironically, my current husband suffers from bipolar, apparently I am a magnet for problems. Anyway, schizo-affective disorder is horrible to deal with if a person is not treated, or if they are not on the proper meds. The experiences that you are talking about that your husband does, I have dealt with similar instances. There were times that my ex-husband thought that he was as powerful as God, in fact he thought he was God at times. YOu are right, jail is not the right place for your husband, he needs to be put into an inpatient hopital specializing in mental health. I am not a doctor or a psychologist, but I am willing to help you with the experiences I had regarding the disorder if you need someone to talk to. It is evident that you love your husband, but just a work of advice, you will not be able to save him or help him on your own. He needs to receive treatment to help him with this disorder.

  31. Dear David,

    You have an analytical mind. We all need to think things out like you do and analyze our individual situations instead of giving in to panic. Most of us can make our lives better if we sit down, calm down, and try to figure out some sensible changes to make. I especially liked your thinking of bi-polar as a completely separate entity, instead of blaming the person in our lives who has it. It’s just a way of mentally distinguishing the illness from the sufferer, but it is very helpful. A person in a bi-polar episode is not attractive or easy to live with, but blaming them is not helpful; like a person with any other illness, they did not cause it. Thank you! Carolyn

  32. To TINA: As Dave explained, the person WITH bipolar is NOT aware that he IS bipolar. It’s the ILLNESS, not the man you love, who cannot accept his diagnosis. If you cannot accept that the ILLNESS takes over and is SEPARATE from him, (call it “the blob,” “the monster,” or whatever – it is NOT the man you love – it is his ILLNESS), then you need to look at your relationship differently. Yes, it DOES impact the way you feel about him, and the way he disrupts you and your family’s reactions to him (the ILLNESS). He cannot help/control his manic episodes, and if you can’t get him to counseling for mania (only depression, which sounds to him to be a much more manageable illness), then have an intervention and get him some HELP. He needs to be on antipsychotic meds and maybe some cognitive therapy.

    DON’T blame him for his ILLNESS. It sounds as though he’s resistant to being a bipolar. What he needs is understanding and empathy, but NOT to the detriment of your OWN mental health. I pray that you can work this out between you. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  33. My birthday hasa triggered my man, sometimes I want to scream. Other times it is alwaysb when I have a bad week that he starts just when i’m in pain or exhausted he inevitably has one. sometimes I wish I had a little magic cupboard to vent my problems so that it never starts an episode. I am dreading christmas too, every year has been difficult from October to March.Today he is on the couch at the mo where i have set him off. David I must say it’s not easy staying 100% fit to keep the episodes to a bear minimum. The sleepness nights always is a sure sign combined with the sudden urge to drink alot. Were planning marraige soon, I must be insanely in love with him, despite sleeping alone tonight, even worse I know he’ll react as though nothing happened tonight com the next day. Me I just got to swallow and move on once again.I sure love the bones off the old grumpy get.

  34. You’re so right Dave. So many Christmases and birthdays have been messed up becuase of my husband’s mania. It’s maddening! Our recent vacation was spent dealing with mania. But I was determined to enjoy MY vacation and not let his crap ruin it for me. But there’s only so much you can “ignore” your husband’s behavior. The mania and the depression are both very self centered.

  35. Thanks for your email. I have to agree with what you’re saying. I use to love the holidays but alot of bad things happened to where I can’t enjoy them like I use to. Espacially Christmas.

  36. Hi Dave this may or may not get to you but, one of the things that really bring on problems for me is that alot of stress over things that I cn not do anything to resolve and for the past couple of years I have been fighting a downward spiral of constant things going wrong that are out of my control to resolve even though I try nonstop to work out I take two different meds and I will still have manic times plus I am adhd and bipolar I also am disabled and live in cronic pain that also has alot to do with the ups and downs of episodes and I don’t like the holidays because it has become so comercial and alot of people do not even know what they are selabrating it is just an excuse to get things or party although those days mean nothing to me and I don’t indulge in them I couldn’t if I wanted to with all the meds I take between the pain meds and the bipolar meds it would kill me anyway I know how hard this time of year it is for all of us and the way things are at this time so many people are suffering with losing thier homes and jobs it is going to be a real rough end of the yer for many all I can say is to pray to God for the strenth to get through it even if things don’t go as we would like He has his reason and right now I think it is for us to go to Him and ask for Him to give all of us Faith in Him in Jesus name and I will pray for all those like me that are having a hard time to and maybe not eating every day as well, God Bless All, Sandra

  37. My name is Lynn and I’m an alcoholic. I also live w/bipolar disorder. The last 2 Decembers and Januarys, I’ve been in the ‘nut hut’ w/major depressive episodes. My team finally decided that I have bipolar disease, and got me on anti-manics right away, also adjusting my anti-depressant and doing bld. tests. I went toxic on Lithium recently, and had to change to Trileptal as an anti-manic. A few weeks into it, (knock on wood) I seem to be stable. I really appreciate, however, Dave, your comments about stress, the holidays (all of them!), and unwanted (but perhaps at least PARTLY) predictable, bipolar episodes. Us A.A.’ers have Alcathons, marathon mtgs. w/pots of ‘bad A.A. coffee’ and potluck, to help us over the holidays. Don’t know that there is such a thing for manics, but I’ll prolly search out (listen for) others @ mtgs. who have bipolar illness and/or take meds, cuz I KNOW I’m not the only one! Thanks again, Dave, for all yoou do.
    My name is Lynn, and I’m an alcoholic.

  38. It’s me again! I just wanted to add that holidays are the time when our ‘biological clocks’ get out of synch. It is VERY important for bipolars to keep regular sleep schedules—even an hour’s change can bring on an episode in some people. So, if you’re bipolar or are caring for one, don’t encourage them to stay up late. DON’T TRY TO LET THE NEW YEAR IN! Let everyone who is coming for the holiday be aware of this.

  39. Yes, yes Tonya! You are absolutely right! Please read my previous comments. Make sure your husband gets his normal amount of sleep, get him to learn some relaxation techniques, and also make sure he’s not ‘overstimulated’ by sights and sounds over the Christmas period. The trouble with us bipolars—we seek stimulation, but it does our head in (literally!). Oh by the way, if you’re wondering why I know all this, I not only have bipolar 2 I worked as a stress consultant for many years, and was once the ‘stress guru’ on a national radio programme over the Christmas periods. You are NOT alone!

  40. Is anyone else tired of being a bipolar supporter? It feels like having to jump in front of a train to stop it. Or having to push a boulder up a hill by oneself. Dave you have done wonderful things for your mother and your family. Who knows where she’d be without your help. The assumption is that we would like to continue being a bipolar supporter. I don’t really want to. I’d like for someone else to take this job for a while. I have my own life to enjoy and don’t feel very supported by my husband when he’s manic or depressed, which has been a large part of our life the last 6 years.
    On topic, so many of our happy family events have been tainted with his “stuff” and it makes me sad. Is he capable of getting his own support? Of managing his own illness? Of being a stable and supportive husband?
    Or do I have to run the show? Nag him? Be there when he’s depressed? try to “manage” him when he’s manic?

  41. ana — I agree — I’m tired of being a supporter also. I’m tired of the violent outburst, name calling, ruined holidays, getting sick myself because I can’t take no more! How do you get away from it? I have moved me and my children out of the house and have been living with family for a month now. My husband says he is taking medication… but I don’t believe him because the rages continue… via telephone. Everything is always blamed on me. I am at the end of my rope here!

  42. To Ana,
    I am not sure if you read my blog, but yes, I am tired of being a supporter of bipolar for my husband!!!!! I can completely relate to what you are saying. I struggle every day to maintain my own identity because everything revolves around my husband whether he is manic or depressed. I receive no affection, no appreciation for everything I do, no respect for my feelings (yet I have to make sure to understand all of his feelings), no help with the kids or the housework, and sometimes, he tunes out so much, he does not even acknowledge his family around him. I hear you Ana, loud and clear. Who is going to take care of things if something were to happen to us? For all of you supporters out not ever forget how great you are! You have your own individuality and deserve to embrace it as much as you can. Make sure to take time for yourself becuase you deserve it. God bless us all.


  43. To momof3,
    Most definitely you have to what is best for your children and yourself. The violent outbursts should not be taken lightly, and most importantly, you and your children do not deserve to be subjected to that violence!! I can not stress that enough. You and your children deserve to be loved and feel safe. Even though your husband says he is on medication does not mean that he is or that it is the right regimine for him. Starting meds is great, but it will take some time for the doctors to figure out what will work best for him. You stated that the violent outbursts contine via telephone, then you know that things have not changed for him yet. I am not saying don’t work things out with him, but I am saying that you want to make sure that he is taking his meds and going to therapy for some time before putting yourself back into the situation. You can still support him while living in separate homes until you actually see that his treatment is working. I am not a therapist, but I have been an alcohol and drug abuse counseor, specializing in dual disorders (diagnosed with substance abuse issues and mental illness) for 12 years. Regardless of what I do for a living, the ultimate goal is for you and your children to feel and be safe. I wish you and your family the best f wishes.

  44. to tina,

    My husband wouldn’t take responsibility for being bipolar. He was like your husband–it was much easier to admit he had been depressed, and much easier to go to the doctor when he was depressed. But he LOVED the mania and would not admit it was a problem, or an illness that he needed treatment for. It has been very damaging to our family finances, our relationship, and our emotional well-being. THe kids are definitely affected. I agree–the depression is so much easier to live with! It’s awful for him but for the spouse it’s much less stressful. I think as a spouse we need “deal breakers”. Dave talked about that. It’s where we draw the line. For me it’s him taking his medication, and agreeing that bipolar is a problem that needs treatment from a psychiatrist. He’s done many things in the past that have made it “look like” he was taking care of his problem, but he wasn’t really. He’s taken his meds every other day; not every day. He’s taken natural supplements that supposedly help. He’s read books about natural supplements. He’s sworn he would “never be depressed again”. He’s gone to the doctor, but only because I wanted him to (not because he believed he needed to). Anyway, I put my foot down 3 years ago, and seperated from him. It was very difficult. But enough was enough. We are now together, but still working hard on getting the support he needs. I am genuinely tired of trying to convince him that he’s going “up” and wondering if he’s taking his medication every day as he should. Get some supportive girlfriends to talk to Tina. It really helps me. And I try to do things that I enjoy–like taking an art class, going out with friends, that kind of thing. Best wishes. I can relate to your struggles.

  45. I wish I found your site before me and my undiagnosed soon to be x-husband got to this point. I’ve only been married a little over a year but I realized within 2 months something was so wrong. I’m an Lpn who worked in healthcare but never was up close with mood disorders. You have taught me so much in the month I been reading your info.I might have been able to save my marriage. Everything you have written about the holidays and all your other info I have experienced in the last year in a half. Thank you for your free information because without it I was heading straight for a nervous breakdown. I realize through your information it was not me, it was not him, but it was the disorder bipolar. You actually saved my sanity.

  46. I agree also w/this post.But I’d like to know what you do if you’ve been abandoned by everyone?I do have one friend left but she’s not the type you would lean on.Everyone else has so many things going on in their own lives, it’s kinda hard to even try to form any new friendships.Who wants another problem child?

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