Husband with OCD, Bipolar, Epilepsy and Brain injury

Posted by calite @calite, Dec 27, 2018

Hi! My husband was diagnosed in March after a series of studies as OCD, Bipolar, with Epilepsu and a brain injury. He was placed in medication, he takes a lot of meds on a daily basis. I have seen a lot of changes for the good. I have struggled as a wife with a lot of things during the years, and I want to know it there is a point in which he will feel and act more in balance and well, normal, as a the years go by. By normal I mean with less obsessive episodes, mood swings or intese feelings.

Hi, @calite – welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Glad to hear you've seen a lot of changes for the good in your journey with your husband diagnosed in March with OCD, bipolar, epilepsy and brain injury.

It makes sense, as his spouse, that you'd want to know if it's likely at some point he will feel and act more in balance and "normal," with fewer obsessive episodes, mood swings and intense feelings.

I'd like to bring in some other Connect members who may have some input for you, like @wellandhappy @stressedmesseddepressed @gailb @healthytoday @merpreb @swanie @falconfly @dawn_giacabazi @gingerw @carnes @russy @hammondm99 @hopeful33250. I'd also like you to meet @IndianaScott, a volunteer mentor on Connect who works with the Caregivers group and may have some thoughts or others to whom he'd like to connect you.

Has your husband's doctor offered an opinion on which of his diagnoses or medications is contributing the most to the mood swings and other symptoms you mentioned are not in balance, @calite?

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@lisalucier

Hi, @calite – welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Glad to hear you've seen a lot of changes for the good in your journey with your husband diagnosed in March with OCD, bipolar, epilepsy and brain injury.

It makes sense, as his spouse, that you'd want to know if it's likely at some point he will feel and act more in balance and "normal," with fewer obsessive episodes, mood swings and intense feelings.

I'd like to bring in some other Connect members who may have some input for you, like @wellandhappy @stressedmesseddepressed @gailb @healthytoday @merpreb @swanie @falconfly @dawn_giacabazi @gingerw @carnes @russy @hammondm99 @hopeful33250. I'd also like you to meet @IndianaScott, a volunteer mentor on Connect who works with the Caregivers group and may have some thoughts or others to whom he'd like to connect you.

Has your husband's doctor offered an opinion on which of his diagnoses or medications is contributing the most to the mood swings and other symptoms you mentioned are not in balance, @calite?

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@lisalucier @calite Welcome to Mayo Connect. We are a very diverse group around this cyber table! It's best you pose this question series to your husband's doctors, as they are the most knowledgeable about him, his conditions, and the interaction with medications. Personally, I would suggest you do everything you can to encourage him, using positive reinforcement and noting the good progress. Keep notes to review with the professionals. Remember that there may be days he seems to slide, but is to be expected. And, please, remember to take care of yourself, too! Seek out a caregivers group where you can get support and ideas. Good luck, and know we are here for you,
Ginger

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@calite– Good morning and welcome to connect. Those changes that you mention sound very positive. It's very wearing on a partner/spouse to continue to anticipate, "what's next?" hope that have you have some quiet, peaceful times. I have ti "ditto" Lisa's question about asking his doctor certain questions. I think that when you have more information you might feel more in control. Is his epilepsy under control and his bipolar disease?
Can you explain more about his compulsive behaviors?

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Hello @calite

I am glad that you found Mayo Connect and that you posted your concerns about your husband. You stated in your post that you, "struggled as a wife with a lot of things during the years." I am sure that you have had some struggles. You listed a number of serious diagnoses that have a profound effect on a person's behavior and his ability to relate to others in a healthy way.

I am glad to see that you have seen changes for the good since the beginning of medication. Medication can be a great thing for brain disorders that you mentioned. However, you did not mention if your husband was involved in a counseling program. Brain disorders that result in behavior disorders are best treated with a combination of meds as well as therapy. There are many different types of therapy that can help with behavior such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy, just to mention one.

As Lisa did in her post to you, I would also like to invite @gailb, to this discussion. I think she may be able to add to the importance of therapy.

I would also encourage you to seek out a NAMI support group in your area. Here is a link to their website, https://www.nami.org/Find-Support.

NAMI offers support groups for those who deal with brain disorders like you mentioned, however, more importantly for you, they also have support groups for family members. As you have alluded, the stress of living with unpredictable behavior can be wearing on a family member. I would encourage you to see if there are support groups in your locale and to connect with them. They also have great educational programs which can increase your understanding of these types of mental illnesses.

You mentioned that you have seen improvements in your husband. Which behaviors have improved since he began medication? Which ones are still bothersome and/or stressful for you?

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@calite wow, that is a lot to work with, but it sounds like you are on the right path. You've come to the right place for support.
Blessings in your journey,
JoDee

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@calite

I'm sorry to hear of your husband's diagnosis and behavior changes that were negative. Since his diagnosis and medications it sounds as if things are improving and giving you hope that at some point he will return to closer to his former self. Do you know the cause of his issues, i.e., did he have an accident or some other incident that was at the base of his OCD, Bi-polar, Epilepsy and brain injury? How long has he had these issues?

I understand your wanting to know if his mood swings and intense feelings and behaviors will get better. His doctors are the best people to answer those questions. I have dealt with family members who have mental illness issues, and I know it's difficult to do over the long run. No matter how much you love the person, you can tire of dealing with the repetitive issues that you thought were "better." There is probably no guarantee that your husband will continue to improve over time, any more than any "normal" people have a guarantee that they will be stable and improve in life. That said, there's not necessarily any promise that he won't get better either. So, hope is warranted.

As his caregiver you may push your own emotions down in order not to upset your husband. At some point those emotions tend to bubble up into full blown anger that needs to be released. I highly recommend counseling for yourself so you can learn how to take care of your emotions and set boundaries for yourself. A good place to start is with a support group that has members dealing with the same things you are. Many hospitals offer these group meetings at no cost to caregivers and family members. Start there, but also seek out individual counseling for yourself. I was able to manage and express my own feelings constructively after learning how in my therapy sessions. You cannot change your husband's behavior or feelings, only he can do that if he is medically able. The only emotions and behavior you are in control of are your own.

Good luck to you and your husband as he recovers. Please keep us in the loop as you work through these difficult, yet promising times in your marriage.

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Hi. I am slow getting backto this. (1)Please reach out to a trusted friend or professional now. It takes courage to reach out for help and sometimes we wait to the breaking point.(2) You are a treasure. There is some blessing or strength to gained for you in this, but not alone.(3) Anything with the brain and meds means something is new, as in starting over.Your husband will need a Strong Counselor that can help him embrace this fact And be all as a Man, Husband and Father that he stiall has an amazing potential for.
For what it is worht: I am entering year 5 of a TBI, am 60 yo, am in school to learn a new job, and it took both myu wife and I four years to accept what I offered you in three points. There is much to be thankful for. No, I am not pain or symptom free, just adapting….and thankful. dave

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Hello. I hesitated to reply only because my husband doesn’t seem to acknowledge that he has dementia, major depression and major anxiety disorder from a hemorrhagic stroke (an aneurism burst in his brain) nearly 5 years ago. But I know this site is secure, so I’ve been thinking about you and want to offer some hope.

My husband was a very successful top State executive at age 62 when he suddenly had the stroke. He had lifted weights three days a week since he was 14 and has never smoked. He’s had cancer 5 times including twice with melanoma and his last surgery was in December 2018. Several years ago he had spinal sepsis that almost killed him but it didn’t. I changed his IV every 8 hours after he was released from a month in the hospital. So sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to things. We can blame it on genetics or bad luck. It doesn’t really matter because it all boils down to having to deal with reality and yet still having faith.

I can completely relate as a wife of 25 years to the sadness, fear, insecurity, and frustration you must be feeling. We ask ourselves, “Will I ever see the man I married again?” I am so sorry for your loss. I would like to encourage you with this… Dementia is supposed to get WORSE, not better! but he has IMPROVED!

In some ways, my husband is worse. He’s more withdrawn where in his executive position he frequently held press conferences on television. He is more moody than in the past, gets extremely anxious over minor things, and simple things often confuse him. Hang on… I’m getting to the good news.

On the other hand, he is still very intelligent, compassionate and affectionate. Sometimes his mood swings drive me up the wall or his tantrum over something so minor can frustrate or even anger me. I have to remember all the time that he cannot help it. And that I’m human and not perfect. So I pray a lot. My faith in God sustains me and his grace is sufficient.

Certain things have IMPROVED and should not have… His driving was so bad that I had to hide the keys from him because he would not obey his doctor’s orders not to drive. For a man of only 62, that was a hard hit to the pride and it was extremely difficult to deal with but I was afraid he would kill himself or both of us or someone else if I did not do what the doctor said and take his keys. Over time though, as I drove him places and then let him drive, with me accompanying him, he actually IMPROVED his driving to the point that I gave the keys back to him! Now he very careful drives himself anywhere he wants to go locally. I still don’t trust him to go a long distance or out of town by himself.

In the beginning, he could not follow the most simple instructions about anything. For someone with a masters degree, it made me very sad to see him unable to put a lawnchair together. But that has improved drastically and he recently ripped out the floors in our house to replace the wood with tile. He also painted the interior and it looks fantastic. He tires quickly so I have to be extra patient.

About two years after the stroke, his anxiety would drive him to the point that he began to put his hands on me when he was upset about something. He would never hit me of course… Or I would’ve had to deck him! Not really. I had to leave him for a week because he would pull on my arm to get me to go somewhere. As I said, he worked out all his life, so he’s very strong. I’m 5’ and have osteoporosis among other things. My bones break easily and I couldn’t get him to stop. Nor would he agree to see his neurologist for treatment of the depression, anxiety or dementia. So when I talked to him after leaving him that week, he finally agreed to see the doctor and take medication. He’s on an anti-anxiety and antidepressant which has required tweaking. It is still challenging from day today but overall, he is much, much better than he was!

I’d like to share another thing that I consider a MIRACLE. When he had the stroke he had been a musician all his life. He had been in a band when he was 14 and he and some friends formed another band several years back. They practice weekly and play every month or so at a private party or club. They are actually extremely good and played New Year’s Eve 2018. Their new CD is coming out soon! Well, when he had the stroke, he forgot how to play even one cord on his guitar. It broke my heart. But do you know that within eight weeks he was back in concert for that New Year’s Eve? He has been playing daily ever since then and it has been over four years.

So we cannot always count 100% on what a prognosis is for any particular patient. My husband should’ve gotten much worse by now, but he has improved which is against medical facts. We do have to except reality sometimes, but remember that miracles still happen. God bless you. Peggy

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Hello @calite

I was just thinking about you and wondering how you and your husband are doing. If you are comfortable doing so, will you provide an update?

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Just wanted to let you know that this discussion, "Husband with OCD, Bipolar, Epilepsy and Brain injury" has now been moved to the Mayo Clinic Connect Caregivers group.

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@peggyella

Hello. I hesitated to reply only because my husband doesn’t seem to acknowledge that he has dementia, major depression and major anxiety disorder from a hemorrhagic stroke (an aneurism burst in his brain) nearly 5 years ago. But I know this site is secure, so I’ve been thinking about you and want to offer some hope.

My husband was a very successful top State executive at age 62 when he suddenly had the stroke. He had lifted weights three days a week since he was 14 and has never smoked. He’s had cancer 5 times including twice with melanoma and his last surgery was in December 2018. Several years ago he had spinal sepsis that almost killed him but it didn’t. I changed his IV every 8 hours after he was released from a month in the hospital. So sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to things. We can blame it on genetics or bad luck. It doesn’t really matter because it all boils down to having to deal with reality and yet still having faith.

I can completely relate as a wife of 25 years to the sadness, fear, insecurity, and frustration you must be feeling. We ask ourselves, “Will I ever see the man I married again?” I am so sorry for your loss. I would like to encourage you with this… Dementia is supposed to get WORSE, not better! but he has IMPROVED!

In some ways, my husband is worse. He’s more withdrawn where in his executive position he frequently held press conferences on television. He is more moody than in the past, gets extremely anxious over minor things, and simple things often confuse him. Hang on… I’m getting to the good news.

On the other hand, he is still very intelligent, compassionate and affectionate. Sometimes his mood swings drive me up the wall or his tantrum over something so minor can frustrate or even anger me. I have to remember all the time that he cannot help it. And that I’m human and not perfect. So I pray a lot. My faith in God sustains me and his grace is sufficient.

Certain things have IMPROVED and should not have… His driving was so bad that I had to hide the keys from him because he would not obey his doctor’s orders not to drive. For a man of only 62, that was a hard hit to the pride and it was extremely difficult to deal with but I was afraid he would kill himself or both of us or someone else if I did not do what the doctor said and take his keys. Over time though, as I drove him places and then let him drive, with me accompanying him, he actually IMPROVED his driving to the point that I gave the keys back to him! Now he very careful drives himself anywhere he wants to go locally. I still don’t trust him to go a long distance or out of town by himself.

In the beginning, he could not follow the most simple instructions about anything. For someone with a masters degree, it made me very sad to see him unable to put a lawnchair together. But that has improved drastically and he recently ripped out the floors in our house to replace the wood with tile. He also painted the interior and it looks fantastic. He tires quickly so I have to be extra patient.

About two years after the stroke, his anxiety would drive him to the point that he began to put his hands on me when he was upset about something. He would never hit me of course… Or I would’ve had to deck him! Not really. I had to leave him for a week because he would pull on my arm to get me to go somewhere. As I said, he worked out all his life, so he’s very strong. I’m 5’ and have osteoporosis among other things. My bones break easily and I couldn’t get him to stop. Nor would he agree to see his neurologist for treatment of the depression, anxiety or dementia. So when I talked to him after leaving him that week, he finally agreed to see the doctor and take medication. He’s on an anti-anxiety and antidepressant which has required tweaking. It is still challenging from day today but overall, he is much, much better than he was!

I’d like to share another thing that I consider a MIRACLE. When he had the stroke he had been a musician all his life. He had been in a band when he was 14 and he and some friends formed another band several years back. They practice weekly and play every month or so at a private party or club. They are actually extremely good and played New Year’s Eve 2018. Their new CD is coming out soon! Well, when he had the stroke, he forgot how to play even one cord on his guitar. It broke my heart. But do you know that within eight weeks he was back in concert for that New Year’s Eve? He has been playing daily ever since then and it has been over four years.

So we cannot always count 100% on what a prognosis is for any particular patient. My husband should’ve gotten much worse by now, but he has improved which is against medical facts. We do have to except reality sometimes, but remember that miracles still happen. God bless you. Peggy

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What a positive story about doing the best you can for the circumstances. I love that the music playing is helping keep the brain in better shape and it encourages me to play hymns on the piano for enjoyment and good mental health. We try everything we can think of to improve our condition and sometimes it actually produces good results. You are a blessed family in a special way. Dorisena

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