Spouse with anger, new diagnosis of bipolar and cannabis use disorder
I am in the thick of it. My spouse, a very intelligent and successful health professional and small business owner, was hospitalized for mania approximately 2 weeks ago. Our world has turned upside down. There are so many layers of complexity that I don't know where to start, but I could use some hope, encouragement, and resources!
Unfortunately his hospitalization was prompted by his mother and I calling the police when we were unable to communicate with him due to severe anger including threats of suicide. He was drug tested and found to have THC in his system, prompting addictions evaluation. They diagnosed him with Severe cannabis use disorder and mild alcohol use disorder. Now in order to protect his professional license he has to complete rehab and remain completely sober for 3 years.
He is mad. I mean really mad. He didn't think he needed to go to the hospital. If he hadn't gone to the hospital none of this would have happened… Not really accepting his diagnoses, bipolar or substance use disorder… How do we begin to move forward?
Thanks for the safe space to share.
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Hello @emilyann132 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You've come to a good place to find support since you indicate that you "are in the thick of it." I can certainly understand your frustration and confusion. You are right that you need a safe place to share your feelings.
As you and his mother authorized his hospitalization you might be limited in the influence that you can have with him. Perhaps other non-family members, that he can trust, might be able to communicate more effectively.
Let's start off by thinking about your husband's support system. Does he have a mentor, friend, and/or family member that he could talk with? What about a pastor, priest, or another person in the community who might have a conversation with him? This person should have empathy for his situation and not be judgemental.
Have you considered going to an Al-Anon group? This group is a support group for people who have family members who have addiction problems. By sharing at their table you will find support and may even hear of someone else who has traveled down this road. Here is a link to their website, https://al-anon.org/.
You can also contact NAMI which is an organization which supports people with mental illness and also offers support for their family. Here is their website, https://www.nami.org/Home. You might contact them and see if they have anyone who might be able to offer you some suggestions.
As you probably know, the only person who can change your husband's behavior and thinking is your husband. Others can only help influence him in his thinking.
When he was hospitalized was he given any medications? If so, do you see any changes in his behavior as a result of the meds?
One of the most important things right now is your safety. You need to be sure that you are physically and emotionally safe during this time. You cannot influence your husband if you are harmed. Do you have a plan if your husband becomes either emotionally or physically abusive?
Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing. Will you post again after you read this?
Thank you for quick and well-thought response! I am certainly reaching out to many resources! Also, my husband has met with a few respected friends and our pastor, so that is positive. He also has a therapist that he is meeting regularly and whom he respects.
Luckily most of his anger is directed at his mother, so I have been able to remain a trusted person in his life. He has never shown any physically violent behavior, and I have my parents in town who are aware of the situation and on-call if I ever needed a safe haven.
He was given medication in the hospital, and the mania has largely subsided. The anger remains. We have also been fortunate to get in with an excellent psychiatrist who is doing a good job of building trust with him.
Maybe we are progressing better than I thought. Just not as fast as I want!! A lesson in patience…
Also, I have contacted NAMI for resources and signed up for a couple virtual support groups.
Thanks again. I will keep posting some updates intermittently!
@emilyann132 So glad to know that you have supports in place for both you and your husband. I appreciate all that you have done in this very difficult situation. You have accomplished a lot so far!
From my experience with bipolar, I understand that the frontal portion of the brain seems unable to keep a person from filtering what they say. This might be part of your husband's problem with angry outbursts.
Keep reading and learning about bipolar. Also, take care of yourself. I hope you have a good support system for yourself. Consider going out and having lunch with friends, working in the garden, and doing whatever gives you pleasure.
I look forward to hearing from you again!
Anyone with experience with bipolar – is recovery from mania typically linear or are there ups and downs? My husband had a great day yesterday – I could feel him coming back to me, but today he's been very energetic, emotionally distant, and in full-on denial… 1 step forward, 2 steps back…
It sounds like there is strong codependency involved. He is mad because someone else put him in the hospital. It is not your job or his mother's job to be emotionally responsible for him. It's time he take responsibility for himself. This is HIS problem. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh but that's the reality of it.
Just wondering what was different on the days? For example in good days what does he eat or drink and same on bad days? What was he doing on good days opposed to bad days what did he watch on tv those 2 days and keep a journal together and then review it and see if there are any trigger points that might be a clue good luck dave. PS girlfriend had mental health issues and we have found out eating certain kinds of food triggers the slide sugar so no pop and bread products are huge like pasta