What do you do when brain chemistry has turned your beloved partner into someone who doesn't seem to like you and who you, well, don't really like that much either? Please help me understand how to live through and survive my significant other's first manic episode.
posted by The Puppet of Secrets to health & fitness (30 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My boyfriend and I have been together for 7 years. We live together. We've been through thick and thin. He has always been extraordinarily loving, sweet, caring, compassionate... Etc. He's been horribly depressed in the past, and I have been there to help him through it. It was always extraordinarily hard for me (let alone him!), but I made it through because, deep down, even through all the anguish, he was loving and good to me.
This is different.
This manic episode has probably been going on for about two weeks now. We thought the worst was over (stupid naivety!). Then, I had to go out of town this weekend. A friend stayed with him while I was gone. When I got home, he had a psychotic break. He accused both me and the friend of reading his thoughts. He thought he could predict the future. He spent a while terrified I was turning into a monster. I really should have called 911, but I didn't. Because I was tired and confused and scared and made the wrong decision. He finally slept, and the psychotic symptoms passed. All in all, for a psychotic break, it wasn't anywhere near as bad as it could have been, but it was still the most painful, disturbing, and horrible night of my life.
During the weekend while I was gone, he determined (decided? Concluded? Revealed? I don't know) that he's transgendered and gay. His psychotic break may have been triggered by fear of telling me this when I got home?
Now, he is barely talking to me, or even looking at me. He is angry. Last night, he told me I'm his enemy... Although he did recant that a few hours later. He answers questions in single syllables. If I ask for information about what he's doing, or what he has been doing, or what he's about to do, he completely refuses to answer. I see no love in his eyes, or compassion, or kindness, or concern. He does things he know will upset me, almost as if he's daring me to get mad at him. Yesterday and today, he has spent all of his time in the bedroom, mostly naked, masturbating. He is eager to have sex with me, but I really do not feel comfortable doing so.
He has seen a doctor since the psychotic break. He's on lithium now, but in a very lose dosage, and I'm not sure if he's taking his pills. (He won't tell me.) There are gears in motion to get him the psychiatric treatment he needs -- but they are slow, poorly funded gears that, from my point of view, are taking forever. And, in the meantime, my life with my partner is hell.
I do not know how much truck to put in his crossdressing and claims to be gay. Especially since he's trying so hard to get me to have sex with him all the time. Especially since, clearly, his brain chemistry is messed up. But if he is really transgendered and gay, that means that our relationship is pretty much done. I mean, I'm a woman. And I want my sexual partner to be someone who participates in the masculine gender. That's just how I am.
So, here I am. Right now, my partner is terrifyingly ill. And he's being mean, and off-putting, and clearly does not want to be with me. And if I could just say to myself, "This isn't him at all, we'll survive this, we'll come back together and our relationship will get strong again once his brain starts working right again," then I'd probably be able to get through it. But I don't know if our relationship will get strong again -- for all I know, it's practically over! He tells me he's gay, he's dressing like a woman, and if that's just who he is, for real, rather than a symptom of his disorder, then I have no idea how to live with this.
I'm sorry if my description is insensitive with regards to to LGBT concerns. I want to emphasize that, most definitely, being transgendered and being gay are not in any way mental disorders. But clearly, my boyfriend does have a mental disorder. And I have no idea how to make sense of his claims about his sexual/gender identity, or the status of our relationship, or how the hell I'm supposed to stay sane with all this going on around me.
I also want to note that "manic episode" and "psychotic break" are NOT official diagnoses. They're just the best way he or I can make sense of what is happening to him. Again, he hasn't really been able to get psychiatric evaluation yet.
Please help me. Can you give me any advice about living with a partner's manic episodes? Can you help me understand why he's so distant and angry with me, and how I can live with that? What I can do to help him, and what I can do to keep motivating myself to help him when he so clearly doesn't want it or appreciate it? Can you point me towards any information relating to sexual/gender identity and bipolar disorder (if there is any)? Do you have any advice for living with a partner who's clearly experiencing hypersexuality?
This has only been a short while now. I read online that manic episodes can last months. I'm already so scared and alone and terrified, I have no idea how I could handle this anymore.