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Her Bipolar Disorder Is Ruining Our Marriage

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My wife's bipolar disorder has ruined our marriage and pushed me into the arms of another woman.

I can't continue to deal with her erratic behavior. Her moods are constantly up and down, and the house is always a wreck. She can never function for a full day.

I will come home and find the house in an holy mess and ask her what has she done all day, only to find out she has been in bed or done nothing but watch TV all day.

When I try to get answers for her behavior, she starts swearing at me and throwing things. Her potty mouth is atrocious, and she starts belittling me and calling me names.

I have to depend on a female (non-sexual) friend of mine to help me make it through this difficult time with my wife that has lingered now for five years or more.

My wife doesn't want Fleet and Family in our business and I don't either, but she has to get her bipolar disorder under control.

Can you point me in the right direction? I will be deploying in February, and I know I will return to a disaster.

Deploying Husband

Dear Husband,

Bipolar is a complex disorder. The main symptoms of the disorder are intense and unpredictable mood swings that range from mild to severe.

In your letter, you describe your wife as irritable, with a loss of energy, difficulty making decisions, and depression. Bipolar disorder can be managed, but it does become worse when left untreated.

I cannot confirm that your wife is bipolar because I don't know what licensed clinician or medical doctor diagnosed her. Too often, people will diagnose themselves. With that said, there appear to be a lot of things going on in your marriage.

For example, you are finding comfort in the arms of another woman. Why would you do that? If your marriage and your family are in shambles, then you can't be selfish and make this all about your needs.

What about your children? If you are experiencing the family chaos, how do you think they are coping with this? They are surely experiencing anxiety and sadness too.

I think your role is to leave "Miss Ready to Comfort You" alone. Let her go, and focus on your wife and children. I'm not implying that you deserve the abusive language or behavior, but maybe you're not admitting everything that is happening in your marriage.

Let's say everything you are saying is true, and your wife has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which involves episodes of depression and mania. The best place for you to start is to make an appointment for your wife to see a medical professional.

You are right, if you deploy and leave this situation as it is, it will be a major disaster. Check on base for services. You may be able to make a direct appointment with behavioral health or you may have to start with your wife's primary care doctor, who will refer you to a behavioral health physician.

Lastly, you can always take your wife to the ER. I don't want this to take a more drastic turn with family violence and military police involvement. Make your wife a same-day appointment today and let me know if I can help you further.

Ms. Vicki

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Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

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