Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lithium: Not the miracle drug yet or...bipolar man goes to the zoo

Well, the part of me that wants to keep things "normal looking" wants to tell you that DH started his lithium and all has been well ever since.

But I have strived to be honest with you so here's what happened:

After the first two days, DH was getting out of bed and his depression was gone. I posted about that a little already. On days 4-6 he was doing very well, getting some things done around the house and not begging me for money all the time, and he was telling me, "I don't feel depressed at all. I don't feel excited/happy, still just kind of neutral. And I don't seem to have much appetite either."

It was a good start. His psychiatrist had started him off on 300mg twice a day, and then on April 1, if all goes well, he will be "upped" to 600mg twice a day. I was very hopeful. But then we went to the zoo.

DD had wanted to go to the zoo for a long time. So I told her that we would take her to the zoo as part of her 15th birthday present--she is going to be 15 next week!!! She was so excited about it. And when DH's mom (my mother in law) heard that we were going, she decided that she was going to come too. That made DD even more excited because she loves her "gramma".

So the day came to go to the zoo. I had worked the night before, and so the plan was that I would sleep until about 11am and then we would head out. The zoo is 2 hours away (as is everything, LOL) and so I couldn't sleep too long....in the meantime, DH's mom was going to take DH, DD, and Jim out to breakfast so the house would be peaceful for me. So they went out to breakfast. My mother in law (MIL) paid for breakfast. She bought DD two new pairs of tennis shoes that were on sale, too. She bought DH two 12-packs of pop.

Now, an aside: MIL is a very blunt person. She says what comes into her head with little regard for tact and often little regard for consequences. She has always been like this. When DH and I were first married, he used to always have to advise me to "take her with a grain of salt, because her ideas change like the wind." So I did. Sometimes she says things that inadvertently hurt feelings, but it's only because she doesn't think before she speaks and if she knew what she had really said, she would feel pretty bad. Anyhow, MIL keeping quiet about something is not the norm.

So....then after she bought all this stuff, DH asked her for some gas money. She said to him, "Why don't you get a job or apply for disability? You know you're lucky Carol hasn't left you yet, you've got to quit spending money like this."
And just like that, "That Guy" showed up. He stormed into the bedroom when he got home, woke me up to tell me what his mom had said. I reminded him to "take her with a grain of salt" and he said that he was trying.

So we went to the zoo. And "That Guy" came with. He was surly and sarcastic the whole time there. He wouldn't stop to look at things, he glanced at animals and walked ahead of us. I let him. I just pretended like "that guy" was someone else, and I was at the zoo with my family. Then DH wanted to take a picture of DD sitting on this wolf statue, but this other lady with about 6 little (under 7) kids was trying to do the same thing. So DH made a bunch of sarcastic remarks about how many kids she had and how they weren't letting others have a turn, I was mortified!!!!

So then we decided to have a cup of coffee and let DD and her friend (who had also come with) check out some baby animals a short distance away. While I was getting my ice cream (I don't drink coffee), DH decided to tell his mom how mean she was to say what she had said about me leaving him. And apparently he said some other things too, while I wasn't there. I heard enough when I got back to know that it was "That Guy" talking and not my DH. My DH loves his mom and would never talk to her like that. Then DH (That Guy) stormed out to wait for us in the car. I told my MIL to try hard to not take him personally (she knows he's been having problems but hasn't experienced "That Guy" yet). She seemed a little shocked, but she tried to let it go....

When we got home, DH said to me, "I need to call my mom." And I thought he was going to apologize, but apparently he just laid into her more and put her on a guilt trip too. I went into the bedroom and tried to keep myself from yelling at him because yelling at "That Guy" usually does more harm than good. I was sitting there when DH came into the room and he asked me what was wrong. I told him that I have a hard time knowing how to act when "That Guy" is so far out of line, because I know DH can't control "That Guy" but I was angry. So he asked me why, and I gave him some examples of his behavior that day. He broke down in tears. This was important, because it was the first time he had ever actually cried in front of me, usually he will let a tear seep out and then that's that. Anyhow, he told me that he wouldn't let his mom hug him when she left, and that he had said some awful things to her, and that he had even bad-mouthed her at his Emotions Anonymous meeting. He was still crying, so he begged me to call his mom and apologize, which I did.

When he got done crying, "That Guy" was gone, and DH was there again. We haven't talked much about that day, and apparently the lithium is still working, as DH is not depressed and is acting pretty close to normal for him now, so maybe the stress of having all those people going to the zoo and the relatively low dose of lithium allowed "That Guy" to break through....I don't know....I'm glad he's gone though....

And then last night, DH made a comment about how much more he's gotten done this week, and I told him "I hope we left "That Guy" at the zoo for good". DH laughed a little bitterly and said, "Oh no, he made it home all right, he was talking to my mom on the phone that night, remember?"


perphila said...

I"m sorry you had such a hard day. It is hard to be looking forward to something and have it turn out badly. It seems so far the lithium is working. It will be a slow progress. When the dose is increased it may be even better. Hopefully with therapy in combination with the lithium when the stressors that cause the other guy to show up will be less frequent. It does seem that the days events and the hard words were a trigger for him. Be careful about the tears. My husband also wasn't much of a tear person. I always knew when he cried it was a big deal. It is more of a emotional release. It doesn't mean the behavior will change. I had thought, well, he is crying he knows how much he hurt me or the the kids now that there is this break though he will work harder or now he can see what he's done and we can move forward. That wasn't the case. I think he felt bad more for himself and not not us. I do believe there was remorse but not enough for change. Not yet. Even though it was a bad day for you I do see some progress. Hang in there.