Bipolar mania is devastating. It is physically and mentally draining on not only the patient but the entire circle of family and friends having to deal with the symptoms of a bipolar, hyper-manic episode which may include:
- High energy and impulsive, constant activity.
- High risk behaviour like speeding, gambling, using drugs, spending sprees and hypersexuality.
- Overly good mood that can quickly change to:
- Irritability or impatience and violent rages.
- Fast, erratic talking. And the need to talk to people at all hours.
- Racing thoughts.
- Inability to concentrate or cope with regular life.
- Little need for sleep or food.
- Feelings of power and invincibility.
- Paranoia and psychosis.
These episodes can have lasting consequences, long after the cycle has ended. There can be job loss, hospitalization and even incarceration as a result. And sometimes, it can take years to mend relationships and finances.
When my husband entered into mania right before Christmas a few years ago, I was determined for it not to go the way of the previous manic episodes. I was not going to be able to endure six months to a year of chaos. I was not going to have this one end like the last, him going to jail.
Intent on creating a plan, I started searching online and making phone calls. Let me tell you, it was pretty much impossible to get a hold of any doctor or psychiatrist around the holidays. That was a total dead-end. So I turned toward mental health organizations and stumbled upon COAST, Crisis Outreach and Support Team. They have a 24 hour help line. They are trained to triage mental health crisis situations and give support and create a plan for intervention. So I called and spoke to them about what my husband’s symptoms were. They wanted to schedule an appointment, same day, to come and speak to both of us. That sounded great but how was I going to get my husband to agree?
How I Got My Husband Sectioned During A Bipolar Manic Episode
So now I’m going to let in on a little secret. The only way to get my husband to do something he doesn’t want to do, is to either a) make him think it was his idea or b) show him a benefit he would receive by doing it. I had shared the information about COAST with my husband and approached it like this. “I know you are getting really tired of everyone telling you, you are manic when you think you’re not. Let’s call and book an appointment for them to come out. If they say you’re not manic, I won’t mention it again.” He agreed and made the call himself!
The appointment went like this. A registered nurse and an off duty, volunteer policeman came to our house that same afternoon. They did a health questionnaire, asked him some questions, asked me some questions and basically observed his behaviour. I was really worried about this part. My husband during mania is capable of masking his symptoms for a short period of time. He can and has fooled the best. But not this time. He was not given any choice. They were taking him to the hospital. I could follow in my car. Needless to say my husband was shocked, but he was still confident that the doctors at the hospital would side with him and send him home.
The nurse and policeman guarded my husband the whole time we were in the ER. Even when he went out for a smoke. They left when they had successfully passed him over to the psychiatric unit. It is a locked wing. There I sat by myself in the waiting room for hours until a doctor came out to speak with me. She told me she was going to section him for 48 hours and reevaluate him then. At that time he could be re-sectioned or released. That meant that he had to stay in the hospital. He did have smoking privileges by himself, but if he did not return, the police would be called to pick him up.
I was able to now see my husband for the first time in the hospital. He was absolutely furious with me. He believed I convinced the doctor with my lies to have him put away even though I explained to him that the doctor had not spoken to me till after they had made the decision to section him. The usual spewing of divorce threats followed.
I was very upset but I left him at the hospital and went home. I knew that night he would at least be safe and not getting into trouble. I needed to catch up on my sleep and take care of myself for at least a few hours because I knew this was not the end but the beginning of a long journey back to recovery.
For those of you that live in Ontario, Canada:
Ontario Mental Health Helpline 1-866-531-2600.
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