It really sounds like he needs some inpatient therapy/diagnosis. He does not sound like a patient that has been properly diagnosed and treated. While I realize that sometimes it is difficult to get the meds to work properly, there are new meds coming out all the time. He should be in therapy with a counselor, and his meds should be being monitored by a psychiatrist- not a general MD or a counselor. Psychiatrists have specific training and experience with how different drugs interact and would definitely be able to help him find a combination that works. Of course, it a long process- most meds take about 8 weeks to really see what it is doing. AND people often have to change their meds over time. Brain chemistry changes, so what worked when someone was 30 isn't necessarily going to work when someone is 55.
He is lucky to have you.
Ditto this being a process and he needs to be in therapy on a regular basis.
My sister is bipolar, and fortunately holds down a good job but its a constant struggle for her. She at least realizes she needs to keep up her meds and she does even when she's in an upswing. However, maintaining a pretty consistent routine is very very important to her staying healthy and when it gets disrupted she can get really thrown for a loop.
It also doesn't help that along with being bipolar she has a lot of other issues but that's a whole 'bother story
I'm what's called a "sandwich"-- bipolar parent and child, both hospitalized as I write. The best first step for coping with it is education-- good guidance is available through NAMI-- including a great series of classes for family members called "Family to Family, " (often abbreviated to F2F). It's a very complicated struggle, made all the more difficult by widespread misunderstanding, stigma, counterproductive laws, etc. You are, of course, free to PM for more information.
I know, people can get pretty creative about getting stuff in small towns. But when I say he didn't leave the house I mean it -- there were weeks when he didn't put on shoes. It's not impossible that he's using something -- you've raised some possibilities I haven't even thought of -- but I don't that's his main problem.
You say he drinks? Where does he get his alcohol?
You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.
WOW -- you guys are amazing. Thanks so much for your replies.
I won't get back to the boards till later today (no day off for us Canooks!) but I am looking forward to really going through your response, and I likely will have further questions.
Thanks again -- it means a great deal to me that you share your stories and experiences.
All I will say is that there will be ups and downs, you have a tough road to travel there with that fellow.
I have stories, some bad, some just stories, none good, when it comes to those kinds of individuals.
Be supportive, don't fret for what is not or what you can't help, spend your money and energy on helping where you can, that seems to be getting him a real evaluation and supervision when needed.
To me, that makes more sense than enabling his next wild goose chase on his own, that we kind of know will not end well.
Why keep doing the same and expect a different outcome?
I think this will be a life time struggle, that is just the way such situations are.
Glad that you can be there to help when needed, not many are that lucky.