Hi all,
I hope that you might be able to offer me some advice. I have been with my partner for 11 years, but I am seriously wondering if now is the time to leave, as I am not able to cope with his bipolar(which was bipolar 2 but has now changed to bipolar 1) any more.

I feel like I have been very understanding and patient with him, listening when he's down, ignoring him when he calls me every name under the sun, picking things up when he's smashed them on the floor etc etc. I have also tried, when he's shouted at me, to gently tell him that this is not very nice, and it upsets me, but this makes the rages worse and then he goes into a period of self loathing and says things like he wants to die, and that I don't love him, which is very hurtful considering what I do as his carer. I feel very much that I cannot communicate with him at all, and when I do, he doesn't listen to my feelings, or picks out a specific word or turns a phrase on its head to make it sound as though I am attacking him, which is not the case.

When he is himself, he can be a good companion, and will thank me for what I do, give me cuddles and do things that are fun and spontaneous, but this is rare and I feel more like his mother than his partner. He has not been intimate with me for a very long time, and I never push him about this, as I try to understand the effects the drugs could be having, but it seems that every time I go out he's on the computer, looking at other women and storing hundreds and hundreds of images on sd cards that get found all over the house. I have tried everything to please him, without being too pushy or demanding, even suggesting I just give him a massage or something- anything just to be intimate - but he's only interested in his online conquests, which sickens me, as I'm willing to give him real affection. It has made me not want to go out and if I confront him about the fact that this really hurts me, he says I make too many demands on him and make him feel bad as a person as I want too much from him. This breaks my heart as I only want the basics, to be smiled at and cuddled every now and again, and not to be put second to some pixels.

Since being diagnosed, he has lashed out at me, thrown things at me and my car, and has held me up against a wall and shouted in my face among other things. Every time he has a melt down, I'm strong, remember what I've read, and calm him down so he doesn't self harm or do something else (he has tried to commit suicide before). Normally he gets his bag and threatens to leave and if I ignore him, he just ups the breaking of things, or banging his head against the wall until I respond, which really upsets me. Yet if I ever cry or let things get too much for me, he shouts even more saying things like 'what's f-ing wrong now' as if I'm the problem. He doesn't usually swear either, which makes these rages all the more frightening for me. I get abuse when I eat too loudly, if I'm too happy, if I go and have a secret cry in the bathroom, it's like walking on eggshells every day. I flinch at loud noises and have nightmares all the time about things I have been through with him. I don't sleep much and if I try to go and rest in the spare room he will come in and turn the light on and force me to come back to sleep in the bedroom. But this is only when he's manic, as at other times he understands my need for a rest and comes in to wake me up with a kiss and a cup of tea. It's like living with two different people, but I never know which one he will be from day to day!

There is so much more, including the fact his parents are so close to where we live but wont help me, and have said they don't even want to hear from me about it. It's like if he's my problem, he's not theirs- and even though they could have him for a weekend to give me a break, they wont. I feel so alone and scared all the time, fed up with his behavior, as even though he's on medication, it keeps changing all the time, as he had a very bad reaction to lithium and became very very nasty and spiteful. Olanzapine 10mg is what he's on now and it makes him really sleepy but takes away none of the angry outbursts and self loathing. I am asking for advice everywhere and finding out what counseling, courses and groups we can attend, either alone or together. I know it sounds crazy, but I do care for him very much, but the way he treats me is dragging me into the ground. I know he's ill, but he's making me so depressed by the way he speaks and acts. I cannot trust him, he lies about everything, spends all his money so that he has no savings and cannot help with saving up for a deposit on our house, and even stole the £500 I had saved up for my wedding dress. Everything is so me me me, and to everyone else he is happy and pleasant, no wonder his parents probably think I'm making all this up! But it's awful, and I need to know if anyone else has or is going through this. What is the next step? When is enough enough? I feel awful thinking about leaving a sick person, as I would hope he would stay with me if I was ever that ill, but I honestly don't think he would. It's like he wants me to leave, and is pushing as hard as he can to force me away, by being heartless and cruel, but I know he's not evil deep down and has a lot of issues that he he needs to deal with.

I am not in denial (I like to think I'm fairly level-headed and clued up on what is happening around me), and am aware that I am in a very volatile situation and need to look after myself first and foremost now. But it's not as easy as just walking out as I am scared for him, and for my things if I left them behind. My family are a long way away and as I moved to be with him, don't have many close friends I could rely on to help in an instant. My parents are amazing and understand mental health issues and have said I have always got a home with them, but moving is a long process and I'm not sure if I'm ready to 100% give up and go back to my mum and dad- even if it would be temporary. I am trying to work out a crisis plan but I'm scared he will find it as he's already started to get nervy and has convinced himself I'm going to leave in the middle of the night, even though I have always said I would never do that.

Seriously, any advice would help me right now. I am loosing the battle that I found so easy to fight at first. He's chipped away at my amour and those I thought would support me have been nowhere to be seen. The doctors tried to put me onto antidepressants, but they made me very sick and I refused to go back on them. There must be a better way to cope than with drugs- but I was willing to try anything a few weeks ago.

Sorry this was so long, but I could have gone into even more detail. I feel like I have been bottling all this up for ages and just need to let it out. Thanks for reading though, and many thanks in advance to anyone who replies.

Huge hugs,
Bryony