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How long can a bipolar psychosis go on for?

Hi everyone

Reaching out for some support and advice today. 

Long story short, my diagnosed bipolar husband was coming off his meds under care of a psychiatrist, had a lot of stress and has gone into a manic, probably psychosis. 


He has done this three times before, but the last was five years ago. The meds kept him very stable. 

The last time, five years ago and this time, he feels that I am the reason he is feeling so bad and has left home. He thinks I am emotionally abusive and manipulative. He is paranoid that I am controlling his mind with my crystals. 

He has been gone since Christmas, he sent an email on my birthday to say he wants a divorce and not to contact him. Previous to this thing were really great in our marriage and we are very close and very much in love with very few minor issues.

He has communicated with my son to come and pick up his belongings but tries to organise police to escort him (even though they never turn up) as somehow he is scared of me. Smiley Sad

Now I get a letter from lawyers wanting to organise financial settlements. 

Last time this happened, he ended up ringing me in a suicidal state wanting to come home, which is what happened. 

Now I don't know what to do. How long can he be in this psychosis for? He's not so bad he needs hospitalisation (as far as I know) and I think he is back at work. It's just me that he targets in this state. I don't know where he is living or what he is doing. He does 'present well' and is good at masking. So his stories probably sound believable to his work mates or others and any 'oddness' can seem like he's just stressed with marital problems.


It's very confusing and hard to wait it out and see what happens. I am worried he will lapse into the depressive/suicidal state at some point and won't reach out to me and go through with it. 

Last time it took several years of therapy for him to get over the things he did to us in his psychosis. 

It feels like my kind, gentle, loving husband turns into a completely different and really mean person who I cannot reach. My heart is breaking. 

Has anyone else experienced this? 


Re: How long can a bipolar psychosis go on for?

Hello @Sofia 

Psychosis = ☹️


Are you able to let your husband's pdoc know what is happening? 


Did it ever get to the stage of lawyers letters previously?


I would suggest that you get some legal advise in relation to your present situation but you may also want to seek support for yourself as to "where to" in relation to your relationship, particularly to protecting yourself emotionally and financially should you plan on taking him back if he reaches out to you post any financial settlement you may have to make.  This may be something that is not static as it will likely depend on his behaviours whilst you are separated which may or may not cross the line of what you feel is acceptable (ie such as in matters relating to  fidelity).


My husband thought that being homeless and living off charity was quite possible but thankfully it never got to the stage where he followed through on anything to officially part ways and he is doing heaps better now on appropriate meds.


Part of the motivation I had  in getting the ball rolling to get him on the DSP was that should my husband have deteriorated further and due to his psychosis been unable to sustain a relationship that he would at least have some income to fall back on and would be able to eat/ get shelter; I have no idea how he managed when he went AWOL as he did not access our bank account. 

Re: How long can a bipolar psychosis go on for?

Hi @Darcy 


many thanks for the reply! 

I have thought about contact his psychiatrist but it exacerbated things with him when I rang mental health for advice and they checked up on him through a gp appointment. Now he thinks I've launched an investigation into him! Apparently he has had these gps and psychologist tell him he's fine just stressed. Not helpful when he's good at masking. 

No last time he did consult a lawyer but he was much more agitated and hospitalised last time do nothing came of it. We didn't have savings then like we do now either. 

it's difficult knowing what to do. He's hurt me terribly again and as much as I love him, my health deteriorates significantly from the stress. I'm now in a position where I have no income and difficulty finding work due to ill health and a poor job market.


Taking him back would require a lot of counselling and stress in itself. It's not easy. It's hard to trust him again. 

the not knowing but is hard isn't it? I'm assuming that my husband is back at work and possibly living with a cousin is all I can think of. I know he was in a tent for a while at a caravan park but I assume the credit card ran out and he had no options left. How in earth he manages to put up a good front at work I don't know but there is the complexity of the illness. 

ive got some free legal advice tomorrow so after that I'll have a better idea of what to do next. 

How do you look after yourself in these times? 

Re: How long can a bipolar psychosis go on for?


At the time I did not self care at all well, I am hoping that with the knowledge and counseling that I have had that should things go down hill that I would cope better.


I just lived off adrenaline and leant into supports, thought I was doing ok but was not. Once things settled it took me a couple of years to find joy in doing the things I had previously enjoyed.


I would not hesitate in contacting pdoc (psychiatrist), particularly if that is part of your safety plan.  How long did it take for him to crash last time? 

Re: How long can a bipolar psychosis go on for?

we don't even have a safety plan as the meds have made him stable for the last five years! 

I think it was around two months last time that he came out of it and went into a deep depression/suicidal state 


we are starting week 8 of it all now so maybe it won't be much longer


im doing better at self care this time as last time the extreme and prolonged stress causes me so many health problems - I'm forcing myself to go on walks, do yoga, have aromatherapy baths, breathing techniques and spend money on wellness appointments 


learning to put myself first and practice self love and self care 


thanks so much for the support 💚


Re: How long can a bipolar psychosis go on for?

Keep doing the things you can @Sofia , post crisis is often the time when we need the emotional care.


Hard to separate the illness when it affects us so personally. I did read it is much easier to forgive what happens in depressive episodes vs what happens when manic/psychotic.

Re: How long can a bipolar psychosis go on for?

Yes I guess my ego prefers it when he doesn't think I'm a terrible person which is what happens in the manic state. 

He's much nicer to me in the down state so easier to forgive and assist 

Re: How long can a bipolar psychosis go on for?


Hurtful things are said and done - it is not easy.


Sending gentle thoughts your way.

Re: How long can a bipolar psychosis go on for?

How are you going @Sofia ?

Re: How long can a bipolar psychosis go on for?

Thanks @Darcy  for checking in. 

Things are still the same unfortunately. My son and I ran into him at the shops so we had a chat. 

He was reasonably calm and somewhat rational but totally unemotional, like a robot. Apparently he has a flat somewhere, has gone back to work, thinks I’m emotionally abusive and manipulative and wants nothing to do with me. Has zero feelings for me and just stopped loving me. He’s convinced that he’s never been mentally unwell and it’s been me the whole time orchestrating his hospitalisation and convincing him and the hospital staff that he’s ill.


I’m not sure how you can get yourself committed to a mental health unit and stay for two weeks if you are perfectly fine - they need the  beds!!!

he's even gone so far as hiring lawyers to get property settlement 


my own mental health is struggling now, it's been months and I think I ran out of steam trying to hold it all together and be positive 




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