Caring for a Spouse with Mental Illness
Mental Illness is different than cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, or other conditions that society accepts as organic and 'real'. Have you chosen to stay with your spouse or care for someone who suffers from a mental illness? This groups is here to support you.
Help spread the support to more people in need -- Please tell a friend or two. Thanks!
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about 5 hours ago
My husband and I have been married for 17 years. When we were dating he told me he suffered from depression. As a special needs teacher, I thought I knew what that meant. In reality, I also thought that a lot of what I saw as issues due to his unique work schedule (Thurs - Sun 12 hour shifts beginning at 6 PM) were actually issues related to his depression. In other words, I thought some of them would get better once he worked different hours and was in a different situation.
Over the past 17 years we have weathered many, many storms caused by his depression. It has not been easy but I thought we were stronger for having gone through them together. Now, I am at my rope's end and just don't know if I can take any more or do it again. And, I don't even know if I should try because of the impact it is having on our 16 year old daughter.
Two months ago, his depression turned from being primarily MDD to being almost exclusively anxiety driven. Yes, he still exhibits depressive tendencies and issues, however, now the biggest issues are panic attacks, anxiety induced nausea, and a complete lack of ability to focus. Multiple medication changes have not helped at all. His psychiatrist has now recommended ECT. That tells me he is pretty much giving up hope on medication things to try too. We asked him about the new ketamine transfusions but he is not in favor of trying those because there is really no research out there and our insurance won't even think of covering it ECT is scary for anyone but especially for someone who makes his living working with numbers and computers (he's a senior network engineer and security specialist at a trading firm); the possible memory loss issues are a significant hurdle for both of us to overcome to even consider this.
His job is at risk. Right now, he is scheduled to begin an Intensive Outpatient Program next week. The doctor hopes that will help him get through the two week ramp up period to the new medication with the addition of lots of Valium. Obviously, I am doing all of the insurance work (because he is not capable of it) and they are a major pain in the ass company for mental health coverage if you need anything more than counseling. I just don't know how much more I can take.
I love the man I married. But I have not seen that man at all for over two years and he was really sporadic for the last 5. Now our choices appear to be risking him being gone forever if the ECT steals his memory or living in this hell of solitude with no one for support for me at all. Most days I wonder why I am even still married because it is like having another child instead of an adult to share things with.
I need to hear from those who have had ECT or lived with someone who had it and what your experiences were. All of the info out there pooh-poohs the memory loss aspect of it and, honestly, our doctor did too.
And, yeah, reading this, I realize I need some counseling. I'll be arranging that for both me and my daughter tomorrow morning.
5 days ago
my darling's depression is one strong beast that I feel like I don't have what it takes to handle or beat at times. He lives with his parents that have the same illness that are addicted to pills with a fat dog that would nip me in a second once it glances its bulging eyes out at me. I work two jobs, and try to pull it together, on my days off all he wants to do is sleep. So I'm stuck,... here. i want more then anything to be engaging and building memories with this person i love so much but instead I'm dwelling in sorrow wondering how much longer can i take this silence, worry, get scared, and the withdraw. I know i l;loved him since i layed my eyes on him and he is who i want. but will his illness ever let me have him?
7 days ago
I love my wife. When we first started dating I did not realize what her anxiety was. I was hedging my bets and still talking to a couple of other women. I stopped that after about two weeks. Yes, it was wrong, no excuses. I have spent every moment since trying to prove I love her. When she's doing well, she knows it and appreciates it. When she's feeling anxious, any woman I mention, even innocuously in passing conversation, I obviously have a thing for and am chasing. I love her, do not want any other woman in my life, but these accusations get very old. She knows how to push my buttons, then when I get upset she uses it against me to say I have a guilty conscience and I am going to leave her. I know I screwed up, and I know that it complicates what her disease does to her, but I have been trying for over a year to help her trust me. Nothing I do helps or seems to be enough. I am at my wits end. I don't want to end my marriage I just can't deal with always being accused of cheating when all I did was talk to a few other people right after we started dating. Help!
An anonymous caregiver said...
13 days ago
I thrive off of every thought of him, even the ones that devastate me. One kind word from him is like the high I was looking for while wading through the pain of his dismissal. He draws me in with his love and I go to him like a moth to the flame. Every horrible word and every moment he left me in the cold forgotten. He can destroy me over and over and still I will love him. I tell myself that he will change or maybe it is my fault and I should change, that I just need to stay strong a little longer. He's hurting, he needs me he can't help it. If I really loved him I would be there for him, no matter how much it hurts. I tell myself that I'm just being humble by staying, that pride is wrong and of course I cannot claim perfection. I feign confidence in the world around me, a confidence that perhaps once was real, and yet inside I feel hollow and small. I validate him, empower him, try to understand and encourage him at every opportunity; and then wait. I wait and hope that he will be there for me when I feel weak, that he will encourage me, understand me and lift me up too. I need him to put some of that energy back into my soul, so I reach out. I reach out in humility, and am immediately rebuked. I feel more alone, and realize I must face my fears without even my own strength for I have given it all to him. Days feel like months. Then there he is; he needs me. The shell that I am goes once again, hoping that maybe this time he will be kind." ~ Unknown
15 days ago
Stumbled across this sight and I'm both relieved to see so many feeling the way I do and horrified that so many feel the way I do. What's the use if this is how it is and will stay? I have been married to my husband for over 20 years. After the first 10 it was so bad, I almost walked away. And then he had a 10 year period where he was almost completely without BP. I thought the hard times were over. 5 years ago, it came back with a vengeance. After jumping from one low paying job to another, he finally landed a great job. He took 3 weeks off beforehand to take care of himself. But really, all that did was push him into a state of mania because he had no purpose or schedule and I go home to a crazy house, strange messes, and him in some state of I don't what, depending on the day. On his second day of his new job, he requested a month before actually starting because he can't get his head right. I'm so scared he's either going to lose this job or just quit and go on disability, which pays peanuts. I already work FT plus overtime to pay the bills and get our teenagers what they need. How am I going to do this? I have health issues of my own and some days I can hardly function but I get up and go to work. Every day. I'm tired and lonely and want to quit. But what would it do to the kids if we split? Him? Who will be there for him? Two of my kids have been diagnosed with the same anxiety/depression. So, I don't quit. Because he's a great guy, everyone loves him. He's not violent or mean. He's just a basket case of person whom I am responsible for. Another body in my house that I must feed and tend and keep from doing something stupid. A man who wears out everyone who tries to help him and writes furiously in his notebook day and night seeking some solace from his pain. A roommate who trashes my house, leaves every project unfinished and obsesses without ceasing. A husband who tries to love me but is so deep in his own pit he doesn't even look me in the eye, I've become a single woman who's not allowed to date, go out, have many friends or receive affection. I have no friends because if I talk about him, they tell me to leave and then treat him like an imbecile- of which he is the opposite and knows exactly why he's being talked to like that. So, I ditch the friends because they don't understand. The people he confides in are of the strange and odd sort and though they try, I've not found friendship nor understanding in his pack of quirky people. But I'm glad he has them because it means there are others helping. Our medical bills are sky high because he's convinced he's got some mystery illness that will explain all his aches and pains and funky mood. He's been to every natural doctor (you know, the ones that don't take insurance, cash only?) in the city, been on every special diet, taken every supplement but none of them stick because he doesn't stick with anything. Except for me. Lucky me. I am a complete jerk, I know. But it feels so good to just say it.
about 1 month ago
Hi. I have been with my wife for almost 18 years. She has suffered from severe depression and a eating/body image disorder out entire relationship for the most part we were able to work through it but the past few years it has really escalated. I really do love her. But I really can't deal with it anymore. Now whenever there's an episode I become distant and want to hide from her. Ido t do it purposely, but that's what I do. Also she has started drinking daily for at least 2 years now and that definitely has made things worse. I want to support her and be there for but I'm just done. I can't seem to do it. We have two wonderful boys and they have grown up with it. She often will spend her weekends in bed. I do my best to check in whe. She says she wants to sleep a little longer. And I do that multiple times. Then when she does get up and is inconsolable and it turns into anger and tells me how many suicidal thoughts she had today. Anyways I could go on. Just not sure where to go or what to do with this anymore. Thanks.
about 1 month ago
I have been married to my wife for 21 years and we have been together for 25 years. We have two teenage kids and a few years ago I believe she began to get depressed. I cannot do anything or go anywhere without her or she gets mad. If I am not 100% affectionate and loving all the time she thinks I hate her and when she drinks, she gets extremely angry and irrational to the point of being violent. She refuses help and says there is nothing wrong with her. What can I do?
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