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!
What's New Today
Hi all. New here. I’m 30, husbands 31. We aren’t sure what we’re dealing with when it comes to my husbands mental health. He’s seeing a psychiatrist. He has a mix of ADD, anxiety, depression, and something else going on. Finally thought we found a med regimen that works great for him- he was finally getting to the best version of himself: taking initiative, doing well under stress, able to go to social functions, etc. I finally felt more like a wife than his mother. He stopped his meds, now he’s crashing again. He won’t talk to me and he’s pushing me out of his life, saying “you deserve better.” I told him I took vows when we got married and the vows didn’t include sitting by idly letting him self destruct. This is the hardest time in my life right now. I’ve been able to confide in his parents and mine...it’s so hard to not talk to other people about it because of the stigma of mental health. I’m an RN and I’ve done so much research to try to help him- but he isn’t helping himself. Part of him believes he has an undiagnosed cancer or something; part of him thinks the meds don’t help (but they do). I’m broken-hearted and I feel like he’s about to hit rock bottom again. I’ve literally been in bed most of the day because I’m exhausted mentally and physically. I knew he had mental health issues when we were dating, but more has revealed itself since we’ve been married. No one understands what it’s like to be in these shoes—-except you all. I needed a safe space to escape to (this site) so I don’t bottle up my emotions. XO
Hello I am new and even though I have lots of friends they don’t understand why I would stay with my husband who is extremely bipolar , unemployed, angry, put us into constant debt because banks keep giving him credit cards , and cheats on me. We have two lovely children who don’t really know who is sick and I tried to explain they said then how can he act normal in front of people. Lawyers said because he is sick I would. Be responsible to look after him financially and kids would have to see him which they are starting to really dislike him because we are always walking on eggshells to which person is waking up today and has no recollection of his bad behaviour. So I just want to talk to others who really understand the hell I am living through and I can communicate with them . Thank you
The way people in the medical field treat mental illness makes me what to scream! I was waiting in the ER waiting room for an appointment and saw a young pregnant woman walk in. She went to the desk and said I am bipolar and off my meds because I’m pregnant. I had a really stressful day and feel like I want to hurt myself. In my head, since I’m married to a bipolar man, instantly noticed how agitated she was. The woman at the desk went “so what do you want us to do about it?” The girl was like I need to be admitted so I’m not alone. And I swear the nurse rolled her eyes.
I wanted to invite the girl home with me. I can’t believe the treatment she got. Obviously the nurses had no experience with mental illness because the fact that the young woman walked in and asked for help is amazing. That girl could have gone home and hurt herself and unborn child but instead she asked for help and they acted like she was a bother! Who knows next time she might hesitate to ask for help because people lack proper training.
This is why no one understands me when I cry out of frustration at the lack of help out there for my husband and people like him. I felt for this young girl who I found out was only 19. Where is the justice? Where is the help? Where is the compassion?
Ugh sorry just needed to get that off my chest!
Hi! I am new to this group and would like to introduce myself. I have been dealing with my husband's depression, anxiety, and paranoia for the last eight years (we have been together 12 years, but the first few years were free from depression- only a bit of anxiety). His illness comes in waves - also he is semi-compliant with his meds, but the waves aren't always dependent on medication- and at this point I can see the waves coming in and recognize the patterns. I don't cry very often about it anymore, I'm more in survival mode, especially to normalize life for our children. I am a very private person and have only spoken about his depression a couple of times to friends over the past several years. But I think I need to reach out this time just to try some new approaches to get through it.
One of the main issues that I keep going round and round about is enabling and I would like some advice on it.
I often enable my husband to make him more a more functional part of our family for the sake of myself and our children. For example, a mild request would be: "I'm not going to work because I don't have any clothes." (several clean outfits are hung in the closet and I just pull one out and give it to him while I'm doing 100 other things). That was this morning. Other times they are degrading - after he has stayed in bed all day with the door shut and yelled for me to bring him food, etc. while I watch the kids, do housework, and try to complete some computer work he will say, "If you don't apologize to me for making me feel so lonely, I'm getting an apartment." I tell him, "You could have joined us at any time today, but you chose to stay in your room." (this weekend and several times before) He still says it's my fault. If I don't grit my teeth and tell him I'm sorry, I'll try to make him feel less lonely he falls apart and will then keep me up until all hours of the night complaining and making paranoid accusations. I have to get up at 4:00AM for work so it's very taxing for me. When I stand up for myself he fall apart farther or gets very angry and does bizarre things like locking me out of the bedroom (also the house or my home office). He most often acts this way if we don't have sex on his lowest days. It is extremely challenging for me to feel "in the mood" when he has been very difficult all day and stayed in the room watching tv and eating, but if I don't he will accuse me of cheating on him (I have never stepped out of our relationship - to be honest I am maxed out and wouldn't even if I had the energy or interest). Then he will go through a laundry list of things he is "going" to do. It has become so routine that I can predict what he is going to say. I have even told him what he is going to say and he says it anyway. 1. Accuse me of being interested in someone else / cheating on him - including with a coworker who I have never met in person and who lives in another country. 2. Lying - ex: We haven't had sex in months (we had sex several of the previous days) 3. Saying he will get an apartment the next day. 4. Divorce 5. Shutting off the internet so that I can't communicate with work 6. Taking my work phone etc. Aside from driving off and coming back in about 30 minutes, locking me out of the house, once pushing me out of bed onto the floor, turning on the tv very loud and all the lights on to prevent me from sleeping, but saying that if I slept on the couch he would leave, he has never followed through with the larger threats.
If I just have sex with him he goes to sleep and is better for about a day. Mentally I call it "resetting the hourglass." He even talks to the children a bit more rather than reading the news during dinner and immediately going into the bedroom after. I realize this is unhealthy behavior on my part.. I hate the cycle and used to fight it more, but now it's like if I just do it as maintenance the family unit functions a tiny bit better and maybe I'll get an extra hour of sleep.
Today, I am working from home, all of the children are at school. I will have 6 hours to myself. When he asked me what I was doing today. I told him - work, farm chores, cleaning the house, and hopefully taking a shower. He said, "Why do you need to take a shower? (referencing the only reason to take a shower would be to cheat on him). I told him that I haven't taken an uninterrupted shower in years. He told me that he wants to put up a home surveillance system before winter.
He used to be the kind of man who would take me boating on the 4th of July to see the fireworks from the river. The kind who encouraged me to spend time with my friends. At this point, he is a totally different person.
Any and all advice is welcome. I'm especially interested him how parents deal with a spouse like this who is so demanding and is somewhat quieted by enabling.
Thank you and hugs all around .
First post here... So here's the deal. I'm a therapist. Yes, you read that right. But there's one sick person that I can't help... my husband. We have been married almost 5 years. Last year, around the time I was finishing my degree, he had his first psychotic break. Some serious irony, huh? That began a months-long ordeal that finally ended with him being hospitalized and diagnosed as Schizoaffective (AKA the "I don't need my meds because I'm not sick disorder" as I like to call it). He did really well for a while. Finally got to a place where we were talking about him going back to school (he didn't finish even a whole semester before he got sick). ......and then he secretly stopped taking his meds. It eventually came out, as he has begun exhibiting symptoms again which have increased in frequency/severity over the last couple of weeks. He becomes more disorganized every day. He refuses to restart his meds, and I know another break is right around the corner. I'm terrified. I know I'll never voluntarily get him to a hospital again (it wasn't easy the first time and now he knows what will happen). I know this is going to get ugly and I don't have a good plan. I'm exhausted. I go to work and deal with clients (many with the same diagnosis) and then come home to take care of him/bear the brunt of his psychosis (most of his delusions and hallucinations include me in a negative way)/worry about him. There's no escaping mental illness. I love my job and I love my husband, but I'm running on empty. I use all of my objectivity at work only to get home and be overtaken by emotions. I've learned a few things since last time about how to engage (or not engage) with him, but who knew a mental health professional would struggle so much with a sick family member? Everyone says he's lucky to have me, but all I see is a train that I can't stop from derailing.
I’m feeling like my hands are tied. Today I had a very serious conversation with my depressed husband about his flirtation with women on instagram. I was direct and upfront but my discussions of my feelings on the matter sent him straight to his psych for a Xanax. I’m living in hell. There is no intimacy anymore, and he requires constant deescalation. I’m so tired of trying to be understanding and supporting him.
I am feeling very stressed. My husband has PTSD, Bipolar and all he does is sleep. When I challenege him, he tells me that he is not sleeping. He has become dependent on the computer and iphone playing games looking at videos and it seems that he has no lust for life. He sees a CSW and Pyschiatrist and is meds, but he doesn't work with them. It was my birthday 2 weeks ago and he took me out to dinner only to look like someone that was on dugs and he was sleeping at the table. When we got home, he fell asleep again on the recliner. Any words of wisdom for m3?
about 1 month
I have to admit that I'm just blowing off steam here but he just gave one of his crazy demends- I either go pick up his meds at 11:20 at night from a bad part of town or he won't do anything around the house anymore. Mind you he knew he was out of the medication yesterday and did nothing about it. I said no, my personal safety means something. The mind games suck and I just refuse to play anymore. I'm pretty sure there won't be any apologies from him either. Oh well now that I've written about it hopefully I can let it go.
about 1 month
My husband a I both have bipolar grown sons living with us. His son by former partner. My son by my ex husband. His son refuses any kind of treatment and also is delusional . My son is in treatment , takes meds and is employed full time. We have conflicts all the time about his son not wanting treatment and says nothing is wrong with him. He has torn out our windows to the house and has been hospitalized several times. His father sets no boundaries for him st all totally spoiled. But I can’t let them get to me , I just came back from a nice vacation and I will continue to do me.
about 1 month
My wife and I have been together for over 5 years , married for two. She was previously married, and at that time she moved a long way from her family. He eventually filed for divorse when she came home to be with her dying cousin. I've always supported her journey towards a sound frame of mind, and I've always been guarded in how I approach things, because I dont want to trigger her PTSD or anxiety or depression. Back in November she started cutting very badly , and made an attempt at suicide. I told her that the cutting was really effecting me, and I couldn't take it. I've myself developed PTSD from her cutting, in the apartment we were living in all I felt was the pain of those moments I found her. We moved into our first home recently, and its torn us apart. She hates the fact she was forced out of the apartment, she felt like I didnt respect her boundaries. After a month in the house, I've hit my boiling point. I'm the only one working to support us, and the pressure to perform in a sales job, as well as years of tending to her has left me mentally drained, I just feel like the world is crushing me. I have no more joy in life. I just feel empty. I know I have to take care of myself, but for me to do that right now, I cant tend to her. I love her with everything in me, but I cant take care of both of us, I'm afraid we are heading into a divorse. I'm currently staying with my parents who have been very supportive throughout, I just dont know what to do. I could really use some perspective from someone who's bren there.
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