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Husband with serious mental health problems - how to deal with this?

(14 Posts)
KidderminsterKate Wed 15-Jun-11 21:08:28

My husband and I are separated at present but I still try to support him whenever I can and still see him occasionally.....usually when he's lucid. He's been sectionned a few times now and they mess around with his medication to try to stabilise him but I guess not found the best dose. I'm his nearest relative in terms of the sections and am happy to remain so.

They initially said it was schizophrenia, then personality disorder and now seems to be some sort of psychosis.

I thought I was doing ok. We have 4 kids and I'm stupidly pg with #5. I havent told him yet as didnt want to rock his boat and he's going through another bad patch.

I feel like I'm in limbo land....i want him to get better so we can get back together and be the family we are supposed to be but this has been going on for 3 years although we've only been separated for half of that. But part of me just wants to divorce him - but this doesnt sit right with me either. I've tried to protect my children and they seem to be ok but not sure how I'm going to explain th new baby. Or how I'm going to cope.

Not sure what I'm posting for........

cestlavielife Wed 15-Jun-11 21:17:52

it is ok to want him to get better - but you have no control over that.

so you have to plan as tho he wont get better and get support elsewhere

you cannot possibly look after five children and a man with severe MH issues - something has to give . you need help with either the children or him or both.

what support do you have ?

FabbyChic Wed 15-Jun-11 22:56:34

Its possible that he may never get better, mental illnesses sleep for want of a better word, but can reappear at any time.

With medication it is possible to have a relatively easy normal life.

I manage it and take meds for BPD, Depression and take anti-psychotics for paranoia.

I just got a job and feel better than I have in a long time, its a responsible full time position, but then Im high functioning.

Those who aren't do struggle and sometimes cannot live a normal life.

No one would ever know that I have mental health problems other than me and those closest to me.

tallwivglasses Thu 16-Jun-11 00:10:19

You must love him very much. But you'll be no good to him or your kids unless you take care of yourself. Please don't isolate yourself.

Remember this is not your fault, and understand that there is absolutely nothing you can do to 'make' him well. Severe mental health problems sometimes respond to the right combination of drugs, but sometimes they don't. Sometimes the sick person basically disappears into the darkness and doesn't come out, and nothing you said or did caused it or would have made it better.
Unfortunately, some people with severe MH issues can behave in very burdensome, guilt-tripping ways - beg to come home, beg you to love them, etc, etc. It's not the sick person's fault. But it's not fair to expose children to this. They can't really understand what's going on. Prioritize yourself and your DC. Explain to them, in age-appropriate ways, that Daddy is very ill and needs proper professional help to get better, that it isn't because of anything they did, and that he does love them but can't always say so because he is so ill.
As to divorcing him, you don't have to do that if you don't want to. The only time you would really need to divorce him would be if you wanted to marry someone else, and your posts don't suggest that this is likely at the moment - if it helps you feel better about the situation to remain technically married to him, there's no need to take any action to change that.

superdragonmama Thu 16-Jun-11 01:06:12

Completely second what SGB says.

Your priority must be yourself, and your children - find support for yourself, then you can support your children. Then you'll be able to offer support to your husband, but you'll probably need to do this from an emotional and practical distance.

Don't worry about divorce now: there's so much else for you to prioritise - your 4 kids, your new baby, your sick husband - please, please look after yourself first and foremost, so that you can be strong to look after your children too.

I've always found the best way of dealing with the limbo you describe is to accept it, and try to live in the here and now; don't attempt to make too many fancy plans for the future, try not to worry about either the future or the past, just focus on the present. All a bit of a cliche, but it's true nonetheless. Day by day, get through this day, then the next day, as best as you can.

laptopwieldingharpy Thu 16-Jun-11 01:31:59

I would just add enlist help from another family member/very close friends to second you.
YOU need help keeping it all together for your family as you do.
It seems obvious to me that even if you divorce, you still feel very strongly that you are a family and want him in your life, even if "just" as the father of your children.
What are the logistics like? where does he live?

KidderminsterKate Thu 16-Jun-11 20:16:20

thanks for the kind words.....

My parents are supportive and live about 40 mins away. They both still work as do I so they are not really about on a day to day basis but do have the kids for the day/ odd weekend. My sister is supportive but lives a way away as do my closest friends so although emotionally supportive they do not live close by.

There are a couple of 'school mums' that would help and 1 in particulr has been very kind. I also have a work colleague who I chat to about all this sometimes.

I guess I just want him to be better. I naively thought he would be by now. In terms of where he lives its been psychiatric hospitals and then he seems to move to a step down unit (not sure what you call them) but there are nurses still about....but then he ends up thinking he doesnt need his meds because he feels better and then spirals back into needing to be admitted to hospital.

I do love him very much but not the illness if that makes sense. Since became pg - maybe its the hormones I just feel angry that this has happened. I have no clue why....he has never even been the sort to get depressed never mind full on psychosis.

The kids are ace. I've tried to explain mental illness and psychosis without scaring them. They do see their father but only when he is doing well and recogises them. Occasionally he is aware of how life has changed for us and he cries. It tears me apart whn he's like this. I have tried to distance myself from him but he sometimes gets in such a state that I have to go and calm him down.

I also stupidly began sleeping with him again....I think this was because I slept with someone else and felt guilty even though we are separated. This hasnt helped me emotionally but I now have a new baby to contend with. Stupid stupid stupid and I have to start telling people soon.

I just dont know what to do. Where to take the relationship. How to relate to him. He's not my husband at the moment but sometime he is yet I can never know how its going to go. Recently was the longest time he's been close to himself and I thought it was finally clearing for us. But he's now taken a dip even worse than the initial one and is back in hospital.

cookcleanerchaufferetc Thu 16-Jun-11 22:27:06

Does he have any family?

laptopwieldingharpy Fri 17-Jun-11 04:12:34

Even with a divorce you can still be a family.

I think you must not let the guilt dictate your options at this stage.
You already seem to have a pretty well organised life with your children now and am sure it must have been hard work, well done.

A divorce means end of your obligations as a couple but you will obviously still be supportive and he will still be part of the family.

Am obviously worried about how he will cope with the news of the baby. That is not something you can add to what's on your plate. You need to welcome this baby, you and his siblings and you need to concentrate on your wellbeing first. No one else will.

So yes, where are his family, his friends?

cestlavielife Fri 17-Jun-11 09:44:09

talk to somone a counsellor, go via MIND, RETHINK
www.rethink.org/how_we_can_help/our_services/carer_support.html

but you have to let others take care of your H when he is sick because you cannot and because you have the DC to consider.

mental illness happens. not his fault not your fault.

talking to someone might help you decide how to deal with the good times/bad times .

KidderminsterKate Fri 17-Jun-11 10:02:24

his father has died and he only has a very elderly mother who doesn't really understand whats happened. He hadn't spoken to his sister for years because of a family issue.....I've never even met her!

His friends are spread all over the world. Nobody really close enough, living nearby to take the burden. There's only his old work colleagues and havent spoken to them for yonks - except his old manager who calls occaionally from time to time and sent the kids an xmas present. So I guess I feel like I'm the only one he has nearby to do this. And I do believe in my marriage vows.

I'm thinking of contacting his psychiatrist re the baby...see what he thinks is the best way to go about this. He has a review coming up so want to do it before then????

I'll think about ringing the charities but not sure what they'll do. I wonder if he could get a befriender or something??

cestlavielife Fri 17-Jun-11 10:15:14

i think if you talk to someone at MIND or RETHINK they can help YOU decide what next steps are and what to do. for you.

you need support here. for you.

he has profressionals involved, right?
you can also point him to MIND, RETHINK from his perspective - but really you need to look after you.

KidderminsterKate Sat 18-Jun-11 08:50:22

I might give it a try. I dont really want sympathy - I guess just practical advice on the kids.

They've come home from school with father's day cards. They want to visit him tomorrow to give them but he's in hospital at the moment and not doing too well. Is it worse not to take them or should I???? I dont want to upset them/ scare them and I dont want to throw him off track either.

The contact is sporadic. Can be months with nothing but then we can see him often..daily sometimes for a few days/ weeks........no real pattern for them. I'm thnking about withdrawing us all abit from the situation. Feel horrendously guilty about it but think I need to protect myself from it.

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