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Guilt over my mental health problems

(23 Posts)
NightTerrier Sat 07-Jan-17 20:14:04

Guilt over my mental health problems and how they affect my husband have been eating away at me. I have Bipolar 1 and just got diagnosed with Avoidant/Anxious Personality Disorder, which isn't well known. It's basically social anxiety and an inferiority complex on steriods (a very simplified view of it).

I feel like I'm the worst partner and that he deserves better. My last manic episode 18 months ago was so stressful and frightening for him and I seriously wonder why he's still with me after 9 years? I can't help feeling like I'd be doing him a kindness by separating.

The Avoidant/Anxious PD just makes me doubt myself constantly and feel as if everyone's judging me for being a crap partner and wondering why he doesn't ditch me for someone normal. People think he's a great bloke, and he really is.

What can I do to make up for this all? I try to work on the avoidance issues, but it's so ingrained that I don't think I'll ever be a normal confident person. As for the bipolar, that's a proper illness and I can't do anything other than take meds and manage it as best I can and hope for the best.

happyfrown Sat 07-Jan-17 20:31:30

hope you don't mind if I take a seat, im the same although, I have BPD (borderline) recently broke off last relationship due to guilt / worrying i'll hurt him with my mental health. he deserves better.

all the best with replies x

NightTerrier Sat 07-Jan-17 20:35:20

happyfrown, I don't mind if you take a seat at all. Having a PD really sucks, I feel really down since being diagnosed.

Do you think you'll be able to reconcile? Also, are you getting treatment for the BPD?

Saffron2020 Sat 07-Jan-17 20:36:12

As for the bipolar, that's a proper illness

Avoidant/Anxious Personality Disorder - IS a proper illness its not something you want or are asking for. I don't know much about this, but from what you are saying it is causing how you feel. I know you haven't said this but it kind of comes across like you feel a burden in the relationship - Don't its not your fault.

If your DH really felt how you think he does/should then im sure he would of mentioned it or started separation he hasn't so this should re confirm to you that this is part of the illness and not something actually happening.

Unfortunately I don't know enough about it to offer any other guidance sorry

GobblersKnob Sat 07-Jan-17 20:42:34

I think part of it is accepting you are ill iyswim, it's all too common with mh issues to feel guilty and I think some of that must stem from the general attitude of society that mental illness is something that you could get over if you just tried a little harder, that it is somehow your fault.

That said I still often feel terrible that I am a 'bad' partner, mother, sister, friend, but I am the best I can be, I am only who I am.

NightTerrier Sat 07-Jan-17 20:43:32

Thanks Saffron. I do totally feel like a burden and I know that it can't always be easy to live with someone who's so anxious all the time.

The APD probably does have a lot to do with it. It seems to have been worse after the last bipolar episode, but at least I can leave the house and go out and do enjoyable things again. Still, I can't help feeling really guilty about all of it.

You are talking sense though. It's rational to assume he would have left me by now if my worries were true.

Saffron2020 Sat 07-Jan-17 21:14:47

you are welcome.

It is definitely hard, I have kinda seen it from both sides although a lot less.

I suffer with a few things but had an especially bad time with panic attacks recently.I too felt like I was a burden its very common thought and just part of the illness unfortunately. I was very lucky in that my DH made me see sense in this by saying exactly what i said above. If he felt that way at all he wouldn't be there it took a while but eventually that made sense to me and slowly stopped thinking this way.

The other side of it my DH has suffered with some very bad times with depression he himself thought he was a burden. I can honestly say I never thought he was. He was unwell not a burden we get through these things together in sickness and in health at no point was leaving him ever a thought.


NightTerrier Sat 07-Jan-17 21:20:55

Thanks Saffron. My husband has said the same thing, so it could well be the Avoidant/Anxious PD that means I think otherwise.

I haven't even told DH about this recent diagnosis as I'm embarrassed and ashamed and there is so much negativity online about people with PDs and how they are abusive and dysfunctional etc.

He knows I'm anxious, so there's probably no need to explain it to him. I just can't help thinking that getting a PD diagnosis is really stigmatising and that it's something I can't share with anyone.

AnxietySertraline Sat 07-Jan-17 21:46:23

No one is completly normal...

Gooseygoosey12345 Sat 07-Jan-17 22:23:58

Sounds like your episode stressed him out so much because he loves and cares about you. He's not left because he loves and cares about you. And you are deserving of that love, everyone deserves love.
Have you told him how you feel? Or anyone in rl? I find that it helps to talk things through sometimes otherwise you end up convincing yourself that you are the worst person in the world, which you are not!

Joysmum Sat 07-Jan-17 22:31:41

I think the key thing is always making sure you are taking care of yourself, take your meds and try to ensure you get yourself back to the doctors when you feel things slipping a bit.

The hardest thing for anyone who loves someone with an illness is when they don't do what is needed to manage their condition.

Other than that, you have nothing to make up for. You do as any other person should be in a thriving relationship which is to show appreciation, respect and love for your partner.

He loves you, even if you can't love yourself sometimes so trust in him to help you when you need it and respect his feelings that you are loveable even if you can't see it.

NightTerrier Sat 07-Jan-17 22:33:31

AnxietySertraline, true! There are lots of odd people who aren't mentally ill!

Gooseygoosey, this is one of my issues, because reassurance doesn't last long. I've brought it up before and logically I know that he's stuck by me and been extremely supportive when I've been very ill and so he must love me and think I'm a good person.

However, in many ways that fuels the guilt and it would get really tiring for him if I kept bringing it up all the time.

The APD isn't helping, as it just makes me feel so inferior and as if I'm being constantly judged, which makes me just want to withdraw into hermitness! Making a total tit of myself during my last manic espisode doesn't help. Loads of people saw me when I was like that and towards the end I completely lost my shit and ended up in hospital. It's so embarrassing and I probably really embarrassed DH.

SIL came to stay at Xmas and I could barely face her as I'm sure she judges me. I haven't been able to work for a while and that must be stressful for DH and I wish I could contribute more.

NightTerrier Sat 07-Jan-17 22:35:31

AnxietySertraline, true! There are lots of odd people who aren't mentally ill!

I meant to say that there are a lot of people who are odd and aren't mentally ill.

happyfrown Sat 07-Jan-17 23:29:46

nightterrier sorry for delay, I wish I lived in your area it seems like your health care team listen. meaning you get diagnosed and helped. it took years to be listened to - that im not just depressed, but I don't think they have got to the bottom of my problems and has taken 2yrs to get extra therapy due this month. I used to take ad's but didn't help.

its horrible seeing people being so normal, hate using that saying but its the only way I can describe it. I feel like I couldn't be any different because its all ive know how to be?

i dont think your DH needs you to make up for anything, it shows he loves you and there to support you. that said i understand it still doesn't put your mind at rest does it? my ex (father of dd) told me over and over that he loved me for ME and everything i am. but all i think is that i hate all i am so he must, he's lying?! the illness robbed me of everything. personality,feelings, emotions i am numb. its stopping me from living.
hope you get some suggestions x

NightTerrier Sun 08-Jan-17 00:20:29

Sorry to hear about your breakup, happyfrown. BPD looks just as crappy as APD!

Yeah, I'm really lucky with the CMHT where I live, although I'm worried about the future of the NHS and wonder how long they can continue providing such good support.

I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 about 8 years ago and got the AvPD diagnosis before Xmas.

I just constantly struggle with feelings that I'm not good enough for him and guilt over bipolar episodes. I had to stop work because of the last manic episode and so more guilt and dented self esteem over that!

EvaSthlm Sun 08-Jan-17 06:04:53

Maybe you shouldn't think it over so much? Just let the guilt wave pass, and keep yourself busy concentrating on something else, like knitting, while it lasts? The good thing, for you, about having a proper diagnosis (as opposed to just having vague anxiety-related difficulties in general) is that in all likelihood you'll get better support from the NHS, it'll put you in the fast lane.

happyfrown Sun 08-Jan-17 15:54:33

im worried too, my local mind centre closed last year and to get to the therapy sessions im due takes just under 2hrs to reach!

I know the guilt feelings are awful, I was told to get a hobby to keep my mind busy, unfortunately I obsess over anything so would be doing the hobby 10hrs or buying things 5/10 times over! but might be something that helps you?

EmeraldIsle100 Sun 08-Jan-17 19:31:28

I think the words 'personality disorder' should not be used to classify a mentall health disorder. Using those words implies that a person's personality is wrong and they are to blame for the illness. It's a disgrace.

It is well recognized that hearing those words damages people who are suffering.

My DD has bipolar disorder and was recently discharged from hospital. She was fine with that diagnosis but at a recent appointment she was told that her psychiatrist 'seems to think she has boderline personality disorder as well.

This devastated her and told me her personality is just shit and she will never get better. within 24 hours she took an overdose and was in A&E. She is fine. She has been readmitted to the psychiatric ward and is trying her best to get over it.

I researched personality disorder and people are hugely stigmatized by this diagnosis. MIND recognise it and there seems to be a movement to get its usage banned.

Experts admit that the diagnosis is flawed and it is being reclassified in the EU classification.

It has been said to us by no less than 7/8 medics over the last few days that they hate that diagnosis and it is not nice for anyone to get that diagnosis. Please believe me I am not exaggerating the number of doctors, nurses, crisis team etc who said this.

I hope you all get over this diagnosis and get well. You just have an illness that you didnt ask for and did nothing to deserve. My heart goes out to you all, you sound like really lovely people and your loved ones love you.

NightTerrier Sun 08-Jan-17 20:05:51

I guess that AvPD is at least one of the less stigmatised PDs and from what I've read it's like pervasive and deeply ingrained social anxiety and low self esteem. I think it's viewed as a 'low manitenance' PD if that makes sense. I've been offered some meds to help, but people would usually get SSRIs and I can't take that because of bipolar, so it would have to be an antipsychotic to take the edge off my anxiety and the side effects can outweigh the benefits. Sure, if I was psychotic during a manic episode that would be great.

The psychiatrist who diagnosed it put it as problematic personality traits, which I can't really disagree with. I didn't feel that he was being pejorative. In a lot of ways it explains problems I've had for many years and makes sense. I was never abused, but was ill a lot as a kid, so got used to being quite solitary and missed a lot of school and then got bullied.

The thing that bums me out is the 'Personality Disorder' is one of the most stigmatised things you can have and at least you can tell someone that you have depression, anxiety or even bipolar and they know what's going on with you and why you're struggling. I don't even want to tell DH that I have this PD.

happyfrown Sun 08-Jan-17 20:26:09

i used to hate telling people i have mental health issues and even more 'depressed' as GP kept telling me, i was convinced it was either bi-polar or bpd. when finally told i have bpd i was relieved they believed me but even though i knew it was something other then depression it still took a while to sink in.
when i mention i have bpd people look at me weird, was once told everyone has moods and personality issues! made me feel abit crap tbh.
i do also have depression and anxiety, body dysmorphia (un diagnosed but i know) and possibly ocd of some kind. i find it hard to explain bpd to others? i find it hard to put it in words but i know how it affects me if that makes sense?
sorry hijacking your thread!

Thinkingofausername1 Sun 08-Jan-17 21:19:52

Hi op. It sounds like you are going through a lot. Your dh sounds like he really cares and is committed to you. I understand how you feel; as I have some physical illnesses. They, are quite complex and yet my dh is still with me after 16 years.
Like you, I often wonder why is he still with me? I feel different to other women and not bringing anything in financially because of my appointments just take up all my time. I often feel very guilty. Especially the days I have to sleep and then nothing gets done.
I would encourage you to talk to him, share how you are feeling and work on things together X

CockacidalManiac Sun 08-Jan-17 21:22:07

Another BPDer here. Unfortunately, guilt tends to ride pillion alongside all these types of conditions.

junebirthdaygirl Sun 08-Jan-17 21:40:51

I agree with Joysmum. The fact you are doing everything you can to manage your illness means everything. My dh has bipolar and the times l found it difficult were when he didn't believe he needed help. That was extremely stressful. Since he has accessed all available help lm very happy. I've accepted his illness, l'm pretty clued into all aspects of it and it's not a problem. Our children feel the same. We openly talk about it together and often make jokes about it but not in a mean way. We are a regular family.
A few of my friends are married to guys with no illnesses but l couldnt live with any of them. Being in love is what matters and colours your opinion and l'm sure that is how your dh feels. People with bipolar are usually intelligent artistic interesting people as l'm sure you are so don't sell yourself short. Your dh sounds a good guy. Just accept ye are good and all ye have been through can strengthen your bond.

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