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Can relationships survive recurring mental illness?(4 Posts)
Not new just namechanged. This is long. Sorry.
My oh of 10 years (not married, no lectures please) has recurring mental illness. Usually it’s anxiety & depression but at least once in our relationship it was full on psychosis. He has been on and off medication with varying degrees of success. After having a bad psychotic break 7/8years ago where afaik he was diagnosed bipolar he really got his act together, recovered, retrained via uni and got a great job for life... he now claims his diagnosis is not bipolar and it was just depression to me and anyone else who needs to know. IMO He needs proper psychology input but when he did receive it he talked about a single grief event and ignored the years of mental illness prior to this grief event. He was dismissed from the service as they felt they’d gone as far as they could with him (‘fixed the problem’) & he avoided loads of things that really need addressed professionally. He’s clever at avoidance.
He’s been showing signs of relapse with agitation/anxiety, inward anger (he never expresses it - hard to explain) and depression sometimes separately, sometimes all at once.
We had a baby a year ago and this seems to have been the catalyst in my eyes for the latest episode but he vehemently denies it. He cares for and on the surface loves the baby but often it seems like an act, like he’s just going through the motions. As if the bond he formed with our first child just isn’t there with our second. I think he’s aware of this which prompts him to try harder with the care aspect - he tries to do everything (except breastfeeding obviously!) on top of work. His relationship with our first child is deteriorating as he’s always getting on at her about something. She takes it well but I worry about the long term implications for their relationship and her self esteem. If I bring this up he cries about it and says he’s doing his best. This worries me as she’s been peeing the bed. I’ve spoke with my OH about this and he thinks it’s her anxiety and then blames himself for that. I’m thinking part of it could be due to him.
A symptom of his illness is doing everything (cooking, cleaning, housework etc) on top of holding down a job. It causes fights when I try to say let me do it and he thinks I’m accusing him of being useless. He fears being useless.
There has been no intimacy since I got pregnant with our second child, although he says he wants it he doesn’t reciprocate. I’ve asked does he still want to be with me and given him an escape route but he says he does. He’s never had a huge sex drive but it’s never been this long.
There is no one else.
I know he loves me and I him but I’m struggling to live tiptoeing around his moods (like I said he doesn’t get angry outwardly so he has these weird passive aggressive behaviours and tics when he’s angry that are quite disturbing to live with. My baby copies one of his angry behaviours and people have been questioning it.) I worry about my kids growing up with a dad who refuses to admit how ill he is and thinks a pill will fix his problems. The meds he’s currently on aren’t doing a thing that I can see but he says they are.
He doesn’t do communication so getting him to talk about any of this is near impossible. I’ve tried on many an occasion but it doesn’t happen. I thought I could live with that but I can’t because it’s not making me feel very good about myself and it’s making me doubt everything. Saying “talk to him” would make no difference. Rather than solve the problem he will blame himself for being useless, he’ll cry, i’ll Feel bad and try to make it better. He’s perfected the guilt crap that he learned from his mother and so nothing ever gets resolved. The few times
I’ve not fallen for it he’s got hysterical, left the room/house, punched a wall or door or whatever then come back sheepish and pretending nothing happened.
I can’t go on. I don’t want to leave but I don’t know what else to do. Most of the time we just live around each other. Exist as many families do... then it all mounts up and I start to feel like this.
We’re currently on holiday in Europe and his mental ill health is ruining it for me. His stress and anxiety makes us all on edge. His depression sucks the joy out of what should be an amazing time. It’s fucking awful and I don’t know what to do.
You need to leave OP. Your partner's behaviour is damaging your child. You have a duty to protect her.
Mental illness is a horrible condition for both the sufferer and the families.
You dp is suffering too, it's very difficult to know where to start when you're mentally unwell.
Ultimately though, you need to put the kids first.
Is there a family member or close friend who can try and talk to dp? Does he have a support worker? Would he engage in support from a mental health charity?
It must be so draining for you but please remember it's 100 x more draining for him.
He knows he's not fully 'there', how do you admit that and be able to start to deal with it? Not easy.
Is he punching your walls/doors, or you mean he leaves the house briefly, does it elsewhere (whose doors?), then comes back?
If he is breaking or punching things at home then he is very much outwardly aggressive!
Regarding his diagnosis, he either lied at the time or is lying now. Which seems more likely?
Re "fixing it with a pill". If he has bipolar disorder, then very few people can manage their condition without medicine. I know Im stating the obvious there. But it is possible his treatment being tweaked could make a big difference. How often does he review his meds with whoever he is under, perhaps not often enough?
I think he is going to have to make some quick and drastic changes for many mn'ers to support hanging around- especially as you have children to think about...he needs to take responsibility for his own MH (unless you think he is currently in psychosis but you dont mention that so assume not). If he is not engaged with the people supporting him then theres nothing you can do.
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