Hi - I'm in my early 30's, I have been with my husband for 13 years (married for 8) and we have 4 amazing children ranging from 18 months-9 years. I've been at a really low point the last few months, and am looking for support, hope, advice, objectivity, different perspectives.
It's been a really long ride. In the past 6 years, my husband has been hospitalized 4 times, twice in 2010, once in 2012, and once in 2013. First he was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, in 2012 schizophrenia in the hospital, then his pdoc changed it to bipolar, bipolar with psychosis, then schizoaffective disorder. I've stayed through the hospitalizations, the binge eating, the binge drinking, the alcoholic behavior, the dui, the car accidents, the verbal and emotional abuse. In 2012, he lost his job due to his illness and there were three instances of physical abuse. I left, but came back after the diagnosis of schizophrenia, because the information I read pointed to hope for his recovery. It was more than hard to get through, especially 2012-2013, but in 2012-13 there were also definitive signs of progress and recovery. But he hit a plateau and hasn't made any real progress since then.
The last few months, it seems like my husband is trying to assert control and power in the household with me and the children, which I do understand, but he's been doing it in unhealthy ways. When I try to talk to him about healthier approaches, the conversations become about things from the past that are not related, irrational, just dysfunctional and unhealthy and I have to walk away. There's been a lot of passive aggressive behavior going on, he has a lot of hostility toward me lately, and has made threatening remarks (no real consistent pattern). He's been trying to "get closer" to me at the same time, and it's hard to make him understand my unwillingness. I'm so unhappy with the rest of our relationship. I need emotional intimacy, but I can't make it clear to him, and he gets angry with me. He is either completely distant or very irritable, angry, and mean. With each passing year, it's not getting better, I feel more and more like I live with a stranger. There are times I feel like he has no insight into his illness and how it affects his relationships with others. Then there are other times I find notes he has written himself, and I want to cry because he seems to know he needs to change his behaviors but he can't or I can see the hate he has for himself or sometimes suicidal thought processes. I want to be supportive, I want to help him, I want us all to feel good, whole, happy... but I slip and fall myself because it is so emotionally exhausting.
It's been a merry go round of emotions and I am burnt out and exhausted. I am no longer dealing with his mental illness in a healthy way. I'd very much like to see a counselor, but it's difficult to arrange care for my two youngest children. I'm tired of barely surviving and having no security. I'm tired of the same sympathetic but unhelpful responses from friends and family. I'm tired of people's pity. I'm tired of explaining and people thinking they understand when they don't. I'm tired of living in limbo. I'm tired of waiting for next month or next year, or in a few years. I am starting to become unrecognizable to myself... and I don't like it. I feel alone. I feel like a single mom. I question my own self worth, my own sanity, and it's getting harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning, to be the best mom I can be in the face of adversity. I'm constantly worried about finances, what-if's, and the emotional well being of our children. I feel like I'm being chased off the end of a cliff... I can't stay where I am but I'm terrified to jump. Part of me yearns to leave... and the part that still loves him struggles with that and the part that knows how much my kids need my to be here for them struggles with that. I feel like I'm hitting brick walls no matter which direction I turn. All the choices in front of me are hard and they will all impact the kids negatively in different ways. I feel scared and lost. I feel angry, sad, defeated, confused, incapable, weak, ineffective, tired, hopeless, heartbroken for all of us. I love the power of positive thinking, how gratitude for simple things can bring about great changes in perspective, approach, attitude, and overall well being - but I am having real trouble seeing the positives and need help getting back there. I know that we are responsible for seeking and creating healthy changes in our lives... and lately the two things are just conflicting. How can I focus on the positives, when there is so much negative that needs to be dealt with? I feel like I'm pretending, like I'm lying to myself and avoiding the reality that is my life. It's not going to disappear without hard work. A person's mental illness, troubles with relationships, finances, and children's emotional and physical needs don't just magically resolve themselves. But then I'm so focused on trying to figure things out and find solutions (focused on negatives with no viable solutions yet) that it prevents me from being the mom my children need and deserve, the supportive wife my husband needs, and the peaceful, calm, controlled, happy person I need myself to be.
I need... I need the energy to get through the days, I need objectivity, I need focus, I need hope mixed with reality, I need realistic manageable changes, I need to be able to see the positive without avoiding the negative. I need to be able to make hard choices while maintaining hope and positive thinking.
Sorry for the newbie novel...I really meant to keep it much shorter!
Oh - and I'm sorry for posting this under bipolar... I wasn't quite sure whether to go with bipolar or schizophrenia since his last diagnosis was schizoaffective... it seems like schizoaffective disorder has qualities of both diseases, and I suppose most of his current symptoms would appear to be more bipolar. I'm sure there is quite a bit we can relate to regardless.