New to the Forum - Feeling lost in a life dominated by my husbands illness

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Smell the Lilacs
New Member

Date Joined May 2016
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/6/2016 9:49 AM (GMT -7)   
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.

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20035
   Posted 5/6/2016 7:54 PM (GMT -7)   
I hear ya. I have had all of these dx's. schizo affective usually tends towards the more psychosis stream with indelible qualities of a bi-polar disorder. you need an action plan, he needs treatment. is he on meds? if so, re-evaluate them. due to being a male he may also be finding it difficult to articulate, and it gets chaotic in ya head, thus support for him is crucial. my recommendation is to consult a psychiatrist and or access local mental health services. this way you can receive the support as well. people who become psychotic with a bi-polar disorder are nasty and unpredictable, so, an action plan if the @#!% hits the fan is needed. have all numbers ready. hospital, psych services, etc. have a chat with him and see if he will access any services. once you have put these things to him then he will know you mean business. try and speak with someone he trusts, pastor, doctor, footy coach, mate etc. hearing things from an outside perspective will highlight in his brain that something is awry. since the propensity for violence exists, and apparent psychosis has known to manifest then I would make plans for safe housing. I think he is brewing and that if he does not release, then when he pops, he pops. with treatment, care, therapy and counselling the disorder is manageable.



Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15289
   Posted 5/7/2016 10:58 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello & welcome to Healing Well. It sounds like you are about to crater from all of the struggles you have been dealing with for so many years. You have an awful lot on your plate. Maybe now is the time for you to start working on making yourself much healthier. You have been expending all of your energy on your husbands issues & some where in the mix you have lost sight of yourself. This happens a lot more than you realize. There are other couples stories on the front page here having the same issues that you are.

Verbal abuse is no different than physical abuse, abuse is the same no matter what. Reading between the lines I think you are becoming concerned about your own safety as well as your children's. This should be your priority over everything.

I think you have been with your husband long enough to know your life is like being on a roller coaster. If you want to live a life like that its your choice but you also need to think about your children too. You said yourself how can I think positive when there is so much negative going on. I personally would not want my children in that environment nor would I want to live my life that way either. Life is too short. You will not be the first one to move on & away from that situation.

Take care.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 4419
   Posted 5/8/2016 5:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Smell the Lilacs,

Welcome to the forum :-)!

I am sorry for all that you have been through. I see that you were able to identify what you need. This is a good first step. Now that you were able to do that, you should focus on you and doing what is best for you/what you need.

No form of violence should be tolerated, including verbal abuse. This can be very bad for our mental health. You have the little kids, you need to ensure that your kids and yourself are in a safe environment. Being there is not healthy for you or your kids. Is it possible for you to move out or stay by someone you know where it's safe?

Do you have any relatives of friends you trust that you can leave the kids by for a bit while you attend counseling? Not sure where you're from, but most places have hotlines you can call and talk to someone. It helps to talk to them. Please try it until you are able to attend counseling.

You can check out our resources area for information and coping techniques:

Please know that we are here for you. Please look out for yourself and your kids. This is what's important now.

Moderator - Bipolar

Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder.
Chronic Pain - Cervical Kyphosis, Cervical Spondylosis, Thoracic Scoliosis.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2016
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 5/11/2016 11:07 PM (GMT -7)   
I strongly recommend you look into a domestic abuse shelter. I don't know where you live, but we live in a small town and are able to receive free individual and marital counseling which is subsidized by grants so we pay nothing - having nothing to do with our income. They most likely provide free child care while you are in session. We are one of the couples who can actually say it is possible to move past the abuse and have a healthier relationship.
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