Saturday, February 10, 2007

Questions from readers

I have recently been asked the following questions by an anonymous reader in the comments section:

“Why are you still married to [Mr Man]? What is it that keeps you going? Is it love, sympathy, duty… what? I am in a similar situation and I find myself harbouring thoughts of just letting go... please do share your views.”
It would be easy for me to just simply reply with: “It’s love, of course”, but I feel that the questions are deep and deserve serious and honest consideration.

I have touched on this subject previously in the post entitled “One Flesh”. I titled the post in this way because that is exactly how I feel – that as a married couple we have become one flesh. As such, whatever hurts Mr Man hurts me, and for me to consider leaving him would be like considering tearing off my limbs.

I never stopped loving the man I married, even though I didn’t know where he was anymore. As I mentioned in that previous post, I had to grieve the loss of my husband even though I was still with him, because the man I was left with didn’t resemble him at all. I had to cling to the belief that he was still in there somewhere and that somehow I would be with him again one day.

It is this belief that has kept me going, and slowly the man I love has resurfaced. I look at him now and think about what I would have missed out on if I had ended it all back then. I say “ended it all” rather than “leave him” because as I said, I never even considered leaving him as an option, but I considered ending the suffering for both of us. Although difficult to admit to, this again is something I hinted at in that previous post when I wrote: “I confess, I wanted to end the pain – for him, for me – but I have never wanted to leave him”. The only thing that held me back was that it might only have worked for one of us and that the surviving one would be left with even more heartache.

Later I reached the point where I felt that if he died maybe it would be easier for me to grieve for him and move on, rather than watch him continually suffer for the rest of his life. I would sit beside him on the edge of the bed while he slept and think about smothering him with a pillow and ending it for him, but I was worried that he would wake and not understand why I was doing it, and the thought of him believing for one second that I didn’t love him was unbearable. I am in no way recommending this as an option, but I want you to know that I understand the extent of your suffering which has lead to you “harbouring thoughts of just letting go”.


"Dark Thoughts" by Philippa King


There was a time when I couldn’t imagine ever being without Mr Man. I expect most newly married couples feel that way. I felt that without him my life would come to an end and have no meaning, and that I would never be able to move on and start a new life. I thought I would rather die than live without him. But the more suicidal Mr Man became the more my grieving took a new direction. Rather than just grieving the loss of his personality I was actually grieving the loss of his life, as I became truly convinced that he was going to die. I felt like I was married to a man with a terminal illness – I knew he was going to die I just wasn’t sure when, or that’s how I felt anyway. I found myself planning my future without him, which made me doubt my love for him and I felt incredibly guilty. This is why I thought your questions deserved honest consideration, because at one time I even wondered myself if it was love, sympathy, or duty that kept me by his side.

Obviously I have felt deep sympathy for Mr Man, watching him suffer in unimaginable ways. I have always believed, and still do, that mental illness is the worst kind of illness anyone could ever suffer from; after all, physically ill people can still be happy, but if you can’t be happy, what else is there? I can’t deny that duty must have also played a part somehow, but the main reason for staying with him was, and still is, love.

When he became less suicidal I found the adjustment quite difficult, as strange as that sounds. Although I loved him and obviously wanted to be with him, I found it difficult to believe that I wasn’t going to lose him, and to start planning a future with him rather than without him.

I am convinced that I am never going to meet anyone else like him in my life, and I don’t regret marrying him for a second. What we have been through together has in no way been easy, but we have gone through it together, and we now have a bond which is unbreakable.


Related posts: Coup de grace

37 comments:

des said...

Thats a brave and honest post.

slurry said...

very moving post. Most people run a mile when they hear the word schizophrenic, let alone stay married to one, you see beyond the label and see him as the man you married, MrMan is truely a lucky man.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you for your comment Des. It's not something I've ever told anyone before, not even Mr Man, although obviously we discussed it before I wrote it. I just wanted the anonymous reader, and others like him/her, to know that they are not alone in wanting to end the situation in one way or another. But if we just keep going, it does get better, and the marriage bond can be strengthened as a result.


Thank you Slurry, you're very kind. It's not all one way though, he puts up with a lot from me! I'm a very lucky girl.

iris said...

You are really great! I also hav schzi for 6 years and only 24 yrs old. My partner also knew abt my condition and accepted me. I had suffered alot of failure just because of this illness. But I believe nothing is impossible. I keeping myself alive by having positive mind set as long as i can. Whenever I am negative everything seems much worsted. Anything might happen. All these weird stuff happening might so go away one day and he will realized its all his silly thoughts. From my experience to feel better.. Get outdoor at times rather then staying at home. You might hav done that before. I am just sharing. :) If possbile sweating out will work even better and the mind will be much fresher. I agreeded that this is the worst illness. But I believe that we thought we are the worst because we had not experienced what other had actually suffered. I really wish and pray he will recover and also all other patient suffering such disease. Even not fully recover but able to recongize these thoughts are fake and ignore it will be already gd! Wishing you all the best and hope you will win this battle!!

Mr Mans Wife said...

Iris, thank you very much for your comments. Your positive attitude really comes across in what you write.

When it comes to physical verses mental illness, I know it’s difficult to compare one persons suffering with another. I personally have suffered both though; I have been in a lot of physical pain with the ME/CFS that I suffer, and have also suffered paranoia with depression. From my own experience, I personally think that mental illness is worse and yet what I suffered was only a mild form of it. I think my views were also shaped by watching the film “Patch Adams”, which made me think that a person who is unwell can still be happy, but if you can’t be happy then you can never truly be “well”. I recommend the film; it will make you laugh and cry.

Thank you for your suggestions and well wishes Iris. I wish you and your partner all the best.

raisins said...

Another thoughtful and beatifully written post.

Best wishes to you both

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you Raisins.

Angela said...

I've restarted this comment several times now. Several people hear have expressed what I feel. That it was a very brave and honest post, it was moving, and yes it was thoughtfully and beautifully written as so many of your posts are.

When I read this blog I really appreciate your honesty and ability to share with other people intimate aspects of your life.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you Angela. As I said in the post, it was something that was difficult to admit to, and I was worried that it may have come across quite coldly and "matter of fact". How do you write about something like that though? But I wanted to share it because I'm sure I can't be the only one who has felt this way. I hope it helps someone who may be feeling that way now.

Thanks again for your comments.

Angela said...

I can assure you that none of what you write comes across coldly. Your posts are well written but never come across as emotionless or cold. It's one of the things I admire about the way you write; your ability to write so eloquently what has happened and still show emotion, all without it being a pityparty. I hesitate to add that last part, but I think some people write wanting attention or sympathy for themselves, but that never comes across with your writing and you share some very difficult times in your life with us, I also think that is something to be admired.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you Angela, you're very kind.

Jennifer said...

Your post is beautiful. I am also married to a schizophrenic. I have also thought for a very long time about suicide, and thought that it would be better for him if he did not live any longer in such despair. I have finally decided to let go, and move back to be near my own family who need me there as a caretaker -- unlike him, they will accept my help. I hope to always be his friend and support him financially (although he will probably refuse my money or do something bizarre with it). But I can't stay any more. I am in awe of your patience and loyalty.

One of the hardest things, harder than realizing that he could not help being cruel to me or suspicious of me and that we would never be able to have friends or go out in public, was realizing that we would never be able to have a child. I don't think that is something you have ever talked about and perhaps that is because you don't want to, but that has been the most terribly painful thing of all for me. Before he got sick (for the second time -- his first episode and institutionalization was before we met, but he and his family and friends concealed it from me), he really wanted to have children.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Hi Jennifer, thank you very much for your comments.

I’m sorry that things have become so difficult for you that you feel unable to stay with your husband. Please don’t feel in awe of me though; every situation is different, and I have been very lucky in lots of ways. I have never had to experience Mr Man being cruel to me in any way at all and I’m sure that changes things completely. Also, if you are the “Jennifer” who has emailed me previously, I know support has been an issue for you too. (I don’t want to say too much as I respect your wish to remain anonymous)

To some extent you must also feel that you have been “tricked” into this situation, as his illness was concealed from you, and this in turn must affect the way you feel about him. This is different for me as no one knew about Mr Mans illness previously.

Jennifer, I also have struggled to come to terms with the fact that we will never have children. This is something that has affected me deeply. I haven’t written about this previously, but now that the subject has been raised I feel that maybe I should cover this in a post. I’m not sure if it will be the next post, as there have been other topics on my mind of late as well, but I will certainly write about it in the near future.

Thank you again for your very honest comments. I sincerely wish you all the best for the future.

Deepa said...

you do have the courage to share about your husband. I know how it is to be a schizo's wife as I am living with one. But I never shared with anybody how I feel except for one person. I pray God to give u the stamina to go on like this.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you Deepa, that is very kind and thoughtful of you.


I didn't realise it had been so long since I last posted. I really need to do something about that.

marlena rivers said...

hi. wow. so beautiful to read. i think you hit the important point of what keeps two people together, whether they have the challenges of illness or not. faith and belief in each other and in the relationshp. it's the ability to hold on to what you know is the most beautiful part of your partner even when that part seems to be hidden or gone for a while. and it always does resurface partly because of the faith each person has that it is still there!

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thanks Marlena.

I have to agree with you, whether we face illness or not, every marriage/relationship has it's challenges and we have to remember what drew us to that person to begin with. Love fuels love - it was easy for me to show love to Mr Man when he was really ill because he had shown love to me when I was ill. Now he loves me more because I stood by him and showed him love, which in turn makes me love him more because he's so nice to me... and so it goes on.

Love never fails.

Seaneen said...

You're a total inspiration. I really hope my boyfriend feels the same way. He has said similar to you- when I have been suicidal, he really believed I was going to die (as did I) and felt like I was terminally ill. I can not imagine how hard that was for him to cope with.

I am absolutely furious at the continuing cutbacks in mental health services. I am glad you wrote that letter. My psychiatrist and CPN have been changed yet again and I have to wait ages for appointments- how am I supposed to open up to these strangers? I don't know what to say.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Seaneen, thank you so much for your kind comments.

It’s good to hear that people can relate to things that I have written in my blog. I knew I couldn’t be the only one that had felt that way and I really wanted to share my experiences with others so that hopefully they could draw strength from it and be encouraged to carry on.

Do you find it easier to open up if you have your boyfriend with you when you go to your appointments? I think it helps Mr Man to know he has that support, but also I think a lot of it depends on what the CPN and Psychiatrist is like. Some seem to know how to draw a person out and others wouldn’t know how to draw a pair of curtains. I hope you get on well with the ones you have now.

Miette said...

I just found this blog and this amazing post. It moved me to tears. You and Mr Man are both very lucky to have each other. I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties and stress you have to deal with as a caregiver. The lack of support and resources is disconcerting.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Miette, thank you very much for your kind comments.

Lynne said...

Hello, thank you for writing this blog. I am 26 years old and met my common law husband when I was 21. We were together for three years, parted for two now we are together again. He has come back more ill, but I also still love him. The delusions come and go often, he sees bright flashing lights throughout the day. What has always been a problem is that things at home are calm and collected then out of nowhere he wants to pack up and leave. This is very hard on me, because when things are calm at home they are really good. He is usually in the middle of an episode then wants to leave. How do you think I should handle this? Let him go, or try to keep things together?

Mr Mans Wife said...

Hi Lynne, welcome to my blog. I hope you have found it useful.

To be honest, it is difficult to comment on another person's situation because every relationship is different and every person with Schizophrenia is different. I can only answer from my own perspective.

When Mr Man is poorly he sometimes wants to do things/thinks things that are irrational. I try to remind him how he felt when he was well, or of things he said when he was thinking clearly. This doesn't always work though because he seems to forget when it felt like to be well and have rational thoughts. Sometimes I have to ask him to just trust me. Thankfully he does trust me. We've been through enough together for him to know that I only want what is best for him.

If Mr Man wanted to leave I would have to try to persuade him to stay, simply because he wouldn't be safe if he went off on his own. Is safety an issue for your partner? Would he still take medication?

I hope you find a way to manage these difficult times, and that they happen less frequently.

Thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

well my story is a little different.i was very young when i got married to a schizophrenic man and was not told of it/didnt know of it.its been 10 years now during which time i have tried to commit suicide myself a couple of times.its just that its very difficult i have no sex life ,no social life but managed to somehow concieve a kid.im frustrated and angry .he is very dry and emotionless .i feel sympathy for him which is why i cant leave

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your honesty. This post brought me to tears. My Fiance is Schizophrenic and none of my friends understand why I would marry someone with this condition. Even everywhere else I read goes on about they may not make the same decision to marry had they know the struggles. It warmed my heart to hear you say you had never met anyone like him. I feel the exact same way about my fiance. He is my heart and no matter what we will make it thru the struggles.

Rsara said...

You can only be pushed so far. im so ashamed to be thinking like this, but i feel have i to leave him, my husband and i only have been married 3 months, the the continuous delusions and paranoia has pushed me to my limits.
not to mention i am 29 weeks pregnant and have been the only finacial support for almost 4 months. Having to watch every word i say, just incase he turns it into something else in his head and he goes off. in the 3 months we have been married, he has packed the car and left 3-5 times. he lies to me and i feel i cant trust him, and the constantly accusing me of sleeping around has caused me to fall appart.

ive asked family members for help, ive seeked support for myself. i love the man i married, and fell inlove with, not this man that thinks i am the blame for every action he does.

i need to go. but im terrified of what it would do to him, to hurt him is last thing i would ever want to do to him. Im so scared to be a single parent and to think my child will blame me for daddy not being around.

i dont know what to do...

Anonymous said...

Rsara, I understand your predicament. When I was 3 months pregnant, my schizophrenic husband was accusing me of horrible things and verbally abusive. I chose to stay mostly for the reasons that you named. Our son just turned four, and things are no better - sometimes worse. Because of his paranoia, he doesn't want anyone watching our son. He cannot work, so our son stays home with him all day. Our son has no social skills, and does not know how to behave around other kids. Many people are telling me that it is not fair to our son. I feel like it would've been much easier to leave before my son was born. I also don't know what to do.

Rosie said...

Hi to everyone, I had been with my bf for about 2 years, we already lived together, he was my partner for everything since we lived away from our hometown because i got into culinary school. He was my very best friend, my bf and partner like i said, we went shopping together, had fun, went through problems etc, I am 19 and so is he, we learned so much togehter by going the 2 alone into the world. He was progressing so much, he went to school and had a job, I love him with all my heart, I always thought he was the one. We had so many other plans, like moving out without my roomates, going to school together, having kids when we grew older and eventually helping out our families back. About 3 weeks ago he just started saying all these weird things until he had what i believe was a panic attack at the hospital, the doctors think he has schizophrenia, and i believe so too because i have researched too. Tomorrow he is going to visit a clinic to try and get diagnosed, help and hopefully medication. Two days ago he told me he thinks my dad and cops are after him, (which is not true, i no longer live w my dad, parents divorced). the point is some days he loves me so much and other days he says he needs to let me go, i know its been less than a month and i really love him, it breaks my heart, i was the only one there when he had the panic attack at the hospital, i couldnt believe what was happening, i am being very strong for him and i really love him , i know he is the one, or maybe was. I am so broken and idk mad , we almost had it all we where so happy, iknow no one deserves this but why him? why someone so innocent and so young. I just got my associates in culinary and I had great dreams, but all of them included my bf, now i know i want to follow my dreams but i dk what to do. He is with his family know and i visit him every other day, he sometimes just wants to be friends and other days he acts like he loves me like nobody else could ever love someone. I want to help him and I am so inlove with him, but I am so young and have so many plans,and he is just not the same. He has not been in any treatment so i am hoping that when he gets treatment which will start some time this week, i hope the paranoid symptoms go away. all these thoughts are in my head, i love him so much, he is the love of my life but I am so young and i know that if i stay with him things can get worse, i am going to get more hurt, he wont be able to live a normal life with me, and it will be extremely hard. In the other hand i could try and find someone else and start all over, and live a more normal life, but i dont think i will ever find someone like him. I dont know what to do, because i know that also if i leave him i will break his heart, and i dont think anyone will want to be with him. i am not thinking about leaving him now, I want to hang on and see what happens and how everything goes when he gets a treatment. I just cant believe this is true, somedays i am strong, other days i want to die, other days i am so mad and depressed, i just wanted to share. we both are about to turn 20, we where just starting our lives, he had so many dreams, he is a very ind and polite person, this seems so unfair, i just hope i could forward my life to where i am ok with or without him, but i couldnt stand see him suffer. He is the best and will always be for me.

I was wondering if anyone knows of a schizophrenic that is living a normal life and how much can i hope for, he has not been professionally diagnosed, but like i said i have researched and the doctor we saw before said it is possible. Thank you and I hope we all find our happy lives.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Hi Rosie, welcome to my blog. I am so sorry that you and your boyfriend are having such a traumatic time at the moment with his health problems.

I completely understand all your fears at the moment, because I have had them too. But the fact that your boyfriend is so young is good news. It's often easier to treat people when they have only just developed symptoms.

The bad news is that whatever he takes is likely to have side effects, but everyone is different and he may find these not too troublesome for him.

Do I know anyone with Schizophrenia who is living a normal life? Yes, many. I'm glad to say that Mr Man is now one of them. It took a long time to hit on the right medication for Mr Man, but he wasn't diagnosed until he was about 30, even though he developed symptoms in his teens. He is now starting up his own business, and is also starting another company in partnership with someone else! So he is now coping very well!

I'll be honest, he still has symptoms, but he has learned how to manage them. He knows what his triggers are, and he avoids these. For example, playing chess becomes obsessive for him and aggravates his symptoms, so he doesn't play. Your boyfriend will also need to learn what his triggers are, if he has any.

I know others who live perfectly normal lives as well. One of whom was lucky enough to get the right treatment for her first time! Another man I know takes Clozaril, and he's perfectly fine on it, and yet for Mr Man the side effects were so horrendous that it was the side effects that were stopping him from living a normal life! So everyone is different.

I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you that there is hope. There is always hope. x

Rosie said...

My bf is now in a mental health clinic, today is his birthday and i called to say hello so he would not feel alone, i bought some cup cakes and clothes for him to give him, but when i called he said thank you for caring but then he told me to stop trying to care for him, that i am ruining him and to go f*** myself and hung up on me. After all i have done for him, i just had good intentions, just one of the worst feelings ever :C

Anonymous said...

WOW!!it does make you feel so much better and see your own situation in a different light, when you realize that you're not the only or last to go through this emotional hell.I'VE been married with my hubby for 10 years and have known him for twelve.i've always known deep down inside of me that something is just not right.when we were still dating i've helped him overcome his urges of suicide.he confided in me and i know this sounds cruel, buti later on thought that we were never meant to get married.i even had the same thoughts as to kill him,ending his suffering.i cannot get to the point of packing my bags and leave. i dream of how my life will be without him. the other night i watching a 'normal" family just braaing and relaxing and i thought :'this is what i want..this is what its suppose to be".until tonight i even though..gosh is there something wrong with me.is it possible that i am mentally ill and cannot see it?i've become very depressed and to the point where i confessed to him that things are getting too much for me. and believe me i will know when things are getting too much since i was hospitalised in a mental institution because i had a nervous breakdown last year after i became an alcoholic-ive never consumed alcohol in my life except for experimental teen years-thank god thats passed now. i selfdiagnosed because i think his psychologist and himself kept it from me and thats how i came across your blog.this was good to let it out. thanx and i hope you're well.ME

Cierria said...

well,I'm glad you two are happy together and that the man you married has resurfaced.Also,glad you didn't decide to kill him or yourself.But if you killed him instead,how would you have done it & how would you cover it up?You don't have to answer these if they make you uncomfortable.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Cierria, thank you for your comments and your question. I have to admit it made me chuckle to myself. I don't know why. Maybe because the whole thing sounds so ridiculous to me now? I'm not sure how I would have covered it up, or if I would have even bothered. When people are so emotionally distraught there is rarely logic in their reasoning. My only thought was to end Mr Man's suffering. But you're right, I wouldn't have been able to get on with my life after committing murder!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sticking with Mr Man. You have shown the true meaning of love as The Good Book Says " love is patient, love is kind, love is humble. Love believes in all things and hope for all things". Yes, it is difficult to be in a situation like yours. But actually you are learning to love. Some people might be jealous of Mr Man for being lucky to have you. But, I am jealous of you, for the love you have and Mr Man, for having such an amazing woman like youself. I say this in good faith.
In the eyes of faith we see, for hope we fight, for love we die. I guess what am trying to say is that you really do love Mr Man. If you love something enough you don't let go. To prove it you would die for. I believe it the same love you have for Mr Man. I hope for you to have the strength to carry on. Bless you.

Wilson said...

Thank you for sticking with Mr Man. You have shown the true meaning of love as The Good Book Says " love is patient, love is kind, love is humble. Love believes in all things and hope for all things". Yes, it is difficult to be in a situation like yours. But actually you are learning to love. Some people might be jealous of Mr Man for being lucky to have you. But, I am jealous of you, for the love you have and Mr Man, for having such an amazing woman like youself. I say this in good faith.
In the eyes of faith we see, for hope we fight, for love we die. I guess what am trying to say is that you really do love Mr Man. If you love something enough you don't let go. To prove it you would die for. I believe it the same love you have for Mr Man. I hope for you to have the strength to carry on. Bless you.

Anonymous said...

Incredible post. I'm in a very simliar position . And that Question of why are you with him...i dont understand it.

Because at when you love, you love at the best, worst and everything inbetween.

Anonymous said...

my husband is going through a very difficult patch with his illness we have been married for 21 years and its been a roller coaster of a ride but just lately Im tired and not coping like would normally any advice