Saturday, June 04, 2011

Another Call for Help

Following the post "A Call for Help" I received a comment from another lady struggling to cope with her sick husband and the situation it had placed her in.

I also don't know what to do anymore, after three years struggling with my husband's sickness. I'm from Asia, well-educated, but was forced to move to Europe (in a matter of two days) because of his sickness. I basically abandoned everything I had for him.

But after three years, on top of his sickness, my troublesome mother-in-law is constantly causing problems by demanding way too much attention from her son all the time and bad-mouthing me whenever she can. My husband loves me, but he doesn't see what his mother is doing to me. He needs his family, he said, and his mother loves him and pampers him like a child all the time.

I am depressed and at the end of my strength. I lose my temper very easily these days. My friends and family are all in Asia. And here I can hardly have an independent life due to language barrier and qualification mismatch. I just want to get myself out of this whole mess. But a divorce will be a huge blow to him... yet I can't see myself living a life like this anymore...

I also want to ask, what should I do?

Anonymous, I really wish I knew what to advise. I'm sorry that life has become so unbearable for you. Unfortunately I have no solution for troublesome mother-in-laws! If he enjoys the attention she lavishes on him, I can see why it would be difficult to convince him to leave - but what about you? Don't you also deserve the attention of your family? Maybe you could reason this way with him.

Although he may need additional support due to his illness, it doesn't mean that he can have his own way all the time! Maybe he just doesn't realise how the situation is affecting you?

When Mr Man was in hospital I was at breaking point, and so exhausted. He wanted me to visit twice a day. It was hard, but I had to explain to him that although I loved him very much, I also had to look after myself, otherwise I would get to the point where I wouldn't be able to help him at all. It helped that a nurse explained this to him also, and he was very good about me not coming for a day while I got some much needed rest.

I think sometimes when you are caring for someone with mental illness, the whole situation can become about them, and how they feel. But it really doesn't hurt to let them know how you feel as well. I used to avoid crying in front of Mr Man, but actually, when I did cry he would look surprised, like he'd only just realised that other people feel distressed over things too, and then he would forget about his own feelings for a little while.

So the only thing I can recommend is that you discuss how you feel with your husband. I don't know how ill he is at the moment, but he may surprise you and be stronger than you think.

I would also recommend trying to get some support for yourself. You don't say which European country you are in, so I don't know what the services are like where you are, but maybe visit your GP, get some help with your depression, ask to see a counsellor, and ask if there are any support agencies for carers.

I really hope this helps.


Alabaster Frank said...

Dear Anonymous-

I am sorry for the troubles that pain you so deeply. It appears to me, despite the anger and frustration, that you care deeply for this man. My father once told me, "If we are no good to ourselves, then we are no good to anyone else.". It is a tough road, taking care of someone with an illness... and even though you are struggling with a decision, remember not to judge yourself too harshly. From my experience, the most important thing to a schizophrenic is trust. If your husband trusts his mother more than he trusts you... it is a losing battle. I am sorry to say this so bluntly... it is just my opinion. Even though I suffer from the same illness, I can not speak for other schizophrenics... I can only share my thoughts. Another thing I have learned through life is this... everyone says love can conquer all. The truth is, love isn't enough. You can love someone deeply and it may not be meant to be. I share this not to convince you to leave your husband... I say this only to help ease your sorrow. You are not a bad person if you can't continue with caring for him. I would try to talk with him and find out where you stand in his circle of trust. If you can find a way to strengthen the trust he has for you, then in time, you may be able to reach out to him and share your feelings in a non-threatening way. It all boils down to trust and intention. I wish you peace and send you strength through the void.

The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive said...

You're back!

Mr Mans Wife said...

Hi Seaneen! Well, I'm sort of back! Not very regularly, but yeah, I'm trying! (Some say I'm very trying!) I've not really had the time for blog reading though, so I hope you are keeping well! x

Anonymous said...

I am in the same boat as a wife of a Schizophrenic. Its just not about us anymore though. We have twin daughters now too. His mother wants to compete with me for his attention and pampers him like a child. She asks that he come "home" and stay with her @ least 3 nights a week. This causes so many problems and I just dnt know how to handle it anymore.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mr Man's wife and Alabaster Frank. I'm that Asian who left the anonymous message.

We're from Germany. The health care we get here is excellent, but doctors in general don't really understand English in my area, that's why I wasn't able to find any professional help when my husband was not well (he's often my translator).

Things are getting better now (for almost two weeks). I went back home (to Aisa) for two months, without promising to stay in touch with him and whether / when I would return. My husband stayed with his parents during that period, until he was absolutely sick of his mother.

I'm back in Germany now. With new medication, my husband's doing much better and able to think straight again. It was no use telling him how I felt when he was not well himself, but my total absence did make a very clear statement to him. Now he knows I can't and I'm not going to let myself take any unnecessary pressure from his mother (or even from his sickness), and he knows it's important that he sticks to his medication, to make sure he's well enough to take care of me.

Love indeed can't conquer all, that's what I learned after living with his sickness for three long years. And now I also realise I must stay well myself before I can take care of him.

So, to the other Anonymous, it may be hard for you to leave your husband for a while, but think about yourself and what you need first. If you can't take it anymore and he can't give you the attention you need so badly, go somewhere else and take a break from it all, with your twins if you have to. It will definitely give you some peace and renew your strength.

Loren said...

Hi! I found your blog when I was looking up on google "do schizophrenics hurt people?". There's a guy in my college class who is very interested in spending more time of me, but sometimes he is talking to himself while he does his homework and seems to have a lot of anxiety. People are a little scared of him and he doesn't always get a lab partner. He may not have schizophrenia, but I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to become his study partner and see where it goes from there. Deep down I think I always knew that the media sensationalized the schizophrenic person as violent, but its nice to see that while your life isn't going perfect, it still goes! Wish us luck, he's pretty damn cute!!!!! <3

Mr Mans Wife said...

Hi Loren, welcome to my blog! Your comment about him being cute really made me smile! I hope things go well for you both!

Anonymous said...

erm.hi im a bloke..erm,i dont mean to upset,,i was diagnosed a schizophrenic at 19..i have been treated abominably..
its not so good for me as a male to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.
I signed myself in to a mental hospital in wales..i have never been sectioned..yet,i was never told what the injections that were given to me as medication were doing in terms of side effects.NHS psychiatrist have literally shoved me out the door..when i tried to speak to them..i have questioned the medicine and its side effects and gps have lied..weight gain?.quote from GP..''you re obese,the medicine is just a mild tranquiliser in a steroid base''..the policy towards me as a schizophrenic from the NHS in the UK is deliberately alienating ,i have never seen anything so daft as NHS psychiatry here in the UK
And i am a man,and i have been treated with such disrespect also..try this..iam not allowed to have a copy of my medical records..
the GP claims i might confuse the abbreviation SOB(shortness of breath) with SOB (son of a bitch)..and might get upset..!!gawd!
quote from my medical report,one of a few i have been 'allowed' to see by me gp...from an NHS hrink..he is dirty sweats alot(i had just walked for five miles uphill to get to see him..advice being taken on exercise.)ADMITS to smoking 20 a day)..the shrink who threatened to put me in mental hospital when i had to bring up my daughter.Not being allowed my records is another example of the data protection act protecting a policy and not the individual..I have kidney stones,the doctors are saying i need to intake more potassium..a complicated story..low potassium in the blood can cause kidney stones to form..Now the medicine i am being 'obliged' to take,lowers potassium levels..they didnt tell me that.ive been waiting for an operation to remove a large stone from the back for nearly twelve months now,they know the stone has been getting larger for nearly four years,yet i only had a scan in jan 2011..
i have seen a counsellor..i had to pay for helped..alot..i think if anyone gets help from the NHS over anything,even getting treatment,it is because he/she is the money maker,and maybe enabling the wheels of society to turn..not necessarily female or male..for instance my wife a professional..a teacher,me,homemaker,i bought up baby till school,painter, job. i own half the property i live in out right,my wife pays the mortgage and bills.Yet the mortgage company wouldnt let me have my name on the deeds..geddit?..homemaker,wife,male domination?..probably..but i have never done im not sure if its right to generalise.i have never ever done anything wrong in my life,how can all this be?.but sorry you have troubles.

Anonymous said...

my husband is allso schizo,and everyday with his problems it gets to me too,its all about him all the time and it does get to you,i know how you feel,i wish you the best,but i know this will be a life time struggle of ups and downs,talking to someone might help.god bless

NEED HELP! said...

desperately need help.
hi. im a wife of a schizophrenic diagnosed since 2003. reading your blogs often. i am at a point of real dispare. After horrible experiences prediagnosis and after, with horrible doctors and nurses, we have moved to a small town with wonderful medical care and support. he is on abilify which works great. just one problem, he has never wanted to visit a psycologist or talk about his illness ever. he doesnt want me to be involved in helping him to take his meds. he has relapsed 7 times. after a relapse to get out of hospital sooner and avoid daily visits from doctors he promises to take his meds and to work with me. unfortunately i travel every 2 wks for 4 days for work. i have found out he does not take his meds then. he manipulates his way out of consultation and taking meds. his relapses have affected 2 of our bigger kids, mostly its fear of when he will be sick again. i am tired of being the enemy and to be played a fool and see my boys hurt life feels like on hold waiting for something that will never happen. i thought loving him and giving everything for him will be enough, but its not. i am not brave enough to just live him, especially for my kids, but i dont know what to else to do. i get really depressed sometimes and scared. talking with him doesnt work, either he switches off or gets aggressive. cant argue with him, he is clever, quick and streetwise and very manipulative. to other people he is an angel, he will never fight in front of people. when he is forced to see the dr with me, he will just agree with everything and say less just to get out, but once out its a differnt story.i have been hurt both emotionally and physically. i feel so stupid to talk about this.
i have been seeing a psycologist secretly, but stopped because of work demands. need to go back. i know something needs to happen to break this cycle. i dont know what, anybody going thru the samething? any advise for me please?

Mr Mans Wife said...

NEED HELP, I'm sorry that you are struggling so much at the moment. It can be very frustrating when it seems like the person you are trying to help won't help themselves. Even now, although Mr Man is working full time and doing exceptionally well, if I don't put his medication out for him he will forget to take it, so I can understand how working away would present problems for you. Maybe your husband would benefit from having his medication injected? I don't know much about it, only that it is long acting so that the patient doesn't have to have to remember to take tablets, but it might be worth asking about. Other than that, I'm not sure what else to suggest. I'm glad you were getting help for yourself, and I would urge you to continue with that. Best wishes to you.

NEED HELP! said...

thank u 4 responding. it helps to know someone understands a bit of my struggle. i was previously discouraged by a dr against the injections. he told me the dose reduces towards the end of the prescribed period and can trigger a relapse. but he was on of those horrible drs years ago, i will persue again.i will continue to seek help for my own well being, but also help to find a way to confront him because i dont think i can emotionally handle anymore of this.i am a highly motivated person, but lately can get so low that i worry about myself. thanks again, God bless u.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused reading this blog. Why are you staying with these men? How can you just excuse all of the awful things they do? I completely understand its the illness that is causing this, but no one deserves to be treated poorly. I have pangs of guilt at time for not doing more to help those I know that are ill but at the end of the day no one gets to hurt me mentally or physically. Period. Wake up. Don't take this abuse another day.