Jump to content

Feel Like A Horrible Husband


Recommended Posts

More venting than anything, it's really hard to talk about this with others.

My wife has been in the hospital now for almost 10 weeks. She's been diagnosed with schitzoaffective disorder and has been in the hospital for 10 weeks without medication; she is refusing to take it and is appealing the decision that deems her incapable of making her own medical decisions.

For 10 weeks I have lived in a house where I am constantly reminded of her absence. I go to bed at night and she's not there, and she's not there when I wake up in the morning. She's not there when I get home from work, when I need to complain about something or share a victory. When I'm not visiting the hospital or she's not home on the weekend, I eat dinner alone. She's not here and it haunts me every day.

Friends and family who are aware of my wife's illness and have seen her decompensate over the past year (and before that as she has gone up and down with her meds), keep telling me that's I'm a wonderful person, that she's lucky to have a husband like me who is standing by her. They tell me that I'm strong, that if they were in my position that they don't know if they would be able to do what I have done for the past three years of our marriage.

So why don't I feel like this?

I don't feel like a great husband. I have a hard time with my temper with her. I'm not physically abusive, I would never raise my hand to her or to anyone, but I let my frustrations with her psychosis get the best of me at times and I yell at her. And not the raised voice kind, the unabashed rage kind. I can be cold and distant, dismissive of her. At times I think about leaving her, reclaiming my life. I feel like I've given all that I can over the past three years, loving and caring for her, supporting her, and being the strong one in our relationship, even as I've crumbled. And I have crumbled. I've been hospitalized twice in the past two years with suicidal tendancies. My work performance has gone all the hell. And now I have a hard time dealing with her when she comes home or when I visit her in the hospital.

I feel like there's this great expectation on me to be this wonderful person who is tolerant of his wife and the ravages of her illness. I feel like I can't get upset at her when she says all kinds of horrible things to me because it's not her, but her illness talking. So when I'm not, it just beats me down. I feel like a failure. I feel like I'm giving up on her and our marriage. I feel like I'm letting her down because I took a vow "in sickness and in health" and I'm not living up to that. It's pushed me down, brought my depression back to the forefront and I'm struggling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Mustang,

Mental illness is very difficult to understand and deal with.

Bottom line, is you have been there for your wife. You're only human and it's normal to feel resentment and anger.

I have a story that maybe you can relate to.

My grandmother was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer and she wanted to stay with my mom. Everyday my mother would take care of her, with a six hour break when the aide came by.

After a couple of months, it started to take it's toll on my mom. She started to feel very guilty, because she was beginning to resent my grandmother for being sick. My mom was not only physically drained, but the emotional strain was overwhelming her.

My mom and I would talk for hours about this and I told her she was doing the very best she could.

Eventually my grandmother passed and for over 25 yrs, my mother had feelings of guilt. I saw what my mother did for my grandmother and to be honest, I don't think I could have done it.

Bottom line is, you do the best you can and realise you can't fix everything. Your feelings are normal, given the situation you're in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well here's my story I can relate to the side of your wife. I suffer from a bipolar disorder; I really loved this girl with my whole life, but my disorder got in the way. It pushed her away to she left. I loved her lot's she told me that she'll be by my side to the end of the world, but that wasn't true. I recently started medication, I feel empty because of this. I wish she would've stuck it out with me. It's not that she doesn't love you, she's sick. You getting frustrated over this is like getting frustrated over a blind man not seeing better it's a disorder. Talk to her keep talking to her until she accepts the medication. Tell her how you feel her mind is still there.

Edited by Jaron
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the thing. This isn't her first hospitalization, and not her first since we've been married. She's been hospitalized six times since 1999 and this is her second hospitalization since 2010 (we were married in November 2009). She's extremely resistant to medication, even though the evidence points to her being extremely successful when she is getting the treatment she needs. Everyone, from her psychiatrist to her family to me, has tried to talk to her about taking medication and she just outright refuses to do so. She's been off her medication for almost a year now (thanks to her doctor shopping and finding someone who agreed to take her off her meds).

I've talked to her about how I feel; the feelings of abandonment, resentment, hurt, frustration etc., but it's like talking to a brick wall. These things just don't resonate with her specifically because of her illness. And now I'm faced with upwards of nine more months of this (tl;dr version, she has appealed the inability to make medical decisions to the courts, and it takes, on average, nine months to hear the appeal). I love her tremendously, and I know that it's her illness that is making her act in this manner. I've done all that I think I can, given all that I think I can give, and I feel like I've done nothing, given nothing at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello. I'm sorry you are going through difficult times. It's very hard to deal with mental illness and it sounds like you have done all you can. It's like when someone has cancer, no matter what you do you can't cure that person. All you can do is help them get treatment and that's what you have done. It would probably help you to get in some counseling or a support group for family members of those with mental illnsses. I think there is a forum on here for that. Just remember that it's not your fault. Go out with friends and do fun things for yourself. Don't be so hard on yourself; you are only human. God bless!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you getting therapy yourself UMustang? You are your wife's caregiver in this, and that is a stressful position to be in. Maybe a therapist can help you vent so you don't need to scream at your wife, because that's not healthy or helpful for either of you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds like you certainly have been there for your wife (as much as she will let you) and done what you can to help her and be a good husband in a really difficult situation.

I can't really know if there are great expectations being placed on you, but I would bet that your friends and family are telling the absolute truth when they said you're strong and they don't know what they'd do in this situation. I don't think they're judging you or placing expectations and would understand your frustation and anger. What I'm trying to say is that if friends and family think well of you and support you then try to do the same for yourself.

I'm not familiar with all the legal details in this kind of situation but even though she is appealing the decision can't she basically be required to take meds in the meantime? Isn't being admitted (or admitting yourself) to the hospital for psych eval good enough reason (legally) to give you, the spouse, medical power of attorney?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WOW, this is a difficult situation, my heart goes out to you! Given the fact you have dealt with a schizophrenic for so long I imagine my suggestion of talking to other schizophrenics may have been tried?

I would be curious to know what may have gotten the more treatment resistant schizophrenics to accept medication.I guess that is where I would search as one way into, schizophrenics anonymous meetings, even a forum such as http://www.schizophreniaforums.com/

Otherwise you may not want to hear my last suggestion, given how much you have sacrificed over such a long period of time, and seeing how it is tearing you down, maybe alternative living situations should be considered?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I, too, think you're doing the most you can do given the circumstances. I also agree that your friends and family are being honest when they tell you how wonderful you've been. Were there more you could do, you would have done those things, too.

If you're not in counseling to help you through this, I really hope you get into some. This is a really heavy burden to carry, and you need someone to give you perspective regarding what you can reasonably expect to be able to do and what is out of your control. The ol' serentiy prayer at work, absolutely. Serenity is what you need right now; you'll gut yourself over things you can't control if you don't learn to go easy on yourself regarding what's actually beyond your ability to change/help. You're going through enough already.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not familiar with all the legal details in this kind of situation but even though she is appealing the decision can't she basically be required to take meds in the meantime? Isn't being admitted (or admitting yourself) to the hospital for psych eval good enough reason (legally) to give you, the spouse, medical power of attorney?

In Ontario (where I live), a patient can only be held involuntarily for 72 hours, and in that time the patient has the right to refuse medication. For any involuntary admission longer than 72 hours, or if a doctor deems a patient incapable of making decisions related to your care, the patient has the right to appeal to a Consent and Capacity Board (made up of a lawyer, a psychiatrist, and a community member). Based on the evidence put forward by the patient and the doctor, the Board will decide if the involuntary status and/or medical consent will stand. During the time that the appeal to the C&CB is being heard, the patient can be held involuntarily BUT cannot be considered to be incapable of making medical decisions.

If the C&CB rules against the patient, the patient has the right to appeal to the Superior Court of Ontario. If the patient goes down that path, they can still be held involuntarily but cannot be administered medication against their will until the court has rendered their decision. On average, appeals take 9 months.

All that being said, the Consent and Capacity Board has ruled that my wife should be held involuntarily AND is incapable of making her own medical decisions regarding psychiatric medication. She has appealed the medical consent portion of the ruling (not the involuntary status, but that's another story!), so she's essentially hospitalized indefinitely without treatment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses.

I'm seeing a psychologist infrequently. My next appointment with her is Thursday and I'm hoping to sort through some of this stuff with her.

As for living arrangements, it's actually okay at the moment since she's not living at home but in the hospital. It is lonely here though, and like I said the thought of her still permeates our home; she's here without actually being here. Thankfully, a good friend of mine is moving in for a bit while his house is being renovated, so at least I'll have some company. He knows about my wife's situation and both he and his wife have been very supportive during this time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please be more gentle with yourself. It is so easy to feel like you failed when you have a mentally ill partner but it's not true. You are doing the best you can. I know when I'm not feeling well I try to stay away from my husband so that I don't burden him anymore. When I first got sick I relied on him completely because I didn't know what was happening to me but now I have better coping skills and I deal with it myself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...