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Not sure how much longer i can do this...

Over the past 8 years I've been caring for my husband who has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. I work hard at maintaining a good job to support us both. Consequently that excludes us from any support. In this time he has not held a job for longer than 5 months. Financially, emotionally and physically it is taking such a toll on our marriage. He is actually better off if we get divorced.

But what frustrates and hurts the most is that he doesn't seem to recognize how it is impacting our relationship or even me personally. Is this a usual part of the disorder?

14 REPLIES 14

Re: Not sure how much longer i can do this...

Hi @Mrscaptargo 

Unfortunately we see a lot of similar experiences here in the forums about the lack of awareness and impact someone is having on us. This doesn't seem to be unique to the diagnosis.

 

You must be exhausted.

 

I know other members will offer some advice and ideas. My approach is looking at things you can control.. you, specifically looking after yourself.

 

Last week we ran a Topic Tuesday session on Respite and what is available to people caring for a loved one. You can read more here

@zipper began a discussion about wives caring for husbands, which I think you will find particuarly useful.

Finally, you may find this discussion about Compassion Fatigue helpful too.

 

These forums are a great place to connect with others in similar situations and to get support and advice. It's such a lovely community of people. I hope you find them helpful.

 

Nik

Re: Not sure how much longer i can do this...

Im so sorry that it has taken so long for someone to get back to you.  It is often late at night when you have some time to yourself that you want to connect with someone

I know it is hard when you are working to support the family as well as deal with an unwell partner.  You are not alone, even though you feel it, you are not alone.

I know loneliness is something that comes into play when a loved one thinks about their own illness and themselves 24/7.  It comes with the territory, I'm sorry

My husband has been sick on and off with depression for 10 years.  He would have acknowledged my effort in his recovery maybe 2 or 3 times and that would have only been on me being heart broken, in front of a doctor or support staff.  He would look at me blankly and say, but you are my wife, like it was expected.  It used to devastate me.  I also used to think and say to myself, if this was cancer what would I do?  Treating the mental illness as a physical illness was easier to deal with

I went into early menopause, had/have blood pressure, all from the stresses, but it was never acknowledged by him. Speaking up and not being embarrased, lifted a lot of weight from my shoulders.

I have also struggled to find financial help and yes if you work, you fall between the cracks, it is awful.  One suggestion is to tough it out and when it is tax time, he will receive a larger refund, because he hasnt worked the full year.  Are you eligible for any carer benefit?  Have you looked into that?

Another suggestion with your money is to get on the front foot.  Don't let things get worse.  Ring the bank, re-arrange payments.  See if you can pay bills by instalment.  

My final suggestion is to speak out, dont keep his illness a secret.  I kept it a secret for many years and when I broke and spoke out the support was unbelievable, It lifted the weight from my shoulders.  Look for schizoaffective groups, both online and if you can get to them, in person.  Talking about it does help

 

zz

 

Re: Not sure how much longer i can do this...

Hi there. I know what u mean. My ex has bpd but with diagnoses of schitzoaffective affective disorder too. It amazes me that he never really understood how much I did for him ... Even in his lucid days. And then would be surprised when on the rare occasion I had a melt down ... The problem was also if I ever took him to task on things like not helping round the house etc that in itself sometimes created stress which triggered an episode. Well we eventually broke up after 9 years but I still support him. Even now when I give him money I say why don't you ever thank me? Sometimes I think I created a monster by indulging him and trying to keep his world as stress free as possible for fear of an episode. It's a tough one. Good luck. Jacob

Re: Not sure how much longer i can do this...

Hello @Mrscaptargo 

What you describe is probably the hardest thing I have had to deal with and I still struggle with it.  Many people who have a MI do not realise how much they are hurting us.  No comprehension at all.

The amount of abuse and crazy behaviour was what eventually gave me PTSD.  I think you can only be a sponge for so long before something has to give.  Everyone has a breaking point. 

At times I received an apology for the really bad behaviour but I realised fairly quickly that it wasn't a real apology.  The behaviour would just keep going on, over and over and over. 

I work full time too and support both myself and my sibling.  Not only is it financially quite difficult, which puts a lot of stress on me but it makes me very cynical.  Many times I think how easy my sibling has it with no responsibilities, although I would never want to trade places and have the mental illness my sibling has. 

8 years is a long time to care for someone in the way that you do.  You can get some free counselling sessions if you go visit your GP and get a mental health plan done.  There are other free services out there as well.  Would you consider getting some respite care for a few days here and there as you need it?

It's very hard when you're just going around in circles with no clear way to move forward.  Perhaps you can sit down with someone (a counsellor is good) and map out a plan so you have more options to look at for the future.

 

Re: Not sure how much longer i can do this...

Hi, I am completely new to this forum and it was only by chance that I googled and found this site(, late at night when I do my best thinking because my brain won't switch off!!) Tonight I haven't been able to sleep because my fiance of five years has schizo effective disorder and although he has worked for the best part of those five years, inbetween episodes that land him in hospital for three months at a time mind you, he has just in the last couple of days informed me...completely out of the blue.....that he wants to resign from his job!!!! Like you , I am working full time in quite a stressful and demanding job, I have a 15 year old daughter from a previous relationship who is going through her own teen worries and NOW THIS with him AGAIN!!! I say again because he goes through these phases saying he is quitting etc etc and nine times out of ten he doesn't/hasn't but if my memory serves me right, these are usually the very early warning signs for him that something is amiss ......... it starts as innocent as this but then give him a couple more months and he will be trying to invent an engine that runs purely on sugar or something to that effect. As for me....well I am thinking along the same lines as you.....I don't know for how much longer I can do this!!?? It is emotionally draining and all consuming and up until this very moment tonight when I read your post I really did think I was alone in this. The mental health support system in the town we live in is so unreliable that even calling them with my concerns pretty much falls on deaf ears because " he is not a high priority because he is high functioning!!!!'.............I thought the healthier option for all would be to get on to these issues early to prevent any possibility of a relapse!!?? Anyway, if I say anything to him about any of my concerns he just gets angry and the fact that we have two mortages obviously isn't concerning him as much as it worries me!!! You can rest assured he is sleeping like a baby tonight......he isn't working tomorrow so he can sleep in (his job is part time 2-3 days a week which has suited him fine til now)....I have to get up early and yet I cannot sleep for all the worry!!! Like you, I earn too much for him to collect benefits but if he quits we will still only just get by. In all honesty....I do not want  to 'only just get by!!' I feel so bitter and guilty about feeling bitter but that's just how it is right now I guess!!! He is on a depot (CTO) and also once again his local and 'favourite' GP just dropped his dose at my fiance's request......AGAIN!!! Last three times this has happened he has become unwell..but it seems family do not get much of a say where meds are concerned. Sorry to off load like this as all I really wanted to say was......I totally know how you feel!!!!! It seems we are not alone after all!!!

Re: Not sure how much longer i can do this...

Hi Attahua, I am so glad you found us.  Welcome to the forum.  It sounds like you are having a very difficult time and also a very frustrating time. Now that you have found us you will find lots of support.  My initial thoughts are that you need to be taken care of as well.  Do you have family or friends who can support you and the other thought is it may be worth visiting your GP to chat to them about how things are for you. You sound like you are caring and dedicated and take a big role in ensuring everything stays on track so it is important to remember that you need to be cared for as well.  Again, welcome this is a great place to chat and feel supported.

Archie

Re: Not sure how much longer i can do this...

I've been caring for my partner of 8 years who has bipolar, PTSD, anxiety disorders, anger issues , diabetes , sickle cell , fybromyalgia, and I think that's the main stuff.. he's a mixed bag of goods. He doesn't work and is on a disability and I have always worked full time and the financial strain takes its toll ( whilst we share rent , all other expenses are covered by me. )
Lately he has been getting worse with his anger and it's at the point where I'm so overwhelmed because I love him with all my heart , but it's like I can't keep doing this. On my days off its a case of walking on eggshells for fear of something triggering him ( like someone cutting him off in traffic ) then it's like a snowball effect. I'm humiliated and scared because he gets so worked up. My days off are days where I wish we didn't have to leave the house for fear of a bad experience and that's meant to be my only relax time from work. I know it sounds selfish. .. but I have put him and his needs first for 8 years... and now the emotions have taken it's toll on me and I'm a nervousnervous wreck with it all and struggling more financially and I can see an end to it all.

Re: Not sure how much longer i can do this...

Thanx Archie! I don't often talk about our issues like this 'outside of the house' so it is quite reassuring knowing there is a site where we can all share our thoughts without fear of judgement ! Yes I guess I do have quite a load but no more then anyone else on here and no we don't have any family near by which does make it quite difficult at times . The one time I did reach out to a very close friend of mine during the early stages of my partner's last episode two years ago.....her reaction was to ask me if I was sure this is what I wanted for my daughter and myself!!!! I was already in a distressed state and was highly offended that she would question my relationship like that. On reflection I am sure she meant well and it was only said out of concern but still to this day I no longer have anything to do with her. My work is very supportive as far as giving me time off when and if needed but as I am a teacher I do not like to take time off work if it can be avoided as my class need me too. In fact we have it in my partner' scare plan that I will continue on and keep our lives as normal as possible in the event of him bring hospitalised. I followed this plan on his last hospitalisation and although things were still stressful , it wasn't as bad as the first time when I drove up and down to the city every weekend and basically ran myself ragged too which was of no help to anyone (and my partner was so unwell that he had no idea at the time how exhausting it all was.) His family live interstate and the extent of their support involves one fly in fly out fleeting day visit to the hospital and then the expectation that I will keep them all informed with updates from docs etc....that's actually the most exhausting.....coming home from work, fielding calls from docs and nurses during every break I have during the day then going home and phoning all the family !!! Just remembering it all is ,skiing me feel quite exhausted hehe. I choose this though....I choose to stay with my partner as I do love him despite it all.... he on the other hand did not choose to have this awful brain disease....although he does have the power to manage it by taking his meds regularly. I do chat to my own GP from time to time but she just smiles and nods!!! And that's okay too as I feel that yo really completely understand how it is you need to have that 'lived experience!!!' I just wish the powers that be could find a cure for these debilitating illnesses!!!!

Re: Not sure how much longer i can do this...

Hi Attahua, Good to see that you are finding the forum useful and a place where you are feeling comfortable to share your experiences.  So please keep posting when things start to escalate or you need to vent because you are quite right this is a great place where there is no judgement only support from people who know and care.  I am sad to hear that you have lost a friend and yes they probably did mean well and were thinking of your best interests but unfortunately not what you needed to hear at the time. Throughout your couple of posts it is very evident that you are a caring person who looks after everyone's needs this includes your partner, your students and your partner's family.  It would indeed be very exhausting.  You talked about a "scare plan" which sounds like it works well, although still exhausting, particularly when keeping the family continually informed.  One way to manage this may be to have a designated family member who you keep informed and then they are the go to person for information rather than yourself.  This may relieve you of some pressure and that way you can focus on your partner's recovery and take care of yourself.  Another option is to take advantage of EAP Service which is hopefully available through your work.  This is a confidential service provided by your employer and is there for you and your family to access.  These are just a couple of suggestions I am sure that others on the Forum will have other great ideas too. Take care Archie

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