Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Advice for wife of sz hubby who lacks awareness


#1

Hi I’m new to this forum and I have a couple of questions.

  1. Do you know high functioning sz? My husband has always held down a job and what I assume is sz (has heard voices in the past, believes they are messages from some sort of machine, ‘someone’ puts him in time out every once in a while, he’s paranoid about the Masons, and he has occasional inexplicable physical sensations that range from extreme gut pain to pleasure able sensations in his groin) never interferes with work. He is 43 and either like this since 36 (I’ve brought all these things into his life according to him) or maybe earlier. He was treated for drug addiction at 36 so maybe drugs triggered sz. Is it possible to carry on for decades high functioning with lack of insight into the disease and never have a hospitalization?

  2. Twins are on the way this summer. What can I do to make sure my husband continues in his high functioning ways? (Not his first child, but our first child/children.) I have broached the subject by saying how can we make sure that you are getting sufficient sleep when they come? Our parents will be helping out. Do I simply need to minimize stress in household and maximize his sleep opportunities (as it is this week he has been so down he has had little sleep, he takes Wellbutrin, but has these depressed episodes a couple times a year)

  3. Know anyone who lacked awareness for 7+ years and now faces the fact that they are schizophrenic? I have trouble imagining the situation that would bring awareness to my hubby. He knows that I wonder if he is sz. He has had rants where he says if you think you can have me put in some institution for sz or bipolar…

Finally, sorry so long. I tried to join last year, but system wasn’t working. I do have support from my parents and in-laws (although dad thinks it’s all just too much alcohol and mom just thinks this is related to trauma at age 7 when dad posted overseas for a year). I saw a dr last fall until a bill was found. Dr thought only diagnosis for husband is sz and that my hubby is walking around scared every day and that he doesn’t fully trust me.


#2

And I guess I meant “lacks insight” not “lacks awareness.”

While I was typing original posting could hear hubby talking downstairs. Turns out he wasn’t on the phone, but talking to himself. He decided to sleep on couch with front door open despite 25F outside. Apparently '“everyone” is giving him such a hard time about his vigilance and security (alarm system, 3 bats) that he is going to sleep with the front door open (we live in a city!). I was told to either leave the house or go upstairs, but the door was to stay open. I could not reason with him. I went upstairs and decided not to call parents and worry them. I snuck down an hour later and closed and locked the door. He’s peacefully sleeping - exhausted from a week of depression/ crazy thoughts/ I don’t know. During his short rant he had said he didn’t care if I had the twins or aborted them. I know he doesn’t really feel this way and I think it is something to bring up tomorrow as far as pointing out that he says and does things that don’t make sense. Maybe there will be a glimmer of insight but I’m not holding my breath.

Feeling really sad and alone. I’m thinking about telling a friend who’s brother has mental illness about my situation just so I have 1 person to talk to besides my parents and in-laws (who are already worried about the pregnancy).


#3

Be very careful who you tell. Be careful who you trust. Once you tell someone, you can’t take it back and the stigma is out there and not everybody understands or is compassionate or forgiving. I understand the want and need for you to find someone to commiserate with you in your situation but once you tell anyone they will be looking at your husband in a whole new way. And not necessarily in a good way. Being schizophrenic should be nothing to be ashamed of in a perfect world. And it can be a huge load off your shoulder to confide in someone, but be picky.
There’s an old AA saying, “A problem shared, is a problem halved”. I guess I’m prejudiced in my own personal life with paranoid schizophrenia towards not telling anyone. I believe it grants me more freedom but it’s hard to hide. Some people on here are brave enough to be perfectly open in real life about telling people. And it works for them. You make your choices and you live with them as you know.


#4

Thank you. I appreciate the advice. I was able to tell his parents of erratic behavior 6 years ago and I just confided to my parents last year. Neither of us have living siblings so that’s it that knows. Nearly all of our friends are from work so I would never tell them. The one friend I’m thinking of lives in another country and doesn’t communicate with any of my other friends.

But things seem to be going down the toilet fast this weekend. He has the front door open again and I plead with him to close it. He says he’s going to take it off the hinges tomorrow and rip our security system from the wall. I’m thinking about calling his parents and seeing if they can help me with the current situation. He will be furious if I cal them…


#5

Welcome to the forum @KEM.

I think telling a friend could be a good source of support for yourself.

Contacting one of these may help get you in touch with some support groups.
http://www.nami.org/ - National Alliance on Mental Illness.
http://www.schizophrenia.ca/ - Schizophrenia Society of Canada

Can also find some very useful information here:
http://schizophrenia.com/

Your hubby is not sounding very good. Has he ever been to a psychiatrist or talked to a professional? Without treatment, chances are these things will keep happening and possibly get worse.

I worry a bit about the babies. You hubby may care however when in psychosis, it’s symptoms and they may not care.

I think you should call his parents. If this doesn’t turn around you may need them.


#6

Thank you.

My husband was in therapy for years after the death of his brother. He is more in tune with himself and his emotions than any other man I’ve met. Unfortunately, when he started having marital problems with first wife and she started going with him to same therapist he felt that the therapist took his wife’s side. That ended therapy for him. The counselor in drug rehab diagnosed him as bipolar and he was for a time (prior to me) put on various meds that he says were so much worse than any drugs he had ever taken. I think sometimes rehab counselors over diagnose bipolar and schizophrenia.

Today I’m going to talk to him about his lack of sleep and liquor use. I think like many he self medicates to sleep but it makes things worse. Trying to minimize stress and anxiety are my goals because he never wants to go to a therapist again.


#7

Hi there, my husband was diagnosed at 15 and his parents were never really good at accepting the whole thing. He doesnt speak to them now (for the better anyway Ive met them, not a good influence on him). He doesnt seem to be as serious as your husband not now anyway but there was a time when he would drink whiskey all the time then dissappear for days, always threatened to end things etc… we have reached a point now where he seems to be able to rationalize a bit better but there are still times when theres no talking to him, everyone else is wrong and hes always right. Sound familiar? Wev been together for 12 years now and I see symptoms every so often like him mumbling to himself etc… he knows hallucinations are not real and has adapted to cope with them. He has improved alot since we got together and I dont know if thats because he now has probably the most stability he has ever had in his life. He doesnt work but is a stay at home dad to our 14 month old little boy who just adores his daddy. Im not saying its easy now because its not and in fact I have my own post about how hard its been when I work shifts and he is struggling with our son when hes not sleeping at night. He is also very sceptical of speaking to people and I try to get him to open up to me but the problem is I take what he says as a personal insult or attack when its not his fault. He does need to speak to someone else. Anyway I guess I dont really know if Im of any help to you but feel free to chat about it. I’ll try to give any advice if possible. We go months where I actually forget he has an illness then maybe for a week or so he will have a rough patch and its hard every single time.


#8

Hi thanks for writing.
I think I had a read a post before and I could totally relate. I’m in a similar situation in that months will go by and everything is so normal! And then, boom! it hits. The very very scary thing about this time is that he is having paranoia about work. He’s worked since he was 10. He’s had his current job for 18 years. He has a lot of responsibility, but he delegates and knows how to run his projects successfully. But now he feels that he’s being tested. I work at the same place on the same floor so that is helpful, but I’m afraid he is going to have a meltdown at work. Am I worried about being embarrassed? No, I don’t want anyone’s pity. I want him to get help, but not through this avenue (i.e. massive breakdown). I encouraged him to call his friend T. and he responded there is no way to know if I would even be talking to him. He’s suddenly paranoid about computers mimicking voices, etc. I said to him this evening that he is scaring the crap out of me and that I’m going to talk to his parents (I already have) and said fine, what are they going to do? I said if I can’t convince you that managers at work are not trying to test or fire you, maybe your father can. He’s really questioning everything at work - getting strange emails, questioned a brochure he was given informing him and all his colleagues about a new initiative. Right now only our parents and I know his condition. He adores and respects his supervisor and she was recently promoted, but still on the floor. I am loathe to say anything to her. He has a big meeting coming up in 2 weeks that he seems to be pinning his job success on it and it will be in the building. My team leader will be at that meeting. I’m thinking about talking to my team leader and having him text me during the meeting if something goes awry so that I come get my husband / help him or maybe have my team leader say, hey your wife just texted and there’s something wrong and that will get him out of self-destructive behavior.

We are going on vacation next week so maybe that will be just the break he needs to snap out of it!


#9

Maybe, you could find counseling and group support for yourself where you feel safe and can talk. Possibly look into dealing with love one’s who have drug addictions and mental illness. Check your local area to help you deal with the situation, hopefully, he will come around. Denial and guilt are huge emotions for people. Sometime we become independent in dysfunctional environments. Definitely it’s important to relieves stress and avoid depression. You can confide your doctor of ways you can relieve the stress and tension. Stay healthy and happy.


#10

I’ve been with my husband for 6 years. I knew about his sz, but until last year, is never seen it. He went days without sleep and I witnessed him actually having a conversation with at least 5 different voices, as thou they were in the room with us. I was so scared, not for my safety, but for him. It broke my heart. The hardest thing I’ve ever done was having him put in the hospital. He begged me. Promising he would be better, but I knew he desperately needed the help. He was there for 3 days. Three months later , he called me at work and said he needed me to come home, that he was affairs to be alone. That led to the next trip to the hospital. He admitted he was planning suicide, but thank God, he had the trust and strength to call me instead. He’s fine well for a year, but two weeks ago, the voices took over. At that point, they became real to him and he was convinced something bad was going to happen to him. (I’ve never understood why the voices are always bad??) Back to the hospital again! This time, his employer fired him!! This lead him into an even deeper depression! He’s been home for 3 days, and he’s still not doing very good. The voices are still there, but at least he recognizes they are just voices. He’s terrified that I will leave him because of losing his job. I try to reassure him that it’s not his fault and I will never leave him for being sick. But this is so hard!! As much as my heart hurts for him, it is just so hard to stay strong and take care of him! In terrified to leave him alone when I go to work! I love him more than anything and I know God will take care of us. We pray together and today, he said he didn’t hear the voices while we were at church. I pray for everyone who is going thru this. No one can truly understand unless you live it and must people judge because they don’t understand.


#11

Well, I had a nervous after meeting a lady who was bragging about driving friends nuts then gave them to her sexual abuser…The mental care handled me so badly when I got therapy for the PTSD this woman’s problems caused, it caused me a nervous and psychosis started. Since I’ve met wealthy men bragging about driving ex-wives crazy, seen women go crazy when the refused an unwanted advance from wrong men, heard stories of business rivals/college rivals going crazy to get them out of way, sex abuse victims going nuts. I agree with your husband on cause of voices.

A lot of the people who end up hearing the voices were told to turn to their church & advocated following orders from the voices. Some churches accept this practice too calling it God, and go to stalk specific strangers to verbally harass them about something private. These churches love to target someone on socials security payments & harass someone schizo about not working, not realizing how long the person suffered from the voices & reduction in functioning due to the insomnia & mental symptoms, meds side effects this person deals with. Some of the people follow orders to do some really harmful stuff to others like mess with person to get him/her fired, screw up business transactions, battery, murder. The church approach of some to accept these as orders to God that are contrary to Christian teaching is the problem but most of these church situations are so bad it would require a restraining order to get away because the church is really controlled by some of the church elders who are dirty businesspeople in the community who brag about owning poor folks & cops who follow orders. This is called gang stalking/cause stalking/thought broadcasting. The mental care policy is to call these delusional and refuse to help with these ‘social problems’. On medical records, mental care calls this ‘not self directed’. This is a shortcoming of mental care & harmful to patient but this is policy. I encourage you to google these terms to research how ‘some people act’ so you can help your husband build up a tolerance to this. Some of the explanations of targeted individual’s descriptions of how people treat them will help you relate to what your husband experiences and help him desensitize himself to it. When he does not respond to the crap the crazy people pull on him, it gets boring to others and he will get a little more peace.

I’m happy his job is still treating him okay as sometimes victims of the voices get screwed out by coworkers who are part-time psychotics.

In some cities, LOTS of people hear the voices & work for many years dealing with psychosis part of the time. I encourage your husband to keep his problems private & not discuss any worries aloud at work or out in public. This can pass and he will be okay.

If your husband had an argument with anyone just before his symptoms started or he met someone like I mentioned, you can just quit talking to the person & everyone you met through them. Do not return any phone calls or contact attempts. He may be stalked by this group, he should just ask to be left alone please. Best outcome is to NEVER follow orders from voices, never talk to self aloud and cut ties with whomever you met who is not okay & wait. Sometimes symptoms will get better in 2-3 years. Your husband can also ask voices why he is hearing this, repeat this for a while and see what response he gets - some are told to do something crazy so judge for yourself and do not follow orders for weird stuff.

Your husband can NEVER get confrontational with mental care or he will be locked up for months in mental hospital at his own expense & usually fired. If he wants to stop using mental care, just cancel next appointment and do not go back.

Want to add: Some children will sound possessed to someone with schizo in ‘kids say darndest things’ kind of way. This is called ‘thought insertion’. He needs to know the kids and old folks do this & just ignore them as they don’t realize they are saying what the schizo victim is thinking sometimes or something upsetting. It won’t happen that much…Just ignore them.

Yoga can really help someone schizo calm down & will help sleep.

If your husband is taking meds or thinking of trying it, seroquel will cause a good amount of drowsiness when taken at bedtime with the pills broken into pieces. Trazadone is a good one too…This should help him get through the first 4 months with babies.

Maybe if you explain it is not safe for wife and kids to have the door to house open at night, this will help.

If he thinks someone has been inside the house, NEVER keep money in there & keep RX glasses on him. If you don’t buy anything for a while, this passes … There is nothing that can be done if this happens as sometimes hardware store employees will steal keys when you had them copied…no amount of changing locks will get him to stop worrying. Security system really won’t help this. Put a chair under door knobs at night and don’t worry about it.

Hope this helps.


#12

I’m sorry for your stress. Do you have a trusted friend who needs a place to stay and extra space to house another adult? This would be good time to look for free nanny probably.


#13

Kem, I hate to tell you this, but there is nothing you can do to make him snap out of his psychosis. Usually antipsychotics are the only thing that’ll do that, or sometimes crises resolve on their own. You can’t reason with him when he’s in that state. That’s the nature of delusions, they are false beliefs that continue even in the face of logic or proof that it is untrue. If it were my husband, I’d have him hospitalized. I know that’s a hard road to go down, especially when you’ve never done it before. Perhaps his parents would be willing to do it if the time comes and you decide to go down that road.

So far, I’ve never had to hospitalize my husband against his will. He has insight, but when he’s really sick he loses it. My husband also had issues with drugs. What I learned is that even though many people think the illness was brought on by the drugs, its usually the other way around, people use drugs because they felt bad and were trying to feel better. My husband likes to say it was because of the drugs, it sounds cooler, but I know perfectly well that he was already symptomatic before he started using.

You can’t assume that just because he hears voices that he’s schizophrenic. Bipolar can get it too, as well as people with regular untreated depression, and a lot of other diagnosis. A lot of professionals consider bipolar and schiz to be on a continuum. Since your husband has been able to hold down a job for so long and apparently be successful at it, I’d suspect bipolar more than schiz, because schiz causes cognitive issues. For example, one morning my husband was going out for a smoke, and I said hey, since you’re going out can you pick up a loaf of bread? He dashed out and says oh I’ll be right back. When he comes back in, he says, oh, Im sorry I couldn’t pick up the bread, I didn’t hear what you said. …… :slight_smile: Now I know that he is otherwise an intelligent person.

I hope things get better for you guys soon, and he’s able to continue working.