Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Another question - Husband Refusing Treatment in VA


#1

I’m so sorry to be clogging up the board, I just don’t know where else to turn.

My husband wants out… bad. He does want rehab but he really wants out of the VA. The things he’s describing aren’t good… I’m wondering if the VA is the worst possible place in the universe.

As you can tell, I’m wavering. I’ve been advocating so hard with the social worker and after I have spoken with him I’m confused. He says he will stay until Monday. The social worker said if he signs himself out AMA they can hold him for 72 hours and will decide on the IVC when he tries to sign himself out, based on his symptoms at that time.

I’m some ways I feel as if I have betrayed him. The way I have to try to think of it is, it is hard to keep someone against their will. The system is so broken, it’s a miracle anyone gets treated (from my perspective). If they decide to keep him IVC, then given how hard it is to even do an IVC, he would really need to be there. If they let him go, that means they think plain drug rehab is ok. Correct? If he is in rehab and the delusions are that obvious, they will send him to the hospital again, right? I can see I’m trying to rationalize all this.

When I visit him tomorrow, what should I expect? There are 2 visiting hours tomorrow. I’ve never visited someone in the hospital for anything other than cancer or other terminal conditions. Is there something I should know?

Thank you all in advance.


#2

@Sadwife I have no knowledge of VA hospitals, but if your husband is dealing with addiction and sz he still needs a place equipped to deal with both (dual diagnosis)…Some drug rehab places have the ability to deal with both and some do not, I would try to find out ahead of time if you can…The VA (or any facility) letting him go after a brief stay doesn’t mean much of anything other than they believe they’ve seen him through whatever crisis got him there and he won’t immediate harm to himself or others. As for feeling like you have betrayed him—Unless you are doing something intentionally to harm your husband (which you are not) you have not betrayed him in anyway whatsoever. You are trying to help your husband when he is unable to help himself, it is not always pleasant but it is the toughest part of love I think. I hope you enjoy your visit tomorrow. Just be present with him.


#3

As much as we’d like these places to be better, I usually leave them thankful that they provide some Safety for our loved ones during their crisis. Try not to take it personally and just be there for him. I usually just walk with my son and the best places have either a circle or corridor. I hope you have a good visit.


#4

It is a lovely facility. The visiting area was just 1 small conference room with a staff member and a few families. The difference in my husband is remarkable. I saw the man I fell in love with. Many of his delusions are still there. I have some hope that he will “lose” some more the longer he is away from drugs.

The people who work there are very nice. The staff member watching the families had to let me out, and get my things out of the locker. He saw that I was tearing up, so he called my husband back and told me to go back in, right inside the door, so he could hug me. What a very kind man.

He did try to sign himself out AMA and they stood by their policy that he will be kept at least until Monday but up to 72 hours. I have absolutely no doubt that he will be released Monday. All I can do is pray that they will find a bed for him in a drug rehab clinic so he’s not back out of the streets. At least if he’s in rehab there, it’s in the same building and I know he can get help. I’m just trying to have hope but also recognize that this is a very very long road that isn’t ending.


#5

Well, such a roller coaster.

It’s been a hard day for my husband. He hasn’t slept in many days, and continues to refuse any medication except aspirin. My husband called me somewhat upset that a large and medicated patient destroyed his shower door and was restrained on my husband’s bed by 3 staff members who apparently had to tackle him. A few hours later, my husband then called me demanding to leave first thing in the moening bcz his toiletries were in the toilet and his room had been torn apart. He was scared for his safety- which is freaky, because he served as both a marine and a soldier…he doesn’t do scared. Anyway, I called the nurse, trying to determine if these were delusions and no, both men just happened to target that room. The nurse said his feelings were rational and understandable.

I finished praying and was typing this to you, and my husband just called back after hours. The kind nurse apparently has been talking to him for the last 30 minutes or so and told him to call me. Every staff member with whom I have spoken has been so unbelievably kind and gracious. I wish my husband would realize that. His personality is always to see the worse case scenario…drama king… but man. He is one now. I want to say, I thought you didn’t want to be married to me?! Several of you told me that he would remember he loves me as the delusions subside and maybe that is happening. He’s certainly being much more like himself. We shall see.

Anyway, I’m holding on. It’s drama and him changing his mind every 2 hours. I was so glad to hear the nurse say those things had happened and my husband was not delusional. I’m concerned bcz this is giving him reasons to justify his paranoia. Oh, and the kicker. One of his biggest delusions about me involves my best friend and the three of us somehow being together at a party 13 years before I met him (somehow this relates to my supposed abduction of my then unborn children, who knows?). Well, who should his new best friend at the hospital be but a man from her teeny tiny town who is her distant cousin! Should be interesting to see what this does to his delusions about us, since he believes there is no such thing as coincidence.

Thank you all for listening. I don’t know what I would do without this site and you all. This has been the hardest 10 weeks of my life. Thank you all for seeing me through this, though you might not know the huge role you have played!


#6

This is really bad - sleep deprivation makes people’s anxiety and emotional reactions generally much worse. And the medication sounds like what he really needs.

I really recommend you read this book and watch the videos (see below) to understand how best to deal with your husband in this state:

and


#7

I’m so glad the visit went well and he is better. That really is promising to see such change so quickly. It isn’t always the case.


#8

This is a hard roller coaster.


#9

It is but hang in there. It will get better. God bless you both.


#10

My husband called me yesterday when I was on the way to see him and told me he wants a divorce.

Apparently, since he’s been clean for 6 days and still believes his delusions about me, and since he of course is not ill, well…that leaves divorce.

I can’t be a doormat any more. Sick or not, I can’t handle the every 20 minute mood swings and cruelty. I don’t want this, but he does. So I guess when he gets out of the VA today I will give him separation papers with his clothes.


#11

I’m so sorry but I do understand. Please take time to care for yourself and your own healing. I’m sure your heart is breaking but no matter what, realize that you made and make a difference in someone’s life, even if it isn’t recognized. God bless.


#12

My in laws called and asked that I wait… they think he was lashing out about being in the VA for a week. I don’t know what to do. I’m just going to sit with it for a few days.


#13

@Sadwife You don’t have to make divorce/separation easy on him if you don’t want to, that is entirely up to you, but when my son says to me “I want to revoke your guardianship of me” Or when he says "I want to apply for my own apartment " Or when he says he is going to do any number of things that he says he will do when he is delusional…I tell him to go ahead and do it…I will also tell him that he will have to do it without my help since I don’t feel like it is his best interest. (along with these things he says he also says that he doesn’t need to see a doctor and he doesn’t have anything wrong with him etc…etc… ) soooooo anyway…I just say ok, let me know how that works out for you…and he grumbles and sulks and ignores me for a couple of days and does absolutely nothing to achieve anything he says he wants…then suddenly the idea is all gone and he doesn’t bring it up again until “the next time” This happens a couple of times a year…My point is if you truly want to stick it out with your husband…let him be in charge of the divorce/separation all on his own…tell him you still love him (if indeed you do) and that he will have to take care of that himself because you aren’t ready to give up yet (if that is the case)…I could be wrong but my guess is that he won’t get very far…and that he will remember before long that it isn’t really what he wants anyway…In many cases these hurtful “plans” our loved ones say that they want are all wrapped up in the illness and as serious and as hurtful as the request is it is often not based on any kind of reason or true desire whatsoever and they lack the motivation to make it so. It’s up to you though if you want to do it for yourself that is one thing but you truly don’t have to do it for him unless it is what you want yourself. If nothing else leaving it all in his hands will buy you more time to come up with other treatment solutions. (Just my 10 cents)


#14

Do any of you ever feel like you are losing it? Maybe it’s the marriage relationship dynamics, but I think I need help.

I see a counselor, I’m on wellbutrin (which actually works well I think). My counselor sent me to a psychiatrist for low dose anxiety medication. That doctor gave me lavendar pills. He gave me several studies showing the efficacy of lavendar is equal to anti-anxiety medications. I gotta tell you, I don’t feel it.

My husband’s family is telling me to be patient. That the psych ward has been horrible for him and of course he has delusions. He’s been drug free for 7 days. I just “need to be strong” and take it bcz my husband isn’t himself, or get divorced. No one seems to get that neither of those options are something I can do. All summer I’ve shared resources with them. They haven’t done much to help my husband though he was living with them.

This is the issue. I want my husband. I want our marriage. Just tonight he asked me for a divorce AGAIN and said he never wants to see me again bcz of what he believes to be true but are delusions. I know you can’t argue with someone who is delusional. But his delusions are almost all about me: being in TX with him, my best friend, my then husband, and our son (a twin) 5 years before he was actually born. That I’m in law enforcement in some special task force with my ex husband and he (current husband) trained me to use communication equipment he installed in my car but he looked different so I wouldn’t know it was him. I’m a liar bcz I know and won’t admit it. I’ve gotten him into bad bad situations with government agencies and ruined his life.

This is devastating, and I guess I need help knowing how to handle this grief and accept this. The grief is overwhelming. How do I accept that there is nothing I can do and my marriage is over because my husband’s delusions are so fixed? How, when he gets out of the hospital tomorrow, do I handle the love of my life living nonfunctionally in my town and hating me because of an illness that he’s not violent enough to get help for? I get a glimmer of hope and then a few hours later-boom. My brother in law says if I can’t handle it send the separation papers like my husband has demanded. He says that I don’t understand the horror of the psych ward (he’s been inpatient before due to depression) and thinking my husband would get better shows how unrealistic I am. I didn’t expect him to be healed. I just thought after 7 days of no drugs, and him seeming to want to be with me, that the delusions wouldn’t come back to the surface full force.

Please give me suggestions. I love my husband. I want my marriage. I know he’s very ill. I know this lasts a lifetime and I am willing to take it on. But how do I let go? How do I accept that this illness has taken him from me and I have to deal with it and move on? I don’t want to accept it because then I have to really accept that he is gone and I’ve lost the love of my life. The grief is so hard. I don’t even know how to grieve. Do I grieve getting divorced? Do I grieve my husband’s illness? I can’t accept not being able to fix this. I have always fixed everything. I never ever thought I’d lose a marriage based on delusional beliefs.

I know I’ve been rambling. I apologize, but I really need your advice. I’ve called NAMI. But really, if my husband adamantly despises me, what good is my involvement? I can know things and have resources but I won’t be allowed to help. And even if I do? Is that healthy for me? I’d be just holding on to someone I can never be with. I feel so pathetic.


#15

Catherine, that is great advice. Thank you so much.


#16

I had a friend whose husband of 35 years asked for a divorce and she said, “you want it, you do it!” She made it clear to him that it was his divorce. She is a believer and it still nearly killed her. She had been through thick and thin with this man and he suffered PTSD from Vietnam. Several years later and after she seemed to heal and move on, he asked her to remarry and he would spend the rest of his life proving how much he loved her. They are still together to this day. She modeled a remarkable grace that I don’t know if I could imitate. Things do turn around but it is so hard to see this when we are in the thick of things.


#17

Catherine, that is good advice. I think time takes care of a lot of things. It came to pass…


#18

@Sadwife Never say never my friend, anything worth having is worth fighting for. You can’t take your husband’s “perceived” feelings about you as pure fact…remember delusions are just that-delusional…in my experience the more you think your loved one hates you --it is more likely that you are the very closest person to him…you have to grow a thick skin to get through this…focus on the goal of stability and sanity MORE than the goal of hearing him say kind and loving things to you…ultimately you need that from your husband to be sure…but he is mentally unable to give you that at this time…so because of his illness -he gives you anger or what you perceive as hate or rejection and or divorce etc…ignore it when it is accompanied with delusions…and focus solely on him getting stable and sane once again, whatever it takes…once he is stable and sane again the pain you feel now will take a back seat when you can experience your husband when he is well and without delusions. It doesn’t happen over night but it can happen…and I am so glad you are getting help for yourself as well, that is so very important in all of this…to keep you strong.


#19

@Mom2 You are so right!


#20

Dear Sadwife,

What you are going through is incredibly difficult. I am in a different, extremely difficult situation with my sz family member right now.

One thing that helps me is to vent, which you were able to do a little bit here, so that all the worries can be said out loud and not locked in my brain and heart.

When I can remember not to, I do not think about the future. I go day by day. If I can do something about our situation, I do it.

I am paralyzed with sorrow, anger, and confusion, but still have the capacity to somewhat objectively determine what part of the situation I can work on and what realities and feelings just have to be managed since not in my control.

Sometimes I do have to do things right away that are a real priority. Other times, the tasks can wait, even for a day or weekend.

When it comes down to it, if your husband and you divorce due to his delusions, you have lost him to an illness. None of us are in control of any serious illness. Yes, it’s horrendous that people we love who are very ill do not receive treatment when needed and terrible things result. It’s not his fault. It’s not your fault.

You wrote something really important, “I can’t accept not being able to fix this.” Perhaps try to sort out what is in your power to do on your own behalf and what is not. You’re right, you can’t fix this. None of us can.