Hi everyone. I need support, answers and help.
I’m used to taking care of things by myself and rarely reach out. But now i’ve reached a point where it’s become too hard to bear.
My husband is 27 years old and has schizophrenia. We got married October 13, 2020. Yes, i knew of his illness beforehand. This isn’t a quick marriage and we didn’t “meet on the internet”. We met in real life, in my hometown, of Lévis QC, over 8 years ago.
At the time he was an extremely intelligent, caring, amazing young man with goals and dreams. He played the banjo and wanted to travel the world. We fell madly in love. We lived together on and off through the years because i’m Canadian, he’s an American and you can only stay 6 months at a time as a visitor. He also travelled a lot, went on tour with his band which i encouraged, we are both independent people and i travel Canada coast to coast on my own all the time. I’ve even come to spend almost half the year on the West Coast (primarily Vancouver) and the rest in Quebec where i own my home. I’m self-employed, not wealthy, but able to live and travel.
When i first met him i didn’t know he had a mental illness. He never mentioned it even though he has been diagnosed and been to a mental hospital as a teenager. He seemed “normal”.
In 2015 we got an apartment in Quebec City and lived there for 3 months. It was our first time living together for such an extended period of time, moving in furniture, getting groceries ie having what you call “a domestic life” together. We weren’t married yet although he had proposed to me a few months before in the form of, “would you marry me in a few years from now?” (He was only 21 then which is still very young, and he values his freedom a lot). We were in a committed exclusive relationship. I’m a bit older than him and i already knew that he is the love of my life. I’m the kind of person who will stay loyal until i die, and beyond. It’s just my DNA.
When i look back at that summer, in hindsight i can see the signs and red flags. But back then i didn’t know he had a mental illness, i had never been confronted to schizophrenia, i only thought he was a bit paranoid sometimes, that he had “anarchist” views because he left an abusive household at 14 (alcoholic and physically/verbally abusive dad, absent mom, sexual abuse has been alluded to by other family members as a child). He figured he’d rather be homeless than get beat up and i admired him for it. He lived in squats or at friend’s places, sometimes woth roommates. Our home would be the first real home he’d have in years.
That summer there was one instance where he said that helicopters (we lived near the Citadel) could spy on us inside the apartment. Another time he had us write on pieces of paper instead of talking out loud for 2 days because someone was “spying” on us. He always kept a piece of tape on pur computer’s camera. But it was very little instances and at that tike i didnt realize what it was. Most of our life was normal.
At that time he was helpful around the house. He cooked a lot, helped me clean, and participated to remt (he received disability from the US government-still does- about 733$a momth. SSI i think its called? He’s never really had a job). After the 3 months he went back to the States and we saw each other as usual, months later, one visiting the other. Either he would come stay at my place or i would go see him in the States.
In 2017 things became getting weirder. I still didnt know he had schizophrenia. I went to see him in Seattle to spend time together. I got there before him and he didnt show up for the 1st 2 days. I was devastated. Imagine going to another country to meet someone ans they dont show up. He finally came on the 3rd day. During that visit he kept going from telling me i was his soulmate and he could see my soul in rivers to blatantly uttering “i dont love you” and then saying he felt the opposite but a voice told him to say the opposite otherwise something bad would happen. On our last day we wanted to go see a beautiful art exhibit. We got into a cab to get there and i gave the address. He gave another address. I said no, and gave the correct address again. Then he jumped out of the cab into oncoming traffic. Mind you i am from Canada in a foreign city where ive never been.
He would walk and stop and look around like a crazy person. He wouldn’t let me touch him. I tried to walk there with him, it was 25 blocks. I walked very slowly making sure he was following but he constantly turned in a side street that wasn’t the right direction. I had no idea what was going on. He ended up kissing me, telling me i was his wife, and running away from me.
I was devastated and astounded. What had just happened? Was i crazy? What had i done wrong? I walked very slowly back to my hotel, where i was already checked out with my bags waiting and a train back to Canada in a few hours, talking on the phone to my best friend back home all the way. She either couldnt understand anything.
Now the next part will sound like im making it up. Im not. When i got to my hotel i went to the bar, i am not a drinker i almost never drink, dont do any drugs my husband either, though he used to smoke a lot of weed. I get to the bar and order a fancy drink specialty of that hotel. The barman asks, “Are you Izabelle?” I said yes and i wondered how he knew me. He placed a napkin in from of me and said “Bip left this for you”. Amd on the napkin was a handwritten message from my love saying “im sorry. Im more trusting now. God bless you i love you im sorry.”
I looked everywhere but he wasnt in the bar he had left. I cried all the way back to Vancouver (4 hours).
He has no phone so the only way we are in contact is either through Messenger (when he doesnt block me) and by a blessing, he knows my phone number by heart so sometimes he would call me. We reconnected a month later, he was at his mother and called me from a mental hospital. He stayed there 4 days. He sais his mom had put him there “for no reason”. I later learned from her about his schizophrenia. Some of his strange behaviors started to make sense. Unfortunately, he refuses to take medication. He says they are a way for the government to control his mind. (I don’t believe that).
We kept talking and despite knowing he has problems, he is an extremely intelligent and articulate person. He can discuss even nonsensical things to make you believe they are possible, if you see what i mean. I am also not a proponent of leaving someone because they have a mental illness. Ive had major depression, i have some forms of OCD, had instances of body focuses repetitive behaviors before and am a high functioning autistic person. And i love him. Period.
We’ve developed a deep bond despite his illness. I will never leave him. Im a capable attractive woman and i could get another man if i wanted to. I married him. I wanted him. And i know, it comes with all this burden. That doesn’t mean it’s not crazily hard and i don’t feel like im gonna lose my mind sometimes.
In 2018 he came to live with me for a while. Everything was perfect. We were always together and didnt fight once. We held hands, went to the grocery store, cooked, and spent most of our days attached to each other like conjoined twins. He had hitchiked/walked the whole country from BC to Quebec to get to me - it took 3 weeks - and when he arrived he held me tight for 5 full minutes without letting go. It was wonderful. The only slightly strange thing i can think of is that he would often look at me and say “i’m sorry”. He said it way too many times than it was normal, all the time, so that i asked him to stop at some point. He kept apologizing. Then one morning he said “im not happy” and that he needed to leave. I cried a lot, but eventually let him go.
We kept in touch by text as usual. It was either intense i love you and texting me everyday several times a day or sometimes i wouldn’t hear from him for weeks. He would then say he was sorry, he had been “busy”. But when i asked, “busy doing what?” I never got an answer or he said he couldn’t say.
In 2019 he got to realize his lifelong dream to finally see the world. He went to Europe and visited many countries. He sent me a postcard from Cork, Scotland and would text me. He slept in squats there and his shoes were stolen in Spain. He got a cheap apartment in Serbia for a while. I personally wouldn’t see myself being homeless abroad but he seemed to manage. In March 2020 he was in Israel when the pandemic begun. I was trying frantically to reach him for a week and was so worried. Then he got back to the US (i dont know how) and finally contacted me. He said he didnt call me because he “didnt want to make a big deal” out of it. I was so hurt. Don’t you think that’s the total opposite? He should have called me right away. I never knew what happened or how he got back.
This summer he started calling me to “talk about stuff”. He would tell me how he felt he hadn’t treated me right for all those years and he wanted to make it up to me. He also told me how much he loved me and missed me. He also said he was afraid of the situation in the US and that he was afraid of being imprisoned just for being homeless or for no reason at all. It had always been our long term plan for him to come live with me in Canada and for us to eventually get married. Even i didn’t think it would happen so quick. I knew he still wanted to travel and wasn’t ready to “settle down”. But then the pandemic happened and Canada closed its border.
That got me really worried. When would i ever see him again? I usually head to Vancouver in April. This year because of covid i had to postpone. Quebec had a stay at home in March, April May. In August i was able to go. Bip was in Alaska. No Americans were allowed in Canada and i couldn’t go to the US either. The border was closed. In June Justin Trudeau made a change in the law: a spousal exemption so an American-Canadian couple could cross the border (into Canada only, not the other way around). We started talking about it and i told him, “the only way we could see each other now is if we got married”. When i said that i didnt believe we would do this. I meant it as, we’ll have to wait until the border reopens.
But as we were communicating every day, Bip told me that we should do it. He said “ive made my decision, you’re my wife, you’re the one i want to be with, let’s get married”. I hadn’t packed a wedding dress or planned the extra budget (mostly 300$ Ubers to the border for him and administrative fees, which of course i paid for everything) and trying on a 20$ wedding gown in the middle of the store, alone, in front of customers because they wouldn’t allow me in the change rooms because of covid rules. But we hadnt seen each other in 2 full years.
I know people are going to judge me and say, “what were you thinking” etc. Remember i hadn’t seen him in such a long time. No one ever confirmed his diagnostic to me not even him. He denies he has an illness. I spoke to his mom on the phone regularly. She had been dealing with his mental health for over a decade and she said nothinh to me about it. I think that’s wrong. She should have divulged everything. His history, diagnostic, hospitalizations, meds he has taken at some point. Im still completely in the dark.
Also, remember my first language is French. I may seem proficient in English and i am because i work in transcription in English but it’s different when you are trying to have a discussion with a loved one, in stressful situations, when you are emotionally distressed, and they are using vague language like sufferers of this illness often do. Please be indulgent with me and remembet i did what i did because i love this man with all my heart. Was i selfish? Maybe. Would you live without seeing your husband for over 2 years? By the way, i was already “married to him” in my heart. I put that on my Facebook Status, told it to every guy who hit on me and in 2018 i even bought myself a wedding band because when i said “i’m married” people would say “where’s your wedding band?”. I believe a marriage is in the heart before it’s a piece of paper.
If i could have seen him without getting married i would have. You have no idea how complicated it was. Imagine having to organize your own wedding, in a park on the border, 2 hours from the city, you don’t drive, it’s in another language, there is no church, no guests, no family no friends. Just administrative hurdles, fees to pay, papers to notarize. I made my wedding bouquet and our corsages out of grocery store flowers. I found my dress and his suit in a thrift store the day before. My dress cost 20$. The whole thing was 1600$. Unexpected expenses that kept adding up. 300$ Ubers. Insanity. That is not how i would choose to have my wedding if i could have. But i figured, hey, we’ll have a “real” ceremony later at home, with our friends, in a few years.
I know this is a very very lenghty post but i’ve been so alone in this and then i started researching and found this community and it seems like so many people here are going through the same thing and i’m tired of being alone and feeling hopeless. He is young and this illness is treatable and we love each other. There has to be a way to finf a happy ending to this.
So. Even though it was a logistical nightmare and i had to take care of everything and that sucked, i am very grateful and happy that we did get married. All the while before for months we spoke on the phone every day and my husband cooperated in every way even so that i was surprised everything went so well (he would usually always lose ID or mess something up). He even managed to get the marriage application notarized on his end at set date (i had had to make an appointment for him and had to postpone it twice before. Calling WA state from Canada for him and them telling me there’s a lot of people who want to get married and basically making me feel bad for him wasting their time… It was so much pressure).
But we finally did it. I got there and he was there and we were married.
It was honestly one of the happiest moments of my life.
That was bacj in October.
Then we had a quarantine order for 14 days. We took a cab from the border to my Airbnb in Vancouver and had to stay inside for 2 weeks.
At first it was awesome. We were finally together at last. And married. We ordered groceries online, talked, watched documentaries. It was really sweet.
Then, he started saying he needed to leave.
Can you imagine my dismay.
I had only been with him a couple days after 2 whole years counting the days. For those 2 years i wasnt seeing other guys, ever, i loved him and waited for him. He started talking about Dalton, his former bandmate, a homeless guy and drug addict that’s been missing for 2 years. He said he needed to go find him and God was asking him to. That was so nonsensical and hurtful. How could he want to leave after being with me only a few days. After everything we had been through to get him here. I got mad. Of course i did. Im a human being with feelings.
Also, he wasn’t helping out at all in the house. I did the dishes, cleaning, laundry… He did nothing. I asked him to pick up his clothes off the floor. Nicely. Several times. We were confined 24-7 in a small studio space. I kept banging my bare feet in his shoes while walking. Was i intolerant? He saw me work and do things alll day and did nothing. I got mad! Isnt that a normal reaction?
One night after i got mad at him, we reconciled, we completely made up complete with spending a quiet evening watching documentaries curled up together, making love several times and falling asleep in each other’s arms.
The next morning when i woke up, he and all his stuff was gone. Gone! Without a note or anything. Not just gone for a walk (may i remind you we had quarantine. He broke the lae by leaving). Can you imagine my horror. I had a full blown panic attack, i was so hysterical the neighbours came knocking and i actually made friends with them. I was naked screaming for a good 15 minutes. Who does that to someone. We just got married. I understand its an illness but they need to understand what they put us through.
I called his mom and she was sonehow able to locate him and convince him to come back. I couldn’t understand because we had made up the night before! He said we hadn’t but we had! We had talked and he hugged me and then things were fine! And then he does this.
We were still on quarantine. A few days passed. Then he said a friend in Edmonton (1000 miles from Vancouver) had a job for him and he could go there work for 2 weeks to help support us. The plan was we were flying to Quebec together on December 2nd and i had the tickets bought and everything. I wasnt too pleased at the idea he’d be gone 2 weeks but i trusted he was coming back and i was pleasantly surprised he wanted to work so i agreed. I know as a visitor he can’t work in Canada but he waa supposed to do Uber with that friend and they’d share the money.
So he goes and he had a rideshare to come back 2 weeks later. He misses it because God told him not to take it. Immediately after he regretted it and realized he had made a mistake and should have taken it. I was flabbergasted but figured, we’ll just get another one, but you just wasted 100$ of my money which i work hard to earn… He promised to be on the next one.
It’s not easy to find a rideshare for such a long distance. Flights were 500$ i couldn’t afford it. Im not rich i make less than 30k canadian a year and i was already topping my credit card with all those expenses. I got him a rideshare 4 days later. All he had to do was sit tight and wait to take it. He couldn’t. He saw a sign that said “Vancouver” on it and said God told him he had to leave right away to come back to me. He started hitchhiking but couldn’t make it past Edson. He was still 700 miles away. Nobody took him in, he was freezing by the highway. He had to ask his friend to come get him and bring him back to Edmonton.
It was so frustrating. Then his mom bought him a plane ticket from Edmonton to Vancouver. I thought the problem was solved. He got his friend to drive to the airport. He went through the gate. He turned back because he had a “feeling” something terrible would hapoen if he took the flight.
I couldn’t believe it.
His mom was so pissed.
We agreed to neither of us ever paying for transportation for him again.
The next day he was crying and apologizing saying he wants to come back and that he will buy a flight to Vancouver on Dec 1st with his disability check. Remember we were flying home to Quebec on the 2nd. Am i stupid i believed him.
I believed he would show up.
He swore to me he wouldn’t let me fly alone.
That he loves me, wants to be with me and apologizing profusely.
Everyday upon until the very last moment.
Dec 1st came and went. Didn’t hear from him all day. He said he “needed to do mushrooms” to be sure of what to do. What? I told him to get to the airport so to not miss the flight.
Of course he wasn’t there. God told him he couldn’t. Its not God. It’s schizophrenia.
So im here.
I spent Christmas alone. My birthday alone.
He kept saying he was going to come home, ask for my address and nothing.
When he called me from a phone number i had him located by the RCMP. He was in a rural town in Saskatchewan. Homeless. It’s -30C out. I tried to have them commit him or bring him to me. He’s an adult, not suicidal, not threatening anyone. Nothing they can do.
I’m at a loss. It’s so hard.
He called me on Valentines Day, said he had a car he was living in, and wanting to come home but had no gas money. I said you’re an adult, i’m 14k in debt trying to make rent. I love you, come home, but i can’t send you money. Dont hear from him for 2 days. Then it’s “the cops stole my car and my ID”. Police doesn’t steal cars. He probably had it impounded. So pay the fine and get it back. He gets 1100$ canadian per month and pays no rent and no bills. I only responded with “i don’t know what to tell you, you’re an adult”.
I said “what do we do now?” And he got all belligerent saying “i’m not a we i’m an independent person” (yet he expected me to sponsor him so he could stay in Canada longer. He wasted 3 months that we could have spent together, erring who knows where and now he’s running out of time before he has to leave the country and seems terrified of being back in the US. I wonder if he married me for me, or just to come to Canada.)
I also tried to explain to him that sponsorship is a complicated process its not just signing a few forms and because he never wants to take pictures with me and has no phone and I’m not on his Facebook we basically have no proof that our relationship is genuine and if we applied now we would be 100% denied and if they have a suspicion this is misrepresentation, which it is not, but that’s what it can look like because of his inconsistent behavior, he could be banned from entering Canada for 5 years. He brushed it off with “i think we’re fine”. No we’re not and this is very serious.
And then he said “i know what you were planning” . ? I asked him what he meant by that Now he thinks my plan was to kill him or to make him my servant/puppet and control him. Asking for someone to contribute to house chores is barely making them a puppet.
I don’t know if this is what he really believes or retribution for me not sending him “gas money”. I don’t have money to spare and after all his antics i couldn’t risk sending him cash and him just deciding to give it to the homeless or go to California instead because “God told him to”. Where do you draw the line were enough is enough? They can’t help themselves but i can’t sink because of that.
As you can see i’m at the end of my rope. This is just a summary of all the hardships we’ve been through because of his illness. And it’s hard for me to remember that he is ill and not just a heartless scumbag. All my friends think he took advantage of me, are telling me to move on etc except a few who i can still talk to about it.
I know that deep down the man i still there somewhere but where? I don’t know what to do anymore. It’s so hard and it’s affecting my life. In the beginning in November December January i kept strong and hopeful but now it’s starting to wear me down especially the being accused of such horrible things when all i did was love and try to help him. Screw schizophrenia, it’s so unfair. We didn’t deserve it, neither him me or his mom or other family.
I’m at a loss. I love him. I will not divorce i will not move on from him. But it seems like i can’t help.
Can anyone here offer some insight.
He’s gonna get deported back to the States soon when his 180 days are over and add to that the homelessness, no phone impossible to join him and covid situation. He blocked me on Facebook and everywhere because he thinks i was gonna kill him. When you read the forum it’s like all your loved ones live at home, in the same city and it’s a parent-child or sibling situation. I haven’t seen any husband-wife/international situation like mine and it makes things so much more isolating.
I’m so sad that our beautiful love story has come to this and every day i’m afraid i’ll never see him again. He could die and i would never find out. What am i supposed to do?