Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Coping with hard decisions

A year ago I got a restraining order against my ex-wife. She is mentally ill, and for 5 years I tried to help her, I tried to learn about mental illness, I tried to help schedule appointments, I tried to make sure she took her medication. I really tried to understand the illness, but in the end she didn’t want to get better. And after constant hospitalizations and verbal and physical abuse, and threats to our children, I got a restraining order. And she left.

In the last year, my children have thrived. They are happier than I have seen them in years, they are making friends, going out, etc… So many things that they had missed when my ex and I were together.

I have also thrived. I’ve gotten my finances back on track, I increased my credit score by almost 200 points, I’ve started to work out and have lost about 15 pounds. My blood pressure is being managed well, and I have been able to reduce the amount of medication I take. I stopped smoking and drinking. I’ve also kept the same job for almost 2 years, where when I was with my ex I would usually be looking for another job every 8-12 months.

But, that is my kids and me. My ex is not doing well at all. She has been kicked out of every family member’s houses that she has. She is now homeless and refuses to get any help. She disappears for months at a time, only to show up at her sister’s apartment looking like a total wreck, not eating for days, not having anything in her car (where she now lives), not even blankets for the coming winter. She has been robbed, raped, and beaten.

I’m at such a loss. If I was wealthy, I could get her a place to stay and at least make sure she wasn’t in such a destitute situation. But I’m doing everything I can just to take care of our kids and myself.
I feel so guilty about everything, and so useless.

I’ve sent her money, but she just ends up spending it on alcohol, or 15 dollar lunches. I set up auto pay for her phone, but she destroyed it and doesn’t trust the phone company anymore.

The one ray of hope I have is that my mom said she would try to find some help for my ex. My mom has always done an amazing job when she is focused on something, so I’m really hoping she can help.

The thing about this is that I took care of her for almost 13 years. We raised 2 children together. I’ve known her since highschool, for over half of my life she has been a friend, lover, and wife. And I failed her, I wasn’t able to help her. I could have, but I refused to pay that price.

I have a lot of regrets, I don’t think any of them are reasonable, but if I had a time machine I think things would be different, you know? But, this is reality, where not all of us our prepared for what is to come. Maybe if I knew more about mental illness early on it could have made a difference. But I didn’t, and the outcome has been absolutely tragic.


Don’t send her money. If you know where she is, call the police and send them to take her to a hospital. You’re still her husband right, no divorce papers? You can go the court and start with proceedings to have her institutionalized for 6 months to a year or more until she can finally become stabilized in there by court order. My fiancé is currently in the hospital, but he’s getting the help that he needs that I can’t give him. Sometimes you just have to do what’s necessary for their health and their safety; yours too.