This is my first post here, and I’m hoping it’s a place I can keep returning to in order to become part of this community. I suppose this post is partially me just telling my story and partially asking for advice. Right now my wife, who has schizophrenia, and I are trying to fight off a divorce. Let me tell you how we got here, and what we would like.
I started dating my wife when I was 17. Thinks we’re great at first, but as soon as we graduated high school she started not doing so well. All she told me at the time was that she was depressed, nervous for the future, and that her parents wouldn’t take her seriously. She was suicidal and cutting so I took her around to every low cost and free clinic I could find, but we kept getting turned away because of our age. I would go to bed every night not knowing if she would be alive the next morning, and every morning was tense. As an 18 year old this wore on me hard and I broke down myself after a few months. I don’t remember how but at some point her parents got involved and sent her to a psychiatrist for her depression. She seemed to be doing better so I started leaning on her for help, but I didn’t know that we had only scratched the surface.
She was no longer suicidal, but things where not right and our relationship began to be affected. She hadn’t told me, or anyone, about the schizophrenia she had since as long as she could remember, and she wouldn’t for some time. So things progressed and I put pressure on her to be there for me, but she couldn’t and I felt lonely. At some point we ironed things out and found a livable balance, we felt happy.
Well I was getting my degree is psychology and at some point in time she did eventually tell me that she heard voices. I thanked her for telling me and respected her decision to not seek professional help. The way I saw it, she seemed okay and regardless I can’t make her do anything she doesn’t want to do. Well I finished college and applied to grad school and got passed up by all 8 schools I applied to. This devastated me and sent me into my own depression. At this point I leaned on her for support, but she again wasn’t able to provide it. At this point we had been married for a few months now. I felt so alone and hurt that I kept putting pressure on her to help me out and it out too much stress on her. She had the first ever break I had seen from her where she looked like she was either a different person or in a different place. She was suicidal and I had to get my parents involved.
After this she agreed to go see a psychiatrist and I went with her to reassure her that I wouldn’t let them take her away. She was put on medication and the voices went away and things seemed better. Now I have a degree in psychology so I knew that there were usually more symptoms than just hallucinations but she seemed sure that she only heard voices. I did eventually get accepted into a graduate program and we moved for that.
At this time I became increasingly focused on my own needs. It had been almost 10 years and I felt like my needs and concerns were never really addressed. Even when I was very depressed, she would often become more upset than I was because she wanted me to feel better but couldn’t make me feel better. So I was tired of always having to put my issues aside and only ever focus on her. Well things spiraled don’t to the point where a week ago we were signing divorce paperwork and decided to give this one more go.
So as the title says I’m running out of strength and need motivation, but I do look at things differently now. Recently it’s become increasingly aware that she does have delusions that she is mostly unaware of. This is the typical paranoid, everyone is talking about me and judging me, and watching me. That or people just want to lock me up and get rid of me. This came to light because one day I was talking to her about having her medications looked at and changed because she seemed off, very cold and flat this was not normal, and she took this to mean that I wanted to make her comatose so that she would no longer be a problem. I also recently found out about some past trauma that she hadn’t told me about. So all this is to say that essentially, she hasn’t been honest with me about her mental health this entire time and just pretended like it wasn’t a problem. I’m hurt by this but I realize that this reflects more on the severity of her situation than it does on me. So after almost 10 years I am finding out that she doesn’t trust me, or anyone for that matter, and has only been giving me the very least she could so that she could continue trying to avoid the problem. So I am now looking to try to tackle this from the perspective of dealing with her trauma so that she can feel safe and put her trust in me, and now that we are working towards this I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. Meaning that I feel like she won’t always look at me like I’m dangerous and that she can’t trust me.
I’m super glad to have been able to discover this but it came at such a great cost. I’ve been questioning my own sanity, I have mental breakdowns at times because of the pressure of taking care of my wife and trying to dig deeper to find out what’s going on while trying to do my PhD while just trying to live my life and be happy. The thing that is really hard is that in the last 10 years everyone we have talked to about this always is more concerned about her than me. I’m okay always coming second, but sometimes I get nothing and I feel so alone. I wanna feel loved too, I’ve got my own trauma too. I wanna feel like I matter too. The hardest part is not having anyone who knows how I feel. I don’t know anyone else who has a system of clearing the house of dangerous items when my wife is having an episode. I don’t know anyone else who’s been told by their wife that they would kill themselves if I left. My parents are at the point where they tell me they don’t have advice for me because they’ve never been in a situation like mine. Everyone I talk to feels bad for my situation but idk what I’m looking for because that doesn’t seem to help. I do believe though that if I can take trauma perspective and run with it that I can finally help her to feel safe, and if I can hold myself together long enough to do that things should start getting better, I’m just worried I don’t have the energy to do everything I’m asking of myself but I don’t want to stop fighting for this relationship or my degree.
Thanks to everyone who read this far. I hope my post makes some level of sense. I find it’s hard to keep my thoughts clear when I write about all of this. Overall here’s to hoping I can join this community and share in your strength.