No family support, I had to leave


#1

Fairly long story follows, though if you could read it and respond, that’d be helpful.

I’ve been with my wife for 5 years, married for 2 1/2. Her family is Lithuanian, and they came to the US when she was 5. We were living with her family because she was going to college where they lived and it made financial sense. When we met she was smart and outgoing and interested in a number of things. When her symptoms came around, she was no longer interested in doing anything. She stopped wanting to hang out with friends. She started becoming highly concerned with her weight despite being 5’9 135lbs which is below average. I have always told her that she was beautiful and perfect to me and that she didn’t need to worry about her weight. Instead she worried about what she thought random strangers thought.

About two years ago she finally started to look into schizophrenia herself and wrote me a letter about the things she sees, hears, and thinks. We got her enrolled in a program at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center where she’s gone through a number of medications until she finally settled on the current combination (risperidone/wellbutrin) that seemed to be working fairly well for her. There were ups and downs, and after a year they finally decided to give her a diagnosis of schizoaffective. She has never truly been the person that I met and fell in love with since before I married her, but I really cared for her enough that I wanted to stay and try to make things work.

We didn’t tell her family for a long time about her schizophrenia because she was scared they wouldn’t understand or would shun her. She was prescribed Xanax for help with her anxiety attacks at one point, and she started taking 5 to 10 at a time. Other times she would binge drink. I hid her medications and got rid of any alcohol we had, and I went to them for help because I couldn’t always be there to watch because of work. I tried to explain, but they didn’t listen. She sat down with them and tried to explain her symptoms, but they still couldn’t understand. They think that schizophrenia is only a genetic disorder that’s impossible to have without someone being diagnosed in their family previously. Her mom took her to a guy who gave her a deep tissue massage with a garlic rub and then rubbed an egg over her, cracked it open and said the yolk was cloudy so that was bad, and gave her a “special” tea (colon cleansing) to help get rid of the problem. Since I went to her parents she has been very selective with what she’ll tell me about her symptoms.

We recently decided to move to Florida because she really wanted to. I was really hoping that being close to the beach in the nice weather where she wanted to be would help. We were staying with her aunt and uncle (who are super Christian) who live there. About a week in, I started to see her becoming more distant again. She told me she was too tired to kiss me, and that it felt awkward to hold my hand at times. She didn’t want to go to the beach or do anything. I caught her throwing away her pills. She admitted that she stopped taking them a week before we left because they weren’t making her feel good. I told her that if she really wanted to stop I would be okay with it, but only if she would tell me when she saw/heard/thought things and listen to me when I told her there were problems.

Everything was fine for a few days. Then it got worse again. She started hitting me when she became irritated. I told her that it was a problem, and that I couldn’t stay with her if she kept doing it. She was more loving for a few days, and then the same.

I told her that I wanted us to go back with her family because I couldn’t deal with it by myself and I didn’t want to commit to getting a house and job in Florida if it was going to continue like this. She told her mom “He doesn’t want to stay here. I like my job here” (She was working at a Subway, the same job she left in MD at the same pay). When her mom asked why, I told her that she was treating me badly, stopped taking her pills, but didn’t mention the physical abuse. My wife told me that her mom said it was all just a relationship problem, if I loved her I would stay with her, and she didn’t have schizophrenia. My wife suggested we separate for a bit for some time to consider things. Later I found out her mom said (at least by my wife’s account), “If he’s coming to me for problems with your relationship he’ll never grow up.”

Still, I decided I would try to stay with her. But I was feeling so terrible every day about everything that was going on. My wife was getting further away from me and there was nothing I could do about it. I got her to agree to go to a psychiatrist in FL. A few days later, her uncle came to me and told me that I’m wasting my life playing video games (my pastime), I’m addicted to them, and need to go find a job/house. The only reason I wasn’t was because of the serious considerations about my future I was having. I told him it was a really complicated situation, and he said “Yeah, we know, her mom told us.” I was living in their house, and I really didn’t feel like getting into an argument about it, so at that point I decided to move back with my family.

I’m hoping that my wife will see that the one person she loves and cares about the most was being affected so much by what she was doing (which I’ve tried to explain multiple times) that she would try to get better. I stayed until the day after her appointment so that I could go with her. She was completely noncompliant, saying that the only reason she came was because I made her come and that she didn’t have any symptoms. I attempted to explain her various symptoms and the treatment she previously had (which they didn’t obtain despite previously signed release forms), but eventually the psychiatrist effectively told us to just leave because we were wasting his time.

The day before I left, I tried to tell her aunt about her schizophrenia so that they could be aware/watch for warning signs. I said “You know she has schizophrenia, right?” She said “I don’t know, whatever issues you have are between you two.” I told her that she was diagnosed over a year by schizophrenia experts, and that if she doesn’t take her medication she’ll get worse. She said she’s read stuff about the medication and that it causes more mental problems. I know it can cause some issues, like risperidone alone caused lack of motivation/tiredness, but not the psychotic or emotional issues she was experiencing. I didn’t try to argue this with her, but told her instead to watch out for all of the potentially fatal things she’s done like overdosing on pills.

She told me that all of this issues in our relationship were my fault for only sitting around playing video games. She said I needed God, and that praying to God would help her. I told her it had nothing to do with God or the games. I told her that it really wasn’t about that, and that she needed to take this seriously or my wife would end up killing herself. She told me that if that happened, it was God’s will.

I left a week ago. My wife decided at that point to say that absolutely nothing is wrong with her. She completely denies any hallucinations or delusions, including when she told me she looked around her aunt’s house just a week earlier for hidden cameras. She said that she loves me and didn’t want me to leave, but when I asked her to try to get better and tell her family that she really has issues and it isn’t all me she refused.

Now instead of going to an actual psychologist/psychiatrist, she’s paying $50/hr to go to a “certified” Biblical Counselor.

I want my wife to try to get better, and for her family to realize that she really has issues going on with her, but I can’t handle the mental, emotional, and physical abuse that was going on while committing all of my life’s savings into moving with her. At this point she’s saying she’s getting better by herself without any help, but when I’ve asked her about her sessions or how things are going I only get vague answers.

I really feel that the real issues stem from the physical and mental abuse her mother put her through as a child that she informed me about. She refuses to tell her psychiatrists about those things because she thinks they’ll arrest her mom. I’ve also heard stories from her brother that he’s broken bones and hidden it from their mom until she finally noticed because he was scared of her reaction, and her sister has come to me saying she feels ill but doesn’t want to tell her mom because she’ll get mad. A few times when her brother and sister’s rooms were a little messy I’ve seen her take everything out of their drawers/off their shelves and throw it around the room.

Sorry, this post was long. But I feel terrible. I really didn’t want to leave my wife. I love her. My heart has ached this whole week. But every day I spent with her recently I felt like I was alone. When I tried to get help from her family, the only people I really know she cares about, I felt even more alone. I realize that if I stayed any longer, it was only going to get worse. But I constantly wonder, is there anything more I could have done?


#2

Welcome to the forum @duo962

It sounds like you did everything that you could. If loving someone alone was enough then we would all be in a better place.

It sound like your wife may be suffering from anosognosia.
http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/index.php - under problems you will see anosognosia
Anosognosia looks like denial but is different.
http://lesswrong.com/lw/e25/bayes_for_schizophrenics_reasoning_in_delusional/ - helped my understand delusions

I will caution you that without the proper treatment this may not be possible.

Have you heard of LEAP or Dr. Amador?
http://www.leapinstitute.org/ - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner.
http://dramador.com/ - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.
Search Xavier Amador and LEAP on youtube.com and you should find some long videos

Only you can decide if you want to continue to pursue a relationship with her. If you do then maybe by using LEAP you can start to build a network of trust where she may be willing to be medication compliant due to the relationship.


#3

I think you did the only thing you could do. Even though you are not with her now, it might help for you to get some support for yourself anyway. Check the web for any NAMI groups in your area. It can only help. I am so sorry for both of you. This illness is not easy to deal with for anyone, and without support, you`ll go down too. Good luck and peace


#4

Thanks for the responses. I ordered the book and will read it. I found the original letter that she had written to me detailing the way she felt,her hallucinations, and her delusions. She even ended it with “I’m sick, and I need help. But tomorrow, I won’t say so. So I’m leaving you this message in an attempt that you will help me help myself.”

I sent it to her a few days ago to see if maybe it would help her put a perspective on things, but she just said she feels better now. When I asked if she’s made any attempt to get better she just started yelling at me telling me that she’s not schizophrenic, maybe I am, etc. So, yeah. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some better perspective out of the book.