Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Our life has been turned upside down, spouse and mother diagnosed


#1

Hello All

This is my first post. My wife has been behaving strangely for a few months, now we look back we realized that has become increasingly paranoid for the last two years. Since July her symptoms and delusions have intensified and she has just been diagnosed as: Psychosis, not due to toxic or physiological reasons. Her Psychiatrist believes that the eventual diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia is almost inevitable, but she must be observed over a longer period before it can be made definitively.

Over the last few months she has:

Distanced herself from our two young children.
Distanced herself from me. She became particularly acute around a month ago and demanded a divorce out of nowhere.
Began spending most of the day lying in bed.
Had increasingly improbable delusions. These started with me having an affair, me giving her an STD, my mother being a paedophile, our children not being hers due to someone implanting eggs into her before she got pregnant, people controlling her thoughts, believing that she can make people do things by writing them down, believing that our 4yo sends her secret messages that make her better, thinking that my parents are billionaires but everyone hides it from her.
Become extremely angry at times but mainly emotionally flat and apathetic.
Become very forgetful.
Began to have ‘fake memories’ although we suspect that she imagined these things at the time.
A terrible short term memory.
Early waking.
Thinks always that people stare at her.
Thinks all her phones and media accounts are being monitored.
Thinks people are ‘in league’ against her but wont discuss it.
Imagines a large group of people at times but refuses to talk about it in more detail.

She is in the care of a Psychiatrist and is determined that there is absolutely nothing wrong with her, she is just a little upset because she is going through a divorce (that she is demanding). She believes our 4yo is ‘special’ and now has no time for our 2yo. She hates me.

Most of the time now she is a very different person and denies there is nothing wrong with her. A few days ago I came in and she was being herself and wonderful with the children. Then when we put the children to bed she began discussing her delusions around egg transfer etc with me and confided that she knew she was ‘losing her mind’ and was saying things like she knew our children would be OK because they had me and she accepted she may not be able to look after them one day etc. She even agreed that the person she was just then would want me to shield the children from the person she is a lot now. Then last night I walked in and she was demanding divorce and insisting that she has custody of the children. She has moved into a hotel and comes to the family home in the afternoons to look after the children. I suspect that this is to avoid observation.

She was put on Valdoxan, Lexotanil and Xanax for a couple of weeks to rule out psychotic depression. It didn’t help. Yesterday she got her diagnosis after having a different conversation with her psychiatrist than he was trying to have with her. She was then prescribed Zyprexa but she is living in a hotel and we have no idea whether or not she is taking it.

I am terrified for our family. I’m trying to hold down a job, give our children the emotional input they need especially our younger one, arrange the best healthcare I can for her (which she is resistant to) and simultaneously work with a divorce lawyer to have a case ready that she is an unfit mother in case she files against me and tries to take the children.

It felt like when I spoke with her the other night she was saying goodbye to me, not in a suicidal way but in a way in a melancholy way that she was slipping into madness and needed me to look after the kids, then it switched a few days later to super aggressive ready to divorce me and take the kids. The rest of the time she is just flat, a shadow of herself.

I’ve been dealing with this for a month and am becoming more and more anxious, part of me grieves for her, part of me is protective of the children, part of me is getting ready to flatten her in a divorce if she forces it and tries to take the children away.

Has anyone else been through anything like this before? Has anyone experience of Zyprexa? Having read the side effects with nobody watching her take it and her belief that she isn’t ill and everyone else is mad I just can’t see her taking it.

I’d love to hear from anyone else that has been through something like this or has experience, either as the person that got ill or the spouse/ co-parent.

I just don’t know what to do and am terrified.

My reference to my wife as ‘she’ is not to depersonalize her but for confidentiality reasons.


#2

She have a job? How is she paying for a hotel?

What ever she says, don’t take it personal, do not get upset, blow it off, easier said than done but start practicing it now, sounds like she may have SZ but time will tell, If she does have SZ start some long term planning in terms of docs, meds, facilities, family that may help with the kids. Nothing will happen fast as this is a slow long term problem…

yes

Take it day by day and be peaceful about it all.


#3

Thank you GSSP. She stole my credit card details and booked two weeks in a top five start hotel, she doesn’t have a job. We can’t afford this at all but part of her behaviour in the last few months has been to be crazy with money to the point I had to cancel her card and start giving her cash. She is now demanding that I book her an airbnb apartment nearby and she will come and look after the kids when I’m not there as she can’t stand me. The problem if I don’t do this is she then acts up and shouts and screams and says emotionally abusive things in front of the children. One night she told our younger child that she F@{}_ck_ng hater her and wished she never had her.

Part of what makes it so difficult is that a lot of the time she appears totally normal but emotionally flat, then maybe 20% of the time she is obviously psychotic.

I’m just terrified she tries to file divorce against me and the children. My concern for our older child that is considered ‘special’ is that my wife tries to drag her into the psychosis (I don;t know if this is possible) but she believes that the child sends her secret messages and out toddler will be totally ignored.


#4

OK, if she has the slightest indication that she will harm herself or the kids or anyone, call the cops asap and get all this into the “system”. Often this level of engagement is necessary to get the help needed from the system. You MUST be calm and composed during this, you MUST convey to the cops that you are trying to help but she is resistant to docs and meds and she is getting worse.

Yep, typical

Don’t be, if she does have SZ it is all just words and you MUST blow it off as it will not happen.

Children only understand what they see and hear, thats it, they don’t understand the illness. You must take the steps to get the “system” involved or other family. You have not said anything about relatives near by?

How old and what do you mean by this?


#5

Thanks for the help, is the video you with your spouse?

She isn’t suicidal or violent. We live far away from family but my mum has come to stay.

The older child is 4 ‘Special’ means my wife has referred to the older child being ‘special’ ‘the high value one’ etc multiple times during the last month. She told me the other day that the child also knows ‘something is going on’ and sends her secret messages that make her better. The younger child is almost ignored. This whole thing concerns me.

Thanks for answering me, it’s good to msg with someone that has experience.


#6

I agree with G: there’s no way she’d be able to follow through with filing for a divorce in her mental state. And while she may appear to be “normal” a small
percentage of the time, I doubt she will present as someone who is stable enough to ge custody of your kids.
If I were you, I’d focus on getting her into a hospital asap. I really don’t think it’s reasonable for her to rehab in a luxury hotel. Hell no! Remember she’s not in her right mind. It’s up to you to take the reigns now.


#7

Thanks for all of the advice. I’ve told her that she must move back in when the hotel runs out. This morning she was back to acknowledging that she was ‘losing my mind’. I asked her how the Zyprexa was going and she said fine, no side effects. I’ve been counting the pills and she isn’t taking it. I find myself being dragged into her world. I keep my phone and wallet in my pocket at all times so she can’t steal my cc or go through my phone, I hide them when I take a shower. I count the pills. I collude with her friends so that there is always one of us nearby, or dropping in, so that she isn’t alone with the children for long periods. I can’t see what else to do but my actions must be making her paranoid world seem all the more real.

She presents as fairly normal maybe 80% of the time, although she still has the delusions and paranoia. She managed to convince and psychologist (not a psychiatrist) that she was just upset and a little disturbed due to a divorce, but when she went to a psychiatrist he saw through her. When she is more ‘normal’ she seems a little ‘out of it’ but not too much and manages not to talk about the delusions. She then becomes ‘not normal’ and openly discusses her world as she sees it, including making references to a large group of people that she sees in places that others don’t. Is this flip between clearly mad and relatively normal something that is typical?


#8

Yes, if she has scz, it typically cycles. How old is your wife?

My son is 35 now. At first the scz bad cycles were shorter and the good periods were longer. As time has gone on, the scz bad cycles have lengthened and while there aren’t any good cycles anymore, he is quieter during some cycles so we assume it is “lighter”. He always has delusions.

Jeb used to be able to pass as totally normal. He doesn’t take any anti-psychotics. I remember saying in the past that people who didn’t know he had scz wouldn’t be able to tell if they saw him. I think that has gone away. I know at this point his illness would be recognized immediately by anyone familiar with scz.

Under extreme stress, he can still suppress psychosis pretty well, but not the delusions. So if he encounters police, he can look as though he is in full control of himself, but he will talk about the delusions and that gives his illness away.


#9

Thanks for this, it’s really helpful, the cycling just seems to add more inconsistency and anxiety to the whole thing.

She is 34.

I tried to crack down on the hotel and she began sending me emails saying she can’t live with me because I’m intimidating and aggresive. Because she wants to divorce me and we have two young children that means I have to tread carefully, tbh I’m scared of being in the apartment with her without another adult in case she accuses me of something. I gave in and booked her an apartment nearby on airbnb. I just don’t know what else to do I suppose.

She seemed more normal today, like you wouldn’t know something was wrong with her if you didn’t know, but one of her friends called me in the morning to say she wasn’t looking after our younger one very well at an event.

I don’t know who this is worse for, at least she gets to be delusional. i couldn’t have imagined life turning out like this a year ago. From everything I’ve read and seen it looks worse than a cancer diagnosis. Sorry if that offends anyone or seems hopeless but it’s like the person is gone and now I have a nasty ghost of her that will follow me around being awful.


#10

I think you need to get the authorities involved and get her treatment against her will. At the moment she has flashes of insight but the longer the psychosis goes on, the more damage to her brain and that insight may vanish never to return. Recovery from sz is possible. Your wife is not abusing drugs and alcohol. If you can get them to give her drop injections for six months you could turn this round completely. My son has been on depot injections for two years and he is now about twice as sane as the average person! But he initially didn’t take his medication and only accepted his first depot injection (and the following six months) because they made it clear to him that they wouldn’t let him out without it (he was sectioned for two weeks) and that the next time he would be inside for a minimum of six months. Now, two years later, he was speaking to me only yesterday about how he is finding his old tolerance of other people has come back (I am hopeful he is going to start being more sociable again). Really, don’t worry about divorce. Put your efforts into getting her back,


#11

Thank you everyone for the advice so far, it meant a lot to know that this wasn’t just happening to us, I don’t know why but it helped.

We now have family and the authorities involved. This advice was invaluable, thank you all. I would add to anyone reading this that whilst it is scary to do you MUST do it as soon as possible, it takes a lot of pressure off and ensures that the incidents get logged when the ill person insists nothing happened 24 hours later. My wife has a strange pattern where she will open up whilst upset and tell someone (me, her friends, family) about what she is experiencing in terms of hallucinations, delusions etc and then a day later will deny ever having this conversation and insist that she is perfectly fine and there is nothing wrong with her. She then tends to have a huge fallout with whoever the person was that she opened up to and accuses them of breaking her confidence or ‘picking on her’. At the beginning I was the only person that had seen her episodes whereas now it’s enough people that I am at least believed by others when she tells them she is fine.

It’s like some days she knows she’s ill and wants help, others she refuses to acknowledge. Is this the illness, any of you seen it before?

It’s challenging because she isn’t suicidal or violent. She ran away yesterday and the emergency health services say she needs to go to a locked facility to be forced into treatment (she doesn’t take her Zyprexa - hey, its a Schizophrenia drug she says, and she KNOWS she doesn’t have schizophrenia). However, waiting for a bedis tkaing longer than we would like - she is someone who needs to be protected from further damaging her mental health rather than her physical health or the health of others.


#12

Really, really, glad to hear that involving family and the authorities helped.

Do they have an option available while you wait for a bed in a locked facillity?


#13

She is with her father, with an observation order where a case worker checks in on them regularly. The case worker is a Psychiatric Nurse. Her father must watch her take meds, its an anti-psychotic that dissolves in the mouth. He has to report this back and if she doesn’t take them then she moves up in the que and they will come and admit her. She has nominated her father as Next of Kin, despite them not having a good relationship. I suspect this is because she knows she can manipulate him easily. Because of this there is very little the caseworker can tell me. I am losing hope of her recovery. She is taking the meds right now because she has been backed into a corner. She is not willing, and still refuses to acknowledge that there is anything wrong with her other than ‘a little depression’. I think that if she doesn’t acknowledge the illness then current situation is temporary.

Have people found that family members become more rational and user friendly after taking the anti-psychotics? Will this make her more likely to acknowledge the illness? from where I stand, if she won’t acknowledge it whilst she is psychotic then why will she acknowledge it when the drugs take effect and she isn’t psychotic? I’ve also read that the drugs rarely work fully and may even have no effect.


#14

saphris sublingual tablet, we do that one too…

Yes…

Hard to say, maybe…

Yep, for some, both of my SZs are medication resistant… There is no cure and meds help many to live half way normal for the lucky ones…


#15

The drugs have a good chance of working, but each drug works differently for each person. So she might need to try a few. If she is taking zyprexa melts that is a good choice to start.

It takes a long time. Best to you


#16

These unstable behaviours can become more stable with depakine chrono 500. So zyprexa lexotanil and depakine chrono will help her. If zyprexa isnt strong enough you could use clopixol which exists also in the form of drops and you have to give her medicine either she knows it or not. Just a simple advice as a pharmacist and someone whose has seen many drugs on a familly member with scz. Thats my observation on these 15 yrs of experience from my person and he tried a lot of medicines.


#17

Thank you for your comments and support.

It doesn’t look great at the moment, she still refuses to accept anything is wrong with her and keeps going to stay with other people, once she becomes symptomatic in front of someone she goes to someone new where she can pretend nothing is wrong for a while. When she doesn’t need to do anything like cook, clean, look after kids, be somewhere at 10:00AM etc then she manages to hold it together really well and it would be hard to know she is sick. As soon as there are tasks she needs to complete it all falls apart quite quickly, she becomes very upset and anyone nearby can see exactly what is going on. With people that don’t know her well and in a low stress environment it could take a long time to figure there is a problem.

She keeps commenting that people are talking about her wherever she goes and is convinced of this and knows what they said. I think she is hearing voices talking to each other about her. Is this common?

Also she is convinced that this whole thing is my fault and that I have caused all of this by ‘stressing her out’. Despite the fact that all of this started well before she decided she hated me she is utterly convinced it’s all my fault. I have read a lot about this and understand it means that the chance of a recovery of family life is almost impossible if this continues. If we live under the same roof again then the children will be exposed to constant hostility, so I hope she realizes it isn’t me. I’ve made the point to the Doc that until somebody helps her recognize what is wrong with her and that it isn’t her fault, or my fault then I can’see how she can stick to a long term recovery.


#18

Very common…