Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

When do I start grieving the marriage I had and maybe no longer have? I'm so frustrated - and so sad

Last month I posted about getting my husband to accept meds from his psych (that was hard for me to get him to). He finally decided to take Depakote (the psych said it was best for the “irritation” (violent outbursts that started about 6 months ago). He’s been taking Seroquel for about 20 yrs and now feels he takes that just for sleep. We’ve been together for 10 yrs and up until last year, I never saw even a glimpse of schizophrenia (he told me he had it on our 3rd date). I know for a fact that I’ll probly never get him to take another med, as it was literally impossible to get hi to take Depakote (he told his psych he was doing it for me). Of course there’s nothing wrong with him.

The past 5 days he’s been even more “off” than usual. Hasn’t had violent outbursts since taking the Depakote over the last 3 weeks or so but now feels that he’s being controlled (as I am). FOr the 1st 3 days/nite, he didn’t sleep or eat. He lay there, on his back, fists clenched with his eyes going back and forth. Says he has numerous voices talking to him. I try to talk to him and he can’t even hear me cuz the voices are so loud. I literally hafta yell at him to get his attention. I took him to bfast and to Walmart the other day, hoping getting him out would be beneficial. He thought the server was rude (she wasn’t), picked up his plate and started walking it ttoward the kitchen for them to wash it, and then started to walk out the front door, all while I was still eating. At Walmart, he walked aimlessly, me yelling at him to wait up. When home, he kept saying if he sits still (we’re living in a 34 ft RV in our sons driveway while our SO Ca house sells and we find a Wa home to buy and we’re ready to buy - which is another whole problem right now), he’s been pacing, constantly moving his hands, hovering over me, just not being still, they will make him go blind. Occasionally he’ll walk over to me and wave his hands in front of my face to see if I can still see. And OMG, te bizarre stuff he says and believes. I can’t tell him it’s his mind - he believes it 100%. No matter if I ask him if it makes sense, he’ll say no. But he’s the only 1 in the world that will live forever and since I’m his wife, I will also live forever

He’s been high functioning, even the last few months, working full time. He took 2 weeks off and is supposed to go back this Tues 1/7. It’s his own business and can’t really call in sick without jeopardizing his business. I can’t come with him, they frown on that (it’s his own business but he relies on an outside company to hook him up with jobs). Last week, he took apart my Jeep in my sons garage to find what was wrong with my tranny. Found it and its an easy fix. Bought the parts today but I’m not sure he can actually figure it out. So now I have a car without a tranny in it in the garage, unable to drive and he’s unable to put it back together. I don’t know what to do?

I will call his psych tomorrow and see if she can see him sooner. He needs bloodwork done before he comes back and still needs that done. Of course he lost the paperwork (he loses EVERYTHING). So I hafta drive the 45 mins to get the paperwork. {Right now he’s pacing the RV. I can feel it shake constantly}. I’m not sure whether to allow him to go to work on Tues (when he has a job to do, there’s usually much less symptoms, I’m wondering if there’s more symptoms becuz he took the 2 weeks off). Its just tiling a shower, no ones life depends on it. Here I sit without the use of my car until he can figure out how to put my car back together again (my husband is an amazing mechanic and can do it with his eyes closed most of the time). We are actually looking to buy a home right now. We have a large down payment to put in our saving acct right now and he actually is very frugal and very smart with money. We could pay the bills on just my income (I’m a disable vet that receives a decent pension and SS disability) so even if he loses his job, we’ll be ok. We won’t be able to go on the vacations we’re used to or the Christmases my grandsons are used to but we can make it

My BIG?: Is this the 1st step in losing my husband? Is this the end of my marriage as I know it. Right now I’m crying as I write this. He doesn’t understand needing help so I can’t really tell him if he doesn’t get help, I’m out of here, as he will think it’s my choice to leave. I believe in my marriage vows, as I did in my 1st marriage (married 19 yrs to a man that had a stroke 1 yr before he died and I took care of him at home. It was difficult but he was the love of my life and I did it). This is the same thing. Craig is the love of my life and I’m not going to abandon him when he needs me and he’s ill. I just don’t know what to do. The only people that even know about this is our son and DIL that we live in their driveway so there’s at least someone I can vent to.

I plan on buying the book by Dr Amador I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment. I see it’s great for parents and other family members but it doesn’t mention spouses (which IS different). Does it cover this and the special-ness of this bond? Or is there a better book just for that special love?

I’m sorry I wrote such a novel. I’m just in so much and confusion I don’t know what to do. Does anyone recommend a specific medication I can bring up with the psych? I want to research them but I need a diving off spot to start. Thanks for ur help!


I am so sorry about what you are going through, Marci. I had just been reading through your older post and had hoped things were going better for you.

I wouldn’t waste my time researching medications - it is really such a hit and miss thing, even for psychiatrists who have studied and prescribed these medications for years. If you communicate your observations to his psychiatrist, she will have a better idea than you could of what specific medication to try.

I can say that I think Dr. Amador’s book is every bit as applicable for spouses as for clinicians or other family members. I also am a spouse and the book (and his website) have helped me immensely with the communication/relationship building aspects of this illness.

That said, I totally agree that having a spouse develop a severe mental illness is very different than when it happens to a parent, a sibling or a child (I also have a sister with schizophrenia, so I have experienced that as well as watching my parents go through their struggles and pain).

Like you, I have found there is much less written about/for spouses - probably because the illness typically develops early enough in life such that most individuals never marry.

I have found this the most intensely lonely experience of my life and like you, I feel as if I am stuck in it alone without my best friend and life partner, which makes it all the worse.

I don’t know what will work best for you, but for me, my husband responds best when I focus on communicating my emotional reaction to our current situation to him, rather than focusing on his symptoms (as he also does not believe he is ill). And then try to engage him in the problem solving.

When I think about what has been most effective, I generally use LEAP first (so that he gets that I understand his experience and that I respect his opinions), but then I also make sure that he understands my emotional experience of our current life situation and the impact it has had on me.

I have found that as long as we do not argue about the CAUSE of our current situation (which is where we differ - I see it as him having a thought disorder, he believes he is being surveilled and harassed by everyone including me), we actually have many points of agreement. And interestingly, he also experiences the intense loneliness of feeling alienated from his spouse - so even this, we have in common.

Using this approach (LEAP plus the sharing of my emotional experience), I have gotten him to the point of agreeing to take medications again twice - unfortunately, this has not yet translated into action from his psychiatrist (I have to say, I’m pretty unhappy with his psychiatrist at this point, and would change doctors except that the timing for this is pretty awful).

It sounds like your husband really loves you, so you have some influence. If you go about this thoughtfully, I think there is a good chance that he will want to do what he can to make you happy, even if some of it does not make sense to him.

Study LEAP and give it a try.

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I read the LEAP book a couple of times, but found that watching the videos (several of which are free online) were very helpful in helping me to see how to do LEAP properly.

I’m watching one right now for “Pills in the trash” - the actors first role play a typical confrontation (with the caregiver insisting that the patient needs medication and the patient insisting that he didn’t) and then role play the same interaction using the LEAP method.

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If I could give you a big hug,I would.


I am so sorry for your grief over your husband’s psychosis and how it is affecting you. All of us on this site have cried our hearts out on many occassions.

You cannot talk someone out of a delusion, you will understand that more if you read Dr. Amador’s book or watch some of the videos. Sometimes you CAN manage how they act using the LEAP formula. I was not successful at getting my daughter medicated by using LEAP, only an arrest, forced hospitalization and forced meds broke her psychosis. She still doesn’t know she is on an anti-psychotic or that she is mentally ill. But she gets her shot every month.

Meds are hit and miss, it is mostly trial and error to find what works. If the patient doesn’t believe they need meds (anosognosia) then it is double hard to get them to treat.

Try to be patient with your husband, he is still the good guy you love, but right now his delusions and hallucinations are running him.

I wish you the best. Hugs.

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DO u mind if I ask what drug she takes thats a shot once a month? He may more readily take a shot monthly than a pill daily. What r the side effects? I know what works for ur daughter may not work for everyone but I’m so lost right now, any info is better than nothing. Thanks so much for any info u can pass on!



Most AP drugs are available in injectable forms that last 30 days or so. Side effects vary per drug and per person, a psychiatrist would be a better source to help find the right drug.

@Maggotbrane is correct that what works for one person may not work for another, but my daughter had immediate relief in the hospital the 4th time after a Haloperidol Deconate 100 mg shot. It is an older anti-psychotic, called typical. None of 4 other newer atypical APs had worked anywhere near as well earlier. The Haldol shot effect lasted almost 3 weeks after she was released, she was supposed to take pills of the same medicine once home, but threw them away, so was psychotic again after the shot wore off. She would never have stayed on pills regularly. The shot was THE answer for her. The next time she was hospitalized, I was named a legal rep by the hospital, and I authorized the same shot again. The side effects she has experienced are weight gain, constipation, and occasional leg restlessness that Benadryl helps calm down after one or two doses. There is always a chance of more severe side effects for some individuals by research statistics, so I pray this keeps working for her.