I'll try to summarize as best I can. About six years ago, my wife left her rather high pressure job...good pay, but a burn out type of job. She's dealt for about fifteen years with anxiety which will trigger inappropriate behaviors (mostly staring at certain objects or private parts) that she couldn;t control well. .
About that time after leaving her job, my brother and sister started what I'd call an informal surveillance campaign...basically why isn't she working, though they'd never come out and say it. My brother is best described as a mostly negative force. He can be secretive, self-centered and controlling.
I suffered a traumatic injury that left me permanently disabled several years ago. This was very hard for my wife, and things began to worsen for her. It mostly stemmed from relations with my brother during that time. He'd treat her like a patient instead of a sister-in-law that needed extra help. Over a few weeks, that set my wife off, and she left him some rather abusive messages.
After a couple of months, I left the hospital, and things seemed to be on an even keel. My wife was very attentive to my care, which I required quite a bit. But my brother felt the need to come into the house once a week to check up on me. That's all well and good, but my wife felt like he was checking up on me to make sure I wasn't getting abused or neglected. So a few months later, she had enough and said no more visits from brother.
Then the the unusual beliefs began to set in, that my brother had bugged the house and computer. That was fairly plausible, since my brother is technologically quite adept. Things got worse and my wife said she loved me very much but couldn't take it any more, and that I needed to go live with my brother.
He came to get me and had police come by to make sure my wife wouldn't harm him.
Some background..a month or so prior to this, my wife called my dad after my daughter had a particularly bad morning, and told him that the monitoring needed to stop. Dad then calls my brother, and brother calls police to have them come into the house to do a welfare check. They came, they saw, and felt that my welfare was OK.
That wasn't good enough for my brother. He called a detective that he was working with, and the detective came into the house and questioned my wife and me. Finally he started getting somewhat abusive and I invited him to leave.
By now you're getting a good feel for my brother, Mr. Over-the-top. While I was staying at my brother's place, he and an uncle (whose first wife whom he divorced suffered from psychiatric issues and finally had his wife committed to a mental hospital) decided that it was time to have my wife committed.
Over time I would learn that this course of action was completely unnecessary, as my wife was not a danger to herself or others. And no, they weren't able to have my wife committed.
After being separated for a couple of months, during which time my wife and daughter would visit almost daily at my assisted living facility and later an apartment, I moved back home, and we decided to move out of state.
This move at first brought a sense of freedom, but after a few weeks the stress of the move weighed pretty heavy on my wife and she started hearing voices. Then it was the police that were "talking to her" things deteriorated from there and she thought one morning that my brother and others had set up in the vacant house next door and were shooting at us.
That led up to the first hospitalization for my wife. After a few weeks she had been stabilized on meds and came home. She later qualified for Social Security disability herself. So, while we're not rich, we consider ourselves fortunate at least with finances.
She was free of voices and other symptoms for three years. But, tiring of the meds' side-effects and being symptom-free for so long, she decided to get off of them.
So the symptoms have returned. She hears voices, sometimes my brother, sometimes cops. The voices can be almost playful one day, abusive to her the next. She became quite despondent about dealing with these voices which prompted a suicide attempt just to get the voices to stop.
Currently she's on abilify and recently Seroquel was added to help her sleep. She's been on Abilify for nearly six months and the voices are still there.
The conspiracy theories that involve my brother and the cops are getting more and more unusual. She's developed a hatred towards my side of the family, and sometimes that hatred extends to me.
Any little thing that goes wrong in the house, such as new cracks in the wall, my wife will blame on off duty police or other agents my brother hired. They'll supposedly break in at night or when we're not home and do this damage.
These cracks are just cracks. My wife however says they've come in with a blade and made these cracks.
I try not to argue too much with her delusions, but when I tried to point out some of the features of the crack that made it impossible to be made with tools, she got upset at me.
Day to day she copes fairly well but I wonder how much more of this she can take. And, how much my daughter and I can take.
I worry that my wife's condition might not be the healthiest for my daughter. And that my daughter, who is now nearly fourteen, might not be that healthy for my wife.
I have no faith in her current pdoc or the counselors at the local psych clinic. My wife doesn't believe in talk therapy and refuses to participate, although she's been taking her meds, that don't really help.
I know she needs a different pdoc. Would talk therapy help?
And the bigger, more serious question is whether it would be better for us to live apart? It's something she's suggested over the last few months. Financially it would be tough, which is why we haven't already done so.
The animosity that she holds for my brother may be something that can't be overcome and will spill over to me like guilt by blood association, I guess.
Post edited by: Millville, at: 08/15/2011 11:55 PM
Hello Millville. I am in a similar situation as you, however it is not my spouse...but my boyfriend's mother. He and I have lived together for over 5 years. His mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia over 10 years ago, although we think she suffered from the schizophrenia as early as her late teens and just went undiagnosed until her late 40's.
She has delusions very similar to your wife's. Her delusions usually involve her father. Until a couple of years ago, she and her father had lived together for about 8 years. They had a huge fight and in his anger he told her to move out and that he didn't care where she went...After a couple of months of her living with a male friend who we did not trust, we decided to move her across the country to live with us. She now claims that her dad comes to our house every day with some other demon friend of his and they beat on her.
We had her on Abilify a couple of years ago and it did not work for her either. She has been on respiradone during most of the years she has been diagnosed. About a month ago we switched her to Geodon. The doctor said that Geodon does not cloud the mind as much as respiradone, so we thought we would give it a try. The last month has been very difficult. She seemed to be doing better until last week, she missed a dose of Geodon and had a horrible day with her father beating on her all day. We could not get her to calm down or convince her that her father was not here. We were finally able to calm her down about an hour after we gave her the missed dose of Geodon. Over the weekend we noticed that she was having terrible shaking and confusion during the few hours before her next Geodon dose.
After talking to her doctor yesterday, we decided to up her dose. She has only taken the higher dose for 24 hours, but seems to be stabilizing some. Thank goodness....because I am not sure how much longer I could handle it.
BTW, my boyfriend was also in a horrible disabling accident 7 years ago. He has chronic pain and is not able to be very active, as doing so puts him in the bed for days with his back and knee killing him. I can certainly sympathize with your situation. I have to help him more than the average mate would but I try to stay understanding and positive.
At any rate, your post touched me as I feel we share some common threads. I hope things get better for you and your wife. I would definately suggest you talk to her doctor about putting her on something other than the Abilify. Most medicines designed to help delusions will not make them go completely away. But they can help them be manageable.
Being on this site is also very helpful. Also, if you are much of a reader, may I suggest you read the book "The Center Cannot Hold". I read this shortly after his mom moved in. It really helped me understand this horrible disease. It is written by a lady who suffers from schizophrenia and she tells about her life and experiences with the disease. It might help you have some more understanding of what your wife is going through. While there is no cure, there are lots of medications that are effective.
Hope this has helped you some....I would not give up on your wife just yet. I think you first need to get her doctor to try other medications until something helps. There are lots of functioning schizophrenics out there....although most of them are not in denial about their disease and they work hard to find the right medications.
I wish you the best of luck....and feel free to pm me if you need to chat.
Thanks for your reply...I feel for your boyfriend, debilitating pain has to be a real burden to deal with. i have a spinal cord injury and while I have to take industrial strength doses of Lyrica or Neurontin at least it's managed. I've found if I overdo, I can really hurt for days afterward.
I'm thinking along the same lines as you: stay the course. Will have to check out your book suggestion, and here's an on-line blog that helped me a bunch too.
Dear Millville, I feel your pain. My best friend and was to be boyfriend is schizoaffective. He takes Risperdal and lithium and some sleep and anti depressant meds.
The risepdal is the best for the hallucinations and delusions from what I understand. My friend has been on these meds and is a completely different person than he was. He still suffers from some paranoia and some minor delusions but has a job and interacts pretty well with most people. I wish you the best. I hope you two are able to stick it out. Once she is on the right medications..she may get a whole lot better.
Disclaimer: The information provided in MDJunction is not a replacement for medical diagnosis, treatment, or professional medical advice.
In case of EMERGENCY call 911 or 1.800.273.TALK (8255) to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Read more.