Would you stay in a relationship if mental illness raised it's ugly head? A twist on "Would you date someone with major mental illness?
Posted Sun Oct 23, 2011 09:03 AM
Here is the premise for my question...a long, long time ago, in a city far, far away, (no not from everywhere but from most of your hometowns...) I fell in love with a young woman that completely captured my heart. She was beautiful, kind, caring, loving, and fun to be with. Always on the go, finishing her degree, taking flying lessons, learning new jobs in a highly technical industry, and was always ready with a laugh and a hug. We were together for nearly 11 years and during the last 5 of those 11, she decided that she wanted to change careers and go to law school...The time was right to do it now, because if not, it would never happen. So off she went to law school...4 years, working full time during the day and taking classes three or four nights a week (she also gave birth to our two children while in law school, like she needed something else to worry about). Was it a tough time, of course, but her attitude made it all acceptable, even though I didn't get to see her much.
About two years after she graduated and passed the Bar, she was working 80-90 hours a week, and things started going downhill for her. Apparently she is bi-polar, OCD (which I always teased her about, not knowing it was true...duh!!!), and is a long cycle bi-polar. I never knew there was another side to her. It was something that I only saw one time, for a period of about 8 months, before we actually got together, but attributed it to the relationship that she was in at the time. Controlling and somewhat psychologically abusive. I just let her come back to me, instead of pushing into her life and soon she was back to me, her same old familiar perky, fun self.
To make a long story short...we have been together for almost 19 years...and in the past 4 we have been through some tough times. I have lost my job, she has lost hers, we have lost our house. We have struggled financially and personally for a long time. We don't have much fun anymore...she has been through alcohol rehab...detox for other nasty substances...we don't sleep together anymore...and haven't for those 4 years...
She says horrible hurtful things to me...then blames them on me...and through it all, I have remained steadfastly in love with her. Against all the "advice" of others...friends and what family I have left...I have stayed with her. I have held her head when she needed me to...I have hugged her and reassured her when she needed it...and yes, sometimes I have lost my temper and thrown blame back at her...
I always feel guilty when I do, because I realize on an intellectual level that her headspace is not of her own doing, but also feel that some choices have been made and those choices have made things harder for her...and for the rest of us.
She doesn't see that she has any responsibility for what has happened to us and our relationship...and that makes it more difficult for me to accept at times...but eventually I come back to the "I love her" point and try my best to understand.
So, now that you all know my situation...given the same situation...could you, or would you stay in the relationship?
I am not looking for advice here...just twisting the Original Post a little to add history to the question, not just "Hi, I am mentally ill, want to have sex and maybe a long term relationship with me...?" type question.
Thanks for listening to my rant...I am interested to see what you have to say...
Posted Mon Oct 24, 2011 06:46 PM
Posted Mon Oct 24, 2011 06:56 PM
Posted Tue Oct 25, 2011 08:45 AM
Thanks for your comments and your take on this situation. Counselling has been sought on both our parts...there was a long period, almost 5 months, when she was in and inpatient treatment facility for alcohol/drug addiction...and basically it ended up being kind of like prison...she came out of the program with a worse addiction than that which sent her there...and she has decided that treatment is a waste of time. 12 steps are not for her...alternative treatment programs are so prohibitively expensive that they are not a viable option at this point...but we at least have gotten her to the point that she isn't using anymore.
I have been seeing a counselor for a long time now...and unfortunately, my buttons are very sensitive to this day. The things that are said and the actions that are taken, break my heart on a regular basis...
I take my vows of marriage very seriously...but it is hard some days to keep going forward and not throwing up my hands and giving up...but not yet...I don't like to lose...and don't see giving up as a serious option when I think about it for a while.
Posted Tue Oct 25, 2011 02:04 PM
I can only speak from what I've read, heard, and lived through. My take on it is this: In a relationship, there are situations where the end result will never be "good" or "right"....it can be better or worse depending how we play our cards. Seeing how you've played yours, and assuming everything you've stated is accurate, one would be hard-pressed to advise how you could've played them any better with regard to working towards a happy ending.
It is obivous that you love your wife. It's obvious that you know it isn't really "her" doing this, and thus placing total responsibility on "her" wouldn't be an accurate illustration of what's really going on in her mind.
The optimal situation is that at some point she will come back to you the way she did before....a few intermitten bumps notwithstanding. The only way that can happen is if you stay, endure...and endure, and endure. It is NOT fair to you. It is not equitable to you. Only a fool would blame for for cutting your losses at some point, leaving her, and go on with your life.
If I loved a woman the way you love your wife, I, personally, would stay and see her through it. That's just the way I'm wired. I am with her until the end, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, for rich or poor. Stupid? Maybe. Outdated? Probably. If there's kids to think about, that also matters, too, with thier well being needing to be considered. Do what...pleases you....I guess. I'd stay until I simply just couldn't.
I'm sorry, DT...I hope she can get well.
This post has been edited by ilyushin79: Tue Oct 25, 2011 02:06 PM
Posted Tue Oct 25, 2011 08:41 PM
So far, you have done all, or more that what one could ask for. I really wish there is more that I could do to help. As this continues to drain you, I hope for perseverance on your part and realization on her part that this is larger than the both of you. I have friends that have done inpatient therapy, and one of them came away from it feeling as your wife did, the prison effect. This is cause for me to believe the facility that she was in was entered into was not on her wanting to, maybe feeling as if she needed or had to. While the feeling of need is a start, the want feeling needs to be stronger than the need. When she comes to realize the difference between the two, that perhaps will be the starting point we all want for the two of you. While my weakness has caused me to join this website, maybe the greater good will prevail here and we can get some promising news, for a change. If you would, PM me your first names so I know whom I will be praying for. Look up, not down.
Posted Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:51 PM
Posted Wed Nov 23, 2011 07:57 PM
Posted Sun Nov 27, 2011 09:30 AM
I do not have bi-polar but do have severe depression and anxiety. I have been on medication now for about 3 years and over the last 12 months
Went through a stage where I would not go out due to fear of an anxiety attack while out. My wife has been my rock and my children have missed
out on alot from me but know no better yet. Things are now on the up for us (I hope) and thank God my family is still with me. I hope the same for
My hats off to you and I wish there were more in this world like you. It may then make it easier for families going through this feel not so different
it's an illness that can be treated and not caught. The world needs to understand.
Posted Sun Dec 11, 2011 06:12 AM
If I loved them, and they loved me, I would hang in there and do everything in my power to keep things together. Love is all about going through challenges together, the trick is to work through issues as best as you can and seek professional help if needed.
I have to say, that you are quite tough but so loyal despite the many challenges you have had to face.
I commend you, mental illness in a partner is an extremely difficult thing to cope with and you are doing it.
I wish you and your partner all the best for the future hun
Posted Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:41 AM
has she accepted it, as that might be a thing, with guilt and stuff she feels inside. having a counsellor can sometimes help, but depending if they feel like they can trust that person..
i wouldnt end a relationship if i found out years later, i will try different ways like u have. maybe try talking to her at her "highest" and "lowest" times and see how she feels and determine whats going on
good luck and i hope it works out
Posted Mon Jan 02, 2012 09:48 PM
I have a sister who is bi-polar. I've lived with her as an adult. There are specific rules and guidelines that need to be followed, not just meds to control this. She can function properly. You can be happy with her again.