Commentary I married a nice guy with qualities I was looking for. He seemed mildly depressed, but he was actually diagnosed as schizophrenic.
I learned this from his doctor after our honeymoon.
As long as we lived back home, I had the support and safety net of my widowed mother.
I was a professional with a prestigious job, but I wasn’t sure we could live on our own with just my earnings and also support a family as I’d soon conceived my daughter.
My husband only worked casually, teaching English. We immigrated to Canada where I studied and found work as a French teacher.
Meanwhile, I had a young child who wouldn’t stay with babysitters and no financially supporting partner.
I alert anyone else facing this kind of union, that when people with schizophrenia don't take their medicine, the mental disorder shatters any controlled and managed interaction between the couple.
Difficulties escalate as the relationship wears down. And there can be a need for police interventions.
In the latest episode of our tumultuous life together, I had some 20 Police Officers rushing to our building to prevent what they thought might be a suicide threat.
He had nobody but me in this country (his siblings left it to me to deal with their brother).
I moved away from him in 2002 but my house was always where he’d land in hard times.
He’d ask for financial help when he had no resources, going hungry and no place to stay.
I had a history with this person and a child too (he was a very loving father and good to his child, but unable to provide for her).
Although my daughter was a beautiful healthy child, her teenage years were almost a hell to live together.
I tried whatever I could and whatever resources I knew about - school counsellor, therapist, psychiatrist.
But she wouldn’t go alone to them, and I had to be at work.
She’s a high-school dropout yet she turned out to be a beautiful person with a kind heart, very artistic, with different talents.
But she has no job. She worked when she was younger, but it's hard for her to keep a strict schedule and she avoids any kind of higher education and training.
Is it anxiety, lack of confidence, laziness? Or relying on an enabling mother and a boyfriend? I don’t know.
Meanwhile, my estranged husband would ask to stay for a couple of weeks and would extend it, even to 18 months the last time.
He wasn't physically abusive but very abusive verbally and it was so hurtful and degrading.
A Difficult Life Choice
Ellie - People living with someone with schizophrenia, which is a neurobiological disorder (NBD), need to know that, despite their efforts, the symptoms may sometimes get worse, or improve.
And it’s as hard for the individual with the disorder to accept it, as it is for you and other family members. And no one is to blame.
Once someone like this woman is in such a relationship, it’s important to talk to his/her doctor and also see a specialist, to understand the treatment plan, and some of what may happen over time.
There are websites and support groups that can help you navigate what’s needed from you, and how to also take care of yourself, not just the person with the disorder.
At www.schizophrenia.com, a recommended book is Surviving Schizophrenia: A Family Manual by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey.
We have family members who have large dogs. We want to visit because we love them, but continually have unpleasant interactions with their dogs.
On our arrival, the dogs rub up against us, run around, lick us, and get into our faces.
They don’t listen nor back off.
Their owners seem to think we’re responsible for their dogs’ behaviour. An adult pushing the animal away is told, "You're not helping."
Inside or outside, it’s the same. Yet the behaviour of the younger animal in her crate is perfect.
Some form of segregation is the place for an untrained animal when visitors come.
Drooly, hairy outcome!
You’ll never convince your dog-loving relatives, so don’t create a rift. Invite them to your place and be clear that you’re a dog free home.
Or, make a “date” to meet somewhere for lunch or dinner, where they won’t bring their dogs.
Say that you love them and hope they understand.
Tip of the day:
Family of people with neurobiological disorders needs support and knowledge, along with attention to self-care, too.