I have been married for 37 years to my husband, most of which has been fine if not great at times. Seven years ago the plant at which he worked closed and, at 50 years of age, he had to find new employment. We lost everything but, as I told him, we did not lose each other, our children. But, to him he had failed. Soon after we lost my father as well, a man my husband considered his best friend. About two years ago I noticed changes and so did our children. He became withdrawn, moody (always had been moody to a great degree). One day he lashed out at me that he knew I had had an affair nearly thirty years before. That accusation went from that to that he knew I also had an abortion due to that affair. No matter how much I deny it, and am extremely hurt by it, he insists.
It is awful. I get woke up at night and questioned. He has anxiety attacks calling or texting me from work with more accusations while saying he can’t function. His family and I finally convinced him to get help. At that time he was diagnosed first as severely depressed and then to a diagnosis of Bipolar type 2. He is on meds now but his accusations have gotten worse. He will get through one accusation and scenario and will soon follow up it up with another. I told him it is due to his illness but he insists that I am using that as an excuse and that I would willingly make him ill so I don’t have to admit what I “did” all those years ago.
I am now at a point where I am not sleeping at all. I had already had problems with sleep due to fibromyalgia, but now it is nearly non-existent. I cry all the time because I can’t seem to get through one day with this man I have loved nearly all of my life without him accusing me. If I respond it becomes horrible and if I don’t respond I feel tried and convicted. He now tells me that if I take a polygraph and I pass he will be fine and it will prove it to me and to him that he isn’t Bipolar. His sister was diagnosed bipolar just three years ago. He says that he can prove that I am not lying if I simply take the test.
I don’t know what to do any longer. The Guidance Center he goes to put him on meds but no counselling yet. They explanation they need his “feelings” to even out with the meds. That was nearly a month ago. I truly love my husband, and I have gone through a literal hell on earth these past two years. I want to be with him, live the rest of my life with him, but who is going to fix me even if they manage to fix him? How do I learn to handle his moods, his aggressions, his accusations, and now his total lack of interest? I told him yesterday, “You don’t bring me flowers anymore.” It took him a minute but he understood. My lover, my best friend, is gone. I feel alone and isolated from family and from friends. I am supposed to be strong for him but how can that happen when I can’t even be strong for me. Each time he accuses me and adds more to the story I am left feeling overwhelmed and at a loss. I don’t know where to turn.
A- It is apparent that your husband has suffered from a mental illness, which you have understood, accepted and have dealt with. It is clear that the medicines have not yet shown effect and it usually takes some time for the illness to be managed and the counselling to begin. Meanwhile the trauma of the illness leaves the care giver stressed out and exhausted. Depression can set in if the stress is too much or for a long duration, which I feel has happened in your case. Your inability to sleep is a sign of your inability to cope. The counselling centre should have assistance for care givers. Secondly, giving in to suspicion and paranoid ideas caused by the illness usually makes the person bold enough to continue the pattern. I shall also advise you to look into your own wellbeing which is very essential for you if you want to continue with this relationship. Do take a break, a vacation and do look into your l own needs. You may be at a menopausal or premenopausal stage and that could compound your emotional instability. It is important that you either go for counselling or medication as would be advised by the local mental health personnel that you are visiting at the moment.