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caring for someone with mental illness, looking for words of advice

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posted on May, 1 2016 @ 12:42 PM
Hello ATS, not really sure how to go about this situation and I feel like coming here for suggestions will get me unbiased advice. Thanks ahead for anyone who decides to reply.

Ok, I'll start off with how this situation started.

Somewhere around 7 to 8 months ago, my significant other and I started having major problems. At first I thought it was something we'd be able to figure out and have resolved , but things progressively became worse. Now I'd like like to point out that she is diagnosed as schizophrenic and never really took her meds, but I'll also say that my past and experiences has also damaged me significantly. It's highly probable that I didn't go through these experiences unscathed and without some sort of mental illness myself. I knew I had my own demons to tame but I wasn't going to let it get in the way of me doing, what I believed was right.

So, somewhere around last August there was an incident involving one of our children and we had to have an investigation opened to have that resolved. That was when things started falling apart. We ended up having to leave our place and stay with her sister. After thinking about it, I now know that wasn't the best decision we could have made but we were also desperate to find somewhere to stay ( having 3 children and all ). After about about a week there, I noticed it wasn't the best environment for us or are children to be in. Finding out that there were people there doing drugs didn't really go well with me. So I made the suggestion that I go stay with my brother and her and our children stay with her mother, so I could find a job and get us a place outside the region we were staying, ( seeing that the people we had around us were all doing drugs). So after hearing my proposition, she opposed it adamantly and I let the idea go. So instead I suggested that we save up money to be able to move out and get a place, which she agreed to. Well seeing as we were around a number of people on drugs, that plan didn't really go well and I ended up having a temper, ( of course it wasn't the only thing that I attribute this too).

After one thing led to another, her sister got an eviction notice and we had no choice but to go with my first suggestion. So we moved all of our belongings to her mother's house around the beginning of October and I went to my brothers house. So 2 days before I left to my brother's place, I got help moving all of our belongings to the place where she and our children were staying. The next day all I did was rest because moving a house with only 2 people is pretty tiring, at least that's what I believe anyways. During this time my children's mother was having episodes and on top of it, her mother was doing her best to cut me out of my family's life. Well I guess that was her goal since we got together but that's a different story entirely. Either way her mother told her to relay to me that I needed to have everything finished before the next morning because she didn't want me there. My answer to that was, it wasn't realistic to have everything moved and sorted through and also unpacked in 2 days. As you could imagine I wasn't exactly happy about the demands, nor was my children's mother happy with me wanting to rest because she couldn't unpack by herself. Which caused another problem on top of another ( all this while she was having episodes ). Ironically enough her mother already knew what she was going through and I'm sure she used this to her advantage. After asking for another day so I could rest, her answer was still no and afterwards my children's mother and I got into a huge argument because she wouldn't be able to unpack and watch the children nor would her mother help her after I was gone. So she decided to ask her sister for help, well she got the help but her sister decided to bring her bf and another person who were all on drugs when they came. This was all in the same day we got into an argument for wanting to rest.

So they get there and the first thing they did was start going through things around the house outside, that they could salvage or sell. I'm able to tell that they're on drugs right off the bat and I mention this to my children's mother and a minute later I find us in another argument, I lose my temper and decide to walk away to not escalate something into more of a problem. Afterwards, these people that are supposed to be helping, decide to try and intervene. They come to me and give me a speech about how it would be better if we split up and just worry about my children. So I passively listened to what they had to say and explained that splitting up my family was not an option because I knew that we needed a stable environment for things to get better and to be able to get help for my children's mother. Well needless to say not one thing happened that day that would've helped the situation. That same night we had a discussion about where our relationship was going and came to the conclusion that what we may of needed was a break from eachother, with the possibility of us breaking up if necessary. So the plan for me to go to my brothers might actually help the situation, in more ways than one.

So the next morning, her mother drove me to the train station and went to stay with my brother. The first day I was out, one of the people that were there to help unpack, showed up to help more and apparently that's what he did. You might imagine that I wasn't to happy about it because of the talk I was given the day before by this person. I could only assume he said to her the same thing he told me during that time. Well by the 3rd day I was away and also the same day I found a job, she called me and told me she decided that it was best that we split up because she developed feelings for another person. I was emotionally crippled and tried to explain to her that what I was doing was for my family and that her mental illness was more than likely a factor in her decision. But after about a week of arguing and things getting out of hand over the phone. I pretty much gave up and just started worrying about my children. During this time, I pushed through the bs I was going through to work my a** off, to attain the ability to file for custody of my children. 3 months later, she calls me and says that due to her mental illness she couldn't take care of he children. So my children came to stay with me.

In January, she comes to see our children for one of their birthdays and afterward asks if she could talk to me. She explains that she still has feelings for me , (while her bf is sitting in the car waiting for her to leave). I explain to her that I still cared for her also but was just starting to get over the situation and would have to think about where to go from their. So she leaves and I'm stuck in an emotional state because of he situation I was just put in. After about a week or two of putting deep thought into it, I decided to tell her that I couldn't wait for her to decide if she wanted to come back or not, I had responsibilities that needed to be taken care of. So I explained that even though I cared for her, I wouldn't let myself be strung along. And this happened while she was still with her bf.

In February during the middle of the month, she watches her bf die I. Front of her. She says the autopsy revealed that it was something to do with a diabetic reaction but I had a suspicion that it was a drug overdose.

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 12:53 PM
You've got the kids. That's the most important thing.

You're away from their mother. That's the second most important thing.

Want some advice? 1. Move away from anyplace your ex knows. 2. Never contact her again.

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 12:58 PM
And I thought i'd led a traumatic god. Your story left my head spinning. This is only one side of the story though. However, you sound like the level headed person in this soap opera, and as was got the kids out of there and away from harm and bad influence. Keep it that way. Whatever you must do...keep it that way. These kids need an extreme dose of normality after a life experience like that. Sorry if I sound harsh...overprotective motherly instinct here.

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 01:14 PM
a reply to: amsterdamn87

This is a huge distance and very limited info to offer any input on.

However, going where angels fear to tread . . .

1. It seems clear--given the assumed truth of all you wrote--that being with that mother will bring you and your kids nothing but a great deal more grief, suffering, heart-ache, trauma, drama, sleepless nights, stress etc.

2. You are both mangled people. She seems to be very horribly so.

3. You, at least, have managed to get a job and care for your children. THAT'S AN IMPRESSIVE SET OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

4. I think it is UNREALISTIC to add to the enormous elephants already on your shoulders--YET ANOTHER ELEPHANT of being primary care giver for a schizophrenic. That just strikes me as lunacy.

5. Yeah, normally, Christian and all I'm a champion for keeping a family together. I just don't see it making sense in this situation. Added stress etc. will NOT be good for the children nor for you and your health.

6. YOU MUST take care of yourself and your health [read less stress] in order to be ABLE to care for your children.

7. Take some confidence and pride in having a job and caring for your children. That's several full time jobs right there.

8. You don't have enough free time nor enough available energy, imho, to go to enough counseling and to spend all needed to care for a schizophrenic spouse. You just don't. You are not super healthy superman--with a big bank account and total free time. Even that would not be enough.

9. PIPE-DREAMS AND FANTASIES in the sky are not reality. You have to get up every morning and face your children and face your job and face reality. Let the fantasies go. They will only seduce you into further suffering with regard to the schizophrenic. imho.

10. I wish I could offer a different suggestion. The info you presented as the basic facts just doesn't allow me to think otherwise.

11. YOU ALSO NEED desperately a support group of friends around you where you are--healthy nonaddicted friends. Whether from a sports group; a hobby group, a church--whatever decent healthy group of people would offer chances to meet such friends. THIS IS A NEED. I don't consider it merely a shallow option. I don't think you can survive as a lone ranger--much less do well.

12. Please let us know how you are doing. I do care about you and what happens to you. Consider and use or toss this information at your own risk. It's just what I can offer on a screen on the web given the limited information you offered.


For whatever set of reasons and history--she has made her bed. Let her lie in it. Be done with it--for your sake and CERTAINLY for the children's sake. Yes, they'll miss their mother. But the scars of her staying in their life would last a lifetime--as the scars she's already left there.

edit on 1/5/2016 by BO XIAN because: added

edit on 1/5/2016 by BO XIAN because: added

edit on 1/5/2016 by BO XIAN because: added

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 01:45 PM
My son's father has schizophrenia so I can empathise at least on that level. We arent together but he has regular contact with my child and we do family things together such as holidays, birthdays and Christmas. It works for us.

Having lived with someone with schizophrenia 3 years prior to having our child and when my son was small and having a sister with schizoid effect I can honestly say dont go back. Being a care giver for someone with mental health problems is like a rollercoaster and hard enough if there are no children involved. You cant be a carer to your ex wife and also put all your energy into looking after your children and giving them a safe place. Your children should come first. Explain this to your ex. Let her have supervised contact for the childrens sake so they still have their mother and if in time she has stuck to the contact then maybe suggest a day out together so the children also have the family unit now and again with you present.

My ex doesnt have any drug or alchohol problems thankfully but my sister does. Having your children living with that would not be beneficial to them.

ps as a woman when you said about needing a rest, you were wrong!

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 01:46 PM
Wow ! So sorry you have to deal with should know that there are support groups out there that can help ! Please seek the support and knowledge of a support group that fits your battle . You could start by asking a local church where to go, who to contact, or google ( schitzephrenia , divorce, mental illness, single parent ) for your area. Life will be so much easier with the knowledge and support from people who have been through what your going through. Please, please,,please , do,this. have the kids and now,it is your responsibility to protect them from your ex's radical actions. It sounds like she's self medicating with drugs. are the bigger parent now and it is up to you to protect your family from her crap. ...set moral boundaries and stick to them. Meaning ; if you say she can't come back until she is sober for6 months, or taking medication for 6 months, firm and stick to that . Do not cave and take her back until she has proven to be stable and worthy of YOU . .....also, you may want to seek legal council and make sure you have the kids legally via a court order . You do not want her sobering up and suddenly taking them away, or blind siding you with a court date for a child custody battle.which she will do eventually .....and lastly, ....I know you are heart broken, but focus on your children, and you...right now is your time to make sure your kids don't go down the same path as their mother.....I am willing to bet that m once you do this, you will find someone new who will bring you true happiness .

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 01:51 PM

Either way, I explained to her that I would do my best to be there for her. The next week she decided to come out and stay with us for a week, so she could get herself together and spend some time with her children. Well, she stayed for a week and then I drove her back to her mother's house, but during the time she stayed we discussed what was going to happen with us. She explained she needed time to grieve and I was OK with that, I believed it was understandable. So I gave her space and I did what I could to be helpful.

After about a month, I ask her if she could watch our children for a week because they were on spring break and I had work. She was mildly fine with it, but also said that she was still having episodes. I suggested that I just find a babysitter instead but she insisted that she could handle it, with the help of her mother. So I agreed and drove my children to her. This was the beginning of April, actually I drove them there easter day.

Before any of this happened, I believe it was march. She started becoming more mentally unstable and was also doing drugs with her sister and bf , she eneded up getting to the point of contemplating suicide. One thing led to another and she decided to call her sister to inform her of her plans. Her sister tells her bf what's going on and he decides to go to her and talk her out of it. This is something I found out about after I dropped off my children.

At the end of the week of them being there, my children's grand mother asks me to pick up my children and tells me that their mother was gone for 3 days without contact. So I made a few calls to find out that she was with her sisters ex bf doing drugs. I already know what kind of person this guy is and my children are already not in the best environment, so I gather some stuff and am out the door in a matter of minutes. It's a 2 1/2 hour drive from where I was and I got there in 1 hour and 45 minutes. I make a few more calls after i pick up my children to find out where she is and I find her.
After I find her I explain to her that things are getting out of hand and she needed to get professional help and she explains that she had feeling for her sisters ex. By this time I'm furious but I still want to help her so I tell her I'll drive her to her mother's house and she agrees. Well with the luck I have, I end up flipping the van I got a month before ,a mile from where I find her, with my children in he van. Luckily no one got hurt I walked away with a couple of cuts but that was the extent of physical injury.

So, after the crash my children and I get picked up by her mother and drives us back to her house, then leaves again to pick up my children's mother. While I'm their, I find out from her sister about so much more I didn't know about but I'll spare he details , I just mainly found out she was doing drugs for a while before we split up. That same day, im driven to a friend's house with my children because I wasn't allowed to stay there. Well I end up staying for a week, missing work and my children missing school,so I could take care of legal issues from the crash. Also losing my job in the process. During that week I speak with my children's mother and explain that the decisions she's making are going to effect herself and her children in the long run. With out professional help, she's going to keep headed down a road of self destruction and I wasn't going to let myself and children be apart of it. Especially if she was going to be with a person that's going to be a risk factor to her mental health.

Well, needless to say she ended up with him, and it's only been a month and now she's having problems with the guy. I told her this was going to happen. I pretty much knew how this was going to play out. And explained to her also what I thought. Now that's it's a reality, she's been contacting me and telling me that she still has feelings for me. After all that's happened, I still care for her but I don't want to end up in another negative situation. I feel as if I've done everything I can to be helpful to her situation but when do you stop caring? Any advice would be very helpful and appreciated

( I'll add, that there are many things I left out but for he sake of this thread I'm leaving out details)

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 02:04 PM
a reply to: amsterdamn87

First off..apologies for replying before you had finished.
Secondly..How on earth can you even think of subjecting these children to anymore drama? Please, please, please...this woman needs help, for drugs, promiscuity, and whatever mental issue is driving her to do both and ignore what is best for herself and her children, and you need to distance yourself and them till it happens. Her family sounds like no help at all either. If you are waiting for enough to be's already past that point, especially since you say there is more you omitted. We don't need any further details to know that you, and these kids are in a completely unhealthy situation, and if you keep subjecting them to it, because she is their mother, or you need a babysitter or yourself risk losing them. It is your job to protect them from all forms of harm including their own mother if need be. I too speak from experience, as my ex has a severe mental health issue and cannot have visits with our younger children. I waited till it was too late and I don't want to see that happen to anyone else...

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 02:05 PM
a reply to: Snarl

As much as I would like to take your advice, I've learned that without full custody , your advice is legally called kidnapping. I appreciate the sentiment but I'd rather not end up in jail.

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 02:06 PM
a reply to: AccessDenied

I appreciate the advice, that's why I came here.

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 02:08 PM
a reply to: BO XIAN

I'm really not sure how to go about the situation but I will keep what you said in mind.

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 02:20 PM
a reply to: anxiouswens

No offence but are you saying that packing and moving an entire house in a day basically by yourself, wouldn't contribute to a person wanting to rest the next day?
Uhmm, have you ever moved and entire house, basically by yourself? In one day, without having anything packed? Because although this was the first time I packed in the same day as moving, I have moved an entire house by myself multiple times. And that is very exhausting. Especially without any tools. I appreciate your advice but I'm not sure you understand the amount of work it takes to move a family of 5 .

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 02:25 PM
a reply to: Meldionne1

I've seeked legal council and it takes money and a lot of it to just get the process started, but I've been trying to have something worked out, so at least my children have the chance to see their mother. I grew up in the system and I know what kind of damage it can do growing up without your parents.

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 02:27 PM
Get full custody. The court will take her illness seriously and will do whats best for the children. As long as you are the strong parent putting your children first and keeping them safe they will thrive. Thats all children need just one parent who keeps them safe. As I said my sister has schizoid effect and is an alcoholic. My nephewsand niece had a lot of upset growing up but an excellent father. He was there when things were really bad with my sister. They have grown into famtastic adults, one a barrister, accountant and deputy head. No one would know how hard their lives were at times but thats because of their dad a reply to: amsterdamn87

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 02:35 PM
Yep done it many times on my own with child and mother with dementia. You have jumped down my throat when it was said in jest but for the record Ive done it after having hysterectomy 4 weeks later when my son still used to wake twice a night and my mother needed toileting nightly and cleaning up. I didnt have the option of rest.a reply to: amsterdamn87

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 02:44 PM
All i can stay is plz stay strong for your children, they need you to be there everything at the moment, try to see if you can get some free legal advice, and make sure that you and your kids are safe and in a healthy environment.

Good luck to you, and when you come out of this situation, and you will, your kids will be the better and you will be a better person.

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 02:46 PM
Im not sure where you are located being an issue for a lawyer ( very understandable) maybe you could contact your local court house and ask for " family court " . The clerk in Family court will have a better idea for how you petition the court for full custody with out a lawyer......the clerk at the court house are very useful and knowledgable in these areas......they know EVERYThING !!! .....also, this is where a good support group would come in handy. People in support group can give you more advice on how to do this legally . And how they handled it. As you will find people in support groups have been through all kinds of situations....their knowledge will help,you !!! .reply to: amsterdamn87

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 03:03 PM
BTW, walls of text are hard to read . . .

And please excuse my added emphases to your excellent suggestions.

originally posted by: Meldionne1
Wow ! So sorry you have to deal with should know that there are support groups out there that can help ! Please seek the support and knowledge of a support group that fits your battle . You could start by asking a local church where to go, who to contact, or google ( schitzephrenia , divorce, mental illness, single parent ) for your area. Life will be so much easier with the knowledge and support from people who have been through what your going through.


Please, please,,please , do,this. ......... have the kids and now, it is YOUR responsibility to protect them from your ex's radical actions. [BoX: And those actions are highly unlikely to improve consistently, dependably for many years, if ever.]
It sounds like she's self medicating with drugs. are the bigger parent now and it is up to you to protect your family from her crap. ...set moral boundaries and stick to them. Meaning ; if you say she can't come back until she is sober for6 months, or taking medication for 6 months, firm and stick to that . Do not cave and take her back until she has proven to be stable and worthy of YOU.

Personally, I do NOT think that 6 months of good behavior is long enough. I'd say 3 years. Given her problems, I'd think even 3 years of good behavior would still be iffy as to whether she would continue clean and mostly healthy beyond that. Just imho.

.....also, you may want to seek legal council and make sure you have the kids legally via a court order. You do not want her sobering up and suddenly taking them away, or blind siding you with a court date for a child custody battle. which she will [highly likely] do eventually

ABSOLUTELY INDEED. THAT'S A VERY VERY CRITICAL AND CRUCIAL POINT. For the sake of your kids as well as your own sanity and health and functioning. Even just for you maintaining your job with minimum stress.

.....and lastly, ....I know you are heart broken, but focus on your children, and you...right now is your time to make sure your kids don't go down the same path as their mother.....I am willing to bet that m once you do this, you will find someone new who will bring you true happiness .

THANKS for a great list of very sane and important suggestions. Very wise.

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 03:07 PM
a reply to: amsterdamn87

Yes. It is difficult without two healthy parents.

However, it is also very disturbing, traumatizing to be persistently drug back and forth spending too long on visits with a very crazy parent. I think the visits should be supervised and relatively short for some time to come.

You might monitor how stressed out and how much acting out the kids do after a visit and judge and make future visiting decisions accordingly.

The kids will do OK with you being a stable loving foundation and post in their life.

posted on May, 1 2016 @ 03:08 PM
When my Ex-wife and I were married long ago she had some peculiar ways. She would be nice as hell sometimes and crabby and irrational other times. She was married three times after I was married to her and I warned her husbands of her ways but they thought I just had sour grapes because I divorced her. Well, all three of those marriages went real bad as she seized control of things and messed up their lives.

She has recently been diagnosed as Bipolar and a little psychotic and is on medicines for them. Well, recently means about twelve or thirteen years. They help somewhat but she still is a little off. She just doesn't have the strength to get violent anymore. My daughter and I know they aren't bringing her back to normal. I got divorced from her in eighty two, my daughter was born in eighty one. I lived with my Ex's grandmother for a few years after the divorce, my ex had custody but my daughter lived with her grandmother and I.

I met my new wife in eighty three and we got married in 84 and my Ex got married in 84 too. Her new husband adopted my daughter, He thought that might be best for the daughter to have two parents. Their marriage lasted about two years, I warned him, I believed him when he told me that it would be best if he adopted her. He is actually a nice guy, she drove him a little crabby in that two years but he recovered.

The only good thing that came out of my marriage was my daughter. It was worth all the headaches. My Ex still drives my daughter batty but does not bother the wife and I, she seems to respect us or something and does not go off the wall with us.

It seems that losing your temper with people like that just makes them a lot worse. I try to stay neutral and stay civil and she seems to stay calm. I just tell my daughter that her mom is the way she is and we cannot change that. But I don't have her hanging around my house all the time like she does. She may someday drive my daughter nuts.

People like that can teach you to have patients and understanding with others way above what most people have. You need to learn to remain calm and cool in all situations and use reason and honesty to control them. But it does not always work, sometimes you need to just walk away and come back when they are normal again. The episodes usually blow away after they take a nap. I don't know why that is but it does work. If you keep them from going to sleep, they keep getting worse. I think it is too much of a certain neurotransmitter that causes the problem. They need to consume foods with neuroregulator qualities, magnesium deficiency can also cause that to happen.

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