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Psychotic Wife Tests Marriage August 5, 2010

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in Bipolar Disorder, Delusions, Hallucinations, Involuntary Committment, Mental Hospital, mental illness.
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My nervous breakdown tested my marriage in a major way.  I’m very lucky that my marriage has survived that horrible ordeal- at least for the present.

From the time the voices started in February to the time I was hospitalized in late May, the voices tried to convince me to divorce my husband of 25 years.

The first reason that the voices told me to divorce him was to protect my newly acquired $1.5 million jewelry collection. This collection included a supposedly “yellow diamond” ring acquired at Target for $20, which the voices assured me was actually a real yellow diamond ring worth a million dollars (not true) and an abalone bracelet that I bought from Goodwill that the voices said was an antique bracelet once owned by my Great-grandmother Mermaid and now worth $500,000 (also not true).

The second reason they said I should divorce him was that he was the real behind-the-scenes person responsible for locking me up in a mental hospital, and he was going to keep me there as long as he legally could (not true) and that my only chance of escape from my “prison” was to divorce him as soon as possible. So the first chance I got at the mental hospital I called my attorney to get the divorce proceedings started.  But as the medication began to take effect, I lost the ability to follow through with my actions because I became lethargic and confused. Finally, as the medication began to cause the delusions and hallucinations to go away, I came to realize that my husband wasn’t really trying to keep me locked up, and that I really didn’t have a $1.5 million jewelry collection for him to go after.

After I returned home and began to realize the magnitude of the damage I inflicted both personally and financially, I became convinced that he was going to divorce me, and that he was just waiting for me to get well enough to divorce him. After all, why would he stay?

Besides the paranoia about what I perceived as my impending divorce, I was undergoing a major medication-induced identity crisis.

The reality was that Bob was free to divorce me at any time, and many less patient men would have simply walked away from me at numerous points. Some husbands would have left back in February or May, when I started talking about wanting a divorce, or in late May when I was spending tens of thousands of dollars. Others would have served me divorce papers in the hospital, as happened to some of my fellow patients.  Still other spouses would have waited until I was on my feet again, able to take care of myself, before cutting the cord.

He put up with the trials of living with a woman going through a severe break with reality, including the delusions and paranoia that accompanied the break. He watched helplessly as an out-of-control woman who was legally still his wife but whom he didn’t recognize begin to dismantle his financial future by spending thousands of dollars on clothes and plants and even a $50,000 Lexus convertible.

Then, he suffered through the three weeks I spent at a mental hospital, unable to share that fact with anyone due to the tremendous stigma attached to that fact. As if the fact that I was at a mental hospital wasn’t shocking enough, he found the courage to visit me on a daily basis, despite my less-than-pleasant reception ( I thought he was holding me there on purpose against my will). He didn’t understand what kind of world I inhabited, but realized that I wasn’t really “there” when he visited me, but nevertheless suffered through his daily visits with me anyway. He watched as I tried to take up smoking. He listened when I continued to ask him for a divorce, even listening patienly as I gave him a piece of paper that represented a preliminary breakdown of the assets I planned to receive in our upcoming divorce settlement.

Even when he saw that I was not getting better, and when I ignored him when he visited, he still hung in there. He understood the very real possibility that my mind might be forever locked up in my fantasy world, unable to return to the real world. He realized that he might have to take care of me – what was left of me- alone, might have to raise our kids- alone.

My real road to recovery didn’t begin to materialize until several weeks after I was released.  But as the medication that would bring me back to the real world began to take effect, the side effects from the medication were another nightmare. Depression, suicide thoughts, Parkinson’s disease symptoms, grogginess, fainting, constant crying, weight gain, and a myriad of other medication-induced symptoms became the norm. I couldn’t read, couldn’t drive, could barely walk, had balance problems, couldn’t comb my hair or peel a banana or make my bed. I was anxiety-riddled, having to have my days planned out to the last minute or I’d become miserable. I was almost totally helpless, and there was no guarantee that my physical health would ever return. He supported me through that horrible period without complaint. He was always there for me.

As my side effects slowly began to diminish over time, and as I again returned to the land of the living, some of the pressure is off.  But without the love and support of him and my family, I would still be in the psychotic world, disconnected from reality, for the rest of my life. I’m one of the few lucky ones who has managed to find their way back.



1. BowlingJoe - August 6, 2010

We’re glad you made it back, Crazy Mermaid. And your husband is pretty awesome, too.

2. Rodders - August 27, 2010

Your husband is a very good person – hope he hasn’t suffered too much emotional pressures.

I only say this because sometimes I don’t know how the other halves put up with people like me as well with similar actions.

3. One marriage. Two mental illnesses. « Jumbling Towers - September 28, 2010

[…] Crises like John’s shake the foundations of a marriage. An equal partner becomes a caretaker. Plans and dreams for the future become a thing of the past. Worst of all, the person you love most in the world is suffering, but he cannot see that fact for himself. When you try to help him, he sees your help as an attack. […]

4. Heather Whistler - September 28, 2010

I really appreciated this post. I was on the other side of a psychotic breakdown, and one of the scariest moments was when my husband started throwing around the word “divorce.”

I knew he wasn’t in his right mind, I knew he wouldn’t want a divorce when the delusions and paranoia loosened their grip, but I wasn’t sure at the time if they’d ever let him go. And I was terrified that if he continued to push to be free of me, there would be no one to help him—as you so eloquently put it—find his way back to himself.

I linked to your post in a new article on my blog about what it was like to watch my husband go through his mental health crisis. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have a chance to stop by: http://heatherwhistler.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/one-marriage-two-mental-illnesses/

5. Andy - December 19, 2012

My wife suffers from long-term psychosis and has been sectioned a number of times when it gets bad. Please, if you love your husband accept your condition and religously take your medication. My wife refuses to acknowledge her condition and breaks off her medication regularly (or fakes taking it), resulting in yet another psychotic episode where she accuses me of trying to kill her to get the house (despite the fact I bought it before evn marrying her). It has reached the point where, despite the fact I love her I’m going to have to get a divorce to protect my own health – she has nearly driven me to suicide many times during our twelve year marriage.

Your husband is right, by the way – he would be screwed in a divorce, as would I (despite having no kids she would get half the house and maintenance), but it has got to the point where I think my own sanity is more important and may go for divorce

6. Moses - August 26, 2014

I know what this all means as i am going through this now with my wife in the hospital and asking for a divorce because i did things that i don’t even know, sites like this give me support.
i go to her everyday and eat dinner with her and give her support show her my love even as she is rejecting me now and emotionally hurting me but i love her too much and i know it is not her talking and she would be fine

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