I feel sort of strange writing about this. Also, it's going to have to be long. DH is having an episode of mental illness. This is the third. Two years ago, he had for the first time a, well, "psychotic break with reality," an episode of such extreme paranoia that he felt that televisions were giving him messages. After the night when I found him in the bathroom unscrewing lightbulbs to look for bugs, he checked himself into the hospital for awhile and then took medicines. Then last summer, he had another bout. It's obviously brought on by specific, work-related stresses, and it begins with him worrying about things that are reasonable, about his position in terms of work. We are academics, and before you have a job, you can feel very vulnerable in terms of having your ideas accepted by those in the "establishment." He's also very worried about internet security. Anyway, when he's having episodes it escalates, and he loses the ability to distinguish legitimate fears from illegitimate ones. He's suspicious of our friends, of me, of everything.
So anyway. It's happening again. This time we have some of the anti-psychotic meds in the cabinet, and he's set up an appointment with his old therapist (he stopped going to therapy, of course) for Monday, and there's already a check-up with the psychiatrist that's been scheduled for mid-April for a long time. So we have some of the system in place. But I still feel alone. Alone in the house with a crazy person who -- this is the kicker -- does not accept that he has in any way lost perspective on things in the world. Graffiti contains secret messages to him. His students mention things in class that are meant as messages to him because they have looked him up on the internet. He yells at me for having "loose lips" (to him, this post would be another example), for things I said four months ago to someone at a party that has somehow compromised our security.
Unlike the last two times, I lack patience with him. I'm angry at him for not taking more steps after last time to prevent this relapse. His therapist recommended yoga, for example, which he never took up. He never takes his vitamins. He doesn't want to stay on an anti-depressant, which I'm sympathetic to, but doesn't take the extra care with nutrition and relaxation that would obviate the need. I know that mental illness is NOT HIS FAULT, but that doesn't prevent me from being angry that he hasn't been more proactive about managing it, as I've been proactive about managing my own anxiety issues. I'm angry that I saw the signs coming two weeks ago but when I asked about them he shrugged them off. I'm angry that he doesn't accept there is a problem, and as a result, I have to FIGHT with him to get him to take medicine, and I piss him off by "monitoring" what he's doing because I don't want him to say something to someone that he'll regret later. (For example, he was going to send an e-mail to our midwife's 15 year old daughter -- a local graffiti artist -- to ask about the messages to him in the graffiti. NO NO NO, honey, if you don't want our midwife to think you are weird and creepy, I think this is NOT the way to go!) So I have to FIGHT him to do all this stuff that I just do to try to help him and protect him. He yells at me and resists me. So it takes energy to worry about him, and energy to fight with him, and energy to not take personally the insults that he casts as a result of my attempts at intervention. (This is in addition to the energy that I need for my own job, and energy for being pregnant and tired.) He says he thinks he is FINE. But then he'll say, "I just don't understand what's going on right now." Um, nothing? Your brain is having a little trouble and needs a little medicine, that's all? But no. When he walks outside, he can feel the "convergences" in the air. This is preferable, though, to the mornings when he can't get out of bed, can't eat, when I have to insist I'm not leaving until you take two more bites. No, you have to eat another bite. I'm not leaving until you eat another bite!
Last time I had infinite patience. This time I do not. I'm pregnant and don't feel like being strong in that way. I have a REAL child to think about now, so I feel angry when I have to treat the other ADULT as a child. I'm finding it hard to bite my tongue, to not argue back. So when he hasn't taken his medication and is being crazy, we have fights. Where I should just recognize that he's not himself and be the "big person" and step away, I yell. For example, he'll tell me to close the windows (paranoia), and I'll set out to say, they'll be fine for a few minutes, but what comes out is "I'M SICK OF LIVING BY YOUR RULES!" followed by bursting into tears and yelling about how not only does he has to recognize he has a problem, but that yes we DO have to reorganize the study before the baby comes, he's not the boss of me! Uhm, mama, overwrought much? :redface
Anyway. I suspect arguing with him isn't the BEST strategy, but I don't know a better one, and I resent that right now I'd have to bottle up all my feelings, and plus when I get really upset, it usually shocks him into taking his medicine, which then seems to make him more reasonable. But really, I'm alone. His family and mine know that he's had these episodes, but what can they do? Nothing meaningful, unfortunately. It's all just me. Talking about it with family doesn't help.
I'm sure the stress of the pregnancy (because it makes our money situation more acute) contributes, but I want to say I don't think this is primarily about the pregnancy. He is excited about and very kind about the baby. I should also say that it's not bad all day everyday. It's kind of funny, sometimes, and we probably do both air grievances with each other that it usually isn't safe to air. And I am pretty patient and we cope well. But the absolute worst thing is that he insists that there is nothing wrong. He cannot admit that he is ill. And this is the thing that I find the most stressful. He doesn't understand, or can't, why this is stressful for me, because to his mind there is nothing wrong with him. And of course, I'm terrified about his happening again next year, when we have the baby.
So that's my deal. It's a weird situation. And I'm doing pretty well, but sometimes it's really hard because I am in no way an expert at this and I could use some kind thoughts, a pat on the back, some extra strength to help me remain cheery and calm and to remind me to feed the baby well because stress is kinda making me lose my appetite.