I thinking of giving up.

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
I been a carer for the last 24 years since I married my wife. I new she had mental health issues and I thought I could save her. We had 2 children and then lost 2 this sent my wife (understandably) into a down would spiral that she never recovered. I then had a life changing car crash because I was rushing home to deal with the latest criss. That was ten years ago since then she has imprisoned us both in our home for tens years its just been the same thing looking at the same walls. All that time I tried to help her help herself and slowly it was working. Then PIP came into play she got turned I went to court and won, I got turned down and all my NHS services had to stop have to wait 22 weeks / 5 and half months to hear. My daughter had a child and she now given up as she has postnatal depression. I trying and failing to keep my family together but something has to give. It doesn't help I have fibromyalgia, chronic arthritis / depression / insomnia / and know a thyroid problem. I get no help as my wife has a potential to be violent. My kids over 21 both us me as a PA and driver and I had enough. I want to walk but if I do I made myself deliberately homeless and so not eligible for housing what am I supposed to do. I can live on the streets with my condition.
Clifford hi

It's entirely understandable you want to throw in the towel. Many people would have done so years ago, so well done to you for your strength of character that you have stuck it this far.

May I first say that mental illness is a 'mystery' illness in many ways still. The medics seem unable to come up with any 'clear cause' - is it 'genetic', in our genes, something we are born with, like any other genetic conditions (eg, muscular dystrophy) that we can, therefore do 'nothing about it' (except maybe treat the symptoms).

Or is it because life has rained down blows upon us in some way (most obviously, the blows we may receive in childhood from 'bad stuff happening to us' - whether that is the death of a parent, brought up in a care home, cruel parents, drug-alcohol addicted parents, etc, or just generally dysfunctional families....and also, of course, being raised in a home with a parent with mental illness!)(of which more below)

So, is it 'intrinsic' - something we are born with. Or is it 'external' - something that is caused in us by horrible things happening in our personal environment?

Or is a mix of both? For example, someone with a genetic predisposition to mental illness (eg, in depression, say, the lack of enough of our 'happiness chemicals' in the brain, so we 'under-produce' them), is then exposed to 'bad things' (eg a druggie parent), and that is enough to send them spiralling downwards.

You already mention you very sadly lost two of your four children - if that happened during pregnancy that is bad enough ,but if they were lost at birth, or thereafter, that is even worse worse worse.

For many of us, that would be enough to send us spiralling downward into profound depression that is caused, fundamentally, by deep, deep grief.

But if your wife already suffered from MH (should be MI really, shouldn't it - ie, not 'mental health MH but mental illness MI), for ewhatever reason, then that loss could so well and so understandably have sent her spirally down down down.

BUT, whatever the cause - ie, genetic or environmental, if your wife was not in treatment of some kind (pills and therapy) or refused it, or it wasn't effective - and her MH has just either remained obstinately the same or even got worse, is there any hope in sight do you think for her?

May I ask bluntly - do you think she makes any effort to reduce the negative impact of her MH on herself, and on you?

To me, whilst I understand how hard it is for someone with MH to 'force themselves' to 'improve', or at least, really do all that can be done to 'defeat' or 'reduce' their MH, I also think that at some point they MUST make 'some degree of effort'.

They can't just 'give in' to the MH.

I also think, for those who care for them, ie, in this case, you!, we have to be very careful that the care we are giving them is actually 'supportive' ....ie, it is helping them constantly get to a better place in their minds.

Or is it only 'enabling' - ie, allowing them to stay where they are....

It's like, are you a crutch, that helps them walk forward, or a wheelchair that simply carries them 'effortlessly' through life, so they never have to walk themselves!


I would say to you, if you wanted to give it 'one last go' to tell your wife that things have to change, she has to get significantly 'better' or you will be leaving her, and give her say, three months to do so, then you could very, very well be entirely justified in throwing in the towel, and making a life for yourself elsewhere in some way.

It might not be easy, but you would be free.
It is analogous with domestic abuse, so I reckon if you tell the housing dept the circumstances, then they are bound by law to treat you equally with any one else escaping from domestic abuse or violence.
That is a good idea about the domestic abuse, if your wife is violent at all.

Why not phone Shelter and see what your position is.

I would do a financial audit for YOURSELF - ie, what would you have to live on the day you walk out? Do you have any savings at all?

If it comes to divorce, you may have to cope with dividing up 'joint assets' such as they are (or rather, such as the courts decide they are!), for example 'the car' or whatever (including white goods too, maybe, like washing machines ,that kind of thing)

But that is further out. For the moment, your priorities are finding out:

- can you be rehoused, and if so, when, and also maybe where? (You may actually want to be further away from your current location - you don't want your children just turning up on your new doorstop and expecting the same degree of support as you are giving them now!) (Is there any chance a housing charity/trust could offer you accommodation to 'tied you over'? Shelter will know I would hope. (You MUST mention the severe mental condition of your wife, her violent tendencies, and the fact you've looked after her for so long - this is NOT you 'walking out on a sick woman', it's about you having done your utmost, and reached your limit after a LONG time....you DESERVE your own life now.)

- what will your financial position be, both immediately, and longer term? What might you be entitled to, benefits-wise, to live on to begin with, and later on, is there any chance you'd be able to get a job at all (ie, if there are any, and if you are well enough)

Wishing you all the best. You've 'done your bit' (and a lot more!), and it's time for you to have some 'freedom'.
clifford wrote:I been a carer for the last 24 years since I married my wife. I new she had mental health issues and I thought I could save her. We had 2 children and then lost 2 this sent my wife (understandably) into a down would spiral that she never recovered. I then had a life changing car crash because I was rushing home to deal with the latest criss. That was ten years ago since then she has imprisoned us both in our home for tens years its just been the same thing looking at the same walls. All that time I tried to help her help herself and slowly it was working. Then PIP came into play she got turned I went to court and won, I got turned down and all my NHS services had to stop have to wait 22 weeks / 5 and half months to hear. My daughter had a child and she now given up as she has postnatal depression. I trying and failing to keep my family together but something has to give. It doesn't help I have fibromyalgia, chronic arthritis / depression / insomnia / and know a thyroid problem. I get no help as my wife has a potential to be violent. My kids over 21 both us me as a PA and driver and I had enough. I want to walk but if I do I made myself deliberately homeless and so not eligible for housing what am I supposed to do. I can live on the streets with my condition.
Sorry, I'm going to be blunt...It sounds like you've made your decision to walk away. Have you felt like this a long time? Many years maybe...if so it's time to plan your get away isn't it. You have to plan it beforehand I'd say...Good Luck...You shouldn't stay with someone regardless of MH problems who inflicts it on you...she has to help herself and she isn't. Xx
Hello Clifford, how have you coped all these years? You are a credit to your family with your love, devotion and determination to stick by them through the rough times. I hope there were good times as well.But it has been to the detriment of your own health, mental and physical, to which no-one seems to be paying attention.

Is it possible you could get some sort of help or Respite? Would you accept it? A break from all your responsibilities and the family environment would give you a chance to step back and also give everyone else a chance to step up to the mark in your absence.

Does your GP know your situation? Can you get your wife to attend a Day Centre? Do you have access to Carers' Breaks in your area for a little holiday for yourself? You will probably feel guilty about any action that may take you away from your caring but it will be in your best interest to override these particular guilty feelings. You have to look after yourself Clifford as all the other people who have replied suggest. Otherwise, your family you've so desperately tried to look after will lose a good man. Take care.
I do not know how you have coped for so long and I would not blame you if you start making plans.
If you wife has violent tendencies, please keep a diary.Totally agree contact your local Council and they are by law, bound to help re house you as a victim of domestic abuse . There are charities that do offer help to male victims of abuse - please google and at least talk to an adviser. I do agree that you need to make plans first though before leaving. It takes a while for the legal wheels to turn, so even if you have some equity in your property it could take a year or two to release it. I would personally also take half out of the joint account and put it in an account in your own name.

All I can do is ask you to keep posting. I am in a similar position although only for 4 years officially - unofficially nearer 7 and my husband is much older than me.Trying to help someone who is difficult, potentially violent/abusive and won't co-operate would affect the kindest of us and I for one would not judge you for walking away and trying to find some happiness in what remains of your life.
Don't walk mate. I felt same way last week when my mum did what looked like a 'dirty protest' on the wc seat - sent few emails to people with rooms to rent.

Go to citizens advice and speak them bout your situ. Tell them given circumstances, you need be rehoused by your local authority URGENTLY. It might not work but it's worth a try?
I relieved that people responded I thought I was just being selfish as jenny lucas said it has been my concern that for the last four years I have been worried that I have been making her condition worse. I forced her to see a shrink and get a diagnoses. It turned out to be a multi personality disorder with alexithymia with an unstable personality disorder but the first time the shrink put his foot down she refused treatment. I told her I feel just like help and that she treats me like a slave. She doesn't care and when I point out she can't feel emotion so how's she ever loved me she changed the subject. My wife has a high IQ and I believe she manipulated the last 25 years and has driven of every one we know family and friends. I feel so alone and as everything is my wife's name as she has the higher disability rating I am a loss at what to do I contacted shelter they only help rehousing 16- 21 year old in major cities only and the charities for men there are only three and they are all in the north of england an only help people with in 5o miles. I can't go to CAB as I went to a support group in my village and my wife Kick of before every meeting and call me and the meeting place so I felt I could go back. So I leave the house only to nip up the shops if I more than 10 mins I get call and if I don't answer she hits the panic button and I have the police call and tell me to go home and take care of my wife. I don't know what to do. I tried to get a social work to help and get respite care but she threatened her and so My wife was blacklisted for support. If any one got any Ideas I love to her them. It seams that every thing I tried she has covered.
From everything you say, it looks like escape is most definitely necessary for you. But I appreciate it's difficult as the system is not geared to support you in the slightest.

Although of course the strongest trump card you possess is that NO ONE can be forced to care for someone who is not a minor, therefore you are free to leave at any point for any reasons YOU want to, without any explanation or justification or anything else at all.

Thinking about how your wife is, though, I'm worried that even if, say, you managed to get a tenancy on separate flat for yourself, she would refuse to acknowledge that, and simply make your life hell by continuing to plague you, contact you, maybe go round to you, call the police, whatever whatever.

I'm not sure of what the legal situation is if you simply continue to live in your current accommodation, but refuse to do anyth.ng for her at all. As I say, you have no legal obligation to care for her, but doing something like writing a letter to her GP, and SS, to state formally that you are withdrawing ALL care for her, and that in future you have nothing to do with her, and anything concerning her is just not your business any more.

But it's hard to share the same address with someone who wants you to be their carer, and has the kind of severe mental health problems she has - 'reason' is not a word in her mental make up I suspect. You are 'useful' to her, a psychological and physical prop, and that is all now. Horrible, but difficult to avoid that conclusion.

I'm sorry Shelter were so useless, but I guess, in a way understandably, they have higher priorities.

What is the situation with your children - do they live 'elsewhere', and do they live with partners. Is there any chance you could go and stay with one or them for the time being, while you find accommodation of your own? But even that is highly flawed as you say at least one of your children has depression as well anyway, and they are happy to use you themselves too.

I do think a financial audit of your own circumstances is required first off, from any personal savings you have in your own bank account (though see below), to what income comes in to you personally (ie, into your own account), even if that income derives from your current status as your wife's carer (eg, Carers' Allowance for example.). Then look at what you yourself would be abl to claim, if anything, because of your own 'unemployed' (for now - again, see below) status and any sickenss related benefits you get for yourself.

That will give your base line budget.

Then look at what will (eventually) be allocated to you by divorce judge (but that takes time).

You say everything is in your wife's name, but surely not the lease of the council property (I take it this is the situation, or a private landlord. You don't own any property yourselves?) (I wish you did, it would make the situation much easier - you just put the property on the market - it's possible to sell without the consent of the other co-owner, though it may require a court to force them to agree to sell!)(which will take time.)

In terms of employment, is there anything you could do now, in your current situation. Obviously, it would require giving up carers allowance - and caring! - but it would give a degree of income, even if modest for the time being, even if it were part time. Could you build up a 'war chest' for yourself (a 'running away' fund if you like!)

If you got back into work, for a few months, that might be a platform to build on for eventually getting a job, say, that came with its own accommodation! I'm not sure how easy this is for men, but magazines like The Lady are full of adverts for 'live in' jobs. Yes, they may involve caring/property caring, but that would surely be better than looking after your ungrateful wife etc etc.

it might also get you 'far away' from her, and that could be just what you need now.

One pretty drastic alternative might be to check out the homeless hostels near you, and talk to those who run them. Would they take you in 'temporarily' while you 'adjust' your life to living 'beyond' your wife? It's probably pretty grim, but is it any grimmer than your current dire existence?

I appreciate it's easy for someone like me, a 'stranger on a forum' to come up with one thing after another, none of which are any good, but if something - anything ! - throws up an idea, it might set the ball rolling.

Feeling trapped is a ghastly feeling. I felt it when I 'inherited' my 89 y/o MIL who had 'no one else' to look after her as her dementia started. I wanted to scream my head off. My brother called it 'the monkey on my back' because it clung to me and I could NOT 'free myself' of it. (I did in the end, I put her in a home....)

You need your life back, you need your freedom. But, to get that, first of all, you need somewhere to sleep nights, and a means of buying food. Or you will stay trapped in this misery of a life which is no life at all.