Time to walk away?

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
I don’t know where else to turn so I am hoping that writing everything here will help me make a decision on where I go from here with life.
I have been with my husband since I was 16 (17 years) and we have 2 kids (7 & 13). Because we have been together so long he was also my best friend.
He got addicted to prescription painkillers years ago and getting him of them was terrible. Then once he got of them the depression hit, he got help for the depression 3.5 years ago when he ruined a friends wedding and tried to strangle me in front of everyone. That night changed our lives as we lost our friends and although I took the kids to the caravan for a couple of days I took him back. He had contacted lifeline about taking his own life and they contacted me. He went and got help, was taking antidepressants for a while and the depression was still there For a very long time, eventually we went private for him to see a counsellor last spring and that helped for a while but it ended. He took himself of the antidepressants last July and was ok for a few months but slipped back into severe depression. Since January it has been unbearable! He is so angry all the time, he doesn’t want to speak or do anything and he can’t manage normal tasks like paying bills etc. I have quite a lot of credit cards I need to repay and I have his car and all in my name as his credit rating Is bad but it makes me feel so much like his carer instead of his wife. I know it sounds selfish but I just don’t think I can do this anymore. All I want is to be able to come home at night and have a normal conversation about the day but that doesn’t happen. He takes everything out on me and is hard to talk to. On Monday night I talked to him to say I think he should see the doctor but he was reluctant as says the tablets make him like a zombie so I suggested the counsellor. What was really upsetting was I told him I felt unloved and I didn’t think he wanted to be with me anymore. He just said he did but he didn’t act like it (no hug or anything). I got home from work last night and he was already home saying he couldn’t work as he was sick because ‘I made him’ take the tablets- he yelled this at me. He had taken some of the tablets he had left from last year. I didn’t speak to him and then he went to work but had to turn and come back as He was ill today, he said he is calling the doctor tonight but no sign yet and I haven’t spoke to him. I need to decide if I just ask him to leave as we have been through so much between addiction and depression the last 6 years - I don’t think I have it in me To go through it again and I don’t get anything in return. I think I am only here this long partly as I don’t want a marriage to fail and be embarrassed but mainly because I don’t want to put the kids through a divorce. But now I think they may be happier without him bringing the mood in the house down and I use up all my energy on him so I have none left for them. I feel so alone and I know this probably sounds like I’m selfish but I have honestly been through so much and supported him through so much, I just want to be the one taken care of and loved for a change. He’s so erratic, I can’t talk reasonably to him. I am the main earner although he has always worked hard but he spens his money on silly things so I end up paying for all kids stuff, Christmas presents, holidays etc which also annoys me. I was away with a guy in work last week and he came into me- for the first time I actually though I might cheat (Just for a millisecond) but I didn’t do anything . I think it just showed me someone took an interest. I would never cheat on him , I do love him but I think it’s the old him I love . I don’t want to have wasted 17 years of my life but I don’t want another 17 living like this. So sorry just realised this is like an essay but it’s good getting it all out!
Honestly, I don't know why you have tried so hard for so long. Only one person can make the decision, to go, but I'd be with you all the way. He won't change, because he is incapable of change.
Thanks, I guess it’s just scary and I don’t know any different as I have never been on my own. I don’t know how to even go about it as I don’t know where he will go and I am slightly scared he may try to take his life as I don’t think I could live with myself
Hi Krystle
Try contracting your local domestic abuse support. Domestic abuse doesn't just cover violence but psychological abuse too. They may well have strategies and support and information for you.

Even though he obviously has issues, he shouldn't take them out on you and the children. It sounds like, over the year's, he is taking his anger at himself out on you, which is not acceptable. You have to safeguard yourself and the children first, and at some point he has to take responsibility for himself

Thanks MrsA , he does take his anger out on me and is moody with the kids but not violent (apart from that once at the wedding but friends pulled him of me so I wasn’t hurt). Thank u x
My circumstances are different to yours Krystle. However, I met my husband at a young age and was married at 18. Sadly now,he is in a nursing home because of strokes and vascular dementia. My soulmate. My point of explaining this to you... I've had to learn to cope on my own. It took me 12months to make a start with house maintenance because of an emergency. You will cope honestly! I understand it very emotional for you and scary. Your need musts come first along with your children's.Living in fear of emotional abuse just can't go on.
Anyway that's my take on it. ((( Hugs)) to you at a difficult time. We are here for you
Pet 66
PS I do have family who are very supportive,. Have you?
My own take is simply that enough is enough - at least for now. You have slipped into the dangerous role of 'enabling him' rather than 'supporting him'. Enabling is allowing the person to continue 'as is' without making any real changes to their life or behaviouir.

Remember, you are NOT responsible for his unhappiness, depression, addiction, misery etc. HE is. HE is responsible for his life, but those with MH feel they are NOT responsible and NOT powerful to change it. So he's 'collapsing' on you.

He won't change while you go on being as you are, ie, living with him.

I think you should start a Project Leave - as in, start planning, in your head, and from a practical point of view, what needs to be done for you NOT living with your husband. For a start, are YOU going to leave, or him?

Start with the finances, as these are 'impersonal' and also actually the most important factor - they will determine what you can and can't do (eg, if you were zillionaires you could just move into one of your many houses!).

To b brutal, YOU leaving HIM is probably going to be easier, as it's hard to get someone out of a house when they don't want to go! Question is, where will YOU and the children go? Obviously HIM leaving is better, but where will HE go? Does he have family left? How do you get him out?

Financially, where is the money etc etc. Are you in paid work, what's the mortgage, do you rent, etc etc etc. You have to look at it totally (eg, you mention credit card bills etc). Do you have joint bank accounts (if you do, immediately put YOUR money into your OWN bank account - open one straight away).

Do you have friends, family to help, either with somewhere to stay if you need it, or help you financially. If you leave, what can you claim in benefits, child support etc etc.

When you've done all this, then personally I would talk to my elder child and simply ask what they want. You say you don't want to put them through a divorce but believe me, as the child of unhappily married parents myself they will ALREADY be distressed and unhappy! Having a parent with MH is VERY distressing (I know!).

I'm not saying divorce instantly because it COULD be that when you are not there 'enabling' him to keep the way he is he WILL finally get the stimulus and find the courage to get himself sorted out properly. Then there MAY be a chance for the marriage to pick up again and succeeed. Right now, it's in free fall failure, costing you, and your children, your happiness. That isn't right.

As Pet says, having to live alone again is horrible ....I was widowed some years ago - but it can be done. You DO adapt, you DO get used to it. And it may not be for ever. For a start, your husband may finally sort himself out, it's a possibility. Or, later on, you may meet someone else (I know that's impossible to think of at the moment, but it could happen when the time becomes right).

This is a very difficult time for you. Do ask friends, family...and join forums for other divorced mums, to see what their experiences have been etc etc. Ask yourself the main question - this time next year, what do I want my life to be like?

The answer will be - not like this. THen the only question is - how to change it for the better. Continuing 'as is' is NOT an option.
Actually, I think he should leave, leave his wife and children in their home. He has done enough damage already. I know that in some divorce cases the wife and kids get the home, but no idea about how it works in detail. Who owns the house?
I agree. My concern is whether he'll actually leave! Getting someone out of a place is pretty tricky alas.

Krystle, what made your husband get addicted to legal painkillers? What I'm after is whether it was 'accidential', ie, he used them for a physical ailment then realised he was hooked, and that set off all his MH problems since. Or, was the MH always there in him (if so WHY??) and the painkillers were just his way of coping with it.
What's important is to ascertain WHY he has these problems that he does, and that will indication what will need to happen to 'fix' them.
Hi all, gosh I am so touched with so many helpful responses and sorry I haven’t been back on until now. Thank you all.

The mortgage is in my name so if we end things then I am sure he would be the one to leave.

His MH started with the painkiller addiction as the doctor put him on co-codamol for his knees. He never showed signs of depression before that although I do think he has issues to address with his dad abondoning him but living up the road from us etc.

Financially it would be a struggle and I have taken your advice to prepare myself. Ultimately I could manage though as I do have a good family and I am the main earner in our house. I don’t think I would get benefits but would manage. I am working through finances so that I am not held back from making a decision to leave in the future.

For now though I have decided to take it day by day for a while.

I was brave the other night and said to him ‘I want to let you know that I am considering whether I want to be in this relationship’ he immediately said ‘fine I’ll leave tomorrow’ and I said ‘ you can if that’s what you want but I am still trying to work things through in my head’ he said ‘I don’t know what u want from me’ and I replied ‘ I want to be happy, I want to come home to someone who I can chat about my day Witt, I want our kids to be happy and at the minute it may be a happier household without u’ he softened then and told me he loved me and the kids and knew he had been putting up a barrier of defence. Hess if he always feels like I am cheating on him and he knows I’m not but in his head he then puts up a defence. I told him I am not standing for his possessive and jealousy anymore, I have never cheated and never would. I explained my kids come first. He said the tablets made him sick but the counselling worked well and he has been in touch with the counsellor to set things up with her. He has been making a real effort the last few days and it is o lovely to kind of have my husband back. I am not naive though as I am all to familiar with how depression works so I am still going to ensure that I am in a position to walk away if that is what it comes to. But I’m going to take it day by day here for a while and see how things go. ( I have never threatened to leave so hopefully it was a wake up call he needed) and things are going to change here.

Thank you all again for your kind support. You will probably never know how much it meant for me.