Hello out there,

Been married for 25 years this year, but couldn't take any more of the chaos so my sixteen year old son and I moved out of the marital home on August 13th. I rent a small home, and am working 30 hours a week at the local school as the job fitted in with caring not only for a severely mentally ill husband but for a very large old house and even larger gardens, huge in fact, my husband could not really help maintain the place. The remit was that while he was stable sell up and downsize, so that if he became manic again I could at least still work but would not have the added stress of looking after such an old rambling property.

The manic episodes last anything up to a year, increasing in severity from begining to end and ending in chaotic, unstable, totally crazy behaviour that knows no boundries. The person you knew as a husband or father no longer exists. He is verbally and so cruelly abusive, and all of lifes disasters are my fault. It doesn't matter that when more stable and aware he thanks you for caring for him when others would hate, and that he knows the difficulty the family faces each and every day.

He looks mad in these episodes, he also self medicates with alcohol and illegal substances, he is under the 'care' of a mental health team who are totally unable to help, as he has to become well to help himself.

Since I left two months ago, he has wrecked the home, had people stay who are known to the police, drug users and such, and because of the mental health of his 'lodgers', they fight amongst themselves and one such altercation resulted in my husband chasing after his 'friends' with a knife, screaming at the top of his voice. For this incident he was arrested, and is appearing at Crown Court in the near future. He has also tried to set fire to himself using kerosene actually in the house, which led to no damage to him, but the house took the brunt. I even received from my insurers the cause of damage as he had called in the accessors to make a claim, It stated that the owner had caused damage to his own home without knowing he was doing so, as he is unwell!

I can't divorce him, as he won't comply, I can't remove him as it is his house as well, and he won't let anyone who cares into this half life he lives as they might disrupt his mania. (His psychiatrist has told me manias are more pleasurable for the recipient to the depressive state.) He is having unprotected liasons with other vulnerable women, whilst the home is full of people, our daughter witnessing one such act whilst she called to pick up some of her belongings, urinating in the street, while people watch who are his neighbours and one time friends.

He was working part time when I was with him, but now he is at home doing nothing, spending money that he hasn't got, and talks to me with such venom as I had the audacity to leave him. Everyone around including people from his family and a few friends he has left cannot believe this is the same man. Still he cannot be sectioned, I am now not able to talk to his mental health team, as in July he told them he didn't want me to be his carer any more.
It isn't as easy as that. I am in a different house, I am working to support my son, and pay the rent, but his behavior does affect us all, even though we are no longer offically his carers. The fact his is wrecking our home, the only finacial thing we have left, he rings members of the family if he overdoses, if he needs picking up from court, and due to the fact he has no insight what so ever he doesn't understand why everyone is so concerned for his safety and for those around him. They call this 'care in the community', and when I ask what the remit is to have someone sectioned I am told that if a person is a danger to himself and or others. This has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, and we still care but get the fallout from his actions, but no help. The husband that I knew would be appalled if he could see himself now, he may have been a bit moody as a young man, but this is most definately an illness that gets very little help to those who care, and those who suffer the illness.

I'm exhausted but still have to carry on, even though I feel isolated, I live nearly three hundred miles away from my primary family members, and they all have lives of their own with there own sets of problems. I feel at my wits end, but keep up the pretence of coping as that is all I can do, fake it to make it so they say. My son is suffering too, his dad has dissappeared, and he has had to grow up so fast without much fun either. My daughter moved out at 19 as she couldn't take any more. Finacially I help them both, and I don't earn a great deal myself.

I know I can't throw the towel in, but I do need to speak to other carers, that know just what I am going through.

Sorry for the long introductory email, and althouth it contains no laughs, it does still remain full of hope for our future.

Regards all

Treez