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It was a year ago that I was either going to GBCW to my living situation or to my life.  Thankfully I chose the former and checked into the clinic to be treated for the PTSD and depression.  My living situation was just no longer sustainable; it wasn't even living - just existing.

The clinic dealt me a better hand.  I got my life back on track - at least manageable, got back to my dissertation, gave a paper at a conference in March (and why I've stayed away from this time sinkhole named Daily Kos), abstinent from booze while working on sobriety with AA.  Hell, I even quit smoking in Christmas Eve, though now I need to lose a pound or two.

And I met a really cool woman and we've developed a serious relationship.  That also has done wonders for me as I am 45 and I thought, when I was simply existing, that that sort of thing wasn't in the cards for me.

Then this week happened...

I am not sure how to deal with this but there is no question that deal with it I will.  This woman that I love very much is now in the clinic since yesterday and diagnosed with schizophrenia, hallucinations, and paranoia.

I am sure I am not the only kossack in this boat.  That is why I am writing this diary, perhaps others have some advice.  Let me say first of all that it doesn't deter me in the least from my commitment to this woman but I feel kinda helpless at the moment.  It was very difficult yesterday to see her strapped to that bed in the secure ward.

This last year has been wonderful for us both.  The best year I've had since I can remember.  She finished her magisterium (a combined undergrad/grad program at the MA level her in Germany although they are phasing it out in favor of the BA/MA model) in social pedagogy, psychology and education.  Three weeks ago she landed a job with an excellent starting salary at a home for troubled youths in the area although the shift work was taking a toll on her.  I thought perhaps she simply needed time to adjust from student life to working life.  And while I got service connected for PTSD in February 2009, I am still waiting for my rating and backpay, so we were talking about when I got my back pay that perhaps we would take a hiking vacation to Iceland in late summer/early autumn.

Then her mother showed up unexpectedly on Friday morning.  Now there is some history there and my partner was emotionally and physically abused as a child.  I am speculating that working with troubled (and abused) youths and the unexpected shock of her mother showing up was her trigger.

Since then things got really weird.  Her sister drove up from Nuremberg, about two hours away, on Sunday.  She asked me to look after my partner and take her to the doctor on Tuesday (Monday was a catholic holiday).  The doctor's office was closed, but all day my partner would laugh at in-approriate things, like she was stoned or something.

Then Tuesday night, I woke up around 11 PM because it was too warm and I went into my room to write some more on the diss.  About 2 AM my partner comes into my room and there behind her are two big guys.

It was the polizei.

My partner had woken up, was half dressed, left without me even noticing, and was driving on the highway without her lights turned on.  No alcohol or drugs, so the polizei brought her home and then took her to the psychiatric clinic after we spoke about it but the polizei said she reacted as if she was stoned as well.  They were really  actually very nice guys.

At 6AM, the door to the bedroom opens and it is my partner - she escaped from the clinic.  I still do not know how but she still has the intraveneous thingy-ma-bob in her wrist.

I took her to our doctor while she kept trying to go to the dermatologist and dentist along the way.  The doctor referred her back to the clinic.  She was by this time just like a five-year-old child and I had to bribe her with chinese lunch and then an icecream cone to get her to the clinic.  Then, as I am speaking on the intercom with the orderlies to get inside, she disappears.

I was in a panic.  They called the polizei once more.  Eventually they found her in another part of the clinic.  It was rough.  She sent me a sms from the clinic

Wenn du das liest, sind dann Olga und Bjoern nicht mehr unsere kinder?

If you read this, then are Olga and Bjoern not our children anymore?

Yes, that question makes no sense in either German or English and we don't have kids.  I brought her some things yesterday and it was hammer-hard, as they say here, to see her strapped to the bed.  She tried to once again leave the clinic and take her roommate's clothes with her (she thought they were a gift).

So, yea, I am not sure how to deal with this but deal with it I will.  I love this woman, just the way she is.  I guess that is the real meaning of in sickness and in health of those wedding vows.  Maybe just writing a diary is a way to deal with it.

Thanks for listening/reading

Originally posted to Jeffersonian Democrat on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:26 AM PDT.

Also republished by Pink Clubhouse and Mental Health Awareness.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh, Jeff Dem (10+ / 0-)

    So sorry, you've had such a bad time and come so far. I can't do much more than send cyberhugs, but T&Ring so this will get more eyes.

    Perhaps some others in Germany will have some answers?

    Hang in there. Could she possibly be having a bad reaction to something in food or meds? Extreme allergic reactions can present that way that suddenly.

    {{{JeffDem}}}

    Amount of federal money to National Public Radio in 2010: $2,700,000 / Amount to Jerry Falwell's Liberty University: $446,000,000 / Source -- Harper's Index, June 2011

    by Mnemosyne on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:35:55 AM PDT

  •  My heart goes out to you (14+ / 0-)

    It's bad enough to be schizophrenic, without the hallucinations and paranoia.

    You need a support group.  Talk to the clinic and ask about support groups for people in your situation.  You can talk to your physician, or even your preferred house of worship.  The most important thing I can tell you is, don't do this alone.

    You're going to be doing a lot, and you'll be getting little in return.  You need the support group to keep you grounded.

    Good luck, and my prayers are going out for you.

    "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

    by MikeTheLiberal on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:36:39 AM PDT

  •  Oh man, JD, I am sorry. (11+ / 0-)

    That is very difficult to deal with, but with the right type of support and love, these things are treatable.

    My wife has a friend that was diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age, but she is married with children now and doing OK.

    I wish you all the best getting through this, and on the dissertation.

    "... the Professional Left, that is simultaneously totally irrelevant and ruining everything" (Glenn Greenwald)

    by ranger995 on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:37:03 AM PDT

  •  Very carefully (16+ / 0-)

    I can appreciate your dilemma as my family has a long history of mental illness, including myself and my younger brother. While I won't hijack your thread by detailing my own problems, let me assure you that I know exactly what you are dealing with.

    The most important thing is to make sure that you take care of yourself! I cannot stress this enough. Make sure that you keep track of your own mental health first. If you slip into depression then you are no good to either of you.

    I'm not sure how old your partner is, but it is not uncommon for these types of diseases to become apparent well into the thirties. I was finally diagnosed with what I feel is my core illness at 33. After some time and careful tweaking with my medications, I am back to "normal". I still have good days and bad days but I'm still in the land of reality.

    All of this is to say that, if her disease was just recently diagnosed then there is plenty of reason to believe that things will get better. I'm sure that there is a treatment regimen of therapy and medication that can help your partner get better.

    I consider myself, in the language of AA, to be in recovery. It is a disease that will always be present but one that can be treated and lived with. Like an addict, I have to be constantly vigilant of symptoms that might lead me back into the depths of the disease.

    All of this is a lot of words to simply say,

    This can be dealt with. Take care of yourself. Tread carefully. Best of luck to both of you.

    "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"

    by gravlax on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:42:48 AM PDT

  •  {{{JD}}} (7+ / 0-)

    Bless you for loving this woman as much as you do.  I'm going to assume she's already been tested for other causes (side effects from medications, etc) and that she's clean from drugs.  Schizophrenia is very treatable with the right medications.  Sometimes it's hard to make sure they're taking the meds but you must be very strict about that.

    I agree with an above poster who mentioned support groups.  Even with loving family and friends, it's important for you to be able to speak to others who are dealing with this also.  

    Wishing you and your love the very best.

  •  thank goodness (10+ / 0-)

    she didn't injure herself with her late-night driving or trying to remove her IV.  small consolation.

    if her doctors are discussing her care with you, they may know of a resource or support group to help you.  or maybe your own doctor does?  you can be of no good to her if you don't care for yourself.  please, take care of yourself.

    "What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say"~Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by 73rd virgin on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:46:50 AM PDT

  •  Publishing to Mental Health Awareness (10+ / 0-)

    Thank you

    Seen on Twitter: "Including creationism in science curriculum is like including study of the tooth fairy in dental school"

    by second gen on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:48:42 AM PDT

  •  Good luck (3+ / 0-)

    Work with her family to get as much reliable history as you can.  Severe mental illness rarely manifests itself for the first time after someone is 30.

    Work with her doctors to get her on medication, and to understand what you can do in encouraging to stay on the medication regimen.

    Stand by her as well as you can, and don't take it personally if she sometimes lashes out at you.

    Much as you love her, and have a committment to her, make sure that you prioritize your needs if she does not respond well to treatment.  If she remains mentally ill, and you remain tethered to her, she will drag you down with her.  It is a last resort, but you must be able to walk away if you need to.

    Numbers are like people . . . Torture them enough and they'll tell you anything.

    by Actuary4Change on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 11:56:36 AM PDT

  •  You have a chance (2+ / 0-)

    Because she is getting treatment. The odds are very high that she can be treated with medicine and resume a somewhat normal life.

    My wife's first husband was schizophrenic. My first wife was chronically depressed. Based on what I know about it you'll need to do these things.

    • Be supportive and loving
    • Do the best you can to know what her doctors / therapists are telling her, so you can encourage her to act on them. This especially applies to taking prescribed medications in prescribed doses
    • Talk to your partner and talk some more and after that talk some more. When she feels like talking, of course
    • Learn what your partner's triggers are. I'm thinking "Mom showing up at front door" is one of them
    • Sad to say the mentally ill are not saints. Be wary of being manipulated. Threats of suicide, especially, are simply not appropriates ways for her to get her way
    • Set some boundaries. You can't give up yourself 100% or both of you will suffer


    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 01:47:38 PM PDT

  •  Okay an initial q (2+ / 0-)

    from someone with a lot of history with this AND who has done years and years of research.

    you mention her having the stress from shifting from school to work ... was she going through severe sleep deprivation?  

    it sounds to me like she had a major disruption in her HPA Axis initated by a shift schedule which would impact her circadian rhythms .. leading to a disruption in the cortisol levels in her blood and the time/degree of concentration. Second, lowered levels of oxycotin....

    So you have a weakened physiology then confronted with the MOTHER/Abuser = psychotic collapse.

    There is a test they can do for cortisol levels. It is a saliva test done over the course of 24 hours. Once she gets her cortisol stabilized and sleep patterns/natural circadian rhythms re-established she should emerge ...

    The major concern I have is the clinic she is in and their knowledge about the major role sleep disturbances play in the onset of psychotic/shizophrenic/PTSD episodes.

    It is key that you find someone who can deal with it from this perspective - a biological, physiologogical as opposed to psych-pharmaceutical masking ....

    not to say that she does not need some meds now. But what do they have her on? I would image something like Lamicytl or Depakote or seroquel along with cymbalta?

    Hopes to be Reporting LIVE from Durban @COP17 ...

    by boatsie on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 02:12:51 PM PDT

    •  i just don't think I'd go with their word (2+ / 0-)

      on the diagnosis .... and i hold more hope that others here for a major turn around given this is addressed by the right people.

      There is SO MUCH research now into glia as opposed to synapsis and you also have to realize that she if this is her first major episode, she has not established neural pathways which are linked to treatment resistant psychosis or severe depressions/PTSD.

      Don't lose hope. My heart goes out to you. But I have been there. I totally know what happened here. If you would like to gmail off diary ... i can send you some information which you could share with her doctors ...

      Hopes to be Reporting LIVE from Durban @COP17 ...

      by boatsie on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 02:16:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That would be great (0+ / 0-)

        I would like to see some of that information.

        She was taking seroquel as long as I knew her.  I thought it was some sort of anti-depressant.  She did tell me once that she suffered from something similar to schizophrenia but much more mild and that she had an episode before where she saw her parents on the street.

        But this is the first time I saw the diagnosis on the paperwork that our GP gave to me to take to the clinic, and that came from her electronic medical file.

        It read, plain as day, schizophrenia but the two words after puzzled me because they were in the adjective form which were hallucination and paranoia.

        The orderly told me yesterday evening that it was the sickness speaking when she accused me of vague "things" I allegedly did and that she had been hallucinating all day.

        "What's disgusting? Union busting!" 17.02.2011 Madison, WI

        by Jeffersonian Democrat on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:40:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  She's on seroquel (0+ / 0-)

      and I don't know yet what else.  Yes, the shift work was making her tired even though she can sleep on the night shift.  I am not sure I would classify it as severe sleep deprivation like I had in SERE school or even on deployment, but yes there was some serious sleep disruption and certainly some, perhaps moderate, sleep deprivation.

      In any case, I didn't know that about sleep disruption and she certainly had that

      "What's disgusting? Union busting!" 17.02.2011 Madison, WI

      by Jeffersonian Democrat on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:29:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK this is JUST the beginning of some research (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jeffersonian Democrat

        link i did for you this morning.

        It is in a 'jetpak' ... haven't even gotten into the diagnosis yet or the meds....

        I'd say seroquel is a good starter for stabilizing.

        At the top of the jetpak I put a link to crazyboards ... This site is top noche in terms of helping with problems like this. One of the people running the boards is a Kossack and I informed him you would be posting there. He will direct your case to the appropriate board.

        These people have truly found answers for me when NO professional could. There is an amazing reservoir of real life experience, research and some well informed professionals here.

        Im also a member there and I'll check in.

        We will work this out, JD. Have faith. She will recover.

        Hopes to be Reporting LIVE from Durban @COP17 ...

        by boatsie on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 11:32:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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