Safety, I Scream

Each night the demons return, they scream and grip at my throat

Daylight, they hide in my head and heart. My body has become their cocoon.

I’ve done nothing so terrible to deserve this existence 

Spending each day repenting for sins others have committed leaves me exhausted

Bottles of different colored remedies do little for they cannot control my external life. 

Safety, I scream!

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Night Terrors Day Terrors

My body betrays me and I live in constant fear of my own mind. It twists and turns thoughts, scenarios and demons crawl inside.

If there is a way to calm the crippling, it is not in a pill bottle. The green ones, the orange ones; they do nothing to suppress my angst.

Those around me cannot and do not understand my world. I’ve surrounded myself with vampires of the prettiest kind. Only my dogs save my desperate heart.

Please, peace from fear…

Bullied

I don’t want to discuss it but he’s back. 

Bullied, meant to feel guilty and back to the wall; I caved

There is nothing to talk about now. 

No words. 

Fooled, backed into a corner and taking two steps backwards..

His paranoia seems to have waned but his restless selfish demeanor remains fully intact. 

I am confused:

• the wife who can’t live with her husband

• the wife who can’t believe that she may end up alone

• the wife who misses what she has romanticized 

Perhaps things will feel better tomorrow.  (Insert sitcom laugh track here)


My Confession: Up and Down

My Confession, Up and Down

It’s unclear to me whether his moods, or if his constant barbs and words are part of his illness or just who I married.  In all reality his ups and downs are likely a combination of the two. 

No matter the reason, it is painful when he makes insinuations that he won’t explain.  He makes cold and hurtful statements that he refuses to tell me what they mean.

I am a target he can toy with and never expects repercussions.

My Confession, the Paranoia

Schitzoaffective disorder is accompanied by the gift the never ends: paranoia. It is with him at all times, sometimes just a small buzzing and other times a loud siren. Today the siren is low but very present. 

At lunch he proclaimed; “if anything happens to me, you have to sue the hospital, my doctor and my dentist“. When I asked the obvious question: “what am I suing for?” – he was frustrated and retorted “you know“.  

I do not know.

My Confession: the Blaming

My Confession, the Blaming

It has been my experience, of nearly two decades, that the schitzoaffective is never at fault. 

It is always somebody else, something else or part of what “they” are plotting. 

The problem that rapidly develops is that as his spouse, I now blame myself for everything. I should be more clear-headed, know better, but a lifetime of insecurity makes it impossible.

Too Much Information 

My marraige is essentially sexless. 

When we first met this was not the case but it slowed to a crawl and then a complete halt. He is not of the belief that we have a chaste marraige because occasionally I will tend to his “needs” – mine are ignored. 

Last night I was given yet another “blame”.

Him:  “It is all your fault that we don’t have sex because you made these specific TWO statements!”  

FYI: These statements are truly overblown in his mind and from well over a dozen years ago.

Here is the tricky part, logic does not work. 

Defending myself, I list off the things that he’s said to or about me over the years. Hurtful words, always told as a joke or followed by “I’m just kidding“, about my body. 

My weight, my eternal battle, is fair game depending on the season. These words that I’m told that “I misunderstand”, have embedded themselves in my own self-loathing.

I’m told that it is “my fault“, “the blame is all mine“. 

Inside my head I am screaming the truths but refuse to retaliate. I am the prey in the wild who cannot or will not fight back for fear of hurting the predator. 

The true words are a huge lump in my throat that will never be set free. 

My Chance at Blame

My thoughts are pounding in my head, shrieking the words of blame

• You drink too much, I have no desire towards you with the alcohol. (See Dr. Freud and recovering alcoholic father)

• You are selfish, the world revolves around you. It began with your mother teaching you this fact (again, Dr. Freud) and continues to this very day. This accepted selfish behavior extends from your “inability” (selfish AKA: illness) unwillingness to help with simple household tasks and extends to the bedroom. 

• His forked tongue. His true joy in mocking which in all likelihood is more about boosting his self-esteem than tearing mine apart. An eternal dark cloud that may burst into thunder, lightening and rain at any moment. Where is MY shelter?

Words have always destroyed me.

Simple Truth

Over the years I have learned an enormous amount about his illness, his family and friends. 

The simple truth is that I should know better than to expect what is impossible. 

Schitzoaffective disorder has no cure, his doctor attempts to keep him properly medicated and hopes for the best. She is lucky enough to have the doctor-patient wall; his life (while important to her on some level) really has no effect on her life. An occasional text, email or hospitalization is her only contact with him outside of his bi-monthly meetings.

Having read what I can about his illness and know (learned) to be true are difficult to manage on a day by day basis. 

I believe (no, wish) that by taking on 90% of the responsibility is more than enough. Dare I imagine that, at the very least, I will receive some accolades OR any show of affection from him. 

Anxious, overwhelmed and admittedly resentful. 

UNDERSTOOD:  It is the disease, that I have no right to these emotions. 

ALAS:  Self-blame coupled with a sense of eternally embedded guilt and his recurrent blaming have led to a tidal wave of loneliness. 

The Question

Still and more often than not, my whole self cries out for affection that comes far too infrequent and usually requested. 

Last Night:  After another evening of too much alcohol, cigarettes and “words“, he expects affection. (certainly not intimacy)

The question I pose to him: 

“Are you telling me that I will never have sex again, for the rest of my life?”

Anger, fueled by alcohol, his always present paranoia and a slap to his manhood, his reply is once again that it is my fault because of two comments made well over a dozen years ago. 

He then goes on to a mild rant about how I should cheat with “HIM” (name withheld)! A man that I never felt any attraction to but was my closest friend for years. He and I no longer speak. It is a friendship that I miss deeply but is gone forever. WHY?  It is because my husband , along with a friend from childhood, decided that HE wanted to marry me – woo me away. 

I am sure that this is not true but my words do not count; I am to blame. Despite the fact that I was already married. Although I had absolutely no thoughts of HIM as anything outside of a pseudo-brother. HE, who I never desired in any way. 

HE was (whether understood or admitted) a threat to my husband: A man who I could talk to about our shared occupations on Walk Street, go shopping with and who opened my car door. 

To placate him, save the pain and badgering, I abruptly ended this positive friendship because my husband demanded it. I do miss HIM, if only for the conversations, the understanding, laughter and the real friendship. As my reward for giving up one of the few friends which I had, he uses it against me no matter how many times I insist that he (and his meddling friend) are wrong about my former friends’ intentions. 

Today, I have almost no friends (just one: female, of course).

He accuses me still (many years later) and blames me for having an “emotional affair“. 

His insecurity or illness (Yes, I prefer to believe that all of his flaws can be assigned to a DSM code!) has created a wife in isolation; and he needs it to be that way. 

Blame

• He blames me for issues with his siblings, our total lack of intimacy and for “working with those who conspire against him” (a frightening delusion, part of the incurable disease). 

• I blame him for my loneliness, lack of affection-intimacy, feeling used by him and his family and for making me be “on the defensive” at all times.

Neither of us are right nor wrong.  At the core of our relationship there is love and true caring. All of that plus humor, laughter and mutual crippling fears keep us bound to one another. 

Our individual and entwined pasts, the current state of our collective and a constistantly uncertain future are to blame

His illness is as irrational as are my boundless insecurities; they are both to blame.

Insanity Defined

Lore dictates that the real definition of insanity is:

Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.

Color me insane…

My Confession: the beginning 

My confession: the beginning 

I am married to a man with schitzoaffective disorder. 

For those of you who are unaware of this chronic mental illness, as taken from WebMD:

Schitzoaffective Disorder:

A mental health condition including schizophrenia and mood disorder symptoms.

Common:

• More than 200,000 US cases per year

• Can’t be cured, but treatment may help

• Requires a medical diagnosis

• Lab tests or imaging not required

• Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong

What is not listed:

Paranoia, delusions, tendency towards addiction, often medication resistant, self absorbed, unaware of bizarre behavior, low functioning and very dependent.

Examples of the disease, common:

• Believing electronics (television or radio) are sending messages specifically to that person

• Conspiracy theories all centered around the person

• Trust issues

• Erratic behavior 

• Fixations on a multitude of possible different ideas – all not real or reasonable

Re: My confession

In choosing to remain with my husband, who has been in FULL blown paranoia and delusional mide for the past year, I am sick.

We have been together for nearly twenty years and married for more than fifteen. There are years that are painless and livable; there are years that break you. 

As he has been so very ill for a year, I am sick and broken. 

My days are dictated by whoever wakes and his mood. I’ve allowed myself to lose my person in an effort to survive his illness. 

Rock and a Hard Place:

Love, obligation, caring, self-esteem issues and fear for him all have kept me hostage. I do love him, there are also days when I cannot endure another moment with him.

Today he emerges from the bedroom just before 1:00pm. The entire house is immediately engulfed in his “mood”; on edge and cold.  

As always, he calls his mother before uttering more than a word or two in my direction. 

My heart hurts because he can be so sweet, funny and living; it’s been a while. Each day I hope and pray that his illness will ebb, leaving room for us to bond again. It’s my daily secret wish: “please let his illness slow, please bring my husband back to me“.

I know that there are people who would have fled this situation.  Some of these people are very much in my life and wonder why I stay on this endless, impossible roller-coaster. I’ve no answer for those who question my sanity almost as much as his. 

Perhaps it is fear

• My fear of what would happen to him

•My fear of being alone

• Fear of abandonment 

• Fear of disappointing him – or myself – or anyone

Eventually he relaxes as we watch mindless television. I rattle off things that I want to get done on this day; I say the words more to motivate myself than for his reaction. Much of what is done in our world is achieved by me, there are days when I begrudgly enjoy the control.  There are other days when I resent all of the responsibility. 

Desperately, I try to save myself and him all at the same time. 

It is no wonder that I’m riddled with anxiety!



The Woman They Knew

The woman that they once knew has been gone for longer than anyone has noticed.  

As long as they are cared for, given proper attention and feel loved; the image of her does not have to match the reality.  

Ten thousand times the voices in her head are screaming her truth, but are silenced when they reach her bitter tongue.

Existing on a high wire of a magic and mirrors, desperate to be seen and discovered, far too many lean on her shattered shoulders.  

Dreaming of being held quietly and feeling safe are what keep her standing, when she can manage.

Someday there must be retribution or absolution.  

Arms that are strong enough to love her as she so deeply needs.  

Remembering the exact day: a Friday in October over six years ago, when she was hugged and felt real pure love.  

Since that day, heart in a million shards, she has never felt safe.

Lost, all those that were true and pure of heart.  

Angels waiting for her, watching her, a life of pain and loneliness.  

All around her, the woman they know is whomever they choose to see.  

Morphing when necessary.  

Still, knowing the desperation of being all alone in the world. 

A little girl, woman, waiting and wanting a fairytale for just “that hug” that will set her free of just some of the sadness. 

She smiles and listens to their veiled barbs and word attacks.

Nothing shakes her iron walls, quietly she weeps tears that nobody can possibly hear.

Songs fill the room of pain and empty words.

Eyes closed, heart broken and wishing the days away – the woman they know never existed.