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For the love of Dr Jekyll?

And here is the blog I have wanted to write but been afraid of doing so for years.

I am the fiance of a man who has paranoid schizophrenia.  I fell in love with the man when he was relatively well – that being said he never ever hid his illness from me, he declared it up front and gave me the option of walking away, an option that I did not take.  He has three children from a previous marriage, I have none of my own.  His daughter lives with us full time.  We have been together for almost 8 years, engaged for three.

I am now 30, he is a few years older.  I also have a history of mental health problems (self harm, eating disorder, anxiety, depression) but am much better these days than I was when we met.

We met whilst both living in a homeless hostel having both left situations that were not good for us.

When things are good between us, they are great.  When they are not good, they are awful – rarely is there an inbetween.

I have gone with calling this blog “For the love of Dr Jekyll” because in all honestly – that is my life.  I live with a Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde, he can change within the blink of an eye.  I love Dr Jekyll, but I loathe Mr Hyde.

Dr Jekyll (DJ) is loving, he is selfless, thoughtful, loving, good, giving.  Mr Hyde (MH) is selfish, hurtful, mean, takes drugs, drinks.

Until more recently I believed that when MH came into our home, it was because of his mental illness – I now fear that it is possible that both DJ and MH are in fact a method used to control me.

Controlling or Mentally unwell? Maybe this blog will help me decide, maybe it won’t.  Currently I love DJ enough to accept MH even though MH frequently leaves me with emotional wounds, and has changed me for better or worse.

Would love to hear people’s opinions and stories too…… Feel free to browse and comment as you wish.

FtloDJ

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Ramblings

It has been a couple of weeks since I last wrote, I don’t really have much to report – things are much the same.

P’s daughter has been having a rough time of it at school and therefore much of my time has been spent trying to support her – and honestly, it is really hard work.  I too was bullied at school, I wasn’t friendless – not by any stretch of the imagination, but I was bullied relentlessly from the end of primary school until at least the end of year nine.  I feel privileged that she felt me trustworthy enough to share her struggles but also ill equipped when it comes to helping her.  My experience of bullying and lack of parental help has made me want to fight for her, but then logic and her own wishes have made that tricky. I am desperately trying to find the balance between being the crazy parent and doing nothing (as my parents did) but have literally no idea if I am getting it right.

The whole situation has made me feel really guilty that I was considering leaving too – I know that probably sounds illogical to some people that have read my previous posts, but P’s daughter relies on me pretty heavily and leaving would definitely leave her considerably adrift.

I love P with all my heart, but staying with him is really seriously starting to have a noticeable negative impact on me.  My eating disorder has decided to return and honestly, I just don’t have the energy reserves right now to fight it.  I noticed it was back a few weeks ago – but didn’t really want to admit it to myself.  I made the classic error of thinking I was still in control, that if I wanted to eat chocolate I still could – I simply didn’t want too.  But then I tried to give myself permission to have a day off from the strict regime of diet and exercise I had been adhering too – to give my body a rest, to eat whatever I fancied for just one day.  I tried, I failed – everything I fancied, my brain also couldn’t allow me to have.

I have also realised that chances are it is back because I feel so helpless and that the only way to escape it again is most likely to regain some control over my life.  Being hungry makes me feel less helpless, stronger somehow.  I know that sounds crazy, after all, not eating makes me physically weaker in reality, but it is my most effective emotional crutch and as I am currently quite a big woman I feel I have some breathing room to use it for a while.

However, I also know that it is not a long term solution – it almost killed me once, and I hope that the battle with my own brain won’t ever go that far again.

So I have been taking (tiny) steps to try and reset some boundaries and balance in our relationship – some more fruitful than others admittedly, but change doesn’t happen overnight.

I have decided to enter a competition with my craft work – something for me as a person.  It is going to take all my courage quite frankly, but the simple act of doing it will be a victory.

I went for a walk the other day, for no reason other than that I wanted too.  This baffled P and didn’t turn out so well (accusations etc), but I had discovered that morning that he was still using drugs and worse than that had run up a (albeit small (£30)) debt with a dealer.  The debt thing terrifies me because I don’t know what hole he might get us into and whether I will be able to get us back out of it.  When I discovered this he did admit that he has always been an addict and needed help and would ring the drug user support team he had seen previously on the monday – 7 days ago – it’s not happened yet, but then I didn’t really expect that it would if I am honest.

Living with Jekyll and Hyde is so difficult sometimes.  The last day or two he has been so kind, sensitive and loving in his own way – but I am losing the ability to even enjoy these times because I am waiting for something to trigger him, to spark the change.  It makes me so weary of what I say and how I act.  I literally don’t think I have truly relaxed now in years – I can’t.  I often can’t say how I feel about things because I know how he will react, or simply because I don’t want to start another bout of silent treatment or an argument.

He is in control of everything in my life right now, and that has to change – it can’t carry on like this.  I should feel able to say no to him if that is how I feel and often I don’t because it just isn’t worth the emotional back lash.  I love him, but I need to feel respected and worth something – I just don’t know how to get that through to him.  Some days I wish so much that I had the strength to quit.  There are days I wish he would do something utterly deplorable that made me hate him, made me fall out of love with him, released me from the way I feel.  But then I feel awful for feeling that way.

My head is a fun place at the moment! Sorry for my rambling pointless post, sometimes my life is pretty lonely and its just kind of nice to feel like someone might read this and I will not be quite so alone.

Love to all

FtloDJ x

 

Scrambled brains on toast.

My brain is scrambled, I feel so broken.

I keep trying to tell P how I feel about the way our relationship is going.  He turns the tables on me every time informing me that my behaviour has been deplorable citing affairs that never happened and transgressions that occurred only in his head.  If I try to fight I am threatened with the door (he knows I have nowhere to go too).

I both love him with all my heart and want to spend the rest of my life with him and hate him for the way he treats me, has eroded me and continues to do so without remorse.

I feel worthless, powerless and helpless.

I have never told anyone this but I feel as though freedom will only come from this situation through death.  Either his or mine.  I don’t think this is how life is supposed to be, but I also don’t think I am capable of changing it or even finding the courage to love myself more than him and put myself first.

I am a terrible human.  Feeling like this is wrong – if I am choosing to be in this relationship then I should be protecting it – not writing all this crap for people to see.  But if I don’t find an outlet I am going to implode.

Please pray if you are a believer – I am struggling so much right now.

FtloDJ x

Boundaries.

Boundaries.  This is another thing that I realise have become increasingly blurred throughout our relationship.  Things I thought I would never take from a man, I have, and worse still continue too, examples below…

Drugs

Coming into this relationship, this was a hard red line for me.  I had never and would never be in a relationship with someone who does drugs.  I am now in a relationship with someone who does drugs.  He calls it ‘self medicating’, and has been using drugs since he was a teen – something he told me he was done with when we got together, and stuck to for the first couple of years of our relationship – his use of cannabis is in fact what triggered his psychosis in the first place.

He now steers clear of cannabis entirely and has done for a decade or two.  However, he does abuse some of his prescription medications – sometimes taking a months supply in as little as a few days and at some point (I am not entirely sure when this happened), mine became fair game too – often leaving me with ineffective pain relief (I have a number of health issues) for weeks at a time.  He doesn’t understand why this annoys me to the degree it does – but there are two things here for me: Firstly, this use of medication in him creates hellish mood swings and worsens his symptoms, exacerbating the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde situation.  Secondly, taking my medication is not only illegal, immoral and stupid, but also in my head shows a lack of care towards me and makes me feel somewhat used.  As a result of this behaviour of his I have reduced the level of pain relief I have from morphine to codeine – this means that in reality, I am never actually pain free at all.  This also resulted in him having to have detox because he couldn’t cope without my morphine.

The most recent development in this direction is his use of illegal drugs, speed to be precise.  The fact he is knowingly doing something for which I have told him numerous times that I would leave is, in itself, bad enough – however he has also stolen money from the household funds and our own wedding fund in order to fund ‘hits’.  This most recent addition to this behaviour has really caused me to think – and was the reason for finally starting this blog.  On the one hand it shows me that he doesn’t care, his behaviour when high is deplorable (though never physical) and hurts my feelings a lot, I have told him this but he still continues.  However, on the flip side, this is the man I love and he takes drugs in order to escape from his own head, his own illness.  I cannot imagine what his illness is like, but I know it is hell……can I really blame him for wanting to escape?

Faithfulness

This is a hard one for me to write about, but I need too.  My boundary before this relationship was that I would never stay with someone who cheated on me in anyway.  Now before we get into this one – I have to tell you of something I did prior to this relationship, that I will unlikely ever forgive myself, but it is a part of my past that partially colours this section and therefore in order to be fair, I need to share it.  Prior to meeting P (my fiance whom this blog is basically about) I met someone, he was and is married.  Despite trying not to, we landed up having a relationship on and off for a few months – I take full responsibility for how much of a bitch this makes me and will feel awful for it forever.  His wife never found out, and I never told her – they are still married 9 years later and I hope (though doubt) that I was the only person he ever cheated with.

P has known about this terrible decision since the very start of our relationship – I told him.  Up until this point I had been a very fervent believer in the sanctity of marriage, that it is a choice you make for life.  Despite that terrible choice – I still am.  To me, a relationship can only be successful if each party chooses one another in everything, if they trust each other and work together to make one another happy.  As soon as a person chooses someone or something above their wife/partner then they are cheating to a degree even if not physically.

This information is critical because it shows how far this one has been blurred.  P has, to date: Been a member of multiple adult (fucking) sites – causing financial as well as personal issues for me, thrown me out of the house in order to chase after another woman (he was turned down, I went back three days later),  chosen so many things above me that I have lost count (drink, drugs, money, clothes), put an open invite on facebook when high that he was the man if any woman ‘needed their pussies giving a servicing’ and left it there over his birthday (when i finally noticed it), meaning that most of the people who know us probably saw it.

I am still here – we never talk about these things because if I try, my terrible decision is brought up as evidence that I have probably cheated on him too (which he fervently believes – but I assure you is untrue) and I will be thrown out of the house if I continue the confrontation (I have learnt this by pursuing the conversation and being thrown out on a number of occasions).  Also, a lack of sex in our relationship is often met with accusations that I ‘must be getting it from somewhere else’ – despite the fact that I have tried (and evidently failed) to explain to him that for me sex is an expression of love, an overflow of intimacy – therefore if I am struggling because of choices he is making then I do not feel like having sex with him.  I feel pressured into having sex with him, he says that a relationship without sex is not a loving one – and that if I don’t love him then I should just leave.  Recently, this has resulted in two occasions where I have literally felt as though I were a piece of meat and felt as though I was fucked, that it didn’t matter who I was really as long as he got laid.  That has hurt me, a lot.  But don’t get me wrong, I have always consented – even if it was out of guilt – he has never forced me.

This one is so far blurred I feel it may as well no longer exists.  Is this the actions of someone who really cares about me but has a mental illness? Or simply someone who does whatever they want, that I am convenient to have around?  I have been racking my brains trying to figure out where my actual red line on this one is now.  I think that it would be him physically sleeping with someone else – but even then I don’t trust myself that I would actually leave.  What the hell does that say about who I have become?

Clothing/makeup.

I am aware that this one seems pretty minor in comparison to the two above, however I still think it needs writing.  Prior to this relationship I would have said that I would never allow someone to control things like the clothes I wear or whether or not I wear makeup and that if someone did begin to try and control these things then I would leave.

However, this one crept up on me too.  It started with buying me gifts of clothing he liked (even if I had told him I wasn’t that keen on the item), I wore them so as not to cause offence.  Over time this has developed into comments regarding everything I wear, only having perfume he likes (which he has bought me) and only wearing makeup when out with him (which rarely happens) because otherwise it is taken of a sign that I am being unfaithful.

In reflection now, this has eroded my already minimal self confidence to almost nil.  I feel scruffy and uncomfortable in most of my clothes or (if I am entirely honest) manly and chavvy.  I do not feel pretty, beautiful, womanly, confident – some days I barely feel human and certainly often not fit to be seen.

Movements

Old me would have broken up with someone as soon as they tried to tell me what to do/who I could hang out with.  When I was younger, I was fiercely independent.  In reflecting now I see how this boundary has been eroded too.

It started by turning up at my flat early in our relationship earlier than planned etc ‘because he missed me’.  I thought this was adorable at the time – in hindsight, I think it was the beginning of him controlling who I saw and what I did.

I rarely go out without him, and he rarely goes out. Going out without him has simply become such a hassle that it is often not worth it – it either entails strops/arguments/threats of being thrown out for being unfaithful (despite often this being to see my sisters) and having to be constantly tied to my phone or face consequences when I get home.

I know that some of this is his illness, but I don’t feel like he even tries to fight it.

Feelings

I never ever thought that I would ever allow someone to invalidate my feelings ever again.  Being consistently dismissed was a large problem in my childhood and has left me with a whole load of scars – maybe it left me open to this one and potentially means that this is actually my issue.

Often, telling P how I feel is met with verbal aggression and threats. E.g. “If you don’t like it then go” etc.  Ignoring my views on something has become normal for him and it hurts me. Drugs, alcohol, food, clothes, actions – all have and probably will continue to be deemed as ‘wrong’.

 

So…… There you have it.  Boundaries.  I recently plucked up some courage and tried to bring up this issue, I gave up after the conversation disintegrated into silent treatment and being told to ‘just leave’.  Is it so wrong to want to be able to work on our relationship???

Can’t write anymore right now – this has drained me.  Feel free to comment/make suggestions/let me know that I am/am not insane.

FtloDJ x

Changes I have made.

Living with Dr Jekyll, also unfortunately in time has turned into fearing the return of Mr Hyde.  This fear is deep within me now – I have realised that it effects absolutely everything I do.

Don’t get me wrong.  I knew coming into this relationship that choosing a partner with schizophrenia would make things more of a challenge, but I fell in love with him anyway and genuinely believe/ believed we could make a life and a future together for ourselves.

What I didn’t realise through the years were the small changes that I was making to my behaviour in order to not trigger his symptoms, that somehow piece by piece have left me as half a person.

My thought process when thinking about something literally goes “How will P see this, will it trigger any symptoms, is it worth the risk” and then (only then) do I consider whether I want it.  I had thought that this was a normal part of having a relationship with someone who has an illness, in the same way as visiting somewhere and checking accessibility if you were dating someone in a wheelchair.

I am no longer sure this is the case.

Please tell me what you think, below is a list of some of the changes I have made in order to keep him as happy as possible (literally just the ones that immediately spring to mind) along with the reasoning and whether or not there was an incident that triggered the change:

Not wearing makeup  – I don’t know when I started doing this, but when we first got together, I was rarely seen outside without makeup.  Now I do not wear makeup as when I choose too it is often met with comments such as “Who’s turned your head?” “Who are you making so much effort for?” or upon my return home accusations being made of my cheating (never has happened, never will), silent treatment and or being told I don’t care about him.

My Friends  – I no longer have many, and rarely see the ones that I have managed to keep relationships with.  I used to be an incredibly social person, had many friends and have always got on better with guys than girls.  Some of these friends I have intentionally cut contact with due to allegations of being unfaithful from P himself.  Many I have simply lost touch with due to not going out much.

Not going out  – I rarely go out these days.  When I do I am made to feel guilty, and often return home to silent treatment or moodiness.  Even when I do go out I must keep an eye on my phone.  If he tries to get in touch and I do not notice then allegations will follow.  If plans change whilst I am out  (even with his daughter) then moodiness and allegations will follow when I get home.  I even skip family things because of these things.  I don’t work, initially because I had health issues ….. not so much now.

I consistently find myself justifying things he has done, things he has said.  Both to me and a few very close friends.  So many things that I said were hard boundaries in relationships, and even this relationship have been crossed, and I just continue to love him and hope that things get better.

Have I given him too much control? Reasonable adjustments given his schizophrenia, or not?

FtloDJ x