Hello, not done this before!


I’ve never really considered myself a carer before but I guess I am although I will always be husband and dad first. Just a little background on me and my situation.

The last few years have been turbulent ones, marriage breakdown after 23 years together followed by divorce, settling into z new life with joint custody of my two sons. This was followed by meeting the woman I know is the love of my life, we romanced and in July this year we married.

I knew from our second date that she suffered from mental health problems having been diagnosed with depression as a child and then adding anxiety and OCD along the way along with a healthy sprinkling of PTSD from some traumatic events in her life.

She has raised three kids as a single mother all of whom are wonderful, two are now adults. She has also got debt problems which we are working through together.

I know it sounds a lot to take on but I’ve never once had doubts.

Her mental health has been deteriorating recently and we finally managed to get her in to see a psychiatrist as the NHS had largely left her to her own devices for the last ten years. The end result is what we suspected, a fresh diagnosis which makes much more sense stitching everything together as Borderline Personality Disorder.

She’s having a tough time dealing with this and things at home have been a little difficult so I have decided that I needed somewhere I could vent, get support, a shoulder to cry on, where people could tell me to man up when it’s needed.

So that’s why I’m here.


Phil, one thing we are very unlikely to do is tell someone to “man up”!

I understand that money problems are common with people who have mental health problems.

I’m really concerned to hear that she has debts, make sure that your finances are really well organised so that she just cannot get into any more. Especially important is not to have any joint accounts and not to let her have a debit card with a lot of money in it. Are you aware of “pre paid” cards? I do hope you don’t own a house, because as you are married now, that could be at risk.

What do you struggle with most, day to day?

Hi Phil and welcome
Of all the caring situations we have in this forum, I believe caring for someone with MH to be the worst, mainly because it tends to be lifelong in some form or another. And also because there is the least support for the carers. :unamused:

Have you found the wonderful MIND website which not only describes the illnesses well but offer advice for carers and supporters too?

Because it is such a long haul it is important that you look after you, else you will break and that’s no good to your lady. Looking after yourself means physically dn emotionally, mentally and financially, so healthy eating and daily fresh air, exercise, socialising , work (for outlet as much as money), regular time for yourself, counselling, friends, somewhere to vent etc etc

It’s a long list but can be set up over time, or even combined. For example I go to a dance class which gets me exercise, friend, socialising, time away all in one simple hour

Just watch out too that you don’t take on too much that your lady should be doing to help herself

Hope some of this helps, at some point

Hi, and welcome
I too agree that caring for someone with MH is the toughest, but mainly because with a physical illness the caree can be ‘on side’ with you. But the MH person is usually NOT ‘on side’ with you, and that is why it is so frustrating to look after them.

Also, there are many dangers in caring for someone with MH - it’s SO easy to provide ‘the wrong sort of care’. Care that actually holds them back from any chance of ‘getting better’ (I personally, I do believe those with MH can ‘get better’…even ‘heal’ - it’s not a given that they are ‘incurable’ )(more on that point in respect of your wife below).

That is because it is absolutely vital to distinguish between care that is ‘supportive’ …because it focusses on IMPROVING (even if not outright curing/healing!) the caree…from care that is merely (and in fact dangerously counter-productive) ‘enabling’ …ie, allows the caree to ‘stay where they are’. (The carer functions to ‘compensate’ the problems the MH creates, and so allows that MH to continue ‘in control’ of their victim …ie, the patient!)

(Just to point out, on the issue of ‘heal’ or ‘cure’, it has been the prevailing psych view that a personality disorder (PD) is ‘incurable’, that it just is ‘part of’ the person and that is that. BUT, increasingly now, that rigid and highly pessimistic view is giving way to a far more optimistic attitude that with the right treatment, a PD of any kind - including borderline - can, in fact, be ‘improved’, possibly even ‘cured’ or ‘healed’. So do read up on the latest findings and opinions - do NOT let anyone tell you, including your wife!, that she is ‘incurable’ or that the PD will ‘always be part of her’, etc etc. Defeatism gets us nowhere!)(Not saying you are, just reminding you of it!)

In respect of your own predicament, you say that "Her mental health has been deteriorating recently "…why do you think this is? What has happened in her world to lead to this deterioration? Any idea (and, sadly, do you think her marriage to you is contributing to this deterioriation ? Horrid to think so, but everything has to be considered!)

I hate to suggest this, but, again, it has to be considered, even if, hopefully, to be discounted…BUT…one possible reason for the deterioration is that MAYBE because she is now married and has you to ‘look after her’ she can ‘collapse’ mentally…up to now she may have felt she has HAD to fight it, for the sake of her children. Now that you are on the scene to ‘take the strain’ she can ‘give in’ more? Grimly, be aware that at ‘some level’ she may even feel that she can now ‘indulge’ in her ‘weaknesses’ etc as you are there to look after her and ‘pick up the pieces’ etc etc. Do be aware of that - she can’t be a clinging vine that clutches you (and drowns you…) with her ‘neediness’. (Not saying this IS so - just be aware lest it is!)