New and looking for advice

Hi All,
I am new to this and would like to know if people experiences and need advice if possible.
I’m 32 and I’m a Carer to my wife who has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder for 3 years now. We also have 3 children as well ( even though our youngest isn’t biologically mine she i still treat as if she is my daughter). Our eldest is I. The middle of potentially being diagnosed with autism.
Things aren’t easy at the moment especially as she has recently told me that she is also been taking cocaine to help her through her mental health. It has taken her a lot of courage and she is taking steps to help herself. However this help isn’t fast enough. It has having an effect on both of us mentally, emotionally, physically and financially. At times I feel like I do struggle and with services being limited over the next few days I fear that if I do t give in to her demands then her mental health could take a turn to the worse. However if I help her it will leave us short financially and put us in a position we’re we would struggle to pay for the bills and rent. It’s not as simple as not just giving her money as we have been advised today when she went to get help it’s not sensible to come straight off it as she doesn’t have a spleen. Anyone who has been in my position can advise what I can do to get help for my wife and advice on how to ring-fence some finances so at least bills, rent and food for the kids are sorted.

Sorry to be a bit long winded and there probably could be more to add but if anyone could advise or been in the same situation as me it would be great to hear from you.

Many Thanks

Hi Liam and welcome,
I don’t have experience in caring for someone with MH & addiction, but didn’t want to leave your post unresponded to. The forum is pretty quiet just now, but will pick up after Christmas and others will be here to advise.

I suggest putting money you need to " ring fence," in a separate account in just your name.

The NHS has info for families supporting someone with addiction and Mind has advice for those caring for someone with MH problems.


Thank you Melly for the reply. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to find it other people’s experiences soon.

One thing I would like to add is that when we broke up previously I took my 2 eldest with me as they were safer with me especially at the time.
At times I get thoughts like should I do the same again as things are difficult even though I do still love her. However if i was to, the difficulty (something I really don’t want to happen) is that our youngest isn’t biologically mine and I don’t have PR for her. That causes an issue because i cannot legally take her with me as well even though I am the one who looks after her the most and without sounding horrible to my wife she has a lot closer bond with me than her.

I’m hoping the steps will be taken with the recovery team she has gone with and hopefully she will get the help she needs, even if that means rehab for a period of time.

You’re in a very difficult situation, no doubt about that.

Am I right in supposing that your youngest who isn’t biologically yours, but is from what you say most definitely emotionally yours (and you ‘hers’ if you see what I mean) was conceived during your earlier break up with your wife?

What then is the situation with your youngest’s biological father? Do you know who he is? (does your wife?).

Have you asked your wife’s social worker/therapist - or indeed, a family lawyer of any kind - what WOULD happen to your youngest if you were to once again leave your wife? What would happen to her?? What would happen to your wife? Is she actually capable of functioning ‘solo’ to any extent at all (whether using drugs or not)? Or has she reduced to a ‘child’ so to speak needing ‘someone else’ to do ‘everything’ for her?

Given that you are not your youngest’s biological father, have you sought to adopt her formally, so that you ARE her father legally? Would that be contested by her biological parents, or, indeed, by the authorities? (Personally, I would have thought the social workers would have bitten your hand off if you’d offered to adopt the youngest child! Taking a child into foster care or residential care is extremely expensive so they would be overjoyed wouldn’t they if you took financial and legal responsibility for her?)

Can you repeat how old all the children are, as I think there may have been a typo in your post? Is the eldest eleven, is that it?

Do you talk to the older ones to ask how they feel about the entire situation? Children always know that ‘something isn’t right’ and even if you try and protect them they will understand that their mum has mental issues and possibly substance abuse as well. I grew up with a mum with substantial MH issues, and though our dad didn’t try and explain to us, or even mention it, really, it was glaringly obvious to my brother and myself that something was seriously ‘wrong’ with out mother…so children DO know, even if they don’t know the details. Indeed, I would argue it’s really important for you to be as upfront as possible with them up to the point of not frightening them too much.

In respect of staying with your wife, or not, what do YOU want? If YOU could choose (other than to make your wife ‘well’), irrespective of your children, or your wife come to that, what would it be? Do you feel that enough is enough and you just want OUT for a ‘quiet life’?

What drove you to split up last time? Drip drip drip of a life increasingly unbearable, or a sudden crisis that made you scoop up the kids and scarper?? I wouldn’t blame you for either - my father took a HELL of a ‘beating’ from sticking with his highly disturbed wife - he lost ANY chance of marital happiness ‘second time around’…

Part of the reason my father never ended his marriage was the old terrifying issue of ‘well, who else would look after her? What would actually happen to her if I left?’

Does that haunt you as well?

I’m glad that your wife has fessed up re the cocaine - but financially this is very, very dangerous, whatever the street price of cocaine. That it is illegal as well only makes it even riskier. What do the social workers think (do they know? does her GP know? the police?) etc etc…

Sadly ‘self-medicating’ whether with alcohol of drugs (legal or otherwise) is very common for mental health patients - it’s an ‘instant fix’ for their woes that only leads them deeper into the pit of their sad, confused existence…

Hi Jenny,

Yes I would definitely say our youngest is emotionally mine. Her biological father isn’t around. It’s because he was violent towards my wife and there is a restraining order in place. He can only see his daughter if he went through social services or a solicitor to get contact. He hasn’t bothered to do either. I am looking at all possible routes for me to get PR, if that’s through adoption or step parent, but it’s getting the time to do that and also in a way that it doesn’t need her ex’s consent as he will be awkward for the sake of trying to control my wife still even though he does not care about his biological daughter.

I haven’t asked any services what would happen because although it is on my mind it is not something yet I was willing to go through especially if she can get the help she says she is going to get.

My personal opinion is that I dont think my wife would cope without me around as just normal everyday things she can struggle with at times. She is either at one extreme or another lately, either stay in and sleep for days or be out for days.

Forgot to mention in my previous reply that my eldest is only 7. With him being autistic he does pick up on changes of behaviour quite easily but there is only so much I can tell him due to his level of understanding. When he and his siblings get a little bit older I will be able to tell them about their mums health in detail.

There are times I fell that I could just get out as it would be easier, but their would be a guilt as I know the kids wouldn’t see their mum as much.

We split up last time due to her mental health pushing me away and she ended it (at the time we wasn’t aware she had bpd). The kids were with her more at that point due to me being at work full time. But slowly her mental health deteriorated (both her parents dying in the space of about 5 months didn’t help) over time i has to move back with her. That was when she then started a relationship with her ex, and I just felt I had to get me and the kids out of our home at the time due to her health and I had a bad instinct about her ex (which was worse than my instinct in the end) so I moved back to my parents with them. When they broke up we agreed to live together for the kids sake. She did still go back to him at times due control. But once she got rid of that over time we were getting on and gave it another go. But she still had the same lifestyle of doing what she wanted with no responsibility.

With her drug use she has started to get hopefully the route she will get will be rehab as we both feel it is the only way she can free herself from the cocaine. When social services were involved they were aware but because she never did it around the kids and I’m always their for the kids to meet their needs they are not concerned about the kids welfare at all. Her go and metal health teams do know as she admitted it to them. She tries getting help through her mental health team but they were to be honest pretty useless and told her to get help herself. She has done that now. It’s one of those things if she can get rid of this addiction I’m sure her mental health can improve again which will help us as a family.