Posted by: Maria | 2008/06/19

How is the trust rebuilt?


Don't worry, this is not another post about cheating. :) I've recently seen the devastating effects that mental health problems can have. A family member with bipolar (who had been stable for 10 years) had a manic episode. Her husband got home to find that she had unpacked all the cupboards and stuffed everything into black bags, and broken all the glasses. He had her admitted to a private hospital and after a few days they told him he had to hire a private nurse for her as she was disturbing the other patients!

A colleague had a major depressive episode and became suicidal. His wife was so scared that he would harm himself and his family that she called the police to come and remove his firearms.

In both these cases the marriages took a knock. I guess it will get better again in time if their health stabilises, but how does a spouse trust you again after something like this, especially if it's the first time or the worst episode you've ever had? I salute all spouses, family members and friends who stand by people with mental health issues and continue to love and respect them whatever happens. (And yes I can answer my own question, therapy will help, it just seems so inadequate).

I saw in other posts that your mother is not doing well... strength and light, CS.



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Our expert says:
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Thanks, Maria. Yes, though the obvious misery of depressions is clear, people often under-estimate the misery caused by manic episodes, both to the individual and to family and friends. And yes, aint it awful how many hospitals who fail to control and properly nurse and treat such episodes, just neglect their duty and blame the patient. IN my experience this can often happen with elderly patients who, for the convenience of the nurses, get vastly over-sedated, and then blamed if they become confused, as who would not !
I agree, too, that much kudos is owed to the many families who somehow cope with all such difficulties. We forget that severe psychiatric illnesses, like a cancer does, metastasize to the family as well. I think the marital issue isn't so much about trusting the individual again, as about trusting the illness, or at least the interaction between the illness and the person. And this is one reason why all doctors SHOULD, but sadly too many don't, actively involve the spouse and family in the care plans and long-term planning.

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