• Quote of the Day
    "Connection is why we’re here…it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives."
    Brené Brown, posted by Daniel

Daniel

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When I was still in the honeymoon phase of the relationship, the ROCD was also about me not being good enough (to the point he may be better off with someone else), but I overcame that by focusing on his flaws almost exclusively :D

I think part of the reason I haven't mentioned ROCD before is that my therapists never mentioned it, so I had to get to that conclusion through the slow, slow process of building insight.

ROCD reminds me of existential OCD since both very much feel to me like a mixed bag of legitimate concerns and constantly evaluating things (even though the ruminating is more distressing than the objects of concern and the ruminating never leads to the desired outcome of certainty).
 
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Daniel

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Similarly:

The Many Faces of OCD

Couples may be unaware of the underlying causes – obsessive thoughts and beliefs; the anxiety associated with them; the controlling, complaining behavior that follows – and partners react emotionally out of frustration. On the surface, it looks like tension and arguments about the kids, money, chores, or even an affair in the past. And those can be troubling issues to be sure. However, the OCD process takes over at times, and becomes a primary source of relationship distress.
 

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what pets give back far outweighs the additional costs.

Exactly. When the kitten wakes up, it is like another ketamine dose :D My only regret is not getting a kitten sooner since it's been like 30 years since I have had one.

And I don't mind giving money to veterinarians compared to Walmart, which still gets most of our spending money. We have been good lately though about spending less there, such as buying less processed foods.
 

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If my marriage is an opportunity for growth, it is a post-traumatic growth as well :)

I feel like I am married to a narcissistic Trump sometimes, esp. now with my husband having more agitation while not smoking as much marijuana. Most days are good but twice in the last week, including now, I have had to leave our small 1200 sq ft house to gather my sanity.

Today, my husband criticized me for not being as in control over my OCD as he is of his bipolar. Which to me just shows his lack of insight. It would be funny if he were not scolding me about it and how I drive.

He needs me to take him everywhere like his various medical appointments since his foot is healing still after yet another foot surgery three months ago. And my only reward is being told I am a terrible driver who needs to change lanes, speed up, slow down, etc.

In the same drive, he will criticize me for being too cautious and not cautious enough. It is maddening and tiring. Of course, I tell him I hate his back seat driving (as I have told him for the last 8 years), but he never stops.

Then on the car speakerphone, he tells my mom in passing that I am not doing my share of the dishes. Which is what he told his sister last week when she was visiting. My retort is there are a lot of dishes when you feed specially prepared meals to 7 pets, three times a day. So he continues to be ungrateful since I do 95 percent of the pet care, which is more now with a COPD senior dog and a new dog. And I do all of the chicken care and cat care. He doesn't even know where the cat food is or what medicine the senior dog takes. In other words, he plays martyr, forgetting I spend entire days making sure he gets to his appointments in Phoenix and soon Flagstaff as well (also 2 hours each way).

So when we get the stimulus money next week or so ($600 each), I will probably beg him to buy pot, assuming he refuses to take more Zyprexa as prescribed for when he is more agitated than usual. It is hard to care about his COPD getting worse when he does not care about triggering me.

At the risk of being melodramatic, I sometimes wish I liked women instead of men since women seem generally more introspective/thoughtful/insightful than men. Most men seem like ass****** even without a mental disorder or a need to feel macho (as in toxic masculinity).

He will never work while I am trying to finish school to work fulltime so that he can have even more reason to complain I don't do enough around the house.
 
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David Baxter

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Anosognosia - Treatment Advocacy Center

Anosognosia, also called "lack of insight," is a symptom of severe mental illness experienced by some that impairs a person's ability to understand and perceive his or her illness. It is the single largest reason why people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder refuse medications or do not seek treatment.

Approximately 50% of individuals with schizophrenia and 40% with bipolar disorder have symptoms of anosognosia. Long recognized in stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions, studies of anosognosia in psychiatric disorders is producing a growing body of evidence of anatomical damage in the part of the brain involved with self-reflection. When taking medications, insight improves in some patients.
 

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Another positive update:

Later the same night, he agreed to take the PRN/additional morning dose of Zyprexa when I brought up the subject. (After he agreed, I joked with him if he didn't, I would have gone off my Prozac :D )

Also, I had underlying stress from him not going to the doctor/dentist for his mouth sore for a week. (So he agreed to do that the next morning by going to the ER, as I had started to worry it may be mouth cancer given it was only getting worse -- after buying everything at the store for him -- and given his lifetime of smoking and it was so big it looked like a growth to me. The ER doctor said it was the biggest canker sore she had ever seen. She said it was probably stress related and in no way was it cancerous. She prescribed a steroid mouth paste, triamcinolone, as well as lidocaine, and it is almost completely healed now.)

And I discussed with him today why does he complain almost every year that it never feels like Christmas when we are alone together on Christmas. He then admitted it was because of him missing/grieving his mother, as opposed to not liking his gifts enough (his usual excuse).
 

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"It's hard for most of us to go through a typical day outside the home without some humiliating incident, however trivial, without some frustrating reminder of how limited our power is, how unimportant we are. The relationships we want to spend our lives in should be a refuge from this. If they are just a source of more humiliation, they're not healthy places to stay in...There's no way you can win by staying. In that sense it's not different from physical abuse. But the sense of release and relief that comes from getting out of a relationship like this is enormous."

― Mira Kirshenbaum, Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay
 

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"In my experience, it seems that those of us living with bipolar and other mental health conditions are drawn to one another. I’ve always had an intuitive sense of unity with others who share a certain mental turmoil. I can tell—and I’ve almost always been proven right—that someone has this quality within them. And some of the most profound connections I’ve felt with others have been based to some extent around the particular outlook and understanding that coincides with having a mental health condition."

~ Brianne LaPelusa
 

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“Moods are by nature compelling, contagious, and profoundly interpersonal, and disorders of mood alter the perceptions and behaviors not only of those who have them but also of those who are related or closely associated. Manic-depressive illness—marked as it is by extraordinary and confusing fluctuations in mood, personality, thinking, and behavior—inevitably has powerful and often painful effects on relationships.”

― Kay Redfield Jamison, Touched with Fire
 

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Marriage vows don’t signify that two people merge into one blob. Doing so would be especially detrimental for the bipolar marriage. In her classic Gift by the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindberg likens a loving relationship to a double-sunrise shell, comprised of two symmetrical shells joined at the center. Each person in a bipolar marriage needs the space to maintain their own identity and grow emotionally. This separateness leads to deeper intimacy and appreciation.
 
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Partners who attribute control for the illness to the patient may use strategies to influence behaviour that disrupt marital harmony.
 

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The Disordered Couple.jpg
 

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If you are feeling “trapped” in the relationship, it may be helpful to consider why you are staying. Identify what your reasons are for staying.

If you think your only options are to stay or leave, remember that there is always a third option – staying in a different way. How might you do that?

Here are some tough questions to ask yourself:
  • Have I mourned my unrealistic expectations for the marriage? Am I still trying to bring back what was or what I hoped would be, even though it is highly unlikely?
  • Do I make decisions that affect my spouse without involving them?
  • Am I doing more for my spouse than I really have to?
  • Do I expect my spouse to know what I need without telling them? How well do I communicate?
  • How often do I make time to try to emotionally connect with my spouse?
  • How well do I balance my needs with my spouse’s needs?
  • Are my arguments constructive?
  • Are my spouse’s criticisms of me valid? Maybe they are.
  • Are my spouse’s requests of me realistic and reasonable? Maybe they are.
  • Do I come across as a partner or a parent when I try to set limits with my spouse?
  • Do I see my spouse as a whole human being with strengths, talents, limitations, etc. who happens to have a mental illness, or do I see them only in terms of the mental illness?
  • Is there anything I still love about my spouse?
  • Of the things I dislike about my spouse, which are due to the mental illness and which could be the result of other factors?
Could some be caused by:
  • Unresolved issues with my own family
  • My spouse’s unresolved issues with their family
  • Medication side effects
  • Our relationship dynamics
  • Outside stresses
Learning more about the mental illness and finding support from others can help you cope with challenges that arise in your relationship. You might find it helpful to:
  • Read books, magazines or websites to get more information
  • Attend educational programs to learn more
  • Attend support group meetings to connect with others with similar experiences
  • See a counsellor/therapist for professional help
B.C. Schizophrenia Society offers educational programs and support groups for family members and friends who have loved one with a mental illness. Find out more at www.bcss.org.

Online support groups for family and friends who care about someone with a mental illness are also available through the Reaching Families Project at www.reachingfamiliesproject.org.
 

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Dore et al[8] showed the impact of illness on the caregivers relationship with the patient when he is unwell. Most caregivers (90%) found the patient distant and difficult to get close to during acute episodes of illness. The patient felt irritable when unwell (80%) and this frequently led to arguments that had never occurred before. Impulsivity and aggression may be common during episodes of mania or hypomania. Most caregivers (81%) were distressed by the relationship with the patient when the patient was acutely ill; 64% described the level of personal distress as ‘‘severe’’[8]. When patients became well again, their relationship with caregivers usually improved significantly, with 80% of the group feeling that the relationship remained close during times of remission. Almost half of the group (49%) felt the illness had brought them closer. A closer relationship was more common if the patient was male and the caregiver female.
 

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The Importance of Relationship in Understanding the Experiences of Spouse Mental Health Carers

The burden of caring for family members with mental illness has been researched extensively; however, knowledge of spouse carers’ experiences is limited. In this article, we explore this from a carers’ perspective, with 28 spouse carers, using qualitative open-ended semistructured interviews and a grounded theory approach informed by the social interactionism tradition to collect and analyze the data. We present six interrelated themes around the central theme of this being “a real and genuine relationship.”

The findings indicate that caring for a spouse with severe mental illness is a unique role compared with other caring roles. First and foremost, spouse carers strive for the relationship with their partner and accommodate mental illness into their lives to protect the relationship. Because of this, they often lead surreal lives marked by significant emotional pressure and isolation. This has implications for how mental health service providers work with and support spouse carers...

Men participants expressed coping styles that reflected the intensity of their emotional isolation. Compared with the women’s narratives, the sense gained from hearing the men’s narratives was that they were struggling, arguably more so than many women participants. They did not seem to have the networks of support from family or friends that many of the women had to draw on. They were very much alone with no-one to talk to about their experience, and did not seek others to talk to about their needs. Many men kept their experiences hidden from their peers and, in doing so, were even more isolated...

Women, however, strived to find meaning and positive ways to get on with their lives; to self-nurture. They appeared to be more able to seek refuge within domestic tasks and routines and in their community; accommodating to their circumstances and not letting them subsume their individual identity or personal autonomy...
 
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