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Schizoaffective disorder and relationships

I have posted about this issue before in the Bipolar forum, but as I gain more insight into my husband's illness, I'm starting to wonder if he has been misdiagnosed. To sketch the background: husband has been suffering from a severe manic episode that started in roughly October last year. It started happening shortly after we got married (before then everything was fine) and within 6 months of when he suddenly stopped taking his Lithium. Things came to a head around Christmas time and he has now been seeing a psychiatrist and taking meds (600mg Lithium and 2mg Risperidone a day) for the past month.

However, one of the things which make me doubt if he is suffering from bipolar or maybe a more psychotic illness like schizoaffective is our relationship. I know that when a person is manic they often leave their significant others, have affairs, exhibit risky behaviour, etc. However, my husband never full-blown left me. He did have a few indiscretions with other girls while he was manic, but at the same time he kept changing his mind on a daily basis about whether he loved me and wanted to be with me. Also, when he was cheating on me it was always alcohol-induced. After a few weeks of medication the mania seems to have disappated, though not replaced by depression as is often the case. Then last night we had to go to a work's party (could not really get out of it) and he had a few drinks. We have been doing great for a week, no sign of trouble or even so much as an argument. Even last night he told me after he had a few drinks he should stop drinking and go home, so I took him home. I admit I was slightly tipsy myself and got a bit upset. Still everything was fine and he reassured me and hugged me. Then, from one minute to the next, he wanted to go out again, told me he doesn't love me, that his (manic) feelings haven't changed and that he always feels like this but can only express it when he's drunk and that he wants to split up with me. After about an hour, when he sobered up, he apologized, said he does love me and wants me to stay and that he did not mean what he said.

So, to cut a really long story short, what do I do with this? I guess my main problem is not the disease (whichever one it is), as I love him and will always stand by him and support long as he wants me to be there, though! But I am finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate between the real person and the disease? Is it like he says, that there is a genuine problem in our marriage, but he can only bring himself to say it when he is drunk (he says then he feels sorry for me and cannot tell me to leave when he is sober for that reason. Also out of guilt as I have done and sacrificed a lot for him)? Or can alcohol induce psychotic symptoms and, even though he believes what he says at the time, is it just his impaired thinking taking over? How can I know if this is a symptom of an unhappy relationship or if alcohol just induces delusions in him that aren't true when he is sober? Can schizoaffective disorder and/ or mania change the way you feel about a person? Or make you think it has changed the way you feel?

Could it also be that when he has consumed alcohol, the manic feelings take over and he just feels that I stand in his way of having a good time (ie going out, getting more drunk, flirting with girls, etc.)? And that this is the reason why he wants me out of his life at that point, rather than because he doesn't love me? Another example: at the height of his mania, we were apart for a two non-consecutive weeks in which he was constantly partying, drinking, etc. Especially the last week, I stopped communicating with him frequently because I was trying to sort my own head out. Then one night he sent me two messages on Facebook. Why I wasn't talking to him, if I had blocked him on Skype? Basically begging me to talk to him. Am I deluded myself in thinking that these aren't the signs of a guy who is desperate to get out of a marriage? Because when I do 'leave' (emotionally at least) he clearly gets very distressed.

I have so many questions, I don't even know how to put them all into words...
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replied January 26th, 2013
It sounds more like mania. psychosis is a complete break from reality, which is very different from what you're describing. I've been in psychosis before and you really can't comunicate or understand at those times. I wish you well.
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