Helping him but not forcing it
July 3, 2014 11:44 AM Subscribe
My husband is probably mentally ill. How do I help him get treatment when he really doesn't want it?
posted by cobain_angel to Human Relations (44 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
This is somewhat of a followup to my previous AskMe. My husband has been under increasing pressure to get a job after graduation. I cannot support our household on my wage without quitting school (two semesters away from graduation!), his parents have (understandably!) stopped helping us with rent, and he was expected to get a job in about a month to help pay the August rent. We just signed the lease on a small house that has cheaper rent, but even then, our finances are tight.
This month, I had been asking him repeatedly to submit an application to a job in our area that looks ideal for him in terms of skills. He had been dawdling on it for a long period of time and a few days ago I told him to submit it and be done with it. He said he couldn't do it and that he was leaving me. I left our house to cool down and when I returned he had taken off on his bike, presumably up into the mountains, with approximately two days of food. I contacted his family and we started attempting to locate him. Eventually I managed to convince him to come back. He wouldn't talk to his parents, but he has been talking to me. Essentially, he feels that there is something that prevents him from doing things he does not want to do, such as getting a job, to the point where he physically feels unable to do these things. He recognizes that this is a problem that needs to be worked on. However, he will not seek help. All he could say is that he doesn't like it, can't do it and didn't think it would help him.
His reticence to obtaining treatment is putting me in a tight bind. I feel trapped. I feel like I must ask him to obtain treatment or I will leave. However, I don't think it's right to leave him when he is in this frame of mind. I love him too much to leave without trying at least to support him through treatment. I understand that I cannot force him to get treatment, and that he has to want to get better. My question is, how can I discuss treatment with him without forcing it on him? Could I have handled this better, and how? Can you give me any advice on caring for myself and staying strong in this situation?