Open Dialogue International Community Forum

A Husband's Place in the Healing Journey and Mental Health Discussion at Large

Hi,
13 years ago my wife began to show signs of extreme trauma and dissociation. It was a ‘eureka’ moment for our troubled marriage because it finally gave us a place to start dealing with the source of conflict and tension in our relationship (32 years now). The first 5 years were absolute chaos as I had to deal with my own issues, help my wife thru all of her ‘extreme states’ (‘psychosis’, flashbacks, panic attacks, mini-seizures, night terrors, going ‘comatose’, extreme anxiety and more), and slowly welcome into our family and marriage 7 other ‘alters’ who we always treated as full-members of the family (though it took them varying amounts of time to embrace that). Fortunately, that chaos is a distant memory at this point, though our healing journey is not completed.

I had to figure out how to apply attachment concepts to not only help her heal, but keep our family and marriage intact. Those concepts truly are the foundation of so much of our healing journey. And along the way, dissociation’s confusing labyrinth of manifestations began to make sense, and so we were able to tear down many of the walls between those ‘alters’ to the point that my wife is no longer a shattered collection of 8 disparate girls.

Our journey isn’t finished, and we both have come so far…but sadly I fit no where in this world. For a long time I tried to find a place at Mad in America. I have had limited contact with Bob Whitaker and Kermit Cole, but they just can’t seem to find a place for a husband like me who has taken such an active role in the healing journey and fully embraced the journey as ‘ours’ not ‘hers.’

I’ve contacted people all over the internet trying to find someone who might give me a chance to share the incredible lessons we have learned as our family walked thru hell together and made it out the other side as we discovered that deep, full healing is possible without drugs and without violating my wife’s agency.

If anyone would ever have interest in striking up a dialogue with me, it would mean more to me than you can imagine. I know I have something to offer this discussion on mental health, mental trauma and extreme dissociation and the key role family plays in the healing journey…if only I could find someone to give me the chance to do so. Since the day I heard about Open Dialogue, I have always wished it had been available to me and our family here in the States rather than having to figure all this out on my own. The blog below chronicles some of the many lessons we learned on our journey together as a family.

Yours,
Scott

Hello Scott, drop me a mail at rex@simptr.com and we can explore this. Best wishes, Rex

At the moment, due to travel and other restrictions I find myself in the UK and my wife in Austria and we are facing a catastrophic situation. I never expected to find myself in this position because I had hoped that I could make a difference in the acceptance of OD due to my wife’s condition with paranoid psychosis, but the worst that could happen has yesterday. She has suffered for some 18 years under the frankly incompetent care of several Professors of Psychiatry in Austria and and even more incompetent psychologist who was a friend of the family and therefore influenced by her parents. Having both been the CEO of a major London Mental Health NHS Trust and undertaken the introduction to OD in 2016 I quickly realised how inadequate their ‘care’ was. Over the course of several years I persuaded her, without the knowledge or consent of the Professors, to reduce the dosage of Haldol from 10mgms per day to 0.5mgms when she was also able to discontinue taking the drugs to combat the side effects of Haloperidol. She fared very well and engaged in social activities far more and wrote 2 books that were published. She only told her Professor what she had done when she reached much lower dosage levels. However all this changed when circumstances within her own family changed due to business and other pressures. The toxic relationship that had existed before arose again and I was unable to prevent her from being involved with the ultimate result that both her cancer returned and the psychosis reappeared. Her Professor of Psychiatry refused to have any contact with me nor inform me when she voluntarily self admitted during the more acute phases, and would not listen to my recommendation that the core issue was not personal but rather a family issue. Her brother has been privately seeking therapy for 20 years as well so there is sufficient evidence that there is a bigger issue at stake. Today I heard that she had excluded anyone from the family house she occupies and been alone for a week. No-one informs me despite requests that they keep me aware of her state. She is also very intelligent and aware and able to beat the system in hospital because she understands how they operate. Realising that she really needed help but unable to trust anyone to look after our pet dog she had him put down before admitting herself. So much for modern day psychiatry in Austria, it is out of date, stuck in the 1900’s and devoid of compassion with it’s arrogance and inhumane approach. All I sought to do was to help my wife live to her full potential , what has happened was preventable and is downright cruelty. Advice very welcome

Dearest Rex,

Reading your thoughts about your current situation has generated a mixture of sadness and anger.
I fully remember like it was yesterday our talks about your wife.
One question first of all that comes to mind is: Is she safe?
Family and opennes to the loved ones is essential for recovery.
It is interesting that your wife has chosen distance and closing down.
Systems are slow to change and some way behind than others.
I hope the way Austrian mental health services work will not defeat your strive to help your wife.
Rex how are you doing with all this happening?

I’m sorry, Rex. I wish I had a good answer for you. Is there anyone geographically close in Austria whom your wife would trust that can help in your place?

Hello Sam, I have just received news that the vet did not carry out the procedure and our dog is alive but in poor shape (malnourished) with the Animal Ambulance. The vet we use will take him and look after him so that is a massive relief. The core issue remains that my wife’s lack of care created the situation , and that is what frustrates me above all else. Many thanks for your concern. Rex

Dear Vincenzo, It is a ray of sunshine to hear from you in such times. I can only assume she is safe, but that is an interesting concept when you are dealing with someone who, although clearly in difficulty, has high intelligence and knows how to get around the system. She has closed down in stages but prompted by her father having a stroke and her believing she was the only one who cared for him, so her focus turned towards him, . He has made a reasonable recovery and returned home when the old issues arose again and their relationship, especially with her mother soured. All can I do at the moment is pray and hope that she does not contemplate suicide, which she has done before in their care. I will do everything in my power to help her, but at a distance makes it very difficult. I have hope though, and that love will triumph in the end.

Dear Vincenzo, do drop me a line at rex@impeccia.org. The psychiatrist discharged my wife when she was suitably dehumanised despite my please that she still exhibited the signs of continuing psychosis through her emails to me. He ignored me correspondence and after a week she began to exhibit her symptoms again more publicly and with my prompting admitted herself again to the hospital yesterday. The level of inhumanoty and arrogance is beyond my imagination and i will attempt to set up a commission to review the efficacy of mental health services in Austria. I will no let this go, it is equivalent to the experimentation the Nazi’s did before they were exposed. Rex