My head is spinning, husband in ICU with Covid and bipolar son at home and off the rails.


Well-Known Member
Hi everyone. It's been s good time in our family's life in so many ways. Our youngest son got married to a wonderful girl and she has a little boy. Daughter in Law and grandson in one fell swoop, it's a blessing. Since the beginning of the year we have made slow, steady, tentative progress with our elder son who is bipolar/unmedicated and maybe schizophrenic. We had been estranged for 4 years and he came to spend a weekend with us in June and then his brother extended the invite to the wedding for a weekend in July. All went really well. He has come out about once per month and thing have been comfortable. When he is not here, he lives on the streets of Chicago. Not in a shelter, on the streets. Still, my husband and I felt the need to set boundaries so it would not morph into living with us. It was almost as if he was expecting more, nothing said, just a gut feeling of mine. He would show up a day or two early on our doorstep, ask to stay another day etc.

Here is where things get hairy. We invited him for Thanksgiving and we were going to see our autistic grandson in Kansas where he now lives in residential care the second week of December. The elder son watches our dogs when we go away the last few times and does a great job. It's a win/win. Well, my husband and I came down with Covid. Me November 15 and my husband November 18. It was bad. I was hospitalized for 6 days and am now home on oxygen. For my husband it is worse. He is in ICU and is day to day. We are married 39 years and I am devastated. My son has been very helpful but last night went on a full fledged meltdown that frightened me. He keeps disengaging the ice maker in the freezer. I showed him how to use it, fix it and thought everything was fine, and it was left broken again. I said to him GENTLY that I would empty ice into a bag that he could use that way he doesn't have to worry about it. He went nuts. He called me every name in the book and said I demeaned him. It went on for about 5 minutes at which point, I said I am truly sorry G, it wasn't my intention to upset you. I asked that he please stop talking to me like that. He didn't so I said I'm just going to head off to bed now. I could still hear him raving in the kitchen for a while after. I was frightened. So husband in hospital, erratic son in house and me feeling like I did years ago when he spoke to me like this on a regular basis. I don't deserve this. I don't want to call the cops on him but if I am in danger I will. I did mention perhaps he should return to Chicago and he said he could easily never see me again. There was such joy that there was this reconnection. He has been such a help to us during our illness, but do I sever ties with the possibility that this may be the last chance of connection, do I stuff the familiar feelings of having to eat :censored2: to keep the peace? He has not come upstairs all day. There have been no words spoken and I have nothing to say. I don't sense that he will be contrite at all. To me it says he's been harboring resentment against us for a time and now the walls of decorum have been breached. I am not thinking straight and not feeling well myself. I can't handle any more. Truly.


Well-Known Member

I am so sorry you and your husband got the awful COVID, and that you are dealing with all this,. Awful.

Others will come along with better advice, but my 2cents is to remind you to take care of yourself FIRST. This is you home and in it you are to feel safe and comfortable. If your demanding that means your son might choose not to see you again...well, that is his matter how convoluted his thinking might be.

Your right to a safe and respectful home supersede that. Every.time.

Can you lock your bedroom door?

Please stay close to us. I hope you and husband are both much better very soon. Along with everyone else here, I look forward to better news.



Well-Known Member
Hello Tish. It's been so many years. I am so sorry that all of this is happening. I will take a deep breath and try to be helpful. This is really a full plate of blessings but also difficulties.

Number one is your peace of mind. How much can you take?
asked that he please stop talking to me like that. He didn't so I said I'm just going to head off to bed now.
I think you handled this with your son absolutely the best that could be done. You told him the limit and then you put distance between you. If your son is anything like mine, however, he's now got power over the house and may see this as a win. In one way or another, you need to regain the territory. You can't stay in your bedroom, but the problem is what to do.
he should return to Chicago and he said he could easily never see me again.
He is in control of this, and the reality of the situation is that who really suffers here? He does. But if he is this mentally ill his judgment is impaired and his self-control. Nonetheless, I see this as an empty threat in the sense that it is just words, designed to make you cower.
To me it says he's been harboring resentment against us for a time and now the walls of decorum have been breached.
I am wondering if this whole thing with the illness of his Dad and you being sick and vulnerable hasn't triggered him. He must be afraid. His own self-control must be threatened.

But the thing is, the only thing that matters here is that you have peace and calm in your house to heal. He can't be in control of the space and this seems to be what is happening now. He is verbally threatening you, even if he has not uttered a direct threat. Just the loss of control and the spilling of vitriol is enough. You feel threatened and you feel frightened. I think he knows he crossed the line.

Is he in the basement now? Is there a way to lock the door? Before this happened, had there been an endgame in sight? That is, was this open-ended? Was it that he was going to watch the dogs while you went to visit your grandson? And then when you both got ill, he just stayed? It's now almost the end of the second week in December. Even if all had gone as planned, it would be time for him to go back to Chicago. It's time for him to leave.

But I do not think you should handle this alone. I think you need somebody present with you. I would not broach anything with him. I think he has lost the privilege of the assumption of easy and direct communication. First, you are ill. Second, you are bereft. Third, you are frightened.

Does your younger son live nearby? Is there another maile relative who lives close? I think you need to call somebody.

I don't think you should be alone with him. Not that he will do anything but because you're ill and don't feel comfortable (to put it mildly) and he does not have the resiliency and skills to mend this. Or he would have by now.

I think by confronting the situation (with help) you help and protect him as well as you, by limiting the chance this could escalate.

I have asked a lot of questions, and maybe I've got key facts wrong. So I will leave it at that and others will be by soon. Please get better soon Tish, and I know all of us will be praying that your husband feels better soon.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
I am just seeing Seeking's post, who wrote while I was writing. I agree with her totally. What matters now is your health, comfort, security, peace of mind. Only that. What your son says or wants or feels is not the main event. He has crossed a line. He needs to be helped to leave. But not by you. If the mental health crisis team needs to be called, so be it. But I hope you're not alone if that has to happen. I have done that numerous times, unfortunately, and I have called the police numerous times. Unfortunately. For two years or so it's been better but largely because I have put distance between us.


Well-Known Member
I'm so sorry you are dealing with the virus and your husband being in ICU. It puts you in a very difficult spot. I agree with the others that you should not confront him alone. Is it possible for you to spend nights at your other sons home for a few days? If you are still on oxygen, this stress may be hard on your recovery.

Do you think that written communication is possible? Would he be more receptive to a note that you need quiet and space to rest...that the situation with your husband in ICU is difficult for you to handle and you need to step back for a few days.

Please take care of yourself, and if things aren't better, maybe your other son could speak with him.

Keep us updated! Prayers for your husband... I can't imagine what you are going thru. Ksm


Well-Known Member
I'm so sorry about your husband. Is he on the ventilator or mask? We just went through this with my mom.
My son' s depression has taken over big time, but he's never been the violent or verbally abusive type. He is very close to his grandparents. Now, his anxiety and stomach are messed up again. We had it under control for years. To make matters worse, COVID has hit my husband's office. I'm nervous and my son is having stomach churning fear. I wish my husband had enough sense to work at home, but he is going to do whatever he wants.


Well-Known Member
I’m so very sorry. Our adult child has that Bipolar diagnosis and there are many times it’s profoundly difficult...even scary. I can’t imagine the combination of having my husband in ICU at the same time. Please, take care of yourself and as best as possible keep a watchful eye on your husband’s care. I personally, think it might be wise not to overly concerned yourself with your son now. It is what it is. Sending prayers.


Tish, I agree with what the other posters have said that your son needs to leave and you shouldn’t be the one to make him leave. I just want to add my prayers for you and your husband to have a complete recovery. Hugs to you.


Well-Known Member
Tish, I am so very sorry. I too believe your son needs to be put to the side now. It is what it is. You are still on oxygen and your husband is sick....take care of yourself first.

Many many prayers. I hate COVID. Lots of love and hugs. Keep in touch.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
I am so very sorry.

They say God only gives us what we can handle but I question this in your situation.

I agree that your son is best not with you. You can cherish the time that he was good and kind and try to not think about the rest. What else can you do? I think you have to try to expect the worst and then you won't be disappointed. I've had to do that in my own life with various things and it does work at times.

Prayers for health for you and your husband and that your son can go about on his own.

Please keep us posted. We are here for you.


Well-Known Member
Dear Tish

I am stopping by this morning to check on you and to ask how your husband is doing, We are all worried and concerned about both of you, and of course, about your son. I am hopeful that things have stabilized. I pray that your husband is doing better. I pray that you are doing better. Please know how much you are cared about. Never did I forget Tishthedish. Please know we are here.
Last edited:


Active Member
Dear Tish, please please as others have said, find a way a to safely get your son to leave. This is a control issue, your son like all of our children have learned to take advantage when we are vunerable. You are now ill, alone and scared..At this point likely very easy to intimidate and manipulate. I dont think he will go easily. Praying your husband recovers soon and is back home with you!


Well-Known Member
Hi everybody and thank you so much for your support and kind words. This has been a challenging time which is getting more challenging by the day. The good news is that things with my son have quieted down immensely. Having been in Al-Anon for six years I learned that it’s not a good idea to poke the bear. So I did just go off to bed and left things. Following morning my son came up and said mom I’m so sorry I don’t know why I got so angry it was stupid of me. He said sometimes I feel like that that’s the way I felt when I got in trouble before. We mended fences and I believe I do believe that his stress level of both my being sick and his father being said contributed greatly to the outburst. My husband is still in ICU so he has been transferred to a downtown Chicago hospital that has many more resources. It is touch and go every day and I live in constant fear. I am doing OK but short of breath most of the time during the day. I can work on this breathing exercises but mostly I’ve just holding my breath waiting to hear if my husband is going to Live or not. Where I find myself at age 63 is unimaginable. Please be assured I am fine. I do have other male relatives that would help as well as neighbors if anything came to a head with my other son. I also have no compunction about dialing 911 if needed. I think we can get through this time and once things normalize with my husband and he’s home (God willing) my son can go back to Chicago. And visit occasionally. On his behalf I do have to say he has helped immensely. He cleans the house every day changes Shades takes out the garbage does all the dishes does all the laundry he’s doing everything I can’t and more. I really feel he’s making an effort.Thanks for all the love and support. When things got this bad I knew just where to head. This soft place to land.


Well-Known Member
I understand your fear of not knowing whether or not you he will live. Try to keep your hands busy. That was all I could do when myom was on the ventilator.


Well-Known Member
Dear Tish

I am so glad that things are calming down with your son and that he has been such a support to you. Please keep us in the loop about your health, and your husband. Many people here continue to pray that both of you come to a full and complete recovery.


Well-Known Member
My husband succumbed to complications of Coronavirus on 12/21. We buried him on Saturday. I am broken. It is awful. And my elder son is starting to flare up again. I don't want him to live with me. He is too volatile, but I have enjoyed this monthly 4-5 day visit per month schedule we've done since summer. With my husband gone, I think he is assuming he is now the man of the house. He is rearranging cabinets, going through closets in our bedrooms, kind of territory violation things. I had decided that my sons and I would sit down together for a talk next Saturday to clarify that I want to live by myself and that my elder son would be able to go back to the city and visit regularly. MY plan. Well, I spoke to my therapist and she introduced a different angle. Would he be getting a vaccine before coming home again? I hadn't even considered that, but given that he is homeless and lives in the city, puts him in a high risk population. I told him I wanted to discuss some things with him. I asked him tonight if he had given any thought to getting the vaccine. He said he was sure he wouldn't get the virus or had already had it because we had exposed him. I said, well, to be sure, I am going to get an antibody test, would he get that for assurance that people around him would be safe, including me and his brother. He said no and asked why I was starting a fight? Why was this an issue? I said because his dad just DIED of it. He said he was minding his own business and I came downstairs and started trouble. He said if it was an issue that he would just go back to Chicago. I said we could talk about it later. I didn't want to get into it with him without my other son there. He has to go back to Chicago. He can't come out whenever and risk reinfecting me or infecting his brother and wife along with anyone else I see or come in contact with. He acts as if I am asking something that's irrational or unlikely as our history belies. So he will disappear and I will have another loss in my life. The rose colored glasses are off. I couldn't see through the tears anyway. Damn bipolar, damn cover, damn my people pleasing neediness.


New Member
Dear Tish,
I am so sorry to hear that your husband has passed. I lost my son's father in 2012 and although I had two sons, I felt scared and alone. We had been married almost 20 years.
My youngest son also suffers from bipolar disorder and frequently has rages that we have had to call the police about. They are always over ridiculous and nonsensical issues -- it is really a clown show when he goes off, but scary too. We had to have him "evicted" legally from our household before Christmas because he stole a lot of money from us using my computer while we were away for Thanksgiving. Last week, he went into a rage again, off his medications, and has landed himself in jail for some serious charges. I will not bail him out, although he cries and begs on every phone call. I had to turn my phone off on Sunday to stop those calls.
You need to get him out of your house. You need to protect your health. I have been told that dealing with the constant stress of my son and his medical issues and verbal abuse has probably shortened my life already. I need peace and so do you.
If you believe in God, hand him over and stop this insanity. He is not the man of the house -- has proven that to you and everyone else in the family.
Take care of yourself during your grieving period. I am praying for you along with all the others on this site.