MY HUSBAND was 52-years-old when significant change took place.
His whole personality changed. He was agitated, slept a lot during the day, stayed awake at night, showed little empathy with family members and friends, distrusted people and his whole life began to revolve around our pet.
Diagnosis came about through my constant visits to the GP describing behaviours, working with the mental health unit, psychiatrists' reports and police complaints, all of which were humiliating for my family and me.
This process took at least four years. My husband eventually lost his job. He developed rapid mood swings and became anti-social.
His spending went out of control when he was able to access large amounts of money.
His life was now totally devoted to the family pet, and he spent his days and nights writing poetry and sleeping.
After much difficulty (because of his young age, his ability to convince people that he was in control and privacy laws protecting him), the Enduring Power of Attorney we had prepared earlier was acted upon.
However, his superannuation fund refused to abide by it and as a result the family finances suffered considerably.
It was only through contacting Parliamentary members and the Adult Guardianship Tribunal that the fund agreed to follow it.
Even after this, I have still had issues where money has been released to him, thus negating the EPO.
I have found support from my children, neighbours who offer me keys to their houses, friends who join me for coffee, our GP and the Queensland Carers Support group.
I have had difficulty getting support from some areas of the medical fraternity ... privacy laws prevent them from talking to me, and from a solicitor who, when I begged for help, suggested I might get "marriage counselling".
My husband thinks there is nothing wrong with him. He thinks I need help.
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