I’ve worked through a marriage for 13 years. It’s been 14 years I guess, because my divorce isn’t final yet. I feel as though I’ve failed in my commitment to this man who I’ve loved, but can’t live the life we had together any longer.

He was diagnosed with manic-depressive illness, or bipolar disorder, and later rediagnosed with severe posttraumatic depression because he didn’t exhibit the extreme highs of mania.

I’m still not sure if he’s been diagnosed correctly. He’s very controlling, very paranoid and believes everyone is out to “get” him and what belongs to him-his family. He thought people walking or driving past were our enemies and he often thought our house was bugged. He’d keep guns and knives close at hand, if not on his person. He’d nail windows shut and put locks on the doors that required keys to unlock them from the inside. He’d booby-trap the house by putting pots or pans above doors them that would crash if someone entered. He always thought I was covering something up and having affairs; he didn’t trust my friends or family.

After 13 years, including five years of counseling and therapy as a couple, medicine for him- which he never took correctly-and medicine for me briefly, I realized he would never change. We moved often because he couldn’t keep a job. His co-workers were “always conspiring” against him.

We have two children. The oldest is 13, and the other is 5. Our 13 year old has decided to stay with her father because she believes he needs her. I worry about her, but because of her age, determination and poise, my lawyer says the judge probably will honor her wishes. His family is backing him and to fight him would require more time and money. I can’t afford to bring in medical and professional witnesses.

All I feel I can do is pray that everything will turn out for the best. I hope I haven’t failed my children by the choices I’ve made the past 13 or 14 years. Now I hope that I can best help my children by regaining and enjoying my life and demonstrating sanity.