LIFESTYLE
01/10/2015 07:28 BST | Updated 01/10/2015 07:59 BST

Woman, 42, Diagnosed With Dementia After Husband Thought Her Change In Behaviour Was Due To An Affair

A man who thought his wife no longer loved him has revealed his heartbreak after she was diagnosed with dementia aged just 42.

Linzi Thomas, a successful accountant and businesswoman, was a loving and affectionate mum and wife. But she began behaving strangely, refusing to wash or change her clothes and showing no interest in her family.

It was only after her husband, Mike, pleaded for help that Linzi was finally diagnosed with dementia. She now has as little as two years left to live.

Mike, 55, says: "When I met Linzi, I thought I'd found eternal love. We were soul mates.

"But she went from being a warm, attentive mum and wife to someone who didn't wash or change her clothes or show me any love at all."

dementia aged 42

Mike and Linzi Thomas

Mike added: "We had once been so intimate and close yet all that stopped and we never had sex. I began to think she had fallen out of love with me or that she was having an affair.

"She went from being clinically clean and house-proud to existing in total squalor, surrounded by mouldy food and vomit. It was so distressing.

"In some ways, the diagnosis it was a huge relief. At last I knew what was wrong.

"I had spent four years worrying that my wife didn't love me. And all along, she had been desperately ill."

Mike, now 54, and Linzi met 12 years ago, when he was fitting a new kitchen at her home.

Both were separated, with children, but neither were looking for love. After their first date, on Valentine's Day 2003, they were inseparable. They were married later that year, bought a smart family home, and started their own DIY business.

wedding

Mike and Linzi on their wedding day

Dad of four Mike says: "I fell head over heels for Linzi. She was an accountant, a deep thinker, and very cautious and thoughtful.

"She was a wonderful mum and home-maker and our home was spotless.

"We were so close - soul mates. We'd have fish and chips by the sea, or an evening playing Scrabble - simple things, but precious times."

But five years ago, Linzi began acting strangely.

Mike says: "At first, it was very gradual. She had always been so attentive but she became withdrawn - she'd spend hours on the computer. She was almost like a teenager again, lost in her own world, and not making time for me and

her daughter.

"We'd always played scrabble and quizzes together. We were very tactile and affectionate. I thought she was being selfish."

Linzi stopped cooking or cleaning, and wore the same clothes day after day.

mark thomas

The couple before Linzi's diagnosis

Mike says: "Linzi had always been meticulously clean yet she began wearing the same clothes week after week. I even threw some clothes out and bought new ones, but she ignored them.

"When I was talking to her, she'd walk away, mid-conversation, as if she was bored by me. Every time I asked what was wrong, she would snap at me and tell me she was fine.

"I thought she had lost interest in me, that she didn't love me. I began checking up to see if she was seeing someone else."

Linzi's behaviour became more bizarre. She would spend hours looking out of the window, shouting out the colours of passing cars. She would stick chewing gum all over the house.

She refused to allow any visitors, even Mike's grown-up children - and would not allow him to watch TV or have the lights or heating on.

Each day, she would leave the house and drive the same short journey, for no reason at all. Mike begged her to get help.

Mike says: "I saw the GP myself and I was in tears, I was so desperate. They told me Linzi had to request the visit herself - but of course she wouldn't."

Linzi was referred for a brain scan - but she refused to go.

He says: "I felt trapped in a vicious circle. I didn't know where to turn and I was desperate.

"I tried social services, Citizen's Advice, private therapists."

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Linzi also became violent and one day, as he cuddled her, she bit him. Mike called police but could not bring himself to press charges. But after further violent attacks, police found him a place in a hostel for abused men.

Mike says: "I went to stay with my sister for two months. I couldn't take any more. But I still loved Linzi and I knew I had to help her.

"When I went home, I found buckets of vomit in the house, the toilet hadn't been flushed for weeks and there was mouldy food on the floor and broken bottles on the couches.

"She had gone from being clinically clean and house-proud to existing in total squalor.

"I was appalled. I felt totally out of my depth and I became ill myself."

It was only after Mike's health suffered that Linzi's condition was taken seriously. She was sectioned in 2013 and admitted to hospital, where she was finally diagnosed last year with Pick's disease, a form of senile dementia.

Mike says: "In some ways, it was a huge relief. At last I knew what was wrong.

"I had spent four years worrying that my wife had fallen out of love with me, that she was having an affair.

"And all along, she had been desperately ill. It was some comfort that our love was still alive.

"But I was angry too, that it had taken so long. Linzi needed help and it wasn't there for her or for me."

Early Symptoms of Dementia