carer for my wife

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Hi, I'm new on here but I've been caring for my wife for several months during a crisis but she has had PTSD and anxiety for several years.

I'm not getting any help, my wife does get support, however one of the meetings and support sessions has gone really badly. I'm used to having to deal with stuff like this but she seems angry today, not her normal response and she won't engage with talking or doing anything to help with the anxiety.

It's hard today, I need to get some things off my chest but this also impacts on my ability to be there for her. Any ideas?
Vikki_1610 wrote:
It's hard today, I need to get some things off my chest but this also impacts on my ability to be there for her. Any ideas?
Hi Vikki and welcome
I have an adult son with MH problems and I do often tell him calmly and non judgementally how I am feeling. The carer has feelings too. So why not try saying to your wife what you said in your last sentence? She may not be able to verbalize her feelings and emotions at the moment but that's no reason why she should deny you having yours.

E,g "I am angry and sad that the session didn't go well but I do need you to communicate with me. I'm not the bad guy here, please don't treat me as such. I am on your side."

Of course the feelings that would hurt or upset her are better expressed elsewhere, perhaps to a counsellor or venting to this forum. Hitting a cushion or a long walk helps too

Thank you, that's one I will try and remember and use. It is hard and I struggle to verbalise my concerns and issues. To ne honest nobody asks me. Its just about getting on with it.

The day passed and new issues present as always. I sometimes feel trapped, like I want to scream myself or go and have some time alone. I'm angry at the person who caused the relapse too. Maybe I'm not being fair but they caused the issue to go nuclear.

I have things I can't say to my wife, not being fair to her and her feelings to do so. Especially as she has fears about me leaving or that I won't be able to cope forever and will want rid of her.

Thank you for replying, its nice that you took the time. I will try that next time.
Hi Vikki
One of the many things this forum is good for is that it's a place where you can shout and scream, spit it all out, rant and create and nobody will scowl or shake a finger. You will get answers, people talking to you, some of which will help and some of which you will reject. Some may really anger or upset you, but even these are a help because it all helps you know your own mind and decide your way forward. One thing's for sure, no-one here is 'out to upset you' or judge you. We all have our caring problems and crisis.
My, possibly silly in your eyes, or not appropriate, suggestion is, if you and your wife have some difficulties verbalising and communicating your thoughts and feelings, how about writing an old fashioned letter? Sounds mad? But if your wife isn't communicating with you would she read a letter? Of course the following won't really apply to you but for example
My darling-----
I know you haven't wanted to talk to me much today and I missed sharing things with you. I have not had a good day either because the trip into work was dreadful and the boss was in a foul mood. Also I missed you every minute.
And so on.
Just be careful what you write because sometimes words can be read in a different way to the intent. I know that. I have upset a few people on this forum because they took my written word wrongly. hope I haven't erred again.
I think my own take on this situation relates to your comment about your wife fearing you will leave her because you can no longer cope with her.

I think this is an important statement for her and you!

One way that a very 'wounded' person may seek to ensure that another human being looks after them is by emphasising their 'wounded' status. So your wife could, for example, be particularly 'not well', for the 'purpose' of gaining your pity and sympathy, and so ensuring you don't abandon her. (I'm not saying this is deliberate at all, but subconscious!)

However, a much, much 'better' way of her ensuring you don't leave her is for her to become far easier for you to cope with! ie, she becomes 'better' in terms of her mental health. If she were 'better', she'd be 'easier' and so you would find staying with her far, far easier yourself.

If that is so, then the logic of your behaviour towards her would be to say 'If you get better, I will definitely stay'....(or words to that effect!)

In other words, the best way for her to ensure you don't abandon her, is to improve her state of mental health.

Since improving her state of mental health will actually 'do her good' anyway (!), as well as making your life so much easier, that actually is a 'win win'.

I would hope that incetivises her to 'improve' (because it will encourage you to stay with her), rather than incentivises her to 'worsen' (where she can only hope you will stay with her out of pity....)

Where all MH issues are concerned, I do think that that there is a very distinct, but difficult line, between supporting someone (ie, helping them THROUGH to a better place), and merely enabling them (keeping them where they are, in the bad place). So it's essential you are supporting her, not enabling her - that may mean the application of 'firm love'. She HAS to 'make an effort' to improve herself - 'that's the deal' so to speak.

Wishing you all the best possible for you both, Jenny