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Exhausted - Carers UK Forum


For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
I’m totally drained by my husband’s mental health condition. The worse thing is his aggression – he gets angry extremely easily and frequently. He shouts, punches things and makes awful threats. And this has been going on for 6 months now! I no longer dare to express my concerns about his cannabis use because this makes him explode. I know he needs me, but I need to live in a safe and relaxed environment.
Hi Fig, welcome to the forum. Did you know that you can ask Social Services for a Carers Assessment? They might be able to give you support and advice.
What does he need you for? To have someone he can shout at or threaten?

I could say, bluntly - though I know it's not that simple in 'real life' - that if you are not helping him get better, then you are keeping him the way he is.

I could say, again, bluntly (over bluntly), that you could make it clear to him that IF he wants you to invest any more of your life with him, he gets treatment for his addiction, and for his MH. Or you leave.

I know this sounds very blunt (!), but the dreadful truth of MH is that it is very, very easy for those who love them to slip into not 'supporting' them but 'enabling' them.

When you support someone you help them THROUGH their problem to a 'better place'. When you 'enable' someone you just let them stay where they are, and they never change.

If you read through some of the posts on mental health you will see time after time this difference is vital!

Do you think his MH problems started BEFORE he became a cannabis addict (ie, his 'root problem' is his MH, and he effectively tries to 'treat' himself for it by doping up on cannabis)? Or do you think it is his cannabis addcition that actually causes his MH? Again, important difference!

(Also important not just in what caused his MH, and how best to treat it, but in how much 'sympathy' one can have! Someone with 'innate' MH, so to speak, gets a larger sympathy vote than someone who brought it on themselves by indulging in an addiction....)(THAT SAID, I do appreciate that sometimes people become addicts because they have dreadful problems in their lives not of their own making, that they need to 'blank' with drugs and alcohol....)

SO, I guess, overall, I'm asking you what you think caused his MH in the first place, and what HE is doing about it (other than doping himself up!), and whether he is getting any treatment at all.

It does sound, from what you say, that he's getting worse.

Do you have children, because if so, that, again, can make a difference as to your priorities.

Kindest wishes, and I'm sorry to be blunt, but sometimes it's best to try and cut through to the heart of the matter. Few one ever posts first time on this forum without there being some kind of 'crisis' imminent! So it sounds like you are reaching the end of your tether with your husband.

Wishing you all the best possible, and a better future IS possible, even if it takes a lot of courage and effort to get there (his included!)
Hi bowlingbun, jenny lucas and other readers. Thanks for your comments.

bowlingbun - Good idea, I haven't thought of asking for a Carers Assessment.

jenny lucas - I appreciate your bluntness, especially as you raise important issues. My husbands' mum died nearly 3 years ago. They were very close and he's struggling to cope. In addition, a very good friend of his left town just two months after his mother's sudden death. He feels very lonely and abandoned and this is why I'm saying he needs me. He used cannabis before all this happened but only occasionally. In the past two years, he smokes every day. So, no. I don't think smoking is the core of his MH, but I believe it makes things worse and perhaps even delays recovery. It wouldn't be fair to say that my husband is indifferent to the situation. He does try to be proactive about his condition and wants to change things. Unfortunately, so far he has received a very poor treatment from his GP and MH specialists who all failed to recognise the severity of things. He's having a second psych assessment on Monday. I hope this time he will be referred to a more appropriate treatment and a shorter waiting period. But you're absolutely right. At this point I'm no longer convinced that I'm helping him.
Fig, did he ever get proper bereavement counselling for losing his mum? If not, then that dreadful grief can 'fester' inside, and cause all sorts of problems. Losing someone you love is the worst thing of all in life really, and even when it is 'natural' - eg, for a parent to die before a child - the circumstances can be SO different (sadly, the forum is full of people, like me, who are seeing a 'parent' - in my case my MIL - dwindle and decline into vitual 'ghosts' of themselves - my MIL is in deep dementia now, it's ghastly to see - and we 'long' for them to be 'released', yet they live on and on and on.....) that it really does 'all depend' on each family and relationship.

But bereavement counselling may help to get to the heart of your husband's emotional trauma, and help him 'reconcile' her loss to his continued existence. I would most definitely recommend it. (I got mine - for my own husband - through the hospice which treated him at the end, and it was very, very good). Bereavement counselling can take place 'at any time' because it's understood that issues can remain 'unresolved' for years.

My second point really would be to say that does he get counselling for drug addiction? Again, that seems to be essential ,surely, because even if the addiction and the bereavement are intertwined, it's clear that the addiction is now 'gaining strength' out of itself (ie, not to do with his grief, but 'taking over' completely maybe??). He has to find a way of 'de-addicting' himself, by whatever method words the best (eg, like alcoholics, this might be best as 'sudden stopping' or 'gradual reduction' or whatever - again, depends on the indivudla personality and the circumstances of their lives.)

Because whatever happens, one thing is for sure - he's destroying himself, and ruining BOTH your lives. And that's a dreadful waste! Would his mother want him to be living the way he is?? No loving mother would! For HER sake, and YOURS and HIS OWN, he needs to get control of his life, and make it better. It can be done - it takes strength, resolution, courage, and above all LOVE to do it. If you can support him in this, that would be the greatest good you can do him. And I'm sure his mum would be eternally grateful to you! :) :)

Wishing you both better for the coming year - Jenny
Hi Jenny

Thanks for your reply! :)

No, he hasn't done any bereavement/addiction counselling. We can't afford private counselling, unfortunately. He's been to a psych assessment last Monday and the doctor referred him to a long-term psychotherapy, but she said that there a waiting list of between 6 and 12 months. :(

In the meantime, I have started a short-term counselling through work, just to find out ways to cope with things. My counsellor suggested that I could be underestimating the severity of the situation and that I'm possibly experiencing a form of domestic violence. :dry:

Anyway - I decided that I'm going abroad to visit my family in a months time. I told my husband about it and he wants to come with. I'm not sure how I feel about that... :shock:

I don't believe I'm saying that but thanks god it's Monday tomorrow and I have ab excuse to go to work. One more day with him at home and I'd be losing it! :blush:
Of course it's domestic abuse. Maybe google this and find out what support you can get that way? If he starts shouting at you, can you just walk away? Do you have a lock on a room where you can retreat to? Would calling the police when he's abusive be a wake up call?
You could try phoning your local hospice organisation and asking if they provide a bereavement counselling service. That's where I got mine from. I gave a donation, but otherwise it was free. Private counselling is vey expensive. I've only had it once, and I really balked at the cost!!!!!

Another source of bereavement counselling might be via your church/chapel. It's not necessarily 'religious' but hopefully it will 'guide him through'.

I also found bereavement books very ,very helpful (Cried all the way through reading them!). I believe it's Elizabeth Kubler Ross who is the 'doyenne' ??
I'm so sad. I got home from work yesterday. My husband told me he cried almost all day. He couldn't even stop it when the plumber came to fix the radiator. It's just heartbreaking to know that I'm leaving him at home like this but I'm the sole provider at them moment so must go to work. He used to be such a happy, positive person. Now he's the saddest most negative man I know.
Fig wrote:I'm so sad. I got home from work yesterday. My husband told me he cried almost all day. He couldn't even stop it when the plumber came to fix the radiator. It's just heartbreaking to know that I'm leaving him at home like this but I'm the sole provider at them moment so must go to work. He used to be such a happy, positive person. Now he's the saddest most negative man I know.
Hi Fig... Just wanted to express that I had similar feelings for a man and it took me six months on and off to finally let go. It must be harder when you are married and have had happy memories. I was in a relationship with a man who doped himself up and it got to the point where he was just totally psychotic and highly wired up. It was an exhaustive rollercoaster. I stayed with him when he trashed my house and acted like he was going to light it with me in it. I was exhausted and had not realised at the time but no boundaries and kept telling myself it wasn't his fault. I was scared to leave him in case of the worst. Please remember that your welfare matters and sometimes things can deteriorate whilst you are exhausted so it can be hard to see. I am now free of that person and am so thankful and had counselling through it. I hope I haven't been too open about my experience just thought when I saw your post to see if my experience might help you. Wishing you all the best.