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New to this so please don't judge if I sound selfish - Carers UK Forum

New to this so please don't judge if I sound selfish

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
My husband has been struggling with depression and anxiety for years, in this time he's had many ups and downs. Recently it seems to be more downs than anything.Im trying to support him as much as I can whilst also looking after our 3 children and running my own business. I'm want to be strong and be there for him but I'm really starting to struggle. I don't open up to anyone about what all of this does to me because I'm not the one with depression I'm supposedly the strong one who he's relying on to hold things together. In a recent conversation my emotions got the better of me and I said I just want my husband back, he said that person doesn't exist anymore. Doesn't he? Will I ever have the man I fell in love with back or is depression who he is now? I feel angry at it all, the whole situation fills me with anger and upset I know it's not anyones fault and my feelings are irrational and frankly selfish. its hard to distinguish between what's real and what's depression talking. It's sole destroying to listen to him say we would be better without him when he's suicidal but i try to support him always telling him how loved he is and how we couldn't live without him, I do anything I can to try and help make things better but it's so draining living life like this. Constantly trying to pick him up has left me feeling emotionally drained and angry. I can't talk to Him about this he's insecure as it is and it would only make things worse for him, I try so hard not to let people see how much it's getting on top of me and so I just keep it all in.very recently at a gathering of his family I'd had to much to drink and practically exploded in anger! Totally unacceptable I know! One solution is not to drink at all and I'll happily do that but that's not really fixing anything is it? I'll still be drained I'll still feel under pressure and worn down and I'll still be angry how do I vent that? I don't want to take it out on anyone least of all the people I love. I feel so selfish to be moaning on about what all this is doing to me when he's the one going through hell in his own head on a daily basis. His reaction to my behaviour is we're over, surly were over as we can't possibly get past this? That response is gutting after all we've gone through, I have and will stand by him through anything out of love and devotion so I can't help but feel betrayed that he'd so easily walk away. Is splitting up the answer? Am I holding onto something that's broken and can't be fixed, if I'm trying my best but still failing then could it be that we would be better apart?
Hi Sienna, welcome to the forum. You sound like someone who is trying her very, very best, not being selfish at all. Something has to change. Have you ever heard of a Carers Assessment? Social Services may be able to give you some help (each area is different). Ring them and arrange an appointment away from your husband and children, so you can tell them how it really is. Is your GP aware of how desperately frustrated you are? I had counselling when I was drowning under a sea of problems, it was incredibly helpful. Your GP or Social Services might be able to arrange this for you. Sometimes just talking to a stranger helps you realise just what needs to change etc. Give it a try, but don't be surprised if the first few sessions seem a total waste of time, mine did, so don't give up too early. When did you last have a break away? Are you physically and mentally exhausted?
Hello Sienna and welcome to the forum

Everybody's situation is different, but here we all have one thing in common - we are all Carers and we all know where you're coming from. Each, in their own way, suffers the same frustrations and feelings of isolation and we will NEVER, ever judge. As Bowlingbun says, you are not irrational or selfish - just someone at the end of her tether.

Sometimes it just helps writing it all down as you have done here - as to splitting up ? That is a decision that only you can make.
Hello Sienna. Welcome to the forum.
Why shouldn't you feel angry sometimes. Life isn't as you expected it to be. It's about you, as well as your husband.
You definitely are not selfish.
You will find the forum very supportive ( I most certainly do).
No one will judge you for the natural feelings you have.
Try the counselling. Worth a try.
I went to an admiral nurse when my husband was diagnosed with vascular dementia. Different circumstances I know, but it was good to talk to someone who was interested in me!
Take care, and keep in touch
pet66
Hi and welcome. I think maybe many of us have at times questioned How strong we can be. And wondered if walking away is the answer.

Natural feelings. Advice? Can you make time to see your GP? It might help a bit.
And really, you shouldn't have to bottle your feelings up. THat Love and devotion. Gets us through most of the time. ;)
Well, if you're being selfish, so is he! That's one way of looking at it. A perhaps kinder, and probably more 'psychiatric' way of looking at him is that he's highly 'self-focussed'. That self-focus is, alas, very characteristic of depression (and many forms of mental illness). It's very hard for the sufferer to think of anyone else, because they are in such 'emotional pain'.

I completely agree that counselling could well help you see clearly what the situation is, whether you think it is sustainable, and what YOU want your life to be (and your children - don't let's forget them - far more important than either your husband or you, as they have no choice in this!).

One of the things that crops up for those coping with someone afflicted by depression (or other MH variants), is whether the carer is 'supporting' the patient, or merely 'enabling' them. The difference is crucial.

'Supporting' someone means helping them THROUGH their depression to a happier future. 'Enabling' them merely keeps them where they are.

If all you are doing is 'enabling' your husband to go on being depressed then I, speaking entirely and only personally with no expertise at all (so bear that in mind as you read!), would say that really, are you doing him any good (let alone yourself and your children). I have to say alarm bells go off in my head in this respect when you say you are 'supposed' to be his 'rock'. Er, why? I mean, isn't that a bit convenient for him????????

I don't think you said whether he's in treatment or not? If he isn't, then I would argue that accepting treatment (a combo usually of pharma and talking therapy of some kind), is absolutely the condition for you staying with him and supporting him. (Apols if he is in treatment!).

This may sound even 'harsher' but have you come across the term 'secondary gain'? I hadn't until I joined this forum - it's very revealing! Do you think it applies to your husband?

The awful, awful bottom line of depression is what a 'pain' it is for 'everyone else'! Yes, that sounds cruel, but it's true, all the same. People with depression are hard work....it's why so many folk simply head off sharpish in the other direction.....

Even if your husband is in treatment, is he making, do you think, any effort? In the end, personally I think that that is the make or break factor. If you believe your husband is genuinely trying with all his might to defeat this 'demon' in his head then yes, he could be worth fighting for.

As for your anger - totally justified in my opinion.
As parents, your children should be top priority. Do you feel like your husband is taking any responsibility for them, or competing with them for your attention? Where does your business come in the list of priorities? If you feel you are continually being pulled in all directions, then it is absolutely vital that you have help, ideally from someone totally impartial, a counsellor, to work out what your priorities are.
Even if everyone was well and happy, trying to please five people with different needs (you, him, and the 3 kids, because you matter every bit as much as everyone else) is difficult. It could be argued that you matter most of all because without you nothing else can function properly? Trying to not just work, but run your own business, could be a "bridge too far?"
Throw in your husband's illness as well, then surely at some time or other, it's all going to collapse? Are you trying to be Superwoman? Is it time to start yelling "Help" to Social Services?
Thanks for all your very supportive messages, I already feel a little lighter just for getting this off my chest!
Yes my husband is in treatment he's been on one medication for a while but is currently in the early days of changing as his doctor wasn't sure it was working. I have to say the change in medication has made an already low time a whole lot worse, keeping fingers crossed it's short term. He had a few sessions of talking therapy last year but stopped at the first hurdle and I've now told him is I can't see it getting any better till he goes back that he needs to so he's currently on the waiting list.
I'd never thought of myself as an enabler but yes that's exactly what I am, in trying to help and protect him I end up doing all the work. I can see that it won't get any better until I stop and make him take responsibility.
Since reading your responses I've now made an appointment to go see our gp who has been really helpful with my husband so fingers crossed this will help! I'd never thought of going myself it's always just about him! Again so much help thanks x
I found that counselling wouldn't change my elderly housebound mum but it certainly helped me, because I could change the way I responded to her demands. I knew that her endless list of jobs wasn't really meant to upset me, but was her way of wanting me to spend more time with me, the only one of her three children who visited. In fact, the endless list tended to put me off visiting, especially when I was ill myself. I learned not to beat myself up about the things I couldn't do, be glad for what I could do. I also learned it was OK to say "No" sometimes, bit pathetic that a 60 year old woman needs to be told she doesn't always have to behave like the willing child trying to be a "good" girl.
Hi Sienna and welcome. I don't think you're at all selfish I think you're incredible running a business , bringing up your children and caring for your husband. I know exactly how you feel I care for my schizophrenic son and I feeI have lost him to his illness . I grieve for the life he could have had and dare I say it for the life I could have had too. We're all only human and it's natural that we feel this way. This forum is a fantastic way of saying how you feel because without doubt there are many people who feel exactly as you do. I think the suggestions are good ones you need to look after yourself whatever that takes because you are important too. Hope you see some improvement soon xx