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Practical coping strategies - Carers UK Forum

Practical coping strategies

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
I am sick of searching the Internet for ways to cope with dealing with my husbands mental health and finding ways of helping him cope instead of myself, so I am hoping people on here can help.

I am 7 and a half months pregnant, with a three year old child and a job. I literally get 2.5 hours a week to myself without hubby or child. I have complications in my pregnancy, therefore I am in and out of the hospital all of the time, not to mention all the preparation I have to do at home to keep my medical condition under control. I do not really have any options for childcare.

I use so much of my patience with my three year old in the day, that I am not left with much for my husbands ever changing moods and am often left feeling guilty, lonely, at fault or taking his anxiety or low mood personally.

I need practical advice on what I can do to make myself feel better and have the patience and strength that I need to help him. Often I end up feeling as low as him and I really want to walk away the majority of the time. Please tell me that someone has some sensible advice for what I can do.

Hi Natalie
What responsibility does he take for looking after his own mental health? Rhetorical question for you to ask yourself as it seems that you have fallen into the trap of looking after him, when he is an adult who should be doing more for himself.

In your current situation, I would suggest that you informally and temporarily separate as you have too much in your plate and your children and your health must take priority. He needs to be living elsewhere while you concentrate on children. It's too much for one person and you have to prioritise. It may sound harsh but I can't think of anything else. Your children (born and yet to be) cannot look after themselves.

There was a thread in here earlier where someone lives round the corner from family, is seen daily and supported, but that allows the wife and family to not tread on egg shells and to thrive. Seems to me it would work for you. Not saying it would be permanent situation.

Talk to your health visitor, she should support you. Also tell the hospital. Who will care for the children during your confinement.
I completely agree with MRs A.
The problem here is not you, or your pregnancy, or your job, or your child - it is your husband.

He has become at best a 'passenger' - at worst, a 'burden'.

People with MH/depression are often, sadly, utterly self-focussed on their own misery and unhappiness. They are extremely selfish (all too often) and instead of HELPING you it sounds like your husband is 'competing' for your time and attention (jealous of his own children??)

OK, maybe that is harsh, maybe he's sad and anxious and insecure and low-self-esteem. Maybe he never wanted any children, or the second one, but there it is, he's got them. So he HAS to man up and 'do his bit' and 'pull his weight'.

This is NOT about him, it's about his children. And that means he stops sinking into self-pity and torpor etc etc etc.

First off, is he working/bringing in a wage, and if not, why not?

If he isn't, but is on some kind of benefits, then he should be doing 'his bit' in the house. HE should be 'the househusband' and should be providing the childcare for your older child, and doing ALL the housework and chores if YOU are working full time. And he should go on doing that after your second child is born and you are on maternity leave (or left full time work.)

I'm sorry to sound so 'tough' but 'firm love' is essential with ANYONE with MH or else they just collapse into a heap of dependence and self pity.

Sadly, though, you would still be fretting over him, I suspect, plus I doubt he WILL 'step up to the mark' anyway, which is why moving him OUT of the household is the way forward.

You already have one totally dependent child, and will shortly be having a totally dependent baby. You really can do without an 'adult baby' who looks to you for everything.

It is NOT your fault he has MH. And even if you did not have children to take priority over him, you still should not have an 'adult baby' - HE should be doing as much as he can to pull his own weight (is he on meds, is he in therapy?)

No marriage can survive one partner having 'untreated MH'.

Hope I'm seeing the 'worst' here, and that he IS in therapy and on meds, and doing more than I fear he is to pull his own weight, and support the mother of his children.
Thank you. Yes hubby does work and he's seeing someone. He's come off meds as the Dr's keep changing them and nothing seems to make any difference, good or bad. I don't think they ever will as I personally think his behaviour is learnt. My main problem is that if he does leave, he'll have to go back to his parents and I don't think he'll ever get better with them as they are major part of the problem. It just all drains the life out of me 😔
Glad to hear he's working (so many, grimly, with MH simply go into 'duvet mode' and become virtually agarophobic and 'inert' etc).

Sorry to hear the meds don't work. Trouble is, unless you are on meds, you don't tend to get sent for therapy as they like you to have 'mood stabilised' before the psych has a go!!!

Has he had therapy at all?

I agree from the sound of things he should NOT go back to his parents, if they are the cause of his problems. Why do you think this is? Does he know they are? What did they put on him?

Does he have friends?
If his parents are the cause of his problems, does he recognise this for himself? Are those trying to help him aware of this? Where he goes when he moves out is an issue for him, NOT YOU. He needs to do the decision making for himself, if he knows his parents are the cause of his problems, then it's up to him to vote with his feet and go somewhere supportive, not destructive.
He is seeing a cognitive bahevioural therapist, but with regards to his parents, he knows what I think and he agrees with me when I've spoken to him about my thoughts, but I'm not sure that he whole heartedly agrees and I don't know if he's told the therapist about them. If I'm honest, I fear it may be more of a slagging match about me. With regards to where else he would go, there isn't really anywhere else for him. All of his friends have families and therefore, no room and he couldn't afford anywhere by himself as he needs to pay for the house that we have.
Don't worry if it is a "slagging match". The therapist will be very, very familiar with this. He/she will know that it's easier to blame anyone else than accept personal responsibility.
We are all responsible for our own actions, and however bad our parents/childhood etc. etc. it's possible to make things as good as they can be, with hard work and care IF you want to. I'm not talking about making money, expensive holidays, but the things that really matter. A real home, where you feel safe, secure, and can relax.
When we married young, after we bought our house we had no money left for anything new, apart from a bed. We bought stuff from the paper, jumble sales, special offers etc. etc. but it was a really happy time.
Is the issue of the mortgage putting too much pressure on him, and severely limiting your options. Is it time to rethink this part of your lives, together, or apart?
We're ok for money. We can comfortably pay our bills, mortgage, there is always food in, we save for xmas/family holiday/general household things and still have money left over to do things like day trips, go out for dinner, have a night out. We're very lucky. It doesn't stop him losing sleep over it. I wonder if he's just very unhappy with his life and he doesn't realise it.

I want to make things work, but it's taking so much of my energy and time and I don't have much of either as it is. Finding time to then look after myself or escape for a little while can be impossible. I was suppose to have yesterday to myself and ended up in hospital having the baby monitored for hours.