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Struggling to cope - Carers UK Forum

Struggling to cope

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Hi. I'm new here and just need to get things off my chest as I can't talk to family or friends out of respect for my husband.

My husband has struggled with severe anxiety and depression for about 9 months now though he had issues before as well but was hiding it. 9 months ago he started having panic attacks at work and was signed off sick. He's tried a range of medications but doesn't feel like anything helps even though he's only taken low doses, he never gives it a chance by trying a higher dose.

He's tried CBT but struggled and his therapist stopped the sessions stating that as he was struggling to complete the homeworks CBT isn't beneficial for him.

I know the struggle he is going through as I myself have had anxiety and depression for most of my life and have had to be on meds and do CBT. I know any progress has to come from him and I can't make him get better. I try to be a good role model, exercising myself etc but it's very hard for me.

You see I have stage 4 cancer, I'm on chemotherapy which affects my energy and appetite for more than a week every 3 weeks. But because of my husband's mental health I'm left to do all the cleaning, shopping, cooking, laundry. I'm finding it very hard to not feel resentful towards him. I help him with everything despite the frail state of my body but when I have had days of severe fatigue where I can't feed myself there's no help whatsoever from him. I know that poor mental health removes your motivation and saps your energy. But I don't know how long I can cope with being a carer for him and for myself.
And of course if I'm having a bad day with side effects it negatively affects his mental health and he starts having a bad day. I just don't know what to do.. I have no family in the UK to help and no friends either. His family is here but he doesn't want them around and to be honest neither do I as they don't understand mental health and anything they say tends to make him worse. He also would not accept help from anyone outside as he is too embarrassed about his inability to do anything at the moment.

If I ask him to help me out a bit or open up about how I can't do everything around the house he just says he feels useless and starts wallowing.

I don't know what to do
I feel I might break soon
Sometimes what a person wants is less important compared to what they need.

You already know you can't carry on as you are, otherwise you wouldn't be here.

At the moment, you both need help, swallow your pride and ask for it.

Contact Social Services in your area.
Men are no good with illness, admitting that you are ill that's a sign of weakness and men are supposed to be big and strong stiff upper lip, men don't get upset, men don't cry.
And it is very difficult for men to open up, woman have a good chat with their friends, deal with their issues and problems, but Men don't.
If your husband had a broken leg of course he would seek help, but a broken head NO I don't need help, there is such a stigma attached to Mental illness.

A combination of Medication and Therapy will help depression and anxiety but you have to put the work in, take the tablets, work with the therapist.

Mental illness does not stop your husband doing the washing up and hoovering, marriage is a partnership you work together, sounds like you are doing all the work, which is unfair.
And helping out around the house, may stop him feeling useless, its a viscous circle, the less you do the worse it gets.
And doing physical exercise helps with depression, at least half an hour walk a day.

And cancer you should be getting help and support, my local cancer unit has a wall of leaflets, Macmiilan nurses can and should be helping, practical help, emotional support and help with benefits.

You have cancer and are caring for your husband, an impossible situation, you are not superwoman, you are ill and only going to get worse.

Many familys do not understand mental illness, unless you have been through it, you don't understand, depression it's like a ton weight on your head, tiredness, exhaustion, bad feelings.
And yes familys can do more harm than good, negative comments.

He doesn't want people from outside admitting he needs help, that's a sign of weakness, but again you have a puncture by the side of road, a kind person helps you change the wheel, that's accepting you can't do everything and need help.
but really that's the only solution, you are both ill and strugglying, you a lot more.

There should be someone at the cancer unit who can help with your welfare, a support worker who can help you access the extra help needed.
Pals patient liaison, all hospital trusts have to have a Pals to give advice, help and support, contact them, you can normally ask at the front desk of your hospital, there is often a freephone telephone number.

Or have you a local Carers Centre to help, you are a unpaid carer looking after your husband with mental illness but getting no support yourself, you should be able to get a carer support worker who again can help with issues.

Thousands of men struggle with Mental Health, suffer in silence, don't want to talk, but there is help available.

CALM Campaign against living miserably 0800 585858 available 5pm to midnight, your husband can talk to someone anonymously, will not be judged and i think that's what he's afraid of being judged.

I am a man unpaid carer, i suffer from depression and anxiety, some days i can barely get out the house, but i force myself, wallowing just doesn't work just makes things worse.
Everyday i go out, help my carees, i take a disabled ladys dog for a walk, helps her, gives me exercise, out the house, a bit of fresh air and social interaction, others stop and say hello to the dog more than me, cute dog.
Your husband has lost his purpose in life, men should work, be strong, bring the wages in, sometimes we just can't.

Try Pals and the Carers Centre, hopefully they can help, there should be more identification of unpaid carers, does the cancer unit know you are an unpaid carer? you are a patient and a carer.
Hi. Some very good advice there from Londonbound.
It is really important that your husband gets to talk to other people. Has he a male friend he could contact? If he wont get in touch with his friends then perhaps you could.
Does he go out at all?
If your husband will not except help you must have help. Are you linked to any cancer charities.

You should not being doing anything physically at the moment. If your husband will not allow anyone in your home. Then he needs to understand that you may have to go in to respite. So you can recuperate at your pace. You should not be over powered my his needs.

As has been suggested contact Social Services and/or a cancer charity. Who will be able to support you now and help get you needs met.

You done an amazing job getting this far.