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Husband mentally ill and struggling - Carers UK Forum

Husband mentally ill and struggling

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Hey guys

My husband has seeked help since 2018 for his depression and anxiety. We have had a few bad years and he just doesnt seem to be improving. He has tried so many meds, currently on venlafaxin and mertazapine. He doesnt open up much but is very angry, irritable and cannot cope a lot of the time.

He saw a psychiatrist in 2019 and have asked to to back but they discuss him in the team meetings then dont see him and say nothing more they can do. He was suppose to start telephone therapy in Sept 2020 but he delayed it due to our puppy dying and the woman never got back in contact with him. Previously we have funded therapy for a certain period but hes just not improving.

For myself, I am a midwife and work part time. I do everything in the house. Currently I work split nights as my husband is regularly sleepy during the day and needs a nap, he cannot cope with the kids for long. We have a puppy as thought it was a good idea to get him more exercise and excuse to leave the house as he didnt really go out only food shopping.

Anyway my current concerns:
Work- have I got grounds for a flexi contract based on husbands mental health? I havent really got anyone else to look after the kids and although it is exhausting doing everything, doing split nights means I can be there for everyone I dont need to worry. I have a new manager and the old one didnt tell the new one (long story) so I'm at risk of being put into days and my nights are together, but I get so embarrassed talking about it, people dont understand that he Is at home, doesnt work, but cant look after the kids for 12.5 hours.


Husband in general- how can the GP just say 'carry on'when he is so depressed/anxious, irritable, had to call the police on the weekend as he threatened to kill himself and went out. Previous july 2020 he took an overdose of meds. Its just draining for me but I dont know what else to do.

Kids- my eldest I'm pretty sure is autistic and I need to get her an assessment. (High functioning, more asperges) but she is difficult to manage, my youngest is 5 and has so many sensory issues and separation anxiety from me, always has been and still is high needs. I am SO exhausted from trying to do everything and be the best mum, and look after the house work (I am a bit OTT with the cleaning) any words of wisdom for one broken mum? My memory is so bad and has been for a while I'm not sure if it's the constant lack of sleep or just that I've got so much in my I cannot think of the words I need. Even writing this the youngest is having a tantrum that shes hungry.
Reading your post, you have too much on your plate.
You are classed as "Disabled by Association"" and covered by the Equality Act.

My son has severe learning difficulties, I know how challenging special needs can be.
Where are you in the assessment process?
Are you happy with their schools?
Have you claimed DLA for either of them?
Hi Anna, I am so sorry for you. I don't know how you keep going.
My advice would be to get your husband to phone the Samaritans on 116 123. It is a free 24 hour service. The Samaritans are truly amazing and are trained to help people going through a crisis.
There is another service called NHS Talkng Therapies - more details on the internet.
Has he a friend or family member who he can talk to over the phone or in person?
This threat of suicide is too much for you to cope with on your own.
It is very important that he knows that you really care about him - sorry if that sounds obvious.
If possible take time off work.
Please keep in touch,
Take care,
Karen x
Plus, think back to 2018 when his depression and anxiety started. Encourage him to talk about events leading up to that time.
This feed has just made me join. I am in such a similar situation to yourself, and I came here looking for support.

My children are slightly younger (1 and 3) and I am currently a full time primary teacher. I have just started therapy myself for anxiety. I have been having panic attacks and struggling to function properly with the weight of caring for 2 young children, a seriously depressed husband, and work f/t. All without the hugs and love of my closest family and friends.

This morning my husband wasn't able to get out of bed (we had conversation last night that left him feeling very angry) so I have had to get our children up, take them to nursery, walk the dog and am now teaching online all day. Due to school closures I am currently on a 1 week in/ 1 week out rota (but the week out is probably more intense and busy that the week working on school).

I am struggling so much. I wanted to go and stay with my mum this weekend (she lives alone and I am her support bubble, but haven't seen her since Christmas, so she has been completely alone since then), me raising this was what started last nights conversation. He was very supportive at first and suggested I go alone, which was very generous - but he has barely been functioning this week and is very delusional about this (for example: the conversation was on Tuesday evening, and he'd forgotten that just the day before he'd accused me of not telling him I was working from home that week, had become angry and cross with me about it, had got the children ready for nursery in the most awfully grumpy and abrasive way, and then told me, "I'm not taking the dog, you need to walk him" - normally they all walk to nursery together and kills both birds with one stone. This was at 8:10, I was starting 3 hours of live teaching at 9, followed by recording multiple video lessons and needing to phone 30 children individually to check in with them. He then didn't speak to me for the rest of the day). I therefore suggested he might find it very tiring and that it might make next week harder if he had the children alone for that time.

I told him I'd just started therapy for my anxiety and said I wish he'd revisit therapy as an option (he is currently on meds only) and have been trying to persuade him to do couples therapy with me for some time but he is very opposed to it. I mentioned that I still would liek to do couples therapy, and his reaction was that he thought we were "past that". He has probably given me the silent treatment 6 days out of the past 14. He thinks our relationship is in a good place now.

After last nights conversation I went up to bed as I was exhausted, he stayed up an extra hour and then slammed around the house and then went to sleep in the spare room. I am desperate to go to see my mum, and refuel and refill my "running on empty" feeling, but I am now anxious to leave him. He will be unlikely to come with me, and actually what I need is some space from him. His parents live abroad so I can't suggest he stays with them (I did arrange for him to go over there for a month earlier this year when he was particularly low and I was also running of fumes).

No solutions I know. Just wanted to offload somewhere.

Thank you for reading this far if you got through the waffle
Hi Rosie,
unless you are worried what he might do if left alone, I would take the children and go to your Mum's this weekend. It will benefit all of you.

Melly1
Hi, I totally get where you are coming from I am in a situation where I am not coping too, there seems little help out there at all and it can be a daily struggle, you are obviously doing your very best, but it must be so hard with children at least my son is grown , living and from home. I hope you can get the support you need sending hope and healing xx
Hello Rosie,
Welcome to the forum.
Wow! It's amazing all that you're doing. I understand how tired you're feeling.
Does your husband still work or has he stopped working to care for the children?
I hope you don't mind me asking these questions. If you tell us a bit more then we might be able to help.
Best wishes,
Karen
Hi there .
It's so hard for you all..I feel for you I been there with my husband ..and still am 4o years later .
With men I think it's hard they dont talk to others like ladies .if only they could try support each other I find something can enjoy or text each other so they no someone else understands how they feel.
My husband had all tablet s and therapies he wants to feel better but nothing works he gets angry frustrated.
It's so hard to keep going for him.but for us carers trying to keeping everything going.
We need more help I suggested to mental health what would help over the years.but always a case of money.
But always make sure if there not working pip or disability living allowance it .
helps.
I sending you hugs and support you can only be positive.and hope they may get better and you carers find someone to talk to
Jillx
Hi everyone, especially Anna, Rosie and Jill

Like some others here I have just joined today after reading this. I recognise so much of what I am seeing here, although in my case my husband was still able to work, which I am very grateful for. The problem was that throughout our family life the kids and I just never really knew which version of him would walk through the door at night... I am sure many of you recognise that feeling. For most of the time his mood was somewhere between OK and very angry. I wonder how many men in prison on domestic abuse charges are undiagnosed depression sufferers? Quite a lot I would imagine. Which makes it odd that we are all here talking on a carers forum. Are we carers or victims? They are two sides of the same blokey coin.

In my case our relationship quite quickly got into a repeating pattern of depression, anger and relative calm which went on for about 20 years ... occasionally I would plead with him to consider the possibility that he could be depressed and there might be a way get help, I asked GPs and mental health charities to intervene (nothing, he would have to make contact himself), went to counselling myself (where the advice ranged from 'dump his stuff on the lawn in a binbag' to ' just change your own behaviour' or 'you seem to be coping very well') and from time to time I just plotted my eventual escape once the kids left home.

Throughout this time we couldn't really plan "normal" things like visits with family or friends because sometimes my husband would create a fight and storm off. Looking back this was his own anxiety defence mechanism. So my subconscious calendar was always checking and rechecking dates (Just keep him upbeat until parents' evening on Thursday, don't react to his criticisms and anger ... just keep cool until then... etc). It was full-time workout for my brain.

It was really a horrible existence for much of the time. But my two kids and I have always has such a good laugh! And it was that that kept me going. I think ultimately I always believed they would benefit if I could 'fix' things between us so I persevered. Plus I had nowhere else to go!

However there was a turning point. And this is why I wanted to contribute. After one terrible fight, with both myself and the children, who were now grown up, it finally dawned on me that I didn't have to run away. I had done nothing wrong. I quietly, in an email (that's how bad things were a lot of the time) asked him to seek help or move out.

It was at that point that he tried to kill himself. So for a while it felt that all that had happened was that he changed things from 'do as I say or will be angry' to 'do as I say or I will kill myself'. However it frightened him enough to seek help for the first time. At first it was quite good, the meds kicked in. And he seemed to enjoy the therapy because it was apparently the first time he had ever allowed himself to think about his own mental health. So he found it liberating.

It is not a cure for the illness. That remains. However his official depression diagnosis has given me the chance to read as much as I can, I listen to the many ,many podcasts about depression and I keep building my own mental armoury. Which has all helped enormously. I also read Alastair Campbell's book on depression which gave me some insight into some of the torment that a depressed person can face from day to day. So I learned to be more patient. To remove myself from the room when he is sulking or angry. You may think is very cold, but after 20 years of his refusal to engage with me if I ask him what is wrong ... I figure best to just give him space. Usually he comes round after a few days and life goes back to a more even keel.

I have tried to learn more about men too. Throughout evolution we have relied on men to be ready to die for their tribe, and we wouldn't be here without that. But once we replaced strength with money ... all that adrenaline and courage seem to have no purpose. And I think we have a massive problem on our hands. Some of them really need a physical outlet.

It is a very strange half life that we are all living. We have a life partner ... yet somehow they are more like a child. And a needy, poorly behaved, and sometimes manipulative one at that.

But they are not children. And we are not their mothers. We are not responsible for them. If they choose to hide away from the world, well that is their decision. We can bring them soup and be there for them when they emerge, but we are not falling into their deep hole with them. That way madness lies.

I have no idea if any of this is helpful. But it has helped me to write it down. Do all the good self-care things the books say and stay strong. You have got this.