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How do I stop feeling so guilty and responsible...?! - Carers UK Forum

How do I stop feeling so guilty and responsible...?!

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.

I'm new here and I'm hoping that someone will understand my situation and have some advice...

I don't really consider myself to be a carer. My partner is physically able to look after himself, we're both young and generally healthy. However, I think he has depression and I think he's been feeling low and pretty desperate for over a year.

At times he appears to be fine, particularly when other people are around. If my family pop over or the next door neighbours pop in for a cuppa, he's happy and cracking jokes. The minute they've gone and we're alone, he goes back to being withdrawn and moody. It's almost as if the act that he's put on has completely worn him out.

Aside from that, he doesn't always look after his appearance, sometimes he'll go days without shaving, having a shower and properly changing his clothes. He's been depressed for a while (I think) but the personal hygiene issues have really only happened over the last 5 months or so.

He's moody, he snaps if I ask questions or enquire if he's ok. I'm trying my best to be understanding, patient and not annoy him, but it seems that whatever I do annoys him somehow.

This started when he was made redundant a 16 months ago. He was self-employed for a while, but couldn't get enough work to cover his out-goings, so gave up. Since then he hasn't worked. He refuses to talk about claiming job seekers allowance, I think this is because of his male pride. He hates the fact that he has to rely on me financially and I understand why. He doesn't make any attempt to resolve the situation though, so I don't see how it's going to change.

We have talked about how he feels, but he only allows us to talk about it very infrequently and if I push the issue he gets cross and goes to bed. He says that sleep is his medicine and he doesn't need to see his GP, in fact, whilst he acknowledges (occasionally) that he's feeling low, he refuses to do anything about it.

All of this has left me feeling a bit low now. I constantly try to do things to make him feel a bit happier, to make things easier, I avoid doing or saying anything that makes him feel uncomfortable or worse about the situation. I protect him from other people's comments, most of which are quite harsh. But whatever I do, nothing makes any difference and I feel pretty useless. The past 5 months or so have been the worst and now I'm feeling very responsible for everything and guilty for making him feel worse and not being able to help him.

I'm sorry that this has got so long, I didn't intend to type all of this, but found that once I'd started, it just flowed easily! I'm sorry if this is the wrong forum or the wrong board for this topic.

I'm hoping that someone will have experienced something similar and will be able to understand how I feel. That alone would be enough to make me feel better and less isolated.

Thank you x
Hello Audrey,

Thank you for all of your replies and for your reassurance. It's so reassuring to know that someone else understands and thinks that he could have depression. Because I've half been wondering if he's just unhappy being with me, but doesn't have a way out at the moment. I have said that to him and he says I'm being silly. He's not able to tell me how he feels about me though and has never really told me that he cares about me, he finds talking about emotions extremely difficult... whenever I ask him, he says if he wasn't happy with me, he wouldn't still be here. That doesn't make me feel any better to be honest! Image

You're right, I never get anything right and it leaves me feeling very guilty and useless. When I am feeling really logical and pragmatic, I know that no one is perfect and I'm trying my best, but it's not always easy to remember that.

I did a little bit of research about carers and I think I could be a carer, but I don't feel like one. Mainly because I don't really do any personal care for him. I do all of the cleaning, cooking etc... because he has not interest in doing anything. I don't want to claim that I'm a carer, because he would hate that and I don't think that anyone who knows us would think that I'm his carer.

I just wish that he'd feel better, because we'd both be much happier then. You're right too about him getting help, he refuses to acknowledge it and won't go to his GP or go to counselling. I asked him to give it a go, just once, for me, but he refused.

Today I feel like I'm at the end of my tether and struggling to know what to do.

Thanks again Audrey, it's lovely that someone replied Image x
Thanks Audrey. I have tried to encourage him to go to the GP for my sake, but it doesn't work. He hurt his back about a year ago and he coped with the pain for 3 weeks, it was only when he could no longer stand the pain and the sciatica had kicked in that he agreed and I drove him to the surgery. That was the first time his GP had seen him in 7 years!!

We don't have the same GP, but I do feel that I could call him GP and talk about it with him. However, he'd then have to make some kind of contact with my partner and if ever found out that I had spoken to his GP without his permission, he'd be very angry.

Thanks again Audrey, you've been really helpful x
when my husband and I were first married, he was made redundant and I was the one earning. Then I had our first baby,and we decided between us that he would continue to stay at home and be "househusband" while I went out to work.I was a nurse, so it was decent money,good time off and holidays. My husband,though, became very depressed being at home,even though he had a baby to look after( a baby with Downs Syndrome so we both had to learn extra skills),and we argued a lot.He was very stressed because I was going out every day.One day we were screaming at each other and our Health Visitor called during this. That was the turning point. We trusted her enough to tell her the truth about how we were each feeling,she got my husband onto a committee of a local charity and found him contact details of a mother and toddler group(there was also another Dad there which helped).She helped us at a time we didn't even realise that we needed help. It was both of us, not just my husband even though he was the one suffering from depression.
This was in 1986,and we are still happily married,still drive each other crazy at times and have been through Hell with one thing and another.But the Health Visitor that day found a way to reach out and support us both.
You need help and support, to get through this time,as well as your husband. You may find your local branch of MIND will support you as a Carer(which you are), to access support for your husband.

Good luck.
Hi Bumblebee1, a lot of your partners problems could be down to selfworth, alot of men see themselves as the provider, and when made redundant cannot cope with the failure feeling, they see it as a failure to provide and care as the breadwinner, rather than a sign of the times, as the days and weeks go on, the selfworth disapears and depression sets in. The longer its left, the harder it gets to get out the vicious circle. You read about people who leave home to go to a job, that ended days weeks or months ago, alot can be down to upbringing, ie, you must work, you must provide, you must be that or this. The same applies to emotions, is there a loving talkative reaction with his parents, or business like. These are not set in stone but give an idea of what might lay behind. Its very true though, that the longer its left the harder it will get to deal with. Not what you probaly wanted to hear, the problem you have is, the more you mention it, the more he will tell himself that you think of him as worthless, hence the hygiene and sitting around doing nothing.
Does he have a very good close friend that could try and get through to him. You are stuck between a rock and a hard place and i wish you luck, remember though, this is all guesswork from your post and i could be miles out.
I have nothing of importance to say, just wanted you to know I had read the posts and sympathise with your predicament.

My OH goes into snooze mode quite a lot too, just his way of not having to cope with reality, but his is not depression, more brain overload from inconsiderate family!

Take care