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Struggling to Be A Good Support

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  • #271235
    Maria Mango
    Participant

    Right now I am not okay.

    It’s 2:00 AM and I’ve already waited way too long to get this off my chest so here goes. It’s 2:00 AM after a day of just weirdness and fighting between my husband and I. You see, he has major depression and is in the midst of one of the worst episodes I’ve witnessed since we’ve known each other and I just don’t know if I can handle it.

    I just don’t know if I can handle it. I don’t know if I was made out of the special tough stuff needed to keep myself while still supporting him. It’s one of those days where I question everything I know, everything I’ve learned about supporting someone with depression. It seems like the wheels are turning but we are getting nowhere fast. So frustrating.

    The point of me telling you this is because it’s historically been so hard for me to say I’m having a hard time. I get the feeling that it’s like that for other support people too – you feel like you should be this great shining paragon and get really disappointed with yourself when you just want nothing more to do with the person you’re caring for because it hurts so bad.

    I feel guilty even just thinking these words, but that’s where I’m at now. I’m going to a new support group next week and he is going to his own group as well as seeing a counselor, but I’m afraid the damage is being done to our relationship. I’m afraid I’m just not equipped for this, even though I love him tremendously, sometimes I just feel like me being here is detrimental because I’m not a trained professional.

    Just feeling really exhausted by this awful disease 🙁

    Thanks,

    M

     

    #271245
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Maria Mango,

    It IS an awful disease. He might need a change of medication, and/or he’s ALSO going through the normal stuff humans go through as well (i.e. work stress, mid-life crisis, temptation, financial worries). If it’s not his body chemistry, something happened to exasperate his condition.

    I know it’s counter-intuitive, but YOU should go away for a weekend to relax and recharge. Your presence is a privilege, not a right. He doesn’t just get to fight with you just because he has depression. Of course, you don’t tell him that. You just say, “I don’t like that” and walk away. THEN a few days later say, “I’ll be back in an hour/on Sunday”. Find a weekly sanctuary like a church or a bookstore, somewhere where you can go in and just BREATHE.

    Best,

    Inky

    #271271
    Maria Mango
    Participant

    Hi Inky,

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply – he is going through the depression, the regular life stuff, and immigration proceedings and not being able to work legally so not a great time for us. He’s not outwardly mean, just withdrawn which is hard and sets off my anxiety. We also live in a tiny one room studio apartment, it’s hard for either of us to get away.

    I like your advice, I used to go to the beach about once a month – it’s my sanctuary but since we’ve been married I have only been maybe once. Maybe I’ll go this weekend if the weather is still nice. I’m also looking into local mindfulness groups and support groups to get myself out of the house.

    I guess I just really needed to vent, things are a little better today but I still feel like there’s just no hope our relationship will ever be the same. And that makes me really sad.

    Thanks for listening

    M

    #271307
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Maria Mango:

    The fighting has to stop (“fighting between my husband and I”)- aggression doesn’t belong in a supposedly loving relationship. Aggression in a marriage harms the wife/husband when depressed and when not depressed.

    Whatever choice you make, make no fighting/ no aggression the rule, for as long as you are in a relationship with him.

    Living in a tiny one room studio apartment is very difficult, for one person or for two. It  is probably a good idea  for the two of you, individually and/or together take at least one long walk outside, daily, or spend time at  a  gym every day, so that you spend time in a greater space and  in the open.

    I hope you post again.

    anita

    #271369
    Mark
    Participant

    Maria Mango

    It sounds like you are taking steps to take care of yourself, i.e. going to the beach, mindfulness and support groups.

    Good that you can find places to vent.

    I believe when someone is aggressive or mean or disrespectful then that is the time to leave, take a timeout for yourself while saying why you need to get away from him for a while.

    Mark

    #271373
    Maria Mango
    Participant

    Hi all,

    thanks again for such thoughtful responses! We are working on getting out more and moving in a good direction.

    I did want to clarify, neither of us are aggressive towards the other. Our fights are more like serious conversations that leave us feeling frustrated. We never name-call, yell, blame, or get physical with one another. Occasionally I’ll raise my voice but that really makes him shut down, so that doesn’t happen very often.

    That being said, we do get very frustrated with each other and that does need to stop. We recently made some steps forward on the immigration front that have improved our situation. Someday soon we’ll be able to move out of the box but until then we’ll just have to keep doing our best.

     

    Thanks,

     

    M

    #271377
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Maria Mango:

    I am glad to read your clarification regarding what you meant by fighting, which is not really fighting, I suppose. Keep the peace with him best you can. Living in a small space, there  is no place to escape to, if there is distress and conflict between the two of you, no other room to go to so to be alone.

    Living in a small apt is really an opportunity like no other to improve communication so to exercise EAR between partners: Empathy, Assertiveness, Respect.

    I hope you have a Happy New Year and a good 2019!

    * HAPPY NEW YEAR to you too, Mark. Good to read your posts and looking forward to read more from you in the coming year!

    anita

    #271391
    Mark
    Participant

    Thank you Anita.  Wishing you a great 2019 yourself.

    Mark

    #271395
    anita
    Participant

    * Thank you Mark, glad to receive your message!

    anita

    #271553
    Mark
    Participant

    Maria Mango,

    I have learned that living my life as a collection of what I should do/be does not serve me to live a healthy, conscious and happy life.  Shoulds are constructs imposed upon us from the outside, from others, from society, from tradition, etc.  It is something that may or may NOT fit us, who we are, who we want to be.  Being a stalwart supporting and caring partner by sacrificing our own happiness, peace of mind, mental and physical health is not a “should” that I would embrace.

    Mark

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