Saturday, June 04, 2011

Another Call for Help

Following the post "A Call for Help" I received a comment from another lady struggling to cope with her sick husband and the situation it had placed her in.

I also don't know what to do anymore, after three years struggling with my husband's sickness. I'm from Asia, well-educated, but was forced to move to Europe (in a matter of two days) because of his sickness. I basically abandoned everything I had for him.

But after three years, on top of his sickness, my troublesome mother-in-law is constantly causing problems by demanding way too much attention from her son all the time and bad-mouthing me whenever she can. My husband loves me, but he doesn't see what his mother is doing to me. He needs his family, he said, and his mother loves him and pampers him like a child all the time.

I am depressed and at the end of my strength. I lose my temper very easily these days. My friends and family are all in Asia. And here I can hardly have an independent life due to language barrier and qualification mismatch. I just want to get myself out of this whole mess. But a divorce will be a huge blow to him... yet I can't see myself living a life like this anymore...

I also want to ask, what should I do?

Anonymous, I really wish I knew what to advise. I'm sorry that life has become so unbearable for you. Unfortunately I have no solution for troublesome mother-in-laws! If he enjoys the attention she lavishes on him, I can see why it would be difficult to convince him to leave - but what about you? Don't you also deserve the attention of your family? Maybe you could reason this way with him.

Although he may need additional support due to his illness, it doesn't mean that he can have his own way all the time! Maybe he just doesn't realise how the situation is affecting you?

When Mr Man was in hospital I was at breaking point, and so exhausted. He wanted me to visit twice a day. It was hard, but I had to explain to him that although I loved him very much, I also had to look after myself, otherwise I would get to the point where I wouldn't be able to help him at all. It helped that a nurse explained this to him also, and he was very good about me not coming for a day while I got some much needed rest.

I think sometimes when you are caring for someone with mental illness, the whole situation can become about them, and how they feel. But it really doesn't hurt to let them know how you feel as well. I used to avoid crying in front of Mr Man, but actually, when I did cry he would look surprised, like he'd only just realised that other people feel distressed over things too, and then he would forget about his own feelings for a little while.

So the only thing I can recommend is that you discuss how you feel with your husband. I don't know how ill he is at the moment, but he may surprise you and be stronger than you think.

I would also recommend trying to get some support for yourself. You don't say which European country you are in, so I don't know what the services are like where you are, but maybe visit your GP, get some help with your depression, ask to see a counsellor, and ask if there are any support agencies for carers.

I really hope this helps.