Sunday, October 05, 2008

He Lives With Me. Why Can't He Get It?

I feel so angry at my husband right now. Not just my husband, but some of my friends too. The final "straw" that made this camels back break came from comments my husband made last night. While I had been able to let some of our friends comments go, it finally set me off when the person who sees me struggle everyday vocalized the same ignorant beliefs.

We went out last week and when one of our friends asked me how I was doing I told them the truth; that while I was feeling better than I had been I was still struggling with mood swings, fatigue and depression. He proceeded to lecture me on how everyone has mood swings, no one's mood stays the same and everyone gets tired. I hear this kind of response so often that I have really tried to learn to let it go.

I commented that I believed most people did not have the extensive mood swing I had, and that I didn't believe most people struggled with the depth of depression I do and then tried to move the conversation on.

I honestly feel like screaming when someone suggests what I am struggling against is a normal human occurrence. It negates how much pain I feel and the depth of my difficulties. It is dismissive.

I am pretty certain "normal" (I use that word loosely) people do not want to sleep all day, kill themselves on a regular basis, become absolutely exhausted after two or three hours of volunteer work, feel so tired that shopping for food and cooking anything, even Kraft Dinner, seems an impossible task. I am pretty sure most people don't feel so tired they feel sick.

I know when I am well I do not feel like one thing a day: meeting a friend for lunch, painting for a couple hours, or participating in a short class, is the only thing, (besides sleeping and watching t.v.), I can manage that day. I have had periods of "normality" and I had a zest for life, loved cooking, i didn't have time to sleep, because I had too many things I wanted to do.

Anyways...Argh! A few weeks ago a well off friend had made a proposal to my husband to purchase a resort on a remote island and have my husband run it. Part of the proposal was to have me involved working in the restaurant, or something like that. At the time I told my husband it sounded exciting for him, but that given my mental health I was not able to work yet and also, I needed to keep doing the things here that seemed to be helping me (Art, Teaching Art, Participating in the Art Clubhouse etc.). I told him to do it and I would come visit on a regular basis. (It is an 8 month a year operation). He seemed to to be okay with that and to understand.

Last night on the way home from a friends I asked him if the proposal was going through and he said the people who owned it would be willing to pay me more than I receive on disability. I just looked at my husband...Huh?...and explained (why the hell do I have to explain this) I am not on disability because I do not want to work. I am on disability because I am too sick to work. Do you not understand that if I was able to work I would be the first to be out there looking for a job?

I felt angry at our friend too. I felt like they must think I'm simply sitting here watching the money come in when I could be working. I can't even express how angry I felt about that, but especially about my husband thinking the same thing.

He started telling me I would never get well unless I started to work. I think the rage came from within because I struggle so hard with my not working. I looked at my husband and asked him what he saw me able to do during the day. Did he really think I was able to work given my mood lability and my inability to do hardly anything without feeling like I'm going to collapse?

My husband just kept saying if I worked all that would disappear. Fuck! I wanted to kill him (figuratively). He began to blame the whole falling through of the resort deal on me. That if I worked there he would do it, but because I'm making money doing nothing I was not willing to help him. He wasn't going to accept the deal unless I agreed to work there too. So the weight of his future lays in my hands and is suddenly my responsibility.

I live with this man. I expect that he sees how much I struggle. Maybe he is in complete denial that I need the help I receive. He kept saying over and over:

"As long as you receive help from Dr. X, as long as you receive disability money, as long as you get will never get better. I can't wait for the day Dr. X. won't see you anymore. I can't wait for your disability to be cut off. You will never get better until Dr. X kicks you out of therapy. No ones mood is perfect . Everyone's mood goes up and down. You will never have a perfect mood....[etc.]"

I went to bed enraged and so angry that he thinks I'm not trying to get better, and that he thinks the things that help me keep me sick. As I write this I am becoming enraged all over again. I don't even know how to explain to him how his view is mistaken, wrong, dismissive of how hard I try and extremely hurtful. I am so mad I don't even want to talk to him, or be with him anymore.

If he has been with me/lived with me for the last 16 or 17 years and he can't notice this last few years is not me, he obviously pays no attention to how hard I am trying. He obviously is missing the fact that I sleep much of the day, feel depressed much of the time, want to die part of the time still and that I am not ready to work even minimal part-time, let alone full-time, at ANY job.


deepblue said...

oh, I am so so sorry to hear this. I have felt that from people as well, I can only imagine the pain that must cause to hear it from the one person who you hope would understand and support you the most.

susan said...

Hi, I just found your blog, and I absolutely love it. Could relate to so many things here.

will be back to read you more often, added you to my bookmarks! Take czre.

Hayley said...

I suffer from anxiety, phobias, panic, etc. but luckily not depression. I did have a bout of severe depression for a few months a couple of years ago. I would never have known how it feels unless I experienced it myself. You know the cymbalta commercials "Depression Hurts". Its true, but unless a person has felt it for themselves they really and truly cannot imagine. I'm not trying to excuse your husband and friends, that is just how people think when they themselves don't have this disease. I honestly hope that I never have to go through that again because it is incapacitating.

Hang in there, at least you have a supportive doc.

s said...

He proceeded to lecture me on how everyone has mood swings, no one's mood stays the same and everyone gets tired

I know I'm missing the main point of the post, but that's EXACTLY why I tell almost no one of my problems.

Do you ever wonder yourself if he might have a point? Seeing my incredible deterioration and crash since being in psychiatric treatment, I often really do wonder if having a once-a-week shrink isn't making me worse, encouraging sick behavior...I ask myself a lot.

Hmm, looks like a good topic for a post or blogosphere round.

The Silent Voices in my Mind said...

I am crying for you. They should understand. They should know this stuff by now. They should love us whether we are laughing or crying. Why don't they???

Hang in there. There are people who understand the way things really are and that they are so far from the cruel things people say.

My grandmother gave me the best piece of parenting advice I have every gotten: Those who have kids understand; those who don't never will. It has taken me a long time, but I realize now that is true of mental illness too.

Well, I've been there and I do understand. And those that haven't, while I am glad for them, they never will fully understand.

Tamara said...

Oh, (((((Aqua))))). I am very sorry. This is such a difficult place to be in. I so know how you feel.

I think people who have never felt the depth of emotional pain that you are talking about, that I myself have felt, just cannot begin to understand. They truly believe that you can just "work through it" and get on with life. This does not excuse your husband not being supportive and trusting you. Even if he cannot understand, he should trust you enough to believe what you are telling him.

I am glad that you have your doctor. It IS important to continue doing the things that you know are helping you get better.

Also, I don't believe they give out disability easily. You kind of have to really be in need! I have been on disability before and I felt so bad about myself for having to do that. In retrospect, I know that it was truly what I had to do. I could not have worked at the time. No way!

Please be gentle with yourself. I wish I had advice about helping your husband understand. All I can say is I believe you and I understand.

Many hugs,

Hannah said...

aggghhh! I know exactly how you feel! Especially when it's someone you thought understood what you were going through! The frustration is enough to send me over the edge sometimes!

Polar Bear said...

I'm sorry your husband has been so invalidating of your experience. I do see how hard you struggle with your not working, and your husband's comments certainly wouldn't help.

I can also understand your rage and anger. I think sometimes people who don't suffer from mental illness just don't know what it is like to have it. I think it's just ignorence on their part, not so much they don't care or want to hurt you.

Do take care...
I hope you can at least validate your own feelings and recognise that you are ill and it's Ok to not work if you can';t manage it.

Polar B.

Jazz said...

Sorry you are having to deal with is so hard when the people who should be supporting you just don't understand, but I think Tamara hit it right on the head--people who haven't been through it have no idea what you're going through.

Hang in there!

Aqua said...

Thanks for the support deepblue, S, sv, Tamara, PB, , jazz also some newcomers. Welcome and thanks to some new "faces", (susan, hayley and hannah).

I am still really angry at my husband, but my pdoc wrote a post about "polarization, which got me thinking of my husband and my own opposite views and whether there is a middle ground... I might try to write my ideas later.

S: I used to wonder that all the time, now i do periodically, but I know my pdoc is helping me become the person I want to be. That is a very difficult task and especially with a mood disorder, fraught with downfalls, trip-ups and seemingly endless giant steps backwards...but if you read my journals from when I first met Dr. X, while it might be hard to believe, I would suggest I am at least 50 to sometimes 75% more well than I was when I firsat began seeing him.

dean said...

Like your blog. Sorry you are having a difficult time atm.

Nobody can make you feel responsible for something unless you let them. So don't buy into the thinking that you are responsible for the resort deal falling through because you did not support it.

jcat said...

Oh sweetie - I really know what you mean. I agree with Tamara... just like kids, there is stuff about depression that no-one knows until they get there. But it can be hard to put up with the crap until then, especially from someone like your H/B who has known you for so long.

Was thinking about similar stuff this week. For most of this year, I am blind-sided by how little I can achieve, even - or especially - on what I figure are good days. I know that I could hold down two jobs, care for my animals and still go out and socialise at night. For the last 4 years tho' all I ever seem to do is reduce my life, cut down on one activity after another because it all just takes more energy than I can produce.

Sometimes I sit in the bath after I have woken up, fed 4 cats and maybe 10 of the babiest birds, made coffee and let the dogs inside. It's 15 or 20 minutes of being out of bed, and I lie there and cry because I am already so f-ing tired that I just cannot see how I will keep walking and talking for another ten hours.

When I manage to work anyhow, it's only because I can do it at home without ever seeing anyone, without ever getting more dressed than a tee and shorts, and I can curl up on the toilet and cry every hour or so because it just seems like too much.

Only thing that has made a difference in forever is the dude, and sometimes, even though I love him completely and would like to be with him 24/7 forever.... it is a relief when he leaves and I can lie on the couch and just wish that the whole f-ing world would disintegrate. Including him, and very definitely including me...

love you,

Aqua said...

Thanks and welcome to my blog.

I wish Skookum and I could jump on a plane and come for a visit. I know you could use some support as could I. I can just see us crantini's in hand, saying "f" it all to the world. I need a new life, or at least a chnge of view.