Feeling so Low

So many Carers like me going through similar problems caring for an ex partner, just wondered how you all manage? Caring now for over 2 years and doesn’t get any better! :unsure:

Hi Peter, welcome to the forum.
Caring for your ex must present a few challenges?
Would you like to tell us a bit more and we should be able to make a few suggestions.
What benefits, if any, are you and your ex claiming?
Are you living separately, or together?

Still caring for an ex-partner after such a length of time demonstrates that you are a loyal, caring and thoughtful person. It probably shows you still love them to some degree.
Perhaps things would be easier with a total break? I take it that that’s far easier said than done, otherwise you’d have probably done it.

I know it can be hard and that you can’t turn feeling on/off like a tap.

I manage by searching for meaning in caring and this had led me to find solace from a few sources,

Not everyone’s idea of helpful but these folks have helped me.
Ajhan Brahm - very funny lots of his talks on utube.
Pema chodron also funny and wise.

I can direct you to talks for free if you interested.
No pressure,
This forum helps me manage as I feel kind friends are here
Warm wishes Ula

Thanks for messaging back,
Benefits wise I think we are OK, we live together, sepeate beds, since my partner had Stroke and I became her carer.
It creates so many challenges, it’s been over 2 years now, I love her to bits, but in a different way now, and also feel so sorry for her, and just think to myself if I was to leave her, she would not get over it, and it makes me feel gad even writing that, but if I ever think to myself what about my future? Then guilt hits me realy hard.

Sometimes I just think that’s it, there’s no way to turn, cul de sac!
Even writing this makes me feel bad.

When you talk to people outside of caring, especially some politicians, they talk about duty. One in particular has no truck with the idea of supporting carers, because she held down a job as an MP and a second job to boot. Oh - and was able to afford care staff coming in to cover, without having to deal with social services, etc.

Life’s not like that for the rest of us, given that we’re human. We feel that we must care for our loved one. We feel guilty when we have a “moment of weakness” when we feel a bit sorry for ourselves. Because this is not what we signed up for, not really.

When I got married, I was looking forward to growing old together. Not having bits fall apart and drop off. Not the pain. Not the stress. But they came along anyway. The hard part is getting used to it because what you’re going through is grief. A very real loss of the life you had and that you expected to hold onto.

You need to plan in some time out for you. I’m a bit of a photography nut, and I’ll arrange with my wife and son that they’re set up for the day and I’m off out with the camera for 2-5 hours. Yes, I’m on call, but I can do what I want and go where I want and just take photos of things that catch my eye.

I got this one a few years ago.

That time out gives me a chance to unwind and get my thoughts off the merry-go-round of caring.

My wife has got involved in a research project, and so will have more time thinking about things that make her feel less disabled. It’s all good because for some of that time I’ll be supporting her, and the rest will be time to get out with the camera. Win:win.

Do you have a hobby or interest you can spend time on? Is there something your wife can do that helps her to think about what she can do rather than what she can’t?

Dear Peter, having read your second post, things are much clearer. I’ll certainly say that your situation reflects mine. We’ve been married 15 years and she’s been ill with ME/CFS for 14 of those. Did not/could not see that coming. Our marital relationship is one of carer/patient I’d say, more than 95% of the time. She is listed as being in the worst 15% of sufferers.

We’re aged 50/51 respectively and I cannot help but keep asking myself, “Can you do another 30 years of this?”

Exactly as you say, I don’t ‘not love’ her anymore but things really have changed. To be honest, I feel sorry for her more than I love her. If I divorced her (which is easier & quicker now) I don’t think she’d ever get over it. She’s American and has no family here and only one friend, the rest having dropped her. I really am the only person in her life. Guilt? You bet. Bigtime. I get up feeling guilty, go to bed feeling guilty.

If I met her tomorrow, would I get involved with her. No, I wouldn’t.

Thank you so much for sharing what you did. I really appreciate it.

Charles, I have to say as well, I think you are 100% spot on. People really really do not understand. Some may claim to, but they really don’t.

You are not wrong in that having some ‘me time’ is vital. I totally agree. Because I do, and she allows this and is supportive of it. Trouble is, it is finite and I have to return to the eternal grind of food prep, cooking, cleaning, etc etc.

I know about ‘moments of weakness’, believe me. I’ve been having one for about two years. With no ends in sight that I like.

Hi Anthony

Just a thought: counselling might help. Sometimes talking these things out can help you to deal with a situation better. I’ve seen it work for people trapped in all sorts of situations, although I accept it’s not for everyone.

Thanks for response, it seems along with a lot of other people we are in the same boat.

Trying to explain my situation to someone that doesn’t care for someone is a non starter.
I realy do not think counselling would help me in the slightest, and I just do not know what the answer is or which way to turn apart from carrying on unhappy with life, which is so draining
I have just have to be there for her, and put a brave face on it.

Dear Peter, you are 100% spot on again. Trying to explain it to somebody that hasn’t or isn’t going through it is nigh on impossible. Yes, people nod and smile in sympathy and all that, but they cannot know what its like. That’s why we have to stick together!
By ‘it’ I refer to the slow, irreversible decline of a spouse into an invalid. To witness your partner’s gradual deterioration from a confident independent woman into a bed-ridden zombie is not something one can understand until one’s been through it. Imagine you explaining a moonwalk to Neil Armstrong? Exactly.

That’s why this space it vital, and I am very grateful for it.

I have been a carer for at least 43 years, when my son was brain damaged at birth. However, my mum had issues ever since my younger brother was born 8 years after me, in 1960! I’ve supported sister in law with post natal depression, looked after her two children, for months whilst she moved back to her mum who lived abroad, and brother worked somewhere else. I’ve supported all four of our parents as they endured years of disability before death, and a few others besides.

Counselling for me was life changing, about 6 years ago. Everyone wanted a piece of me, leaving nothing left for me. Counselling gave me back my self esteem, acknowledged how hard it was never to have real “free” time, never to be truly free from the phone, never time to put on make up, a pretty dress, and have fun.

It took a few sessions for me to feel comfortable enough to be open and honest. I’d arrived early for my session, and saw my counsellor arrive on a powerful motorbike. I learned to ride on a Yamaha RD250 when living in Western Australia, was stopped for speeding within the first two miles of my very first ride!!! Telling him about my bike he saw an entirely new me.

He gave me “permission” to think about my own needs and wishes again, to feel free, and to know that it was OK to go on holiday by myself and enjoy it.

Please give counselling a try.
I’m not suggesting either of you want to put on make up and a dress (!) but suspect that you will understand the feeling of being trapped?

As always, thanks, BB.
Perhaps a little off the shoulder number…? I draw the line at heels, though.

Thanks for posting this, been encouraging to read it all.

I love the sense of humour (sometimes black) that comes through on here.

I have been desperate at times but thankfully have found Forum a huge support. Thankfully I have found friends over the last couple of years who no longer care, but have cared for parents in the past so do understand!

I care for my medically non compliant difficult much older 83 year old husband . People who have not cared do not understand and one friend said she envied me being able to read all day! She had no comprehension of what it feels like to try and coax my husband into a clean gown, take his pills, take his his inhalers et al et al.

I make no apology for sometimes putting on a pretty dress and high heels!!! I am up most mornings at 4am due to husbands coughing and makeup is a necessity not a luxury for me and helps me feel’human’. So guys do what you have to do to carve out some ‘quality of life’ for YOU. One thing I learnt on here is that one cannot care for anyone unless self care is practiced.

Do you have a local Stroke Group? Have you both been?
Speaking with the group organiser and meeting others might give some inspiration, regenerate understanding and give some sparks of life, hopefully.

I am not trained or anything, and I feel really bad about what I am going to say below, but do you need to see a counsellor? You sound so flat, it is a concern and is there a danger of you feeling contempt and resentment further along the line?

You are concerned she would not get over your leaving her, but what about her being in a resentful relationship? Does she deserve better? Will she have better life? Will she end up feeling trapped? I feel terrible saying those, but it’s things you should consider and I am saying them in support of her.

It seems that you both need to go to the stroke group a few times and see if that improves anything in your own selves and for yourself to have some professional counselling and guidance.

I love this Helena, gives me hope x

Thanks breezy