I don't know how much longer I can cope with this

Hi, I hope I’m posting in the right place. My DH started with MH problems 7 years ago when our business went bust. Panic attacks, depression, anxiety etc. At the time I was working part time as our baby was 6 months old so I upped my work (I’m freelance) and until our son went to school I worked nights and naptimes and was a full time mum in the day. I have supported our family financially ever since. DH works but doesn’t earn much and always spends his money on frivolities and holidays.

I have supported DH through thick and thin. He took to abusing alcohol to deal with his MH problems and became dependent on it, he took up vaping to try to replace alcohol but now he’s addicted to that! He tried an anti-depressant which gave him a psychotic reaction and scared his off the GP. Following a trip to A&E a few months ago with suicidal ideation he is on a different anti-D which agrees with him more. He also has awful IBS, inflamatory arthritis, and some sort of eating disorder. It’s all a big mess. He has systematically alienated most friends and family through his erratic, aggressive or paranoid behaviour. He refuses to get CBT because he “doesn’t need it” or “doesn’t feel well enough” depending on when you ask him. When drunk he can be really obnoxious, I often take my boy upstairs for the evening to avoid him when he’s off on one.

This week he stopped drinking. He is - of course - irritable, having awful mood swings, can’t sleep, bored, angry about not knowing what to eat, the list goes on… He has awful headaches and says he’s going to stop his anti-D so he can take codeine for his head (hugely bad idea!)
He’s not much easier to live with then when he was drunk :frowning:

I just don’t know how much more I can cope with. I feel constantly shaky and achy. His emotional outbursts are like water off a duck’s back, I’m so disconnected from him. The thing is, we had 10 very happy years together before it all went wrong. That lovely, caring, funny man I fell in love with is in there somewhere. But will I ever get him back?

Our son has additional needs too, I do 99% of the parenting, DH’s idea of parenting is letting a 7 year old stay up until 1am playing on the playstation or giving him sweets in bed. I don’t have much local support, my mum lives ten minutes away but has stage 4 cancer so isn’t up to much. My sister and adult niece have very busy social schedules so can’t help me much. DH won’t accept help from anyone anyway, apart from me.

I feel like I’m being abused but he can’t help it. I just don’t know what to do. I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face.
DH has taken the dog for a walk (first time in ages) so I’m hoping the fresh air will help his mood and the naughty pup doesn’t run off!

If you’ve read all that, thanks for listening xx

Hi Joanna and welcome to the forum. My heart went out to you reading that . I found this forum at 3am when my schizophrenic son was having a meltdown so I know the feeling of not being able to take much more. Firstly you can always rant on here we all do and it helps as we have all had similar experiences with our loved ones. This might sound harsh but I think your loved one needs to take some responsibility for his own mental health. I know he cant help the way he is feeling but it is absolutely not ok to take this out on you and it’s not good for your son either. Speaking from experience this is a long haul so you need to look after yourself eat well rest when you can and make sure you have time for you try to do something you enjoy whether it’s going for a walk or even just relaxing in a bubbly bath. You will need to do this to be strong enough to deal with the outbursts. I really wish you well and I’m sending virtual hugs as I know how awful this feels

Mental health issue / problems ?

MIND … the specialist , supporting , organisation in this field :


Ditto what Debra says above :smiley:

Your shaky achy body and disconnected feelings are your body and minds way of telling you that you need to focus on you (and your son). You have been under too much stress for too long.
Go to GP , see what they say about you. Hubby is going to have to come second for a while

Keep posting, we are here for you.

Also have a read of this thread. There’s some similarities and a lot of responses would apply to you too

Thank you all so much for replying, it helps to have some moral support.

He went to stay with a friend abroad for a couple of weeks over new year and that really helped me get a bit of perspective on the situation, I also had a chat with my GP who is lovely. I’ve been taking much less responsibility for him the last 3 weeks, if he has a flare up I’ll help but if he’s just being an arse I won’t. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference! I don’t hand him his tablets anymore, I don’t go out of my way to entice him to eat, if he wants what I’m making that’s fine but if he doesn’t he can eat from the freezer or walk to the shop himself. I’ve definitely stepped back a bit. I will not unpack his holiday suitcase either, I’m not a maid. It is still sitting in the lounge like a big white elephant. My GP said on no account should I unpack it :laughing: and that he needs to start feeling a sense of achievement from being a productive adult. That’s similar to what the psych in a&e said, that he needs to start doing things for himself, lots of little things that will eventually help him to feel better about himself.
On the plus side he walked the dog and went out on his motorbike yesterday. Out on his motorbike again today but had a sudden flat so has wrestled the bike home and is now drinking a cider to recover from the fright apparently. I hope he’s not “back on the booze” and it’s just tonight… we’ll see…

I have 2 favourite times of the day.

My son wakes me about 5:30 and I get in his bed for cuddles, we go back to sleep until about 7:30. It’s lovely to curl up with my sweet boy and have a quiet chat when we wake up. That’s a lovely, calm part of the day :slight_smile:

Every night I take the dog out late on (like 11ish) for a short walk so he can have a wee before bed. I love stepping out into the cold night and breathing in great big lungfulls of clean fresh air (we’re in a village, quite rural). That 10 minutes is wonderfully calm and peaceful. I look at the stars and feel lucky.

__dear joanna keep going sounds like you need a break ask your husband to stop feeling sorry for himself and look and be a man for 24hrs

Stepping back and increasing bits of responsibility were 2 things that I think helped my boy through his anxiety and low self esteem.
Imho low self esteem is at the basis of many MH issues and so praise and helping them believe they can do it pays dividends.
At his lowest my boy couldn’t /wouldn’t leave the house for himself so I started asking him to post an important letter or get a pint of milk, It’s amazing how many letters that needed posting (most were empty envelopes) and how much milk got poured down the sink so we kept running out :blush:
Eventually what had been impossible for him was the norm. Now he works, drives, shops, cooks, and I can’t believe I’m able to say that.

Stepping back isn’t cruel, it’s self preservation for you and opportunity for him

Thanks :slight_smile: I have really stepped back a lot, he was getting me to pander to him and I’ve stopped. I’m totally sympathetic to his depression, but I won’t fetch and carry for him anymore. Yesterday he was hungover, what a surprise, and actually said to me “If you go upstairs and get me some clothes to put on I’ll get dressed and we can go out, otherwise I’ll just have to go back to bed for the day”. A couple of months ago I would have done it, but yesterday I just said “No, you’re a man, you can get yourself dressed”

I keep telling myself that. We have all been so focused on his problems for so long it’s like he’s the only person who matters now. I don’t feel important to him unless I’m of use.

Recently I’ve been having terrible pains and aches in my hands, I type for a living so am guessing it’s RSI. I’m seeing a physio tomorrow and have been eating ibuprofen like sweeties :smiley: I told him I had a physio appointment for my hands and he didn’t even ask why. Last night he saw me take a painkiller and asked if my back was sore (I have a back problem following an accident years ago) I said “no :unamused: my hands!” and he literally just said oh and walked away :blink:

Our son had an OT review this week (he has additional needs) and DH hasn’t asked anything about it. He takes very little interest in DS’s needs and just assumes I deal with it all - which of course I do, he’s my son.

I know his MH makes him push us away. I know he pretty much lives with headphones on so he can live in his own little world. But seriously he even eats dinner with his headphones on watching his laptop. I suppose I should be glad he’s eating at all :dry: It gets lonely.

Hi Joanna,
We all know that stepping back is the right thing to do. But it’s hard, real hard.
And desperately lonely. Sometimes all I want is a real hand to hold.

A couple of years ago I made the conscious decision to really put myself and my daughters first. I went out with colleagues each month and stayed out late, ignoring the desperate phone calls and messages. I actively ignore all the tantrums and demands.
We always eat at the table. My wife is free to join us, and to join in the chat and stuff. But she doesn’t get any attention if she sits there sulking. And if she wants to eat in another room she is free to do so, but she has to take her meal and cutlery there herself. And now that the rules are clear, mealtimes are much less stressful.
I feel so much better able to cope now, despite everything going on around me. Obviously my wife isn’t happy about all this, but she wasn’t happy anyway!

My decision also gave my eldest daughter the strength to sort out her MH issues (consequences of being a young career, sadly).
My eldest daughter has left home now, and I miss her adult company. So much.

I suppose all I would say is really, really make time for yourself. Be “naughty” and break a rule or two (not the really important rules though!). Eventually, you will be stronger and happier.
But don’t give in. You and your son MUST come first.

I agree with Just Enough fully.

MH issues do tend to make the sufferer very self centred which is why any carer has to work doubly hard at looking after their own mental, emotional and physical well being. it becomes even more important to build and maintain external support from family and friends and even work. Counselling can help too, especially when things get too much, as they do.
From what you say about hubby, has anyone suggested he may have autistic characteristics and/or depression? Both might be worth considering as one could invoke a change in approach, the other can be helped by medication.

All I know is it was only by looking after myself that I didn’t go under . It came very close at times but I had to be strong for me


My boy has SPD and it’s clearly inherited from his dad and grandad! DH accepts he has SPD but doesn’t then do anything about it, he vapes constantly with headphones on and has a lot of other issues. I’m sure he also has depression and anxiety, partly due to circumstance and I’m sure also partly due to untreated SPD (his parents basically gave up on him when they realised he was different and focused on his 2 younger siblings) Whereas DS is really on the ball about giving himself the right sensory input when he needs it, he’s only 7 and manages his sensory needs much better than DH who is 39 :unamused:

This. This has me crying :cry: I can’t remember the last time he held my hand. Or kissed me. At night if I kiss him goodnight he offers me his cheek or even his forehead if he’s got his screen in front of him. Does my head in so I often don’t bother. My mum’s cancer recently moved on a step and I was upset, he spoke to me sympathetically but I had to actually ask for a hug and it was the most awkward thing ever when I got it. He’s never been a fan of public affection but he hardly touches me any more. I feel like a leper!

You are NOT a leper! You are doing your best in every trying circumstances, and have been for a long time so no wonder you feel a bit frayed at the edges. You need more support and it sounds like its unlikely to come from DH currently.
Have you got a good friend, or sister or cousin perhaps you can open up to?

Meanwhile this so the best I can do, a big virtual hug

A few things I have found help me over the last couple of years:
Try and dress nicely every single day. And if you don’t, doesn’t matter.
Wear a nice fragrance every day. And have different ones for different moods.
One food-treat each week - mine is often bacon sandwich.
Find those colleagues/ friends who give you a hug on meeting you.
And those who shake hands…
It’s also amazing how many people use innocuous little touches when you start looking…
Find those people. Those little innocent touches are so, so important because there is no agenda to them.
I also occasionally take chocolates or biscuits or even a bowl of fruit into work and leave it at the end of my desk for people to help themselves. It’s amazing how many "thank you"s I get! It makes me feel really good about myself, but it makes people come to me.

Have “you” time.

When my wife is well, she appreciates many of those things. But really, I’m doing them for me.

I do too. Try to dress well most days. May have a joggers and older top if definitely staying in, and make up free. Otherwise it’s my favourite signature perfume clothes that blend together, bit of makeup and hair kempt. Nothing glamorous, but I feel better. I heard a nasty remark on the bus, a few years ago ( before my husband’s demise). One woman said to another, about a lady who’s husband was in a nursing home, " wonder why she bothers, you wouldn’t think her husband was ill". Well why shouldn’t she? Why shouldn’t we?
Just wish I had the same motivation about the chores in my home!!

Honestly I nearly asked him to leave today. I told him it’s like living with a thundercloud in the house and I have a right not to be yelled at in my own home. I also told him he shouldn’t take his anger and stress out on his wife and 7 year old child.
He told me I breeze through life and have no idea.
Yeah. Cause juggling him, a kid with additional needs, a mum with cancer, a job that pays all the bills and the housework is a breeze. :open_mouth:

Joanna, are you nearly reaching the end of this relationship? Please find a counsellor to talk through the options with, in confidence.