New Member, struggling to cope sometimes

Hi everyone.

My name is Jamie. I’m 29, a father of two, and married to my partner of 11 years. My wife has Fibromyalgia, Connective Tissue Disease, and - to make matters more complicated - an as yet undiagnosed blood condition that doctors believe has been the cause of two strokes that she has had in the last 3 years.

Obviously, her ability to work, look after the house, and look after the children is severely impaired. So i am single dad, carer, and i also work 20 hours a week to help make ends meet. My work is a blessing. I only work in Game, but it gives me a chance to tale my mind off things and i do genuinely enjoy the work. But lately, home has begun to suffer. I’m finding myself becoming easily irritable, neglecting housework, even making up excuses to not do activities with my kids. It’s a horrific feeling when i look at myself from the outside, but i can’t seem to find a way off this slope i feel im sliding down and i’m worried that things are going to spiral out of control.

Have you had a needs assessment yet or not?

A social worker who works for the council will do this with you. This is the first logical step of the process. Call the council in the morning to ask for a social worker to come out to your flat to do one. At my request the council sent a social worker out to my flat to do a needs assessment recently. I was asked many questions about my circumstances including my ability to cope. Also remember to ask the social worker to send you a copy of any paperwork afterwards through the post or via email.

How independent is your wife? Can she work independently? Therapy is a good idea. Ask for a referral to counselling services or a therapist. During the first year, I chatted briefly each week to a local therapist friend of mine. I was able to vent openly in a safe caring environment which helped me greatly.

The social worker will be able to answer your questions. This is a useful guide to the style of the assessment and is pretty comprehensive. Also request a financial evaluation too to determine payments etc. This is very important. Feel free to ask questions during the assessment. Make notes when needed. Prepare a short list of tasks to discuss at the meeting with the social worker.

Additionally, it is a good idea to jot down things that concern you so you can mention them if they are relevant to the meeting. You can use a notebook for this. What does she find hard to do? Consider how to answer that question. Give examples.

Hi Jamie,
Welcome to the forum. You have got a lot on your plate and do need some help.
Sorry about the questions people are going to ask, but it helps us to make suggestions.
Have you and your wife had Needs and Carer’s assessments?
Is your wife claiming all the benefits she may be entitled to? (Information available on this site).
Have you got any practical help from family/friends/paid workers?
How old are the children?
As for all the housework etc. Prioritise as to what has to be done daily, (Feeding everyone and keeping the bacteria prone areas clean, like the loo and kitchen surfaces) and space out the rest so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the mass of chores. It may help you to delegate days to different areas or tasks. Not everything has to be done every day, so concentrate on safety for the children (check the floors if they are small) and if it comes to playing with them or dusting the shelf, then play with them, the dust can wait till later.
You also need to factor in a regular break/off duty time for yourself. Me time is essential for your own well being.
Just a short answer for now but if you keep posting there will be lots to come from the helpful people on here.

Hi Jamie,
You and your wife have had a terrible time, it’s no wonder you’re feeling depressed.
When you’re at work who looks after the children or is your wife able to manage by herself?
You need to TALK to someone about your circumstances. It could be a friend, family member or someone official. Men often don’t like asking for help but if you don’t then your situation could get even worse.

Jamie - you have done remarkably well coping all this time.

Hey Jamie

Sounds like you are doing a fine job, but juggling everything is just too much. Something has to give, don’t let this be you or the kids. You definitely need some help and a needs assessment is the start of this process. Many of us have been in a bad place through caring, so we totally understand here how you feel.

It might even sound counter intuitive, but would taking on a few more hours work save your sanity and earn enough to consider taking on a cleaner to take away some of the domestic burden you carry. Even if you can only afford a couple of hours every other week to keep on top of kitchen and bathroom etc. Freeing you up to spend quality time your wife and children. I guess your ability to do this depends upon how old/young your children are and how much child care you need for them etc.

Do you get any free time to yourself? Just to go for a drink with friends, join an evening class, do a run, whatever you like to do. I find that this is important in keeping sane. Even just a couple of hours a week can really help. But again, achieving this depends on childcare etc.

it isn’t easy, so I hope we can help support you.

Jamie, it is vital that your children are the focus of their parents joint attention.
They need happy parents and a house that is OK. Mine is only tidy when visitors come, but it is vacuumed regularly, the pots and pans are spotless, and the kitchen functional.

How old are the children? My grandson is now 7, his little job has always been to lay the table, because unless it’s laid we can’t eat our meal. He can also load the dishwasher, and empty it out.
He also understands the difference between the recycling bin and the rubbish bin. Very little children can learn this, and join in with keeping things OK. For example, if you take the pizza out of the packet, get them to pop the box in the recycling bin, and then praise them for being so helpful.

Maybe politely ask them to help out? Can you afford to hire someone to come and help you with the housework? Once a week, a lady comes to my flat to do some ironing and assist me with the cleaning and occasionally laundry. If you like, I can PM you her number.
She also hangs up curtains if I ask her to. You cannot carry on like this.