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11 May 2022, by BaldEagle

I’m a carer

My wife has been suffering from depression and anxiety attacks for 8 years or so. She refuses medication as she reports they blank her memory and therefore cant do her work. The result is for me I have to endure her episodic attacks which come without warning. Walking on egg shells is daily life for me and I suffer anxiety when she’s out of my sight. I made a pact with God that I don’t eat when she’s not around. Fasting is a good thing anyway. I drink more than I should – it numbs the senses. When she’s in bed I can relax so I used to spend the night in eyeshot of the front door sitting on a stool in the kitchen, as in the past she would sneak out of the house at night and not answer texts etc. Morning is not safe either – I caught her going out at 6.30 am on a dark Sunday morning once. When I try to stop her I get a tirade of “controlling her’ She has no apreciation that it’s me trying to keep her safe. She’s a very attractive younger women and when she’s in a state she walks down the street like she’s drunk. Clearly a target for a predator. I know she takes buses so I go online to live bus data and wait for every bus at our stop. I can’t sit still at home and wait. One night it was 1.00am – the last bus that she was on.

How do I cope? I suppose I am an eternal optimist. I always believe it will be the last episode. She wonders how I endured it all these years and hates herself for not having control.

Even now though I still can’t put out of my mind the mental knee jerk response I get when she says or does horrible things. I know ,as carers, we cannot retaliate – would just make matters worse. Nevertheless retaliation is very much a kneejerk reaction and I have had to learn how to control it. Pretty much an expert now! It helps with interaction with other people too of course. Friends and colleagues do mention, cant put their finger on it, but that I seem to be much calmer and dont react very much to anything now. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Slowly slowly she is getting better after these many years. It was 3 days locked in her bedroom only appearing to eat something from the fridge, not the lovely meal I had prepared, sometimes Christmas dinner. Most I got was a passing scowl. It’s much better now just a few hours perhaps and she knows having a sleep helps a lot. It’s like rebooting a computer we think.

Why I am writing? Patience, care, self control – mainly by keeping your mouth tightly shut is the only way to keep your relationship and yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel. That is the advice I wish to give.
How many carers though throw in the towel? I don’t know. Abuse in all the forms it takes is hard to bear and some will feel they cant take it anymore. Just remember depression is an evil illness just like addictions in as much as it destroys relationships as well as the sufferer. Remember that when you next feel hard done by.

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