When you think about a person’s mental health issues, you normally have an understanding of the person. But what about the partner of the person? How does this make them feel and what are the difficulties that can be faced?
A problem or solution?
Being ill, in all its forms, can have a devastating effect on all concerned. As the saying goes, ‘only the strongest survive’. But the illness just doesn’t affect you and you alone. The people who care for you the most are the ones who suffer. Too much. If you look at where you are now, and how relationships are or have been in the past, I am sure there will be difficulties.
Some of the moods that I have allowed to take control of me have been woeful. This week has also been difficult for AJ. Not only is she peri-menopausal, but she is also having to cope with all of my failings too, as I can’t seem to manage at all. This brings me to the thought that how does somebody else’s mental health, affect the partner?
The partner of someone who has problems with mental health is a courageous warrior in my opinion. Not only do they deal with our problems but they also deal with their own. The worry they continually have for the other person must affect them to the degree that they need help too? The deterioration that AJ has witnessed is phenomenal. Not understanding at first, then watching the person she loves disintegrate into the type of person she could easily walk away from. And, I wouldn’t blame her one bit.
Living with depression is hard enough but being the partner of a depressed person is hell. The constant battle they have is so arduous, that it can seem never-ending. AJ has been through the mill. More so over recent months as the battle against the mind gathers momentum.
She is tired. A flower that has lost its bloom is how I describe her but her dedication to us is immeasurable. She loves with the heart of a lion and gives until she can’t give anymore, and then gives more anyway. She competes with the torment of a selfish partner who openly admits to being self-absorbed. Not by choice, but by wanting to be right. Wanting to be normal. For her and himself.
She is frustrated with the pain I cause. The needless angst that is around us due to the diagnosis is hard. What do you do to break this cycle of never-ending pain? She is frustrated because she has everything she wants apart from the man himself. Yes, he is here, but more of a shell, as opposed to a functioning adult. An adult that can work with her as opposed to being insular, and exclusive. She doesn’t need him, but she wants him. And he wants her. But what is the problem? Why can’t I be a normal man like everyone else is, happy and content?
Suffering from a mental health episode is normal, according to the latest advertising campaigns. It cannot be normal for the people who suffer the most, though. The tendency to say what you like and feel can mean that you are of an upsetting nature, not caring about what or how you say things to your significant other.
I am guilty of this and I make no bones about it. You see, being able to say things as a direct feeling has always been too much of a struggle for me. But, I don’t know where to draw the line. I say horrible things at times and it hurts people. Yes, we can label the medication side effects as the issue, but I do not feel that this warrants an excuse.
My way of arguing/discussing a point is to explain it. This sometimes sounds as though I am raising my voice and being aggressive but the truth is, I’m not. Moreover, don’t mean to be.
We have just had a nice couple of weeks where we got on well, laughed and joked and kept ourselves happy and content with each other. I noticed that I started to feel a little awry at the beginning of last week. I kept it hidden. There were no triggers to shoe-horn me into the feeling and the loss of enjoyment was noticeable from the inside. But is putting on a brave face really the answer? Being outside is a must to keep equilibrium. The peaceful surroundings that are around us are as an important aspect of daily life, as well as breathing itself.
Keeping things in until they pass was not the best idea that I had and looking back, it was fruitless and selfish. Sometimes the feeling of keeping things locked away is easier than addressing the issue – something that I find difficult at the best of times. But for AJ, this was an act of betrayal. She was sure that we were having a lovely weekend, working well together, getting things done, having a laugh. But, all the while there was the gremlin of mental health under the surface.
Living with depression, PTSD and anxiety are hard – being the long-suffering partner is harder, in my opinion. Thinking that I am better off alone so I can deal with these issues appropriately, and without judgement is an option that I don’t want to take. For AJ, it would provide her with peace of mind as she wouldn’t succumb to my erratic mood swings and intermittent bouts of happiness.
The impact of silence
For she needs to be heard. Her voice is not the lesser one – far from it. My issues are no more significant than anyone else’s and sometimes, I would do well to remember this. But what does she need to do? AJ is a wonderful person, woman, partner, mum, friend and there are not enough expletives to describe her. However, I honestly believe that she deserves better. Better than this life she has become accustomed to, and it’s not fair. She is living half a life while the man she loves is going through these changes to make himself better. For her, for him, for the kids and family and friends.
This has to stop. And the only way I see this stopping or rather, being managed better, is to feel better from the inside out. This is a journey that I wouldn’t blame AJ if she decided to leave it, as it will take time. As she said this morning ‘its as if life is passing you by’
The time rushing by is a concern. How much of the time should be devoted to getting yourself better? What should it take? I came back from the doctor today after being told that my continual suffering with low testosterone could be affiliated to the fluoxetine I take on a daily basis. It also affects how I see myself and how I act.
The testosterone levels are low which impacts on mood and others too. For me, the best thing that I can do is work on not just me, but Ali and the kids too. But it is a process and I know I am walking a fine line with AJ as she does deserve better.
I hope it gets better for all our sakes, but especially AJ’s.
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