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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / help to stop the constant worry about a loved one with mental illness

Topic: help to stop the constant worry about a loved one with mental illness

13 posts, 0 answered
  1. Concernedwife2018
    Concernedwife2018 avatar
    15 posts
    27 May 2018

    Hi everyone

    I am writing here as I am struggling, unsure how to help, constantly worrying about things I cannot change and stressing about things that may never eventuate. Long story short my husband about 10 years ago was diagnosed with depression / bi polar disorder / ptsd as a result of a traumatic event in his chIldhood. At that time life sucked he used alcohol as his courage it was the turning point that was needed and we were able to get him the help he needed and he overcame the thoughts. Even to a point where he stopped taking his medication and was happy and relaxed.

    however, only this past week I have noticed changes in him and we spoke about it. He told me that for the past 8 months or so he has felt himself going down & he has began to have flashbacks again. He is having trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep, as his mind is in overdrive. He says he can be having a really good day and then bang! A reminder.. I truly thought 10 years ago we would never have to go through this again - how wrong I was, perhaps this is only just the beginning or it may be the peak and it will level out - who knows I guess only time will tell.

    He is currently working and he has acknowedged that work is good for him and it keeps his mind busy (which is a relief for me as last time he wasn't working) in addition he is sober and is staying that way - he knows what happens if he turns back to alcohol. I begged him numerous times to promise me he would not drink again- he has promised me- he is surviving on energy drinks so that I can handle.

    Although he and I are discussing his feelings, I still can't get it off my mind, I feel physically sick with worry and have not eaten in 3 days. I am waking in the middle of the night worrying about what to do. The part that worries me the most is if he did drink - I know how hard it was last time- me taking off in the middle of the night with the 2 kids in tow, not because I was scared of him but because I didn't want the kids to see what he was doing. Our kids are older now, and it won't be as easy for me to hide what is happening from them -in saying this though he knows the effect of drinking so I am confident he won't.

    I think I just need someone to talk to, but I'm not ready to tell my family yet. I hope this forum will be a chance for me to express myself whilst getting support and advise from others in the same situation. Thanks

  2. stormcloudz
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    341 posts
    27 May 2018 in reply to Concernedwife2018

    Hi there. I understand that constant worry. It sounds like all the support systems your husband had before need to be put back in place so that he doesn't go down as heavily as before. Is he able to go to his GP and a counsellor, maybe AA?

    Happy to provide some support for you while you think about things.

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Concernedwife2018
    Concernedwife2018 avatar
    15 posts
    27 May 2018 in reply to stormcloudz

    Thank you replying. Since he was this bad last time we moved towns, I have suggested medication and talking to someone but he says he doesn't need it, he does. I just need him to recognise this.

    I am finding myself constantly watching him and sitting up late until he goes to bed. If this has been going on as long as he says he has felt like this for ages and I hadn't noticed so why am I letting it eat me up so much now?

  4. stormcloudz
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    27 May 2018 in reply to Concernedwife2018

    Would it help if you told him how scared you are, and asked him to get support just in case, even if he doesn't feel like it right now?

    I know sometimes none of this works. Please remember to look after yourself and get some breaks.

  5. Concernedwife2018
    Concernedwife2018 avatar
    15 posts
    28 May 2018 in reply to stormcloudz
    Hi Stormcloudz
    Last night I had real difficulty sleeping, I went to bed and listed to meditation to try and clear my mind, it worked and I was able to nod off, only waking when he came to bed about 1am. From there I had no hope, I couldn’t get back to sleep so I went out to the couch and listened to meditation some more. Throughout the night I possibly listened to about 4 different meditation sessions. I took a chance this morning when he woke up to ask if he was ok, which he assured me he was. I asked if it had gotten worse since he told me how he is feeling because it is more apparent to me, he told me it hasn’t. He told me not to worry to which I replied that “I am worried, I’m worried sick about you” (fighting back tears). He told me that he sometimes gets like this in the days following talking about it and that it will pass. I’m taking this as a start and when I get a chance I am going to ask him to speak to the doctor about medication – if not for his benefit it will make me worry less.
    I cried the whole way to work, I didn’t even get out of my driveway before I started – it felt good, to let it out.
    I have come to the realization that I cannot call any shots, I can only be there and support when it is needed, and this is what I will do – I just have to tell me mind that.
  6. stormcloudz
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    28 May 2018 in reply to Concernedwife2018

    It's so hard realising that you can't call the shots, isn't it? We can encourage, and support, and book appointments - but ultimately it's someone else's choice. It is wonderful to have the loving support of a spouse though. I'm so glad you were able to speak with him. I do think it would be worth gently talking to him about setting up some routine support infrastructure so everything is in place when things are hard. Reassure him that a counsellor won't make him re-live the trauma if he doesn't choose to - they can work on everyday coping strategies together.

    I really understand your grief and worry (I have been on both sides of the fence). I'm glad you were able to let some of it out. It's important to have your own coping strategies in place, otherwise you'll be off your head with worry all the time. The meditation is a great idea, I've been trying that too. Don't forget the BeyondBlue helpline is for you as well as your husband. Is there anything else that would be useful for you?

    Post again and let us know how you are doing.

  7. Concernedwife2018
    Concernedwife2018 avatar
    15 posts
    30 May 2018 in reply to stormcloudz

    Hi stormcloudz

    i feel like I have had a small breakthrough yesterday. My husband had told me he didn't want to talk to anyone or go on medication as he didn't want to bring it all up again. Yesterday I made he suggestion that he could ask his new doctor to go through his file and see what medication he was on last time (as at that time it worked) and perhaps that would be a start. He shot me down! So I left it and didn't say any more.

    i made my way out to uni, I had a big assessment and my mind just isn't in it, it's the last week of the semester and I have so much stress around that but I can't focus. Anyway, I had been at uni one hour when I received message, from my husband. He told me he is ready to ask for help, he told me it wouldn't be easy and he would have more trouble sleeping as that happens when he drags everything up. But he knows he needs to act now for mine and the kids sake. and his of course. I felt instant relief this is the start I wanted. I sent him a great big message back, telling him how good that makes me feel, how I know it will be hard but we are there for him, how I don't want to loose him or end up in the same position we did last time which was him with no job, no money, debts etc.

    his doctor is on leave so he wanted to wait for him to return to book an appt, straight away rang the doctors to see when his doctor is back , not until end of July. That's too far away, so last night I told him about it and he said well I guess I just need to see someone else then. This is good, alough I'm still very worried and I don't know the direction our lives are going to take in the coming months, this is a good start.

    Thank you for listening.

    Ps. I can't help but think I put this thread on the wrong page, possibly should be on the carers page. Do u know if I can fix this?

    1 person found this helpful
  8. Concernedwife2018
    Concernedwife2018 avatar
    15 posts
    1 June 2018 in reply to Concernedwife2018

    It’s amazing how much better you feel when you give yourself some time, a chance to process what’s happening. This week has been quite big for us, but already my husband has spoken with a doctor and has been given medication- it is a start!

    we have been able to speak some more and that helps bring some perspective- I now understand that during the day he is ok, because he can keep himself occupied and go and do things.

    Nights are the hardest for him to stay focussed because he is having nightmares and flashbacks that make him not want to sleep. He is totally exhausted from not sleeping and this is the thing he really needs to get under control because it will make everything else easier to deal with.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Concernedwife2018
    Concernedwife2018 avatar
    15 posts
    2 June 2018

    I would really love to hear from people who may be or have been in a similar situation or just have advise that might help me. I feel like I'm talking to myself and think I really just need support from others at this time.

    thank you

  10. stormcloudz
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    341 posts
    4 June 2018 in reply to Concernedwife2018

    Hi concernedwife

    Sorry you didn't get a response to your last couple of posts. Have a look at your post on anxiety in whazap's thread, you'll see some people talking with you there.

    I am so glad that your husband has decided it's time for him to get some support. That must be such a relief. Brace yourself for some ambivalence on his part, it isn't easy to confront traumatic events.

    I'll post again after I've had a bit of a think.

  11. stormcloudz
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    341 posts
    9 June 2018 in reply to stormcloudz

    Hi concernedwife

    Just wondering how you are doing? How are you and your husband?

  12. Concernedwife2018
    Concernedwife2018 avatar
    15 posts
    10 June 2018 in reply to stormcloudz

    Hi Stormcloudz

    we are going ok.

    my husband says he is feeling a bit better, he is sleeping better and seems happier overall. When he went back to the doctors for a check up to see how his medication was they discussed how long he had been on insulin for his diabetes, the insulin began almost around the same time as his mental health issues, she believes there could be a link because for quite some time his blood sugars had been way out of control. Now that his blood sugar is h der control his mental health is improving as well. And I can tell, he is happier.

    I feel like we are heading in the right direction.

    I feel better knowing that he is able to get some sleep and the nightmares have stopped.

    Thank you for checking in :)

    1 person found this helpful
  13. stormcloudz
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    341 posts
    10 June 2018 in reply to Concernedwife2018

    That is really great that things are heading in the right direction. I'm so glad you were able to set up a medical appointment quickly. I can imagine that the uncontrolled blood sugar would have made things difficult.

    Does he have a blood sugar test kit? These allow you to take regular blood tests yourself, it's really helpful as you learn what foods send your sugars out (everyone is different). You get a big discount on these if you have been diagnosed with diabetes (I can't remember the info you need to take to the pharmacy).

    On the PTSD front, has your husband ever has counselling for the PTSD? If the time feels right, you could reassure him that a good counsellor won't ask him to revisit the memories if he is not ready, but instead might work with him on practical day-to-day coping strategies. Specialists have learnt some techniques to help manage flashbacks etc - nothing is perfect but it could help.

    I'm so glad things are heading in the right direction and that you were able to support each other by organising help even though you were both scared, that's just lovely.

    Let us know how he goes. I'll pop over to your other thread on anxiety too.

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