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Topic: Here we go again

29 posts, 0 answered
  1. KG82
    KG82 avatar
    39 posts
    29 January 2021
    In September last year my partner (who has a history of mental illness) stopped talking to me out of the blue. After several long weeks of very minimal communication she started talking again, and she told me she’d been completely overwhelmed by starting a new job and she’d shut down. Things got better and we started communicating and spending time together again. We didn’t talk in depth about what had happened, but over the last few months have had conversations about her mental health which has been a huge step. Once again she’s stopped talking to me, but did send me a message to say I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was going ok, giving her space, until today. At the moment I am scared because I really have no idea what’s going on. Although I know that this isn’t about me, it’s still upsetting and I have my moments where I feel totally devastated. I’m going on with my life as best I can, and have support, but I’m limited in what I tell other people as many just think I should leave... something I don’t want to do.
  2. white knight
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    white knight avatar
    9207 posts
    29 January 2021 in reply to KG82

    Hi again,thanks for posting.

    As I see it there is one of three reasons why she stopped talking to you.

    1/ it could be an illness that needs treatment

    2/ That silence is used as a weapon.

    3/ something is going on behind the scenes you have no knowledge of

    The first reason is out of my limits of expertise. I do think it is the more likely of the two and somehow you'll need to seek professional opinions starting with your GP, even if you have to attend alone.

    The second possibility (that largely discount as she has at least messaged you to tell you you've done no wrong) can be a form of narcissism of which I tolerated with my first wife for 11 years. It is a serious problem and can be devastating, a form of punishment that is a horrible experience. It severed our marriage. That also needs professional treatment but those that inflict that behaviour dont admit they have the problem...its always you!.

    The third reason- could be things like an affair or other "secret". Not to suggest I want to hurt your feelings but this does happen.

    So regardless of any of the 3, I suggest treatment. If your partner wont go then go yourself to learn to tolerate it or ways to save the marriage. Here is a thread about silence in a relationship.

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/staying-well/silence--the-bad-and-the-good#qoolbHHzvGGEbv8AAOnT_A

    I wish you well. Repost anytime

    TonyWK

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Summer Rose
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    30 January 2021 in reply to KG82

    Hi KG82

    Thank you for sharing your story. I think Tony has given you some great insights but I wanted to add to the conversation from the perspective of a carer.

    I have supported my child, who fell ill with a mental health condition at age 13, for the past 10 years. It’s not easy.

    I know the devastation you are feeling and the angst of having to choose between looking out for someone you love or looking after yourself.

    Short term, it’s essential that you look after yourself. Make time to do something nice for yourself daily. Visit a friend, exercise, read—whatever works for you.

    At an appropriate time, have a discussion with your partner about the impact of her mental health condition and behaviour on you. It may not be about you but it affects you, so for the relationship to work there must be more openness and transparency from her. It’s only fair.

    My daughter and I engaged the help of a psychologist to help us negotiate boundaries and behaviours that worked for both of us.

    For example, when upset and unwell my daughter would feel like she had to get out of the house and just take off (she has OCD and our home is full of triggers).This would leave me worried sick—imagine a distressed teen roaming the neighbourhood after dark.

    Together we identified a family known and trusted to us both and approached them to see if they would unconditionally provide a safe haven for my daughter in these moments. Thankfully they agreed and both my daughter’s needs and mine were met.

    What I am saying is that you and your needs matter. With some help I really hope the two of you can sort it out because your partner is really lucky to have such a kind and caring person in her life.

    Kind thoughts to you

    1 person found this helpful
  4. KG82
    KG82 avatar
    39 posts
    30 January 2021 in reply to Summer Rose

    Thank you Tony and Summer Rose,

    My partner has bipolar and it’s not well controlled. Over the past few years that we have been together, I have seen some definite patterns in behaviour, and the ups and downs are quite frequent. I have previously told her how her silence affects me, and we have had discussions about her mental health. She’s reluctant to seek help though due to negative experiences previously (I feel like there are so many people in this boat). I have seen my own GP and also sought help from a psychologist, which is beneficial. I do know that it’s not about me and most of the time I manage not to take it personally. When she’s quiet I miss her and I think that’s when it hurts the most. There’s still a lot of work to do on both our parts and as a couple.

  5. Summer Rose
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    30 January 2021 in reply to KG82

    Hi KG82

    Thank you for sharing. I want you to know that you’re amazing. You are so proactive to look after the both of you and doing a great job as a support person and partner.

    It gets really tricky when an adult doesn’t want to seek help or isn’t ready, particularly when they’ve had a bad past experience.

    What if you put in place a vetting process to help find the right practitioner?

    Draft up your criteria, make a few calls and approach only to meet/assess at the start? In other words, no pressure.

    Might be less daunting to contemplate for your partner and, of course, you could volunteer to go with her to the first appointment.

    bb has some relevant materials on its website (eg questions to ask), if it’s of interest.

    Do you think that would work?

    Kind thoughts to you

  6. white knight
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    white knight avatar
    9207 posts
    30 January 2021 in reply to KG82
    Hi KG

    Regardless of past bad experiences with the medical profession that is not justified to not seek help and allow this suffering to continue.

    I can say that the answers to your situation won't be found here on this forum, although the support is always here.

    A short dtory- diagnosed with ADHD in 2003 by an adult ADHD specialist, I took medication for it for 6 years. They didn't work, they made me drowsy and a road risk, in the end in 2009 I got a second opinion- diagnosed with bipolar2, dysthymia and depression. Took the prescribed mood stabilizers and anti depressants and bingo! I had a significant positive change after a few weeks. That was 11 years ago. I've remained on those tablets ever since.

    Ok, so that's the case for seeking a new medical professional, and another if dissatisfied. Be positive.

    If she remains stubborn then seek help alone because the toll on you is rising.

    TonyWK
  7. KG82
    KG82 avatar
    39 posts
    30 January 2021

    Hi Summer Rose,

    I am well-prepared for when my partner is ready to seek help, and more than happy to go with her if and when that is.

    In the meantime I’m trying to keep busy and focus on the things that bring me joy, comfort or peace.

  8. Summer Rose
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    30 January 2021 in reply to KG82

    Hi again

    Apologies if I came across as though telling you how to suck eggs. You never know when you first meet someone on this forum where they are at in terms of understanding. Clearly you’ve got this!

    I think it’s really smart to focus on caring for yourself and balancing your pain and worry with peace and joy. It will hopefully help you ride the waves of emotion.

    Hang in there.

    Kind thoughts to you

  9. KG82
    KG82 avatar
    39 posts
    30 January 2021 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Summer Rose,

    No need to apologise. In terms of seeking help, I’m well versed and proactive. I do feel frustrated with the fact that one can lead a horse to water, but can’t make them drink. It’s something that I have to remind myself and accept.

    Thank you for your support.

  10. KG82
    KG82 avatar
    39 posts
    30 January 2021 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony,

    At the moment support is what I need. There are no quick fixes to this, and I feel like I have many answers already... just not the one I’d like, which is when she will start communicating again.

    I have a low threshold for seeking help for my own health, and in that way I am well-supported. I just have moments where it all seems to close in on me, and others when I am completely fine.

    2 people found this helpful
  11. 815
    815 avatar
    207 posts
    1 February 2021

    Hi KG82,

    Welcome back to the forum. I know it has been some time since you posted. Firstly, I am glad to hear that you and your partner managed to talk about things over the past few months. It is definitely a positive step forward. However, unfortunately as is the way with mental illness, we know that it is up and down and there will be bumps along the road...

    I wish I had the answers. But all I can say is that I think you are amazing to be standing by her, and to be seeking support for yourself so that you can support her. All I can suggest is, be consistent in your love and support, but don't have the same expectations of her at the moment.

    I do hope things will get better over time.

    1 person found this helpful
  12. KG82
    KG82 avatar
    39 posts
    2 February 2021 in reply to 815

    Hi 815,

    I had naively hoped that we’d have the opportunity to talk and that she’d get help and that we’d have strategies to cope going forward. We did talk and I feel like we made good progress in me understanding what was going on for her. I encouraged her to seek help, but things improved and she didn’t feel the need.

    When she’s quiet I use the opportunity to learn more about her condition. Luckily I have a job that I love and I’m finding it challenging, which is an excellent distraction. I think I’m a lot calmer this time than I was a few months ago. I still find it distressing and have my moments, but overall I think I have more perspective.

    1 person found this helpful
  13. 815
    815 avatar
    207 posts
    4 February 2021 in reply to KG82

    Hi KG82,

    I think that's the best you can hope for, that you are able to deal with things better as time goes on.

    I can totally relate to you when you say that, things improved and your she felt she didn't need help. Through our counselling sessions my husband admitted that he heard me tell him to get help, but he refused because he thought things weren't that bad and that he was coping. It took a while before he realised for himself how bad things were and that he truly needed help (more than what I could offer).

    I think the best you can do is continue to look after yourself, and just be there for her when she allows you.

    1 person found this helpful
  14. KG82
    KG82 avatar
    39 posts
    5 February 2021 in reply to 815

    Hi 815,

    When she’s in the midst of an episode there’s no point saying any more than just supportive messages. I wish we had have talked more about a plan when she was doing better. She was so close to getting help and then didn’t.

  15. 815
    815 avatar
    207 posts
    15 February 2021 in reply to KG82

    Hi KG82,

    I think that's the hard thing. When they are doing better, it seems to be the best time to talk to them. But because they are doing better, they don't necessarily want to talk about the bad things. I think I have mentioned this before, but when things were bad, I don't even think my husband realised how bad it was until he actually went to see his GP and started getting help. But unfortunately it really is for them to learn how to navigate this illness. And it is for us to learn how best to support them as everyone is different. And I imagine that even every episode that they go through is different and the support they need each time may be different...

  16. ecomama
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    4561 posts
    15 February 2021 in reply to KG82

    Hi KG82

    How are things going atm with your partner?

    How are you feeling?

    Just wanted to pop in and offer some support.

    Love EM

  17. KG82
    KG82 avatar
    39 posts
    19 February 2021 in reply to ecomama

    Hi 815 and EM,

    I still haven’t heard from her and I feel really sad and isolated. I don’t feel like I can talk to many people because they are very quick to judge the situation and tell me that I should leave or that she’s a bad person. I’ve done a lot of reading about why people isolate themselves and I am starting to gain a better understanding. I’m trying not to take it personally, but the reality is that I miss her and wonder how hard it is to send a brief message. From the conversations that we have had previously this is a pretty ingrained behaviour. I spoke with a friend last night who validated how I am feeling and the approach that I am taking of reaching out periodically. Right now I am looking for a glimmer of hope. I don’t need to be asked how long I am willing to put up with being shut out or if I want this to go on. I just need hope and to feel like I am not alone.

    1 person found this helpful
  18. Summer Rose
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    Summer Rose avatar
    1545 posts
    19 February 2021 in reply to KG82

    Hi KG82

    For what it’s worth, I really admire your strength of character. You have chosen a path that reflects what you truly value, while many others would look for an easier route.

    Your partner is very lucky to have you.

    I can imagine that your mind must be swirling, preoccupied with memories and anxiety about the future at the same time. Now, more than ever, I encourage you not to miss the present.

    Please, do your best to enjoy life now. Be gentle with yourself. Do what you can to find and appreciate joy.

    You’re not alone. I think you’re an amazing human being.

    Kind thoughts to you

  19. KG82
    KG82 avatar
    39 posts
    21 February 2021 in reply to Summer Rose
    Thank you Summer Rose. I don’t feel very strong. I am trying very hard to be in the moment but at times there is an overwhelming crushing feeling.
  20. Summer Rose
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    22 February 2021 in reply to KG82

    Hi KG82

    I know the feeling you’re talking about and it’s awful. I’m so sorry, my friend.

    Just remember that it will eventually pass.

    Kind thoughts to you

  21. 815
    815 avatar
    207 posts
    22 February 2021 in reply to KG82

    Hi KG82,

    I can totally relate to the overwhelming crushing feeling.

    As hard as it might be to believe right now though, Summer Rose is right, it will eventually pass.

    And I know you probably find it hard to believe, but you are amazingly strong. No matter the outcome, please remember that.

    Be kind to yourself. Take care.

  22. KG82
    KG82 avatar
    39 posts
    19 March 2021
    After almost 2 months of not talking to me she has ended things. I sent her a message to say that I planned to visit because I was worried and she told me that it is over. The message that she sent was cold and reminiscent of the way that she communicates when she is in an episode (which I thought that she was anyway). The whole way that this has panned out has been incredibly cruel and I know that there is absolutely no use in trying to put my point across because she lacks the insight at the moment to see the damage that her behaviour has caused. While I can see that much of how she has acted has been driven by her illness, it doesn’t stop the fact that I am absolutely devastated and feeling such an intensity of grief. I really needed her to understand how much she has hurt me, but the reality is that I will have to heal myself. I have put so much love and compassion into her and our relationship, and I really don’t know how to move forward at the moment. I have done everything that I can to support her and I can’t help that she refuses to acknowledge her mental illness and get help. I am finding it hard to reconcile that while I will respect her wishes and leave that I haven’t been respected in the way that she has treated me.Right now I am hurting so much and I don’t need the comments that it is for the best.
  23. Summer Rose
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    20 March 2021 in reply to KG82

    Hi KG82

    You have crossed my mind more than a few times lately, so I am grateful for the update.

    I am so sorry that you have been left broken hearted. It is so sad for both of you. And it is so unfair, yet here we are.

    You will no doubt cry and grieve for some time. That’s expected and okay.

    Right now, I sit with you in your despair. Please know that from my experience, some things are just not meant to be. I don’t know why but things—health, geography, family, career and the list goes on—just get in the way. You are not alone.

    But, after an appropriate time, I want to encourage you to take small steps to get yourself back into the swing of life. From my experience, it will be challenging and things may not feel “right” for awhile but you will need to push through.

    That’s probably enough for today. One step at a time, you’ll get through this.

    Kind thoughts to you

  24. 815
    815 avatar
    207 posts
    24 March 2021 in reply to KG82

    Hi KG82,

    I am so sad to hear your update. I can feel your heart ache through your words. I know that this is going to be a very difficult time for you. Take the time you need to grieve the loss of the relationship and let yourself feel what you need to. I can feel how much you love her and really wanted to support her. Please take care of yourself, and when you are ready, I guess you will start the process of healing on your own. But I know all of this will take time so please be kind to yourself.

  25. KG82
    KG82 avatar
    39 posts
    4 May 2021 in reply to 815
    I just thought I’d post a quick update. I ran into her a couple of weeks ago, and she looked even worse than I had expected. Very flat affect and virtually impossible to hold a conversation. Over the past two years I have seen her episodes getting longer and more intense, and it’s devastating to observe and not be able to help. During the week when I am at work I cope fairly well, but on the weekends it’s tough. I’m really concerned for her because I know how little social support she has, and I suspect that she’s just waiting out the episode.
  26. Summer Rose
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    4 May 2021 in reply to KG82

    Hi KG82

    It must have been really hard to see her being so unwell. Even if you were still together I’m not sure anything would be different for her.

    Unfortunately, there is really nothing you can do for her at present.

    I know you’re worried. Why don’t you write her a letter? You don’t have to post it. Just get all your feelings off your chest. There’s just something about the act of writing things down that’s a release.

    Glad work is keeping you busy. Are you seeing friends on the weekends. Push yourself out a bit, the social connections are good for the soul.

    Kind thoughts to you

  27. KG82
    KG82 avatar
    39 posts
    4 May 2021 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Summer Rose,

    I tend to agree that there’s not a lot that I can do right now. It’s a really hard thing to sit with the discomfort.

    We have weekend sport which is a blessing in disguise. It means that I have to get out of the house for at least a couple of hours, and I spend the time talking with the other parents about all kinds of random things. I also have some beautiful friends who check on me, and good neighbours as well. I don’t talk about it with a lot of people because I feel (rightly or wrongly) that I’m judged for not having completely left without looking back. I think that if I didn’t know how unwell she is, that it would be much easier to walk away.

    I do have a lot to keep me busy though, and things that I look forward to. I also have a wonderful psychologist who has seen me through the ups and downs.

    I have thought about writing a letter. There is so much inside that I’m a bit scared to let it out.

    1 person found this helpful
  28. 815
    815 avatar
    207 posts
    6 May 2021 in reply to KG82

    Hi KG82,

    It's nice to see you back on the forums with an update.

    I think if it were me I would also find it very difficult to let go, especially because the reason for the separation was due to her depression, and not anyone's fault.

    I am glad to hear though that you are keeping busy and that you have support and things to look forward to. I think the best you can do right now is keep looking after yourself. Take care.

  29. KG82
    KG82 avatar
    39 posts
    6 May 2021 in reply to 815

    Hi 815,

    Yes that’s it. She’s unwell and most likely overwhelmed. I’ve been in the depths of depression several years ago, and I know the lies that my depressed mind told me. It took a lot of challenge from a very switched on psychologist to help change those thought patterns. So yes, letting go is hard.

    Part of me also feels like a kid in class who has been paying attention and has lots of useful information. I’ve watched the mood swings and from a lot of research into bipolar have figured out her early telling symptoms of a mood swing. Unfortunately it’s only actually useful if she wants to use it. She has about a 2 week lead in before things get really bad, and during this time I checked in a few times to see how she was doing and was told fine, but there had been subtle changes.

    So on I go getting on with life.

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