My partner has been struggling pretty much since 2020 – the usual suspects, anxiety at first, then depression, then very bad depression, then substance use issues. He was recently diagnosed with adhd, which makes a lot of sense, and is a good thing because it means he can get medication that could be life-changing. I really hope it is, and I know he really, really hopes it is.
I don’t even know how to start to talk about how I’m feeling. I feel stressed. I feel overwhelmed. I feel emotionally tapped out. I feel bad to admit that I am relieved when he leaves the house, and bummed out when he comes home. The unpredictability of his moods has left me feeling like I can’t relax, can hardly think about anything else. It feels a bit like what I read in this book once, that a partner said about their mentally ill spouse – when they’re in the room, there’s no oxygen left for me. I just… feel so totally burned out.
I’ve tried to tell them. But it’s not easy to do – or hear. They’ve described themselves as being in survival mode, just trying to make it through the day, and feeling as though they’re in the lowest point of their lives. They see light at the end of the tunnel with the prospect of medication – the gravity of everything being put on medication working is a thought a bit too terrifying for me to consider fully.
Today I told them I'm overwhelmed, I feel tapped out. I think they took it as I’m just tired today. What I didn’t tell them, and probably never could, is that I'm barely able to hear them talk about themselves anymore. It’s all day. Every day. Every hour. I feel like a round-the-clock coach or therapist. There are no breaks. There are sometimes break-throughs, and these initially sparked so much relief and hope in me. But I’ve been on the rollercoaster so long now, that I just feel exhausted all of the time.
It's this, every day, on rotation, like a stuck record playing happy, sad, angry, hopeful, and hopeless songs at total random: “I hate my life, I don’t want to be alive.” “I’m going to do great things one day.” “I don’t care about anything, I don’t like anything, everything is boring and I just want to be put to sleep.” “I’m feeling pretty good right now.” “Why me?” “I appreciate everything you do for me, and I’m sorry.” His words have gravity, even when they don't – every interaction is filled with so much weight, and I want to cry at the pressure.