15-01-2019 02:59 PM
A Boyfriend/Carer's Struggle
Hello, thank-you for taking the time to read my story.
I am a 26y/o boyfriend to my beautiful partner who suffers from complex post-traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. These factors stem from her horrific upbringing in an abusive family along with multiple incidents of a sexual nature within the last several years. We met in early 2017 and have been together since November of that year. Neither or us smoke, drink or take drugs.
To say that my life has changed is an understatement. Our relationship started out so wonderfully, however as time has worn on over the last 14 months things have gotten so complex and painful. Most of these previous horrors of hers have gone unaddressed, as in the past she has been physically healthy enough to increase her workload at her old workplace (nightfill) to shut the horrors out. During the early stages of 2018 this proved to be too much for her to cope with, as she had to abandon her employment (awful, dismissive managers who didn't want to know about it) and drop out of her university teaching degree (she was studying teaching, and the course coordinators wouldn't be flexible with her placement period despite her illnesses).
Although we were living in separate houses at the time, it was virtually then that I moved in with her, as she became too physically and mentally ill to care for herself without an aide at all times. I took virtually all of my sick and annual leave from my job in order to stay-at-home-care for her, and thus the months rolled by. At the same time we worked hard with the help of her doctor to start up on the various mental health services like pyschology sessions and an individual support worker to visit and provide us both with some temporary respite.
The mid-and-late points of the year were a nightmare, due to the influence of her housemate who had issues of her own coupled with an extremely narcissistic and manipulative personality, who made life in the house extremely tense; we often spent many listless hours either holed up in her tiny bedroom or out of the house altogether since we feared for our safety in the same building as her.
We were finally able to move house at the end of both of our leases in October, and finally move in together into a safe space we could make our own. We had hoped that this would help with the recovery process, however things have remained to be heartbreakingly painful and difficult. Christmas time was awful; she has minimal family members in a position to care about her or help at all, and a lifetime of abusive upbringing has left her timid and angry in unfamiliar situations to her. I believe that it is due to all of her support services shutting down for christmas that her wellbeing has really badly declined.
So here we are in 2019. I feel shellshocked. Her medication continues to cause trouble; it has contributed to her gaining 30kg in weight and causing her feet problems rendering her unable much of the time to exercise. She hates being in her own body and being able to do nothing about it. While we used to enjoy brief trips out of the house to the shops etc, her social anxiety is getting so bad that she now has full-blown panic attacks just for being there in the first place. All she has to look after her is me, and I'm struggling badly. I never asked for this responsibility, she is my world but I don't have the knowledge or answers to help her when something goes wrong. I can only work a tiny bit with her this way, so money is always extremely tight. I've gone from a relaxed, bubbly guy to a gaunt, quiet reserved person who's always terrified of the next obstacle or episode. Any life I had before meeting her has stopped. I have so much fear right now.
I'm sorry for the wall of text. Thankyou for reading this. Any replies, tips, etc would be gratefully welcomed, I truly love her but hate the way both our lives look right now.
15-01-2019 11:00 PM
Re: A Boyfriend/Carer's Struggle
Welcome to the forums, you are not alone my friend, you can be assured you are with others who understand.
When the mental of our loved ones takes a turn for the worse we are often left confused, feeling isolated and grief stricken. We put all of our time and emotional energy into doing everything we can to try and fix things. We wear ourselves in the process and we too can become anxious and depressed. 😢
Eventually we realise that we cannot love someone back into good mental health; what we can do is provide a supportive environment which leads to a better outcome for them.
Looking after our own health and well being so that we are resilient and can cope with the demands of being a caregiver is called 'self care' and it took me far too long to understand how essential it is. We do not need to feel guilty for taking time out to do something we enjoy that energises us, something that will put the bubble back. Important too so that we don't let their moods become ours.
I have worked very hard to not let fear be my primary emotion, primarily by looking at things clinically - I don't know why as MH carers we are inclined to place on ourselves responsibility for things we have no control over 😬.
I will tag you in a couple of threads that may be of help to you.
Sadly most psych meds = weight gain 😬.Benefit v risk should have been clearly explained. There are some that are worse offenders than others, so don't be afraid to speak up about concerns. The pdoc will be looking at what is effective in symptom reduction - so important to keep an eye on that as there can be a lot of trial and error.
There are other wonderful carers here on line, feel free to ask any questions (within guidelines of course).