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When the irrational overrides the rational

Community Member
Earlier this year my husband and I went through a really rough patch in which I thought he would leave me due to the pressures of dealing with my depression. I'm glad to say that he didn't and we have slowly begun to rebuild our relationship. Just last week he had to have an operation which, although not serious in the big scheme of things, has left him in a lot of pain and off work for at least the next 8 to 10 weeks. He is a week into his post-op healing and still on quite a few painkillers. I wish I could say that I am coping well in helping to look after him, but I'm not. Although I know that physical pain can cause tempers to be short, and painkillers can knock our thinking off quilter, I am almost embarrased to say that I am finding myself offended by his actions. I've noticed my depression getting worse since he's come out of hospital, and my ability to deal with what he needs have gone down hill as well. I want to be there for him but I'm finding his need for independance to be hurtful and don't know how to reconcile this in my head. I wish the rational part of my brain would kick in and start working just as it does for every other area of my life. Why is this such an issue for me? It is only today that I've noticed my work going down hill as well, I'm making stupid mistakes and not able to think straight. I keep telling myself that he will heal but it will take time, and that if I were in his shoes I would probably be much the same. I actually think I've been so used to being the person needing the help that having the table's turned has highlighted a massive gap in my ability to cope. Basically I don't think I should be feeling like this when my husband is the one whose just had an op and is in pain.
7 Replies 7

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Goofy41,

Welcome to the BB forums. I'm glad to meet you.

I'm sorry for the hassles you are experiencing with the aftermath of your husbands operation. I feel a special link to you as I will be going through the same next month. My husband will be having a hip replacement & the recovery time is about 12 weeks.

My husband does almost all the cooking so I'll have do take over that. Besides tolerating the pain, he will have to be weaned off all the pain meds he has been on for nearly a year. In a way I'm glad I don't know yet what it will be like.

I keep telling myself 12 weeks will go fast but I am a bit worried.

I think what you are feeling is only natural in the circumstances. When things get really tough for me I narrow the timespan eg I only have to get through today. Or if that seems impossible, then I only have to get through this morning.

Other times I tell myself I only have to do this job, eg wash up & I don't focus on other jobs until later.

I'd love to hear back from you & see how things are going. I'm sure you'll get through this. Later in the year it might seem like not a big deal? Yes? No? Maybe not!!! LOL.

Kind regards Lyn.

Community Member
Thanks Lyn for responding. I'm feeling so guilty for feeling this way and it's really starting to get to me. I really hadn't expected this at all, and in fact was looking forward to being able to look after him. What I hadn't anticipated was the feeling of rejection when I'm not able to do everything, including taking away the pain. I too am the one who usually has the cooking done for them and I'm feeling so inadequate in being able to deal with such a simple task. I'm so frustrated that I feel this way that its getting me down. Can I suggest to you that you have a plan to do something for yourself each day during your husbands recovery. We are only a week in but it feels like so much longer. I know I need to try and do some exercise, and thats what I'm hoping I'll have the energy to do when I wake up in the morning. If I don't do something for myself I fear that I'm going to go down hill very fast, and that's the last thing either of us want or need right now. Given that my husband is usually my main pillar of support, and he isn't able to provide that for me at the moment once again demonstrates how much I have been relying on him. Its almost as if I'm beginning to see what he has had to put up with looking after me. And yet despite that, I'm still finding it difficult to change my behaviour. Go figure.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Thanks for replying Goofy41,

I hope you've been able to get out on your own today for a little while. The drugs my husband are on make him very sleepy & I figure he'll be worn out from the op, so I hope to get out then. I might only go next door for a cuppa, but that would be nice to even talk to someone else.

Since my husband's mobility has become more & more limited, I've been surprised & a bit alarmed at how much I was obviously leaning on him. It makes me feel lazy & bad, but I'm doing all I can.

As far as the meals go, I'm only hoping to make simple meals. So long as it is a big plateful he'll be happy. He is a classic meat & 3 veg man. He likes the frozen pies, & other frozen chicken meals like Chicken Kiev. They won't be hard for me to make.

I've been feeling guilty too. I'm hoping that as my ability to cope wears away, my husbands physical condition will be improving. That might make things seem a little easier.

When I have to do tasks I don't normally do, I often become anxious. However I'm hoping it won't happen because my husband is normally fairly easy going.

I hope this weekend goes well for you. Don't forget to give yourself little rests when you can. You are coping with more than normal so go easy on yourself.

I don't know about you but I find I can only cope with a fairly rigid amount of activity each day. Anymore threatens my stability, but I know that & so does my husband, so finger so crossed!

I'd love to hear back how you are going. Be gentle with yourself, Lyn.

Community Member
Wow Lyn, Can I firstly say thankyou so much for writing to me. You've no idea how much it helps to know that I'm not alone. I'm doing ok at the moment although the weekend has been up and down. My hubby is still in a lot of pain and struggling with the effect the pain killers are having on him. He's said things that I know he doesn't mean, but nevertheless they have impacted on me. While I know he doesn't want to be nasty, it's very hard for me to just let it pass and move on. I have made an effort to go out for a walk each morning which has helped. It has given me the chance to breathe both physically and mentally - in fact this morning I had a glimpse of my old self where I was actually ok with just being me! I'd like to have a bit more of that, so will keep on doing what I'm doing. Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.

Community Member
Hi there Goofy,

I’d also like to welcome you to Beyond Blue and to say that what you’re having to take on is a very big task. I read of the ‘breaking down of tasks’ and thought that was a great option, simply to not think of the longer haul or the big picture. But to break it down to what’s to happen even in the next hour. Or as mentioned above, think of nothing else, but the dishes or the kitchen and to approach that and get that done.

Not only will you feel better for having done it, but it also gives you a great sense of satisfaction when seeing it – as it is a place where we seem to spend a fair bit of time – hence why the job of the kitchen is such a big ongoing task.

The other thing that was mentioned about the “looking after of you” is huge also. If you feel yourself slipping and sliding as it’s beginning to get too much, this can quite often have a snowball effect and what once you could do or get done without any trouble, you may now find that this becomes a lot more difficult as the stress increases.

I really hope that there’s opportunity for you to make for yourself – some window of time where you can just have some down-time or some ‘me-time’.

I can also understand where you said that you’re just one week in, but it feels longer – because of the operation just happening and so the reliance on you is massive straight away, but I would really like to stress that the body does heal and things will get better. Improvement will begin to take place – it won’t be huge, but bit by little bit, I really hope that things become a little easier for you.

Please keep posting here, it’d be great to hear from you again.


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hello Goofy,

How has your week been? I've been thinking of you often & hoping things are okay.

My husbands hip is more & more painful each day. So we are getting out less often. I'm trying not to think of the operation & just deal with it when it happens.

I hope you have been able to get out on your own each day. I'm not sure what I will do. I don't like walking, or getting up early! So I'll have to find some other distraction.

I would love to hear how things are going for you.

Take good care of yourself, Lyn.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Goofy

Im just checking in to see how things are going with you. I'm here if you want to talk.

Kind regards, Lyn.