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Hello out there,
It’s 4am and once again I am really struggling to sleep which means I will now be wrecked tomorrow and will probably end up sleeping half the day away.
I have many problems in my life at the moment. Serious relationship issues in a 28 year marriage, parenting issues with my 15 year old son, a long history with anxiety, anxiety disorder and depression which has only been exasperated by the above mentioned family issues. I am not coping, just getting by (barely). I have no family out here in Oz and no close friends out here any more who I feel I can open up to. I have become increasingly isolated and alone and lonely even though I am in a ‘marriage of sorts’ and have a son. The in-laws aren’t close so I don’t see much of them. I have occasional professional help and have contacted Lifeline in types of great distress. But they can only talk for certain periods of time and I have to retell my story each time, a story which keeps evolving and changing all the time as more and more problems arise. I am so tired physically and emotionally and have been for so many years now. Mental Health issues are enough to cope with alone but all the family issues and lack of support on top of that have broken me completely. No relief in sight.......can anyone relate?
Wishing you a warm welcome to the forums. It takes a lot of courage to be so open and honest with your feelings, and we are so glad that you have reached out here tonight. We can hear how overwhelmed you're feeling, but please know that you've come to a safe, non-judgemental space and our community is here to support you through this difficult time.
If you feel up to it, we'd also encourage you to reach out to our Beyond Blue Support Service, which is available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 3pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport. One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals.
You are not alone here, and we hope that you keep us updated on how you're going whenever you feel ready.
I apologise, it may not seem normal to reply to one’s own post but I realised after posting that I did not give this post any meaningful title that people may be able to relate to. If I had to sum up everything I was feeling when I wrote this post, I guess it would be along the lines of....
Welcome to BB.
If you stick around long enough, you will find that a lot of people on this forum have, or are currently going through similar life changing experiences. You might find it helpful to read through other similar threads; I know I did. You can learn a lot from the experience of others.
Relationship issues are life changing. In many respects, the breakdown of a marriage (especially a long marriage) is worse than a death in the family. It is even more difficult if you don't have the support of family or close friends. That being said, even if you had all the support in the world, you will still feel isolated and alone. I don't think there is any way around those feelings; I'm still looking.
Are you getting any medical help for the anxiety/depression?
In answer to your question, "Can anyone relate?", the answer is yes.
I can relate Timshel. I have been in a relationship for almost 20 years with someone who has managed to isolate me from both family and friends. I feel like I have no-one at all that I can turn to for help.
I am trying to save money so that I can leave and start a life on my own. I feel as though that is the only way that I will ever have something close to normal, is if I am actually on my own. I honestly think that I will feel less alone, if I am by myself. That may not make sense but I think it will be far easier than being “alone” in a relationship with someone who has no respect for me or my feelings.
Constantly feeling overwhelmed is
extremely draining, both mentally and physically.
Are you seeing a therapist? Even discussing what is going on with your GP can be a bit of a relief. It helps to talk to someone even only occasionally who is on your side.
You are in a safe place here, you can elaborate more on your story if you would like to.
Sending you hugs,
Thank you for replying.
This is my story. I moved to Australia in 1992 to marry a Canberra man. Canberra was never meant to be our permanent place of residence as I have never liked the place. The plan was to remain flexible when it came to where we lived especially with all my family and friends residing in Europe. But then, about 8 years into our marriage, I developed severe anxiety and OCD and had to give up work. From then on my husband became the sole breadwinner and, over time it seemed, also the sole decision maker when it came to every aspect of our lives. Suffice it to say, my voice just became less and less heard in the marriage. And one thing he wanted was to stay in Canberra. So here we still are, almost 30 years later.
After diagnosis, I slowly started to regain a little control over some of my anxiety and OCD with the help of medication and therapy. It was my hope to resume my career at some stage in the future, even on a part-time basis. But then, in 2005, I fell pregnant with our now 15 year old son and developed extremely severe post natal depression which in turn exacerbated the OCD and anxiety all over again and led to me being hospitalised for 3 months. Along with a large cocktail of drugs and therapy, I was given 13 rounds of Electro Convulsive Therapy. I HATED the hospital experience but the staff were amazing and got me back to the stage where I could leave hospital and finally start raising my son. Apart from some volunteer work over the years, I have never felt stable enough to work again and have spent my time as a stay-at-home Mum.
In the meantime, I have worked very hard at coming to terms with my ‘new normal’ - going from being an extremely independent career woman, to being a vulnerable and dependent wife. I have seen many psychiatrists and psychologists over the years in both Canberra and Sydney and still am. Along with trying numerous medications, I have also completed copious amounts of cognitive behaviour therapy, joined support groups, meditation groups, seen a Chinese medicine practitioner and the list goes on. I’m always looking for ways to keep improving.
But all this has put a huge strain on marriage and family life with relations really deteriorating in recent times. I have felt really unsupported and alone. My parents both died unexpectedly some years ago and my sister now lives in Dubai. My husband also told me about an online relationship he had recently. We are trying to reconcile but I am really struggling.
First, I want to say you are absolutely stunning. I am truly stunned by how you have tried so much in the way of raising yourself out of depression. Your efforts are courageous and admirable. You should be incredibly proud of such effort.
I regard myself as being fortunate in my ability to look back at the depression I was in for about 15 years. Being able to now clearly see how it played out, I acknowledge the people, behaviour and events which brought me down or kept me in my depression. In a depression a lot can feel like our fault yet, in truth, the faults/flaws that others present to us hold significant meaning. Many may prefer to hold onto their faults rather than challenge themselves to change them. Unfortunately, we face the challenge these faults present to us. This can definitely be depressing.
For you, for example, perhaps Canberra wasn't your place because you wanted more excitement. Perhaps you are naturally an exciting person who loves to be fed moments of excitement. You could then say it was a fault in your husband that he was unable to recognise how depressing Canberra would be for you. You may have even explained to him that you can't tolerate living there. Then the fault would have been the inability to pay attention to what you're saying and how you feel. If he promised you that you'd both be living in Canberra for a short number of years and you both agreed to this, this was a verbal contract. You face another of his faults, his disregard for such a contract. So, you're a perfectly reasonable person facing the faults of another. I don't mean this to sound like a blame game, just want to make it clear that when we're picking faults it's done with clarity, in the search for greater consciousness/understanding.
Is it your fault that you've tried so many different therapies? Far from it. This is your strength, your strong desire to better yourself.
I can see a list building here Timshel. So far, you're stunning, amazing, courageous, reasonable and incredibly strong and determined. I hope you see that. While others look for a greater sense of ease in their life, their behaviour and decisions brings you dis-ease. This is unfair.
Wondering if your son feels unheard, like you do at times. Could a new challenge involve managing listening carefully to each other, in a way that is full of care, improving communication? It's definitely a challenge to hear what what our kids are really saying, within their pain and discontent.
Thanks for your kind words.
True. Canberra doesn’t excite me. I am not looking for constant thrills at my age but I came here at 24 and am now 52 so I feel I have missed out on so much through those younger years (except for when I travelled). Canberra is lacking in so many ways. It is not particularly aesthetically pleasing. The ‘bush’ it is built within is far from the most impressive bushland I have ever seen either in Oz or elsewhere. The place is essentially just one big suburbia built on either side of a dirty ‘lake’ with a few shopping malls (where people go for entertainment??). It has no real hub and is too spread out with all ‘entertainment’ areas hidden away. And everything closes so early, especially on weekends when people have free time - bizarre and frustrating! I lived in a number of other places before I moved here, overseas and in Oz and have travelled quite a bit. I love the country and the city, the mountains and the beach but Canberra is just a depressing ‘deadzone’. I never imagined I would still be here, 28 years and counting...I love the outdoors but I also love a thriving theatre and live music scene, pubs, bustling town squares, hidden alleys, interesting galleries, markets and buskers!! How I miss being in a place where the streets themselves have free entertainment and bring people together. Canberra keeps people apart. It is sterile and certainly doesn’t ‘feed the soul’.
You are right in a way when you say my husband broke a verbal ‘contract’ with me about how long we would live in Canberra, his safe zone. Once I got sick and he became the sole breadwinner he always used his job as an excuse to stay here, then it was the education and lifestyle of our son etc. (there was some truth there I concede). But gradually I became resentful and distant within the marriage as I felt I wasn’t being heard. This was his life not mine. I cut him off completely, telling him I wanted out, more as a way of shocking him into fighting for us, making a change for us. But instead he looked elsewhere and found someone new online. So out of character for the man I still loved even though he didn’t know it. He was lonely but so was I. I missed all that had been good about us. Eventually I told him how I felt. He still felt the same and so we are trying again, with changes. But healing is hard. I know how much energy he put into his online relationship (how far it went and where it was heading) instead of into mending us and my dis-ease. How to heal?
How painful, to gradually lose yourself over time in such a way (through a lack of excitement and adventure). Although our journeys have been different, it seems we now perhaps meet at a similar point.
- We are redefining the terms and conditions of our marriage, to be more suitable to us than what we've allowed for in the past. Not sure about you but I've had many moments throughout my marriage where I've thought 'Don't rock the boat' but now realise this boat has been sinking for years. While my husband and I have shared certain captaincy duties, there is the realisation that he has almost always dictated the course we take in the way of a lack of adventure together (adding ventures to our life)
- You and I are redefining the terms and conditions of who we are and who we're going to be. Almost 50, I now realise how unadventurous my life has been for many years compared to what I've really needed it to be. You know that mid life crisis stage; I'm fortunate enough to be going through a mid life revelation stage. It's been happening for the last 10 months or so. It's involved about a 14 year lead up of research and questioning in regard to who I am, since coming out of years of depression all that time ago. After becoming dismembered from who we naturally are (excitable and fun loving), we are now in the process of remembering our self, facing the questions that can help 'put us back together'
- We are redefining the terms and conditions regarding what we're deserving of. In the process I've now found myself to be so intolerant of so many things I'd been tolerating for so long. Not sure about you but I am left wondering how it was I was able to tolerate so many things. I find 2 answers, 1) I'm an incredibly tolerant person, more than what I realised, and 2) What I could barely tolerate was either angering or potentially depressing and that's no way to live. We should be living our life, not tolerating it
While our husbands love us in the way they do, I've found a challenging question to be 'Is it enough to be loved simply? (aka Is it enough to be simply loved?). I believe we are amazing tolerant women who must be loved actively to life. Perhaps simply is not enough for us. Perhaps simply is intolerable, angering and/or depressing and this must be considered under the new terms and conditions of our marriage contracts.
Timshel, in the beginning of the relationship, we gave our husbands our exciting self. I believe they owe us to help us remember 🙂
Good morning Timshel.
Welcome to the forum, I just want to let you know that you are very brave and strong for speaking up about your difficulties. I imagine that you must be feeling very angry, confused, alone and emotionally and physically drained. After reading through your posts, you are defiantly in need of some self-compassion. Sorry if I may come across a bit too direct, I noticed that you refer your difficulties and experiences back to your marriage i.e. your Husband. Is your Husband really the issue or are you projecting your difficulties onto him? You are in control of your life, no one is taking you hostage and you need to love yourself to be able to love others. Sounds familiar? Start making your life the main focus, give yourself compassion, learn to love yourself for who you are because at the end of the day, the only person who is in control is you. I say this because you deserve greatness, you deserve to feel amazing, you deserve to be the best you can be, the strongest you can be and most of all you deserve to be loved as much as you can love others. Speak to a health professional/ clinician about working out some actions to improve your mental and physical wellness and tell yourself that you are a great person. Maybe even take up hobbies that you always have wanted to do, get a new lease on life, show your Husband and Son how much you can radiate and glow. This is not about your Husband or Son, it's about you. Take action. You can do this.
Be strong, be brave.