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Struggling

jsm1974
Community Member

I'm new to the forums, despite the fact that I probably should have been on here years ago.

The pandemic has been hard on everyone, myself included. I have lost my job at a University, where I have been a casual, but with consistent work, for 8 years. I had been planning to change career paths, but that plan, as well as every other plan collapsed this week with my wife and best friend saying that she wants to separate. I know that living with someone with depression and anxiety can be difficult, but she always assured me that she loved me and would always stand by me. I'm sure she meant it at the time, but even then I knew on some level that eventually she would get tired of it.

I have been crying for three days with very little intermission. I have absolutely no support system, as I have no friends at all and I am estranged from my family. In a nutshell, the future I had been dreaming of is completely shattered. This would not be quite as distressing if I were still young, but I have just turned 47, so starting over, especially with debts, will not be easy at all. To make matters worse, I am struggling to see any point in starting over. I was pretty dissatisfied with the world before this, but always had my wife to remind me that it's not all bad. She didn't even have to say anything. Just knowing she was there was enough. Now she's not.

I haven't eaten nor stopped crying for any real period of time in over 2 days and can't sleep without a lot of help from prescription drugs. I have always thought that I had the tools to deal with most issues that life sends my way, but this is so much worse than I ever could have imagined. I'm desperate for someone to talk to, but most therapists are booked out and the hotlines haven't been much help due to the short consultation times and the fact that I can't even see who I'm talking to. Keeping busy doesn't help, as reality just hits that much harder when I'm done with whatever I was doing.

I wouldn't kill myself (at least in the short term) as I know how much it would hurt her, but I don't really see the point in living a pointless existence either, so I'm at an impass. Any advice (apart from calling the free counselling numbers, of course) would be welcome.

23 Replies 23

Petal22
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi jsm1974,

Thats great you have spoken to the team at the hospital! and that you will be seeing a psychiatrist…

Thats great that you have support over the weekend…

Just give your wife time ….

Please stay in contact over the weekend to let us know how you are going……..

jsm1974, you could be in this head space now but just give yourself time things will change for the better…

Darkness is not permanent, light must come. Believe

jsm1974
Community Member

Thanks so much for the encouragement. I've talked with the NSW Mental Health hotline (yet again). I've been interested in trying ECT due to the ineffectiveness of every antidepressant on the market as well and even antipsychotics, and they said this could be an option and could happen as soon as next week if I admit myself to the emergency department (or even if I wait until my scheduled appointment Tues.

Has anyone here had any experience with ECT? I know there is a risk of memory loss, but I think that would not really be a bad thing at the moment. In fact, I'm hoping by "short-term memory" they mean memories from the last ten years or so. 47 years worth of memory loss would work too. Can't say I've ever done anything that is really worth remembering (without pain, at least).

Petal22
Community Champion
Community Champion

That’s ok jsm1974 😊 happy to support you…

Thats great you have spoken to the mental health hot line.

I don’t know much about ECT but Beyond Blue have some information on it……

Electroconvulsive therapy ( ECT) Beyond Blue

( you could google this if you want to)

Maybe someone in our community has experience with it?

Does a psychiatrist usually see you before a procedure like this?

Im here to chat

jsm1974
Community Member
Yeah, so apparently it can be done outpatient, but at least the first time you need to stay overnight. They do a full psych assessment and physical before making the decision. So far the feedback that I've found online has been positive, with some people saying that the results were immediate, or at least fast, and considerable. An 80% success rate. There are some patients who did not have a good experience, but I haven't had a good experience with anything else, so might as well give it a go. If I can, that is. Otherwise, I'm very nearly completely out of options.

jsm1974
Community Member

If anyone has any tips on how to deal with crisis when alone, I'd love to hear them.

I'm finding it impossible to distract myself with anything. My thoughts go between thinking about my wife and wondering what she is thinking and how I hope she's missing me, then to the fact that rationally I know that she isn't missing me and she is going to leave me, to the fact that my future was bleak before but is now completely empty, and finally to the fact that to continue living would be roughly the same as sitting through a horrible movie just to do it. I have tried everything I can think of, but nothing seems to break that cycle.

Still can't eat, can't sleep...not that either of these are, under normal circumstances, my go-to activities for comfort, but in this case they would be far better than the alternatives, like watching movies or series (as I associate this with my wife). Can't seem to find anything at all that doesn't remind me of her, how incredibly much I miss her and how much my life is suddenly changing for the worse.

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear JSM1974~

I guess one thing that might be a little comfort -it was for me, is realizing you are surviving the hardest thing you will ever have to do. Future crises will be bad, but not as bad, and you will know you have coped with worse.

Now I know that's 's not that much comfort at this moment, it's something for the future. As you have pointed out yourself even talking to people is a help, doesn't matter if you do not talk about your circumstances, just talk helps.

How you find people to talk to I'm not sure, you may have better ideas than me. Perhaps our 24/7 Help Line (1300 22 4636) might know of one in your area or else a drop in safe cafe or safe haven. (Yes a help line! But for a specific purpose, not general talk)

You were wondering about ECT. Beyond Blue lists it on page 41 of this document:

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/bl0556-what-works-for-depression-booklet...

It's a little old and there may be fresh info.

In addition I'd see what those on the forum have to say, as far as I can see opinion and results appear to be divided though overall possibly encouraging. To find them Google:

ECT beyondblue forum

You will get a lot of hits and need to wade though them

One of the things depression, grief and loss does is shrink down your perspective of the world to a few seemingly insoluble problems and no hope.

I try to combat this in two stages, the first being to use an exercise in the free App Smiling Mind

https://www.smilingmind.com.au/smiling-mind-app

(which takes a little practice to be effective) in order to break the chain of negative thoughts, then quickly conjure yourself in your mind's eve to a place not even remotely connected to the present, somewhere happier. It may only last a few fleeting moments but reminds me there is a bigger better world than I can currently see

So I have a mental place in my mind I call up. It is from the happy part
of my childhood and is a scene standing on sheep nibbled turf on a cliff, looking at grey
windy seas, with squalls of rain approaching. It blows me till I stagger and a gull swoops past, carried on the wind with wings half-furled. The rain washes my face but from my face I'm dry and snug, dressed warmly

I feel the largeness of the world, all the possibilities that are hidden from me now.

Perhaps you to can think of something from well before -or imagine something you read or heard. Even a moment's respite has longer lasting effects than you might imagine

Croix

Petal22
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi jsm1974,

Thats great you have done some research in ECT, thats also great that you see a psychiatrist before…… maybe have a good chat to your psychiatrist about things……. Please let me know how you go…..

Also in regards to dealing with crisis when alone……. you can always call the beyond blue hotline to talk to a trained councillor any time..

Ive always found meditation to be helpful….. google a guided meditation for learning to watch your thoughts…….. it takes practice but once you get the hang of it meditation can teach you a lot…

I learned through meditation that I’m not my thoughts but the watcher of my thoughts…….

Mindfulness is great, when you realise you are in a thinking cycle bring your attention to something in the present moment like what can you see, what can you hear, what can you smell……. If washing the dishes practice this…..

When you feel you are in a cycle of thinking stand up and walk into a different room…… this helps to shift your attention…..

Try to practice positivity…. Look at things from a different perspective….. read positive affirmations……..

here to chat

jsm1974
Community Member

Thanks once again for your replies. I have never felt so alone in my life (despite having been alone for much of it), so it means so much just to connect with someone, even someone I don't know.

I've been trying to use Smiling Mind but I'm having difficulty even hearing (not in the physical sense) it because of the other thoughts that fill my mind. Bit of a catch 22, but I'll keep trying.

I've spent the past couple of hours writing down everything (or almost everything) that I want to say to my wife. I don't think it will change her mind one way or another, but I feel like I need to say those things even if she doesn't read them. The process was full of mixed emotions. As I listed all of the reasons that our marriage is worth fighting for - there are a lot and I'm still adding to it - I was also reminded in clearer terms what I stand to lose, which still seems by far like the most likely outcome.

I also talked about the fact that we have both fallen short in some areas, but that they are fixable with a change in perspective. i have already managed to secure a therapy session for Monday with a reputable therapist and have finally found a pathway to getting ECT (my normal psychiatrist is being too conservative with this). I'm hoping that the latter will give me the stability that I need to succeed in therapy, and that the therapy will, in turn, give me to the tools that I need to be a positive force in my wife's life, which is all I've ever wanted.

As I've said before, even though on a rational level I know that she wants to split, I keep clinging to the 0.00001% chance that this will work out, That really makes me scared of how I'll feel when she tells me that it's over. I've already got Uber open so that I can go straight to the hospital, so at least I have a plan in that sense, but I fear that this will only delay the inevitable.

I've kind of always known I would take my own life eventually, but I never thought it would be in a situation where I feel I have no other choice. Obviously I'll have to wait a bit so that she doesn't feel like it's her fault, but I still feel like it's inevitable within a year.

Petal22
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi jsm1974,

Thats ok 😊 happy to support you…

Thats great you are trying smiling mind in time you will learn to put your attention on what the meditation is telling you to do rather than on your own thoughts…. Keep practicing.

Thats great you have been writing a list…. Maybe you could write a nice letter to your wife…….. think positive…….. we truly don’t know what someone else is thinking…..

You could write a list of all the things you love about your wife

or write a list of all the things you are grateful for……. This is great for renewing the mind……

Thats great that you are seeing a therapist on Monday please let us know how you go..

You have inner strength and a light inside you, you just need to believe it’s there…..

Darkness has no power over those who hold light..

jsm1974 you always have a choice in everything in your life ……. Stay positive keep moving forward…..

jsm1974
Community Member

I have written an extremely long and, I think, positive letter talking about why we should fight to save our marriage. I included bullet point list of why we should stay together as well as one for what we should do to try to fix things. Your suggestion about listing the things I love about her will be so hard, but I think it would be good for her to know that even if she does want to leave, so I'll work on one bit by bit.

Finding it hard to be grateful for anything. This is why I need treatment that works. I can't possibly be a positive force in her life while I feel this way, even if I am given the opportunity. I'm also not up for another round of some random antidepressant, so in a sense I'm giving whatever psychiatrist I see at the hospital an ultimatum.

Support from the hotlines has been good up until today. I spoke to some social worker who seemed insistent on belittling what I'm going through, saying it's just "heartbreak" and talking about how I should call my bank so that she doesn't drain the account. As if that's what's on my mind. Didn't seem to acknowledge the multiple times that I said I also suffer from very long-term major depression and anxiety when I brought up the idea of ECT. My suicidal thoughts may have intensified as a result of my separation, but they certainly didn't originate there.