Hey everyone. Feeling burned out. Beyond burned out. Just venting I guess.
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.
We are sorry to hear that you feel so burnt out, stressed and overwhelmed with all that's been happening at home. We understand how hard this situation must be and want to remind you that you never have to go through this alone, and support is always here for you.
If you would like to talk to someone, the Beyond Blue Support Service is available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-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.
We would recommend that you get in touch with an organisation called Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277 who provide relationship support services for individuals, families and communities.
Please feel free to keep reaching out here on your thread whenever you feel up to it.
I'm so glad you came here. I think sometimes we need a serious vent, as opposed to a basic one. A serious vent can be such a relief from overwhelming stress, emotional exhaustion or deeply felt depressing challenges. Such feelings are better out than in.
I imagine, by now, you'd know your partner's cycles pretty well. From what you say, sounds like this is the case. Also sounds like he's pretty much working 'round the clock to figure himself out. Definitely doesn't leave much time for you and the relationship. Do you think he's actually fixated on trying to work out his thoughts and feelings? Is he kinda stuck in self analysis mode? The most constructive form of meditation can be incredibly constructive. Of course, a destructive form of meditation (100% fully focusing on one thing and one thing only) while neglecting what else needs our attention becomes neglectful. Such neglect can be unbelievably challenging, especially for a partner.
If you're a sensitive person, I'm wondering if you experience the added challenge of feeling not just your emotions or feelings but his too. Do you feel his anger, his disappointment, his hyperactivity, his sense of inspiration, his exhaustion and so on? Do you feel his down and up swings, his roller coaster ride? Are you what's known as an empath in certain circles? If so, how to manage being an empath could help in the way of knowing when to emotionally detach, so you're not feeling so much, leading you to exhaustion.
Hoping the substance/chemistry in the meds leads him to not feel the need to seek any other substance. As a gal who suffered through depression for some years in the past, I can relate to the need for some kind of substance to help manage the emotional challenges that can come with trying to work our self out. My 'go to' substance was booze. Commonly known as a depressant, of course it was a highly destructive substance to be consuming. Hindsight is a brilliant thing that unfortunately doesn't exist while you're facing the challenge your in.
While anger can be a constructive emotion, pointing to something that needs our attention, venting it through abuse is just plain wrong. 'Manage your anger or I'm walking away from it' would be a healthy mantra. Pure anger is something we have to vent, as it creates a massive amount of hyperactivity in the mind and body. Has he been given any breathing/venting techniques to gradually calm down through? Is he able to gain the skill of feeling himself calm down?
You've honestly hit the nail right on its head.
Yes, I do think you're right that he is fixating on his issues, and constantly self-analyzing. And that there are few resources left for the relationship, and the relationship dynamic has completely shifted with him at the center.
And yes, I think you're right that I'm an empath. I feel his emotions as if they were happening in my own body. And I do need to emotionally detach at times like this, and am struggling with that. It's not just that there's a lot of his emotions, that they're rapidly changing and unpredictable, that they're intense and often 10/10 on the scale... It's all of that, but also that me feeling them is not achieving anything for either of us. Usually, when I empathise with loved ones, the result is that we connect, and I better support them, and they feel heard and they feel better. My partner seems virtually unaware of and uneffected by my empathy. It's become a hot iron I'm just burning myself on.
I can't help but wonder what the trigger for your partner was. You mention 2020. Whenever someone mentions this year, my thoughts go straight to the beginning of COVID lockdowns - a very trying time for people who were forced to manage their nature through gradual self understanding/self development. I felt it first hand, being a sensitive gal. Being sensitive to what's depressing and living in Melbourne, it was the hardest I've ever had to work to not go back into depression, since coming out of it more than a decade ago. While the VIC government was so hell bent on looking after our physical health, I believe a lot of people's mental health took a serious hit, as a consequence.
I actually discovered one of my triggers in life to be my husband, especially during lockdowns, which is why I came to manage my time with him carefully. I can relate to how you feel in a number of ways. During these times, where he felt the need to constantly share stats on how many people had COVID on any one day vs how many people died from it, it reached the point where I had to just shut him down. It was like he'd developed a form of OCD with his news fixation, getting himself worked up and stressed out. Doom and gloom was the medicine for each day and myself, my 16yo son and 19yo daughter were getting sick of it. It was generating dis-ease (great unease). With the 3 of us being 'feelers', we could feel him bringing us down. We could feel him subtly impacting our heart rate, breathing patterns, inner dialogue, nervous system etc. Eventually I told him 'You need to separate yourself from us if you're not going to manage constructively. We can feel what you're doing to us and it has to stop'.
Being one of those mind/body/spirit gals, I like to often view things from 3 different perspectives, as the 3 perspectives together can help create a clearer picture at times. With the mind processing so much including memory, perspective and inner dialogue and the body housing a variety of energetic systems and complex chemistry, this gives us a clinical view of who we are but this leaves out one of the most significant facets - our nature. From a natural perspective, put an empath/feeler into lockdown with an erratic high energy person and they'll seriously feel the impact. Put a seriously high energy person into lockdown, removing their resources or channels for energy (incoming and outgoing), and it will resemble hell on earth or, at the very least, a pressure cooker.