I probably ABU but I'm tired and stressed and don't know how to handle this...

(28 Posts)

Me and my DH have had a very stressful time the last 6 months, marriage problems, losing my Mum, mental health issues, lots of other things I don't really have the energy to go into now, but it's ben hard.

We've been trying really hard to support each other, get our relationship back on track, deal with a demanding 3 year old (who is obviously picking up on the stress and strain).

That's a bit of background anyway.

Basically a friend of ours is in hospital. She's very poorly, she really is. She's quite a new friend but she's been through a really tough time and they don't know what's wrong with her. It was a suspected stroke (she's only 26 with two young children), but now they have no clue what's wrong. She's having a lot of seizures and is very distressed (understandably so). We've all been trying our best to help and support, going to visit, looking after her children for a few hours so her Mum can have a break, chatting to her on the phone and on Facebook. DH is closer to her than I am (he met her first) and I really don't want anyone to think that's the reason I'm stressing but I really worry that he's taking on too much.

I feel like such a selfish, heartless bitch for saying this, but a lot is getting put on him and we have a hell of a lot of our own shit to deal with. I have no problem visiting and helping (I'm taking a load of beauty products to give her a good pampering session tomorrow to try and help her feel better and get a bit of circulation back in her hands and feet). I looked after 5 children on my own yesterday so people could visit etc. That wouldn't usually be an issue at all apart from the fact I'm very tired (two hours sleep this whole weekend - stress causes insomnia for me) so it is damn hard work when you're only used to one child. DH has been with her most of the weekend as no one could get to see her and she was really upset and scared being on her own. He's back down there again today, probably for the day as no-one else is going and he'd to leave her on her own. I admire his desire to want to help people, I really do, he even sustained two black eyes for his efforts yesterday when she had a violent seizure.

I care a hell of a lot about this girl and offered to have the children without a second though but another of our friends who couldn't get to see her promised her on the phone my DH would go and see her for the day without even asking us first because she was upset...DH being DH felt he couldn't let her down.

He's had a lot of issues with stress recently and he hates to say no to people, especially when they need help. He had a nervous breakdown last year because he was taking on too much other people's stress and I worry it'll happen again. He's obviously very upset seeing our friend like this, I am as well, it's awful. I lost my Mum just before Christmas and this is the first I've been back to the hospital since...she's on a lot of the same drugs (morphine etc) so it's like looking at my Mum all over again. I'll suck it up because she's my friend and obviously she's got it far worse, but internalising stress doesn't really help in the long term and it's exacerbating my insomnia.

I don't know how to deal with this without being thought of as a totally selfish cunt. She doesn't have many people and we really want her to know she's got a good support network as she feels very alone and she's worried about her children (6 and 3).

Oh god, I don't know what to do. Sorry for long rambling rant, I'm very upset and tired and want to try and make things as good as they can be for everyone involved.

I know, he said that earlier himself. He's pissed off that none of her other "friends" or relatives apart from her Mum (who works and is caring for children) have bothered going to see her. It's hard when she's phoning up in tears (not just him and me, our other friend too) when no-one's there threatening to discharge herself or hurt herself.

I'd say be tougher on her, but knowing what my Mum went through with brain mets and morphine I know how irrational it can make you.

I'm not trying to justify anything, I've spoken to DH and he is in total agreement with me, he's just had to take the slack the last few days as no-one else could get up there and it's getting on top of him as well as me.

Fair enough of she has long standing health problems, it didn't make sense that she had just presented with seizures and they couldn't stop them.
Still not your husbands place to be there all the time, you are his priority.

Just wanted to update for the person who asked from a medical point of view.

I knew she was on a list for open heart surgery before this happened. It seems the hole in her heart is interfering with blood getting to her brain. The headaches and seizures she's getting are related to that apparently.

She has the pain team with her at the moment who are trying to get the head pain and seizures under control.

Just spoken to DH again and he expressed concern off his own back that she was becoming a bit dependant on him so he's taking a step back for a few days.

We are both under GP care at the moment so trying to get some help. He had a very abusive childhood which he hasn't dealt with and I think this is what drives his need to help people. I probably sound like the typical "Oh I'll defend my poor abused husband" type, but we are getting help with all of this. We're making a lot of progress, this has just come at bad time for both of us.

I had another panic attack so I called him and he's coming home. I didn't even have to ask him. I was seeing how stressed he was getting and didn't want to add to it, but he said I should have just called him earlier. He even said himself that they can't just expect him to be there all the time.

There probably is a certain amount of avoidance on his part, I do it too, I admit it.

Thanks so much for listening today, you've made my day a little bit easier.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 17-Mar-14 14:31:30

Scarlet YANBU. Your DH is being very U. He is making unreasonable demands of his family in order to satisfy an* obsessional* need to be "caring/helpful".

Neither of you have the time or emotional reserves to provide this level of caring. By constantly being with your friend you are fostering a dependency in her which is not doing her any favors. He is using her plight to escape your family's problems: it is easier to be the martyr/hero in someone else's story than sort your own problems out.

It's time to discuss what is a realistic amount of support
for you both to provide and stick to it. I also would recommend that both you and your DH ask your GP's to refer you for individual counseling. You have had so much happen in such a short period of time that you could use some help to make sense of it.

Good luck OP.

Her Mum works for Social Services and they are aware of her situation as far as I know.

JohnnyUtah - I don't have many, lots of trust issues (anxiety related). Normally I'd go to my Mum but she dies just before Christmas. Dad is obviously trying to cope with that so I don't want to put things on him either.

I know I need to talk to him, it's just bloody hard today to focus and think because I'm so tired.

wouldbemedic Mon 17-Mar-14 14:15:00

Order a DLA form for her and fill it out. You can do it on her behalf providing she signs it. The condition must have been going on for three months and must be perceived as likely to continue, but it's worth a try. Also ask adult social services for an assessment. This MUST include her parenting responsibilities. I would imagine that there must be some emergency care package that could be put in place, if the situation is as desperate as that and her life is in danger. You could also request a volunteer from Home Start to come in one morning/afternoon a week.

They thought it was a stroke at first because of her symptoms and she has had one before. She has a history of seizures and mini-strokes anyway, but no epilepsy. She has a hole in her heart so she has had a heart scan and is awaiting the results (she is on the list for heart surgery). They've scanned her brain, no sign of a stroke but she's lost sensation and control on the left side of her body (this has started to improve in the last couple of days). I've witnessed the seizures, they're horrible. She's stopped breathing as well at times. Seeing her how she is, it's heart-breaking to be honest. She's terrified, she thinks she's going to drop down dead any minute...if I was up there and she had a seizure or got worked up I don't think I'd be able to leave either.

I don't understand exactly what's going on either. She's fighting the diazepam they're giving her to help calm her to get rest...we've all tried telling her she NEEDS to calm down and rest but she's a young girl who's scared. She's had recent psychological trauma as well I don't really want to go into, I'm sure that's not helping her.

JohnnyUtah Mon 17-Mar-14 14:06:24

She is seeking a lot of support from her friends. Can you do the same, can yours support you by helping with chores or childcare?

Well I'm sure she's unwell but he's your husband not hers, you need to put your family first. Sounds very strange that she has these unexplained seizures why haven't they got to the bottom of them yet? Surely they would have diagnosed a stroke by way of a ct scan I work in medicine by the way.

AngelaDaviesHair Mon 17-Mar-14 14:00:51

Sounds as though you and your DH do need to dial down the commitment a bit.

Consider, and talk to her about speaking to Social Services to get her some support. Not saying you should step back and leave SS to it, but the more assistance the better, with her children in particular. Better to notify them now (they may do nothing of course) so if there is an emergency down the line they've been primed, as it were.

Also, see if the hospital has a Friends group with volunteers who will visit. Even a kindly stranger to visit is better than lying there alone worrying.

We seriously need to talk about it. We have quite a few appointments later in the week and it'll be a struggle to fit in visits around them...we need SOME time to ourselves. I hate to leave her in the lurch but we do have lives.

I can feel my panic attacks creeping back up and I haven't had one in months.

But then I feel like a petulant child jumping up and down and saying "But what about MEEEEEEEE!"....when I'm not the one really sick in hospital.

God I'm just so bloody tired. I'm going to the GP tomorrow as I think my meds need to be tinkered with.

Sorry I'm probably not talking a lot of sense...sentences are hard at the minute.

pluCaChange Mon 17-Mar-14 13:32:09

Just because the other friend is giving up her time , that doesn't make her an unassailably nice person: after all, it's not nice to give up someone else's time. Not nice to you, and not nice to your ill friend, either.

There is another friend PluCaChange - but it's the one who promised we'd be there when she couldn't without consulting us first. She is also doing a lot for her and I can see it's taking it's toll on her as well.

DH is very good at cheering people up and making them laugh etc, I'm not so good at that.

I'm going tomorrow so he can have a break, he's emotionally exhausted.

The lack of sleep isn't helping to be honest, I'm probably over dramatizing my own stress or something. My eyes are sore.

Moonbeam7 Mon 17-Mar-14 11:52:43

And also makes being in hospital less traumatic knowing you have something special to look forward to when you get back home.

pluCaChange Mon 17-Mar-14 11:52:42

Not selfish.

One thing that struck me was that she seems to be depending on a rope of just two strands - you and DH - and maybe that's partly why she's clinging so hard. Perhaps if her other friends did even a little to help, she wouldn't feel so vulnerable. Something to tell those friends! And tell her she's not to make a fuss to other friends about what you and DH are doing, as that eill just alienate people.

Sorry for more posts, I don't mean to drip feed, my tired head is foggy. Thank-you for being understand I was worried I would come across all "woe is me!"

He also get told by one of the nurses yesterday that if he hadn't been with her during one of her seizures yesterday it's possible she'd have died, he had to clear her throat of sick etc. Obviously he alerted the staff, but they got there just in time. I don't understand why she isn't being properly monitored. He's lost a lot of friends, so he has this perceived obligation.

Moonbeam7 Mon 17-Mar-14 11:51:33

In that case if it's something you BOTH feel is something you cannot change or reduce for the time being why don't you take it in turns to stay with her. And the one at home spends that time doing something small for the one in hospital like a easy cooked meal with simple candles, or running a bath with candles, or a head/foot massage or putting time aside for a cuddle in front of the telly etc etc.

Just something to keep your relationship alive/special.

Sorry that should be asking US in the brackets in the first paragraph

We have talked about it and he isn't particularly happy with the way it's been put on him in the last few days either (like the way our mutual friend promised her one of us would be up to visit without even asking her). He's been very apologetic and has been trying to get other people to go to take some of the strain off, but she doesn't have many people. Hardly any of her "friends" have bothered to visit her. She has a Mum who is there a lot and is having her children but they don't really get on.

She really is in bits, it's possible she might have to be put into an induced coma, she might be permanently brain damaged (she's not acting or thinking that rationally as it is so we've spent a lot of our time trying to calm her down so she can rest), it's even possible one of these seizures could kill her they're that bad.

He just finds it hard when someone has said they're coming to visit, he plans to leave and then they let her down and she's in floods of tears at being left alone. I don't think I could leave her either. He's doing it because she doesn't really have anyone else (another of our friends is visiting a lot to, but she couldn't be there over the weekend).

We did talk this morning about it, and he said he doesn't want to be down there all day today at all, it's never planned when it happens, he's just there and then she'll have a seizure and he won't want to leave her until she's OK etc.

She's seeing her consultant following some tests today so hopefully they will be able to find out what's actually wrong and treat her accordingly, I can imagine having no clue what's wrong would be hard.

Moonbeam7 Mon 17-Mar-14 11:31:25

No you are not being selfish in the slightest. Yes as a friend she has 'privileges' that a stranger in the street wouldn't have- ie you visiting and baby sitting her kids etc which is LOVELY or you to do anyway, but you as a wife/partner you have more rights to your oh.

He is being incredibly thoughtless and yes selfish by allowing himself to be somewhat depended on by your friend and in the process letting YOU down and putting bigger strains on YOU.

you know the saying charity starts at home. Yes he sounds like a good guy trying to do good by people so naturally that should apply to his family before ANYone else.

I really think you need to sit down and have a frank and honest convo with him to make him realise the damage he is causing or failing to fix, by his actions of somewhat neglecting you. For all your sakes.

The needs of the family have to come above that of even the bestest friend otherwise what's the point?

formerbabe Mon 17-Mar-14 11:31:23

I get that this woman needs support but it sounds like you have enough of your own shit to deal with right now.

A visit here and there and an occasional help with childcare is plenty.

I would not be happy with my dh spending all day with someone in hospital unless they were...

A. Family
B. On their death bed

I think you need to put yourselves first...you can still help but I think its unreasonable to expect someone who is not family to spend an entire day with you in hospital.

nicecupoftea2013 Mon 17-Mar-14 11:27:22

You are no good to anybody when you are at breaking point. You have to look after yourself first before you can help anybody else. There is no pint in having two people in hospital!

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