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I'm sending mixed messages - can't really sort myself out

(23 Posts)
Anna1976 Thu 17-Jan-13 21:33:01

LadyTurmoil, sorry to hear you're having such a hugely tough time. (hugs)

Are you in the UK and a UK resident or citizen? You should be able to get counselling on the NHS if you have a sympathetic GP who will refer you - it sounds like you could do with a bit of space to just talk about things.

Also, if you have a sympathetic and perservering GP, it is definitely worth considering antidepressants. Because we don't yet really understand how they work, there is often trial and error involved - you might have to try 2 or 3 different ones at different dosages before something has an effect (people are often a bit disappointed to know that prescribing is often done without knowing exactly how drugs work, but if we waited to know how everything worked, modern medicine would be antibiotics, surgery and counselling and nothing else). However, once you find the right one, they can work wonders - definitely worth talking to your GP about this.

Re dogs - not the same I know, but as a compromise, could you perhaps walk a dog for a local animal shelter?

Re avoiding sex - just concentrate on sorting out other aspects of life. If it helps, talk to your husband about this and say you need to sort yourself out, you are sure he wouldn't want you to fake enjoyment of sex, and you are depressed but taking steps to fix things, and reassure him that you still love him and can see a time in the future when things will get back to normal, but for now you JUST NEED SPACE!

Do you have something that you can do that makes you feel calm and relaxed? For me it is walking up big mountains and watching the wind blowing the clouds around (easy where i am, it's like Scotland only windier...). I can also do this with DP, which is good - ticks the relaxation box as well as the couple time box without being too intrusive or looking too selfish (not that personal relaxation actually is selfish, but you know what I mean).

Also - try posting this as a separate thread in Relationships and you will get more advice - good luck smile

LadyTurmoil Thu 17-Jan-13 14:07:01

I'm also having problems with relationships, depression, general lack of motivation - from a background of my mum dying 3 years ago, took about 6mths off work, went back, was made redundant 6mths after I went back. Felt hugely hurt as I'd worked there for 10 years (communications, pr and fundraising for housing charity). So, since then I've drifting along, not feeling any motivation for anything, no sex drive leading to problems with husband, he works from home and I'm home a lot but we hardly talk to each other. He goes upstairs at about 10.30 every night, I stay down til 1 or 2 (I know it started as avoiding the whole sex issue and is now a habit). Went to counselling for 6mths but expensive, helped with some issues but not with these issues. don't feel it's right to make major decisions when i'm like this as i might be making them for wrong reason (because i'm depressed) Have resisted anti- depressants but should I consider? I would love a dog, think it would be a good way of "getting out there" in a small way, look after brother's dog sometimes, but DH can't stand them, leading to more arguments and feelings of resentment. Know i should volunteer or something like that but lack drive to leave house most days, also have severely ill aunt (no children) so have been busy visiting her and now have to sort out nursing home for her. Aaaaah! Any advice gratefully received and SORRY for length.

Anna1976 Wed 16-Jan-13 19:51:01

Hi Walkacrossthesand/Meditrina - yes the relationship aspect is very encouraging smile. Career, I am totally burnt out and no longer want to be a doctor of any sort, but also (thankfully) can't find a job in anything related to medicine in the small NZ town where I am currently living. For the moment I am just going for long walks, enjoying the view, and noting down what might look interesting when I have enough energy to actually think.

meditrina Wed 16-Jan-13 10:17:23

"He wants to get back together, he wants to help me get back on whatever track seems right for me, he's happy to help fund me, and he doesn't care what other people think."

This sounds really encouraging to me.

But you need to work out what you need to do for you, and only after that decide if he can help you on any part of that journey.

Walkacrossthesand Wed 16-Jan-13 10:07:09

Hi Anna, didn't want to read & run - just to say I sympathise utterly with your work predicament. Medicine (especially surgery) doesn't lend itself to easing back, does it..are you a consultant? Any scope for part-time/research assistant//developing simulations type work? Worth keeping an eye on the jobs at the front of the BMJ ie not your specialty. Or step aside from the medical career and work in something completely different for a bit. Doesn't matter what famy think - you're 36 years old, they've never supported you so they can take a running jump. Can't. they.

Anna1976 Wed 16-Jan-13 09:00:46

Thanks for all the advice here - jsut came back to say that things are now ticking along a lot better with DP, the relationship seems to be back on track, even if my career isn't and there are up days and down days.

MooncupGoddess Fri 04-Jan-13 22:06:15

Clearly you have lots of complex stuff going on, and it will take you a while to pick it apart. I don't think you should ever feel guilty about not wanting to have sex, though - your body is trying to tell you something and you should listen to it. If that means your relationship with your DP/ex-DP/whatever he is has to stay on a friends-only level for the moment then so be it. Your feelings matter just as much as his.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 04-Jan-13 21:24:29

Easy jobs it is then. Find something you enjoy doing, do it well, have fun and your self-confidence will increase. I have a friend who had a very tough and very glamorous job in the commercial arm of the film industry... always on location hob-nobbing with the glitterati!... and who couldn't keep doing it once she had a few DCs. Like you she drifted for a bit feeling bad about 'not fulfilling her potential', didn't really take to SAHMdom either, but now she's deliriously happy in a completely different role managing a small shop in their home town.

Anna1976 Fri 04-Jan-13 21:15:05

Mooncupgoddess - hmm, you may be right. I've read thread on here about people thinking they've "settled for" someone - there is an element of that here - but other than being a bit blind to his own family's hypocrisy, DP is lovely.

He has also taken on board many of the things that were said when we separated and is (slightly anxiously) trying to implement the changes - so seriously, that I have got over the impatient "too little, too late" feeling and am pretty deeply touched by the changes he's making. That's why I want to try to sort things out as well as possible, and am feeling guilty that I've kind of run into a brick wall with a problem that is mine to solve.

Cogito - i agree totally re just doing stuff, and have started looking for easy jobs - but going back to a position as any sort of doctor when functioning at 50% would not be fair on anyone.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Jan-13 23:02:32

" need to get over the extreme apathy and tiredness before starting that process."

Sometimes you have to do it the other way around. Waiting to 'feel better' before acting can stretch on and on. Doing something first, even if you're only functioning at 50%, can give you a boost.

MooncupGoddess Thu 03-Jan-13 20:53:40

Ah yes, it's rather depressing when one realises one's not at the top of the MI6 recruitment list grin

I've read some of your previous threads, Anna, and seem to remember your DP didn't come out of them very well. Could this be (consciously or unconsciously) why you can't bear the thought of shagging him?

Anna1976 Thu 03-Jan-13 20:43:33

Porridgelover - thanks for the thought. i don't really know. Secretly I'd kind of like to be some James Bond/ John Buchan-esque action hero(ine), chasing baddies over mountain ranges and skiing through boreal forests with my Ak-47 on my back. But aged 36, having spent the last 25 years staring at a computer screen or down a microscope or in front of an operating table, very tired, not very fit and with not much knowledge of Urdu, Pashto, Punjabi, Russian etc, or international politics or terrorism, somehow I rather doubt any country's forces are going to take me on as a special operative... i'd be better suited to making tea for the territorial army's wives after a Sunday morning service in Surrey!

porridgelover Thu 03-Jan-13 20:00:37

Anna, Good advice above.

If everything else lined up, what would you love to be doing? If you turned off the voices of your family, partner and his family, what exactly would you love to be doing?
Not should, not what you trained for, not what you might feel guilty about.

I suspect you are not in the habit of listening to what you really want for you. Would that help you to work out where you're going next?

Anna1976 Thu 03-Jan-13 19:36:36

Thanks Cogito. You're right about the burnout. Not sure what to do next - there are lots of nice hobbies I'd mostly given up on, I am doing some of them, also exercising - but I'd probably spend my whole life out in the hills wandering up and down mountains aimlessly if I could - I actually need to find some real direction, get a job, and stop haemorrhaging money... am thinking of some kind of VSO work, not necessarily related to my old job, but need to get over the extreme apathy and tiredness before starting that process.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Jan-13 08:56:49

"my own family have been making jokes about my appearance all my life, and they now get to make jokes about my failed career as well."

You burned yourself out trying to please/impress your miserable family with a high-flying career, didn't you? I don't think that was you at all, really. Just a big overcompensation for the hurtful comments.

What would you like to do next? For you?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Jan-13 08:49:37

"i've currently lost the massive sense of drive and responsibility I had before"

If you can't rediscover 'massive' motivation is there something rather smaller you could aim for? What are you interested in generally? What makes you happy? I'll give you an example... I've always enjoyed played piano (badly) and last year decided that I would try to improve by practising daily. It's a small thing, relatively easy to do, it makes me happy and I feel like I'm achieving something - just for me, no-one else.

Anna1976 Thu 03-Jan-13 02:10:28

izzy- it's kind of a feeling that I don't trust his motives re refusing to discuss pregnancy sensibly (I don't think he'd actively try to get me pregnant, and he'd have difficulty since I'm in control of my own body, but him refusing to discuss the fact he wants children makes it all feel non-consensual), but it is mostly self-revulsion, self-consciousness and just being utterly turned off by the thought of any form of intimacy or scrutiny by anyone else.

We're back in NZ.

izzyizin Thu 03-Jan-13 01:38:12

Is your revulsion linked to your pg scare or is it self-disgust that's stopping you climbing back in the saddle?

Have you returned to NZ or are you still with your family in, presumably, the UK?

Anna1976 Thu 03-Jan-13 01:31:28

Thanks SGB. Have finished the free psychotherapy on offer here... need to sort out some non-free I guess. and yes, telling him I am not really in a state to cope is probably a good idea. Though he kind of knows that already. I don't want to be the needy one whose hang-ups always have to be worked around in the relationship. But I have kind of lost it at the moment.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Thu 03-Jan-13 01:24:05

Are you having any kind of counselling or therapy at present? It sounds like you could probably do with some, and it might be best to say to him that while you care about him, you need to look after yourself at present and you are not in the right state of mind to deal with a relationship. Because you're not. If he's a nice man, he will back off. He just might be not such a nice man, and interested in a relationship with you because you are unhappy and struggling and therefore going to be dependent on him.

Anna1976 Thu 03-Jan-13 00:59:54

thanks Cogito. You're probably right. I hate being utterly unmotivated and lacking any sense of direction, but I know that i've currently lost the massive sense of drive and responsibility I had before, i can't work out what to do and I just don't give a monkey's about anything... and just not caring is a very dangerous place to be in for someone in (what used to be) my job.

Yes, his family have come as close to saying "feck off you ugly fat failure" as a highly-educated, professional, polite group of self-motivated constructive nice individuals possibly could get... and my own family have been making jokes about my appearance all my life, and they now get to make jokes about my failed career as well.

i do realise this is sort of depression talking, but it's also insight that generates depression... I do know how to interpret the polite and thinly-veiled comments of his family.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Jan-13 00:36:03

You won't resolve this until you start valuing yourself more and accepting that others like you exactly as you are. Intimacy is scary if you're self-conscious about your body but he clearly isn't seeing 'ugly, fat, stupid...etc'. Have his family actually said they don't like you? As bluntly as that?

I'm not sure what you think others are expecting you to 'deliver' and suspect that the only thing holding you back are some internal standards that you've set so high as to make it not worth even trying. Nothing is more soul-destroying than setting yourself up to fail. Maybe bring the bar down a little (a lot) to a level that you can realistically hit.

Anna1976 Thu 03-Jan-13 00:25:18

Backstory - DP and i had known each other since the late 1990s at uni, and had been together since 2006 in workaholic relationship where we were essentially flatmates with benefits and huge workloads. We both got a bit burnt out and exhausted, moved to New Zealand last year for him to have a sabbatical, we decided to stay even though I couldn't find a job, I had a pregnancy scare, we started arguing, we split up and separated.

DP and his family liked me a lot when I was a workaholic with a successful career, but his family don't like me at all now I'm unemployed, burnt out, depressed and living off savings.

We each went independently to visit family over Christmas (in the same city), and ended up seeing each other a bit. We had missed each other a lot.

He wants to get back together, he wants to help me get back on whatever track seems right for me, he's happy to help fund me, and he doesn't care what other people think. I would like to get back together too, but i no longer feel I can deliver what's expected of me, and I think that the expectations will change less easily than the current level of respect - ie when I fail to deliver, I will be written off as a failure, given that DP respects his family's opinions and they all think I'm a total waste of space, ugly, fat, stupid, depressive, unmotivated, no career, no good relationship with my own family, no children, no plans, expensive education and high-flying career behind me.

I was happy with the idea of getting back together, at least seeing each other if not yet moving back in together. But on returning to potential sex, i just couldn't do it - I felt physically revolted and said I couldn't do it. He was obviously very hurt, but didn't push it. I have got out of the other opportunities since then by going to sleep early or getting up early. It's obvious I'm getting out of it. I don't know what to say, I just don't want to do it, at all, and I don't feel happy with any physical contact other than hugs.

It's kind of mixed up with my feeling I can't deliver anything... but I just feel revolted by intimacy. But obviously the way to get back on the bike after a fall is to just get back on the bike.

How do I solve this? arggh.

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