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Really struggling

(8 Posts)
ILiveInAPineapple Sun 23-Sep-12 09:09:23

This might be long, so sorry in advance......

My husband has just come back after working overseas for a few months. Last might, we finally spoke about some things that were going on while he was away. He cried and so did I. He thinks I should talk to someone else or at least let my work know what is going on, but I don't want anything from my personal life to encroach on my work life- its my escape.

So, briefly, these are the things that are bothering me:

My sis in law is pregnant and has kidney problems and previous surgery which may have weakened her cervix, so they are worried about losing the baby.

My DS did not cope well with his daddy being away and sincere came back has been testing the boundaries a lot - we are being consistent and doing all the right things, but it is just so wearing :-/

I have been having nightmares about something that happened to me some years ago so not sleeping well, although this is improving now I have DH back.

I am waiting for a promotion opportunity at work that I am desperate to apply for, this isn't stressing me out, but it's another thing going on in my life.

We have been trying for two yrs for dc 2 but not got pregnant, so waiting for fertility referral now.

My mum is seriously ill, every treatment she gets seems not to work, she has now been referred to the uk specialist centre and they are trying different treatments which seem not to be working either. There is one more thing they cantryand then it's a clinical trial if she fits the criteria. He life is crap, she is really disabled by the condition, and there is nothing I can do. I am terrified that she will die, and it's a very really possibility, she is 56 :-(

My dad is depressed - see above.

My DH might have to relocate through work, so if he does, I am left with the choice of living with my husband, or splitting my family so I can support my mum.

I do feel a little bit like I am teetering on the edge. I have held everything together while he was away and last night when we talked it was like the floodgates opened and it all rushed out. I am always the one of my friends/ family who is ok, puts on a brave face, looks on the bright side etc.

When I went through a really difficult time years ago, I was depressed, and I think my DH is worried that will happen again - to be honest so am I. There is just so much stuff going on.

He wants me to spek to work, but I know it will not remain confidential, and I don't want my chances of promotion affected. Also at the moment, work is my escape, I go there and forget about (or mostly forget!) the stuff going on outside work, and if people knew then I don't know if I could cope with the sympathy/ empathy/ people asking how I am etc.

We have an employee support programme that is provided by an outside company, which offeres counselling, and is totally confidential. I am a trained counsellor, and I don't see how it will make a difference, but I also appreciate that I am too close to be any kind of judge either!

I don't know what I am asking really. I just needed to write it down.

Thanks for reading if you got this far!

ChitchatAtHome Sun 23-Sep-12 09:22:38

Oh my goodness, that is a lot to have on your plate. Firstly, I'm glad l that your DH is being supportive.

About confiding to someone at work - there is nothing to stop you from choosing what you confide. I would confide about your DM's illness, and that your DF is finding it hard to cope, and that it has been difficult for you, especially with your DH away. That would be enough for anyone to cope with, and shouldn't be something that would affect your chance of promotion, but could explain to them why there might be days when you're not yourself. I wouldn't personally confide in them about either your DSIL's pregnancy, about trying to get pregnant yourself, or the possibility of a transfer for your DH. Although these things shouldn't, they can have a chance of affecting promotions.

The reason why it's hitting you so hard right now, is because you've finally released it and are allowing yourself to feel what you have been holding back for all these months. That's where counselling can help, it can give you an outlet and outside support, so your DH can be supportive without being overloaded himself.

tribpot Sun 23-Sep-12 09:28:52

God. Well, you've certainly got your fair share of the shit mountain, haven't you? confused Just to be clear, your DH thinks you should talk to someone - you did talk to someone. Him. It's not obvious from your post that he has any solutions or suggestions, but perhaps that is just an assumption on my part.

So, from the top.

1. The situation with your SIL is distressing but there is nothing you can do about it. Worrying won't help. In practical terms, is your SIL (and brother, I assume) needing you for emotional support right now? I don't think you have it to give with everything else. I think you may need to 'categorise' this problem (sorry, that sounds dreadful but you know what I mean) more exactly. Worry vs energy expender.

2. The situation with your DS is entirely understandable and you're tackling it the only way possible. Is your DH likely to be posted overseas again? If yes, you both need to accept this is an inevitable consequence and will get better as DS gets used to it. If no, this is a one-off challenge and at least you are doing it together and on the same page in terms of behaviour. Exhausting but this shall pass. (Btw there is an option 3 - next time he gets posted you all go). Given everything else on your plate, I'd expect your DH to be taking the lead on this one.

3. The previous situation and the effect on your sleep is almost certainly magnifying the other problems in your life. Sleep deprivation is dreadful. I would tackle this one first - I know it's better since your DH is back but I would be getting myself down to the GP to ask for some short term help in sleeping better. However, you need to tackle the underlying cause, which may be a lot more difficult for you.

4. The promotion opportunity isn't here yet. You are sensibly waiting until it is before you stress over it smile

5. As awful as it sounds, the fertility treatment falls into the same category as 1 and 4. There really is nothing to do right now but play a waiting game.

6. Your mum's illness sounds very wearing for everyone, and terrifying for her, too. Is there any support you can access, either online or through a local group, that would help to at least talk with people in the same situation? Is your dad seeking any help for himself? Unfortunately there may be very little you can do to help him if he won't admit his depression to anyone else. But it sounds as if social services should be involved with your parents to support them through this.

7. The relocation is something you'll need to decide on as a family weighing up all the factors involved. It isn't something your husband can decide on unilaterally based on his company's best interests. Another way to look at it would be 'I've been offered a relocation but it would mean leaving my wife with the children and ill parents to manage on top of the house and her own job'.

Being the Coper is absolute shit, as I know only too well. The expectation is you will never have any needs of your own. That you will manage. It makes it very hard to see that in some cases the best way to manage is to look after yourself first. I think you are right to be concerned that you may slide into depression again with everything on your plate right now. I don't think you need to tell work (I understand about it being a sanctuary, and it's also not a major stressor) but I do think you need to pay some serious attention to your mental health to keep yourself fighting fit.

I think this means a conversation with your GP. Possibly also with your counselling service - I've never tried mine although I came close once but couldn't face talking on the phone. But you have a huge burden of responsibility, a lot of which can't obviously be shifted elsewhere.

Now that your DH is back, how is he going to help manage this load?

Sausagedog27 Sun 23-Sep-12 09:29:45

Didn't want to leave this unanswered. Use the service work are providing- we have similar at our work and it's been a lifeline for me (lots of things going on in my life including worries about parents -mh issues and alcoholism,combined with my husband working away a lot and issues at work with redundancy).

I think it's great that you have been honest with your husband. You have got a lot on and just need some extra support. One of the reasons that I rang our works support provider is that I didn't want to go back to being depressed, I suffered about 5years ago, and so far it seems to be working.

Good luck op- given everything that's going on for you, I'm not surprised how you are feeling. Look after yourself- make sure you have you time, talk to friends about how you are feeling, plan nice things etc. if you look after yourself, you will be in a stronger position to support others.

Good luck! Xx

ILiveInAPineapple Sun 23-Sep-12 10:15:49

Thank you for the replies.

My DH is being very supportive and is a great listener. He wanted to put us all in the car and go to my parents last night so I could see my mum but I was in no fit state to go over. I think he feels a bit out of his depth and is worried sick I will become depressed again, which is why he wants me to talk to someone who knows the right things to say. He has this morning got me to sit down and just read to my DS while he did all the ironing and cooked us all bacon sandwiches, it was nice to be looked after.
He is usually home from work before me, so has said he will try and do the housework in that hour each day so that we don't have to do it at weekends. It's not something stressful, but it does help to have one less thing to juggle.

I am glad I am not being weak/ stupid/ stressing about nothing, my DH gave me a huge cuddle last night and said I was a poor thing and I should have spoken to him while he was away but he understood why I couldn't (opening floodgates etc), which was great but I still feel shit for feeling shit iyswim, it goes back to the always coping thing.

My dad is on antidepressants and off work, he is hoping for redundancy in march, and waiting for nhs counselling as well.

I seem to be the sounding board for my family when they have problems, which I am fine with, I really am, I am glad they can talk to me, and I always try to help them find their way to solutions, but tbh it's all a bit much at the mo. The only person I have to offload to is my DH and I am conscious that I don't want to make him worry even more about me than he is.

I am going to call up the counselling line tomorrow, they can arrange face to face counselli which I think I will ask for as I just need to share my issues.

I will think about talking to someone about my mum but I just don't know if I can face the sympathy/ questions etc when work is my safe haven from everything.

I feel bad for my DH, he has just come home and been hit by my freight train of emotions, he is just so accepting and trying to help me in any way he can. He even offered to phone work for me and arrange some time off but I want to be at work to feel normal for a while!

I am not surprised my DS found it hard, even though he doesn't know all the other stuff going on, I am sure he has picked up on it, and he is just reassertion the boundaries and his place now DH is home, we will continue as we are with that, but I was so glad when 7pm came last night (and feel guilty for thinking like that) because I was just tired of being reasonable and setting boundaries.

I could really do with a night to go out and get drunk and forget it all, but don't see that happening in the near future really!

Thanks again for the replies and support.

myroomisatip Sun 23-Sep-12 10:25:27

Oh I feel for you! You have so much on your plate right now.

All I can add is that I found counselling helped me a lot because it was telling someone who wasnt directly affected, IYSWIM. My family, being involved, hurt for me and worried about me. I could open up and be totally honest with the counsellor and although she agreed that she could do nothing about my circumstances, it did help me.

Mayisout Sun 23-Sep-12 10:55:49

Your family are probably just 'opening the floodgates' to you and having a moan about their problems. Surely they don't expect you to cure all their woes. You can be a sounding board but don't feel you can fix everything, just take it as them letting off steam (which is helpful for them) then put it out of your mind.
I fell into the role of the strong capable one but realised that I couldn't fix their problems and if I gave advice it was usually ignored. So make sure you don't take all their stuff on your shoulders, like I said, you can't fix it so will be unneccessarily wearing yourself out with their worries.
Also, you can't cure your poor mum. Just be a support when needed.
And I don't know your sons age but are you open with him, he might be picking up the stress in the rest of the family members and if he can't voice his fears, storing it up inside which might make him difficult.

tribpot Sun 23-Sep-12 11:32:36

I'm glad your DH is helping out with some good, practical tasks - the housework may not be a stressor but it's a time drain. You need to conserve your energy.

I would state to him quite firmly that you do not wish to take time off work at the moment. I can see from his perspective that looks like the one thing that could give a little temporarily, to create a bit more time and space for everything else. However, that's all it will do - create more space for the rest of your problems to flood over you. Your instinct is right - hang on to your work life to have your normal feeling.

I honestly wouldn't feel guilty about dumping this on your DH now he's got back. You've successfully kept most of it from him whilst he was away because you knew it would be upsetting for him to know about it when he couldn't do anything about it. Part of re-entry into normal life is this, the dumping of everything in one go, so that it can then be sorted through and worked over in more detail over a longer time period. It sounds like he understands that, so don't stress it.

I agree with Mayisout - I understand why you like being the sounding board and helping them find solutions. But you need to be more selfish right now. Why can you only offload to your DH, and why can your family only offload to you? I appreciate that for your brother and SIL there may not be anyone else (your SIL's family?) but I don't think you should feel unable to offload back on the people you've supported. This is not just for you and your DH to manage, same as their problems weren't in the past.

You could mention your mum at work to a trusted colleague, but explicitly ask not to be asked about her because you will find it too upsetting to respond. It might help to have primed someone in case you need to take time off unexpectedly.

Although a night out drinking could be good, I think you definitely do need to make some fun time that's for you without the downside that comes with drinking smile If you said to some friends you wanted to go see a silly movie and then maybe have nails done or something - with the only house rule being no serious talk, just fun - would they be up for it?

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