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How do I get DH to understand how I feel?

(29 Posts)
AllTheOtherNameChanges Sun 24-May-20 22:11:20

Since I started my periods I've been getting migraines in the days leading up to my period.

At first they were occasional. Now I'm periomenopausal so about 3 years now and I get the migraines every month and they've got worse over time too.

They affect my sight, my hearing, my ability to speak, my balance and movements, as well as being incredibly painful and making me sick. I saw a neurologist who prescribed more triptans, beta blockers and prescription only painkillers and pregabalin. He also took scans of my brain and said that when I get migraines I'm pre epileptic. As it was explained to me I don't have PMS epilepsy but my brain function takes on some of the features of epilepsy without being fully epileptic. For the rest of my cycle the epileptic features are gone.

The pain is so bad that I had an operation last year and the migraine still hurt through morphine.

The result is that now I'm in a darkened room, unable to move for three or four days a month.

I do need to see my GP and the neurologist again when lockdown is over, I know that.

DH is someone who has to be doing something especially around the house every day. He knows he can't be unreasonable but he's getting impatient with the migraines. I need him to be kind to me. Instead, he's remote and irritable. Also he won't leave me to be alone in bed, he keeps coming into the bedroom for a chat or trying to persuade me to do household jobs or go for a walk or whatever.

DH is not a monster, if he knew how bad it is I know he would be understanding. As there's nothing visibly wrong I think he assumes that I'm alright really.

How do I explain it to him so that he will understand?

OP’s posts: |
Thubten Sun 24-May-20 23:40:28

That sounds completely horrific.
Sorry, I've no idea how to get your partner to empathise. He obviously isn't keen on you not being there to do things for him, quite typically male grin

beautifulxdisasters Sun 24-May-20 23:55:19

If my DH was doing this, I think I'd say something like:

"DH, you know I am in extreme pain with my migraine. I am really not well enough to do chores or go for a walk. I am not well enough to do anything other than lay here in a dark, quiet room.

When you come into the bedroom to suggest I do something other than that, it makes me feel that you do not care or understand how much pain I am in. This really upsets me.

I understand that it is frustrating for you that I am so unwell regularly - it is frustrating for me too. Obviously I will make another appointment once lockdown is over to see if there is anything more they can do to ease my symptoms. But in the meantime I would really appreciate your understanding and support when I am unable to get out of bed those few days due to the severity of my symptoms."

ChristmasFluff Mon 25-May-20 10:58:14

You are ill in bed. He knows this. It's not that he doesn't understand, it's that he doesn't care, and at best his desire for company is more important to him than your need to be in peace. At worst, he is punishing you for being unwell and not at his beck and call

So you can give him a fancy speech. Or you can tell him 'fuck off, I've got a migraine and I feel like shit!' It won't matter. He already knows this information.

Windyatthebeach Mon 25-May-20 11:01:18

Wooden door stop. Keep the ignorant fucker out.
My exh never attempted to understand... His fav phrase was 'but you look much better' and repeated it parrot fashion making me doubt I had a fucking migraine.... Oddly enough they improved massively when I left him..

Earlgrey19 Mon 25-May-20 12:03:43

First of all huge sympathy as I’m a fellow migraine sufferer, less severe symptoms than you, though (and probably also perimenopausal). I often think that people who don’t get migraines have no idea how horrendous they can make you feel. Keep emphasising that to your DH, they are debilitating, incapacitating and you can’t function when you’ve got one and need rest. He needs to be understanding.

On the meds front do you have anti-nausea pills too? They make a big difference to me: the sickness element is particularly awful, I find.

billy1966 Mon 25-May-20 13:25:39

My goodness that sounds just awful OP.

Your husband is a selfish pig who gets it but doesn't want to because it doesn't suit him.

Get a key for your bedroom door and noise cancelling head phones.

I think him ignoring what you have clearly told him you need, ie peace in a dark room, is abusive.

Be careful OP.

Spell it out to him.

If he continues to ignore you.

Protect yourself.

Okrightbut Mon 25-May-20 13:33:44

God that sounds awful. I get bad period pains due to fibroids and adenomyosis. I understand how it feels to have your periods impact on your life so much. I often need to just lie in bed.
Does he have issues with empathy in other areas of life? Or with understanding basic concepts like a person being in pain? I know you say he's not a monster but you have a diagnosis which he's ignoring.

Sparklfairy Mon 25-May-20 13:35:52

Out of interest, how is he when he gets ill himself?

Bunnymumy Mon 25-May-20 13:47:16

Sounds like he thinks it is partly psychosomatic and getting up and about will help you.

I think you need to say 'the pain is like a white hot poker through my scull. If you were going through that, you would want peace and quiet too. I am not overstating the pain,nor is it imagined. Its like fire. So in future if I am houng through it, fo not bother me, please'.

If he does not take a telling then he clearly only cares about himself. And he should leave.

Bunnymumy Mon 25-May-20 13:48:03

*going through it, do not bother

ravenmum Mon 25-May-20 14:41:13

Take him with you to the neurologist. Explain to the neurologist that your husband does not understand why you are not fully functioning during an episode, and ask the neurologist what your husband could do to help you.

Then make another appointment for you both with a marriage counsellor. Explain to the counsellor how you feel during an episode and in particular how your husband's behaviour makes you feel.

AllTheOtherNameChanges Mon 25-May-20 14:57:01

Thank you to everyone for being sympathetic thanks it means a lot.

He is very good at doing household things; he cooks every day, does almost all of the washing and cleans the kitchen afterwards, he does everything in the garden and most of the hoovering and I do the rest of the cleaning.

To best describe him (in very unflattering terms) he's like a toddler in the way that he gets up in the morning and actively looks for jobs to do. Whereas I wait until I see something that needs doing and then do it. The house is pretty immaculate because there are only the two of us here but once he's done everything on his notional list and this is the really toddler bit he wants company.

To be fair to him he's DH 2 and when we were married we both wanted to be together because we wanted to be together. Obviously when I'm lying in a darkened room we're not spending time together. The migraines have got a lot worse over the past two years.

The migraines can last for anything up to a week, which makes it worse from the perspective of our relationship. The migraines keep me awake at night, I didn't get to sleep until 4am last night and DH has just woken me up. That's pretty disruptive for any relationship.

beautifulxdisasters I've tried to explain before, I'll try your phrasing, it's good and we'll see what his response is like.

Earlgrey19 I've got cyclizine for the sickness. It really helps.

I'm sorry Okrightbut, that sounds hideous, you have my complete sympathy. Have you read Period Power by Maisie Hill? I'm not sure whether she specifically writes about fibroids in detail but she does talk about problems with the menstrual cycle and offers help with them.

Sparklfairy when he's ill he just keeps working and going on through it, if anything he wears himself out by just keeping going. He's never been seriously ill in the time that I've known him.

I'd already decided to take him with me to the GP and the neurologist ravenmum I think he needs it to be mansplained to him.

Although this isn't the menopause board does anyone know of a good book on the menopause?

There doesn't seem to be much about and I could really do with some insights. It feels like I'm very alone and I don't know what might help me with the symptoms.

OP’s posts: |
ShebaShimmyShake Mon 25-May-20 19:43:40

Tell him what you've told us. Use those words. Stress that this isn't the way he feels when he's a bit ill, or even the way you feel when you're a bit ill, but weapon level, pre-epileptic, morphine-defeating, blinding, deafening, nauseating horror and you MUST BE LEFT ALONE.

To be honest, you communicated it clearly enough here and we haven't been seeing it affecting you every month. How likely is it that he really doesn't understand?

Chamomileteaplease Mon 25-May-20 19:50:18

Have a typed up note/letter written ready by the bed, which explains exactly how you are feeling and how no, you can't get up and do x, y or z. When he comes in, pass it to him without a word.

Do this every time he comes in and disturbs you. The message may eventually get through.

When you are well again sit down with him and tell him you appreciate it's not nice for him to have 4-7 days essentially alone each month but at the moment, there's not much you can do about it and you would appreciate his support.

AllTheOtherNameChanges Wed 27-May-20 00:45:36

Those are good ideas.
I'm not good at communicating when I get migraines, I'll have the straight conversation with him when my period is done with.

I'll write the notes and if he needs it I'll write him a list of jobs he can be getting on with if he really is desperate for things to do. He's been better today because he's been working.

OP’s posts: |
londonscalling Wed 27-May-20 05:50:58

I had menstrual migraines for years. They were so debilitating. I even turned down a promotion at work because I was struggling so much every month!! Get yourself to your doctors and ask for a Mirena Coil to be fitted. These stop your periods and you then don't get the migraines. I had one fitted and it has been amazing. Wish I'd heard about them years ago!

borntobequiet Wed 27-May-20 06:24:57

Has no one suggested HRT?

Scott72 Wed 27-May-20 06:59:43

That he is so diligent with housework makes a change from the usual complaints about lazy husbands.

However he cannot accept how bad your pain is. Probably he thinks you are exaggerating, and he genuinely thinks being up and active will make you feel better. However judging by what you have written it should seem clear as day your pain is genuine. I'm not sure what else you can do to get through his apparently thick skull.

category12 Wed 27-May-20 08:00:47

You can still see the doctor etc - you do need to chase them up. I think it would probably help him to see you actively seeking treatment.

hamstersarse Wed 27-May-20 08:10:39

A Mirena coil is definitely worth a go. As is going on an elimination diet.

As for your DH, leave him to it. You’ve tried to explain. I’d concentrate on trying to get better, with or without his support...that’s up to him 🤷‍♀️

TigerDater Wed 27-May-20 08:53:02

Take him with you to see the GP/neurologist (why are you delaying? The NHS is still operating)

And if he wants a job to be getting on with, get him to research migraine on the interweb!

dreamingbohemian Wed 27-May-20 09:05:54

If you're having brain scans and prescription painkillers and he still doesn't 'get it' then it's because he doesn't want to get it. His own need for company is more important than your health and wellbeing. You can try to find the right words but you really shouldn't have to.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 27-May-20 10:02:53

Make an appointment with your GP.
They are still working. As a PP said, take your DP with you!
Discuss Botox for migraines with them.
Also discuss coils and or contraceptive implant.
I honestly can't imagine how horrible this must be for you OP.
But don't leave the docs without some form of treatment plan.
You cannot live like this indefinitely.

Spinakker Wed 27-May-20 11:00:58

A lock on the door or pushing up something against the door might help solve the immediate problem.

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