After 8 years and several diagnosis, 100’s of tests and every possible symptoms, I thought I had seen it all. I thought I was bullet proof, shock proof, embarrassment proof and then…
My husband / carer went to the doctor to discuss a bad back and a few other bit and pieces and he came home to tell me our doctor had diagnosed him as suffering from depression. What is so shocking for me is that I hadn’t realized the toll that my illness was taking on him. All the work, all the tears, all the suffering, all the meds, all the appointments, all the … well EVERYTHING has been eating away at my husband and partner and I didn’t even see it coming. That is what has floored me, and saddened me.
I am reminded of a poster I read in an office “Your health affects everything you do and everyone you know…” Its true. I forgot the golden rule, and my husband and partner has paid the price. How did this happen? Because men quite often put their own feelings aside and can be quite selfless when they see their wives [partners] in pain. He has been selfless. He has been more than I can ever hope to describe in this article. Far too many things and far too many emotions to fit in a mere 500 words. He has done it, seen it, coped with it, dealt with it, fixed it, held it, injected it and rubbed it. Words can’t express how much I feel disappointed in myself for not having my eyes open for how all of these terrible things impacted him. I mean, I have asked him to do things for himself, I have encouraged him to pursue interests and always be true to himself, but you cant unsee some things. He has seen my living hell and nightmare and he CANT unsee it. Something very much like PTSD. The future is just as worrying and scary to him as it is for me, he just works harder to hide it; for me.
We will of course be getting hubby all the help we can and make sure that his mental health and well being is prioritized again. Its just another thing that we will manage and cope with, and perhaps this will help me put on my helper hat. You see the one thing that we can absolutely not afford to do with this life and with these challenges is we can not afford to disappear into off the cliffs of denial as we travel along our journey.
I know that I can’t fix my partner, I can only manage my own actions and feelings, but I want to be part of his support group and his inspiration and his coping as he is for me. We have a wake up call and we are awake again. I am well aware that this journey is not about me and I want my partner to enjoy it as much as possible. I think that really is the ultimate goal of anyone who with any sort of health condition or challenge, you want to enjoy as much of life and living as you can. It is the same goal we share with our healthy counterparts.
I want to take this opportunity to personally thank every partner out there who keep stepping in to bat for us and everything else in between. You have cried with us, suffered with us, grown with us, struggled with us and sat between two worlds (the health challenged and the other world) and done your best to transition and blend the two. I have nothing but thanks and respect to you all ad I hope that you never forget to take care of you too. ‘Care for the carer’ and give yourself permission to feel just as important as the loved ones you care for. Because you are.
Sometimes the most helpful things you can ever say is “I need help!”