Thursday, September 24, 2015

Stepping Up When Your Partner Breaks Down


If you're a loyal follower you've seen the lack of post and original content on the blog... it doesn't make me happy, but unfortunately life has been really demanding lately and the blog has (and will be) taking a back seat. 

Earlier this year, I think it was late January or early February, my husband suffered a huge mental meltdown and ended up quitting his job. I wasn't worried... I thought he would be quick to dust himself off, shake it off and get back to work... but that didn't happen.

He has always struggled with depression and anxiety, but he spiraled downward really quickly. He'd have good days but more often than not, they were bad. He would sit home all day and spend money online that we didn't have... he knew it was wrong, but he couldn't help himself. He'd feel guilty about it, which would make him more depressed, but then he'd turn around and sell something to make up for it (he's a musician and has spent years collecting instruments and gear, so he had some to spare)... but although it helped get bills paid, it was a vicious cycle.

So I took it upon myself to support our family. I work in insurance and don't make a ton of money, but with careful budget planning and some photography jobs on the side, I've made it work. But even more stressful than our money situation, was having to keep it together and not let anyone know how much I was struggling... putting on a brave face day in day out is harder than it looks.

Not only was I worried about my husband's well being and paying our bills on time, but I also had to keep our house cleaned, show up to my 9-5 job and take care of the kids. Memphis, our oldest, is high functioning autistic and Ruby is a typical 7 year old... no lack of drama in our house, I tell ya!

But I'm tough. And I don't give up on anything or anybody.

Earlier this summer, things got really bad with my husband and I did have to rush him to the hospital... I guess it was the proverbial "rock bottom" we all hear about. It's true when they say that things usually have to get worse before they better. 

Since then, he has stopped spending irrationally, he's doing more around the house and his doctors are finally taking him seriously. He is in the early stages of being diagnosed as bipolar as well. So now we are working on getting the right medication and weekly therapy sessions with a psychologist. It's all coming full circle... I hope. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel... it's small, but it's there!

He's happier, we're happier.  At this time, he's still not ready to go back to work, so I have a while yet to go as sole provider, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get him healthy again.

If you've been through a similar situation or are going through something like this, I'd love to hear from you.  It's nice knowing that we're not alone in our struggles and it's important to not be ashamed to have a mental illness... or love someone who does. 

Hugs!

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14 comments

  1. You are a strong strong woman. Your entire family is lucky to have you girl. Sh*t happens. my family was in a somewhat similar situation and i myself have been thru some crazy stuff. i love that u lookat it for what it is and then tackle it instead of avoiding it. I wish u the best. i hope thsis comment makes u feel good :)

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing your story, it must have been scary to hit publish. You are NOT alone! I believe strongly that talking about mental illness will help people, not only the ones suffering from it, but also others to understand it better.
    Have you ever heard of the blog "The Bloggess"? http://thebloggess.com/ Jenny Lawson, the blogger, has a whole bunch of different mental illnesses: anxiety disorder, depression, several pretty severe sleeping disorders, and some more issues. She just brought out a book called "Furiously happy" where she talk very openly about her mental illness. She is incredibly funny, and the book will make you laugh out loud all the time - but she is also brutally honest about her condition. It might help you and your husband to read it!
    Stay strong!

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  3. Lovely post. I too have been going through the same thing as yourself just without kids so it's a little easier. Although hard at times, we all pull through. I don't talk about it very much but it's my story to tell when need be. I'm glad everyone is getting better and happier. <3

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  4. Lena, it does take a lot of courage to post about mental illness. But thank you for doing it! Because that is exactly what needs to be done. We need to talk about it. A lot. There is no shame in any illness and the only way to remove the stigmas attached to mental illness is to talk about it. I struggled for a good part of my life with Bipolar Disorder and I recently started my blog with the intention of discussing topics like these. You can read a little bit about my struggle on my About Me page (http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com/about-me/). Your husband is lucky to have you in his darkest hours(I, too, have an amazing spouse who got me through some tough times). But remember, while you are being his support, it is okay for you to seek support of your own elsewhere. These are tough illnesses to live with for everyone involved. Keep up the good work! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Shelbee

    www.shelbeeontheedge.com

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  5. Hugs to you and your man. You are a strong woman but know that your friends and family are there for you and let them in to help. Pass one or both of the kiddos of to your sister or mom and enjoy a bubble bath and glass of wine and a good read or snuggle in and watch a movie with your man and sip on hot chocolate. Have quiet, low key evenings at home with the kiddos too. Make a frozen pizza and have popcorn. It's the little things in life. But don't let people think all those balls you are juggling don't slip once in a while. When my husband was on dialysis 6 days a week and he couldn't physically work and we had only Sundays to spend together and only 2 Sundays a month due to me working shift work; I pretended that I had it all held together and in reality I didn't. My family reminded me that they were there for me and to let my guard down with them. Circle of life. They supported us in our time of need and now I support them with babysitting, meals and emotional support while they littles are little. Hugs to you. Keep your chin up. That speck of light in the end of the tunnel will get bigger quicker than you think if you just take a deep breath and keep on juggling.

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  6. sending you hugs and positive thoughts, it is a tough road your family is heading down, but I know you will make it through ( it is tough, depressions, bipolar, they are all so very tough, my niece has been dealing with depressions and ptsd and it is not easy)

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  7. You are and have always been such a rockstar, Lena!! Your heart is pure gold.
    I don't personally know you and your husband but because I've been around for a few years I feel like I kind of do. From my observations you two are soulmates. I wouldn't have expected anything less from the two of you- you'd have each other's backs. You two have shielded your family and blanketed them with love for years, and now you're doing it again.
    I know there's light. You're light. Those sweet babies are light. It's always nice to know when our light flickers there's love on the other side to help us.

    Thank you.
    I know how it feels to be somewhat emotionally insecure, there were some gray days for me in the past. I was thankful to have the love of my husband, family, friends, and sweet people like you who visited my blog left me kind words, which helped pull me through.
    XOXO

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