Hello all caregivers out there. Today I went to my second only therapy session in my fifty years of life on Earth. My first therapy visit was only a year/year and a half ago and was not successful, so I was reluctant to try another.
But I lucked out. The therapist knew I could only afford one visit because I don’t have insurance. She prepared thoroughly and thoughtfully beforehand and our time was well-spent.
I never put myself first, which is common with people who have caregiver tendencies. For the past year, I have been looking after both my elderly relative who I live with as well as my schizoaffective husband. It has been too much and I have been having a very hard time with it.
I have read the forum for years before I joined and have been convinced that I had to do everything I could for my husband because if he were sick from some other kind of illness, I wouldn’t dump him or let him be homeless, right? The therapist helped me see that mental illness is not in the same category as other illnesses. My husband could have treatment if he wanted or was able to realize he was sick. He could stop drinking or doing street drugs if he allowed himself to get some help other than from me. He has been dragging me down by refusing to get help and has caused me to have PTSD from verbal abuse for years, now. I don’t deserve to live this way.
Although I have heard it from others, talking with her today made me realize that I need to have the conversation with him soon that I will have to let him go until he gets help. That help could be therapy or simply going to the State office and receiving help for shelter or it could be hospitalization. I am generally opposed to psych medications (and so is he), but my husband is in need of some serious help, and if that means medications that will make him slower, so be it. I cannot live with what he’s been putting me through. He is an adult and is able to make decisions on his own. If he chooses to continue to make my life miserable and continue to make me unhealthy, we will have to separate until he changes.
The therapist advised me to take this process slowly, which I also agree is the best for both of us. Even though it sounds heartless, separating from him will allow him to concentrate on himself and I will be able to start recovering from his abuse. I will probably be buying him a plane ticket back to CA once I have my next paycheck.
I don’t mean to discourage any caregivers. There are situations where your loved ones are minors or are actively seeking help and are looking to feel better and be a part of society, and those are the people who should be fully supported. My husband is not one of those. He has taken advantage of my kindness from the beginning of our relationship and I have been too weak to set boundaries. Maybe some of you can relate.
I feel good but I am also sad.
Of course, this is something that happened a few hours ago and I need to digest the information. I was encouraged by the therapy, not having anyone to talk with in my day-to-day life, and wanted to share it with all of you.