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I need help

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WhatsRight posted 10/7/2020 08:55 AM

Yesterday I took my H to the neurologist for a nerve block for his pain. After the procedure he told the doctor his pain was 80% improved.

He was not happy about it. Acted like he couldn’t care less.

This morning he woke up yelling that it had worn off and he wanted pain meds. (Which I have just spent 6 months tapering him off of under a doctor’s care).

I called a nurse who told me she did not think it would “wear off” in 24 hours.

I think he is in dire need of therapy. I’m concerned he is mentally ill.

Can someone give me a fresh perspective???

This is 10 years of this and I think I’m going to be mentally ill if I can’t figure out how to deal with this.

This morning he prayed to die.

He has been a superstar athlete for many years of his life. I worry he is now CHOOSING “crazy” as his identity.

And I’m not saying I’m not crazy too.

[This message edited by WhatsRight at 9:17 AM, October 7th (Wednesday)]

Marriagesucks posted 10/7/2020 10:26 AM

Wow! I read your story and you are simply just amazing! Adopting and taking care of three young children and a husband to boot!

My thoughts... I can't even imagine what it's like to be paralyzed from the armpits down... much less having a lifelong career of taking care of one like that. BUT... I do know what it's like to be in severe pain.

Many years ago I was in the hospital with a kidney stone that was so painful that I was begging the nurse to open the window so I could jump. (She calmly stated that it was only 2 floors to the ground and I would probably only break a leg and be in worse pain.)

I sympathize for the both of you. You...for all of the hard work and pain you have endured. Your husband for the obvious. What is NOT so obvious is the feelings of emasculation he must feel due to his condition... from superstar athlete (your words) to the exact opposite. That's one hell of a challenge in life to be forced to accept.

To answer your question your husband definitely needs some sort of therapy... whether it be via therapist or clergy would be a decision you and your husband would have to make. I can see some benefits form either.

tushnurse posted 10/7/2020 11:18 AM

So the physical addiction is taken care of, butthe mental addiction has not been addressed.

Any chance you could get him to attend NA/AA on line?

He has to want to help himself. You cannot do it for him.

Lionne posted 10/7/2020 11:20 AM

You are a wonderful woman. You know that, and you know you have an army of fans here.

But VERY gently...you have learned to be codependent. Your family dynamics have you as the fixer despite the fact that they won't let you fix them.

I KNOW that we share the idea that family members should help each other as best we can. At some point, that can become toxic. You'll make yourself sick. You can still care and take care of aspects of their lives but boundaries are imperative.

We don't want to lose you. Please find some self care to practice.

And repetition of this helps me...

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

WhatsRight posted 10/7/2020 12:55 PM


Thanks so much for responding. Especially so that I can get a male perspective. I get what you’re saying about him having a “double whammy“ as far as emasculation goes… Once with the accident that paralyzed him, and now with his health issues… Especially no longer competing.

One of my best friends is also a disabled Olympian. When I have talked to her about the situation, she put it this way… “I am a person who happens to be disabled, and who happens to be an excellent athlete… So that’s what I did for a while. Now I’m back to just being a person who once was an athlete. but now I am just me.”

She is also best friends with my husband and she says that she believes that his identity was as the champion athlete, and now that he no longer does/has that… He has no identity and has fallen into a deep depression.

I think she’s probably right. Because for the past 10 years as we have faced all kinds of his health issues… And overcome them, by the way… He has not improved as far as mood/zest for life goes. It is like his competition defined him now he feels like a nobody, and now… An idiot who lost his business. (His words) I have quoted facts to him about how many businesses fail every year, but it doesn’t seem to matter.

I agree that he needs therapy. He hates therapy and always has. When things of which we do not speak about on this forum happened in the past, he would agree to go to see a therapist at my suggestion, but only if I made the appointment and he was more or less just going through the motions.

About a year ago while he was still on mega narcotics, our PCP suggested a counselor for us to go to. He was a really nice guy - we thought a guy would be good for my H - but for some reason he and my H always wanted me in on the therapy sessions, and it became marriage counseling rather than therapy for my husband. Also, the man spoke a bit like he was teaching an honors masters class in psychology. Lots of times my husband would ask me after we left what he was talking about. Not to say my husband isn’t smart, he is just more down to earth…street, country smart. 🙂

Now, whenever I feel he should go to the hospital, he says he will refuse when they come… The paramedics.

Equally, he has told me he will refuse to see a therapist.

When I ask him what his suggestion is, He has said, “just don’t do anything and maybe it will get better”. 😞

tush...He says he wants to get better. This was the week. His new wheelchair is coming… State of the arts. One that will give him much greater independence. Yesterday was the nerve block that is supposed to last six months. And for the record, I don’t believe that it didn’t last. I think it’s an emotional response. Because after he quit yelling about it for a couple of hours, he went to sleep and is sleeping like a baby.

But I’ve never suggested NA. i’m pretty sure he feels like he is not an addict because he was only taking drugs that the doctor gave him.

Lionne... thanks for the prayer. I say it about 50 times a day. That and about 50 Hail Marys - and I’m not even Catholic) I have a spiral ring that I wear on my thumb that has the serenity prayer engraved on it.

I think… At least I hope I was less involved in “doing the work“ for him when he was physically able. For 20 to 25 of the years that we have been married, he has been practically independent. Traveled all over the world to compete alone, owned his business, drove to and from work, etc. Coached a wheelchair rugby team.

Then a shady character “bought” his business and it was a scam. His business was worth millions of dollars. We got a judgment in court against the guy, but there is no finding him, and if we do… He won’t have any money. So I believe that has been maybe another emasculating thing in his life.

The thing is,I have to matter too. What is the feminine word for emasculation?

I know that he hast to want it, and that I can’t do it all for him, but I believe he is in a deep dark hole and I believe if I do not try to help him get out of it, no one will…especially him... And he will never heal.

I guess I’m just venting a bit, but also trying to figure out who would be a good counselor for him, is it possible to see them or to do it virtually, Can I afford it, and would he even go?

This has hit me especially hard because in my mind… This week was “the promised land!“ And to have this setback has just been debilitating.

[This message edited by WhatsRight at 1:00 PM, October 7th (Wednesday)]

BearlyBreathing posted 10/7/2020 14:46 PM

WR—. Is it possible he is actually scared of this next chapter with the new wheelchair? And the pain and the grumpiness is just resistance and stalling? He’s afraid of more things not working out the way he wants, adding to his feeling of inadequacy?

I have no advise on how to get him to see an IC, but I agree that IF he would be open it might be helpful. Maybe he’ll be open to a convo with you? And that might open the door to IC?

(((WR))) as Lionne said, you have an army of fans here, and we all want to be sure you are taking care of you.

Adlham posted 10/7/2020 15:12 PM

When I finally weaned off of pain meds after being on them for 7 years non-stop, I was not at all prepared for the deep depression that followed.

You see, they didn't just numb my physical pain. They made it so that I also was numb to a lot of issues that affected my mental health.

I think it took a good 6 months to feel normal again. And counselling. Having someone to talk it through with was very helpful.

Unfortunately, he has to want it. I don't have any answers on how to make that happen.

Sending you much love.

WhatsRight posted 10/7/2020 15:13 PM

Y’all are so very kind to me! ❤️

Thanks for the suggestion, there is NOTHING he hates more than a conversation with me. And yet, when I tell him I am not qualified to take care of him, he cries and says he wants me to care for him...not because he cares for me, but because I know how to care for him. (His words)

He has actually told me before that he wanted a divorce, and when I inquired later about no follow through, he said he really didn’t want a divorce, he was just wanting me to shut up.

I wonder...

1) is he mentally ill?

2) does he want me to want him again?

3) is he just being an infant, getting me to do everything for him?

4) is he unreachable?

5) is he just seeing how much ill take?

6) or does he just not give a shit about anything any more?

The last one would be my bet.

If so, I’m right where I am now. No money for a facility. No money for someone to come in to take care of him.

He wins.

WhatsRight posted 10/7/2020 15:17 PM

Barely breathing, I failed to address your point about him maybe being scared about this next “chapter” in his life.

I do think it is entirely possible. And when he is fearful of something, he becomes emotionally paralyzed. I have no idea if his physical paralysis can “cause“ him to feel emotionally paralyzed. But that’s what it seems like many times.


Soooooo happy you found a “way out”!

And thanks for the kind words...all of you.

NeverTwice posted 10/7/2020 15:24 PM


I am speaking from the perspective of someone whose father was an alcoholic and whose sister died from hepatitis A and C (dirty needle) shooting up cocaine.

He is an addict. Your addict. Until he has to suffer, badly, because of his addiction? Then he will be ready to seek sobriety. And I will highly recommend either Al Anon and/or Narc Anon to help you find your way through this mess.

I know this is hard to hear. But he is just an addict doing what addicts do. Only now? Prescription pain meds are damn hard to get hold of - legally.

I wish you the very best. And let me know if you ever need to talk. I will be happy to just listen (read) if that will help.


[This message edited by NeverTwice at 3:25 PM, October 7th (Wednesday)]

number4 posted 10/7/2020 15:38 PM

I wonder...

1) is he mentally ill?

6) or does he just not give a shit about anything any more?

I'm not sure what you mean when you ask if he's mentally ill? But I do think he is clinically depressed. You are not qualified to facilitate this kind of recovery. He has to want it himself, unfortunately. Adults are allowed to make choices, even ones that are destructive. But I think in the meantime, you need some help to figure out how you can detach so you don't feel so responsible for his emotional well-being. It doesn't mean you abandon him... but you set some boundaries. On another thread you asked about books on anger, and Harriet Lerner came up as the author of The Dance of Anger. I would also highly recommend for you, her book, The Dance of Intimacy. Your situation is unique, with his medical disabilities, but I think you could gain some wisdom from Lerner's books.

Chili posted 10/7/2020 16:42 PM

Hey WR:

Just wanted to chime in as someone who does not have any clinical experience with depression or addiction, but I have a couple of ideas of things.

First - for you. I totally get you are his caregiver and you feel like you are responsible for him. You have been and I know you will be. But you cannot climb into his head and do that work for him. He is responsible for his own happy. And if he attaches all of his happiness to how you make him feel, then that is something that can and should be changed. It's colossally unfair.

Likewise - his misery is not yours to own. You are allowed to laugh, feel joy, skip and frolic and sing silly songs even if he's sitting right in front of you grumbling like he just sucked on a lemon.

You do not need to wake up every day and figure out how your day is going to be based on his mood.

Ideas for him: On a personal level, I really really get when life or age or divorce or death or something else can change your identity in a heartbeat. I'm sure it's hard for him feeling like he was a something and now he's not. But you know what, physical challenges or not - we all deal with this as we get older and as we go through hardships. I've hit lots of walls in my life and none of them gave me a lifelong green light to be an asshole.

He needs a new title in his head. Maybe he needs something that feels like it's useful with a purpose?

What happened to the rugby coaching thing? Why isn't he a mentor to upcoming athletes? He would be fabulous at that. Really - there are no other people who get it like being around others who have been where you are.

As for the likeminded thing - I know for a fact that there are therapists who happen to be disabled too. There are also specialized group meetings. Groups are such a great place to vent, rage, get out those emotions with others who just get it (hello SI). Why couldn't he use his fame and panache to start one himself? That could be pretty cool to do online.

I have two close friends who are therapists and they are really encouraged with the services that are now available and approved for insurance via TeleHealth and Zoom and even phone calls. Opens up a whole new world. Perhaps one good thing to come out of these days.

Universities are also great places to find help - and again - these days you're not limited to something local. He could find a place that specializes in things he'd like to address.

But as everyone says - he has to want it. If he needs help with the logistics - let him ask you for it with a clear idea that these are things he wants.

And if he wants to be miserable and grumpy the rest of his life, then that is his choice. I just hope you won't let him take your spirit down with him.

Adlham posted 10/7/2020 17:50 PM

I'm going to respectfully argue that your husband was dependent but addiction is a different beast.

He legitimately has pain. I just have neuropathy and 4 back surgeries. His condition is a lot worse than mine but I can tell you from personal experience that nerve damage does not mean you no longer feel pain. Often, there is some pretty debilitating pain. Mine comes and goes.

Was I dependent on opiates? Absolutely

But I'm also dependent on blood pressure medications, my mood stabilizers, & my neurontin.

I'm at a point where ibuprofen, Tylenol, & neurontin keep me at an acceptable level of pain, most of the time.

I'm not sure treating your husband like an addict would be all that beneficial. He needs a pain specialist who specializes in non narcotic relief. There's biofeedback, which I hear can be helpful. My local hospital does a course e few times a year about pain management. There is also a psychiatrist here who specializes in pain management. That might be worth looking into.

I think he needs that a whole lot more than addiction type help.

zebra25 posted 10/7/2020 17:54 PM

Another one of your many fans here. You've gotten a lot of helpful responses.

Is he clinically depressed? If he is he is not choosing to be miserable or negative or sad. He also can't will himself to get better or to want to get better.

I had clinical depression. I was so depressed that I could not work. I could barely get up and take care of my basic needs. I was in so much pain I prayed every day to die. I felt I was a burden to everyone a d that my family would be better off without me. I did not want to feel that way. Even with treatment, most of which did not work (20% of people with depression have treatment resistant depression) I still felt exhausted, uninterested in life and despair. This is not a choice. It is an illness.

I also cared for someone in a wheel chair for 15 years. I can only imagine how exhausted and mentally drained you must feel.

My heart goes out to both of you.

PricklePatch posted 10/7/2020 22:48 PM


Depression in its self is a mental illness. I have great empathy for you, as a wife, mother and caregiver. Tush suggested I get some support for myself, it has helped immensely.

Also there are online Alanon meetings. Pain meds can be an addiction. I think it’s probable your husbands block worked but he wanted to check out for awhile. I have at times early 1990’s, taken my aniexty med when life was to much when I wasn’t truly anxious. I haven’t done that since that time.

It’s hard, as your husband needs a reason to go on. I don’t think he is capable of seeing it right now. Not saying it’s a fix but a blessings book might be a good place to start. The blessing can be today I am breathing. Many, HUGS PP

Jeaniegirl posted 10/8/2020 00:51 AM

((((( Whatsright ))))))

I am so sorry you and your H are going through this. Have you suggested to the doctors that perhaps in-house therapy at a place that could handle his disability -- might help? Even for a couple of weeks? Maybe being away from you, where he would be more independent, would help him?

I know you are so worried and it seems like such a huge problem for you to deal with, without professional help.

Hang in there.

The1stWife posted 10/8/2020 04:54 AM

The drugs he was on could have had a deep impact on his brain Or brain function and it may take time to get better.

Also his business loss is affecting him more than anything. He feels like a failure.

He needs professional help. As do you. You cannot fix him but you can learn to adjust or change your responses to him. And that may help you tremendously.

I’m sorry for both of you. But he can live a satisfying life. It he has to make that decision and make it happen.

Gottagetthrough posted 10/8/2020 05:30 AM

WhatsRight- I see a lot of similarities in our stories. Trying to get a partner mental health help when they don’t want it. I can feel your desperation, and I have been there.

I’m not sure that I can give you any advice. Only that your Wh has to want help. There is nothing you can do to make him accept it, even if you get the best therapist, etc.

Yes, therapists do online therapy these days.

They have sliding scales if you can’t afford or insurance doesn’t pay for therapy. Not every therapist, but some. There are also other ways to get therapy (I used to take my DD to a therapist in training I think... it was years ago so I don’t quite remember- but she was young and starting out and was free or very low cost I believe. Google free therapy.

Don’t lose yourself in trying to help your Wh get mental health help. I went to Al- anon and they helped me realize my condependancy and that I couldn’t help my Wh if he didn’t want help.

My thoughts are with you, this is a tough situation . Please be kind to yourself and take care of you.

[This message edited by Gottagetthrough at 5:33 AM, October 8th (Thursday)]

WhatsRight posted 10/8/2020 10:32 AM

I am so overwhelmed by the time taken here to support me. You will never know how much I appreciate it and how much it means to me!

Since yesterday morning he has not complained of pain. He’s just been in the bed either asleep or watching TV. I tell him things from time to time like, “I can’t make you want to take advantage of your life, for me, for your children, for your grandkids…that’s going to be up to you.“ He just tells me that he wants to be left alone for a while and maybe he’ll get better.

For right now, that is what I am doing, because I can feel myself getting into a bad place… Feeling way too overwhelmed and way too hopeless.

I’m going to read and reread all of your responses again and again over the next few days. They all have so many things to offer.

Thank you so very much for your support. ❤️

Jeaniegirl posted 10/8/2020 11:49 AM

Whatsright, you are, without a doubt, one of the nicest people on SI. You work hard to meet all the challenges you have with your H's health, your son's issues and worrying about your grandchildren.

But WHO looks after YOU?

You are a FIXER. I recognize that because I too am a FIXER for my family. The first thing I decided to do for myself, a couple of years ago, was to occasionally put myself first. That is hard for a FIXER to do - but you have to do it. The way I see it, YOU need a break even if it's just for a few days. Have you thought about having a care-giver come in for 3-4 days and you just GO AWAY to a hotel and rest, have room service and read and sleep?

Sometimes to help those we love the most, we have to walk away and see if they can gain some independence, even if it's just minor. A FIXER has to take a break occasionally to replenish our health and our souls -- and come back with a new resolve to help those we love and who depend on us.

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