Friday, January 18, 2008

That guy back again

DH came home from an emergency meeting with his therapist and told me that his therapist thinks that the memory problems and the depression problems he's been having lately are all due to the fact that he hasn't been taking his medications like he should. (!) This was not something I was aware of until this point, and could possibly be at least part of the problem....The therapist thinks I should be in charge of the meds, but DH seems to be resisting that idea, so I'm not sure if it will work or not.

DH also had an appointment with his mental health nurse and he couldn't wake up for it. So he has a call in to her to set up another emergency appointment, and I guess I'll have to just make sure he wakes up.

Things have been frantic, as usual, around our house, Jim is still there, but he's so addicted to the Sims game, that most of the time, I don't even notice any more. He does bring in firewood, though, and he does anything I request of him.....

And despite all the hugely bad news about the economy, I've been finding some bargains at the grocery store, so we aren't hurting as much as we could be. The grocery store even had candy bars on sale for .30 each, so I splurged, and got 2 for DH, 2 for Jim, and 2 for me. I put mine in the freezer, since I tend to savor my candy, and in the process, I found a candy bar that I must've stashed in there several months ago, too. I know it's been a while, since I don't usually spend money on my own candy, and it was one of my favorites. So I had three candy bars and
that was fun. I specifically told DH that those were for me.

Anyhow, the next night, I knew DH was depressed. DD wanted me to talk to him about the possibility of her having a friend over, and I told her that "Dad is having a bad day, and it might be better to talk to him tomorrow." She did try to argue with him briefly about something unrelated, got snapped at, and told me "I guess you're right" and went to bed. I decided I was going to indulge in a candy bar. But when I opened up the fridge, of course, all three of them were gone. Part of me wasn't surprised, but part of me couldn't believe it.

"YOU ATE MY CANDY BARS!" I said, in a tone that hopefully implied that I was half laughing and half not all that happy...."No, it was Jim!!!" he said, kind of laughing back. I said "Jim wouldn't touch them, because they were mine!" So he said, "It must've been Frosty then!"
And I said, "Well, Frosty didn't even leave me a single one!!! Three candy bars and they're all gone!!!" I really wasn't all that mad, just enough where I wanted him to know that I noticed, and that I hadn't intended them for him....and at that point, he stopped speaking to me, and even when I told him jokingly (I hope) "I still love you, even though you ate my candy bars", he wouldn't answer me. I figured he was mad at me for making such a "big deal" over the candy bars and I regretted even saying anything at all, after all, I knew he was in a bad mood....

Anyhow, that was last night. This morning before work, I was talking with Jim about something unrelated, and I said something about DH being very depressed lately, and how worried I am about him. Jim looked kind of surprised, and kind of gave me a "what do you mean?" look.
So I said, "I know I shouldn't have said that about those candy bars last night, I knew he was already down, and I should've kept my mouth shut, because I made it worse." He said, "what do you mean?" and I said, "Well, you noticed he didn't speak to me at all last night?" "Yeah, I noticed that..." "Well, I think I caused that by bringing up the candy bars. And it made him even more depressed."

He gave me this "you've gotta be kidding" look, and said this: "Well, I've got some thoughts about those candy bars....when someone is working as much as you, supporting him (and me too), and wants to have a couple of thirty-cent candy bars, well, I've got some thoughts on that, and I'm going to keep them to myself."

This is the closest I have ever heard of Jim coming out and saying he doesn't approve of DH's behavior(s). And I don't know what was going on with me, hearing someone say that, acknowledging that I work hard for relatively few indulgences, well, I broke down and started to cry. I had to go into the other room so that Jim wouldn't notice. I hope he didn't, anyhow.

It's not my goal in any way to have Jim take "my side" over DH. So I don't want you to think that. I've been trying to put words to the feeling ever since this happened and so far I haven't done very well. I think I just felt good to know that somebody notices that I do these things....maybe??? If I come up with something better than that, I'll add another post.


Iris said...

Before you even got to the part about Jim recognizing your feelings, I knew that you really needed someone to. You are in a really tough situation. You are the only caretakers in a house full of people who need a lot of care. I know that you know that it isn't their fault. But the fact is you still need to have someone, anyone, acknowledge you.

I am bipolar and my brother was as well, before his death 6 years ago. After I lost my brother, I went into one of the worst depressions I've ever had. My husband (at that time my live-in boyfriend) did everything for six months. And then one day he sat me down and said that although he understood what was happening to me and that I had little or nothing to give, he had needs, too, and regardless of whether those needs were more pressing, they were still there and he was suffering. This made all the difference for me. I turned a corner in how I managed my own disease and found a way to care for him, if only in little ways, even in the absolute worst of times. He deserved that, and you do, too. It was extremely helpful for me, too, because it pushed me to find a way to care during depressions, in addition to staying functional during them.

Your husband may not be at the level of understanding that I was at that time. It sounds like this just hit a few years ago, and that he may very well not yet be able to make that kind of change. (Sadly, some people will never be able to change, but it doesn't sound like you are at that point, either.) I am not suggesting that you try to convince him to see to your needs at this point in time. He may not be able to. But do try to recognize them yourself, and to make relationships with people who do. You have needs - for love, for things of your own - and they aren't going to go anywhere. You need to be easy on yourself, have a good cry, and acknowledge that you are missing something - hopefully find some way to find it.

If we knew each other I would send you a case of candy bars, and a fridge with a combination lock! You will just have to accept virtual candy for now. Oh, and as for candy - next time don't tell him - just secretly squirrel some away in the back of the freezer. It's alright.

Iris said...


After commenting I went back and read most of your blog, and it really affected me. It was like re-living a lot of what happened with my brother. People experience bipolar very differently. I am highly functional, and have very mild "up" phases - they mostly result in not needing a lot of sleep and getting overly irritable. Thank god, I have never gone on a spending spree or done any of the insane (literally, I guess) stuff that my brother did. I'm on meds and I'm happy to stay on them for the rest of my life. I started having depressions a long time ago - possibly more than 20 years ago - and they got gradually worse over time, as did my ups. I had a long time to figure out what was going on with me and to figure out coping strategies before things got too bad. I am also lucky not to have had a lot of the more severe symptoms my brother had.

DH much more resembles my brother (please don't think that means that he won't make it or that he has no chance of getting better - it doesn't). My brother was completely normal, thrifty, and not a drug user, until he was about 25. And then everything happened at once. It would take another blog to describe it all to you, but having read yours, I know you are familiar with the symptoms I am talking about. A person in this state will do things they would never condone in their former life, and just when you think the worst has happened they do something even more unimaginable.

I think that if we e-mailed I could be of some help to you, just because having a brother, rather than a husband, I have a little more distance from the relationship. I am struggling not to give you advice. I know that every caregiver has to take her own path and make her own decisions, and that bipolar varies widely from one person to another. If you don't want to hear my thoughts, I am happy just to read you, root for you, and offer the occasional comment of support. But it seems to me that you could use a friend, and I think after all this time it would not be so bad for me to process my feelings on what happened in my situation, either. If you want to get in touch, you can find me at IrisMoonbeam AT gmail DOT com. (And no, my name isn't that wacky - it's just an old joke, so I use it on the internet.) If you don't want to, I will not be offended in any way, so don't worry.