What do you do when You change?
I’m part of a V relationship. My husband and I were married (and casually poly) several years before his girlfriend became part of our household (she was a roommate first, it just kinda happened) over a year ago. It was alright at the time, and really everyone has been very supportive of one another. We didn’t really start things ‘right’ – there were no real discussions about the relationships or any sort of loose poly agreement/understanding, because very quickly, I started having a lot of health problems that took over our attentions.
Since then, there has been a lot that has happened to me. I was diagnosed with a chronic illness after years of being sick all the time and not knowing why. I spent weeks in the hospital and almost lost a limb – I’m not really entirely out of the danger zone on that one, but it’s looking good against all the odds. I had to go on medical disability, and deal with unpredictable fatigue and pain.
During this, I had a couple friends have big crisis they needed my support/ear – custody battles involving a rapist father that left five damaged and some suicidal children, and a messy breakup that had a young mom and her baby staying with us awhile. Throughout my life, but especially that year, I’ve had depression issues – I was put on several different antidepressants until I was either high as a kite, or cranky and withdrawn, and occasionally having panic attacks. I started seeing a therapist several months ago, a very smart, straightforward lady who’s been very helpful, and a psychiatrist in the same clinic. I was diagnosed bipolar, and finally got on the right sort of medications.
I became pregnant at the beginning of this year, after thinking that wouldn’t be possible, and then had a miscarriage a couple weeks after finding out. Now I’m having trouble breathing again, which could be another bout of pneumonia, or a blood clot, either of which is likely given my history (don’t worry, already went to doctor, awaiting test results). I have no idea what tomorrow might bring, and my life feels boiled down to a handful of pills I take morning and evening.
My marriage is strong, and I feel lucky to have such a good husband who has stood by me through all of this. He’s been able to support me emotionally and financially – its good not to have to worry so much about me losing my income, though I hate not contributing right now.
His girlfriend came into the relationship rather suddenly – she had needed a place to stay, and they happened to click, and at the time I thought I was fine with it. Things moved VERY quickly since she was already living with us, and at one point in the year we were all talking about doing something to make our family ‘official’ – when I wasn’t really ready for that, but I thought I was.
I don’t have a whole lot in common with his girlfriend, and we’ve had communication issues. When things kinda got quieter (health-wise) around December, we did finally bring out all the rocky issues we’d been having, and started going to a group councilor. I think there’s a good chance that with the counseling things can work out, but…
I’m not sure I want it to. I’m a terrible person. During the pregnancy, we moved from the usual every-other-night plan for where husband sleeps, to having him be with me for two nights, then with her for one. This was really decent of her. We’ve kept it since then, and I really don’t feel remotely ready to go back to sharing fully. To be honest, I really don’t want to share anymore.
I still believe in the poly philosophy. I feel bad about this… but I also feel just too overwhelmed. I don’t have more than a friendship with her. I feel like all I’m doing is losing time with my husband, when I really need him right now. I hate even thinking it – but right now, this poly relationship just feels like an added stress. I don’t think either of them really seem to grasp how out of sorts I am, though I’ve tried to say it.
It’s not jealousy or envy I feel. But being with him keeps my depression at bay… I don’t mean I’m clinging to him constantly, or can’t handle him and her doing things without me. I’m normally not very sentimental and like having time to myself – I used to like having nights alone.
But I suddenly need the sort of time that we used to have when it was the two of us. On the nights without him I end up crying – not because he isn’t there, but because I feel so horrible. I know I should be stronger than this. I’m working on ways to keep myself busy and have my own life as always – hobbies, walks, writing, and so on.
I feel alone, and I feel bad that his girlfriend, though she is supportive and everything, just isn’t who I want or need right now. My husband wants me to know they are both there for me, but I just want my husband.
I wish she didn’t live with us. It would make things easier to slow everything down or put it on pause. Now it seems like anything I do would cause a dramatic shift and hurt good people.
It feels like a bad play, based on bad timing. Had we met her some other year, this may have played out more naturally. But as it is... I don't know what to do.
Change, as you probably know, is normal. I can't give much advice on the relationship "what to do" except keep trying to communicate.
What I can tell you is that sometimes meds stop working. With your unlisted myriad of health problems and the multitude of meds that I'm sure you have probably taken, you might want to check to make sure your mood meds are still working the way they are supposed to be. Even just after time, your system can start getting immune to them.
I wish you the best of luck and hope the others will have some better advice for the rest of your questions.
Feeling you, Merry. Be brave.
You sound very conflicted, almost as if you wish you didn't feel this way. Also the depression seems to still be a big issue. I can't say what is the right path for your relationships, the depression complicates.
Your feelings are real, but because of the way the illness affects so much of life, it's generally not a good idea to make major relationship adjustments until its under control. (Like getting married, moving in, or breaking up) The effect your husband has on your symptoms is wonderful, but he can not "fix" your depression. You probably already know that...
If it were me, I would primarily focus on addressing the depression issue first. I wouldn't trust the sudden change in needs and behavior to make such a big decision that would so strongly affect others lives. How can you know how much of it is about the relationship and how much is about easing the depression? I would also reach out for other forms of support if possible.
All this stuff is easy to say - not so easy to do when living in pain. Whatever you decide, don't feel guilty or regretful. As long as you do your best there is nothing more anyone can ask of you (even yourself!).
Awww Merry... I can understand where you are at! I'm new to this forum and have very little experience in these types of relationships, personally. But I have had experience counseling. I would love to give you a big hug but what I can give you is this:
First, you ARE NOT A HORRIBLE PERSON!!
Secondly, I would like to ask if you've shared these conflicting emotions with your husband?
Third, from first hand experience and research it is fact that emotions have a direct affect on health!! Be it physical or emotional. I very much believe the conflicting emotions in you is being released physically... I might even venture to say the conflicting emotions have probably been present for a long time.
If your husband and "room mate" truely care for you and want what is best, then arrangements for change need to be made. They are happy and healthy while you are suffering? There is something wrong with this picture. This evidently is not a relationship based on "for the good of all". But you have to be honest with your husband about how you feel in order for change to happen.
My advice is this:
ONE: IT'S TIME TO JUST TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!! All those other people and thier problems are not yours. I know that sounds cold. I have been there, always helping others, I've learned that my compassion and other peoples unhealthy choices, problems & lifestyles have been "toxic" to me and I have had to learn about boundaries. Those people will be fine, more than likely if you put it to the test they will move on quickly and find others to "help" them. If you are not healthy, physically and emotionally, (seriously consider this) how can you possibly be very helpful to others.
TWO: if none of you are aware that emotions affect health, then find the evidence (articles etc), go to your husband and tell him how you feel. Before this, make sure you've looked deep within yourself and are honest with yourself about all of this so that you can get it all out in the open at one time. It sounds to me as if he loves you very much and would make you his priority. Perhaps not completely severing his relationship with her, or doing so for a set amount of time. This will give you time to "breathe", for both you and your husband to be "one". Then when you are healthy AND willing, she can be slowly integrated back into your lives.
THREE: Do not start by concerning yourself if your meds are working properly. Yes keep taking them and keep appointments, etc. Work on changing your circumstance first. Then go to the med adjustment. While I understand some of us NEED meds, much of our enviroment can exasberbate (is that right spelling? lol) the disease and really, then we are only making problems on top of problems and putting a "bandaide" on it with the meds and NO REAL CHANGE CAN OCCUR!!
I might seem bold and over stepping my boundary here but it's time for you Merry and it sounds to me that it's time others in your life need to give.
I hope and pray for you dear!
It sounds like life has really thrown you some curve balls and it seems like a tremendous challenge to cope with it all.
My mom is bipolar so I understand what a difficult disorder it is to live with. I also know that the medications for it are very hard to nail, and as was mentioned, prescription and dosage changes can make a big difference. For my mom, when she has a manic episode (which, for her, last weeks and occur about every 18 months), she need extra seroquil to help her sleep. For a while, her doctor tried taking her of Lithium because of its toxicity and because it caused her tremors, but no other medications currently available were able to adequately treat her symptoms so now she's back on it, but on a lower dose than she used to be.
How are you sleeping? Your disorder can really affect that, and sleep is a vital component in our abilities to deal with the things life throws at us.
One thing that concerns me is that you seem dependent on your husband. I understand how it can be much easier to cope when you have someone to lean on, but it can be very draining for that person. I'm speaking here as the child and primary support of a severely bipolar person. My other concern is that this can hinder your own ability to cope with the disorder.
For their part, it would be helpful for your husband and his girlfriend to hear what you've told us. The way you worded it sounds very reasonable and personal. It doesn't sound at all like an attack on them or anything, and that's awesome of you! There's no way to guarantee that they'll make any changes to the living arrangements, but at least if they know how your feeling, they can help support you better.
Another thing that really helped my mom was joining a bipolar support group. It's a disorder that's more common than a lot of people realize, and you might find a lot of help and support with other people who understand what you're going through.
You are in an awful place right now but at least you are not alone ! You have 2 people who are doing everything (it sounds) in their power to support you. Some are not as fortunate.
Would it be ok to ask..........how old are you ?
Have you always been prone to health problems - even if of a more minor nature ?
Hang in there girl. People really do care.
May have more to offer later.
No health issues in childhood. When I turned 20, I had a blood clot in my leg (DVT) and lung (pulminary embolism) and was diagnosed as being hyper-coagulative. That was the first big thing. But after getting on medication for it, things were quiet for a few years. I had dizziness and general malaise, which meant sick days and lateness at work so I lost a couple jobs - I really wasn't sure if there was really anything wrong or if it was depression (they were sucky jobs), and a neurologist found no reason for the dizziness.
In 2008 I got a really good job with amazing bosses who were understanding while I was trying to figure out what was wrong. It wasn't until I developed arthritis and was sent to a rheumatologist that Lupus was eventually diagnosed. Things got worse that year, with increased blood clotting that's been trying to kill off my right leg, rather crippling fatigue, joint pain. I wa already working part time with partial medical disability coverage, and then went on disability full time at the end of the year.
I haven't had any further flares so far this year, so I'm hoping things will get better. Still waiting for the darn test results on my breathing issues, but I don't think it's anything serious.
Yea - I agree that you need to focus totally right now on getting your (natural) health back !
From your writing I'm going to guess that starting you on meds played a big factor in contributing to your physical and emotional slide and it's only been made worse by feeding you a variety of toxic concoctions. But now that you are there, it's going to be a bit of a project to get OFF meds and get to a state of natural health. Can't be done overnight. Dangerous at this point.
This is a huge concern worldwide right now - especially in the psychological field. Over prescribing of meds without sufficient long term effects testing. Long story that doesn't belong here.
So - focus on being healthy. This is very much an individual quest. Although others can play some supporting role, the bulk of the work is on ourselves. Be aware that right now your poor brain is likely a toxic soup and it's hard to keep focused on reality and priorities. Priority is your health !
Keep on keeping on :)
As for psychiatric medications, I know they do help me - we're just trying to find the right balance. I've got a good psychiatrist who's very precise. The real challenge for her is to find something weight-neutral that doesn't interact with the meds that are important for me to take for, well, life to continue. It just takes time, and when you're feeling either flatlined or in agony, it's really hard to be patient.
It's a debate as to whether medications get over-prescribed, or whether we're just begining to understand a lot of psychiatric conditions, and that knowledge takes time to be spread to every practitioner. We can say there has been a remarkable increase in Autism, or we can realize that our methods of recognizing and diagnosing those patients has gotten better over the past couple decades. It's a science, not a static thing, but a developing and constantly learning one.
Just over the past couple years, a calcium brain scan has been developed that can actually show the existence of disorders on the Autism to Schizophrenic spectrum (Asperger's, ADD, Bipolar..). It can actually show the damage done by a bipolar manic episode. It's the first really conclusion test that proves these are real, physical conditions requiring medical attention (which means we can take those to insurance companies as say, "See? So pay up, motherfuckers!") But it is a very new scan, so it will take years before it's available for mainstream doctors to use.
I'm very into Neurology and Neuropsychiastry. :) Which proves that even with exact knowledge of why you feel fucked up on a scientific basis doesn't make you feel less fucked up.
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