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Spouse And Grief Support

Discussion in 'Married Life' started by winterhue, Jan 17, 2020.

  1. winterhue

    winterhue Silver IL'ite

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    I am a working woman, late thirties , settled in the US , mom of 2. Life is the normal grind. Doing well in my career, have friends and kids are no hassle kids.

    Three years back, I lost my mom. It was an unnatural death - my mom killed herself due to depression. While it has been tough to deal with, I had to bounce back to normal pretty soon for the sake of my kids. After my mom's death, I had to come back to US within 4 days, and start a normal routine immediately. I have a pretty dysfunctional family back in India - dad and sis at loggerheads, complicated and tense relationships, so there is pretty much no one whom I can open up about my grief to.
    In the past three years, I have coped with the depression/anxiety/grief surge by myself. I have friends I vent to, but none of them understand the grief, because they haven't gone through it. I tried to go for therapy, but being in the US, it is very difficult to tell them the family dynamics etc. that are very specific to our culture.
    Recently, my husband came and told me"My colleague's wife's father passed away suddenly. He came and asked me if there were any therapists/grief counselors that I would know, because his wife is in depression. She sits by herself in the kitchen and cries etc . He asked me because he thought you may have gone to someone. I told him that you never had those issues".
    I wanted to shake him and tell him that I had those issues too. That I have sat all by myself and cried in dark rooms, I have stood in the middle of a supermarket and bawled , I have gone to three therapists and one psychiatrists - all of them diagnosed me with PTSD and high functioning depression, yet I never followed up. I wanted to tell him that deep down, I still function like a robot and small things trigger me, but I dont tell anyone. But , I didn't tell him anything. I just nodded my head and walked away.
    In the past, whenever I tried to talk about my grief to my husband, he either would change the topic or would say "dont think about it". I feel like an impostor sometimes because people compliment me on "how strong I am and how I have bounced back so quickly" , when I have not. I understand that my husband is not equipped to deal with grief, because it is something you cannot understand unless you go through it. One simply doesn't just "get over it" even after three years. I feel like I have lost all emotional connections with my husband because I have no way to open up to him. Even if I open up, he poohs poohs it or quickly vacates the scene. I dont know how to reconnect with him. Do I just live like this forever?
     
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  2. KashmirFlower

    KashmirFlower IL Hall of Fame

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    Please follow up with doctors and therapists, even though cultural differences are there they will be compassionate and try to help.

    Your Husband may not equipped with tolerance, understanding, kindness etc and if you are depend on him for coping with this grief inside you, you may get only disappointments. He is not even acknowledging that you are in grief, how come he doesn't know what diagnosed with ? He may not want to talk outside, but he can talk with you on it, which he is not doing.

    So take care of yourself with the help of doctor/therapist and post here your heart out..
     
    sindmani and winterhue like this.
  3. mangaii

    mangaii Platinum IL'ite

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    Use this time and open up to your H about your emotions. He might be able to relate to you.
    You can also reach out to his colleague since you might be able to share some emotions with each other.
     
    yellowmango and winterhue like this.
  4. winterhue

    winterhue Silver IL'ite

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    Thanks KashmirFlower. I keep trying to schedule a follow up, but when i get there - i feel there is no way I can put all this history and feelings into words. I end up just trivializing my own issue. I cant seem to find a grip on how to articulate my problem without feeling that its all "silly".
     
  5. winterhue

    winterhue Silver IL'ite

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    Thanks mangali. I dont know the colleague. With the husband, Im lost as to how to open up. Its so easy to open up here in IL. But if i even try to type an email to him, i end up discarding it, because I know he will just say "get over it".
     
  6. DDream

    DDream Finest Post Winner

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    OP,

    No one can heal you except yourself.

    "I have gone to three therapists and one psychiatrists - all of them diagnosed me with PTSD and high functioning depression, yet I never followed up" -Why ? you should do that . you need to help yourself before asking others to help you. That should be the first step. Are you taking any medicine for depression?

    So sorry to hear about your loss and the associate issues. I think its better to continue counselling. IF you can find someone with Indian origin, that will help I believe.

    "I have friends I vent to, but none of them understand the grief, because they haven't gone through it"- it may be the case with your dh too. They dont understand why you are in depression that too after these many years.

    Is it the death of your mom or dysfunctional family bother you ? Accept it as fate, you cannot control it. I think its not advisable to talk about negative things about your family and issues to your dh. It can backfire. What else you want to talk ? About your mom? or your anxiety issues?

    I think, like many other husbands, he may not be able to face the stress of listening to your negative emotions. He may be feeling helpless or dont know how to comfort you. So he is trying to avoid the topic. Its may stressful for you. I am sure that he knows there is a problem and your are struggling , but he dont want to acknowledge in front of others. I am sure , an empathetic look and a hug would have been enough for you, may be he dont know. Just tell him if thats what you want- be a listener.

    In this case you cannot force your husband to listen to you. He many be thinking that you are digging it again or too negative. He believes you only can work on this issue, which he dont want to say it you. That why he is using 'get over it' . I also feel that if you keep on thinking , you will never be able to move on.

    If you want to connect with dh, first get rid of the feeling that he is not proving emotional support on this. Accept that this is his way. Talk normal on other issues/home/kids, especially positives. Try to do other things that connect you as husband and wife. Try to touch and hug /cuddle more. Work on intimacy. Do things together (for example- watching TV/travel etc). Slowly he will start listening to you. Instead of blaming him, talk as if you are helpless and explain the issue. So take a positive step first.

    If you keep on bringing this topic all the time, it will drive him away. First bring him to you, then go for further discussion on this topic . But the best way is to control the urge to talk about sad things again and again. It wont solve the problem. It will keep it alive.

    Do you have any close friends who can listen to you? If not, some one genuine? That will be the best people to open up. Female friends are a blessing in that way, and can fulfill the vacuum that marriage cannot bring emotionally.

    If not,a counselor is the best option (talk as much as you want, you get more clarity) plus any medicines prescribed, if any. You also need to focus on your health (do blood work make sure everything is normal), try to do yoga/meditation/ or anything you like, be busy and divert your attention to other things than the unfortunate situations you faced.

    Also its past, please dont allow it to spoil present (may be thats what your dh thinks too). For solving any problem, first we have to accept the situation, understand the issue well, then think about what we can do to improve.

    Only positive outlook can help you to connect with your dh. Try that way. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
    Caughtinbetween, SCA and winterhue like this.
  7. nolucklife

    nolucklife Senior IL'ite

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    Hello winterhue,
    I can feel the pain you are going through,im in similar boat as you are.Its been a year i lost my dad,recently came back from India after his first year anniversary.I cant describe the pain or dont know how to put my pain in words here.He had a emergency double by pass heart surgery and fought for life for 5 months and passed away.I was there on the day this happened and i was the one who had to take care of all the arrangements until my brother flew down putting up a brave face.We live in US and had to come back with in couple weeks and had to be back to routine with kid and work.Last 13 years after i moved to states my day would start with a call talking to my parents specially with my dad who wouldn't go to bed until i spoke to him.My brother has a troublesome marriage life ans was emotionally not related to me from long time and he is depressed in his own way . I cant cry or share anything with my MOM and break her more.There is no use of sharing anything with spouse though he was there and supported me during the whole process last year.No one can feel the pain or grief until they face it and i pray god should not put any one through the hell im facing now.Ever one in my family says im a STRONG women and handling every thing very well but believe me im dying inside each day with the thoughts.I cant cry when i call to talk to my mom now who is living alone(B/w i still call to my dad's phone which we decided to keep ).My mom doesnt want to come here and live with us as she wants to stay in the home they built together.Today no one asks me if i ate or packed my lunch when going to work.Only thing i console my self is i want to make my DAD proud with the life he gave me.Work hard,be honest and be an example to my kid.There is a lot more i want to share/vent but i dont want to break down at work as im typing or want to hijack your thread.And NO i didnot go to any counselling and i dont think that would help me in any way.Easy to say but keep your self occupied and dont let the pain break you in any way. im sure where ever is your mom today she would be very proud seeing what a wonderful daughter she has brought up.
     
  8. winterhue

    winterhue Silver IL'ite

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    First of all, thanks for the detailed reply. When reading all of your replies -it really feels like I am not alone and that I am surrounded by friends. It somehow has calmed my anxiety today. The doctors did not prescribe any medication to me, except for xanax that they asked me to use when needed. But even there, I felt like I was not being 100% truthful to them. I spoke to them very composed and the therapist also mentioned that " you seem to be able to handle it really well". But inside, I feel like I mess and for some unknown reason, I was not able to tell her that. But you are right, I will keep trying.

    It is a feeling hard to describe. Its like a lulling pain that becomes intense during some moments. I have accepted it, just like the problems with dad and sis. But sometimes there is an intense wave of emotions. I dont want to talk about those with my H, because like you said, it may backfire. And i actually still love my sis and dad. So I dont want my H to hold a grudge against them.

    Before marriage, he was my best friend. We were friends first , before we fell in love . At that time, I had absolutely no qualms about telling him my innermost thoughts. Now, after 14 years, I somehow lost that emotional connect with him. I am not blaming him for being emotionally distant or not providing support. I am just not able to articulate my feelings to him. And I end up feeling guilty that I am not able to emotionally connect with the guy whom I am spending my life with. Like you said, we are absolutely normal otherwise. I have never spoken to him about how i feel about my mom's death. Ive never even told him "I miss my mom" once. I just feel that I never showed any symptoms for depression, so he thinks all is well. I think I want him to ask me "how are YOU?" and maybe I will open up. But I think he has become so used to the fact that I am strong enough, he just doesnt see it that way.

    I do. and I talk to them. But they are all in different parts of the world and somehow I end up just clamming up to them too.
     
  9. winterhue

    winterhue Silver IL'ite

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    nolucklife . Thank you for sharing your story and hugs to you . You are right, pretty much in the same boat. My day used to start with a phone call to my mom and I feel like after she has gone - I dont have a "home" to go back to anymore. When my hubby plans for india vacations, I feel numb - because there is no more excitement to go back . No one waiting for me. My dad is also there in India, but somehow he is so engrossed in his own grief - I feel like not burdening him with mine. Plus, I was not close to him as much as I was with mom. Thanks again for sharing.
     
  10. DDream

    DDream Finest Post Winner

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    " I think I want him to ask me "how are YOU?" and maybe I will open up. But I think he has become so used to the fact that I am strong enough, he just doesnt see it that way."

    Exactly. This is what most of us want. Because we connect that with love and support. But they dont think like us or not worried about ' how are you from our side", I guess.

    I have faced similar issues when I was ill. He never asked me how I am doing. But my friends said, he talk as if he is understood my suffering and very much concerned about me. I asked him why didnt you ask me how I am doing. He said, I know that you are not well, he was worried, but, didnt feel like asking me the same. So I told him, I prefer to be asked. Then he started asking me that way. But I felt it was just to make me happy.

    I have realized later that I suffered in silence, did all household jobs and behaved normal, so he didnt understood the pain I have been through. They are visual I believe. If he get a cold he will become a couch potato,we don't do that.

    Now a days, if I am sick , I will take bed rest if needed. Only then he get the message that I am not well. May their thinking process is different.

    OP, I am sure it will also pass. Everything is transient. Be positive.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
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