Question: I am 52 years old, my husband is 47. He has degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and carpel tunnel syndrome. He is on oxycodone, gabepentin, and flexaril. When he goes to the doctor he doesn't tell him that all he does is eat, sleep, and shower. I tell him that he isn't helping himself by lying to the doctor. I am really frustrated as he doesn't want to help himself. He has tried prozac and cymbalta and decided they weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing after about a month. He doesn't understand that when he tries to do something like lifting heavy things, etc. he is going to hurt.
I have put on about 40 pounds because I am depressed. He tells me I hurt him when we have sex. I am getting to the point that I really don't care if we have sex. Yes, I am in menopause. I feel totally lost. I have no motivation. But I know I have to take care of everything because I no longer have a partner that can or will help. He doesn't go anywhere with me. I work part time. I take care of his four year old granddaughter because otherwise he wouldn't see her. If I mention that I don't want to watch her on a certain day he says it’s because she isn't my blood. He doesn't seem to realize that I need a day off now and then. I tell him but I just can't get through to him. Is there someplace I could go to talk to someone? I don't have health insurance. I feel so lonely.
Dr Amy: You and your husband are having a really difficult time of it, and it's important that you get help. Since you do not health insurance, I recommend that you contact your county mental health department so that you get help with your depression. They may also be able to help your husband understand that it takes time for drugs for depression to take effect. Sometimes one has to work with a doctor and try several different drugs before finding one that works.
In addition to counselling and possibly some new medication, talking with people who are going through similar situations can make you feel less alone. I think you might find the support of other people helpful, and I recommend a caregiver support group. Feeling lost and alone is common among caregivers, but I want to assure you that you are definitely not alone! I encourage you to look for a caregiver support group in your community. A starting point would be to do an Internet search. There are also online support groups and chat rooms for caregivers. These tend to be disease-specific. You might like to check out the Arthritis Association website, for example, which has a section on connecting with others: http://www.arthritis.org/caregiver-general-connect.php. Even though your husband isn't older, you may want to call the Area Office on Aging to ask about support groups.
I really want to encourage you to seek both mental health help and ongoing support. I know this situation feels extremely difficult right now, but there is help available and you deserve to have more peace of mind and happiness.
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