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I am 52 years old, my husband is 47. He has degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and carpel tunnel syndrome. I am really frustrated that he doesn't want to help himself. I feel totally lost. I have no motivation. Is there someplace I could go to talk to someone?


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: 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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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. April 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Posted by Becky Oppedal

    I have many of the things your husband has, I am not a medical professional, but, I lie to my Doctor too. So, what has helped me is Turmeric in medicinal doses (see a nutritionist for recommended amount). Cayenne and garlic are also part of my everyday diet. Cayenne has replaced black pepper in my home. These small changes have helped with my inflammation and overall stiffness. And most of all, his depression is what is probably keeping him from being truthful, I mean as long as I don't have to talk about how sick I feel, I can lie to myself. So you are an awesome wife, hang in there, and PS use your lips more :P.


    • May 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Posted by Amy D'Aprix

      Thanks Becky for writing and I hope you are feeling better all the time. It's great you shared what has worked for you and it's really great you suggested that they contact a nutritionist to discuss proper amounts. I would add considering contacting a medical doctor that is open to holistic approaches such as the ones you are trying. Many doctors today are very open to looking at holistic health approaches in addition to traditional western medicine. And, I thought your idea that her husband's depression was likely impacting what he was sharing with his doctor was very insightful.The impact of depression in people's lives is significant and it important to make sure that anyone suffering with depression gets treatment. This is often a long and frustrating process to get a treatment plan that is effective - but worth the effort to have relief from the depression! And I agree - she is a very supportive wife and needs to take good care of herself, too! Becky, I hope you are able to find a doctor who listens to you in such a way you feel you can be honest with him/her so you can work together to maximize your relief! Warmly, Dr. Amy


      • January 23, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Posted by Becky O

        Thank you Dr, Amy, it's a journey and being validated, even by a stranger on the internet is wonderful towards any treatment plan. Not all medications work for all people so honesty is key in what will work for him. Many find it hard to believe a supplement, or dietary change can impact their health so much or at all. Even Doctors are surprised, we are trained to accept prescriptions as the only hope. Sometimes, a dietary change is more successful. Thank you Dr. Amy! I am relevant :)


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