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Topic: Timshel

27 posts, 0 answered
  1. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    86 posts
    11 July 2020

    Hello out there,

    It’s 4am and once again I am really struggling to sleep which means I will now be wrecked tomorrow and will probably end up sleeping half the day away.

    I have many problems in my life at the moment. Serious relationship issues in a 28 year marriage, parenting issues with my 15 year old son, a long history with anxiety, anxiety disorder and depression which has only been exasperated by the above mentioned family issues. I am not coping, just getting by (barely). I have no family out here in Oz and no close friends out here any more who I feel I can open up to. I have become increasingly isolated and alone and lonely even though I am in a ‘marriage of sorts’ and have a son. The in-laws aren’t close so I don’t see much of them. I have occasional professional help and have contacted Lifeline in types of great distress. But they can only talk for certain periods of time and I have to retell my story each time, a story which keeps evolving and changing all the time as more and more problems arise. I am so tired physically and emotionally and have been for so many years now. Mental Health issues are enough to cope with alone but all the family issues and lack of support on top of that have broken me completely. No relief in sight.......can anyone relate?

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Sophie_M
    Sophie_M avatar
    3133 posts
    11 July 2020 in reply to Timshel
    Hi Timshel,

    Wishing you a warm welcome to the forums. It takes a lot of courage to be so open and honest with your feelings, and we are so glad that you have reached out here tonight. We can hear how overwhelmed you're feeling, but please know that you've come to a safe, non-judgemental space and our community is here to support you through this difficult time.
    If you feel up to it, we'd also encourage you to reach out to our Beyond Blue Support Service, which is available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 3pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport. One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals. 

    You are not alone here, and we hope that you keep us updated on how you're going whenever you feel ready.
    1 person found this helpful
  3. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    86 posts
    11 July 2020 in reply to Timshel

    I apologise, it may not seem normal to reply to one’s own post but I realised after posting that I did not give this post any meaningful title that people may be able to relate to. If I had to sum up everything I was feeling when I wrote this post, I guess it would be along the lines of....

    Completely overwhelmed!!

  4. Mr Paul
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Mr Paul avatar
    286 posts
    11 July 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hi Timshel

    Welcome to BB.

    If you stick around long enough, you will find that a lot of people on this forum have, or are currently going through similar life changing experiences. You might find it helpful to read through other similar threads; I know I did. You can learn a lot from the experience of others.

    Relationship issues are life changing. In many respects, the breakdown of a marriage (especially a long marriage) is worse than a death in the family. It is even more difficult if you don't have the support of family or close friends. That being said, even if you had all the support in the world, you will still feel isolated and alone. I don't think there is any way around those feelings; I'm still looking.

    Are you getting any medical help for the anxiety/depression?

    In answer to your question, "Can anyone relate?", the answer is yes.

  5. aussiemel
    aussiemel avatar
    170 posts
    11 July 2020 in reply to Timshel

    I can relate Timshel. I have been in a relationship for almost 20 years with someone who has managed to isolate me from both family and friends. I feel like I have no-one at all that I can turn to for help.

    I am trying to save money so that I can leave and start a life on my own. I feel as though that is the only way that I will ever have something close to normal, is if I am actually on my own. I honestly think that I will feel less alone, if I am by myself. That may not make sense but I think it will be far easier than being “alone” in a relationship with someone who has no respect for me or my feelings.

    Constantly feeling overwhelmed is extremely draining, both mentally and physically.
    Are you seeing a therapist? Even discussing what is going on with your GP can be a bit of a relief. It helps to talk to someone even only occasionally who is on your side.

    You are in a safe place here, you can elaborate more on your story if you would like to.

    Sending you hugs,

    mel :)

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    86 posts
    11 July 2020 in reply to aussiemel

    Thank you for replying.

    This is my story. I moved to Australia in 1992 to marry a Canberra man. Canberra was never meant to be our permanent place of residence as I have never liked the place. The plan was to remain flexible when it came to where we lived especially with all my family and friends residing in Europe. But then, about 8 years into our marriage, I developed severe anxiety and OCD and had to give up work. From then on my husband became the sole breadwinner and, over time it seemed, also the sole decision maker when it came to every aspect of our lives. Suffice it to say, my voice just became less and less heard in the marriage. And one thing he wanted was to stay in Canberra. So here we still are, almost 30 years later.

    After diagnosis, I slowly started to regain a little control over some of my anxiety and OCD with the help of medication and therapy. It was my hope to resume my career at some stage in the future, even on a part-time basis. But then, in 2005, I fell pregnant with our now 15 year old son and developed extremely severe post natal depression which in turn exacerbated the OCD and anxiety all over again and led to me being hospitalised for 3 months. Along with a large cocktail of drugs and therapy, I was given 13 rounds of Electro Convulsive Therapy. I HATED the hospital experience but the staff were amazing and got me back to the stage where I could leave hospital and finally start raising my son. Apart from some volunteer work over the years, I have never felt stable enough to work again and have spent my time as a stay-at-home Mum.

    In the meantime, I have worked very hard at coming to terms with my ‘new normal’ - going from being an extremely independent career woman, to being a vulnerable and dependent wife. I have seen many psychiatrists and psychologists over the years in both Canberra and Sydney and still am. Along with trying numerous medications, I have also completed copious amounts of cognitive behaviour therapy, joined support groups, meditation groups, seen a Chinese medicine practitioner and the list goes on. I’m always looking for ways to keep improving.

    But all this has put a huge strain on marriage and family life with relations really deteriorating in recent times. I have felt really unsupported and alone. My parents both died unexpectedly some years ago and my sister now lives in Dubai. My husband also told me about an online relationship he had recently. We are trying to reconcile but I am really struggling.

  7. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    1298 posts
    12 July 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hi Timshel

    First, I want to say you are absolutely stunning. I am truly stunned by how you have tried so much in the way of raising yourself out of depression. Your efforts are courageous and admirable. You should be incredibly proud of such effort.

    I regard myself as being fortunate in my ability to look back at the depression I was in for about 15 years. Being able to now clearly see how it played out, I acknowledge the people, behaviour and events which brought me down or kept me in my depression. In a depression a lot can feel like our fault yet, in truth, the faults/flaws that others present to us hold significant meaning. Many may prefer to hold onto their faults rather than challenge themselves to change them. Unfortunately, we face the challenge these faults present to us. This can definitely be depressing.

    For you, for example, perhaps Canberra wasn't your place because you wanted more excitement. Perhaps you are naturally an exciting person who loves to be fed moments of excitement. You could then say it was a fault in your husband that he was unable to recognise how depressing Canberra would be for you. You may have even explained to him that you can't tolerate living there. Then the fault would have been the inability to pay attention to what you're saying and how you feel. If he promised you that you'd both be living in Canberra for a short number of years and you both agreed to this, this was a verbal contract. You face another of his faults, his disregard for such a contract. So, you're a perfectly reasonable person facing the faults of another. I don't mean this to sound like a blame game, just want to make it clear that when we're picking faults it's done with clarity, in the search for greater consciousness/understanding.

    Is it your fault that you've tried so many different therapies? Far from it. This is your strength, your strong desire to better yourself.

    I can see a list building here Timshel. So far, you're stunning, amazing, courageous, reasonable and incredibly strong and determined. I hope you see that. While others look for a greater sense of ease in their life, their behaviour and decisions brings you dis-ease. This is unfair.

    Wondering if your son feels unheard, like you do at times. Could a new challenge involve managing listening carefully to each other, in a way that is full of care, improving communication? It's definitely a challenge to hear what what our kids are really saying, within their pain and discontent.

    :)

    1 person found this helpful
  8. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    86 posts
    13 July 2020 in reply to therising

    Thanks for your kind words.

    True. Canberra doesn’t excite me. I am not looking for constant thrills at my age but I came here at 24 and am now 52 so I feel I have missed out on so much through those younger years (except for when I travelled). Canberra is lacking in so many ways. It is not particularly aesthetically pleasing. The ‘bush’ it is built within is far from the most impressive bushland I have ever seen either in Oz or elsewhere. The place is essentially just one big suburbia built on either side of a dirty ‘lake’ with a few shopping malls (where people go for entertainment??). It has no real hub and is too spread out with all ‘entertainment’ areas hidden away. And everything closes so early, especially on weekends when people have free time - bizarre and frustrating! I lived in a number of other places before I moved here, overseas and in Oz and have travelled quite a bit. I love the country and the city, the mountains and the beach but Canberra is just a depressing ‘deadzone’. I never imagined I would still be here, 28 years and counting...I love the outdoors but I also love a thriving theatre and live music scene, pubs, bustling town squares, hidden alleys, interesting galleries, markets and buskers!! How I miss being in a place where the streets themselves have free entertainment and bring people together. Canberra keeps people apart. It is sterile and certainly doesn’t ‘feed the soul’.

    You are right in a way when you say my husband broke a verbal ‘contract’ with me about how long we would live in Canberra, his safe zone. Once I got sick and he became the sole breadwinner he always used his job as an excuse to stay here, then it was the education and lifestyle of our son etc. (there was some truth there I concede). But gradually I became resentful and distant within the marriage as I felt I wasn’t being heard. This was his life not mine. I cut him off completely, telling him I wanted out, more as a way of shocking him into fighting for us, making a change for us. But instead he looked elsewhere and found someone new online. So out of character for the man I still loved even though he didn’t know it. He was lonely but so was I. I missed all that had been good about us. Eventually I told him how I felt. He still felt the same and so we are trying again, with changes. But healing is hard. I know how much energy he put into his online relationship (how far it went and where it was heading) instead of into mending us and my dis-ease. How to heal?

  9. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    1298 posts
    14 July 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hi Timshel

    How painful, to gradually lose yourself over time in such a way (through a lack of excitement and adventure). Although our journeys have been different, it seems we now perhaps meet at a similar point.

    • We are redefining the terms and conditions of our marriage, to be more suitable to us than what we've allowed for in the past. Not sure about you but I've had many moments throughout my marriage where I've thought 'Don't rock the boat' but now realise this boat has been sinking for years. While my husband and I have shared certain captaincy duties, there is the realisation that he has almost always dictated the course we take in the way of a lack of adventure together (adding ventures to our life)
    • You and I are redefining the terms and conditions of who we are and who we're going to be. Almost 50, I now realise how unadventurous my life has been for many years compared to what I've really needed it to be. You know that mid life crisis stage; I'm fortunate enough to be going through a mid life revelation stage. It's been happening for the last 10 months or so. It's involved about a 14 year lead up of research and questioning in regard to who I am, since coming out of years of depression all that time ago. After becoming dismembered from who we naturally are (excitable and fun loving), we are now in the process of remembering our self, facing the questions that can help 'put us back together'
    • We are redefining the terms and conditions regarding what we're deserving of. In the process I've now found myself to be so intolerant of so many things I'd been tolerating for so long. Not sure about you but I am left wondering how it was I was able to tolerate so many things. I find 2 answers, 1) I'm an incredibly tolerant person, more than what I realised, and 2) What I could barely tolerate was either angering or potentially depressing and that's no way to live. We should be living our life, not tolerating it

    While our husbands love us in the way they do, I've found a challenging question to be 'Is it enough to be loved simply? (aka Is it enough to be simply loved?). I believe we are amazing tolerant women who must be loved actively to life. Perhaps simply is not enough for us. Perhaps simply is intolerable, angering and/or depressing and this must be considered under the new terms and conditions of our marriage contracts.

    Timshel, in the beginning of the relationship, we gave our husbands our exciting self. I believe they owe us to help us remember :)

  10. Jsua
    Jsua avatar
    151 posts
    14 July 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Good morning Timshel.

    Welcome to the forum, I just want to let you know that you are very brave and strong for speaking up about your difficulties. I imagine that you must be feeling very angry, confused, alone and emotionally and physically drained. After reading through your posts, you are defiantly in need of some self-compassion. Sorry if I may come across a bit too direct, I noticed that you refer your difficulties and experiences back to your marriage i.e. your Husband. Is your Husband really the issue or are you projecting your difficulties onto him? You are in control of your life, no one is taking you hostage and you need to love yourself to be able to love others. Sounds familiar? Start making your life the main focus, give yourself compassion, learn to love yourself for who you are because at the end of the day, the only person who is in control is you. I say this because you deserve greatness, you deserve to feel amazing, you deserve to be the best you can be, the strongest you can be and most of all you deserve to be loved as much as you can love others. Speak to a health professional/ clinician about working out some actions to improve your mental and physical wellness and tell yourself that you are a great person. Maybe even take up hobbies that you always have wanted to do, get a new lease on life, show your Husband and Son how much you can radiate and glow. This is not about your Husband or Son, it's about you. Take action. You can do this.

    Be strong, be brave.

  11. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    86 posts
    21 July 2020 in reply to Jsua

    Thank you Jsua. I hear you. Self-compassion is hard for me. But I do try. I do keep looking for ways to improve my life. I don’t think that I have projected a lot of my issues onto my husband, only the relationship ones, which is perfectly normal. In any serious relationship, what you do will always have consequences for your partner, good or bad. I also think having control over your own life can be a subjective concept. Not everyone has the same amount of control e.g having an illness can make you more vulnerable, fearful and even financially dependent. Plus not everyone has a support network to help them deal with life’s challenges. Nor are we all born with the same natural resilience or strength. We can give ourselves too much credit for being ‘strong or resilient’. But it is really just another character trait we are all born with to varying degrees, just like stubbornness or selfishness. It is not a ‘one size fits all’ ‘level playing field’ type of world. Some people find life harder than others. We need to recognise that and be more empathetic.

    I would have described myself as being a reasonably confident, secure and financially independent woman before I was diagnosed with a mental illness. Someone who had the ability to control her own life. But all that changed once I became ill and, whether I liked it or not, I had to accept my ‘new normal’. In some ways I discovered I was ‘stronger’ whilst in other ways I became more dependent, less confident in my own abilities. Plus, mental illness is viewed differently to physical illness. Recovery is expected, even for those with an underlying neurological or hormonal condition or chemical imbalance. You just have to do the work. This is not the same with physical illness. E.g. people who develop Parkinson’s or even succumb to cancer, are not held accountable for their own fate. Their illnesses are given more ‘respect’. Someone who doesn’t recover is not made to feel like they haven’t worked hard enough or thought positively enough to get better. But those of us with a mental illness can be made to feel like we have ‘failed’ in some way if we don’t improve. So sometimes we ‘pretend’ to be better than we are just to protect ourselves from that judgement. Put on a ‘positive’ face. That’s me. No one likes a negative person. But with mental illness negativity is not a choice, it is part of the illness. I long for the day when mental illness is ‘rebranded’ and ‘respected’ in the same way as any other illness.

    2 people found this helpful
  12. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    106 posts
    30 July 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hi Timshel,

    I was looking through this forum in order to see how others are managing in similar circumstances to myself and I saw your thread. I will come back tomorrow with more, but just reading your very last post I felt I wanted to tell you something that my last psychologist said to me. He told me that my ptsd would never be cured. It prompted the biggest sense of relief and a huge release of pressure. With those simple words I felt validated and understood, finally! Until that point, I felt like I was failing because “my issues” were never fixed. I was never fixed. He helped me to understand that I had a chronic illness, and that with continued management and maintenance its effects would be reduced and that I could be ok. I had spent so many years of my life feeling pressure, from myself included, to get fixed. As you know, putting up the positive front to cover for not being fixed yet, and maintaining a pretence is just exhausting.

    You are so tough and I have a lot of admiration for the way you manage and care. I will come back tomorrow and talk more.

    SH

    1 person found this helpful
  13. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    106 posts
    31 July 2020

    Hi Timshel,

    I have read your posts in this thread a number of times. It is a hard a road you are on. I hope that the process of reaching out in this forum has helped you to feel less isolated, less alone. I certainly relate to a lot of what you are going through, and your responses to my own thread have certainly helped me. I think that feeling overwhelmed and broken is an absolutely normal and reasonable response to the circumstances in which you find yourself. Of course you are neither of those things. You are strong and determined and capable, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get to feel like things are hard.

    Your post describing your experience of Canberra really made me think about the importance of place. I think we all feel that our well being is closely associated with connection to other people, but I don’t think we put enough value on the importance of our connection to place. You have lived in a place for 28 years without feeling connected. I think that is a lot to carry. Our connections to a place allow us to feel settled and steady, giving a strong sense of home and it allows us to find spaces within that place that revive and energise us. I do understand that people often find Canberra a difficult and sterile place. I agree with some of your assessment of it - I think its true heart is well hidden.

    The other thing that I am hearing in your posts is a sense of loss. Loss of independence and agency in your life. Your “new normal” has taken a lot of adjustment, and there is grief attached to the loss you are experiencing. A very important person in my life talked to me a lot about grief and she said she always felt that people expected you to “move on”, get over it, and she felt that was not fair or acknowledging of what it is like to deal with loss of any kind. She said she preferred to think she would “continue on” instead, move forward with the grief, but not on from it. She felt that was a much more realistic and Compassionate way of looking at it.

    My thoughts are with you through the counselling with your husband and that you are able the heal the relationship and rebuild trust. Take care of yourself in that process.

    SH

    1 person found this helpful
  14. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    86 posts
    1 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600

    Well fancy meeting you on this thread too SH....you are ubiquitous!

    Thank you for your supportive words. I have found being on the BB site helpful and I’m glad you have too. It’s a first for me and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It really is good connecting with people who can understand why you might feel a certain way or whose feelings may even mirror yours in someway. I don’t always feel comfortable ‘having a whinge’ because I don’t want to give the impression that I think my problems are worse than other people’s. I absolutely do not. There are people out there suffering and struggling with problems far greater than mine. Some people’s life struggles literally break my heart.

    You are absolutely right when you talk about connection to place and how important it is. I guess it’s what First Nations people mean when they talk about Returning to Country. There is a sense of both exhilaration and comfort when you are in a place you know you belong, whether it be your homeland or a place you call home. I have never felt like that in Canberra even though I have lived here for so long. If anything, I feel a sinking feeling when I return here after being away. I get the impression from your post that you are no stranger to Canberra. You seem to have a measured view of the place and you only agree with some of what I said.....sounds like you know something I don’t. You said Canberra’s true heart is well hidden. So I have to ask, where? I thought I’d looked everywhere...... Look, I concede there are a few positives, it’s an ‘easy’ place to live. Canberrans are well catered for in many respects. And again complaining about Canberra when people are living such harsh existences in other places around the world does seem very self indulgent on my part, I get that.

    Your friend is absolutely right about loss and grief, you do carry it with you as you move on. And that’s okay, it’s proof of life and proof of love. You just have to do your best not to let it weigh you down so much that it breaks your spine.

    Just recently my psychiatrist of 15 years passed away unexpectedly. It hit me hard. Obviously not as intensely as let’s say my parents’ deaths, but it still shook me. I had won the ‘psychiatry lottery’ with this man. He travelled a large part of my journey with me over the years. I trusted him and he never let me down. I will always be grateful to him. I will miss him enormously and remember him often.

    As for my marriage, my husband seems 100% there already. Me ???

  15. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    106 posts
    1 August 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hi Timshel,

    You were up late or early! Sleep is elusive. This is all a first for me too, and I had no idea what to expect. I also keep things to myself for fear of being seen as negative and for not being appreciative of what I do have. I am privileged in lots of ways. In my job, I see kids and families in situations that really do break my heart. I am in their lives for a year or more and it gives me a better appreciation and understanding of how people find resilience and strength. When you know better, you do better, as you would say! It definitely applies to my work.

    Talking about your experience of Canberra is not self-indulgent at all. I really wanted to acknowledge the effect of not having a connection to the place you have spent so many years. I don’t think the importance of its effect should be diminished by other’s experiences, including mine! Connection is such an individual thing, and what we need from a place is tied so intimately to who we are. I do know Canberra and for me its heart is in so many small places and things that all add up to something bigger. Contemplative spaces, walks, views, weather, hidden gems, places with knowledge and stories, community, diversity, and quirkiness. But these are the things that work for me. I came here from a very small town too, which I am also deeply connected to through 5 generations of my family, so my needs from the place I live are different, as they are for everyone. You don’t need to concede at all, your experience is exactly your experience.

    The loss of your psychiatrist must have been devastating. Finding the right person to help is so hard. It is such a personal thing. It took me a long time to find the right psychologist and when I did, everything changed. Have you managed to find another to help you? One you connect with?

    I know from what you have said that the marriage counselling with your husband is providing a space for honesty and for your voice to heard, but do you think you will/can get 100% there with your husband? And what will you need to get there? Do you think it is just time or is there more that you need ?

    Also I am interested to know about your son, if you feel like talking about it. You mentioned in your first post that there were parenting issues. Does he know about the difficulties in your marriage? We haven’t told our kids (18 and 15 yo) that we are seeking counselling.

    In the meantime, take good care.

    SH

  16. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    106 posts
    3 August 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hey Timshel

    My turn to check in with you! I’m here if you want to chat. You are not on your own through any of this. If you feel comfortable, I would like to stay with you while you travel on your path too.

    How are you feeling about your counselling session this week?

    SH

  17. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    86 posts
    4 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600

    Hello again,

    It feels strange going back and forward between two threads like this. Sort of like playing two characters in a play. Not that I have ever done that....

    I feel okay about my next counselling session. It is good to have a chance to air your feelings in a ‘neutral’ environment and get an objective opinion on things. I am still struggling in some areas but improving in others. I have to say that things at home are going well and we are reconnecting on many levels. But there is still resentment there on my part and anger at the amount of time I had to spend banging my head off a brick wall hoping it would turn into a door! I feel like I’ve been pushing a boulder up a hill for years. And it has taken a huge toll. All that wasted energy.....

    Speaking of energy, I’m a bit low on it tonight. So I’ll pick things up in more detail tomorrow if that’s okay.

    Went to the dentist today thinking I needed a filling replaced. He told me that the sensitivity in my tooth was due to a ‘clenching’ habit I have apparently developed over time. From stress perhaps? Who me? Apparently I now have exceptionally strong jaw muscles! I decided to take that as a compliment! Still trying to work out what to do with such an attribute though.

    Catch you later.

  18. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    106 posts
    4 August 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hi Timshel,

    Hmm...what to do with strong jaw muscles?? There must be a niche for that attribute out there somewhere! It does show just how much stress you are carrying.

    It is weird chatting across two threads. But I really want to make sure that the reasons you came here are not lost. You know we both have trouble with that damn character limit, so the other thread ends up being mostly about me! I need to deflect the attention!! I am happy to talk in one thread, if that feels a bit more natural. You have a friend here, Timshel.

    I am so glad things are improving with your husband and that you are reconnecting. I think that there is large cost associated with carrying the mental and emotional load in a relationship (aka, trying to make doors out of walls). Feeling resentment is a natural consequence of that. Maybe your husband will begin to understand that and will be able to find ways to take some of that load and add to your partnership in ways that restores the balance over time.

    I hope some of your energy has come back today. Talk soon.

    Take good care.

    SH

  19. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    86 posts
    5 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600

    Hi SH,

    I was hoping to spend a bit more time answering your posts on here tonight but got bogged down helping my son with an English assignment. Helping him with his homework is always an arduous affair which takes double the time it needs to as we always have to through the same routine first. “Put your phone away or I’m not helping you”, “Stop looking at your phone”, “You can’t possibly be concentrating on what I’m saying and talking to your friends online at the same time”, “I’m not doing this for you, I’m showing you how to do it for yourself” etc. etc. and bloody etc. Then of course there’s the fact that I have no idea why he needs my assistance in the first place, he knows everything about everything anyway!! Him being a ‘man of the modern world’ and me being a ‘relic from the olden days’. Ironically, his assignment tonight was on Macbeth, a 400 year old play for God’s sake!!!! Written by an old school friend of mine from the ‘olden days’ ..... Every time I help him with his homework I say “never again” and yet.....even though I know better, do you think a I can do better?? I love the kid to death but sometimes....The ‘ole jaw muscles were definitely getting a workout tonight! I could crack walnuts with them right now!

    Anyway, I’ll get to your posts tomorrow so you can distract yourself a bit with my problems and give me your advice/perspective/opinions. The character limit thing is a bit of a nuisance, I have to admit. But what can you do.

    We have our second counselling session tomorrow morning. 2 hrs this time. I’ll let you know how it goes. Then I have to see my GP tomorrow afternoon. He’ll have to take over my meds management now that my psychiatrist has passed away. I don’t know about trying to see another one just yet. I’ll talk to my GP and see what he reckons. I hate the idea of starting from scratch again with someone new. I had such a really good connection with this man and he knew me and my situation so well. It was just like catching up with an old friend for a chat. Apart from being a clinician with an abundance of medical knowledge, he was a keen observer of life and a very insightful and intuitive man. I learnt a lot from him, He was also very personable and an easy person to build a rapport with, having been a GP in a small country town for a number of years before studying psychiatry. I wasn’t seeing him all that often any more anyhow, just for my meds and if I needed him. But it was still nice knowing he was there.

    Bye for now

  20. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    106 posts
    5 August 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hi Timshel

    Your description of helping your son with his homework made me laugh, but only because it was so familiar! Luckily for me, covid remote learning somehow turned my son into an independent and motivated learner. Go figure! He is in Yr 12 and right up until a couple of months ago our interactions over his learning sounded very much like you describe. He felt no compulsion to hand in anything on time without military level intervention! So the bad news is that if he is anything like my son, you may have a few more years of jaw-strengthening, headache-inducing homework interactions. Good luck! Luckily for us our daughter is a different story.

    Your psychiatrist sounds like an absolute gem! And what a loss for all of his patients. It sounds like you have come a long way though, and have what you need to continue on. And I guess they are doing their job when we no longer need them as much. Telling and re-telling your story each time is hard, especially when you are looking around for the right professional for you. Having someone who knows you and connects with you is so important. The psych who helped me really understood me, and he was able to challenge and push me, while making me feel very cared for. I felt he was completely on my side and in my corner. It is rare, in my experience anyway. You mentioned that you still saw your psychiatrist “when you needed him”, I am wondering if there is someone else you could see if you needed to.

    I hope your counselling session and GP visit went well today, I was thinking of you. How are you feeling about the counselling (if you feel like sharing)?

    SH

  21. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    86 posts
    6 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600

    Hi SH,

    My GP visit was good. He will take over the management of my meds from now on. Pretty straightforward. I don’t think I’ll be looking around for a new psychiatrist at this stage. If at any stage I need a specialist to talk to, I’ll just look at booking some sessions with a psychologist. To be honest, I’ve seen so many therapists over the years that I’m not sure what more they can do. But I’m always open to suggestions. Just someone to listen who understands can be helpful (like my psyche). Over time, I’ve sort of learnt to cope by myself a lot of the time. When things get rough I just grit my teeth and bear it. I’ve learnt from experience that, regardless of how bad or scary things get, you do survive and rough periods do pass. A lot of my OCD is mental and internalised. The best way I can describe it is to say that there is always a certain degree of white noise humming away in the back of my mind. It’s annoying and frustrating but not necessarily all consuming. If, however, I hit a rough patch, that noise becomes deafening. It stops me in my tracks and seems to consume my every waking minute. I guess you could say my brain feels a bit like a stereo that is always turned on. There is always noise in the background but the volume is turned down so it still allows me enough space to concentrate on doing or thinking about other things. Sometimes, however, it feels like someone has turned the volume up so high it takes up all the space in my brain so concentrating on anything else is impossible. And, no matter how I try, I just can’t find a way to turn the volume down. The control button has completely locked or seized up. OCD has actually been referred to at times as ‘brain lock’ which is exactly what a bad ‘episode’ feels like to me. Like my brain is just ‘stuck’, not unlike a heart in need of a pacemaker to shock it back into a normal rhythm. In fact, there is a surgical procedure available for OCD which is not dissimilar to having a pacemaker inserted in the brain. But it is risky and rare and only used in cases where patients have exhausted all other options and treatments over the years and have been proven to be completely treatment resistant. I, like a certain % of people with OCD, get a little relief from my medication and just have to do the rest of the work myself. Although, in years to come who knows. For now, I just try to manage it, keep the volume down low. Avoid obvious triggers like stress from, let’s say, a marriage breakdown........

  22. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    106 posts
    6 August 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hey there

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience of OCD. You are on a rough path, Timshel. I wish that it was different for you, if only that bloody magic wand existed! I imagine it consumes a lot of energy to just keep it in the background, and I am sure not every one understands what that takes from you and how little it leaves you. It sounds like you know yourself really well though and already have all of the tools available to you to help manage. I think getting older teaches us a lot about what we can do and cope with and survive. I feel so much of your strength and stoicism in your last post. I think you are a bloody marvel! But at the same time I acknowledge that you may not always feel that.

    I think I can relate to some degree. As a result of ptsd, I experience intrusive thoughts around self worth, although over the years the punishing words have evolved more into words, half words, sensations and feelings. The best way to describe it is that it feels like being psychological punched. When it is bad, I physically flinch at the feeling, and as it continues to come at me, I feel like I am being beaten down. It is my own voice just slicing through my self worth. I have learned to (mostly) identify it reasonably quickly and manage it, although most days I hear like an echo of it niggling away in the background. When it is bad, I don’t sleep and that makes it all worse and harder to manage. It becomes a self feeding cycle that gets out of control and is hard to circumvent.

    Sometimes I feel like a human brain is such an incredibly beautiful and complex organ, capable of so much, but then it just does the equivalent of tripping over its own feet or pulling on the door that says “push”. The analogy of the heart pacemaker makes a lot of sense. Imagine the day when it is just a relatively simple procedure to reset our brain function!

    What are some of the things that help you to keep it all in the background and the volume down low, aside from avoiding big life stresses like marriage breakdowns! Are you managing to keep on top of it through the problems in your marriage at the moment? By the way, I hope things went well in your counselling session yesterday, and you are still feeling positive about the direction things are going at home.

    SH

  23. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    106 posts
    11 August 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hi Timshel

    I am just checking in to see how you are going. Thought I would do it here in your thread. I am here if you feel like a chat. If not that is ok too.

    Take care

    SH

  24. smallwolf
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    smallwolf avatar
    4132 posts
    11 August 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hi. I hope you don't mind me visiting here. I read your story so far. It sounds like you are the making improvements.

    I could also relate to your homework story except that is the my wife who helps with the homework - that is because I do not give the kids the answer they are looking for. I only drop hints.

    How is the sleeping going?

  25. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    86 posts
    12 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600

    Hi SH and Hi to you Tim, it’s lovely to have you here. Thanks for checking in.

    Okay. So the counselling session was 2 hrs long this time, a real marathon! I might start by saying a man, a woman, an eccentric counsellor and a chihuahua puppy went into a room.......hmmm! Just like the last session, it was a little chaotic and disorganised but at least I didn’t need to pee this time so could concentrate a little more. Actually, to be honest, in spite of the fact that we always seem to take the scenic route to our destination, I do find the counselling sessions good and the counsellor does know what she is talking about. And she does talk, a lot! I think I may know more about her than she does about me! But that’s okay. Both my husband and I do get a chance to speak, both to her and each other and, if nothing else, it gives us a chance to air our ‘grievances’ in a neutral and non-combative environment. We also have homework to do which is really all to do with reconnecting with each other after a very long period of estrangement (in the last 5 years, we have had divorce papers drawn up twice - yep, the lawyers love us - and really haven’t been on the same page about anything for over a decade). The last time we had divorce papers drawn up was just before Covid struck. We were just stuck in a horrible cycle of arguing over everything and when we weren’t arguing we just didn’t talk at all. We just gave up trying to communicating in any sort of constructive way. We stonewalled each other completely and a lot of resentment built up, especially in me. I was so angry inside and it was really hurting me. I hated the person I was becoming, so bitter. I hated him more for ‘making me like that’. It was unbearable. There just aren’t enough characters to go into full detail about our problems in one post but suffice it to say we were at rock bottom. But now, just a few months later, and mainly because I made the conscious decision one night to just drop my guard and tell him I still had feelings for him in spite of everything I had said to the contrary, we are getting back on track. It sometimes only takes one person backing down to make a difference. And I’m stubborn and he’s pigheaded so that isn’t something that came easy to either of us. I am still also getting over him becoming close to someone else but it hurts less these days. He has made every effort to help with that too which I really appreciate. The first being taking responsibility which is HUGE for him.

  26. Timshel
    Timshel avatar
    86 posts
    12 August 2020 in reply to SH-2600

    In reply to your question SH, I’d have to say that, yes, all the extra stress affected my mental health in general. I became more depressed though not in the clinical way I was with post natal depression (I probably wouldn’t be here talking to you now if that were the case, that must definitely have been hormonally based). I was just so fed up within my marriage and angry because I felt I had enough on my plate trying to keep the OCD at least reasonably manageable. You’re right, the effort to keep the volume turned down does take a lot of energy as does just dealing with the noise in your head to begin with. Surprisingly I didn’t have a complete OCD meltdown, maybe I was too distracted by my anger and depression! Not sure that is a good antidote though. I felt increasingly isolated because I didn’t really feel I could talk openly to anyone here (except my Psyche). My closest friends from Canberra have moved interstate and back overseas and it just didn’t feel appropriate opening up to others. In many ways, I didn’t want to badmouth my husband because at the back of my mind I guess I always felt we would eventually work things out and I didn’t want anyone to think badly of him. So I chose to be very careful who I talked to. I eventually told my sister who lives in Dubai and was/is good to talk to although her life is extremely busy and the time difference between there and here is awkward. I am also pretty close to my sister-in-law (my husband’s brother’s wife) so I talked a bit to her. She lives down the South Coast. Apart from that and the occasional counsellor, I didn’t talk to anyone else in much depth. It was too awkward. After a while I even distanced myself from my close friends and family overseas, just stopped maintaining regular contact, even with my lifelong best friend who knew something was wrong and tried so hard to get me to open up. I felt I was just ‘small talking’ with them, hiding stuff from them and it was easier just not contacting them at all after a while which I feel really guilty about now. In time I will look at rebuilding those bridges. I guess I blamed my husband for the loss of those friendships too because I felt I was just sort of protecting his reputation. But, in reality, that was on me. It’s a tough one though. Then there were others who know us both and I didn’t want them to feel they had to choose sides as it were. Anyway, that isolation is what led me to this forum I guess. And that’s been my silver lining!!

    Talk soon.

  27. SH-2600
    SH-2600 avatar
    106 posts
    12 August 2020 in reply to Timshel

    Hi Timshel,

    You describe your counsellor and the sessions with such humour! I am glad you feel it is useful and productive, and that you resisted the hot beverage! Although, 2 hours is a long session without coffee. It sounds like there is a lot of rebuilding going on now, even if there was a long way to come back from. My heart breaks at the impact it has all had on you and the damage it was doing. My hope is that the reconnecting also leads to repair, for the relationship and for you. It is so hard to pull yourself out of a cycle or pattern like that and it takes a lot to be the one who provides that circuit break. The more I learn about you, the more I see of your grit and strength. I really understand how hurt you must feel about your husband becoming close to someone else. I think that will take a lot to get beyond, but it sounds like you are starting . (I am also very conscious and embarrassed that I am the one doing that in my marriage, yet you still have the grace to listen and care). Sometimes it is really hard to talk about your primary relationship with other people, for those reasons you mentioned. You feel loyalty not just to the person, but to the relationship itself and the choices you have made. That is how I see it anyway. There are plenty of undercurrents and issues in my marriage that I haven’t spoken to friends about either. You said in a previous post that your husband was 100% there in terms of mending your marriage, but you weren’t yet. Do you feel that after this last session, you are a bit closer to 100% there, or that you will definitely get there?

    I am so sorry you have become isolated from others in your life. It is like a perfect storm of illness, marriage problems and distance that all contributed. When the time is right though, those relationships will mend. You have everything you need to do that, and besides, good people always understand.

    I really love how reflective and self-aware you are. I have a lot of admiration for you. Just take care to be kind to yourself too. I am happy to help by reminding you how amazing you are. There are definitely silver linings here for me too!

    SH

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