Welcome to the Healthy Families forums!

This is a space to ask questions, share experiences and support each other. Find a relevant thread or start your own!

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community and have a read of the community rules. Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

  • share on Facebook
  • share on Twitter
  • Print page

Topic: I dont want to be the strong one anymore - supporting a chronically ill husband.

8 posts, 0 answered
    AALAAA avatar
    4 posts
    11 February 2019

    Thanks for reading!

    I have a 5 year old daughter and a 50 year old husband who I love dearly but I am struggling to remain strong in light of his health issues. He has psoriatic arthritis (similar to Rheumatoid arthritis) and all his joints are affected to the point he can hardly move. He is overweight and severely depressed to the point where he is sleeping heaps - he even fell asleep standing up reading an article the other day. Very little gets done around the house as he is just not able to physically do the work - which for an ex builder is very frustrating for him. He is unable to work which means I have had to return to work 4 days a week. I get home and I am tired but then have to ensure my daughter is sorted (school lunches etc) and get the house sorted whilst he lies in bed either too sore to get up or just cant '. Numerous times I go to bed and the dishes are not done etc as I just don't have the energy to do them. The house by the end of the week is a disaster zone which then increases the all round stress. This has been going on for 10 years but is slowly getting worse. Our daughter has just started school and is not the least bit happy about it. Hubby is doing the school drop off and pick ups at the moment which is a good thing. Financially we are struggling - hubby has to email the bank to ask for help but he just isn't able to get around to it - I cant do it as its not in my name. We cant afford to pay for help (ie cleaning or ironing) and so I feel as if I am the one doing everything at home and I'm getting resentful. But I just don't want to be the strong one anymore - I know I have to but I don't want to.

  2. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    11 February 2019 in reply to AALAAA


    Welcome to our community forums. Being a carer for someone with a mental health is demanding, and being overweight and having psoriatic arthritis doesn't help either. I'm not a health professional, just someone who lives with mental health and who cares for a couple of people with mental health conditions (my hubby and brother).

    I'd imagine he has a doctor he sees. What about health professionals, e.g. psychologist for his depression, physiotherapist and occupational therapist for his arthritis? These health professionals can be a great asset to you and your hubby who sounds like his life is rather down at the moment.

    Being a carer takes it out of you and it's important you look after yourself. There are so many available resources and services out there. Have you had a look at any of the following?

    Mental Health Carers Australia 1300 554 660

    Lifeline tool kits for carers of people with mental illness. It's a great guide www.lifeline.org.au/static/uploads/files/carers-of-people-with-mental-illness-wflzjutaysvm.pdf

    Carers Gateway Australia - www.carergateway.gov.au . Have a look at the available resources for home help and what is available through NDIS. Going down the NDIS path may mean going through a lot of beaucracy, but it might be worth it in the end if you can get some help.

    Hope some of this helps. You're not alone AALAAA. Feel free to browse, to search and to join the conversations that relate to you that are going on in our forums.

    Kind regards


  3. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1478 posts
    11 February 2019 in reply to AALAAA


    Welcome to the bb forum and thank you for sharing your story.

    I am a carer (young adult child with a mental health condition) and I know it's exhausting being the "strong one". Add running a home, working and regular parenting and it's overwhelming at times. It's okay to say that you don't want to do it. I understand. I hope you don't mind but I am sending you a hug, as it sounds like you really need one.

    I have a couple of thoughts that might be helpful. Firstly, I think you need to take care of yourself. I would like to suggest that you register to receive the government carer's allowance, as this will provide you with extra funds (which you could use to hire home help). I also think it's important that no matter how busy you are that you make time for yourself every day to do something you enjoy--read, take a walk, have a bath, call a friend or just sit alone and have a coffee. This might sound crazy because everybody else needs you and the house is falling apart, but it's important. If you go down, the whole ship goes down.

    I also think you need a break. It might pay to contact the arthritis society in your state and see if there is the possibility of organising respite care for your husband or if they could provide a volunteer to help you in the home. You could also ask them if your husband might be entitled to government funded home help. I'm also wondering if you or hubby have any family that could provide some practical support. It's okay to ask for help when you need it.

    With regards to hubby's mental health, it sounds like it would be hard for him to visit the GP but I think it's really important. When my daughter was very ill the GP came to our home. Do you think hubby would be willing to talk to his doctor in your home? My thinking is that even with his poor physical condition, he could still provide emotional support to you if his mental health improved. Depression is treatable and with the right treatment many people recover.

    Lastly, try not to worry too much about the house. When you're more on top of things you will get it all in shape. It's okay, really.

    I am happy to talk any time and there are also many people on the forum who really do understand.

    Kind thoughts to you

    1 person found this helpful
    AALAAA avatar
    4 posts
    11 February 2019 in reply to PamelaR
    Thank you Pamela for your response - I really appreciate your time. I do get the carers allowance for him and I was just thinking this morning that I should use it to hire some home help - at the moment it gets absorbed into everything else but I must channel it differently. We are on property and I love sitting in my pod chair listening to the natural world around us - unfortunately there is a whole heap of hubbys building stuff there that he's not well enough to move so I sit amongst mess! His GP is supportive but I think that he may not realise the severity of the issue - hubby is on antidepressants and has tried numerous ones but they are not effective for some reason. I might try and get an appointment with the GP to have a chat. Thank you again for taking the time to respond.
    AALAAA avatar
    4 posts
    11 February 2019 in reply to Summer Rose
    Oops - rookie error - I had replied to the wrong post - I thought I was replying to Pamela's above.
    AALAAA avatar
    4 posts
    11 February 2019 in reply to PamelaR
    Hi, Pamela - thanks for your time - I appreciate it. Those links will be very helpful and I will definitely look at the NDIS pathway. He does see a Rheumatologist who has been supportive and finally managed to get hubby on a trial drug that helps a little. He doesn't see a psychologist at the moment as the GP was worried it might put too much pressure on him as it would be another appointment to attend for him but I really think he needs to see someone as nothing else will fall into place until he can manage his stress. Thx heaps for your help.
  7. Elizabeth CP
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Elizabeth CP avatar
    2341 posts
    11 February 2019 in reply to AALAAA


    I care for my husband who is blind & has a degenerative condition. I'm on carers payment & carers allowance. The carers payment you should be able to get even while you are working. If you are knocked back as we were it is worth ringing to ask why. The person we spoke to was able to advise us what needed changing on the forms so we were eligible.

    My husband is on the NDIS & that provides a lot of support It is worth getting an advocate to assist in the planning meeting to ensure you get what you really need. Carers Australia have people trained in the NDIS who can give you valuable advice to help with the process.

    The commonwealth Carer respite centres exist throughout Australia. Different areas have different contact details which should be on the Carer Gateway. They can provide advice & emergency assistance such as respite to help you cope. I have used them in the past when I was really struggling. Reach out & accept any help available you can't help your family if you become ill physically or mentally so you have to look after youself. Good luck

  8. Purple People Eater
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Purple People Eater avatar
    36 posts
    12 February 2019


    Your topic could have been mine. Even worse, I had told my husband very early on in our marriage "Don't worry, I'm strong. I can cope with anything." I was very wrong. FYI, he has chronic knee, lower back and now groin pain, in addition to having had anxiety, depression and ADHD. And he hasn't worked full-time since a few months after our eldest child (who is now in uni) was born.

    Finances dictate that you need to go back to work, although I would apply for NDIS and the Carer's Pension (as someone else has suggested) with a support worker or social worker's help. In the meantime, you need a plan as it can take weeks or months for Centrelink to process your application. And you still might not get it.

    You and hubby have a role reversal. You are feeling bad as you are trying to fulfill almost all roles, and that is just near impossible.

    Your husband is now a Stay At Home Dad, for health reasons, and he needs to embrace that role. It's good he's doing the pickups and drop offs. He could take over school lunches too, this is not a lot of work.

    You are now the Breadwinner! It's not something women are well prepared for in Australia. But, if you stop thinking about trying to do all the other stuff you used to, it's not so bad.

    You will need help with cleaning, etc. that you don't have time to do and hubby can't physically do. I can only afford it once a month, but I do have cleaners come and thoroughly clean the bathrooms, floors, etc. Because I just can't bring myself to do it after working 40h a week and commuting an hour each way!

    Best of luck and keep chatting - it helps.


Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.

Sign me up