I was hanging out at caregiver.com and ran across the following impassioned plea…
I’m a caregiver to a woman who has MS. This woman was once my wife and I was once her husband but I have now reached the point where I no longer think of myself as a husband and I no longer consider her my wife. It is like I have made a complete transition and I now am faced with the distinct possibility that I can not go on like this anymore! I’m at a place where I feel I’m trapped in a dark, deep hole and see no way out. My emotions are so flat that I hardly feel anything any more. I’m so miserable that all I know to do now is leave! That makes me see myself as a coward and a failure but I see no other way out of this situation! It is like I’m dying a slow death.
Anyone have any advice for me…I’m at my wits end….
This is a tough situation. I thought it over and, wanting to help, offered the following reply.
A big part of the problem you are facing lies in the, mistaken, idea that caregiving entails an intense, ONE to ONE relationship between two people.
These hyper-intense, unidirectional relationships are not healthy for either party.
1) Respite. Your mind and body are clamoring for renewal and reflection.
2) The RE-creation of your relationship with your wife.
3) The creation of a web of caregiving that distributes roles and responsibilities among a larger number of people.
If you read this, you will (very likely) react with thought— ARRRGGHHHH! Respite! Reflection! WIdening the Circle! UUUUUGGGGGHHH! Dr. Thomas doesn’t get it! I AM TRAPPED! THERE IS NO ESCAPE!
Those feelings are themselves diagnostic of a caregiving relationship that has gone terribly wrong. You CAN change the nature of your role and your relationship with your wife in ways that WILL be better for both of you. But, it won’t be easy.
The challenge lies in believing that you are not trapped and that change is possible. If you can make that jump— the rest will be easier than you suppose.
May fortune favor you and your wife.
When I stopped by the site there were 15 comments in response to Hugh’s post. This is a good example of how social media is supposed to work to make life better for all of us.
You can read the whole comment thread HERE.