[ I sent out these words to my family (and closest friends) today. (Minor privacy edits). Taking one step forward, out of the shadows. ]
I’m writing to you all because it is difficult to talk directly about that which I barely understand. And you should know, because I don’t want my family uninformed through poor choices on my part.
I’m really struggling. I would ask for help, but I don’t know specifically what would help me. Feel free to offer suggestions from a loving heart.
The last 18 months or 2 years has been particularly rough. Initially I have been on about half pay at work just to catch up with managing finances, then with lingering health problems I have consistently been barely managing half-time productive hours. So my pay has been well under minimum wage for some time. This puts financial pressure on my wife and I and puts pressure on our relationship. We have been getting by, thankfully she has a good income. But we have been feeling the pressure for some time, as we only “tread water” in terms of money.
A few months ago, we were trying to sort out some financial planning for the future, and I basically had an anxiety attack. I couldn’t cope, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t make decisions, I couldn’t function at work at all and I felt exhausted when home. I went to my GP to get a referral to a Centre for Treatment of Anxiety and Depression and he put me on some anti-depressants to help the mood disorder. Just adjusting to that new drug in my system has been physically harrowing and quite unsettling, but hopefully it is helping more than hindering me now.
This has all been triggered by a host of factors. Last year’s struggle with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) diagnosis and the resulting extended illness. Dad’s hospitalisation and how I dealt with that personally while trying to spend as much time with him as possible and taking him to all his medical appointments. Then his death. And all the other personal matters that end up stressing one out. All these weakening me, leaving me susceptible to constant viral infections or just lethargy. Basically, my body never had much chance to recover and build up again.
Run down, run out. All that is still going on. Just this last week I have had days where I hardly got out of bed. I didn’t want to eat or drink, I didn’t feel depressed, I had no obvious symptoms other than complete exhaustion. And some days I would manage to get into work for a few hours and end up completely exhausted again the next day.
Grief, the most likely explanation for this recent situation. Talking with a writer friend who has much experience with her personal grieving over losing her adult child and then husband. Everyone will experience grief differently and for me it is triggering exhaustion and a numb mind.
Have been very unhappy with my local GP after last year’s IBS issues (He should have sent me to a gastroenterologist straight away). So have sought out a more holistic GP that will treat me as a whole person, not just treat each symptom individually as the local doctor did. Is not easy to find and is not cheap, around $80 out of pocket per visit – financial pressures loom again.
CTAD currently has a 5 weeks waiting list (I guess my situation is not acute enough to get more urgent assistance). I also have a general psychology referral from my GP. Will use this mental health plan once I find someone with experience in Anxiety and Grief. Getting health assistance costs money. Or I could just stop working altogether and get more rest and time to help myself, but then we would probably not manage financially anyway.
Needless to say, my situation impacts significantly on my wife as well.
I’ve always enjoyed being happy. I’ve always liked to smile. And those old habits tend to mask what is going on underneath when I am in public. So while I have never revealed much about myself, there has been a lot going on inside me for most of my life. And it’s got to a point where I can’t manage on my own anymore.
I see the unfinished extension, the unfinished renovations, the yard outside, housework and I just rarely have any energy to make any headway. That is an indication outside of me. And inside me there is more going on too, but this is all I have the energy to share at the moment.
Love to you all.