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my mil tried to od and my husband is really fucked up over it

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fizzgig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-11 09:04 PM
Original message
my mil tried to od and my husband is really fucked up over it
Edited on Sun Feb-27-11 09:17 PM by fizzgig
she took a bunch of excederine thursday night and locked herself in the bathroom. my fil was there and called the paramedics. she's in the hospital until probably tomorrow.

my husband has been blaming himself because he sent a cruddy email to her wednesday. she'd been upset that he doesn't call more often and he told her it's because he's too busy working two jobs so we can survive and some general anger about how they don't help us out.

this has made my husband, and his family, have to examine a lot of their shit and talk about it. they never talk about shit. ever.

he made some amends today and came to some realizations. he's had his own struggles with depression and i know it has a lot to do with some unresolved or even unrealized issues. i'm hoping this helps him open up.

i will say i'm very proud of how he's handling this. in the past, upsetting or stressful situations have made him lash out at me. not this time. he's directing his anger and frustration in the appropriate places. he's talking to me. he's telling me what he needs.

on top of it, i had a pretty fucked up day on friday and yesterday was completely exhausting chaos, so i'm feeling a bit like a bag of smashed assholes right now. my best friend is in town from germany (it's been 15 months since she's been home), but her dad just fell back off the wagon and she's having to deal with that.

so, we're trying to figure out a way for at least my husband to get out there (they're in virginia). his dad said he'd help with airfare, but it's doubtful we'll be able to afford for the both of us to go.

i should call my fil to see how he's doing and see if theirs any news. i'm too exhausted to do it, but i will, because i don't know that he has anyone to really talk to right now.

thank gods we both have tomorrow off.

eta: i'm doing fine, just exhausted. i'm a bit on autopilot, it's just a matter of me making sure i'm paying extra attention to the cues he's sending me and keeping my mouth shut. that's easier said than done for me sometimes, but i've done a good job of it so far.

it's an odd situation for me because i barely know his family. i've only met them once and i've spoken with my fil more in the last two days than in the three years my husband and i've been together. i'm trying share what insight i can, but i don't know them that well and don't know the boundaries.
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-28-11 09:47 AM
Response to Original message
1. sounds like a lose lose situation.
there is no right way to handle this. it sucks and that's that.
has mil been treated for depression before? do family members know what they are dealing with?
depression drags everyone into its tumult, that is the lesson i have learned about it. hubby shouldn't feel guilty. his email might have been the last straw, but that camel was already over loaded with a killing burden.

peace to all of you. hope mil ended up in a good facility and that they can help the whole family.
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fizzgig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-28-11 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. i don't know for sure, but i'm damn near certain she's never gotten any treatment before.
my fil told me the other day that she's been different the last few months and a few signs here and there, but the signs never came in a way that they added up to anything being noticeably wrong. that said, my experiences with and understanding his family all indicate that i am dealing with very, very emotionally repressed people with a less-than-enlightened attitude toward mental health (now doesn't that sound miserably judgmental). the fact that my husband refuses to acknowledge his own depression and fights me over going to counselling tells me a lot. my fil agreed with me when i suggested counselling for he and mil, both individual and together, but we'll see if he follows through. but i honestly don't know if they're aware of what kind of ugliness this might entail and i don't know that they're equipped for it. there's a lot of darkness and ugliness that's been ignored by his family for a long, long time.

maybe i'm being overly dramatic, maybe i'm way over-thinking all of this, both are entirely possible. but if the last 20 hours are any indication, i know at least my husband has realized there's a lot of shit that needs dealt with and that it's not going to be pretty or nice getting through it.

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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-28-11 12:53 PM
Response to Original message
3. A bit of the truth from a mentally ill, die hard, curmudgeon
Edited on Mon Feb-28-11 12:56 PM by HereSince1628
Each of us acts on our own. It's wrong to say that 'someone else made us do it.'

Certainly we follow our own propensities for high likelihood transitions in emotional and cognitive space in response to stimuli in our environments. But those state transition probabilities are unique to the person they belong to..."THE ME."

We mentally ill often live as if we expect others to dance around our 'buttons' in support of our personal dance around our buttons.

But those buttons are part of "US," the dance is a solo.

Your mil putting pain-killers in her mouth was HER behavior.

Your Husband feeling bad about writing something to her is HIS emotion.

YOU don't OWN either of those behaviors, although it is clear that you feel the grief of both.

I understand. It's hard to see suffering in people that you care for.


YOU don't have an obligation to fix either one of them. You may be able to help them see for themselves the paths to help that their current emotional states prevent them from finding alone.

There's nothing wrong with feeling empathy for your MIL or for your husband's sense of guilt.

There is nothing wrong with desiring to help both of them find a place that's less painful.

But there ARE limits to what you really can achieve. Don't expect too much of yourself. Be fair to yourself.

I'm borderline, the intimates in my life have walked on eggshells around me until they just can't stand it anymore. I crush relationships because my 'buttons' go off no matter how hard the people around me try to avoid them.

In my intimates most innocent and vulnerable moments I can go emotionally ballistic and make them feel as if they are complete and utter failures.

YET,it's me. It's NOT them.

So, my experience says, it's your MIL...not your husband.
It's his sense of guilt...not yours.

Understanding isn't the same as taking on someone elses burden. Understanding is an awareness that informs choices.

In the world of mental illness, choices usually require much much more information than simple awareness.

If you want to help, look for a place to get information--a NAMI chapter near you--or some other support group for family members.

Remember, you can lead a willing horse, but even a willing horse has got to walk on its own.

In the process of helping, no matter how strongly you feel, you've just got to accept that we mentally ill must get up and do the walking ourselves. No amount of beating yourself up will replace that.

I wish you patience and down the road the happier times you deserve.

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fizzgig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-28-11 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. thank you for your input
this situation has hit a few of my own buttons, but i think one sign of my own growth is that i am completely aware that none of this is about me and none of it belongs to me and that i haven't taken it on as my own. it is killing me that i can't fix it for him, but i know that it's nothing that i can fix. all i can do is listen and try to understand the best i can, giving the best advice, comfort or support that i can. i am involved in this, but i feel more of an observer or referee than active participant.

my husband and i clash sometimes because sometimes one of us will hit the other's button trying to avoid our own. i've left my own carnage related to my struggles with mental illness and some days it sends me right into the stratosphere that he seemingly doesn't recognize that i've been there and i know what i'm talking about. but that's mine, not his. i have to remember what it took for me to start walking and that he'll start when he's ready to. he's teaching me patience.

we've hit a lot of financial dead ends in our previous efforts to address our mental health needs, but nami is the one place i hadn't thought of going to.
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