Thursday, July 7, 2016
Supporting my husband with MS ... or enabling him?
With my new job, has come some new changes in our family dynamic. I am home less and my husband is home more. However, I feel as though I am doing more then I did before. And it might just be that I am doing the same amount of chores, just in a smaller amount of time. And this frustration leads me to look at my husband and what HE is doing, while he is home all day.
First off, I want to precede with advising you all I am not blaming him or complaining. I would like to simply educate others in my same boat, and others with a diagnosis of MS....the family supporters you live with and care takers. Its a whole new life change for them as well.
Below I will just show you how MY thought process goes, on a dialy basis. Its a mental and emotional things for us as well.
"I work all day, the kids are NOT in school, but he can sit there and not lift a finger all day? Maybe he is having a bad day. I will just shut up, get the kids to help, and get this done myself so he doesn't have to think I am upset about it. Its not his fault."
The next day...
"I work all day, the kids are NOT in school, but he can sit there and not lift a finger all day? I let it go yesterday so he could relax. He hasn't gone out in the heat or exerted himself. WHAT is he doing all day? I don't fully understand, so I'll just get this done myself so he doesn't have to think I am upset about it. Its not his fault."
" "I work all day, the kids are NOT in school, but he can sit there and not lift a finger all day? I let it go yesterday for a 2nd time. By now I am SURE he can muster up the energy to get SOMETHING done. A load of dishes can't possibly wear you out THAT bad. WTF?!?! Why should I have to do it ALL?"
A little under my breath complaining, and then he gets up like he knows he is wrong and helps a little until I calm down....
"He obviously can tell its not fair to me that he can't help as much anymore. Is it fair to me to get mad? How do I know he isn't just milking this to get days of doing nothing? I can't do that even when I am sick. I know I should just shut up and assume he is not having a good day every day, and eventually I will get used to it....like I'm a single mom. But if I just do everything for him, is that enableing him? Shouldn't I make him keep himself mobile and force him to learn new tricks at how to live with MS?"
After a small converstaion of letting him know that I think he is getting worse and he says he feels better? WHAT???? He admits that its the depression and he's going to try to force himself out of it.
"Here we go, I don't understand the physical aspect of depression. I know that he has a reason to be depressed. He needs his meds, although he thinks he doesn't. Do I know better than him in this case, as I have to live with the outcome of his moods? Is it fair for me to judge him? Its not his fault. But I can't just let him mope around and not do anything. That will make his depression worse and will make his physical capabilities worse, which will make the MS worse."
As a caregiver or loved one living with someone with Multiple Sclerosis, its a constant battle for us too. We want to help, but also don't want the person to feel as though they are useless.
Its a constant fine line of learning what we need to push them on, and when we need to back off.
Please, talk to your spouse, loved one, or caregiver. Let them know how you feel, what you need from them, how they can help you. Don't forget that its a learning process for you BOTH.