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Am I Being Fair…?

with 14 comments

A question that is plaguing me and my relationship at the moment.

My partner has been objecting to what I’ve written about our arguments lately. I am not sure he appreciates me writing about our relationship in such a public, but one-sided way. Maybe it is unfair to expect him to sit back without the opportunity to say his piece, but I need somewhere to work all of this out. I need to know if I am making sense. I need someone to listen.

He is of course right that I am only showing my side of the story and I am not giving him the opportunity to defend himself. Maybe I could let him write his own post, give his own argument, but I’m not sure it would be suitable for publication! ;) It is true though that much of what I have written has presented the facts and I am not trying to criticise or upset him with these posts. He did indeed call my illness a “stupid teenage fantasy” and does indeed make little snide comments about my blogging, so he cannot argue with that.

He tells me though that I do not realise how much the things I write hurt him and that I shouldn’t portray him as some big evil monster. I don’t mean to do that. He isn’t. We really do have our problems at the moment, but I don’t think he acts with any malice. I don’t think he gets any pleasure out of annoying or hurting me. He just doesn’t know how to deal with everything that is going on. I’m pretty sure he genuinely tries to understand better, but I am just not sure that it works.

One thing he said was that his sulking is not in any way aimed at me. He said that when he read about me stopping my medication he was really angry and that when he went off to sulk he wasn’t trying to manipulate me, he was just taking time out so he didn’t do or say something he may regret. That seems fair enough. There are times I have to take myself away from a situation. The problem is though I am unsure. Even if he doesn’t mean it that way, it still puts me on the back foot and makes me feel guilty. Of course he says that is my problem and that I shouldn’t think everything is about trying to hurt me. I guess it is my own fault for feeling guilty, but perhaps he should find another way of staying in control and maybe he shouldn’t give me the cold shoulder when I try and find out what is wrong.

When I said that our long conversation (argument) on Saturday night didn’t get us anywhere he was upset as well. He felt it did help and that we were getting somewhere. He argued that I am always seeing the negative in things and that we’re never going to get anywhere if I continue with that attitude. Yes, we did say things that needed to be said, but I am unsure if we actually got any closer to finding a solution. I know that he was trying though.

We had another one of those conversations on Sunday night. He said he’d been making a concious effort all day on Sunday not to make the biting comments I find so frustrating, yet I can’t say I noticed an improvement. This confuses me. Are things really not as bad as I think they are, but because of the negative nature of depressed thinking I am feeling things more acutely? Am I just making things up to taunt myself with?

We seemed to spend a great deal of time discussing the merits of twitter. I do think things have escalated on the blogging-hatred front since I started using twitter more regularly. You may remember that I wrote a blog post about my feelings on twitter about a month ago. I myself was sceptical of its merits, but I have come around because I do genuinely think it is helpful and dare I say it? I enjoy it. I enjoy being in the middle of discussion between an interesting group of people. I like the fact that twitter is taking my blog to new audiences. I like the fact it is quick and I can log my thoughts without having to dwell or develop them.

One of his arguments was that 140 characters is far too little to say anything constructive. I thought that too at first, but I am amazed at what you can actually convey through a few short messages. Thoughts after all aren’t logically constructed into sentences and paragraphs when you have them, so sharing a few snippets can still get across the same message.

His other was that he doesn’t understand why I want to broadcast little snippets of info to a bunch of strangers. He doesn’t really understand why I want an audience on my blog. I know I didn’t really start writing this for an audience. I started as I hoped it would be therapeutic, but I have found it helpful, interesting and encouraging to know there are people out there that care. I have met people who I do genuinely count as friends and I have received a great deal of useful advice and support. I wouldn’t get all that from a paper journal hidden under my bed.

As for twitter and an audience. I only really intended it to be aimed at my blogging audience. Little extra snippets of information for those that already read. Little updates for when I don’t have the words for more. It has developed into a new outlet though and also a new source of readers to this blog.

We also talked about me and my illness. His main argument was that I do not try hard enough to get better. This is an argument I hate, because it implies such a lack of understanding about mental illness, that I thought I could have changed by now. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, it isn’t going to take this illness away. I may be able to ease some of the symptoms, but that will be as far as it goes. Yes, I know that lifestyle changes can be useful and I even know that eating better and exercise can help, but it is not a panacea. The eat better, exercise more, be a better person stuff just doesn’t wash.

He is worried that I am pinning all my hopes of recovery on finding a wonder drug and/or therapy and that I am not going to do anything myself to get better. I am hoping that one day I will find a cocktail of medication that helps. Most of the people I know that have had some recovery have been aided in that by medication. It is often pointed out at The Priory that you should take a three pronged approach to recovery: medication, therapy and lifestyle change. By pinning my hopes for recovery on therapy and medication I am not being lazy, just realistic. I would also hope that the fact I have hopes for therapy (when the NHS finally get their ass in gear) does suggest I want to do some of the work to get better myself. Therapy is far from an easy process and involves a great deal of hard work, work which I am going to have to do.

As an example of how I am being lazy and not trying hard enough, he says that I haven’t done anything to improve my sleep, except take a few pills. I have tried medication, but I’ve been through the sleep hygiene stuff too. Admittedly I’ve made less effort in recent months, but only because I have given up hope. I have spent years swinging between hypersomnia and insomnia, although in recent years I’ve been firmly in the insomnia camp. I have tried all sorts of things and nothing has succeeded in restoring “normal” sleep. What is normal is questionable anyway, because there are times when 4 hours is fine, other times when 4 hours is no where near enough and even times when 4 hours feels too much. Sometimes I can have 2 hours sleep and feel fine. Sometimes I can have 2 hours sleep and feel awful. Other times I can have 7 hours sleep and still feel exhausted. I guess it’s all linked to mood, but I guess it also means my sleep will never be great.

He suggests I need to follow more of the CBT and self-help stuff we went over at The Priory. Setting myself a routine and activity scheduling. I do need to get back into a routine, but it is understandable that things go haywire over Christmas. I know activity scheduling was something that was always encouraged at The Priory, but I never really found it helpful. I also worry that this is just another means for exerting control. He can try and make me follow a routine he approves of and if I don’t stick to it, then he can get angry and tell me I’m not trying hard enough.

His latest suggestion is that I only use the internet/blog in the evenings to try and contain the time I spend on here, but I fear this is merely so he will be around at the time I’m doing it. Of course him being around will mean I will spend even less time on here because the automatic guilt-trip will be triggered and secondly, he will be able to keep an eye on me whilst I do it. When I tried to go online this morning, forgetting this had been suggested, he got angry at me and told me I was only allowed online at night and that I should do as I’m told. I had never agreed to following his suggestion, yet he was determined to enforce it. I am not sure I’m comfortable with his assumption that I will do as I’m told

I can’t remember what else was discussed on Sunday. I don’t exactly enjoy the arguments and I have found my short term memory seems to be pretty selective. Some of the bits that provoke the strongest emotion and reaction stick, but the rest slips through my hands like sand.

I do remember that I gave up before the bloke was ready to stop. I couldn’t take any more of the argument and at 2am or whatever it was I was too tired to discuss anything properly. He was annoyed at this, but I couldn’t help it. I didn’t want to start the discussion then anyway. It would be a lot easier to talk about such things when I’m actually functioning properly.

The thing is now I am confused and conflicted. I wonder if I’m being fair. I wonder if this is all my fault and if I am overreacting. I wonder if I am just seeing the negatives all the time. But things have got to the stage now that I am always suspicious of his motives. Is he trying to make me feel bad so that he can control me? Is he trying to guilt trip me into compliance? Is he just saying all of this to get his own way?

I wonder if anything will ever change. I really don’t know what to do.

Alison suggested on my last post we had some time apart and it is something I have thought about a lot myself, but I do not know how feasible it is. I hope that him going back to work will help. At least it will give us a few hours space. His cold is now improving, but his attempt to get to work this morning proved futile due to the snow. Both routes out of the village towards Warrington were difficult – one impassable and one almost so and he didn’t want to get stuck on the way back, so he turned around and came home. Unless it dramatically warms up overnight there’s little sign of him getting there tomorrow either. We’ve had another couple of inches since he got home this morning.

Even if he does get to work soon, a few hours apart probably isn’t going to be enough to help. Would a temporary separation be useful? It might make us realise what things we miss about each other and it might give me some space to get better. Our relationship was once long distance and it is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I just don’t know if he’d be happy about it and I don’t even know if I could. Things are not good at the moment and I wonder how Dr N and the CMHT will react if I am on my own. I wonder how I would cope. I worry that I would end up in hospital, perhaps not because he would get me sectioned or maybe even not because I couldn’t cope, but pretty much because there is no where else for me to go. I can’t exactly go home – my support is up here and I’d go mad after a couple of days with my parents anyway and I don’t really have any friends I could stay with. I don’t have anywhere else to go.

As has been mentioned before, I don’t think I am well enough to make any big decisions on our relationship whilst I am still in the acute throes of this illness. I am pretty sure things would be a lot easier if I was well. My illness has skewed the power relationship and I think that has escalated the worries about control. I think he wants to control me, because he wants to keep me safe. I am in a weakened position naturally, because he is my carer and ultimately if he wanted me in hospital he could make it so. Before I was his equal and I had things of my own and they gave me freedom. I had my career and my work friends, both of which I have lost through illness. I find it hard because I don’t feel I have anything of my own any more and that only adds to the feeling that I have no freedom anymore.

Admittedly we argued before I was ill, but it is true that arguments are a fact of life in relationships and things have been so much worse lately. The problem is, I can’t really remember the good times. A combination of depression and the effects of ECT means they’ve pretty much gone. I can barely remember our engagement. It makes it very easy to think that our relationship is all bad and maybe it should be over, when really things are just a little difficult at the moment and there is a lot going for us. NYE was our 7 year anniversary. That’s a long time and we must have been doing something right to get this far.

You would be forgiven for reading this post and thinking that our relationship struggles are the only thing going through my mind at the moment, but they are not. These struggles are the thing which I feel most able to write about, but on top of all this there are other struggles going on. I want to write about them, yet I am scared about doing so. The depression is pretty intense, but the agitation is back again and the only respite I have is my appreciation of snow. I love snow and it has been a welcome distraction from the worst of my thoughts. Sadly I know that as the snow melts that respite will disappear and I will be left with the misery that fills the rest of my mind. I do not relish that thought.

14 Responses

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  1. Well, at least one positive thing seems to have come out of blogging: it’s got you and your partner talking and trying to understand where the other is coming from.

    I don’t think it’s a bad idea either to set a time aside for blogging and twitter etc.(and I say this as someone whose skin has practically grown over the keyboard) and a time that’s just for you and your partner. But that’s got to be something you both agree on. You’re a grown woman, you’re not at school, you can’t let anyone dictate your schedule to you.

    I’m really trying to see this from your partner’s pov and empathise with him. I suppose one of the hardest things about loving someone with mental health problems is that you feel shut out. Maybe the blogging makes him feel shut out, too?

    I love the snow, too. I’ve been staying at my dad’s where it’s still lying thick on the ground and reflecting the light. It massively improves my mood. Even at night, seeing it twinkling in the dark under the streetlamps make me feel better.

    Btw, how is your dog? There is not nearly enough of your dog in your blog! Do you take him out in the snow? Does he act crazy? Does he make you laugh? (I let my indoor cat go out in it and, uh, he just sank up to his shoulders and miaowed.) I don’t mean to underestimate how bad you’re feeling, not at all, but I hope long walks in the snow with your dog (and maybe your partner) could be something not bad in your week.

    Take care, pet xx


    Tuesday, 5th January 2010 at 11:28 pm

    • Funnily enough I spent about 2 hours with my dog in the snow yesterday morning. She absolutely loves it.

      I think it may have something to do with her being a Russian Black Terrier!

      I took loads of photos too!


      Wednesday, 6th January 2010 at 9:40 am

      • Privyet Sobachka =)
        (“Hi little doggy!”)

        What is her name?

        She looks like she’s having fun. I hope you had some, too. The second picture looks so calm and peaceful, a place for reflective thoughts.

        Actually, I agree with you re: blogging. It seems much more sensible to do it in the morning and switch the computer off at 5pm. Also, I’ve found the same thing: blogging has helped my friends to gain more insight into my behaviour (which might seem strange to them sometimes) and we’ve been able to talk and come to some understanding.

        But your partner obv loves you… I hope you can work things out.

        Take care xx


        Wednesday, 6th January 2010 at 10:24 pm

        • Haha little doggy? She’s almost up to my waist and weighs about 45kg for 11 months! Not little. ;)

          Her name is Nikki and she loves the snow. We went out again yesterday. Just sorting out the photos now.


          Thursday, 7th January 2010 at 9:50 am

    • I shall reply to the rest of your post now.

      I don’t mind so much limiting the time for blogging, but I don’t understand why that has to be in the evening when the the bloke is around most. Surely it would make more sense for it to be when he’s not around so we can do other things when he is?

      You are probably right that he feels shut out, but I find blogging is at least an outlet where I feel I can let him in a little. I don’t suppose I’d have told him about the medication thing at all if I didn’t do it through this blog. I find it so hard to talk to him about things.


      Wednesday, 6th January 2010 at 9:48 am

    • Gorgeous pictures! :)


      Wednesday, 6th January 2010 at 3:34 pm

  2. I found it really difficult to read your post because it’s obvious you are really struggling at the moment and in a difficult emotional turmoil with not only the depression but your relationship with your partner.

    I can understand him not getting to work today, it’s been somewhat crazy here in the North West and tomorrow is not looking much better!

    I don’t think he’s being fair by telling you when you can and can’t go on the internet, there is no other way to look at that that a form of control.

    Right now I wish there was more I could say and do.


    Tuesday, 5th January 2010 at 11:36 pm

    • He managed to get to work today! Someone has cleared the road out of the village.

      Take care hun x


      Wednesday, 6th January 2010 at 10:02 am

  3. “My partner has already told me that if I dumped him and tried to move out he would get me sectioned.”

    I know he’s trying to protect you, my family did some questionable things when I was ill, but dictating to you when you can blog and then having a go at you for doing it out of his designated times is madness. Alison is right, that is control.

    At the end of the day you’re an adult. Yes you have an illness but you still have your own mind. You’re not psychotic or delusional. You’re thinking certain things because of a REAL situation. It’s like feeling sad because someone died. You wouldn’t feel suicidal because you were blissfully happy. Your depression is real as is bipolar and you are undeniably depressed. Wouldn’t he rather you were honest rather than pretending to be fine?

    Again, apologies for the rant. I do get that he’s trying to help. There’s no magical handbook for these sorts of things, but being controlled – to semi-anorexic me at least- is one of the worst things ever. It’s more likely to push you apart than bring you together which is what I guess you really need.



    Wednesday, 6th January 2010 at 12:19 am

    • I remember that post. I am not sure if he still holds to that statement.

      He definitely does want me to be honest. I remember now that a lot of our argument focussed on me being honest. He doesn’t trust me and hates that I hide things from him. He calls me a liar all the time, which I feel is unfair. I don’t lie to him, even if I am economical with the truth. I only do that because I’m scared.

      Control does the same thing to me. I have always been so independent. My parents never controlled me, they trusted me to make my own decisions, and because of that it is something I am not used to or take easily.

      Take care xx


      Wednesday, 6th January 2010 at 10:01 am

    • I think he;s being a controlling arse and you should DTMFA. I also think making threats about what he’ll do if you dump him are yet another big red flag.

      This guy is petty, controlling and borderline abusive.Get rid of him.

      DeeDee Ramona

      Sunday, 10th January 2010 at 1:41 pm

  4. It’s horrible to feel trapped in a situation over which you have no control. I know how that feels, and I do sympathise.

    You know though, I think sometimes we have a tendency to expect certain behaviour and/or motives from others. This is certainly true of me, anyway! I wonder if you might be doing something like that with your partner? Clearly you have reason to suspect his motives – but isn’t it possible that he’s genuinely concerned and is making an effort that you can’t see because of your expectations of him? Just something to consider…

    Also, I’d imagine he probably feels pretty helpless. Do you think that may have some impact on his reactions to you?

    I agree with what has already been said about limiting time online. Perhaps it might be a good idea to rein it in a little, if only so that your partner can see you are considering his feelings. However it would need to be something agreed between you, rather than something forced upon you.

    I wish you well, and will be thinking of you.


    Wednesday, 6th January 2010 at 12:42 am

    • The motives thing is something I’ve alluded to in the post. I do worry that I am seeing the bad in everything, but something had to trigger that and get me to the stage where I can’t trust his motives.

      As for the time online thing. I have been trying to over the Christmas break, but that just makes me feel under pressure and adds to the tension. I guess we will have to see what happens when our routine settles.


      Wednesday, 6th January 2010 at 9:57 am

  5. I’m coming to this a little late, for which my apologies. For what it’s worth, when I had my last major breakdown, my partner accused me of very similar things – that I made no effort to get better, that y illness wasn’t real, yadda yadda yadda (notwithstanding the fact that it was partly his fault given as I’d stopped taking all my tablets following his advice, but meh). I didn’t have the additional concerns about blogging, though.

    With perseverance I’ve managed to get him to completely re-evaluate things. I don’t think he’ll ever be out there marching with Mad Pride, but he is one of my strongest advocates. He says that what changed his mind was observing it long-term and the absolute consistency of cycling.

    A (my bloke) says if your partnet’s mind isn’t completely closed, get him to read some of the material on bipolar and depression that is out there (I can recommend a few decent books if you like) – A thinks it may have changed his mind at the last point. But I’m sure you’ve thought of that.

    This is about men wanting to ‘fix’ things, methinks – A, by his own admission, started seeing things differently when I became more analytical about them, if that makes any sense. I don’t know if that applies to your bloke, but maybe it’s one issue at play?

    Sorry if this is a pile of rambling crap; just wanted to let you know that it can be overcome if the relationship is strong. As someone above said, at least it’s a good thing that you’re communicating.

    Take care hun – good luck with this, and with everything else that’s going on at the minute.


    (PS. Love the pictures!)

    Serial Insomniac

    Monday, 11th January 2010 at 10:41 pm

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