Lately, there’s been a spike in sad and challenging situations in my social circle. Close friends are losing parents and grandparents, experiencing big marital problems, facing various health, fertility, and financial crises, and making difficult Big Life decisions upon which their families’ happiness and security hinge. I hate seeing people I care about suffer and struggle, and I wish I could wave a wand that would solve everyone’s problems. Of course, I can’t. So I listen instead, give advice when it’s asked for, and try to share words that might be of some comfort. I wish there was more I could do. And at the same time, I’m grateful that in my own life I’m enjoying a relative respite from the bigger struggles that life, marriage, and parenthood often deliver so that I have the energy reserves to offer support to my loved ones who need it. And to you, too, if you need it.
Feel free to share your struggles and challenges here — anonymously, if you prefer — and receive or offer up some support to those who especially need it this week, this month, on this day. Life can be hard — let’s have each other’s backs.
Meg March 14, 2016, 12:43 pm
Interesting timing… while my life is definitely not a huge disaster or anything, my husband are at an intersection of several different difficult issues, and I would love a reality check.
As background, we’re in our early 30s, have been married for 2 1/2 years, dated for 3 before that and known one another for a total of about 14. We definitely want kids, and have known that having them naturally is going to be difficult. So, we’ve been trying for about 2 years, but plan to use our resources to pursue adoption rather than fertility treatments.
We were both fairly heavy drinkers when we first got together- but his drinking was on another level. He had a DUI accident before we started dating, has injured himself several times requiring ER visits (both before me and afterward), had several embarrassing party exits, etc. We tried several times to help him learn to drink moderately, but it never lasted for more than a few weeks (although interestingly, he was completely fine not drinking at all- it’s just after he has one that he ends up having 6 more).
I found myself procrastinating on taking concrete steps toward adoption, and only within the past few months was able to articulate why. I felt like his drinking was taking a toll on our marriage, and I didn’t want to grow our family until we were on more secure footing. So, we finally had a hard conversation in which I told him I thought he might be an alcoholic, and that I wouldn’t feel right about starting the adoption process until he met with someone and we had a better idea of what we were dealing with. After a couple days to process, he agreed with my likely assessment.
Last week, he met with a counselor who said what we both sort of hoped wouldn’t be the case- he definitely seems to be an alcoholic. The counselor strongly recommended he start AA, and he went to his first meeting Friday night. It actually seems to be going well, and my husband is in a remarkably positive place about it. We’re paying more attention to our relationship and he’s paying more attention to healthy hobbies, like volunteering and getting more involved with our church (I’m already pretty actively involved there, singing in the choir, serving on committees, etc). This whole process has lasted a couple months (during which time he hasn’t had a drink at all), although the official “diagnosis” only took place a week ago. All in all, we’re in the best place we’ve been in a long while.
That said, last night he brought adoption back up, and asked if we could start working on it since he did what I asked. It still feels really fast to me- a week since we’ve started using the term “alcoholic” and one AA meeting. His point is that it’s a long process and that he wants to see what he’s working toward, but I feel like 1) it’s going to be a difficult process and would rather have support systems in place before we change something major in our lives and 2) I need a little bit of time seeing the “new normal” of our lives before I trust that it’s permanent and can make a good faith argument that we’re ready for someone to give us their child. I know no one is ever really ready, but this is a very intentional process and it’s scary to jump in while still in a place of “our marriage is pretty good right now, but that wasn’t the case 6 months ago.” (To clarify, he was never a mean/scary/angry drunk- just sloppy and unattractive/unmotivated and it kind of killed our sex life, something from which we’re still recovering).
So am I crazy to want to hold off at least a few weeks/months until he gets settled into the AA program and I can hopefully feel right about moving forward? I don’t want to be unfair to him or make him feel like this is a bait and switch- but I kind of feel like by making this request, he’s still not grasping just how serious this is. For the record, I want a baby as badly as he does. If I were single, I’d probably be pursuing adopting on my own. But I can’t just keep putting my head down and pushing forward and hoping everything turns out ok. I did that for way too long already.
Dear Wendy March 14, 2016, 12:57 pm
You’re right to wait. And in your early 30s and not dependent on your biological clock, what’s the rush? I mean, besides both wanting to be parents? I’d say wait at least six months before moving forward, explaining that you both need that much time to get the support network in place. I’m not an expert at this, but I think a AA recommends a year of treatment/meetings before making a big life change. Does your husband have a sponsor yet? I think a sponsor would advise waiting.
Meg March 14, 2016, 1:08 pm
He doesn’t have a sponsor and that’s exactly what I said. I also think their official advice is to wait a year, and while I can’t say that we’ll necessarily decide to follow it by the book, I at least want him to be deep enough into the program to talk it through with someone who knows why that’s the recommendation- so we can decide what that means in our situation, know what to look out for, and plan on how we’re going to deal with anything that comes up.
His argument is that starting the ball in motion isn’t going to mean we get a newborn tomorrow, and I get that. He also feels like, since having a family is a big part of why he’s doing this, seeing the reward coming will help him keep going forward with a positive attitude, rather than begrudgingly. But a baby is not a reward.
Plus, since a big part of the impact of his drinking on our marriage was me feeling like his mom rather than feeling in love with him, I need a little bit more time getting used to our new, healthier dynamic before I can really trust that the timing is right.
Vathena March 14, 2016, 1:27 pm
Having a family can’t be his main reason to quit drinking. He has to want to do it for himself. For his own health, and life. And for his existing family (you). I don’t know a lot about the adoption process, but I understand it can take a long time. What is he planning to do if there IS no immediate “reward” on the horizon? Even when you are waiting at the hospital to take a newborn home, a birth mom could change her mind. Also, I don’t know how much of this you would need to disclose during the adoption process, but I’m pretty sure that “alcoholic with two months’ sobriety” and “NEW healthier dynamic” is not going to put you very high up on the list of prospective parents. Things will look a lot better when your husband has been sober for a longer time. It may benefit you both to continue seeing a counselor and learning how to communicate and cope with stressful situations without drinking. Because children will drive you to drink.
Vathena March 14, 2016, 1:29 pm
All that to say – I agree with you, and hope that you can come to an understanding with your husband!
Anonymousse March 14, 2016, 1:29 pm
Growing up with an addict/alcoholic uninvolved father, and married to a man whose father was a serious alcoholic for most of his childhood…wait. Wait until you can trust this behavior and really, him, again. Have you considered counseling for you both? It’s probably not a bad idea. A baby, a marriage, a family is not a reward for good behavior. I think his thought process is a little troubling here.
Meg March 14, 2016, 1:46 pm
Yeah, and I don’t think that’s how he would articulate it at all- but I do think the fact that he hoped I would be ready to move forward based on this, indicates he’s still in denial to some degree. For him, it seems like we’ve identified the problem and as long as he’s going to AA and not drinking, we’ve solved it. For me, AA is a tool which he’s identified- and which now he has to learn to use in order to continually address the problem on an ongoing basis.
Anonymousse March 14, 2016, 2:01 pm
Good luck to you!
Dietcokeaddict March 16, 2016, 7:43 pm
Have you considered attending a few al anon meetings? There are meetings specifically for beginners that are really great. These are for loved ones of a person with a drinking problem. They also have some great literature. On the positive side, it seems like your husband is taking the right steps to get himself healthy. Substance abuse and addiction doesn’t just affect the abuser/addict. The family members develop behavior patterns that are hard to break (like “being his mom” – don’t feel bad – I did that too). I ultimately didn’t become an al anon lifer but the things I learned helped so much and actually ultimately helped me become a better parent.
kare March 14, 2016, 1:03 pm
I’m glad your husband was willing to meet with a counselor and go to AA. I highly suggest holding off on adoption until he has been sober for a year, or at least 6 months. Major life changes can lead to relapses, and I’ve heard the adoption process can be a very emotional journey. I think it would also be good to discuss with a counselor. I know my brother was told not to start a relationship until he was sober for a year, but I’m sure the advice varies.
veritek33 March 14, 2016, 1:06 pm
I think you’re right. It is going to be a process and some time for him to get to a place of understanding his drinking problem. And adoption is a stressful, stressful thing. And if he ever drinks while stressed, this won’t be easy. I send you nothing but good thoughts and vibes. I hope everything works out for the best.
Northern Star March 14, 2016, 1:07 pm
Your husband was able to stop drinking for a couple of months without relapsing (and before he was even working a program, or officially diagnosed). That’s a very positive sign for the future! But I think you’re absolutely justified in wanting to see more progress and commitment to the no-drinking policy before pursuing adoption. It makes sense to encourage your husband to keep walking this path, one step at a time, until you both feel ready. It’s easy enough at the start of any new lifestyle change to say, “This will work forever!” Many backslide. Even those who don’t have to work hard to stay sober. You want a strong marriage between two trusting spouses for your child. Wait until you feel confident that’s what you have.
Meg March 14, 2016, 1:28 pm
Thanks! I do think that’s a very positive sign for the future. As much as we sped past quite a few warning sides before addressing this, we caught it before he had some dramatic “rock bottom” experience, and that’s a good thing. But I still think he’s got a bit of denial going on about what this whole process is going to be like- and while I understand what he’s saying about feeling like we’re making progress toward the family we want making it easier for him to stay on track, I think that very instinct is partly related to the denial. It took me a long time to get to the place where I saw his drinking for the big deal that it is. I think he sees parts of it, and is doing a good job dealing with them- but until he can see what I see, I’m not going to feel right about actively pursuing adopting. The fact that he thought that one meeting with a counselor and one AA meeting was enough to get the ball rolling, says to me that he doesn’t quite see it yet.
Bubbles March 14, 2016, 1:30 pm
From my experience, I believe AA recommends to wait at least one year, so that the person goes through all of the season of temptation. Family get-togethers and birthdays, summertime BBQs with friends encouraging him to just take one shot or one bottle of beer won’t hurt. End of the year holidays where drinks are included in all of the festivities. They also need to learn how to survive life’s stresses without turning to a drink.
You are correct in wanting to hold off, at least a year, before starting the adoption process. I would think that if a government agency does the adoption process, they’d look into your husband’s DUI and would want to see proof that he’s no longer drinking. AA would have a record of that.
I hope it all works out for you both. Good luck!
Meg March 14, 2016, 1:41 pm
Yeah, luckily the DUI was years ago- 2008 maybe?- and that’s the only legal record of a problem with drinking. So hopefully that won’t be a huge road block for us when the time comes. Honestly, once we started dating, I was pretty good at keeping consequences at bay- which at the time seemed like a good thing, but really I probably just enabled him to be in denial about it being a problem.
mylaray March 14, 2016, 1:44 pm
That’s really difficult, but I think it sounds promising that your husband is already in AA and admitting to being an alcoholic. It will be smart to wait, not only for your marriage, but also for your child.
Anonymousse March 14, 2016, 2:03 pm
Your last line is exactly right. It’s what I was thinking, but couldn’t find the right words.
Raccoon eyes March 14, 2016, 3:32 pm
Meg, Hi! Im an alcoholic, 3 years sober now, I go to a meeting 3-4 times a weeks (which is good for me), and continue to go to therapy every 3ish weeks. My Sweetie is also and alcoholic, but he is not a fan of meetings, and has also been sober for a number of years. I did hit rock bottom (very very hard), and I went to treatment for about 6 weeks. I will tell you that what your husband is experiencing is called the “pink cloud,” where you are first sober and suddenly, as the fog lifts, you think everything is GRAND. But it usually does not last long. (Also, I agree with the assessment that he is an alcoholic, from your description. In fact, he clearly is.)
You say you think your husband has not learned much. That would be absolutely correct. To me, one of the saddest things that I learned, is that I am no different from so so so many other ppl (alcoholics). That I wasnt just ‘a bit selfish’ as Id always thought, but that that is my “alcoholic thinking,” of I want what I want when I want it. Going through the Steps, your husband will learn how to retrain himself, for lack of a better term. That he thinks he is ready to go on with the adoption process is indicative that he has not really fully accepted that he is an alcoholic and powerless over alcohol.
I could go on for some time here, but I think that covers the basics… please know that I think you are doing an amazing job, and your instincts are right on. The thing he needs to do is to stick with therapy and AA- go to different meetings and find one or a few he especially enjoys, get a sponsor, read The Big Book and Step Book. Oh- and there is no set time here that he needs to wait- but yeah, a weekend is NOT enough time- even for a process that will likely take some time.
Al-anon. I cant say from experience, but I hear that it can be very helpful.
Meg March 15, 2016, 8:51 am
Thank you so much for your perspective! I work pretty closely with the recovery community (I work in fundraising for a nonprofit that works in the field, and while I don’t work directly with clients, I work closely with people who do), so I feel like I’m biased in both ways- like, I’m likely to see warning signs quickly, but then also feel like my husband is no where near as bad off as most of the people we serve, so he doesn’t necessarily fit my image of a textbook alcoholic. It’s good to hear from someone who has been there, but is into the maintenance stage which I see less of in my day-to-day life.
I really think he’s got a great chance to succeed (even if I know there’s a decent chance he’ll slip up a few times over the course of our life together)- and I believe he’s committed to doing it. But I don’t necessarily think he really understands yet what the journey is going to be like. He’s got to have that picture, and a support network/plan of action he’s started implementing and feeling comfortable with, before I feel like we’re ready to make and act on huge decisions.
We’ll get there. Lord knows I want to get there as soon as we can, because we both want a family more than anything, and waiting frankly sucks. But I know it’s the right thing to do for the time being.
Raccoon eyes March 16, 2016, 1:52 pm
Good luck to you!!! 🙂
Ella_ March 14, 2016, 12:52 pm
I’m coming up to a crossroads and am having a difficult time with all the uncertainty that I have about my future. I’m very close to submitting my dissertation and finishing my Ph.D. but the academic job market continues to be difficult. I’ve been applying this year but it’s tough as an ADB to be up against lots of people with PhDs and postdoc experience. I’m totally willing to leave academia but it’s been difficult to figure out where to go from here (my PhD will be in a Humanities field). It’s hard not to feel like the whole thing has been a long diversion from real life and a waste of time since the chances of it translating to an academic job are very slim. I know it’s a good accomplishment and will hopefully help me moving forward but it’s difficult to feel like I have had some successes in my grad school career and taken advantage of the opportunities I’ve had and not know what I could have done differently.
Of course, this is further complicated by questions of visas and work permits since I currently live in a country other than my home country. I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year and a half and I’d like to stay in the country where I am, but the timeline of getting a work visa may be longer than I’d like and of course I still need to pay rent and support myself, but I can’t keep my on-campus job once I finish. Plus then there’s more questions about the future of the relationship and living here or in my country, etc, etc.
I’ve been applying for sessional work where I can and I can pick up more hours at my job once I submit and before I defend but the last week has been so busy with marking and trying to finish my revisions and sending in four job applications and keeping up with my running so I stay sane.
veritek33 March 14, 2016, 1:08 pm
I don’t know the answers, I’ve never been in this position. Just know that someone is sending good thoughts and hoping it all works out for you.
Ella_ March 14, 2016, 1:18 pm
Thank you! I know everything will work out in some sense — I’ll be able to find some sort of work, I will have a place to live, etc, it’s just the uncertainty that I’m struggling with. But I appreciate the positive thoughts!
MissyC March 14, 2016, 1:12 pm
Ella — I can definitely relate! I’m also working (in this case after my PhD) in a different country, and now searching for opportunities outside of academia where I can stay, and hopefully my boyfriend and I can both stay in the same geographical location. It’s tough, to be sure! I don’t really have any answers, only support. It’s rough, and it will take a lot of time, but it’s not impossible. It sounds like you’ve got a good plan of attack for the moment. A good way to think about it is that the job search just becomes a new research project. It should be a really nice way to put your PhD skills to work 🙂 Good luck!!
Ella_ March 14, 2016, 1:20 pm
Thanks! I’m just having a hard time not worrying about things that are too far ahead to worry about. I need to concentrate on finishing and then figure out what to do next and am trying to save enough to make it work and give myself a cushion, but it’s hard not to worry.
Portia March 14, 2016, 1:38 pm
The academic job market is a tough place. I know a lot of smart people that just went through hiring cycle after hiring cycle with nothing, and friends that got something first shot out the gate.
I have one friend with the most positive attitude about it. She went into it for two years with a two-year cap – if she didn’t come out of the second cycle with an offer, then she was going to the non-academic world. That second year she was working full-time while applying and was ready for the non-academic life when something came through. So I’d recommend that you decide what your limit is ahead of time. It certainly kept her sane and she seemed to put less pressure on herself.
AndSoItGoes March 14, 2016, 1:54 pm
I am at the end, too. I should be working on chapter revisions at this moment, actually, and will be graduating in June (also in the humanities). Imagine my surprise when, so close to the end of this journey, I looked back and realized that it had been a pretty terrible experience in a number of ways. The constant feeling of uncertainty regarding life after grad school definitely contributed to the pain.
The economic reality of life as a humanities PhD was not at all clear to me when I began this journey, so I relate to your worry that it’s all be a long diversion from life, sucking up years that might have been better spent elsewhere–not only because of the limited jobs and economic prospects of would-be humanities professors, but also because of the way that the rest of one’s life is impacted by the economics. I know plenty of people who make significant sacrifices in pursuit of the academic career–couples living far apart, limiting the number of children they have, living in places they don’t like, etc.
So I, like you, came to the conclusion that I would leave academia if it came to that. I would go on the job market, but limited myself to two years (maybe even one, if I really hated in the first time around). I am not willing to continue sacrificing the other parts of my life in its pursuit. When I began researching alternatives to academia I found that there is a lot of information out there about life after grad school. Some includes advice and some just tells stories, but I find it all helpful and encouraging. I also found that many humanities PhD find success in the tech industry (if you’re interested in that). One thing I would suggest, based on my research, is working with a headhunter. That person will be able to find the right job opportunities for you faster than you will. And here are links to some of the sites that you may find helpful/interesting/encouraging:
And, by the way, congratulations. It doesn’t always feel like it, but this is a big accomplishment. Do what you can to really enjoy the feeling of completion.
Ella_ March 14, 2016, 2:03 pm
Thank you so much! I hadn’t thought about working with a recruiter before, that’s a good idea.
Good luck to you too!
Cleopatra_30 March 14, 2016, 2:45 pm
I know how you feel! I didn’t do a PhD, but I graduated last May with an undergrad and February this year marked one year of job searching. I don’t have much work experience in my field (urban design), and so it is really difficult to find an employer willing to hire me as a junior planner. That, and internships would not help me in the least bit since I need to make money right now to pay off my debt! Everyone keeps telling me to soldier on, and I will, but it can be hard sometimes. Just get your ducks lined up, make a solid plan in case you can’t find work right away and keep going, as there WILL be an opportunity, then it will go from there!
JJ March 17, 2016, 3:11 pm
I think it’s actually good to start thinking about it now, not wait until after you finish your dissertation and have the PhD. A lot of career services are only available to students, so try to make use of them now. Finding a job with a PhD is really not a whole lot easier than when you are ABD. I got my PhD in neuroscience, so most of the non-academic jobs I considered are not relevant to you. I did a couple of post-docs (which are much easier to get in the sciences), but by that point it was much harder to make connections to non-acaedmic job contacts. The people in my PhD program who had the easiest transition to their non-academic career started doing things while still in the PhD program–starting some science writing in blogs and student newspapers, getting involved in intellectual property law through internships, etc. After my two postdocs and deciding I did not want to have my own lab in a big research university or move to any small town college willing to give me a job, I’m back in school getting my doctorate in Physical Therapy–a job that is quite easy to get and pays soooo much better than being an Adjunct. Good luck in figuring it out.
MissyC March 14, 2016, 1:09 pm
What a timely post. My boyfriend of 2.5 years is in a PhD program, and should be finishing this year. On some advice from a postdoctoral researcher in his lab, he decided to be “more vocal and critical” in a meeting with his boss and shared some concerns he has about not only his project but also about a collaboration of which he is a part. The next day she (his boss) called him into her office and told him that when his contract expires in July, he will not be paid any longer, and that his last day of experiments for his dissertation should be the following day.
There’s not much he can do, since she is the boss/lab head and what she says goes, but it’s a really shitty situation. We have talked about it, and I’ve asked him what I can do to support him, to which he responded that he simply wants me to be there for him, to be supportive, and to not doubt him/us if times in the coming months are trying. I also had a pretty crappy situation at the end of my studies so I can understand what he’s going through, so that helps a bit to be empathetic.
I’m not sure I’m asking for advice (although if anyone has some I’d be more than open to hearing it!) but it helps to vent a bit.
JJ March 17, 2016, 3:19 pm
Has he talked to people in his program? This is NOT normal, and I have a hard time his doctoral program would allow this (though, I also know that ANYTHING can happen in a PhD program without any real rights for the students). I would talk to the department chair if I were him and people on his dissertation committee if he has one. It might be best for him to switch labs, even though that might mean starting over again. Maybe be could have the project become a collaboration with another lab. Even though the idea of starting over in another lab might seem awful, it might be better than staying in this lab. His “boss”/advisor will likely not give him a good recommendation which would mean that the rest of his career is basically stalled out. If the boss tries to make this about funding, again having the graduate department provide funds (which sometimes happens) or another lab through a collaboration would block that argument. If she makes this more explicitly about retribution, your boyfriend needs to make sure that this is known in the department and see if any kind of mediation can be attempted.
veritek33 March 14, 2016, 1:10 pm
I hesitate to say much since the last time I spilled my guts in an open thread it got a little crazy and derailed. I’ll just say I have a parent that’s back in the hospital, a tense work situation that I have the support of my boss but it’s still a delicate situation, and a promising date I was looking forward to got cancelled today. So I’m a little down. None of you can do anything to help it, but I appreciate corny jokes or funny stories.
Anonymousse March 14, 2016, 1:24 pm
I woke up in a pool of baby poop this morning! In my most sacred of spaces..my bed. The poop went through my sheets, and my memory foam topper to the top of my mattress. I have a sinus cold, so I didn’t seem to hear or smell the disaster. Fun times! Not much of a story, but laughing is the only way to cope with poop explosions.
veritek33 March 14, 2016, 2:18 pm
OMG THAT’S MY WORST NIGHTMARE. And I don’t even have kids. But poop or pee on the tempurpedic is my recurring nightmare. My laughter and sympathies are with you at this shitty (pun intended) time.
Anonymousse March 14, 2016, 2:32 pm
Bubbles March 14, 2016, 1:34 pm
I’m sorry you’re going through this right now @Veritek, but it could be worse (see Anonymousse’s comment! J/K). Internet ((hugs)) and prayers to you.
veritek33 March 14, 2016, 2:19 pm
Thank you bubbles. Internet hugs back to you.
Anonymousse March 14, 2016, 1:36 pm
Also, in all seriousness, I wish things were a little brighter for you right now. I enjoy your presence on this site!
veritek33 March 14, 2016, 2:22 pm
Thank you Anonymousse, I always enjoy your comments as well. Since I wrote my initial message, my date has been rescheduled! So on the bright side, I don’t have to miss crossfit tomorrow and I can get another good workout in!
Samba March 14, 2016, 3:07 pm
I’m sorry to hear it Veritek. You are such a awesome person and I love seeing what you have to say on DW! Here is a super corny joke for you, and apologies to the blondes in the audience:
Why were the blonde’s boobs square?
Because she forgot to take the kleenex out of the box first 🙂
veritek33 March 14, 2016, 3:31 pm
I snort laughed. Thank you 🙂
Moneypenny March 14, 2016, 5:14 pm
Actually, that was funny. 😛
AKF March 14, 2016, 1:24 pm
I’m 27 and finished treatment/chemo for ovarian cancer 6 months ago. I just got a rash on my leg biopsied and apparently the results are pointing in the direction of an autoimmune disease, connective tissue disease and/or lupus.
I’m terrified to go through all the testing and waiting for a diagnosis again, and to put my family and boyfriend through it when we had all just finally exhaled and started to relax again.
K March 14, 2016, 1:27 pm
Ugh – I’m really sorry to hear that. Best of luck to you!
Anonymousse March 14, 2016, 1:35 pm
Ugh! I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this and have more to endure. Try to take care of yourself and have fun as much as you can though this time. I hope you have supportive people who can be there for you.
veritek33 March 14, 2016, 2:23 pm
I’m sending good and healing vibes your way. And prayers if you want them 🙂 I hope it all turns out well.
Dear Wendy March 14, 2016, 2:34 pm
I’m so sorry — sending healing vibes. Stay strong!
muchachaenlaventana March 14, 2016, 1:27 pm
My best friend’s father passed away last night after a 6 month struggle with cancer. I am really struggling as I have known her and her family for 15 years, and was very close with her father in my own right. I don’t really have any idea what to do/say. I called and left a message last night, have sent texts, no response, which I think is totally normal. She is and has been at her home for the past 2.5 months, so I haven’t seen her (we live in the same town about 2 hours away). Two of my other best friends are over there right now helping out and doing things and I just feel worthless. I am going to go over to her apt in our town tonight and clean it top to bottom and do all of her laundry so when she comes back for work it will be ready for her to live in and she can just be. I am also going to stock it with some snacks and frozen foods. I am just really upset and we are still pretty young for this to have happened and it just sucks. I am going to go up for the wakes/funeral and spend time– but people who have experience with this– what helped? Is there anything to say/not say? What things made an impact on your grief in the days/weeks/month after a parents death? Would it be too soon for me to just go up and hang out? Thanks for any thoughts.
Bubbles March 14, 2016, 1:52 pm
That’s very thoughtful of you to clean your friend’s apartment. I’m sure she’ll really appreciate it. Also, just being there for her and her family. You really don’t need to say anything, but perhaps let her talk about what she’s feeling and talking about her dad. Bringing/making food for the family is always helpful as well.
My condolences to you as well.
mylaray March 14, 2016, 1:53 pm
I’m so sorry, that’s really tough for you and your friend. I lost a relative who was more of a father to me than my own father 6 months ago, and my best friend was amazing and supportive for me the whole time. She didn’t take no for an answer and did things without asking…she picked me up from the airport at 2 am (despite being a teacher), took me out to eat, and ran errands for me relating to the wake/funeral like picking up programs. She kept in touch with me everyday and wanted to know how I was doing. I’m so glad she did all that because I was too distraught to even ask for what I needed. If she’s not responding to you, it may be too soon for her to want to see you…but she may also be busy. I think it’s very sweet to clean her apartment and do laundry, and that may be better for now. Everyone reacts so differently to death and some people may just want to shut others out, but you can still let her know you’re there for her when she’s ready.
Northern Star March 14, 2016, 3:20 pm
It would be very kind and helpful if you don’t expect your friend to react any certain way to your offers of help. It doesn’t sound like you’re hurt that she’s “ignoring” you, and that’s a wonderfully unselfish point of view (which some people can’t manage). You are NOT worthless; do what you can, and let your friend know you’re thinking of her.
By the way, consider leaning on your family. It may feel “selfish” to grieve yourself, but you suffered a loss, too… (just don’t dump any of that on your friend, obviously).
K March 14, 2016, 1:32 pm
I’ve been unhappy at my job for a long time and have been with my company for 9 years. I have an interview tomorrow – I fear (by looking at glassdoor.com) that the pay is even worse than what I make now. But it would be a stepping stone into an industry I want to break into. If the pay is lower I’m just not sure that I can accept it (if I were to get offered it), because already I’m making well below what I should. I just somehow hope that the pay is at least the same, and that it all works out and I can move into something better!
Anonymousse March 14, 2016, 1:38 pm
I hope they offer you more!
Kate March 14, 2016, 2:14 pm
Do you know how to negotiate salary?
RedRoverRedRover March 14, 2016, 2:29 pm
Make sure that you don’t tell them what you’re making now. You need to have an idea of what you want to get paid for this job, your current pay at your current job has no bearing. So if they ask what you make, respond with something like “I’m looking to be in the range of $XXk”. If they can’t give you something in that range, then it’s a no-go anyway. Remember that whatever number you say is where they will *start* negotiating. It can only go down from there, you’re probably not going to be able to push it up. Ideally, if possible, get them to name a range first. You can get to it in a sort of roundabout way by asking about how they handle compensation in general – do they have bands or grades or something tied to certain job roles, and if so, what is the range for this position? That will also tell you how senior you’ll be.
Kate March 14, 2016, 2:52 pm
Yup, agree with most of that, especially the “don’t just answer the salary question” part. I like to say some BS about well, you know, it’s not entirely about the salary, there are many considerations and I would want to look at the entire package – salary, bonus/flexible comp, benefits, role and responsibilities, etc. But I am looking for this to be the next move forward in my career and to represent a significant step from where I am now. Can you tell me more about what the complete package looks like? And yeah, let them throw out the first offer. Then ask for more and/or look at all the different places you may be able to negotiate a better deal.
RedRoverRedRover March 14, 2016, 2:56 pm
Yep, totally agree about the “total compensation package” stuff. And in the end it’s not really BS… like would you accept a lower salary if they had an amazing bonus structure? Or a great stock plan? Those things do matter. So try to get that out of them if you can, and then it makes it look less like you’re just looking for dollar signs too.
K March 14, 2016, 3:22 pm
Thanks, Kate and RedRover, for the advice! That is definitely helpful. Currently I’m a salaried employee and this job would be hourly. And benefits, vacation, etc. are very important to me as well.
kryssie81 March 14, 2016, 1:37 pm
I’m about 7 months pregnant. I feel really lucky to have had a relatively easy pregnancy that we planned and that we are excited about. But I feel a little disconnected from my husband-I feel like now the focus is on planning and preparing for baby and we aren’t really living in the moment or enjoying each other’s company as we used to. My husband has been great but I also feel like he feels disconnected from the whole thing because in some ways he is just a bystander? I also feel more vulnerable and a bit more needy than I usually am, and I think that is confusing my husband. Also, I hate being the party pooper in a way-we can’t pick up and go biking like we used to, I get hungry quickly and then moody, I’m way more emotional, and we went with friends to do an activity and it included a lot more walking than I anticipated and I ended up being miserable. We are bickering a bit more and both feel really overwhelmed. If my husband and I feel disconnected and overwhelmed now, then how will it be when we are devoting so much time to caring for a little human. We went to childbirth class yesterday and the instructor actually mentioned a few of these things-the bickering and the nesting mode so I know it is normal but I still feel just down in general. I just made dinner plans with a friend to break myself out of this “nesting” period cycle where I just plan for baby to instead go out and relax and hear about her new boyfriend. I think that would help.
Anonymousse March 14, 2016, 1:42 pm
Congratulations! I hope you feel more relaxed, soon. I would really confront him with your feelings, if you haven’t. If there is unspoken uneasiness, I do think it could get worse once you are taking care of a little human. It’s hard having little sleep, and feeding a little baby around the clock. Best to air all your grievances (couldn’t help the Seinfeld reference) now and get it out and hopefully feel more united before your baby comes. I do think it’s normal to feel this way, and be emotional, so don’t think otherwise.
RedRoverRedRover March 14, 2016, 2:16 pm
I’m 7 months pregnant too and also feeling very down. And I feel guilty because I know it’s hard on my husband, and he’s taking on extra work around the house and with caring for our toddler to try to make things easier for me, and I’m still a wreck. It doesn’t help that I’m absolutely huge and my back is so sore that I need to wear a very uncomfortable support belt all the time, and it’s hard to even walk sometimes because my back muscles get so stiff. I know I should take a yoga class or something, but I’m so tired and so worn, and often have to work in the evenings so I don’t feel like I can. I do stretches on my own throughout the day to try to help my back. I want this pregnancy to be over so badly. I’m literally counting down the days, which doesn’t help much because they go so slowly.
Anyway, if it helps I can tell you that my husband was pretty disconnected from the pregnancy too the first time around. I don’t think he knew what to do or how to prepare. I tried to keep him updated, telling him what happened at my doc appts etc. But he honestly wasn’t that into it all. He was pretty scared, too. We had a few discussions before the baby was born about our feelings, and I think it helped him to know that I was scared just as much as he was, and that I didn’t really feel connected to the baby either.
After the baby was born, it was hard for him again because my mom came to help, and she and I did a lot of the baby stuff and I think he was a bit left out. And I don’t think he felt like he could butt himself in, or he didn’t know how to. I didn’t really realize that and by about 6 months I was getting really angry at him for leaving so much to me. Like I had no free time without the baby (I was staying home), whereas he would take time to himself on the weekends or evenings instead of offering to help me. Finally we had a come to Jesus moment where I told him I needed his help, and then he jumped right in and now he’s the kind of dad where he can do everything I can. Some of my friends have husbands who can’t handle the whole bedtime routine, or can’t get dinner on their own with the toddler around or whatever. My husband can do it all, I know that if I have to be away he can take care of it. It’s really about communication and making sure you each understand how the other feels. And make sure he knows what you need from him and that he has as important a role as you do, so that he doesn’t think the baby is “yours” and that he’s sort of on the sidelines.
Jessibel5 March 14, 2016, 2:45 pm
I’m in the same boat. Almost 7 months pregnant, feeling totally disconnected from him and like I have nothing to give because this is taking so much out of me. So, you’re not alone! Your hormones are out of wack! Your body chemistry is more different than it ever has been before! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be your normal self. I mean, I’m depressed as hell and that’s certainly not normal for me. I’ve found that making sure we go out to dinner and set aside time to talk about non-baby stuff, no baby stuff talk allowed, and then set aside time to talk about future plans and baby stuff, has helped.
Raccoon eyes March 15, 2016, 7:43 am
Congrats to everyone! Sending kind thoughts your way.
Just remember- this too shall pass. <– I hope that gives you the comfort it gives me. It is a silly saying, like "it is what it is," which also helps me at times. 😉
Jessibel5 March 15, 2016, 2:09 pm
I can’t tell you how often lately I’ve said “It is what it is”. It’s kind of like my “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”
Although one day I unconsciously changed it to “Just keep shivving, just keep shivving” in my head because I was feeling a tad stabby/I’m about to cut a bitch-ish. But then I got annoyed at myself because shiv is not a verb. It’s only a noun. Shank is both a noun and a verb. So you can shank with a shank or a shiv, but you cannot shiv with either a shiv or a shank. I think I scare people with this knowledge.
mylaray March 14, 2016, 1:39 pm
I love this idea. I’ve been going through health issues that have really hit me in a lot of ways…I have issues with my heart (I’m 26!), it’s still a shock and a total lifestyle change for me. To be faced with your own mortality in the hospital is something I’ve never had to face before, and I’m trying to appreciate life even more. It’s very humbling.
My husband and I have been trying to have a baby, and after being in the final stages of an adoption, it fell through. It’s harder than I thought it would be, but I’m trying to focus on my health first and know that everything will fall into place at the right time (at least that’s what I hope).
muchachaenlaventana March 14, 2016, 3:42 pm
I am so sorry your adoption fell through. We have close family who had this happen basically the morning they were at the hospital after the birth, and it was devastating. I hope that something does come through for you in the near future with this that is positive. I do recall, and this was years ago, that since this had happened they were put on a short list for the adoptions and not too long after were able to adopt their little girl, who is now my full grown cousin.
veritek33 March 14, 2016, 4:00 pm
I’m sending love and hugs your way that a child will come your way at the right time.
Bubbles March 14, 2016, 1:43 pm
The artwork on this post! My daughter’s friend just got a tattoo of that on her arm this weekend in remembrance of her father who was diagnosed with lung cancer a week ago Monday and given six weeks to live. He passed away on Thursday!!!
Last month (2/6/16) I lost a former co-worker to ovarian cancer after battling the disease for 3.5 years. She was only 47 years old. Now one of my staff is on medical leave battling breast cancer (she’s 48!). It just seems too much at times.
“Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
K March 14, 2016, 2:03 pm
I’m sorry to hear about those losses/struggles, Bubbles. I had a rough week last week – someone I knew from my hiking group died of hypothermia while on a solo hike. I had only met her once, but it came out that she didn’t dress properly while hiking and often took risks in that way. She didn’t turn back when she should’ve. It really affected me, my boyfriend, and other hiking friends. Then my alma mater’s president passed away of colon cancer- she had only been in office for 8 months and she was the first female president of the university! She had been recently diagnosed – or at least, recently made it public. It seemed to be quite aggressive. Then I found out that a college housemate’s close friend (who I very loosely knew myself while in college) died in a car crash. By the end of last week, I was feeling like I couldn’t take any more bad news. These bad news phases seem to come and go. I’m sorry you’re going through one right now.
Bubbles March 14, 2016, 2:13 pm
K thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry about all of those losses! You’re right, they seem to come all at once. Life is precious and we need to enjoy every moment of it.
kmentothat March 14, 2016, 1:50 pm
Still in the aftermath of finding out my boyfriend of 3 years had been cheating on me. He officially moved out on Valentine’s Day. I am doing everything you can do to move on: therapy, eating well, working out, doing things that make me happy, reaching out to friends, etc. But I am still plagued with nightmares, flashbacks, intermittent boiling anger and deep depression. It’s only been 5 weeks so I get that things have to be hard for awhile but I think I’m at a point I honestly need to try antidepressants, which I have always been against (long story – family history). As someone so pro-mental health it’s ironic that I hesitate to take this step. I don’t even drink coffee because I would hate to “need” caffeine and never experimented with drugs. I have taken Xanax for panic attacks as needed but this feels different and I don’t want to use antidepressants to deal and then suffer when I get off of them. But the bitter, totally bleak, totally hopeless wish I was dead feelings are insurmountable at times and that doesn’t feel fair to have to live with. Anyways PSA – don’t cheat. It’s such a goddamn destroying thing to do.
Heather March 14, 2016, 2:16 pm
I remember reading your original post and feeling so heartbroken on your behalf. Isn’t it just the strangest thing how sometimes we consider ourselves so forward thinking and assuming we’ll be prepared for the hardest situations? And then when they actually hit us it’s like the rug was pulled out and we have no idea what to do next? Where to even start?
I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this. For what it’s worth, I think you really are on the right track, and I hope that the feeling of improvement kicks in ASAP. In the mean time, the DW community is always here for you.
Bubbles March 14, 2016, 2:17 pm
Kmen, I don’t have much advice, but from what I read in your statement, at least you’re self-aware and I would encourage you to seek some temporary medication and counseling to help you through this. I too don’t believe in taking meds just willy-nilly, but when the need arises, the help is there. Take care.
kmentothat March 14, 2016, 6:06 pm
Thank you both!
Anonymousse March 14, 2016, 1:58 pm
I’m having a bit of a rough time, too.
My husband is excellent in his career, and has worked in the same company for almost 15 years. The company he works for is under a lot of pressure, the stock is down and he’s in turn feeling a lot of pressure because of that. Luckily, financially, he’s really performing and so there’s no issues there. One of his employees anonymously complained that he’s less focused and isn’t spending as much time at work now that we’ve had a second child. His bosses are now hyper focused on him and his attention to detail, etc. It’s kind of bullshit, because, while the job is normally more than full time, now he’s working 6-7 days a week for 10 or more hours a day. There’s been a lot of layoffs within the company this year, so…
I’m worried, of course, but I also feel powerless, and I also feel angry that he’s working so hard and because of one person’s anonymous comment…we are literally worried he could lose his job. If it was just him and I, I wouldn’t care as much, but he’s the breadwinner. It’s really tough.
K March 14, 2016, 2:05 pm
I’m sorry to hear that – I hope that his company will realize what an excellent worker he is, and not let that one person’s petty comment affect how they think of him.
Firestar March 14, 2016, 2:02 pm
I think my marriage is all but over. My husband is depressed? Bipolar? Suffering from anxiety? He was sleep deprived suffering from delusions and hallucinations about a year ago. He thought I was trying to kill him at one point. By poison so he stopped eating at home for a while. We went to the er after he heard voices and they committed him for 5 days and a psychiatrist proscribed him sleep medication. Didn’t do anything else about the other symptoms. Just meets him once a month to renew his Prescription and ask if he’s sleeping now. She told him to focus on him and to just let everything go and get all the eats he needs. So I took up all the slack. But I told him she sucks – he isn’t getting better and he needs to find someone new or supplement his visits to her with someone that can address his other issues but nothing comes of it. We went to marriage therapy and the therapist just let him vent. I think she felt intimidated by the range of his issues so didn’t know how to deal with us. She Would assign things and not follow up until I asked about them. I thought she would circle back to come up with some sort of plan but nope. When he would say he wants to be with me she would act like we needed to throw a parade. And ask me “did you hear that?” like that is enough in any world? She left the practice and my husband didn’t like the new counselor assigned – I suspect because she asked him how his behaviour was working out for him. I told him find someone else then. But a month ago (about a month after he said he wanted someone else) he took a job in Washington state on a six month contract – without discussing it with me. Just called me at work and told me they were going to make him an offer and he would leave in 10 days. I told him we would discuss it when I got home and he told me there was nothing to discuss. Honestly, I just shut down. From speaking with my sil it seems he felt he had to do this so he could support the family. It pays well and it’s true the bulk of jobs needing his skill set are in the US vs here (Canada) . Thing is, he has managed to find contracts here the last 6 years we’ve been married and we split financial expenses 50/50. The full burden of support doesn’t just fall on him. So now I have 100%of the responsibility when it comes to our house, our dogs, and our toddler and I still have 50% of the financial burden as well – which means I still have to run my law firm. I put all of that behind me and said I’ll be supportive. Would wake up early to walk the dogs and Skype so he could see the baby before I left for work. And when he got home. I’d get home from work cook, feed the dogs and take the baby so my mom can have a break, play with her, then Skype with him so he could see her, Feed her and get her ready for bed. Lock up the house; Skype with him ;help him look for motorcycles to buy out there. And text him until 11pm when I’d go to sleep. The only time I had to myself was my commute to work. He came for his first visit and I picked him up from the airport. He came in and didn’t say anything to my mom even though she was standing there looking to see our daughter’s reaction to seeing him after so long.(my mom and him had a argument about a year ago when I started doing most of the work and he was doing nothing per doctors orders – which my mom subsequently apologized for her part) I told him if he can’t treat my mom with kindness then we are wasting time. He said then we are wasting time. I’ve known him since I was 14. He’s been one of my closest friends for almost my whole life. When my brother was acting like an ass to my mom he would buy her groceries and her favourite chocolates and take me to see her every week before I had a car. This guy is not him. Not the guy I’ve known for for almost 3 decades. And I can do nothing. He has shut down. And he has shut me down. I can’t have him disrespect my mom. I can’t have him show my daughter that this is how a husband acts. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t have a mental illness. I don’t know what that’s like. I don’t know if it changes you completely or if it’s just an excuse to be selfish and let others pick up the pieces. You know, I can do it. I can do all of it – the house, the dogs, the baby – I can do all of it if I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I still love him. He’s had issues in the past after his dad died and I left him because of how he was acting – I didn’t know then it was the first manifestation of whatever mood disorder he has . He was the one that came back begging for another chance. I don’t know what – if anything – I’m asking for. I know I can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to do. I’m generally all or nothing and I try and fight that but I suspect I’m not very good at it. Do you draw the line the same place when dealing with mental illness? Today’s my birthday and this is the horoscope (that I don’t believe in):
The message of your birthday chart is that you need to put your ego on hold and learn from those who have been there and done it before you. If you can do that then 12 months from now you will look back and marvel at how far you have come.
Anyone else ever been where I am? Cause I’m willing to learn.
Anonymousse March 14, 2016, 2:30 pm
I haven’t been in your shoes, and can’t give you any advice other than- it’s okay to stop working so hard for him. Take care of your self. I hope you can find some answers, soon, and that you have some peace with that.
snoopy128 March 14, 2016, 2:41 pm
I have no real experience with these things, but I send you my empathy. And it sounds like you are doing a lot right now, but have you considered therapy for yourself? Someone to explore your own feelings with?
For the record, I think your horoscope is bullshit (the specific one you got today). As women, we often put things on hold- careers, goals, dreams- in order to support or fulfil others wishes and forget that we matters, our feelings matter, our voices matter. So, maybe the learn from others bit is true- maybe you can help yourself by reaching out to others (therapist, support groups), but don’t “put your ego on hold”. Make rational decisions that protect you and your daughter’s wellbeing; whatever that is for you. Then, 12 months later, look back and marvel at how far you’ve come.
Dear Wendy March 14, 2016, 2:44 pm
Oh, firestar, I’m so sorry. I have a close friend going through something eerily, eerily similar (minus the toddler). It’s been horrific to watch. I can only imagine what it’s like to live through. Bot what you want to hear on your birthday, but it sounds like you need to start taking steps toward separating your life from your husband’s. mental illness or no, he isn’t honoring his end of the bargain here at all.
Firestar March 14, 2016, 3:39 pm
Did your friend leave? Thanks for the thread today Wendy. Boy did I ever need it.
Kate March 14, 2016, 2:45 pm
Oh, Firestar, shit, that’s a lot. I haven’t exactly been in your shoes, but the taking of the job in the states without discussing it with you, that’s what they call a Major Betrayal in marriage lingo. My first husband did something similar – had a fantastic job with tons of potential and one day just quit because he couldn’t deal with it for reasons I don’t understand. He just said he hated the people on the project he was on, but wouldn’t look within the (huge) company for other opportunities. And he pretty much went down the toilet after that… We got divorced and in the past, god, more than a decade now, he’s worked mostly in the pizza industry, gone to Vegas and blown the divorce settlement money and came home broke, done a ton of drugs, went crazy over 9/11 conspiracy obsessions, met some religious guy and “found Christ,” then the next thing I knew he had gotten pulled over for an expired reg and had weed in the car and got arrested for that, and just on and on and on. So I guess I understand a LITTLE of what you’re going through. He was my first boyfriend. But we didn’t have kids and were still pretty young (I was 27) when we split up… and I didn’t love him like you love your husband.
I guess one thing stands out to me here… That he betrayed you like that and you responded by picking up 100% of everything and doing it all. I understand your reasoning, but it feels like enabling. Like, sure, go ahead and do something egregiously inappropriate, and I’ll make everything right by doing my full time job and full time housework and full time child care and catering to you in the moments I have left. That just doesn’t feel good to me.
What if you stepped back and said, you know what? You can’t do this anymore. You can’t just make unilateral decisions and leave me by myself and refuse to get help and it’s not my responsibility to make you do it if you won’t. You’re not committed to me or this marriage and I’m not going to be your mommy and pick up all the slack. Go live with your mom (or whatever applies).
What would happen then – would he get his shit together? Or fall down a black hole and never come out? Either way, this isn’t working.
Firestar March 14, 2016, 3:31 pm
I told him he made this unilateral decision that put all the burden on me and it wasn’t fair. That I was hurt and felt abandoned. But the reality is I can’t not pick up the slack. I have to do everything because it has to get done. Whether he is here or not the dogs need care, the house needs attending to, a toddler needs attention. He knows I wouldn’t let anything suffer. To him there was no choice. He needed the money. Admittedly it’s a lot. So maybe the decision would have been as inevitable as he thinks. But that’s not how you make decisions in a marriage and I have a hard time having to explain that. I deliberately decided to try to make the best of it the day before he left. While he was away I told him how I felt and then I just left it. But since the last visit when he said being kind to my mom was too much… I shut just down. I Skype twice a day so he can see the baby and honestly I do back flips to get her to engage with him but I don’t talk to him now. We text about house issues but I’m not invested in the relationship anymore. Not as far as he is concerned. I can’t play happy wife when it feels like I get contempt in return. So I don’t know if removing myself emotionally is the way to go… if it will lead to change for the better… or for the worse.
Kate March 14, 2016, 4:18 pm
I guess I meant more than withdrawing emotionally. Like actually kicking him out, giving him the boot, telling him this is not ok and you’re not going to take it anymore. He’s not committed to doing what he needs to do to be healthy, you’re not invested in the relationship, and this isn’t going to get better on its own. You holding everything together won’t fix it. I think Wendy is right, with taking steps to get out of this. Aaarrggghhh, it sucks so bad.
Portia March 14, 2016, 6:44 pm
I agree with Kate, make this more real to him. Why are you skyping him with the baby twice a day? That’s helping him, not the baby, not you. If anything, it’s prolonging this sense that everything’s ok when it’s not and you’re keeping up the idea that his unilateral decision is workable when it’s not. Stop making this easier for him because it sure as hell isn’t making your life any easier.
Jessibel5 March 14, 2016, 2:56 pm
I don’t have any advice that doesn’t mimic what’s been said above, but I am sending you good thoughts, love, and strength! Focus on yourself, be good to yourself. You’ve given all you can give, giving more and wearing yourself out isn’t going to make it better, unfortunately. But focusing more on yourself will make things better for you.
As for the marriage counselor/therapist just letting him vent…I’ve been there. I had to stand up for myself hardcore in the sessions to bring it back to how what he was venting about affected us and it took a while to break that habit. Sounds like with him out of state you’re not going to counseling anymore, but can you go by yourself, for yourself? I just want to give you a long-distance hug.
Portia March 14, 2016, 3:12 pm
I’m so sorry you’re going through that. Bassanio’s mom has had a long struggle with mental health, including institutionalization and long-lasting effects on their family. It was a genetic disease that was set off by age and major stressors that sounds in some ways similar to your husband’s. All I can say is that their family was only able to actually function once the disease was dealt with by doctors and managed with medication. If he’s not willing to get that help, I’m sorry to say that it may only get worse. Eventually your daughter is going to be old enough to remember what’s going on and scary childhood memories can follow you your whole life.
Samba March 14, 2016, 3:19 pm
I’m so sorry Firestar–I also can’t offer much more than what others have said, but I’m thinking of you and rooting for you. For your family’s sake, I hope he can get himself together, and to a better professional who will help work through his underlying issues, but regardless you have to do what’s best for you.
veritek33 March 14, 2016, 3:29 pm
I’m so sorry. I have no advice, just kind thoughts sent your way.
keyblade March 14, 2016, 11:25 pm
Firestar- I’m sorry you are going through this. I’ve had a few close relationships with people with schizophrenia and I can’t imagine how difficult this last year has been for you. Honestly, for the three people I knew well who were diagnosed with schizophrenia (and one who heard voices but never was never diagnosed) none of them were able to maintain long-term intimate relationships (they each suffered repeated episodes, so perhaps it could be different if your husband was able to keep his symptoms managed and he was willing to stay on medication).
This is the understatement of the year but it sounds like this year has been terribly traumatic for you. I agree with others that suggest you go for therapy for yourself. It sounds like you have a lot to grieve. I’m not saying that your marriage is over, but even if its not, your life now is probably different than how you envisioned it. And the dynamics of being in a marriage with someone who is actively suffering from mental illness are going to be different moving forward.
If you weren’t a lawyer, I’d tell you to consult one to protect your assets in case your husband starts making more impulsive decisions.
Also of the people I’ve known who had schizophrenia seemed to start having symptoms in their early twenties. Perhaps it isn’t applicable, but it did seem to affect their personalities and most of them required help from extended family.
I’m so sad you are going through this right now. I’m sending internet hugs and prayers for you and your family.
Ron March 15, 2016, 3:26 pm
Yes, what Firestar describes sounds like adult-onset schizophrenia. It can become all consuming and the path is progressively downhill. The worst symptoms and behavioral issues are controllable with drugs, but they are fairly strong drugs, with some serious side effects, like tardive dyskinsia. Most serious is that many, many schizophrenics prefer living in their unmedicated state — they like the voices and the strange thoughts they experience, I’ve heard them describe their unmedicated selves as faster-thinking and extremely intuitive, even as they accomplish next to nothing. Who knows how your husband is taking care of himself while away from the family.
Another thing to consider is a therapist for yourself. Your husband’s counselor/therapist/doctor/whatever is obligated only to your husband and cares only about what is best for him. That person is, at least in the U.S. not allowed to tell you squat about your husbands diagnosis, treatment, progress, whatever without his approval. It is a very tough situation for families and I have yet to observe a case of a family which was able to deal with it well — either the family is basically destroyed, or the person wanders off to live in an apartment as a hermit or under a bridge, or both.
There are support groups which might help, although in my experience AMI pretty much guilts the family to utterly consume themselves ‘helping’ the schizophrenic. Pretty soon the schizophrenic seriously resents the help.
If your husband is able to work at a high-paying professional job, he must still be in relatively good mental condition, or perhaps what he has isn’t really schizophrenia. You need to learn all that you can in order to make an informed decision on behalf of your family.
Firestar March 16, 2016, 2:28 pm
I don’t think it’s schizophrenia. I think Bi-Polar. The auditory hallucinations he has had all of his life (to his memory) but they were never actually words until the week we took him to the ER – more like white noise. The Doctor suspects the sleep deprivation lead to the increased intensity of the hallucinations. From the research I’ve done all of is symptoms seem to come under the Bi-Polar umbrella and after his father’s death the therapist he was seeing then did think he was Bi-Polar. It is frustrating because he feels he is getting treatment since he is under a doctor’s care – only the doctor isn’t doing jack and not even giving him a proper diagnosis for reasons known only to her. In the one meeting I had with her she told me she suspected Cyclothymia but like I said never really did anything towards addressing those issues. She only addressed the sleep. Ultimately, he has to decide what he wants. If he wants to be married he has to take care of his health and commit to the marriage. I can’t do it for him or will him to do it. I know how it will end. I know in my heart of hearts I will have to leave him and then he will get better and will come back again… and it will be too late.
keyblade March 16, 2016, 9:03 pm
I wish I had more experience with Bi-Polar to offer. I’ve only had one close-up experience with someone who identified himself that way and I strongly suspect many of his symptoms were co-morbid with other things; I know he was abusing alcohol and drugs. I’ve met a few other people who were diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder but I only knew them casually. One was a leader in his church. His wife finally left him claiming he had been abusive to her and their kids for years. His oldest son went on a mission and began having sleeping problems. After around a week of not sleeping he began to have hallucinations and had to be sent home. He was hospitalized and ultimately diagnosed with schizophrenia. I will say the son was a very sweet person (different from his dad) and I don’t believe that ever changed. I wasn’t thinking about him in my previous comment. I believe he does have a relatively stable life now.
I’m not trying to diagnose your husband or suggest that he has schizophrenia. But I do think the paranoid delusions, auditory hallucinations, secretive behaviors and personality changes suggest that whatever he is suffering from might be making it difficult and confusing for him; It sounds like it is possible he isn’t entirely in touch with reality, right now.
This speculation isn’t helpful to you and I’m sorry for that. I’ve always admired you. You strike me as a person who is smart, fair, and ethical. I wish your husband was well and this wasn’t your burden.
“If he wants to be married he has to take care of his health and commit to the marriage. I can’t do it for him or will him to do it. I know how it will end. I know in my heart of hearts I will have to leave him and then he will get better and will come back again… and it will be too late.”
I hope he will seek and commit to treatment and commit to counseling with you and you both can repair some things. I hope if you do have to leave, it does prompt him to get better… even if it’s too late for your marriage. I’m glad you have your mom with you and your children. I wish I had some clever fortune to offer but I don’t. But I’m sending you my sympathy and my hope. I’m willing you a peaceful interlude. Eat some subji and samosas.
Raccoon eyes March 16, 2016, 1:55 pm
Internet hugs to you. Im so sorry you are going through this. I agree that you can and will get through whatever is thrown at you- but remember that there is no shame in drawing a line/boundary and sticking to it. That isnt giving up… more like putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others…or something like that.
JuneBugg March 14, 2016, 2:07 pm
Great topic right now. I am in north Louisiana and right now we are experiencing record floods. There are so many people who have lost everything, and a lot of the places were not in a flood zone and so no flood insurance for the owners.
My SO broke his ankle back badly back in January and will be out of work for at least the next 3 months. He can’t put any weight on the ankle for at least another month. So I have been having to do all of the house work, yard work, and cooking. He helps out so much when he is well, and now that he’s down I’m stretched so thin. He is majorly depressed and the pain meds they gave help with the pain but make him sick, but I think that they finally got it right the last time we went in. And I don’t know how to help him out of his depression. I have missed a lot of work, and I work in a tax office, so I am working wonky hours to try to catch up some. I am very fortunate that my bosses are as understanding as they are, but I still feel bad about missing so much normal office hours.
As for the floods, my grandmother (93) had to move in with us for a little while. Her house is not in any danger, but the roads going to her house are either flooded or washed away. It has been a lot for me to handle with my SO being down, my grandmother, and her 2 cats, and my dog and cat, and then working regular hours when I can and then the odd after hours and weekends. I’m very glad that my SO and grandmother get along so well, but it is still tough.
I know that a lot of people have it worse than me right now, and I am so thankful that my family is ok from the floods, but I am just so tired and stressed right now. It feels good to vent a little on here, because I would never let my grandmother or my SO know how strained I am right now because of all they have done for me. And it will pass soon.
blink14 March 14, 2016, 2:29 pm
I’m sorry to hear about your SO and your living situation! Hopefully all will be right soon.
As far as your SO goes, the first step I would take is to get off the pain medication. I severely injured my ankle in 2014 and had surgery last summer – the pain meds and anti-nausea meds made me feel absolutely awful. Once I went off of both and just stuck to advil and tylenol, I felt so much better mentally. The pain meds messed with my breathing and mental state, and the anti-nausea actually gave me temporary vision issues that took about a month to finally go away after I stopped taking it. I had one night after that where I had to take the pain medication, but I was able to tolerate it otherwise. The meds can be playing a huge role in his depression.
Does he have any hobbies he can do while he’s laid up? Once I was able to think straight, I went back to reading and I was able to work limited part time hours from home for awhile. It is really difficult to feel like you can’t do anything for yourself, even going to the bathroom was a struggle. I started to feel a lot better when I was able to move around easier and get to physical therapy.
JuneBugg March 14, 2016, 3:00 pm
Right now he is only taking less than half of the meds prescribed, and I think that is helping a lot. He says that he hurts at night and in the morning (I think it is laying down and not having his leg as elevated and it swells up, but this is a guess on my part) is the only times that he takes the pills. He is a very physical guy, so sitting down all the time is really getting to him. We both realize that 6 or 8 months is a very short time in the skem of things, but it is really long living it day by day. I did buy him a Kindle so he can play games, read the papers, Skype family, ect so that has helped too. He is really depressed about not being able to work and help with income. The Dr. Said that he would help get my SO temporary disability so that will be a big help when that goes through, but I can understand how when your used to being able to get up and go anywhere to all of a sudden being stuck to the recliner can get you down. And then my grandmother and her cats moving in with him being down, well that’s bad too. I am lucky that my grandmother is as mobile as she is. She is helping out as much as she can while she’s with us, but she’s 93 and fairly stubborn (in the funny way, but it can get old). My SO had taught the cats, with the dog’s help of course, to sit and beg (stand up on their back legs) for treats.
Thanks for your concern. Like I said it really feels good to vent here. I will not complain around them because I don’t want them to feel bad for a situation that is not their doing. But it is good to speak freely where no one knows me personally.
blink14 March 14, 2016, 10:01 pm
Glad to hear he’s been able to cut back on the pain meds!
Something my mom did once I got through the first few weeks was to force me to go to the table for meals. It seems like a really small thing, but moving from one room to the next and being able to sit up for 30 minutes or so made me feel a little more normal. I basically had breakfast, sat in one room for the morning, had lunch, then slept in the afternoon in the living room, dinner and back to the couch before moving to my bedroom.
Do you have a body pillow or can you get one? I used one that is about 5 feet long, and I basically propped my entire leg up on it at night and then put additional pillows under my calf and ankle. I was in a cast up to my knee for 3 weeks and then a boot, up to my knee, for about 4 weeks 24/7. I also found that laying on the couch and propping my leg up on the back of the couch was another way to adjust my position a little bit. I will say it was really hard for me to sleep on my back, being able to start sleeping somewhat on my side after the cast was removed felt great.
As you said it seems like an eternity when it happens, but you both will get through it! I concentrated on a certain small goal every day – getting dressed by myself, showering every few days (that to me was the most exhausting), going for rides in the car when I was a little more mobile, etc. I also sat outside for about an hour every day once I could navigate some stairs, and that was a mood booster for sure.
Portia March 14, 2016, 2:28 pm
It’s not really a struggle, but this year has so far felt like the year of deciding what path to take. We’re in a good position for a lot of things, which I know we’re fortunate to be in. We both have good jobs, a good place to live, good friends, good health. But I’ve had this feeling recently of wanting to make sure we live now instead of waiting until we’re older and are not as physically intact. Maybe it’s the milestone birthday coming up? Or the feeling like we’re waiting for something to reveal itself? We talk about it but we’re at the stage of looking at all the possibilities but not acting on one (or more than one) and I think I don’t like the “sit and wait” feeling.
Northern Star March 14, 2016, 3:37 pm
Maybe you should take an amazing trip. Go someplace you’ve always wanted to go “someday,” now. You can find deals on Groupon or Living Social to manage costs, and the “trip of a lifetime” might trigger more conversations and decisions about what you want to do next. (And it’s easier to act on than other life-changing items…)
Portia March 14, 2016, 6:47 pm
Haha, I just went on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, so it’ll be a while until we can build up vacation days again. But maybe I can start planning the next big trip… I do love planning trips.
K March 15, 2016, 9:25 am
Planning trips is my favorite! We just booked tickets to Boise for August, and we plan on visiting Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. We haven’t booked any hotels yet or decided what we exactly want to do – I’m so excited to figure it out.
Rangerchic March 14, 2016, 3:02 pm
Sorry to hear of everyone’s struggles. I don’t have specific advice but I’m sending well wishes, good vibes everyone’s way. Wish there was more I could say or do!
Moneypenny March 14, 2016, 3:20 pm
I’ve had a few people pass away recently, although no one I’m extremely close to or within my immediate family. First, my cousins’ grandmother (on the other side)- she had pancreatic cancer and passed on Valentine’s Day. I knew her somewhat, just from family gatherings, and she was such a funny, energetic, lovely lady. Then, 2 weekends ago, my aunt passed away, from lung cancer. I haven’t seen her in over 10 years- she was an alcoholic, and after she and my uncle got divorced I stopped seeing her. She had plenty of inner demons, but she was always a loving auntie when I did see her. There won’t be a funeral, she’s being cremated and her ashes thrown in the ocean. My mom had a bit of a hard time with it, because she had known my aunt since she and my uncle got together when they were all in their early 20’s. Then, late last week, a friend of my mom’s passed suddenly- we’re not sure what happened exactly, but her adult son came home from being off at college and found her dead on the floor of her bedroom. (Her husband was away on a business trip.) Just so sudden and shocking. I feel terribly for the family.
It’s just sad and strange how life can suddenly change so quickly.
Best wishes to everyone out there who is working through their own stuff.
veritek33 March 14, 2016, 4:51 pm
Sending good thoughts to you, friend.
Moneypenny March 14, 2016, 5:21 pm
Aw, thank you Veritek, and I’m sending good thoughts to you too! 🙂
barleystonks March 14, 2016, 3:23 pm
Just need to vent I guess… I just got back out of the hospital for my bipolar a couple weeks ago and felt like I was doing better, but over the weekend I wonder if I’m going to have to go back in. There are no psychiatrists within 100 miles that don’t have a 3+ month waiting list to help manage my meds, which desperately need adjusting. I think today’s nastiness was primarily a panic attack but I’m sick of delusions and mood swings. My husband and I are trying to work through a relatively minor but still important issue and it’s hard to tell if how I’m reacting to stuff is real or if it’s my brain chemistry making things out to be different than how they actually are.
gigi March 14, 2016, 3:29 pm
I will send all of you positive thoughts & internet hugs!
MaterialsGirl March 14, 2016, 3:48 pm
I got emotional in my review with my boss last week. Teared up which NEVER happens, but I was so caught off guard about his perception of my performance. He gave me a 50%. Ladies and Gents; i have been working my butt off. I have zero direction and an all-encompassing role that was never clearly defined. They acknowledged it was too much, then put more on me because “all hands on deck.”
It’s so frustrating. Some of my team mates took me to lunch today to make sure I wasn’t already looking elsewhere and the HR VP gave me a book about strength finding, but I just … I wanted some acknowledgement of what I’ve been putting out there. And I’m embarrassed. But I got emotional because I care. not because “i was pregnant” which was jokingly said. *( yes i know this is horrible. truly horrible that even jokingly with someone that has known me for years that this is the conclusion when my eyes started watering. That was how surprising my tears were).
Anyway, everything with RadioStar is great, but the struggle with my parents is real. Some days I really want to trade them in for an upgraded model.
kmentothat March 14, 2016, 4:45 pm
Ugh, I have totally cried at work and I wish people understood it’s more FRUSTRATION than “OMG I am a sad little girl.” Especially when you are caught off guard like that, it seems like if they felt you weren’t doing what was expected that should have come up way before your review! It sounds like your boss needs to prioritize what is most important to get done. I hope this doesn’t continue….sometimes bosses just suck 🙁 You are awesome and your coworkers know that.
Kate March 14, 2016, 5:14 pm
Agree! No one who’s not getting a good review should be surprised. That’s bad management. And so frustrating when everything is undefined. That sucks.
Portia March 14, 2016, 7:01 pm
Agreed that a bad review should never be a surprise!
And MaterialsGirl, you’re not the only one. My old boss was terrible and I did cry in one of my last meetings with him. Because the week after my wedding (I took no extra time off) he basically tells me that I’d been doing a terrible job on my project. Even though I’d been updating him on external roadblocks and been working hard to make things work on the timeline we’d worked out anyway. And the timeline was arbitrary already. I wanted to punch him, but I was so emotional from the wedding that I started sobbing.
I work on a different team now but he’s going to be at my review this week. At least some of the people at my review are aware of how ridiculous he is (this was not the first or last time he showed these colors).
Ron March 15, 2016, 3:34 pm
I’m so sorry Material Girl. It is very hard to do a good job at work going forward after literally being told that all of your above-and-beyond effort and dedication has been totally unappreciated. Don’t act rashly, but it really is time to seek different employment. It sounds like you are taking the rap for having a very poor manager. Despite the level of stress in an organization, a lack of direction from your manager really isn’t excusable.
MaterialsGirl March 15, 2016, 3:41 pm
Thanks all, I appreciate it. Our HR VP gave me a helpful book about strengths and improving those so no matter what, I feel like it will help me decide on the roles and areas where I can succeed the most.
Also in line with this, i had to give an employee a review in which I had to talk about areas of weakness and misses on performance. She came to me today to go over what she had thought of over the weekend, but then we sat together and drew up a plan to get her back on track. It just occurred to me how differently the situations came out
Samba March 14, 2016, 3:57 pm
I’m thinking of each of you going through these tough times right now, and hoping for the best possible outcome in each situation…
Around December I posted in the deleted thread about realizing after 10 years or so living with it that I had Vaginismus. Wanted to give an update, and send another big THANK YOU to the DW community, because reading the responses of support (and seeing that so many people already knew what it was) was the first time I realized it wasn’t something I should be ashamed of, and believed that maybe I could get through it–after many times crying and not being able to see any light at the end of the tunnel. That was pretty huge for me.
A couple weeks after being diagnosed, I went in for a procedure where they use a small amount of botox to relax the muscles; it helps to get a jump start on the dilations and work through the painful internal muscle spasms, and it wears off after about 4 months so no lasting effects. But what I was terribly nervous about was that you must work through inserting different sized dilators on a daily basis for about 6 mos – 1 year afterwards to stretch the muscles and lessen the spasming, get your body used to it and ready to actually have intercourse, etc. Never being able to insert anything without burning and pain my whole life, I wasn’t confident I’d be able to get through that. But, I’m about 2.5 months out and I have indeed worked my way up to the largest dilator (which looks huge, but it’s about 5-5.5″ around), through the discomfort and stress and for the first time without meds/muscle relaxers (I mentioned before my OBGYN used to give me valium/xanax to “help out” — ugghh) I had sex with my husband this past weekend! It was a lot of maneuvering and very mechanical but I’ve been told that’s how it has to be for a few months til you really get used to it. I’m still not out of the woods, but I’m trying to be proud of myself for getting this far after so long of this being the biggest…black mark I guess, on my life. Still have to keep inserting these huge-a$$ silicone dildos into myself on a regular basis and setting aside a few hours to prep for awkward sex for the foreseeable future lol, but it’s a long way from where it felt impossible 🙂
Unfortunately, not everything else is going so great–in January my husband was laid off for the 2nd time in 2 years, which is ironic (?) because we were trying so hard to have kids and that was the motivating factor for me jumping on the procedure and everything so quickly at the time, but it took him 8 months to get a FT job last time, and now I’m pretty stressed to the gills trying to help him and hoping he can find something stable. Most days I feel empathetic but I go through phases of feeling really angry…mostly because he chose to be in fields that are extremely unstable and where there are very few jobs and a lot of people competing for them (politics and journalism–a lot of the jobs and non-profits are constantly losing funding or re-organizing or replacing experienced employees with lower-paid entry level etc) and because I begged/pleaded/coerced him to try to pick up a back-up option last time, to start part-time grad school or take a photography class to improve upon that skill (he’s good but needs more experience if he was going to make $ doing it) or other suggestions of things he could foray into a FT job if needed, and if he had followed through with any of that back then I feel we wouldn’t be back at square one now. But he didn’t, and it’s already been 2 months since he found out he was losing his job…had a couple interviews and got to final round for 2 jobs but unfortunately lost them both to the other final candidate. So now I’m just sort of overwhelmed, because I’m scared this will keep happening if he doesn’t find the right job or get experience in a different field/diff degree, and we really wanted to start a family soon and I don’t have paid maternity leave or anything, so if that were to happen… 🙁 Just scary and a lot to think about, but I’m hoping that he finds something that he enjoys that is also a really solid, potential long-term career type job!! Keep your fingers crossed, DW-land, and thank you again for all the support!!
MaterialsGirl March 15, 2016, 3:42 pm
I’m just giving you a big high five! (although not a high five for the unemployment part). High 5.5 😉
Sambot March 14, 2016, 4:07 pm
Former commenter-turned-lurker here, glad for this thread today. I broke up with my boyfriend of nearly six years a month ago. I was only able to move out of our shared place this weekend (thank goodness for the second bedroom). After taking care of his feelings, and, honestly, taking care of him for so long, I thought I’d feel good or at least relieved, but I’ve just been socked in the gut with some serious sadness. I suppose after putting myself on hold for another month while I sorted everything out between us, I should have expected this, but I felt completely blindsided by own emotions. Plus, I moved kinda far from where most the people I know in my city live. I did it so I could afford live on my own as I think that’s necessary right now, and I’m sure I’ll be glad for it when I’m feeling less down, but right now, it’s just overwhelming.
Anyway, reading others’ posts and seeing the immense support offered as both put things into perspective and lifted my spirits immensely. Sending good thoughts and prayers to those of you that need it today!
kmentothat March 14, 2016, 4:47 pm
Another recent break up over here, sending you positive vibes! You will get through it 🙂
Amanda March 14, 2016, 4:19 pm
My dad died suddenly (and unexpectedly) December 3. We were a small family – just him, my mom, and me. The rest of my extended family is 9+ hours away. So, for all practical purposes, it’s just me and my mom now. I miss him every day. And, more than that, I hate that he won’t be here anymore: when I get married, buy my first house, have kids. I have so much more of my life left and he’s gone.
Hold your families tight, guys. You never know.
MaterialsGirl March 14, 2016, 4:37 pm
I’m so sorry Amanda. My almost/basically sister in law and dear friend’s mom just passed away suddenly and I know the loss is great. Sending you strength for the moments when you are overcome.
Copa March 14, 2016, 6:12 pm
Alright. This one made me cry a tear. I’m so sorry for your loss, Amanda.
Copa March 14, 2016, 6:05 pm
My problems seem so petty compared to what I’ve read on this thread, but I am rapidly reaching the end of my rope with my job. My boss left on paternity leave in early February, so I’ve been working a LOT lately because a lot of his responsibilities are now falling on me. There has been a lot of resentment toward me since I was hired because (at least) one co-worker was overlooked for a promotion when I was brought into the company and I have perks they don’t (like my own office and more vacation days, to name a couple) — and I’m still in my 20s while they’re all in their late 40s, early 50s, and I think one might even be in her 60s. It was, at first, easy to be cordial and professional with these women and I thought eventually I’d win them over. I haven’t. (One woman in my department quite literally won’t even say hello to me if I greet her. WTF.) With my boss gone, I’ve been overwhelmed. I keep getting pulled into meetings I feel unprepared for (because they relate to my boss’s role, not mine), and then I’m put on the spot and feel stupid. I’m trying to embrace this as a positive challenge, but I feel completely unsupported, and because I’m spending so much time in meetings, I’m working late into the evenings to meet deadlines. (Boss’s baby just happened to come at a bad, deadline-heavy time.) And, the departmental environment has become very toxic. For example, I was asked by upper management to handle something in my boss’s absence and I asked one of my co-workers for assistance (quite literally asked her if she knew where a file was saved to the server), she was LIVID with me because she wanted this responsibility. She came into my office, shut the door behind her, and proceeded to blow up at me over it. She was pacing back and forth, bright red, and trying (and failing!) not to yell at me. “Who authorized you to do this? Why are you deemed qualified to do this but I’m not? I’ve asked for this responsibility in the past and am deemed unqualified! You don’t even know the proper procedures for this! I’ve been in this business for over 30 year!” And on and on until she finished with, “So I’m not going to respond to your e-mail.” I was so stunned that I just sat there like an idiot. (She later apologized on a Post-It.) And, honestly, I have sympathy for her notwithstanding the situation. She’s frustrated and I get it. But I’m just over it. I try not to complain about the hours that I’ve been working since I know these are pretty standard for some people and because I know my workload will lighten significantly when my boss comes back in a couple weeks, but I’m tired (generally-speaking) and emotionally drained from mean-girl co-workers taking their frustrations with management and career shortcomings out on me. They’re getting under my skin and into my head and it’s making me sad. I don’t hate what I do and had hopes from internal growth at this company, but I think even when things return to relatively normal, I’ll still want to run far and fast.
Silver lining: I had a job interview last week and am hopeful, but still not sure, if I’ll be called back for round 2. I’ve never had a job that required fewer than 3 interviews, so I think if I move past round 1, I’ll start to feel hopeful that I have a real shot. It’d be a management role in a new company with better pay and I think I’m actually really well qualified, but I’m scared to be too hopeful because I don’t want to feel disappointed.
Sorry this is jumbled, trying to get this out quickly so I can finish some more work and maybe make it to the gym, time permitting, before I call it quits for the day.
Sambot March 14, 2016, 6:19 pm
Stay strong! You will get out! At this time last year, I was reaching the end of a five-month job search to get out of a toxic work environment like this. My mantra was “this is only temporary.” It helps, particularly when things feel overwhelming or bleak. But it also sounds like you’re killing it despite having very little support.
Copa March 14, 2016, 6:35 pm
Thanks! My boss is actually great, very helpful and supportive, gives me incredibly positive feedback, and he’s so funny. Our work styles mesh very well. The department is small and although I’ve known since the fall that this time of extra work was coming, it came sooner than expected and I guess I didn’t realize until he took his leave how the dynamics would shift.
I just started looking to see what else is out there, but I’m in somewhat of a strange field and assume finding the next job will take time. I was shocked (but ultra flattered) to get an interview with the first company I reached out to in this process. I do think I’m a great candidate, but think I’m on the less experienced side for what they’re looking for. Fingers crossed!
Anonymousse March 14, 2016, 7:31 pm
Well, it sounds like you are likely better able to handle your response to stress and not reacting to or blowing up at your coworkers… I can’t imagine why she didn’t get the extra responsibilities over you….
Wow! I can’t believe people even behave like that.
Don’t let them get to you. Their anger is misdirected at you, when really it sounds like they are unhappy in their roles at work and feel under appreciated. Stay strong, and I hope you get that new job!
Trixy Minx March 14, 2016, 7:38 pm
This is a great time for the ladies to step up and help assist you with some of the responsibility that they claim to have wanted!
Trixy Minx March 14, 2016, 6:55 pm
One of my nomad friends killed himself last week. We met over the summer at our job and didn’t hang out much but when we did we had a lot of fun. He left the job mid summer and we’d text our locations. He was always somewhere new. He’d driven from the Cali coast (after leaving northern Wyoming) to the coast of north Carolina and found a place to settle for a time. Meanwhile, I’ve been telling him of my nomadic adventures. I have been in the same spot for two months now and last week I wanted to text him that I got a call from Yosemite National Park to live and work there but I didn’t. Then the next day he was gone.
I understand. I had come so close to doing the same thing in Jan while camping in death valley with a cocktail mix of anti-freeze and poweraide and crying uncontrollably. Him and I both shared that same kind of killing depression. Everything can be sunshine and roses and then our minds slip and one irrational choice sets us over the edge and we can be gone like that.
I miss him. He was a beautiful person and a beautiful soul.
keyblade March 14, 2016, 11:02 pm
I’m really sorry Trixy Minx. Someone I knew (just had to correct “know”) killed themselves this week, too. I wish a lot of things were different. I wish someone had been there during that brief moment of irrational choice. I’m sorry you are sad. Please keep going. Keep getting treatment for whatever was driving your suicide idealization last January. Don’t be alone. Its too easy to slip away.
veritek33 March 15, 2016, 9:20 am
I’m so sorry for your loss 🙁
K March 15, 2016, 9:41 am
I’m very sorry for your loss. Are you going to take the job in Yosemite? What would it entail? I visited Yosemite last year, so beautiful!
Anon March 15, 2016, 4:20 pm
Gotta be anon for this…
We have long had a plan for life and we are approaching the planned-upon date for starting to try for a kid. We just completed the second to last step (buy the bigger house) and the last step (me finish school) is going to be done in July. However… I don’t know if I am ready. Which I know they’re always like “oh you’re never totally ready” but it’s more than just “omg kids, that’s huge” and more like…
– I like my independence. And having free time and vacation hours to use for actual vacation (rather than for sick kid– and sick self from all the germs kids bring home) and having disposable income. I know some people say choosing not to have kids is selfish and in a way, yes, maybe what I want is to be allowed to be selfish.
– I like my job and I am worried about the mommy track. Already it’s things like– I know I will have to take the majority of the family leave because I’ll have just had a baby, and my husband will go back to work in a week or two. And I feel like becoming the default parent just so easily falls out of that.
Also I’m worried that while I worry about this stuff my husband is very “oh its going to be fine.” And I’m worried that he thinks that because he is a guy and it honestly WON’T affect him the way it will affect me and that’s why he thinks it’ll be fine. Like no matter how much we try to be equal, we never will be with the social structures that are set up. I look forward to huge, life-changing impacts he looks forward to a much smaller adjustment.
Moms… can you tell me it’s not so bad? Can you tell me it IS so bad?
Dear Wendy March 15, 2016, 4:54 pm
I’m not supposed to say this as a mom who loves her children very much, but I’m pretty ambivalent about motherhood. If I had to make the choice all over again knowing what I know now, I would choose kids, but that’s because I love my children, not necessarily because I love motherhood. I like motherhood; I’m not sure I love it. But I’m also in arguably the most exhausting phase of motherhood (two kids under 5) and I’m an at-home parent. I hate not getting any sleep. I hate not getting a real vacation (the best I can hope for is a weekend away once or twice a year and I’m so grateful for that, but long gone are the vacations where I could fuck around for a whole week and see a new part of the country or world). The mommy track is a real thing. I see it with 100% of my friends who work outside the home. They have to constantly fight and balance their lives and work in a way their male counterparts/partners do not have to. And then at home, even if you have a feminist spouse, you will likely carry a bigger load in terms of caring for the kids and running the household. And running a household is do much work. I went out of town this weekend and even left several dishes for drew to re-heat and eat and I hired a babysitter for several hours to give him a break, and i took photos of the outfits he could dress the kids in each day (and then folded the clothes and put them aside for easy retrieval) and he still told me that he didn’t realize how much work I do. because it’s invisible! And mist men truly have no idea.
So, yeah, expect all of that to come with the territory. And it sucks and it’s exhausting and sometimes it’s lonely and even a little depressing. But there’s a lot of joy that comes with having kids, too. I laugh a lot with my kids, especially now that Jackson is getting older and more expressive. I love seeing my kids grow and evolve and develop. I like the world parenthood has opened to me — the other families we’ve befriended and the activities (some of them, anyway) that are now part of our lives. I like knowing that this is my family and I’ll always have them until the day I die (barring some awful, of course).
I’d make the same choice to have kids if I had to do it all over again. And I’d be happy. But I’d also be happy if I didn’t have kids. And I’d be a lot less sleepy, too.
Anonymousse March 15, 2016, 4:58 pm
It is so bad, sometimes. It really can blow a big fat one, sometimes. I don’t know if you saw my comment above about waking up in a pool of baby shit. That literally wasn’t even one of the baddest kid-times. It was just poop.
Sometimes it’s amazing, and you feel so much love and your heart does literally grow a zillion times and it feels like you will explode with love. But you do get very close and personal with poop, and vomit and spit up.
I mean, I overlook a lot of that stuff, but to be honest, it totally blows sometimes.
I miss being selfish and having time to myself, sleeping, showering when I want to…and that shower being more than a quick one. I miss going out whenever I want, with or without other people. I haven’t felt truly alone since having babies. Except when I’m at home for days and it’s next to impossible to not feel the loneliness of not seeing another adult around. My situation is different than yours. I fully thought I’d go back to work after my leave was up, but we’d moved, I’d taken a step down and I just didn’t want to. I wanted to be with my son all the time. I didn’t want to miss anything. And even that changes….sometimes I want to miss him. But anyway, I gave up working, for now, and stay at home with a 21 month old and a four month old.
Not having kids isn’t selfish. You don’t have to have kids to have a full life. And you can also find many kids you can shower with love all you want, without the full time responsibilities (like nieces and nephews, friends kids, big brother/big sister programs….)
I don’t know what the answer is for you, but sometimes I wish I’d waited longer. I miss having more income and dining out at fancy restaurants with my husband all the time and so many other things we’ve given up because we’d rather be with our kids, or it’s just too inconvenient. Like traveling.
And all that being said, you of course can do anything you want with kids….but it’s hard. Emotionally, physically, financially….etc.
Don’t just go forward and have kids because he’s says it’ll be fine. Maybe you should really see a counselor alone or together or sit down and really pick apart all your fears about this.
SasLinna March 15, 2016, 5:20 pm
I don’t have kids so I can’t answer your question from that perspective, but I just talked about this question with a friend for basically an entire weekend (she was visiting me so we had a lot of time to talk). She’s worried about all the same things with respect to motherhood that you mention. Plus, in her social circle, ALL the moms she knows are pretty much entirely responsible for providing care to their children, and her boyfriend seems blissfully unaware of the work that entails. He wants kids but doesn’t want to discuss the details of how work would be divided, basically.
My friend was asking me if I thought that’s just expected – whether she was worrying too much and should just go ahead with having kids anyway. I said absolutely not and that she was 100% right to be worried about these issues. They are real – as is the mommy track. Women who perceive these issues should pause and consider them and not push them to the side because having kids is “normal”, as my friend seemed to consider doing (she does want kids, but an equal split of childcare responsibilities is very important to her).
Of course it doesn’t HAVE to be bad. But it definitely CAN be, especially if you care about an equal split of childcare responsibilities and your partner isn’t on board with that. I think you should voice your concerns to your husband and see whether you can negotiate for a division of labor that would seem preferable to you, compared to what you’re currently envisaging. Maybe your husband will surprise you. If not, I think it would be absolutely fair to decide that’s a deal breaker for having kids (even if you would otherwise want them).
snoopy128 March 16, 2016, 9:57 am
I just had a big long talk with my boyfriend about these things. And as much as I love kids and I really want them some day, it blows a big one that my career *will* take a hit. There’s no way about it- I’m in the lesser paying, more flexible field than my boyfriend. We’ve talked about paternity leave and how he’d love to be a stay at home parent for a good portion of time, but in the long run, with our current jobs/benefits, I’m going to the one picking up all of the little things. So, this will be a continuing discussion in our household. Becoming the default parent is something I’m majorly worried about. I know my bf is very open and reasonable, but it’s not something he’s ever really considered. My goal in the next 4 years before we start trying (based on our “plan”) is to continue to have these conversations and point out the unfair and gendered norms and expectations that society has and work towards a plan or division of labour that works for both of us and isn’t just defaulting. But sometimes it feels like an uphill battle- the system is so set up for me to be the default.
I think it’s totally normal to be worried about this stuff. It shows you are realistic about the situation. And just because you planned for a certain timeline, doesn’t mean you have to stick to it. Maybe you need more time to have these discussions before you start trying. Maybe you need more time just to do ‘you’ or ‘us’ before you start. And yeah, if your husband really wants kids, maybe he needs to take a bigger ‘hit’ (as per Portia below). If you are going to have to take all/most of the 12 weeks that the both of you get, then maybe he needs to save his vacation, bank overtime, etc- whatever is available thru his company to set himself up for fatherhood. Even if that means it may affect his career. (Which, by the way, sounds so taboo to write. Women are just expected to take the hit, heaven forbid we even suggest men consider making decisions that might affect theirs)
Anonymousse March 15, 2016, 5:51 pm
And absolutely don’t have kids if he isn’t fully prepared to hear you out or discuss this until you feel you’ve discussed it all. Kids should never be a decision made lightly. And as it’s likely most of the work will fall to you…you shouldn’t have kids until you are ready to.
As Wendy wrote, yeah, I love my kids very much but I’m very ambivalent at times. I’m also the stay at home parent, which, to be honest, wasn’t my plan, and sometimes I resent that I’m at home. I mostly don’t, but I do resent it, often enough. It’s hard having a child, and I just have had a second, (which I would say is more than double the work of one) so, there you go. Luckily, my friends and husband let me vent my frustrations without judgement.
Anon March 16, 2016, 8:51 am
This also worries me. I know a lot of women who didn’t *plan* to be SAHMs and then… did anyway. Including my mom. They moved where he could get a good job and also they could be near family and it ended up meaning she couldn’t find a job in her field in that area and never really used her degree. I don’t at all fault anyone who becomes a SAHM because they want to, but there are so many pushed into it by circumstances that you can never see coming.
I wouldn’t say my husband is dismissive of my fears or won’t listen. He just honestly thinks it’s going to be ok.
Anonymousse March 19, 2016, 3:53 pm
Yeah, it’s pretty easy for him to say, think and believe that, though. Because, most likely, when push comes to shove, it will be you leaving your job, or sacrificing more. I mean, it most commonly is the mom who does. He’s probably viewing it as, hey there might be some tough times, but I’ll have a family! Whereas your day to day life will more likely be directly affected especially with all the things you are worried about.
Portia March 16, 2016, 8:35 am
So, I know that the typical allotment of work on genders is the woman does more/runs the household and social calendar, and that Wendy’s and others’ experience is more common. This is a big reason I don’t personally want kids, because I am ambivalent about being a parent and I like my disposable income and sleep. And I don’t have kids (so perhaps take this with a grain of salt), but without talking through everything with your partner and knowing how they typically respond to situations, can you really say that within the home the unequal amounts of work actually will happen? I’ve talked extensively with Bassanio about this and he would be willing to take on stay-at-home fatherhood, or part-time with the majority of childcare duties. Because if he wants a kid and is more willing to shape his life in order to have a child, why would it fall primarily to me?
I see your whole second paragraph and wonder why you’re setting your life up like that, other than the argument that this is how things happen in our culture. “I look forward to huge, life-changing impacts he looks forward to a much smaller adjustment.” If your husband wants kids (like, actively wants kids), why is he only making small adjustments, like taking 2 weeks off? Does his current job not give paternity leave? Is it because you need the money? If it is about the money, can you save more before trying to have kids? Can he find a job with more child-friendly policies? If he thinks it’ll be fine, have him talk you through what he imagines your combined life will be like. If he wants to be a parent, then to me it follows that you should allow him or push him to make bigger adjustments to his life. If neither of you want to carry that weight, then kids might not be the path. That seems realistic, not selfish.
Anon March 16, 2016, 9:13 am
So we live in the US and we work for the same company. Our company offers no family leave benefits beyond what is legally required, which is 12 weeks unpaid and if both parents work for the same company then they share the 12 weeks.
After giving birth it doesn’t seem realistic for me to plan to go back to work in a couple weeks while he takes the bulk of our allotted time, and also I don’t think we’d want to both take 6 weeks and then both go back to work and put our 6-week-old in daycare. We have no family nearby so it would have to be daycare or a nanny or similar.
He has been looking for a new job for awhile, unsuccessfully. And now we’re at the point where if he doesn’t find one soon and we do follow the plan, he won’t have been working a new place for a year and therefore won’t be legally entitled to any family leave benefits at all unless the company offered that of it’s own accord.
I really do feel like society (at least in the US) is set up to undermine attempts at equal parenting from the very beginning.
Vathena March 16, 2016, 9:57 am
Your last sentence could not be more true. I’m SO glad that the terrible family leave policies in this country are finally becoming a talking point in a presidential campaign (only from one side, which is hardly a surprise…)
Anyway, you know your husband. Does he currently step up and do things around the house? Laundry, dishes, cooking, grocery shopping? If he is already an equal partner to you in caring for your shared home, that bodes well for caring for his children down the road. Are you planning to breastfeed/pump, if you can? In that case, it IS true that a lot of the work falls to the mom. My daughter will be three soon, and I nursed/pumped for a year, and was alternately happy and then resentful. It takes a huge toll on your time and your physical being. I found it tougher than pregnancy, actually. It is a huge commitment. But then…it was done. Things change so quickly with babies and children. There are stages that you may find really magical and easy to handle (I still yearn for the 19-23month window again, that was a great age for us). And other stages you just have to grit your teeth and get through. One thing that I would really recommend if you want your husband to be a full and equal parent, is to have him do a week or so of the childcare when you go back to work. My husband took two weeks off when I went back to work and it really helped him bond with our daughter and develop confidence as a dad. He still talks about what a valuable time it was. Aside from that, do you need to stick so closely to your planned timeline? Maybe easing off the pressure and the checklist would help a little bit.
I identify a lot with what Wendy said, about being ambivalent but still doing it over again because I love my daughter so much. I didn’t know how much I could love another person. It shocks me, honestly, how many people in this world are parents and can still think and say such callous, cruel things about others.
Portia March 16, 2016, 10:37 am
That really sucks that you have to share the 12 weeks if you’re both at the same company. I’d encourage you to have him keep looking for another job and perhaps rethink the plan a bit. If it takes him another year to find a job or perhaps build up more vacation days or other leave to use as an extended parental leave, then you delay having a kid for a year, I think that would set you both up to being in a much better position to have a kid. Parental leave in federal government is usually cobbled together from FMLA/vacation days/sick days and this seems to be common in the private sector as well.
In addition, although don’t take this as legal advice, but I looked into the 12 week max combination for employees at the same employer, and that is changed to up to 12 weeks per person if there is “a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or
her job.” Prenatal care, childbirth and recovery are serious health conditions: https://www.dol.gov/whd/opinion/FMLA/prior2002/FMLA-85.htm
>The legislative history (Senate Report No. 103-3, January 27, 1993) lists “…ongoing pregnancy, miscarriages, complications or illnesses related to pregnancy, such as severe morning sickness, the need for prenatal care, childbirth and recovery from childbirth” as examples of “serious health conditions” under this Act.
If I were you and decided on children, I’d talk to other people at your organization who have gone through childbirth, or look to find a doctor who will attest/write authorization for this when the time comes.
More information on FMLA for the same employer: https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28l.pdf
Some of this will depend on your employer and the work culture/whether they would be risk-averse to opening themselves to a lawsuit (and assessing your legal rights vs. being at-will). However, 12 weeks total is not the definitive and final answer.
RedRoverRedRover March 16, 2016, 1:53 pm
I know what you mean about loving the independence and free time, and I’m another who was overall ambivalent about having kids. I didn’t have my first till I was 37, and before that I had about 15 years of making a very good salary, and so did my husband. What that meant is that I think we got a lot of it out of our system. We took two vacations every year, we ate out whenever we wanted, basically we’ve both had enough money to do what we wanted for a long time. And after 15 years of that, it honestly got a little boring. And that’s when I decided that I’d like to consider having kids. Because say what you will, but they do shake life up! 🙂 Not that that’s the only reason I had them, obviously. But that’s when I knew I was “ready” to give up the life I was currently leading.
About your other concerns. My husband was even more ambivalent than I was, although he did end up agreeing that he wanted to have kids for many of the same reasons I did. Seeing him go back and forth and be so unsure, and knowing how important my career is to me, I was concerned that since he wasn’t all that into it, that everything would fall onto me. So I voiced that concern to him, and said it wasn’t happening. I said either we have kids and we split the work, or we don’t have kids at all. He agreed we needed to split the work and that neither of our careers was more important than the other’s. It helps that we make around the same though, it may be harder for another couple. Read my reply upthread and you’ll see how that went for the first 6 months. Not well. But then I realized that I needed to stand up for myself, and I just told him I needed him, and that he had to do as much as me because it was our kid, not just mine, and he’d agreed to that. He stepped up immediately. I do more childcare than him because he has a commute and I don’t, so daycare runs make sense for me to do. But he does way more of the household stuff. And he does childcare everyday too. Overall I still do more of the “invisible” work that women get stuck with, like making plans for birthdays and other outings and playdates, or buying his clothes/toys/other gear. He doesn’t see that stuff. But I’d say we’re close to 50/50 on the split, because of the extra domestic work he does. We have roughly the same amount of free time. And I stayed home with my son for 16 months, so I was definitely the “default” parent at first (plus I was breastfeeding which didn’t help with that), but we’ve sorted it out now and it’s definitely possible if both people are on board.
I don’t know if I got “mommy-tracked” or not, but I’m in a pretty senior position at work and people seem to like and respect me. I make a really good salary. So I’m gonna say that even with taking 16 months off, and with another year off upcoming, I didn’t get hit too hard. I think part of that is having kids so late, my career was extremely established and everyone knew me and my reputation. I think you probably get hit a lot harder if you’re young and people don’t know you as well.
In the end, for me, I think waiting till I was older, more financially stable, more established at work, had more life experience, more clear on what I wanted and needed in terms of support from my husband, and frankly more feminist, all contributed to being “ready” to have kids on my own terms. I think if I’d had kids even 10 years ago I wouldn’t have been able to push my own needs as strongly as I have. And I would have felt more like I was missing out on the other things life has to offer. So as a “geriatric” mother, lol (I’m 40 and pregnant), being older really worked out for me, so far.
Kate March 19, 2016, 2:37 pm
I would say do NOT have kids yet if you’re feeling like this. For everyone’s sake, just don’t. Wait a while and re-evaluate, but now is not the time to be trying given what you wrote here. Wait until it IS what you want. For me, that feeling never happened and I didn’t have kids and don’t regret it one bit.