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PaulNash

How to keep the relationship alive

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Since my stroke three years ago, I have been withdrawn, with a flat affect, and often have conversations inside my head -- somehow the words don't make it out of my mouth.  My wife has been hugely supportive, but is getting worn thin and gets increasingly upset and agitated.  Our financial plans are in tatters -- I am able enough that I get a (small) partial disability payment, but am finding it harder and harder to find work (I'm a freelance network engineer).

 

I am very aware of dragging her down, and making her miserable.  I try to open up, chat, be positive but often can't get words to come out of my mouth.  I also feel depressed and responsible -- I should be able to bring in a decent income somehow, I'm just not trying hard enough.  And from time to time I feel that everyone's lives would have been better if the stroke had been fatal -- the insurance company can't really argue that a corpse can still earn a living, my wife and children would have got over the grief by now, and I would not be faced with having my disabilities shoved in my face day-to-day.

 

I know that most stroke survivors are probably worse off than me, and that I should feel grateful rather than resentful that I lived.  I know that many stroke survivors have been abandoned by their spouses, and that I should be grateful that mine has stuck by me (and continues to stick by me, regardless of how frustrated she gets).  No, I am not going to kill myself; I would never inflict that on my family.

 

But then there are times when it all gets too much.  I can usually get out and go for a run (my legs still work OK), or try to take a nap, or just wait until I forget how I am feeling.  This time feels different; it's probably just a cumulative thing, but I feel that I cannot cope.  Rationally, I'll forget this specific incident at some stage, couple of hours or couple of days, but the general misery will linger on, adding to what has come before.

 

I see a psychiatrist at the local stroke hospital every month or thereabouts.  She is always upbeat about how well things are going, and tries to offer solutions, but cannot really fix what is broken (mind or mood).

 

Sorry to dump like this, just wanted to express what I was feeling to an audience that might understand.   I'll be OK (feeling a bit better already for getting it out in the open).

 

Thanks for your indulgence.

 

       paul

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Hi Paul, just really replying to say I hear you. Take care of yourself and I hope you find the place of acceptance and peace at some point.  Just remember that acceptance does not mean you stop trying to get better. it just means you recognise that the life you had is gone and now you have to turn around and make/face new plans.  Hang in there and do try to talk to your wife although we are happy to be your venting space, she also needs to understand where you are emotionally.

 

:hug:

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Paul

We are so similar but my wife decided to go so I am on my own now. It hurts so much inside, wish I did not find out things but that's just me, I always seam to find out the truth and that hurts more than the stroke did.

When I got home after 12 weeks in the hospital and rehab I asked my wife to help out financially and her response was NO and to start selling things and that she was no longer in love :sorry:, that's what hurts, I am now selling all my personal belongings because all she wants is 50 % and she never worked.

All I can say is relax and try and explain yourself so she will understand there are things no one understands till you go thru having a stroke

I hope it all works out for you

Ed  

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:hug:I can't stand it!:crying: Heartache will always hurt me. Paul please always feel free to get it out! It is what I have to do and I will always listen and so will so many others. It helps. I have spent so many days in a similar position...with my ex and even my daughter. Stroke was a pretty evil entity that entered our lives. I understand when you say you feel responsible...I know I did. I pray that you and your wife will learn to love each other through the hard times. Keep your chin up, vent all you want or need...hopefully during those rough moments you will feel some relief and strength from doing so.

 

Ed I am so sorry you have had to bear this. It is unfair! I am so sorry for your pain. My ex...well it's a long story but I left him. It was so painful and I was so unable to deal with it. (He cheated. With a 24 year old! Said he never loved me after 10 years of telling me he did everyday. He got upset because I told him I didn't need him to survive. I shut the door...SLAM and it tortured me. What a «[|«^|«|¥[ up way of leaving. I am so super careful now, no I don't trust, no I don't socialize, no I don't let myself be open to another relationship. NO!! 

 

Neither of you ever planned a stroke in your future. Some couples get closer, some couples get farther apart, some couples split, and some couples or one side of a couple gets pooped on as the cherry on top. I am now glad I found out that my relationship was never a sundae...I hate that the timing was evil but the toxic damage it would have done to still be in the dark. 

 

Paul you keep fighting and communicating. We are here with you. Ed you keep fighting too and know you are not alone. Group hug! Yep I said it lol. :hug:

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After my stroke, I had what I came to call"stroke moments" every day. For me, stroke moments usually occurred when I tried to do something very simple and found out that I couldn't do it all, or that I could do it, but struggled a lot. Then the enormity of what the stroke had done to me would hit me. This realization, combined with my frustration, would totally overwhelm me. I would feel stunned, hurt, scared, and angry all at once, or in waves of emotion that left me speechless, or in tears.  What was I going to do? I couldn't explain it to myself, so how was I going to explain it to someone else? I coped by withdrawing into myself. I never shared my experiences with anyone. I didn't know how to.

You will find, as I did, that as time goes on, you will have stroke moments less frequently, and less intensely. I don't know why exactly. You become more confident in your abilities and more adept at dealing with your disabilities, I think.

And, I agree with the others- you need to talk to your wife. Jot some notes about important things you want to say, and give it a whirl. I think you'll find her receptive and relieved.   Becky

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Ed, I wish that I could help.  Your story makes me somewhat ashamed.  You have had a really unfair outcome, and I wish that I could help.  I just hope that everything turns around for you.

 

      paul

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Paul 

Thanks for the warm thoughts but this is life, the more I look around the more I learn. I miss my wife and work but she met someone else, she wont admit it but the fly on the wall knows the truth and work, cant risk getting hurt or not being able to fix the machines like I once did so i'm disabled now and bored out of my mind. :feeling-blue:  

I still love my wife but remember things that happened or that she said and never really paid any attention to it now when I look back I was the idiot as it was right in front of me but love makes you look at life thru rose colored glasses

I just hoping my dizziness goes away because this is not life or living, just existing waiting for that faithful day when the party's over and the fat lady starts to sing.

 

Ed

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Ed I completely understand your rose colored glasses...have a pair myself. Hurts to realize certain things after the fact. I'm so sorry. Keep your chin up...I know the power behind disequilibrium, dizziness, proprioception issues. It's debilitating. I hope that you can find new and better treatments to help.

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Track

Thank you so much

Ed

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Hi Paul,

 

I'm a little late to the discussion, but as a man who has lived through 2 divorces, I can only say this. If the love and trust is there, then it will work. Tough as it is, and as dark as it may seem, if there is love, then there is hope. I know from hard learned events that a tragedy can hammer on even the most solid relationships. What makes it or breaks it in my view is understanding and compassion. Knowing when to withdraw a little or when to be close enough to grab on is key. I unfortunately cannot tell you how to do either, but you have to have faith.  But through it all, keep talking! Nothing kills a marriage or relationship faster then festering emotions and feeling of fear and angst. Talk it out, and keep talking.  with a little luck and God willing, you both will triumph over it.

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Thank you, everyone, for the support and suggestions.  We have started a full and frank discussion, and are making a plan to bring thongs back together.  Linda is (understandably) quite tired of doing the heavy lifting in this regard, so is leading the bulk of the work to me, but that's OK as long as she is understanding about the slips that I'm going to make.  It seems a bit clinical, but I think that it is a necessary step to fix the damage and regain as much as we can of what we had.

 

I'm mostly relieved that things are still salvageable.  It's a very easy slope to slip down, and I'm not expecting it to be very easy to climb back up.

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Thank you for being honest and opening up about your struggles.  I was married for 25 years, so I know how hard it is to work through issues, even without "stroke brain".  I can't imagine having to do it now.

Personally, I love being single now.  It took me a while to get here, though.  My ex became (life threateningly) abusive after the birth of our kids, due to a serious mental illness which started as a head injury on 9/11- when he responded there as a firefighter. And I stayed with him all those years as his illness progressed until.... it came to a choice between him or me and we had a 5 year old and a 3 year old at the time.  So I chose THEM, to make sure that they had a functioning parent.  At the time I couldn't even choose me, I was too far beaten down!  

Post stroke...there is no way I function well enough to be part of a healthy relationship *right now*.   I just want to COMMEND BOTH OF YOU, for trying to work through the additional issues that stroke brings, with compassion for each other (which I can see from your posts).  Would you be comfortable with some couples therapy?  A good therapist is really hard to find, but they are out there.....I know...more therapy right, not something any of us want.  But....if it saves your marriage, even if it only PROVES your trying (and that goes a long way to a spouse) it might be worth it.

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13 hours ago, PaulNash said:

Thank you, everyone, for the support and suggestions.  We have started a full and frank discussion, and are making a plan to bring thongs back together.  Linda is (understandably) quite tired of doing the heavy lifting in this regard, so is leading the bulk of the work to me, but that's OK as long as she is understanding about the slips that I'm going to make.  It seems a bit clinical, but I think that it is a necessary step to fix the damage and regain as much as we can of what we had.

 

I'm mostly relieved that things are still salvageable.  It's a very easy slope to slip down, and I'm not expecting it to be very easy to climb back up.

I agree! Bring back the Thongs!!

 

Just kidding. A little humor never hurt anyone.

 

All things are salvageable Paul. Nothing is ever past the point of no return if you and you wife have love, respect, honesty, and a willingness to WANT it. Will things be the same ? No. Because of what you have suffered, what you both have suffered, life will be different, but trust that love will always triumph. Talk, keep talking, talk it all out. Be honest, don't hold back to save feelings. You have to get all of that bile, those festering feeling out into the open into the light.

 

 

 

 

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Well, we're trying.  We have had a "full and frank discussion" (sorry, South African expat humour -- when the police had a "full and frank discussion" with someone, they usually ended up dead).  We're going to have a "date night" on Friday, no talk about work, household stuff, just the two of us talking about how we feel and trying actively to rebuild intimacy.  I don't think that it will be easy -- I feel broken, worthless and withdrawn, plus I now have difficulty with small talk; Linda is tired and resentful after bearing the emotional and logistical brunt.

 

We are also trying to get to see a psychiatrist at the local stroke centre who specializes in couples therapy.

 

And I am working on being more assertive, more definite, and trying to ignore the deficits.

 

The most important part is that we have talked about the issues, and come up with a plan of sorts.  I'm not expecting miracles, but it is progress, and Linda appreciates that I am taking the initiative in this.

 

90% of the battle is just showing up.

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Paul, All journeys begin with a single step forward.

 

Will yours be easy? Nope.

Will yours be rewarding? Yup.

 

Small steps, one at a time. Be open, honest, non judgemental, and caring. I understand the fear of losing your marriage and all that has been. You fell in love before, you can again.

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Great to hear Paul. I commend you and your spouse for working through it together. May not always work, but at least you will always know you tried.

 

Having just exited a 25 year relationship (21 of it married), I can tell you that being more assertive and more definitive will help. Getting out for date nights where you can connect and talk is key. My ex and I did not do enough of that.

 

Be careful of ignoring the deficits. Maybe its just word choice and my interpretation. I always prefer to put it in a more forward thinking light. Instead, I'd say to remember the strengths and focus on them." Feel grateful and gratitude that you have those strengths and always look for ways to bring them to the fore, and when you are feeling frustrated or disappointed, knowing those strengths are there will help pick you up.

 

Best of luck! You can do this. Cheers!

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