May 142010

It’s no secret that I don’t possess “normal” brain chemistry. If you want to label it, the best label is ADD-Inattentive with a side-order of fibromyalgia (body disease but also affects the brain and can act like ADD) and an occassional helping of some other as-yet-unnamed disorder. I’m not easy to treat with meds. I’m a puzzle and doctors don’t usually want to spend the time on me. I’m not responsive or overly responsive to many meds, thanks to the fibromyalgia. And so, since brain chemistry affects sex drive, mine is like a rollercoaster.

But my husband….he’s also got a dopamine-deficiency disorder. Which exact label, we’re not sure. His acts different than mine and gets treated differently from mine. He’s more susceptible to outside sources affecting his chemistry levels….from food/sugar/caffeine to emotional stresses and lack of sleep.

It’s not easy being a couple. I think he has more patience than me, because I’m losing mine. Back in December he had a big ole upswing and was better than he’d been in years. Our relationship was great, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to rely on him for husbandly duties like coming with me to visit my mother. And sex. It was more often, and better. But then a month or two later, his shitty job and his difficult programming class started to get the better of him. And it’s gone downhill. Everything.

I’m walking on eggshells. Silently losing patience and, for brief moments, respect. But then I remember that he can’t control his brain chemistry any more than I can. But then I have moments of “But *I* work and *I* go out shopping and *I* do XYZ…..why can’t HE??” and the cycle starts all over again. And the health of us individually is failing, but also the health of our relationship. I can’t even recall when we last had sex; it might be a month or two months, I’m not sure any more. We spend our evenings in different rooms of the house. He babbles on about hockey because it’s one of very few outside sources that stimulate his adrenaline and dopamine in a good way. He babbles and I tune out because as much as I want to care about something he likes, I just can’t care about hockey, lol.

I get advice but it doesn’t help because only he and I can figure us out and what to do for us. Nothing can be forced or wrenched into place. It’s true, I’m losing my patience with him and the state of things. But I’m only human…right? It doesn’t make me feel any better though about losing my temper and patience and blowing up. It doesn’t make me miss “us” any less.

If you’ve gone through this, how did you come out the other side in tact?

  15 Responses to “Mental Health and Relationship Health”

  1. Be careful and have patience, otherwise you will come out like me,,,,divorced.

  2. I got nuttin.
    Hope y’all/the docs get it worked out!

  3. I have been here and yes, it did kill my first marriage, but not due to my illness, but more to lack of communication with my spouse. I made it a point in my second marriage to be entirely open, patient more with myself than them.

    It requires understanding of both parties and willingness to work on it.

    I understand that only you and your spouse can know truly who you are, but your issues are not new either.

    Listen to others with mental illnesses and visit forums such as pendulum.

  4. I can understand this. MasterDoc has to deal with my depression (when I’m at my most difficult and negative) and I have to deal with his ADD. Sometimes I get frustrated that he’s so forgetful (he does too) and I have to remind myself that he really can’t help it – particularly on the days he doesn’t medicate. Just as I can’t help the lunacy that comes from my depression.

    I think taking deep breaths and reminding yourself that his behavior is not on purpose is the best thing you can do. And talk about things so maybe you can both understand each other better.

  5. My experience say don’t cheat. In one relationship, I lost patience and it ended. In the other one, I’m managing thru dry spells and times of no communication. The jury’s still out on if it’ll be enough.

    Good luck!

    ~ Well, there is no “cheating” since this is an open marriage.

  6. We talked. And talked, and talked, and I’m not sure we’re *out* the other side yet, but it’s better, and we’re still married at any rate.

    Good luck-

  7. I suggest time and building friendships with people you can talk to when he had to ‘check out’ for awhile. My hubs also has depression and i’m about 99% upbeat and ‘normal’. But thankfully I have friends to be with when he’s in a mood to do nothing but video games. He likes to be left alone, so it works out well since he can’t take my Susie Sunshine bit.

    Good luck! Marriage is hard, even when you’re dealing w/ normal brain chemistry. :)

  8. My depression can definitely affect my relationships, and it’s destroyed relationships in the past. It’s frustrating for my partners, but it’s frustrating for me, too, because I *want* to fix it, but I *can’t* fix it. Patience, understanding, writing, and Kristen’s suggestions of building friendships/doing things with friends are really all I can recommend.

    Hang in there, because it’s not easy. <3

  9. I don’t have any words of wisdom or experience to speak from, so I’ll just say that I’m thinking of you!!

  10. I can relate to this in a lot of ways but honestly, I don’t prefer to delve into them in detailed examples. Not because I mind but my boyfriend might mind me sharing details about him on touchy subjects. So, all I can say is, it’s HARD. You have to find ways you can still connect. You have to have patience. You have to have communication and keep calm without blowing your lid and getting frustrated and saying nevermind. That in itself can be difficult. At the end of the day if you still love him and want to be with him, you just have to try (and so does he) to find ways to make things work. Sorry my response is vague but like I said, I won’t give out details in a public forum unless I know he would be okay with it. You can e-mail me if you want to talk me. ((hugs)) Good luck.

  11. Well, my spouse and I managed to survive early menopause. Serious depression with violent outbursts and erratic behavior, at it’s worst, flying objects.

    5 years later we survived, and our relationship, and sex, is truly better than it has ever been. Patience, understanding that this isn’t her fault, faith that reasonability will return at some point in the future. And, when reasonability does return, however fleeting, taking a moment to reaffirm your commitment, and thank each other for understanding.
    Don’t rise to the arguments…just maintain your cool. Avoiding the hurtful statements means you’ll have less to mend when things do calm down.

    Communicate a lot, but I suggest choosing your moment. Like when things are heated or overly depressed, it is probably not the best time; at that point I focused on being supportive and left the “I Love You’s”, “We need to talk about…”, and “Did you pay the …” for a couple of hours later.

    Oh…and if you’re a know-it-all, got an opinion on everything type, like me…try to supress. I’m told I wasn’t supposed to try to FIX anything, just listen and be supportive. I’m not good at that. I was only marginally successful, but it’s the thought that counts, right? At least for her, it did count…she appreciated the effort, even when I wasn’t 100% successful.

    Ultimately, only you will know what your exact relationship dynamic is like. I hope at least some of this givs you some ideas for things to try. Best Wishes!

  12. Like a lot of others here, sorry, I don’t have a good answer, because we’re still dealing with it; we don’t know yet how exactly to come out the other side because we haven’t yet.

    The only piece of advice I have (and it’s all that’s kept ME sane at least) is HAVE SOMEONE ELSE TO TALK TO. Yes, you need to talk with each other and be as open + honest as possible, but you DO need a sounding board — someone to vent to — so you can let things out of your system before you blow up at your partner in frustration. Just make sure you’ve got that shoulder to cry on, god knows I’ve needed it.

    Good luck, stay strong.

  13. I feel what you are going thru with a husband who has bouts of his own chemical imbalances that results in turmoil in the relationship. Always seems that just when you are at wits end, it’s like there is a break in the clouds and the sun begins to shine through. Never with a good explanation, but it happens. Hang in there!

  14. Have you read the book Emotional Intelligence? I have found that it has helped us tremendously, it came recommended from our marriage therapist.
    Guys can even it read it, it appeals to their analytical processing…

    I would say every marriage has its ups and downs despite chemical imbalances from either party…I just had a hysterectomy and it seems as though even my hormone change has already affected him. Really bizarre!!

    Hang in there…

  15. All I can say is good luck, I’m so there with you. I dont think there is any magic bullet, or even any really good advice beyond ‘persevere’. It is hard work and sometimes feels utterly hopeless. I hope you two make it through this.

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