Feeling like a burden to the family. Written by a husband’s of chronically ill wife.
Feeling like a burden to the family.
My wife felt like a burden to the family! Depression was dragging her down. Eventually, the worst came along…
The article you’re about to read contains (at times) some drastic descriptions in order to capture my feelings during what I can truly say was the darkest period of my life – when my wife attempted suicide!
To truly understand the point of view of someone who has witnessed and saved his loved one from committing such a desperate act, you need to understand what I felt, how it really feels to be in the shoes of a supporter, who was close to losing the love of his life.
The very first time “she killed herself…”
I struggled to complete this very sentence, I didn’t know where to begin. It needed to show the desperation I felt. I hope this very sentence underlines my primary feeling.
It is a metaphor for something (in my view) that died inside of her when she felt at most desperate and couldn’t see the way out.
This subject is so close to my heart, it brings a lot of frightening memories. The emotions I went through were almost indescribable when my wife felt like a burden to the family.
But I’m here today, writing this article and knowing, that M is okay. She is still here, she’s safe!
I know then my wife loves me very much, she’s forever grateful that I helped her go through this impossible part of her life, but I never appreciated my own doing, trying to be supportive and to some extent, unbreakable for M.
I’d like to take a moment to do just that.
I’m so thankful to myself, which I haven’t done ever since, for not giving up on my wife. I didn’t fail her as a husband, as a man, as a human being.
Our marriage will blossom to infinity, because I was there for her, and I always will be!
I never really gave a thought about my own mental well-being. I’m an optimist. It’s in my nature not to break.
But even the happiest man like myself has feelings. When my wife was on the edge, I almost fell apart!
My wife worries about me a lot. I’m no hero, as our friend called me, I’m just a regular guy, like you/your partner. But I became extraordinary. I saved a life.
If I ignored my intuition, today I would be sitting here alone. M wouldn’t be where either. This blog wouldn’t exist and we wouldn’t be helping other people. More lives would be put on hold or destroyed.
But it’s not the case. We’re here and we’re here for those who suffer and those who support.
My choices shaped my wife’s life. My loving and supportive approach, helped M survive 4 suicidal attempts and the battle with her old, forgotten enemy – depression.
“The very first time my wife tried to take her own life, something died inside of her. The very first time my wife tried to take her own life, something awoken inside of me…” – Lucjan
Feeling like a burden to the family, she became frightened of living, she had been in physical pain for so long and the doctors didn’t know what was wrong with her.
They said it was all in her head, it was all stress!
We know now that she was suffering from a painful and chronic disease called endometriosis, but at the time she thought she was going crazy.
She was in agony almost every day and there were no answers to her pain. She felt like there was no way out of this hell she was living for both herself and me.
She thought that if she eliminated herself at least she wouldn’t be in pain or have to think anymore and my life might be better without her.
On the other hand, she worried about leaving me on my own. But her pain was unbearable.
I became mentally stronger. I knew her chance for survival rested in my mental strength and heck of a lot of patience. I succeed. Now I’m here to tell you how.
The memories are difficult to erase, they are still hidden deep inside of my mind. Although I haven’t forgotten that first frightening moment, these days I don’t think about it. I’ve learned to separate sad memories and put them into a box.
I only opened the box to write this article, after which I will tear it apart in my mind and burn it forever!
To write from the heart was never difficult, but I never wanted to tell my wife how I felt in order to protect her from the emotions she felt when the actions of her father triggered her first suicidal thought.
I never wanted to tell her, let alone write about it publicly.
I never intended to write about it, because I didn’t want to reinforce the memories my wife had the very first time it happened.
I thought, if I told M how I felt, she’d cry and somehow feel guilty and responsible for the trauma I went through seeing her committing the act.
But I understood, that the carelessness and wrongdoing of my father-in-law towards my wife, were the biggest triggers of all and they tipped her over the edge.
Today, I don’t allow him to hurt her anymore. I don’t want to go into the details. It is unnecessary but during her childhood her father already made her feel like a burden to the family.
Long story short – it was always more verbal and psychological, he never physically abused her, but sometimes cruel words are worse because they can leave deeper scars in the mind.
I remember our wedding day. This small, yet strong-minded Sicilian man asked me to take care of his daughter. I never forgot his words.
But I never forgot my own. I said, “trust me, I will”.
Fast forward a few years, I reminded him of his words the day after his abusive behavior, which triggered M’s first suicidal attempt. I added, however, “I promised to protect your daughter and I intend to do so, even if it means to protect her from you!”…
That was back then. Today M’s dark thoughts are the past but we still live with her parents, along with M’s brother and his girlfriend. We are all in one big house and at times things can still get pretty tense.
The living expenses of living in London are difficult if not impossible. If it wasn’t for us chipping in and sticking all together, we would have really struggled to keep up with the basics.
If it wasn’t for my parents-in-law, we wouldn’t have anywhere to live.
It is very comfortable, her mum is absolutely lovely but my wife’s brother and father are careless and selfish. Both could never recognize, what my wife was going through.
Mental illness is not a choice. You cannot just snap out of it!
But both men never understood the issue. Fortunately, today they have learned and mellowed. Back then they were not understanding…
Today is slightly different. My wife came to some kind of agreement with her brother. The father, however, even though slightly better, never changed his ways. But let’s get closer to the heart of this article.
I was a little apprehensive coming to terms with writing this but M reassured me, she was okay with it.
A few days ago, I spoke to my wife about writing on the subject of suicide.
I really wanted to capture how it is to feel when you’re helpless, yet full of hope because it shaped me into the man I am today. Strong, protective, fighting for her happiness.
M reassured me, that whatever I write in this article will not trigger her sadness. She has gone past that point of feeling like a burden to the family, and she’s looking forward to the future with me.
Besides, she knows how I felt…
I remember the very morning as if it was yesterday.
We got up very early one cold February morning. It was still very dark outside, but M wanted to go. As usual, she had been awake since the middle of the night with back pain and her endless dark thoughts.
Sometimes the anxiety and pain she went through didn’t allow M to close her eyes for 5 minutes.
She struggled through the night. I felt it, I was there.
Being by her side and seeing her falling apart, I couldn’t sleep either. And to answer the arising question – yes, it affected me greatly.
We had many, many terrifying and sleepless nights, where M was in so much physical pain and so anxious about what each morning was going to bring.
Would you like to know why?
We had many, many nights as such. Sleepless, terrifying, anxious about what each morning was going to bring.
Was it tough?
I felt like a stressed insomniac. M said she knows how I felt. I hope so. The emotions I went through, however, I tried to be strong for her, I am going to reveal in great detail.
M, if you read this, remember – those are the feelings of the past, I feel only the positive side of things. However you might deny it, I see you as the person you always used to be – strong, caring, supportive of me, fit, sexy, beautiful!
Despite the dark past, I was always in a better position than my wife. Yes – we both had sleepless nights and yes – this unknown was killing us both, but I was always healthy.
Physically, I was at the top of my game. Mentally, I am strong as I never suffered from mental illness and I knew I needed to be strong for my wife.
So I kept going, supporting, and loving my wife better than I ever could. Love allowed me to get up another morning, full of hope for a better tomorrow. But things were about to change for the worst…
The bus we were going to work on was full of people, but I managed to sit with my wife. She was starring at the window, fighting with her demons.
A burden to the family…
I knew she wasn’t okay. M shook her head from left to right as if she was nodding “no”, arguing with her own thoughts.
I knew that look. I’ve seen it before. I knew she was anxious. I explain it very well in my anxiety post. I could sense it growing but this time was different. It was more…
Not only was she anxious, but the previous night also brought her trauma beyond belief, from her own father. M couldn’t trust him. How a member of the family can treat another like this?
She felt abandoned, she wasn’t loved by her own blood.
The feelings I went through at the time were filled with anger, hate, will to fight him and tell him what I thought was necessary for that situation. On the other hand, I felt a loss of hope for my wife and my own anxiety, I felt very scared for her and afraid I was going to lose her.
The strongest emotion of all, however, overpowered all the above – love.
My love for my wife is so unconditional, that no amount of anxiety could ever push me away from her.
After getting off the bus, we sat in the café. She was nervous and worried about the overcrowded platform, so I decided we should go by bus.
The problem was, we had two separate buses as we worked in different areas of London, therefore, when I began to enter my bus, my wife was going to catch another.
I turned my head once more towards her as my intuition told me to. I noticed my wife walk away fast and I knew something wasn’t right.
It wasn’t like my wife, she seemed different.
Listening to my heart, which immediately was pounding somewhere up my throat, I jumped off the bus and run after her, squeezing between people and upcoming cars. I didn’t care about myself, I wanted M to be ok!
Something told me to run after my wife because I could never see her again. It was indescribable and yet so simple. I had to be there, at the right time, in the right place!
My wife walked fast towards approaching the tram. But was near, I was right behind her.
I have a vivid picture of calling her name. M never responded to it, as if she was in a trans. As soon as I caught up with her, I hugged her tight not wanting to let go.
I was just in time! My wife was literally two seconds away from the tram.
Hugging and squeezing, as if she was to fall off the cliff, I moved her full of tears and despair into a safe place. I held her tightly not wanting to let go. She seemed possessed by depression.
My wife screamed out loud – “Let me go, let me go! I wanna die, I want to die! Tell my mum I love her and let me die!”
I couldn’t. She needed me. I shielded her with my arms from danger and didn’t let go. She needed my protection, She needed to be wanted, she wanted to feel understood.
Drastic description ahead!
What I felt however no one understood, because I never expressed it. Even my beautiful wife, who says she knows how I felt, doesn’t know my true thoughts of the time.
I never experienced the feeling of being a burden to the family, but I felt how hard it was for her.
Not only was it haunting me that day but I felt it every single day for weeks, even months to come.
Think of the person the most important to you, your loved one, who means everything to you. You like to spend time together, love each other, take care of one another.
You love him/her to bits. You enjoy these little things, a cup of coffee, the intense feelings of butterflies when you’re about to kiss. Starring in each other’s eyes, caressing your lips, the touch. The laws of attraction, the sexually filled atmosphere, when you’re about to touch this sexy body…
Imagine that beautiful body shredded to pieces by a tram!
The cuts on the arms, broken legs bent outwards with the bone sticking out! The beautiful face you fell in love with you are suddenly afraid to look at, because the head is probably crushed into a thousand little pieces!
The favorite jacket your loved one liked so much, all shredded, ripped apart!
You will never see this beautiful face again! You will never hear the lovely voice of your loved one, you will never be happy again…
If this is what my wife thought I was going through on a daily basis, for weeks after, she truly knows me. If not, I hope she’ll forgive me for writing this but this is how I felt.
This is what I wanted to avoid. This is why I love my wife so much, I won’t fail to protect her!
Dear M, I’m sorry if you read this. You know that I see you as the woman you are, the beautiful person I married, and got to know.
I love you so much and I promise on the front of the whole world reading this, I am the man who will protect you from any harm. I will never stop loving you!
You never felt like a burden to the family where I come from. They will always welcome you with love and respect. You are NOT alone!
But I needed to stop caring for what I thought and felt at the time and needed to focus on M.
So desperately I wanted to understand how she felt. But I never could. I have never been in her shoes. I can only imagine.
How to describe the act of desperation, how to describe the feeling of wanting to commit suicide if you never experienced one? I don’t know. Many years past since and even though M is safe and sound, I will never be able to answer that question.
Our emotions don’t have a guide, our feelings don’t come with instructions on how to deal with them.
So how to cope with stress?
If we set our mindset on the path of thinking things such as “it’s going to be a hassle today for me at work” or “if I expect there’s going to be a lot of people on the platform, I won’t cope with that”, we will fail to control our emotions.
But this is the way I think, it is not how the anxious mind of my wife worked. Emotions can become overwhelming to the point, they take over the body and your logical responses.
Stress is needed in our life, in order to perform better.
It’s not possible to be able to control the crowd on the platform, how the day will go at work, whether this day will be a bad day in terms of pain or fatigue (if you are physically unwell).
We can’t control what other people think of us or what they say about us either, but we can always control our response mindset on how to deal with these thoughts and issues in a calm step by step manner, so as not to overwhelm our minds.
Again, this is how I think. I don’t suffer from anxiety or depression. For me, stress can be seen as something very positive and as a tool to drive success instead of becoming a hindrance.
It’s all to do with the way I learned to control my emotions. It can make a loud clear difference between performance or failure.
But again, that’s me. I’m not the sufferer.
I won’t write any more details about the other occasions my wife felt trapped and self-harmed or attempted suicide.
All I can tell you is that on the second attempt I was there. The third and fourth times M unfortunately self-harmed but did not go through with suicide, because of her love for me and her mother, and the worry she had about us.
She became stronger and learned how to cope with these desperate feelings herself.
There were two occasions when my wife asked me to divorce her for the sake of my well-being. Each time I refused. She felt guilty but I knew it was love.
I’m so proud of her! Many poor people fail to escape attempts. God bless their souls and their loved ones.
What I’ve learned is that there are triggers, that you need to help to avoid him/her at all costs. This is the only way you can be sure to help someone avoid committing the act.
Today I know that my wife was most likely be planning her funeral whilst drying her hair, she’d think of ways to punish herself for something she was never guilty of.
My wife would do her best to make me happy, even if it meant leaving me so I could find someone who didn’t suffer the physical and now mental illness she was suffering.
But I knew my whole life that I would marry once. I love could truly love someone once. That someone is M.
My wife was desperate but it doesn’t mean she was crazy. What is crazy? There is no such thing. Apparently, it’s a moment when a human being manifests in wild or aggressive behavior. But who doesn’t?
We all feel it sometimes. Besides, my wife wasn’t like that. She was simply in so much pain, she wanted to end her suffering and this pain was so overwhelming, she could not think of anything else but the pain.
But if you feel like there is no way out, but there is a long cue to get your therapy, the best place to begin is always reaching for books!
Books helped my wife…
My wife tried to grasp as much support as she could, all in search of a solution, to help herself, and to answer questions she had.
She began by reading a lot of books. I have to agree, these books are very helpful in helping you understand your anxiety and depression, and helping you get out of the cycle. You can access them by clicking on each one below. Allow me to list them for you:
You may access these books by clicking either on the links above or the book covers below…
My wife has read this book in a jiffy! It helped her during her dark times to find compassion and love for herself. For somebody like M, who suffered from severe depression, I noticed that the harshest critic of her was herself. It is never helpful to be told to pull ourselves together by others but saying it to ourselves leads us in only one direction – into a terrible despair.
I listed this book because M also suffered from anxiety at that time, it helped her mindset and depression. An obsessing, ruminating, and dwelling on things may or may not happen, but this book makes it simple to understand, how to manage your fear. Your brain is a very powerful tool, and the more you work to change your mindset, the better you’re going to feel.
This is another book that my wife reached for during her depression because it offered my wife a self-help program, written by one of the leading authorities in CBT. M also suffered at the time with OCD. A whole range of anxieties and fears are explained, from panic attacks and phobias to obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. That really helped her!
I hope you found this article helpful and I do hope that you will get the support you need, or if you’re the partner of someone struggling with suicidal thoughts.
I hope you will find that the best thing you can do for your loved one is simply be there!
Love stops you from feeling like a burden to the family.
Hi, I’m Lucjan! The reason why I decided to create this blog was my beautiful wife, who experienced a lot of pain in life, but also the lack of information about endometriosis and fibromyalgia for men…