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Is your spouse chronically ill? How is it affecting you?

By Susan Cody HERWriter Guide June 1, 2011 - 8:37am

Hi All

Thanks to lonely46 for starting this group.

Living with a chronically ill partner can be devastatingly lonely and frustrating, and it's not something society really lets us talk about.

The issue is not about whether we love or care about our ill spouse, it's about the harsh "side effects" that the caregiver suffers. While it's never easy to live with chronic illness, it's also not easy for the caretaker.

Let's share stories about life as the caretaker and the hardships (as well as the joys) of life. We can find comfort and support in knowing that we're not alone.


By Emily Young October 18, 2015 - 12:19pm

I have been a caregiver off and on for three separate family members and commiserate with many of the stories here. I find that it helps to remember that as bad as it is for us it is far worse for our loved ones, two good books on the subject: Moving Violations and The Body Silent, The Body Silent especially as Oliver Sacks, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, comments "The most powerful book of its kind I've ever read.... Extraordinary powers of observation, generalization, and depth.". Here is a link

October 18, 2015 - 12:19pm
By Lonelywife47 June 27, 2015 - 11:30am

I see me in all of you! Husband hurt back 10 years ago, addicted to prescription pills, anxiety, depression and just diagnosed with brain cancer and Parkinson's . While I work nights take care of house and 14 year old drive to all dr's. And take care of house. Then asked why I'm mad all the time!!

June 27, 2015 - 11:30am
By Lonelywife47 June 27, 2015 - 11:23am

Thank you for this post! I'm not alone

June 27, 2015 - 11:23am
By Lonelywife47 June 27, 2015 - 11:22am


June 27, 2015 - 11:22am
By Susan Cody HERWriter Guide May 29, 2015 - 2:56pm

Hi Sarrah

Thank you for sharing here and I'm sure it felt good to get it off your chest.

Nobody is the person we married...age, jobs, circumstances, health, finances... things can change our personalities. Addiction can definitely change a person, I hope he has that sorted now. 

But in these circumstances , his illness becomes your illness but you don't have medications that can help and you don't get to rest. It's mentally and physically draining. He can turn to you for help but who do you talk to? 

Sarrah, you need support, anyway you can. Your 12 and 9 year old are old enough to help out chores, say emptying the dishwasher, sorting laundry and keep their rooms clean.  

I also think you should join a support group in your area where you can physically go out and meet people, have a coffee and talk to them. 

Do have any extra money for a sitter? So you can get away for an hour to just walk, hang out at a bookstore or meet a friend for a drink? If your husband is up and watching TV, he can certainly monitor the children. 

Can you reach out to family? 

I encourage you to read this very active thread we have for people going through what you are - please take a look and tell us what you think:



May 29, 2015 - 2:56pm
By missyl May 29, 2015 - 12:14pm

I can relate to all of you so much. I am 39 years old with four children 12, 9, 5 and 1. I have been married to my husband for almost 15 years but have actually been with him for 20, since High School. The man I married was strong, pretty healthy, positive and motivated. Four years ago, he blew a disc in his back and he has never been the same. It has been chronic issues since that point including; panic attacks,anxiety, depression, prescription drug addiction, cellulitis in his leg, chronic coughs, surgery for an infected abcess, constant allergy and sinus problems. I cannot even remember them all. We have had major medical bills and it has taken a toll.

I have felt so lonely for so long. Along with all of his illnesses he is chronically tired. I mean... all. the. time. He goes to work every day (most of the time) but when he is home I am constantly catching him laying down. I feel so resentful most of the time. We have four young children and he often just checks out because he is tired. He is now being checked out for Chronic Fatigue syndrome. This is not the man I married. I know I took the same vows as all of you. For sickness and health. All I get is sickness. Our love life is dead and though I would never allow myself to go there, I do understand how emotional affairs start.

My husband is normally so consumed with all of his issues he forgets I have needs too. I am spent most of the time and I feel like my needs are always secondary to his. I had a rough pregnancy with our last child (whom was a BIG surprise by the way) and longed so badly for a little extra TLC. I got very little because he was anxious and depressed and battling a prescription drug addiction (though he would not admit at the time) so I was left uncared for most of the time.

When I should have compassion, there is resentment. I am so tired of looking at him laying in bed with his feet up watching TV while I run circles around this house and care for our children. I am told I am insensitive and rude and I probably am. I am just tired. Where do I go for reprieve and care. I can't get it from him. I am drained. Anything I have left in me, I give my children. They too are tired of their dad being "tired" all the time.

I just need guidance. What do I do? Each day my loving feelings toward my spouse grow colder and colder. I fear one day..... they will be too far gone to ever get back.

May 29, 2015 - 12:14pm
By RachelC1585 October 30, 2014 - 10:22am

I know this group isn't very active, but I need to let it out.
My husband and I are newlyweds, we got married in July. We have dated off and on for about 10 years, his health issues were what drove us apart. He had severe sleep apnea and wouldn't use the mask to treat it. He would fall asleep all the time--if he sat longer than 20 minutes, he would nod off. We also had a son together--this caused a lot of issues. This time, I told him for this to work he had to take care of himself. Now he can stay wake during the day--its wonderful ! But..this has lead to other health issues popping up.
He has mental health issues on top of health issues. He has bipolar disorder (under control with medications), sleep apnea, type two diabetic with diabetic nerve pain and foot drop/numbness (which causes mobility issues) and low oxygen saturations levels (he had to be on home oxygen for a few months). And he can't work and get a very small disability payments-which means we are relying on government assistance and can't afford a car.
Its so hard--I love him but I am grieving over the husband he could have been. There is no one I can turn to--it feels like I am all alone. If I vent, its looked down upon. Thanks for letting me vent.

October 30, 2014 - 10:22am
By Susan Cody HERWriter Guide September 1, 2014 - 8:15am

Hi Carley

Thanks for sharing your story with us! 

You're right, you are both young and dealing with issues that young people shouldn't be dealing with. 

Are you getting treatment for your own mental health? 

Also, would you consider joining a caregiver's group, so that you also have support, while caring for your husband?  We can help to find one for you if you like! Do you have family helping you out?



September 1, 2014 - 8:15am
By Carley August 23, 2014 - 5:27pm

Hi, everyone. I'm new here, and I'm so thankful to have stumbled upon this thread. I heard bits and pieces of my own life story in your posts. My heart goes out to you all.

I have been married for 10 years, and for the past 6 years my husband's health has steadily declined. It has been especially hard to cope with because he really hasn't received a definitive diagnosis. It's just been a long list of conditions that have been ruled out. I feel guilty because it's only been in the past year and a half that I have really become supportive of him due to my own untreated mental illness.

We are still so young, and although I have finally reached the point of acceptance of his chronic illnesses, I still have so much sadness and anger at times. I feel like our lives were ripped away from us before we even had the chance to really live. He will turn 36 this November, and I will be 30 next January.

August 23, 2014 - 5:27pm
By Total B December 27, 2013 - 10:27pm

My husband has had some sort of chronic issue for most of our 33 years of married life. It started with multiple surgeries for his back, neck, hernia, gallbladder, knees, ankles and most recently both knees replaced. I think he's had 16 surgeries . Now he has a gastrointestinal issue that is extremely painful (3+ years) that causes nausea and vomiting. They are unable to diagnosis the problem... Yet he continues to eat and is now over 300 lbs.. Thankfully he's 6'2" but that is still a good deal of weight for his frame. I love him very much but am at my wits end. I get that he has pain but he's so angry and I never know what is going to set him off. He's not violent toward me (sometimes I wish he were, then I'd have a real reason to leave) but his highs and lows are almost more than I can take. We walk on eggshells to keep from setting him off.
If I try and say anything about it he turns it around on me. That or he tells me how "sorry" he is. Sorry isn't cutting it.
I'm sick of this pity party I attend much to frequently but am not sure exactly how to stop it. I am at the point of barely speaking to him as the less I say the less chance there is of setting him off...again.
I have to say that I'm super blessed in that I work fulltime (I thank God for my job and a place to go daily). While I'm gone he does usually manage to get dinner ready and does some laundry. But his days are filled with the computer... Facebook and reading. So nothing much else gets done around here although our home is and has been in the middle of a remodel project of one kind or another for the last 20+ years... grrrr...
Okay, thank you for letting me vent. I just need to get this off my shoulders. I can't talk to family and friends about it as I don't want to turn them against him on my behalf. My son (30+) already has to deal with it and doesn't need to hear about it from me. Thanks for this forum... Sorry for being such a big whiney baby...

December 27, 2013 - 10:27pm

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