My husband has PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). His list of symptoms is long, but among the most prominent are explosive temper, agoraphobia, anxiety, nightmares, inability to focus, low threshold for frustration, misophonia, mild motor control issues, and severe depression.
I am his caregiver. I suffer from bipolar disorder, general anxiety disorder, and depression.
Two weeks ago, my husband locked himself in a bathroom with a knife in an attempt to kill himself. I managed to unlock the door and stop him before anything especially bad occurred. Prior to this action, we had a mild argument about his temper.
This is my normal.
Typically, he would be back in the hospital for evaluation, and it would have been his third hospital stay for this behavior. However…we are very low on money and could not possibly afford it. (I recently had to the health clinic for strep throat, but I couldn’t afford my medication after paying for the visit. I had to borrow money that I won’t be able to pay back for some time.)
My husband does not work. He can’t. His last job was nearly three years ago (he worked in the lower rings of health care), and he left due to his mental illness.
My house is a disaster because I am responsible for everything. I am responsible for my husband, my child, and myself.
I am a full time student. I spend hours a day doing homework. In fact, I would estimate that I spend more time going to school or working on schoolwork at home than I ever spent working a full time job. (I’m doing my best to make sure I can provide for my family in the event my husband can never work again.)
When you walk into my house, it smells stale. I don’t remember the last time I had time to pick up all the toys and various bits that are strewn all over the place so that I could vacuum. My husband hasn’t “felt” like taking the trash out, so there are three bags sitting in my kitchen. (Why don’t I just take it out? I only have 70 power point slides to get through by the end of the day, plus wash laundry, make sure dinner is prepared, and – oh, yeah – convince the husband to take a shower for the first time in three days. I only have energy for so much.)
My bedroom is a complete disaster, but I managed to wash three blankets today that have been sitting on the floor for at least three months, and I made 84 flashcards to study for my lab practical this Friday. I also cooked a creamy Tuscan chicken pasta (though I had to forgo the sun dried tomatoes because the husband accidentally dropped them). I also memorized all 12 cranial nerves, and got my son to practice his consonant clusters after only twenty minutes of arguing. I also went to school today, so I’m pretty tapped out.
Tomorrow, I have a meeting with my son’s teacher and school psychologist. My son is six, and is having a difficult time listening to instructions. I blame myself. I’m probably not as attentive and active in his life as I should be. There are excuses, but they’re not good enough. I am letting everyone down.
Thanksgiving is next week, and I bought a 21lb turkey for my mom (who is hosting) even though that leaves me with only $30ish to shop with. I’m expecting some money in the mail from a car insurance company (relating to an accident some years ago), and it’ll be just enough to get us through this month.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to fail this lab practical Friday if I don’t literally spend every free second studying tomorrow.
This is just another day, another week, another month. I can get through this.