And now, Ms. Cancer and Mr. Depression

How does one learn to reason with depression? I’d like to share with you a story about a confused partner who, after the passing of her arbitrary three-year deadline, falls into the rabbit hole and finds herself staring at a 40-car pile up and the unenviable clean up of the bloody aftermath. She unreasonably and unfortunately becomes inconsolable with wave after wave of false accusations hurled from across a house she lives in with this depressed man who she no longer knows, or even knows what she feels for him anymore.

Don’t take the bait. Walk away. Leave. For an hour, a week, or…

If it were only that easy. You know who you are – partners of the dysfunctional. But add a little metastatic cancer to the mix…my shoulders are killing me under the weight of it all. I’m sorry if I come across as confusing, but this whole crazy dysthymic depression without an end in sight is confusing.

I’ve finally helped him to treatment. We, well more like he, vomited the angry bitter disgust of a man who simply wanted to raise his two sons across a 2.5 hour session of exhausting couples counseling with my psychologist. She, by the way had breast cancer, can provide him with a helpful view from within should he inquire. He spilled tears and guts for 95% of the session, at the end of which I said he may be better off getting a bit of help for himself or I didn’t feel we’d make the progress we’d hoped for. He immediately went on the defense and the doctor came to mine and remarked, can’t you see she’s very concerned and wants to reconvene when you’ve gotten through a bit of your own healing? He could not disagree.

I’ve read countless books on the topic. NAMI.org is a web site full of great information for you as a depressive’s care giver. All very helpful.

Here’s a few titles available on Amazon and through kindle to keep the costs down:

Talking to Depression: Simple Ways To Connect When Someone In Your Life Is Depressed https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002DYMB1M/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_OPHwAbK3Z6EC

Depression Fallout: The Impact of Depression on Couples and What You Can Do to Preserve the Bond https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0012GTZBG/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_ZQHwAbH1P5EGN

When Depression Hurts Your Relationship: How to Regain Intimacy and Reconnect with Your Partner When You’re Depressed https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HZ9SA92/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_tRHwAb7H1451X

When Someone You Love is Depressed https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H0IGJIQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_TRHwAbDTCFKWT

I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FC0Q0C/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_m3HwAbA93R7H9

The confusing days in the life….

When he asked me what time it was I was holding a stack of books and I said that it’s not too late just a second to look at my watch and this was what caused tonight’s major smack down. He’s called me a bitch for two days, running tests to see how I’m going to react to his nasty new nomenclature for me, similar to a teenager cursing in front of his parents. Yet I embarrassed him.

Apparently I’m the one who needs hospitalization and help and that he, “knows what’s going on here.” I ruin everything night after night with my “selfish shit” and do my own thing. My Etsy online shop and writing are more important to me than having a good relationship with him. Yet, it’s all I can do to keep from losing my own mind to the loneliness and isolation of cancer.

I’m somehow playing a game with him and somehow it’s my fault; apparently I’m the root cause of his problems. I tell him that nearly every night he’s laid here leaving me alone and now he’s saying that’s not true that I’m the one who has ignored him. A new critique appears in the repertoire: I’m an Intellectual bully and he does not want to be a victim anymore. Too embarrassed to even suggest anything resembling sex to him anymore, he’s barked back, “the only thing you’re even interested in is sex.”

No, I’m interested in happiness and I love him enough to stay. He also knows I’ve not the physical or financial resources to leave. There’s days when his light comes on and his blue eyes sparkle and shine like two stars in the sky. Come on you, just wake up and shine with me for a little while and let’s shut this nightmare down. It’s never very much about sex, is it. Love in all its permutations requires a cooperation of high and low and mid range notes all beating in time to the same heart. Does cancer extract my heart from my body for study by science and remain in a clear beaker on a dusty shelf behind an outdated computer book from 1999? No, not this time.

He said he wants me here and he loves me, but answers in vagaries when I ask for examples or specifics. As he retorts, more vague statements such as how I always criticize him. I never say anything positive. All he does is help me but I do not let him help me. Each and every time I ask for his help he’s got more important things to do, ignores me, or just sleeps the day away. My very favorite tactical maneuver is to keep me quiet by calling me a nag. I “nag nag nag all the time.” He said he gave himself up and he made that mistake because he thought it was the right thing to do for me. However it cannot possibly be true since I’m not worth it. At least not according to the oxymoronic verbal diarrhea spewing at me night and day.

I ask him what he means by anything he says, yet he won’t tell me. He said he misses himself more then I can ever miss him. This is a wonder because I’ve been mourning him for over three years. I am being crushed under the weight of his depression. My loneliness and frustration are at an all time high. He is starting to tell me how he can’t get anything from me, I have nothing he wants or anything that is valuable to gain from me. He gives, all he does is give and I cannot give anything worthwhile to the relationship so why don’t I just stop fucking up a good thing and just shut up?

Okay.

Ilene

Female. East coast transplant living in the Bay Area of California. Living with Stage IV breast cancer. Married to the coolest guy in the universe who occasionally suffers from serious depression. Love my stepsons, although I never thought I'd have that thankless job - ever! And my best friend Simon is also my cat. How I have survived with stage IV: treatments including chemo and surgery; palliative oncology; tenacity; a dark sense of humor; support groups; and my newly reinvented career as a vintage and antiques maven. Some days I miss the old me who led a well respected and well paid life as a business strategist in high tech. So much for that. I blog to simply share my experiences and my poetic approach with others who have cancer of any kind or with their care givers and those who love them. If one person at the very least finds a little commonality or a friend out in the ether tor a smile, a common nod about this experience, or even a link to assistance, then I have accomplished a small but extraordinarily meaningful goal. Go team.

6 thoughts on “And now, Ms. Cancer and Mr. Depression

  1. This blog was a few months ago and I dont really know what has happened.
    I dealt with my now happily former “depressed”/ PD cluster B husbands abuse for two decades, and never got one iota of support from him. It was ALL about him and ALL my fault, everything, down to a bad meal out. But he certainly knew how to keep me entangled, changing the goal posts and “if only’s”. And I loved him…
    Finally hit over the head with all his lies and addictions and machinations I took his neurologists advice TO RUN.
    To be met after a year with ovarian cancer, most likely Precipitated by the years of abuse and lowered immune system… dread diseases are very prevalent in my support group for “survivors” of these damaged men.
    There is no way in hell I could deal with the ravages of this disease and deal with his miserable “condition”.
    I am thankful he and his hateful “git” are gonegonegone. Leaving behind lots of $$$ as payment for keeping his dirty secrets .
    I would rather have cancer than be married still to this joy killer.
    Just another perspective.

    1. One can divorce a shitbag. One can never truly divorce themselves from cancer. Yet both the walking wounded with mental illnesses as excuses in place of a four chambered fist sized heart and the uninvited hormone loving monstrosity of a disease changes us irrevocably and forever. Those emotional leeches and lying assholes who we believed in and we actually thought embodied for us the definition of true love (ohh, ahh) and who we swore our lives until death. But a soulmate doesn’t rip out a soul and make toilet paper with it. Now we mistrust our own emotional competency and intuitions.

      Similarly, cancer rips our sanity asunder and it may as well take our time on this earth and shred it in a cross cutter, leaving us to wonder, alone most of the time, “is this all there is? WTF happened?” And all at once our bodies and souls take out their number 2 pencils to fill in the bubbles of some god-given universal test of our mettle, our resilience, our tenacity, our humor, and our hearts to ultimately come to this singular shitty realization – humans are allowed only this knowledge: what we can know for certain are we were born into this world and we will leave it through death. In between, the most we can do is our very very fucking best to not crap in someone else’s lemonade and perhaps leave the world if not neutral for its gifts to us, but perhaps a better place for us having been allowed to see each beautiful new day of our lives. We cannot take this for granted. While I can sit in the past and ruminate over what was or may have been, or worry myself to tears about what may happen tomorrow, could we ever have imagined anything that’s transpired in our lives 10, 20, even 30 years ago? No way. And that goes for remote seers and the poor souls gifted in the psychic arts.

      So here we are. No one said it would be easy. But the good in us resides still and the good in us will persist even after the assholes and the cancers go on to ravage someone else.

      If I hear this phrase one more time – you look too good to have cancer, I may beat that person silly. But I’m not violent, so I simply say. I don’t look like a Jew either, and walk away.

      Glad you’re here.
      ❤️❤️❤️

  2. Hi Ilene, I have felt on many a day, the weight of the abusive relationship that now was my life. Of course so many people told me, “it’s not him it’s the disease”. But did they realise those words make me a robot, someone dead, without the capacity of emotion, to be able to push them away Day in and day out. The cruelty of the words permeate your consciousness and all that’s left is the numbness. I totally understand your words and the desperatness of your situation. Maybe we’ll wake up one day and it will be a really good day. ❤️❤️❤️

    1. I believe every day will be that day. And one day it will be that day. In the meantime I meet the situation with love. No one can really argue with love can they?

  3. It’s not enough to be struggling with your own demon that is Metastatic Breast Cancer but to also deal with his demon as well. It’s a cruel life that deals us the shite hand dealt. Fucking Russian roulette of life. Trapped between riding out the deal or folding. Cancer kills you and depression kills others or themselves if they let it, but make no mistake you’ve been dealt the shittier hand by far.
    #Fuck(ing)Cancer
    Samantha

    1. Samantha
      I appreciate your words and they ring in my own ears every day. Oh it’s shit, but I can tell shit from shinola. It’s 10 years in 3 with depression and 2 with severe depression. He was functioning the first year and my diagnosis put him in the basket. While we sat in the psychologist’s office I wanted to punch him so many times. But my psychologist verbally took care of that. She’s had breast cancer – I could feel her anger welling up and as a human being, not Ms. Spock🖖 , there was a moment when she – in all of her British calm – nearly yelled at him and said – Can’t you see Ilene’s here right now and she needs you and your support. He started to cry and said but I do support her. She said not financial support, emotional and physical and spiritual support is what she needs and she is glad you’re here with her. But she needs to feel safe and loved.
      Yep that sums it up just right.
      Love ya.
      #FuckCancer
      Ilene

Tell me what you think.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.