Dear Doctor: I hope that you can help. I guess my question is how to help me cope with this situation. My partner (f) was diagnosed with PTSD last year following childhood abuse & traumas. In connection with this she does struggle to live her life, but she is getting help, both therapy cognitive and medication including anti psychs, pills for depression and anxiety.
Now I support best I can but life has been incredibly hard for us both. One thing that does not get addressed is myself and my life. I feel like I have been rolled flat by a steam roller. I feel anxious; I feel that home life is always out of control (I do all work at home as well as keeping her many projects running)
Things are so bad that I try develop coping mechanisms; I have been drinking quite regular and often feel the need. I never have a minute to myself and I have started disappearing for a coffee secretly, or not going to work. In fact my work has suffered greatly, I just go there and sit in my office and pretend to work, it’s like that’s my time, my quiet time. I basically don’t do any of the things I used to enjoy at all, I do not feel that I am me.
I am worried about things because if I break, our whole life will come crashing down on us. I just feel so anxious over time. I can’t concentrate and really things are suffering as a result. I would be most grateful of a helpful word.
Getting help should have made the situation better, not worse. Understandably, you’re stressed because of your partners’ problems.
You need to protect your own mental health. Your own mental health needs to be a priority.
Drinking and disappearing are avoidance tactics. You can run from your problems but only for so long. They will catch up with you. It’s better to treat them now rather than later, when they are worse and more complicated.
You should consult a mental health professional. Therapy could be tremendously helpful for you. It can provide guidance for your relationship and teach you how to appropriately deal with your problems. It is the best solution.
Drinking and disappearing might temporarily anesthetize your pain, but ultimately they will lead to more problems. Take control by seeking help. You don’t have to do it alone. Let trained professionals assist you. That’s their job.
If you continue to avoid these problems, your life will almost certainly suffer and that’s precisely what you are trying to avoid. You are trying to help your partner but you need to find a professional who can help you to help your partner. Obviously, you are suffering and suffering greatly. There is a limit to what you are physically and mentally able to do. You cannot exceed those limits, except in short bursts. A professional can help you to learn your limits. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle