My husband won't try and I'm tired!

13 answers | Last updated: Nov 02, 2016
Shadowmoonwitch asked...

I have been taking care of my husband who broke his hip and now won't do much. He has recovered, but is afraid to try much. I feel guilty because I am getting so tried, so frustrated, and so worn out, life doesn't have much fun for me anymore. I am getting mad at him, that he won't try to do anything. Man, life is so hard, life stinks, I wish I could just run away. Help.


Expert Answers

Kenneth Robbins, M.D., is a senior medical editor of Caring.com. He is board certified in psychiatry and internal medicine, has a master's in public health from the University of Michigan, and is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His current clinical practice focuses primarily on geriatrics. He has written and contributed to many articles and is frequently invited to speak on psychiatric topics, such as psychiatry and the law, depression, anxiety, dementia, and suicide risk and prevention.

It sounds like you are walking uphill with a lot of additional weight, and it is understandably fatiguing. It is not clear to me, however, why your husband "won't do much." If he still has pain or instability in his hip, he should be carefully evaluated to determine what needs to be done to improve his functioning. This could be done by an orthopedic surgeon, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, or perhaps by a physical therapist. If his hip is really fixed, and the problem is that he has lost confidence or has become depressed, he may need a different kind of help.

In that case, I would suggest he see, ideally with you, a mental health professional. If you don't know of a mental health clinician to see, your primary care physician could help. It sounds from your letter like he may be depressed or may have some other treatable mental health problem. A loss of energy, loss of confidence, hopelessness, social withdrawal and a lack of ability to enjoy himself all could be a result of depression. His hip problem may have been a wake up call for him that he is vulnerable to injury, which may have triggered a depression. The pain he had either from his hip fracture or the surgery to repair it, or problems he likely had with insomnia may have triggered a depression. It is possible that pain medication he took triggered a depression. It may be there are things important to him he couldn't do and that triggered a depression. I could continue to speculate, but I would suggest he have a thorough assessment so both you and he can understand why he has apparently changed, and has left you having to take care of you both.

If your husband declines to be seen by a mental health professional, I would suggest you consider having a frank discussion with him. You can let him know you are struggling, and that it would be helpful to you if he would get a mental health evaluation. He should understand it is not a sign of personal weakness to develop depression. This is an illness, like any other illness. It is caused by changes in the brain, and effective treatment is available. There is no reason to suffer with untreated depression anymore than untreated heart disease or diabetes. Furthermore, just like untreated heart disease and diabetes, untreated depression can lead to a number of medical problems.


Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

This is one of the only times that I have seen questions coming from a spouse about a spouse. Most everything is about taking care of parents. I also have lots of new responsibility (and anger)taking care of my husband since his stroke in Dec 08. Good luck to you


Nanacb answered...

I don't have an answer just share your comments, my husband is a bi-lateral amputee that is incontinent and does not help me either. I understand your frustration, he can do what he wants and helps the caregivers that I have hired to come in to help me, but resist when it comes to helping me.


An hour 4 me answered...

My father behaved much the same way with my mother. She was his caregiver for over a decade. he simply ecided that he didn't want to do anything and would aways say "My wife will handle it."He refused to manage his own diabetes and became an amputee as a result. He also had COPD and hypertension. he refused to do anything to help himself and was a real burden.My mother constantly felt guilty.She's get upset with him and tell him how har it was and he would help out for a while then go back to old ways. Somehow these guys get the impression that they are ENTITLED to be waited on. I spent hours reminding my mother that my dad was an adult. He contributed to the amputation by not managing his diabetes. I don't want to suggest laying blame that never works. But what does is creating boundries and a list of doable basic requirements. He had to get in and out of bed unassisted same with on and off the toilet.He also had to wash and dress himself unasisted. pretty small list really. On one of his countless trips to the hospital for pneumonia she was finally convinced to take the advise of the nursing staff and find him a nursing home. Until his death 2 years ago. The nursing home was truly the only break she had. Have a heart to heart. Be excuciatingly clear. No sugar coating, if you're exahuasted say so!My father consistently refused to help himself, even with antidepressants. My comment: that shows you exactly how much you mean to him and how valuable your relationship is.if this is the case start looking into care facilities.


A fellow caregiver answered...

It's just so hard not getting any help like I used to get. He always did so much. We worked as a term. I know he had a stroke but how about me. No one cares about me who works her butt off doing it all!! Boy do I need to vent!! How do I curb my anger at him??


Spockula answered...

It helps just knowing there are others in similar situations. We can "vent" here, support each other, & try to problem solve. I'm so glad I found this site, & that I'm not the only one w/ these issues.


Honey'swife answered...

I am also taking care of my husband. He is in about stage 3 AZ. I work full time and sometimes the stress and unending responsibilities really weigh me down. I try to make time for my self, but that is sometimes difficult. The chores keep piling up. I took time this week and had a much needed pedicure and a massage. I agree with An Hour 4 Me, about the sense of entitlement. With AZ, I find it difficult (at this stage) to determine what is the AZ and what is his stubborness. I also get frustrated and angry sometimes. I find if I can bury myself in a good book, it helps. I am keeping the local bookstore in business. I am also glad I found this site for support. It helps me feel not so alone. It is difficult when we feel the load is on our shoulders and we don't feel appreciated. Hang in there.


Spockula answered...

Again, it helps to know others are having similar feelings, & issues. Not feeling so alone, & realizing it's "normal" to experience this is a relief, too. Yes, make sure to schedule "me-time", & seek professionals when necessary. Things have been grim here. Hubby's health continues to fail, system not there when needed, & his Mom/legal guardian still not doing her part. At work we call it: "Radical Acceptance".......???


A fellow caregiver answered...

Like y'all, I do not have an answer but sometimes just letting someone know someone else is out there is good.My hubby doesn't care anymore. He doesn't seem to care about his weight gain, the foods he eats, or even walking a short block or 2...he just sits and gets fatter and unhealthier day by day...it is sad watching it happen


Nanacb answered...

It's great to read other's post as I used to attend a local caregiver support group that really helped. We stopped meeting due to lack of interest or the fact that so many could not find someone to take care of their loved one while they attended. I am searching for another one that I can attend, it really helped me to vent and not feel guilty.


Spockula answered...

Yes, GR-M, I'm in same boat. My Hubby's gut is way too big for his build. It's very unhealthy. He has emphysema, ulcers, Schizophrenia, Barrett's esphophagus, & alcoholism. He continues to struggle, but, still not changing lifestyle. Last night, he had some sort of incident w/ liver. Like it pulled away from insides. He's in pain, & blood in toilet today. His tooth is dead, & he's in pain from that, also. Needs to come out. His mom is legal guardian, & never seems to be there when he needs her. Yet, she calls to invite us for dinner the next day like nothing bad happened. "Fair-weather" Mom. It's sad, & upsetting. I fear the worst. It's hard to watch. We had a long talk last night, but, he's at it again, today.


A fellow caregiver answered...

I know if I say too much, he just says I am nagging. Another stroke is around the corner if all this eating and no exercise continues....I wish there was a support group in town that I could go to,sit and share....


A fellow caregiver answered...

I just want to let you know that I understand how difficult your situation is. It does help just to vent. I'm the sole caretaker for my 102 year old mother. She is difficult to begin with, and is now showing signs of dementia. Just one of many, many examples: she hoards tubs of margerine, for some reason. Today she told me the cleaning lady is stealing her margerine. This is a lovely lady who has worked for her for 12 years and is now a family friend. Nobody is stealing her margerine. This is just one more insane delusion. In addition, this margerine announcement came right after I got home from having lunch with a friend--I rarely get out, and she cannot stand it when I do. She is apparently going to live forever--and she is sending me to an early grave.