Her Partner Is Chronically Ill and She's Going Crazy and Dan's Going to Bed...

Comments

1

So LW got chronically ill and he took it for the team it sounds like; she's doing better and he's not and that's a problem eh?

Good thing they are not married clearly this person could not take their vows seriously LW should dump the guy so he can find someone worth holding onto.

2

You sound entitled and selfish and awful l-dub. On top of that, your primary concern appears to be maintaining your personal sense of moral righteousness. Do whatever you want. Who cares? You'll find a way to justify it to yourself.

3

"I'm struggling with whether to get out and be judged for leaving him because he got ill—which would not be the case"

Of course it would be. The illness begat the depression and the change in personality that would make you leave.

The LW seems more worried about appearances than about doing the right thing, either for her partner or for herself.

4

Waiting for the folks who criticized commenters for coming down too hard on/writing off/judging the LW with the attraction to schoolgirls to chime in....

5

If its a mental issue is your partner actively trying to improve their situation or get help? I was in a relationship where from the very start I was supporting them through a very difficult time. She refused to get any help for over two years until I had to leave which prompted her to finally do something about her situation, just the bare minimum to keep me around another 6 months.
If they're miserable and suffering and doing nothing about it you need to get out. If its a matter of not being able to afford treatment or something similar then I dont know what you should do.

6

This case reads a bit differently to me than the other one with a carer of a chronically ill partner from yesterday.

I don't think CLASP talks to her partner. She seems trapped in an overwhelming situation that's not broached by words. I don't think she says, 'without casting blame and just as a statement of fact, I no longer feel sexually or mentally fulfilled in any way'. She should. Talk--see what her partner's response is.

7

Compare and contrast the responses here to https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2019/10/24/41782701/geezer-seeing-sex-workers-behind-his-wifes-back - an aging man whose wife was no longer interested in sex.

8

I don't understand why CLASP doesn't even consider talking to her partner of "many, many years" about her plans.

Yes, he's depressed, but he might still have opinions about whether the two of them have any chance at happiness together or not.

Is he taking reasonable steps to address his illness and his depression? Is he reaching out to his social network to give you a break from caretaking? Then maybe get some counseling for yourself and see what you can do to stick around and be patient as he improves.

Is he uninterested in taking care of himself in any way? Then (personally) I don't think you are obligated to stick around and do the caretaking he doesn't have any interest in.

9

I see EricaP has already said what I was going to . . . and what I'm surprised Dan didn't say. Which is, there's an option between leaving and cheating. It's called talking and opening the relationship. One thing I can't tell is whether the sex has stopped solely because she's no longer attracted to him or if it's a combination of her having lost her attraction and he no longer being interested in sex. If it's the latter, then I think he may be more understanding of opening up.

I don't know that it is even that difficult. Surely the lw's partner knows he's no longer interested in the kind of relationship they used to have, and he knows he's dependent on her. Hopefully, they both still have a close emotional bond and the shared history, and some other things in common. The lw should lead with that: that she loves him and will always be there for him, but that she is going to get her sexual needs met outside the relationship.

This isn't really a choice; either he agrees to opening up, or she is going to cheat or leave. She's already come to that conclusion.

And yes, I am sympathetic to this lw. And her partner. Because I don't see a villain here. Just two people in a sad situation.

10

The sentence that jumped out at me:

"It's very difficult for me to go through life feeling unfulfilled on a daily basis."

There are several possible ways to interpret this sentence, but the rest of the letter suggests that this person is quite self-centered. She can't go "unfulfilled" for a while, while her SO experiences both physical and mental health issues?

11

I don't quite see why everyone (well, several people) are coming down so hard on the LW. Sure, she (taking the headline's pronoun) didn't think of the obvious option to TALK to her partner, but that maybe makes her a little dense, not entitled or immoral. Being a caretaker can be very intense and difficult, and that's on top of losing the intimacy in her relationship. I think she's avoiding what might feel like the hardest option to her -- FUCKING TALK ABOUT IT -- even if from outside the other options seem like the more difficult choices. Often what feels like it's going to be the hardest thing (and maybe not a certain solution) is the one thing you need to try.

12

By "certain solution" I mean maybe it's not definitely going to fix things.

13

I see avoidance everywhere. I think it's many people's main problem (certainly chronically my biggest problem).

14

I mean, their main self-induced problem.

15

Sorry you’re ill Dan, get well soon.

16

Agree with Erica’s comment, and nocute’s ‘there is no villain here,’ not sure why some of you are being so critical when you have so few facts about this situation. This woman no longer is attracted to this man, and her feelings are valid.
You need to talk with him, LW, and work this thru together. Opening the relationship seems the best option.

17

The emphasis perhaps ought to be not on LW's staying sane, but on her being able to maintain an attitude that makes it better for Ill Partner if she stays than if she leaves. If her continued presence is a net minus for Ill Partner but she stays only out of Fear of Being Judged... oh, dear.

I'll grant the pro-LW team that LW didn't choose to be no longer attracted to IP, and to the anti-LW team that she'd have done well to hire Rumpole to state her case for her. Some people just shouldn't be caretakers; if she's one of those people, then that's a good enough ground for my sympathy. But at this point I could take practically any brief in the case. If I were cross-examining, I might start with looking into whether LW enjoys judging others.

18

Dan: "Because abandoning a chronically ill partner—abandoning someone who didn't abandon you when you were sick—demonstrates far worse "morals" and far shittier "values"..."

Whoa whoa. Obviously she shouldn't just ghost, but if this turns out not to be a viable romantic relationship any more, she should end it (with whatever continued support for the partner seems appropriate).

She's not a shitty immoral person if the facts on the ground changed and the relationship needs to end. It's a shitty situation but shitty situations happen.

19

Q. If she gets good sex on the side, will this return to being a fulfilling partnership?

Read these parts again:
"no longer sexually or mentally fulfilled in ANY way"
"he is no longer the same person and I'm no longer sexually or otherwise attracted to him. This is not due to his physical illnesses but the change in his personality."

"I will always love him" is often the vague eternal thing the brain offers when "I'm in love with him" won't come out of your mouth but your lives are entwined.

Do the due diligence, but sounds from here like this relationship has given up the ghost. Sorry.

20

Caregiver burnout is real. Sounds like LW is his current primary caregiver... Can she get a break from any of his family or friends? Does he quality for any state help? Can they use an agency? If LW thinks she might want to try and work things out (even if "working it out" means a companionate type relationship), she should look into getting outside help.

(Note: Idk what level of support he needs... If it's not so severe, if she's not helping with Daily Tasks, then they at least BOTH need emotional support from family/friends.)

I agree with the commenters who say there are no villains here. It would be okay to leave, LW. But hopefully you can try having some hard discussions first. Including getting outside support.

21

I’m baffled by Dan’s answer. He seems to have confused ‘chronically ill’ with ‘terminally ill’, and given his standard terminally-ill partner advice. Chronically ill doesn’t necessarily mean someone needs a caregiver, and I don’t think the LW said that. It does mean you’re going to suffer for a very long time. It’s unfair to ask a partner to be tied to that, with no end date in sight, if they no longer love the person.

I’m chronically ill, and despite how miserable it makes me I do the work to make sure I’m still ‘me’, and pleasant to be around as much as possible. I don’t expect or depend on care from my partner (although of course I benefit from it). If he felt like LW does, I’d want him to leave. I’d pay for the support I need through work or disability benefits. Which is what my single friends with chronic conditions do all the time.

In this case, I think Dan should have advised a Big Talk about what a miserable git the partner has become. Followed by therapy for the partner, and the LW doing what they can to help them become happier over a defined period. If things don’t change the LW should exit with their head held high.

22

People are being hard on her because she sounds self-centered and unsympathetic, and because he stayed there for her but she wants to bail. She sounds like she is done with the relationship and her big hang ups aren’t doing right by her partner or how to work on communicating her concerns and work on salvaging her relationship but how to do what she wants - leave him - without being judged or feeling like a bad person. I think the “I’d cheat but it’s immoral option” is a red herring, a false proffered @but this would be worse than leaving him” alternative. It’s not what she wants to do. Her alleged moral compunction is both a self serving, insincere “hey look I’m a good person with morals and not a callous pos” marker and a gambit designed to get Dan to tell her what she wanted to hear - that she can be a good person and go rather than an immoral cheater. Dan didn’t take that bait.

People are being critical because it seems like her feelings didn’t just appear but are a result of a significant period of time passing where she, the ostensibly well person in the relationship, didn’t put in any work to preserve her relationship and address these issues as they were developing while her partner was dealing with the effects of his chronic illness.

23

@7 Your gender vendetta isn't helped by that link. The responses to both seem to be about the same: some people claiming the writer is self-centered, others urging a talk to open the marriage, and others urging a cheat-to-stay-sane-but-do-it-carefully plan.

The only difference I see is that people were concerned about the financial aspects in the Geezer one. I don't think that's a big thing though because this LW isn't talking about sex workers due to age/gender difference.

Did you have a larger point or were you just making wild assumptions about the supposed deficiencies of your political/cultural opponents again?

24

Some of you are jumping way past the facts given. Yes. He helped her/ looked after her when she was ill. Did her personality change? How sick are we talking here? If these two have been together so long, how come the communication between them is so bad she can’t speak her truth?
What.. she’s not allowed to feel burdened by his morose response to his own illness? Is he even trying to adjust to it and make the most of his life, as is. Not be a burden emotionally to his partner, as misspiggy@21 talks of.
LW, it’s hard to work out from your letter what the full context is: he’s sick and depressed and you’ve lost attraction to him because of the way he’s not dealing with his own illness. What illness is it though. How long has he had it. How old are you two.
You’ve got to be straight with this man, your partner of years and years, and tell him how you are feeling. Yes. It will hurt him, you leaving would hurt more. Maybe by letting out your frustrations about his demeanour, something will shift, in both of you.

25

LW was “chronically ill” and seems to have recovered, is the same possibly true for the BF? If yes, then stick it out for the short term, but make counseling for him a condition of staying. Reevaluate in six months. No matter what his physical condition is, untreated chronic depression is a hard hill to get over. “You are not the same loving person I used to know” is a valid reason to break it off, and the people who will “judge” you haven’t walked a mile in your shoes.

I commend you for hanging in there so far, and your desire to continue caretaking, so perhaps a mental adjustment to the “morals” that are making you miserable is in order. Perhaps the “moral” thing to do is to stop enabling BF’s depression and sexual neglect. Perhaps the “moral” thing to do is to value your own mental health as much as his and allow yourself a fuck-buddy on the side if that means you can continue physical care for BF without going crazy or building further resentment. Hopefully in the end his mental state will have improved enough so you can separate and stay “friends” but if not, you’ll have a REALLY tough choice to make. I hope you’ll consider counseling for yourself as well. Going through this alone seems like too much for anyone to handle.

26

CLASP, you say you wouldn't be leaving him "because he got ill", but because of "the change in his personality". But the later is a side effect of the former, so you /would/ be leaving him because he got ill. And he was there for you.

"I do not believe in cheating."

In 2019, how can a letter like this not address the option of an open relationship?

27

No curious, the later is not inevitably the side effect of the former.. except in the short term of adjustment. Funny how so many men see it as inevitable that he’d get depressed and that she should just deal. What has he done to deal, himself?
This was the burden I felt in my marriage, that my husband assumed I’d be there like an emotional tap, whenever. We all have to carry the burdens we have to carry. Sure, we share our miseries some of the time. But nobody wants them all the time. And if this man has sunk into a funk and is not trying to gain courage and internal strength to live with his affliction, it’s too much for this woman to carry, as Donny has said.
You do sound disconnected LW, and maybe you had to feel that way to get brave enough to write Dan, or frustrated enough. Talk with him, generate compassion for him, and tell him your truth.

28

"He stood by me when I was chronically ill, but now that he is chronically ill, it is really hard and now I just want rid of him so I can have fun."

How nice.

@7: In these comment threads, it is always the man's fault, no matter what happens, and the women involved are always given a free pass to be as horrible and selfish as they want. Honestly, it is kind of funny how amazingly one sided it always is.

30

LW should plan a trip to visit the cult family of her friend in Sweden and invite her boyfriend at the last minute.

31

@23 vendetta? "helped"? Talk to yourself, dude.

32

Calliope @11, I also caught that the headline was the only clue -- and therefore perhaps inaccurate -- to LW's gender.
To avoid confusion I will stick with the female pronoun, though it makes no difference (other than to people like Sporty who are convinced there is some great sexist conspiracy that favours women, despite the first few comments coming down hard on this presumed female LW).
I guess where I come down on Dan's "do what you gotta do" approach versus Nocute's (and my usual) advice of ask for an open relationship but don't take no for an answer is, which is more compassionate. If Mr CLASP is incapable of taking care of himself, DTMFA is more cruel than either cheat or demand an open relationship. If Mr CLASP is not well enough to enjoy the benefits of an open relationship himself, it seems more compassionate for CLASP to get her needs met on the down low, but if he is, I'd stick with the honesty approach.
And while Mr CLASP may be unable to improve his physical health, he should seek treatment for the depression instead of just wallowing in it. CLASP may need to employ some tough love here, but there are lots of spoonies who manage to adapt mentally and enjoy their lives to the extent they can. There's no bad guy here; I hope they can find their way through this unfortunate turn of events.

33

I know this couple is unmarried, but this letter and L2 of the weekly column really highlight the inherent conflict between the vows of "forsaking all others" and "in sickness and in health." It seems the height of impracticality -- and selfishness -- to expect someone you supposedly love to both stick with you through long-term illness and to give up their own sexuality. I would like to see prenups that state that if either spouse becomes sexually incapacitated, the expectation of monogamy is thereby null and void. One can dream, I suppose.

34

@23 what? To the contrary, all talk is of the risk he'd be putting his wife through if he wanted to kiss her and how dare he spend their money on this etc.? Totally different perspective taken in that thread.

35

Lava @ 27 - "Funny how so many men see it as inevitable that he’d get depressed and that she should just deal. "

It's not that we think it was inevitable, it's that it's what appears (from the letter) to have happened. If we're wrong, it's because the LW didn't express herself clearly.

I don't think (most) people here are saying she should "just deal". I've been a caretaker myself, it's really hard even when it's for the love of your life, and there are moments when you just want to get away from it all (and we had an open relationship, so I can imagine how demoralizing it can be if you're being denied sex/affection). That said, she does have to deal with this in some way.

By denying the link between his illness and the changes in his personality, she appears to imply that in the end, it's just his fault, and therefore she's justified to leave him; that, I'm sure you'll admit, does make her seem a bit selfish, and more concerned about what people think than about what her partner of many years is going through.

As you said @ 24, she needs to have a painful conversation, but what I get from her letter is that she doesn't want to have that conversation, she just wants to bolt and is looking for approval. I understand perfectly well how you can get to that point in such a situation, so I'm not judging her for it. But there might be some fallout in the future. More than 20 years later, I still feel a bit of remorse over some trivial things I did or didn't do when my bf was alive, even though I was there until the end and did all I could under the circumstances.

Therefore, my advice to her is to leave him if she wants to - she doesn't need anyone's approval - but to make sure to do it in a way that she won't regret later, once she's taken some distance from this whole ordeal.

36

@27 LavaGirl
"the later is not inevitably the side effect of the former"

Once you added the word "inevitably" you began addressing a straw man, not me.

37

@36 p.s.
Or, as Ricardo says @35 "It's not that we think it was inevitable, it's that it's what appears...to have happened." Great comment Ricardo.

38

Curious2 @ 37 - Thanks!

39

@23 Larry Stone - does it concern you that literally every single thing you said was grossly untrue? I don't have a Vendetta. Your contention that the responses are the same are wholly unsupported. I said "compare and contrast", and your response is "you are making wild assumptions"

Perhaps it is you who is making all the assumptions and has an axe that you're looking to grind?

40

Just for fun I ran the numbers between the first 25 comments here and the first 25 in the article sporty linked @7

(Presumed) female letter writer = 10 against, 7 sympathetic, 8 neutral or off topic

Male letter writer = 6 against, 8 sympathetic, 11 neutral or off topic

Can we lay this "gender war" to rest now?

41

I don’t know any straw men curious. Yes it appears to be what has happened yet none of you questioned it, including Dan. A chronic illness could be any no of things, and getting and staying depressed surely is a sign to talk to a professional and seek help to cope with what’s going on, and join support groups. Might also help him notice his partner is half way out the door.

42

Lava @ 41 - In my experience, it's very hard initially for depressed people to seek help, join support groups, even phone friends and say "Hey, I need help".

I'm no specialist in the field (now that's an understatement), but from what I gather, before a diagnosis, you don't think of yourself as depressed; you think it's your situation that's depressing, and your reaction to it is therefore totally normal. So we can't blame the BF for not having sought help; that's one of the things that, as a de facto caretaker, she would need to help him with before she decides on her next move (and that involves the difficult talk we mentioned earlier, and possibly an ultimatum).

43

Maybe she should have done something in the past to try to save the relationship, maybe he should have. Maybe she tried to get him to, maybe he tried to get her to. Who knows. That may be a matter for regret, but it's not a reason to call this a live relationship if it proves not to be. That's not actually a gift.

He might actually do a lot better personally if he can somehow have a different caregiver, instead of one who's sick of him, feels stuck, and may have him in a shame spiral for anything he hasn't done.

44

Hey Ricardo. How you doing? Yes, that’s true, she needs to steer him towards seeking help because she is not caring well here, and people giving her grief doesn’t help.
Good point Mtn Beaver, no need having a carer who has gone on ignoring her feelings so now she sounds like there is little affection left
for her partner.
So she draws on compassion and a sense of duty and finds a way thru this. Her staying as things are, is not sustainable, she’s made that clear.

45

It depends really LW on how ill this man is, and you’ve given us no clue here. Lots of chronic illnesses and people find ways to get on and have happy lives. Often great artists or writers were laid up in bed sick in childhood and found their passion. Did/ does he have one?
Re the non sex, have you two talked of this at all. Lots of avenues you can take to start moving things along. As Donny said above, put a timer on things and tell him you are doing that. You’re already doing it, so bring him into the real picture, not the one you paint for him.

46

Sporty @39: "I don't have a vendetta."
Also Sporty: https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2019/04/22/39987701/he-fucked-a-coworker-who-lied-to-him-and-about-him-should-he-fuck-her-over-too/comments/13 and the rest of the thread.

BabyRae @40, sorry, Sporty's going to bang the drum about it four days a week until the end of time. Actual facts don't deter him.

47

@46 Where'd you learn the word "Vendetta"? Wherever it was, you learned wrong. Also, you had to go back to April for that, which doesn't even say what you think it says?

When you're grasping at straws and all you get back is some shitty wet noodle starbucks paper straw, maybe, just maybe, you're looking for something that doesn't exist.

48

I really hope everyone reads the comments thread that BDF linked @46, they're a perfect encapsulation of exactly how much of a regressive, anti-knowledge idiot BDF has been around here for a LOooooOOOnnng time. Bi, you're a selfish bitch who doesn't hold yourself accountable to anything but your own immediate gratification. Suck it.

49

Seriously Sportlandia, what is your problem? Bet your lovers really enjoy your spin outs. Not.

50

Suck it, eh? Yeah. You’ve had the hots for Fan from the beginning.

51

@41 LavaGirl
"getting and staying depressed surely is a sign to talk to a professional and seek help to cope with what’s going on, and join support groups."

@42 Ricardo
"it's very hard initially for depressed people to seek help, join support groups, even phone friends and say "Hey, I need help".
I'm no specialist in the field (now that's an understatement), but from what I gather, before a diagnosis, you don't think of yourself as depressed; you think it's your situation that's depressing"

I have some relevant experience. For decades I've been active in a group supporting people with a particular medical condition (in person, by phone, and online), and led (and participated in) a team of members who people with the condition internationally turn to. For advice, for support, for information. Sometimes the people seeking help are thinking of suicide.

Obviously CLASP's partner should seek support, AND FOR ALL WE KNOW FROM THE LETTER he already has! One cannot conclude that he hasn't because he's depressed; he might very well still be depressed after all the talk in the world, talk isn't necessarily gonna change a damn thing. In other words we can't put this all on her partner failing to seek support (particularly since if we don't project and just read the letter, for all we know he has).

OTOH, we also can't demand she be a person capable of giving him the support he gave her when she was the one who needed it. But if she can't, I don't think she deserves to tell herself she's not in any way (quoting her) "leaving him because he got ill".

People with bad medical challenges also get a magic sorting hat; they find out a huge effing amount about their friends and loved ones. Not everyone for various reasons is up to the challenge of being there for someone with a medical challenge or for it's side effects. Those people who are can be pretty rare, I think they're saints.

I believe that a difficult 'situation' doesn't 'cause' the condition known technically as depression...but it certainly can flare it up to a much greater level, maybe just such that it's noticeable, or such that it's debilitating.

I've told the story of my own brief experience of depression as a pharmaceutical side-effect. I absolutely knew I was depressed, so I was able to find a way out of the side-effect and back to my natural self in a couple days.

52

Curious2 @ 51 - I'm not sure if I've expressed myself correctly. What I meant is not that she should be the support system, but that she should help him or push him to find a support system.

That said, I'm speculating on two pieces of anecdotal evidence. I lived with a chronically depressed person for 18 months just before he was properly diagnosed, and I had my own experience with pharmaceutically-induced depression that my doc never told me could happen with this particular antihistaminic (which is not the kind of medication you expect to provoke suicidal thoughts).

As my former roommate would do, I stayed home and didn't call anyone coz I didn't want to bother my friends. My health had been deteriorating for two years, so I figured it was normal to be somewhat depressed. It's only when I had written my farewell letter that I realized this was way out of proportion to my problems, and checked online to see what were the side effects of all the pills I was taking. I quickly snapped out of it after that (needless to say, I stopped seeing that irresponsible doctor).

Still, my main concern during those ten days was "not to be seen like that", and that's what my former roommate would also say. I (and many other people) had to constantly harp on about how unhealthy and dangerous his method for dealing with his "down" periods was before he went to the shrink - yet I did the exact same thing some years later. The reflex reaction is to just stay in bed and hope it goes away (it doesn't).

53

The finer point curious is we don’t know if her personality changed along with her chronic illness. Was she a better patient, because that does make a big difference to the challenges a carer faces. So implying she’s not giving back what she got is not fair. Was he ready to tear his hair out at her response to her illness, like she is
at his response to his.

54

@49 my issue is with idiotic dipshits like yourself who think they are entitled to tell me what I think. No one is so arrogant to my face (and if they are, they aren't someone I associate with).

You've seen me post for a while. There's a simple formula if you don't want me to be on your case: Don't diss me, don't lie about what I've said, don't tell me what my thoughts are. Anyone who's not capable of that doesn't deserve my consideration.

55

Ms Fan @33 - By all means, have that unpleasant conversation early. Sadly, if what I hear is accurate, prenups are worth rather little these days, due to claims of duress.

56

@52 Ricardo
Thanks for sharing that y'all's experience of awareness of depression was different than mine. By the time people reach me for help they're (obviously) seeking help, so I never talk to people who haven't yet.

@53 LavaGirl
It's true we don't know if she was a better patient. You're right she might be giving back all she got.

But that's a tangent that's not her greater concern. She wants to think of herself and be seen as someone who wouldn't abandon someone in need. Most people including her aren't that someone; I don't want her to do what she can't, but I don't want her to flatter herself that she's not abandoning him for his injury...since the depression more than just came with it, it was latent in him, the person she chose to partner with, the whole time. Life is a casino, and they didn't win. The reality is that she's not the saint she wants to think of herself as; she can't cash the check she wrote...because few people could.

57

Sportlandia, you are a brat with anger issues. Do something about it because this has got tedious. You set up these fake comparisons, wait for somebody to bite and then let fly. Grow the fuck up and do something decent with your energies.

58

Another reason some people don't think they have depression (or some anxiety disorders) is that they think it's just who they are and they can't remember a time they didn't feel like that. Memory is selective and anhedonia can apply when trying to remember good times as well as sapping the pleasure from the current moment. Especially if it's chronic Major Depressive Disorder, it might not be triggered by anything in particular and there may not be anything the person can point to to say, "See? I'm depressed for a reason." And then there are people, like me, who really have been consistently depressed for such a large portion of their lives that they make it into a part of their personality. (It was minorly distressing for me to become un-depressed -- I felt like I had to renegotiate my relationship with the world.)

It's worth it to make a distinction between people who have singular (or repeated but isolated) depressive episodes and people who feel like depression is their default. It's especially hard to admit you have a problem if it feels like an element of who you are.

And those of you saying we don't know that the partner isn't already getting treatment are right -- treatment-resistant depression is depressingly common (see what I did there?). And there are some people who are open to some forms of treatment but not others, even if they really need a combination of things (someone in talk therapy who refuses antidepressants or isn't willing to experiment with different drugs, or someone who is fine with taking a pill but "doesn't have time" for therapy or thinks it's too hard or worthless).

It took me nearly ten years to find the right combination of treatment options, and I had the best health insurance and the full support of loving parents. (In less than a year and a half I lose my parents' insurance, and I may need to change my med cocktail because I have certain exemptions from certain brand-name copays from my current prescription insurance that won't be transferable, and without those exemptions I would have to pay literally $2,000 a month for one med. And that's not even mentioning maybe changing my therapist and psychiatrist, neither of whom take insurance.)

Everything about depression is complicated and every case is different and things change over time and...

And for those of you totally unsympathetic to the LW -- don't underestimate the toll it takes to live with someone with mental illness (not to even mention the other chronic illness). Take it from someone who has been both the person with the mental illnesses causing the problem and has lived with other people with mental illnesses (and even if it's circumstantial, depression is a mental illness), it's really fucking difficult even if everybody's doing their best -- and not everybody is cut out for it.

60

Oy.

61

This is one of those moments that the LW needs to be a grown-up and use her words. Tell her partner that she's unhappy, that they need help for the depression, and maybe that it's time to crack the door on opening their relationship. A chronically ill partner is still an adult who should have a voice in the relationship and participate in finding a solution or at least the opportunity to negotiate a compromise... or not. Treating a chronically ill partner like a child without agency is a quick way to poison a relationship, sexual or otherwise.

62

Sporty, you're hilarious. You DO have a vendetta; you do project constantly; and you don't know what words mean. In other words, everything you accuse other people (such as me) of doing is both baseless and ironic because these are your own glaring flaws. Just own them. I hope everyone reads those comments too, and the letter that gives them context. Yes, I had to search for your own stated intention to bang on about this perceived injustice until we see things through your distorted lens, which you should know by now ain't gonna happen. I offered you a truce, you merely fling insults, which only make me laugh. Sure, you're entitled to bang on about your vendetta as much as you like, but I wouldn't expect any other reactions than the ones you've been getting.

Ricardo @52, scary. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad your clearer brain prevailed and you asked Dr Google before doing something drastic. It's true that depressed people don't reach out because they feel like burdens. And it doesn't help that the medical establishment sweeps mental health issues under the rug, unless one's pockets are very deep.

Sporty @54, no one is so arrogant to your face because they probably expect your next step is physical violence. I am quite relieved I'm far beyond striking distance from you. If we lived in the same town, if you knew my identity, I would fear what you are capable of. Fact. (And that's 100% to do with your gender and your attitude problem, before you fabricate racism on my part, just reading your comment @59. Lame attempt to paint yourself as the real victim, ho hum.)

Lava @57, glad you finally see he's not a young man trying to learn.

Calliope @58, thank you for sharing your experience. I sincerely hope you are able to find a way to continue to get treatment once society deems you ready to fend for yourself completely.

63

LW raises two different issues

“Can it be moral to get X elsewhere if you’re in a X-deficient relationship”

Answer: yes (subject to terms and condition)

And

“Am I obligated to stay with someone because they are ill”

Answer: No

64

Ricardo @52, yes, some meds do dangerous things to the mind, and people are not fortold. Glad you pulled yourself back from there, or we wouldn’t have you here with us. Hugs to you.
I don’t know Fan, my white butt buddy.. I think that boy has serious issues, and I hope he gets to see someone about them. Lots of triggers, and he needs to deal with those before his toxic energies make him sick. Maybe don’t respond to him anymore? He’s a trickster, looking for ways to find an excuse to explode.

65

At least wayward boy didn’t say I have a wrinkly white butt.. which I certainly don’t have. Smooth as, and after the Australian sun not all white anyway. Id call it a two tone butt. Or a word I’ve just learned, nates/ buttocks. My nates are fine and thanks for asking.

66

Sure Lava, I could stop responding to Sporty, which I'm sure he'd prefer. I mean it's not like the rest of the board needs me to point out that he's full of hot air. But then we'd never have learned we're white butt buddies. I suppose my butt is pretty white, I haven't been to a beach in a while. Enjoy some of that Australian sun for me!

67

I've been wondering about the tiny wave of MRA-types recently soiling our space here. I looked at two usernames' posting history:

Ytterby Be Mine
https://www.thestranger.com/users/39807164/ytterbybemine/comments
4/3/19 through 11/1/19 72 Comments

L.Hand
https://www.thestranger.com/users/41774411/lhand
10/23/19 through 11/21/19 48 Comments

Only one week of overlap, perhaps these usernames are the same person?

@58 CalliopeMuse
Thank you very much for the thoroughly brilliant Comment.

I feel absolutely stupid after reading the first two paragraphs to have groundlessly extrapolated from my brief 2-day stay in the land of depression that because as a tourist I knew I was somewhere knew, that natives would. I also feel stupid to not have imagined this impact of anhedonia.

@59 Sportlandia
"start but not telling other people how to live. But then again, you and your butt buddy are white - so your not capable of that"

Oy+1

68

@62 BiDanFan
"they probably expect your next step is physical violence"

I've thought the same thing, based upon his very short fuse and very dramatic explosions here. Also not a good sign: his misogyny and racism.

69

Right now I'm in the middle of taking a twice-a-week eight week course on "Coping with Chronic Lung Disease", because I have a chronic lung disease. I also happen to teach a course, on Coping with Hearing Loss.

They've both got a similar set-up - heavy emphasis on teaching specific skills to improve quality of life, and almost equally heavy emphasis on coping strategies, ways to manage your daily life to make it easier and less frustrating. There's also a community building aspect, where people can feel less alone by spending time with others facing the same problems.

So I came into this expecting something like what we do for hearing loss - we set aside a lot of time, and actively facilitate, sharing of experience, and we also directly address such topics as dealing with families, isolation, resentment, denial, all the emotional aspects of having a chronic condition.

The lung classes, though, barely touch on this, and while a person who wanted to build themselves some friendships and community during the course has space to do so, it's not really facilitated by the program in any way - we're just spending a lot of time doing things together, and I guess they figure that's enough.

And I said all that in order to say this - medical people are sometimes really terrible at giving any help with the emotional aspects of illness.

I brought up with some of the respiratory therapists that I'm a little surprised that they haven't got one lesson focusing on the emotional aspects of chronic illness, and they seemed to barely understand what I was talking about. And I'm going, "Well, there's going to be depression, anger, resentment, frustration, guilt, shame, just to begin with, and then the added complication of family members also feeling those things because they're losing, in some ways, the partner they thought they would be going into old age with. And there's possible loss of sexual intimacy, loss of fun things they used to do together, the huge ball of emotional snakes that is 'I told you to quit smoking and now look', and so many other things." And, again, the response was basically "Oh, yeah, huh, we should bring that up next time we revamp the program..."

Medical people, especially specialists in a narrow field, can be just terrible at addressing anything out side their field. So chances are this couple, who are facing a huge challenge, are not really getting any of the help they need to even begin to understand how to think about it, much less how to talk about it, and you can forget about dealing with it in any useful way.

I don't have any useful advice for them, but commenters with their "oh, she's just selfish" attitude clearly have no fucking clue what life with serious chronic illness is like. This isn't sucking it up for an hour or two (remember a few days ago when there was a lot of criticism at someone being asked to do just that?) but sucking it up for years on end.

70

@69 agony
Congratulations on the @69, and thank you very much for the true and beautiful post.

I'm so sorry you have lung disease; my heart goes out to you. I had a lot of trouble breathing as a side effect once upon a time, and it was very frightening indeed. Hoping for the best for you.

71

Sporty, your counter-arguments would carry more weight if you weren’t slinging Bitch! Idiot! Suck it! Dipshit! Butt Buddy! (Ooo, burn! That was a GOOD one!) around like a two-year old who just got spanked for molesting the cat.

72

Calliope @ 58 - Great insights, thanks for this very informative post.

73

curious2@ 67 Don't feel stupid -- I wasn't trying to correct you, just add some other common experiences to the mix. I've never experienced such a short period of intense depression, but I can imagine it would be terrifying to have such a sudden change in the way your mind works, especially before you identified the cause. Short depressive episodes can be difficult in their own way; just because they're different from Major Depressive Disorder (one of the diagnostic requirements of which is that an episode lasts for at least two weeks), doesn't mean they're less distressing. My father also had an isolated pharmaceutical-induced depressive episode when I was in high school (he was addicted really badly to Ambien). He actually took an early retirement from his job (he was re-hired in the same position after he got better) before seeking treatment, which involved just a few weeks on an SSRI and stopping the Ambien use. It was intensely bizarre and frightening for everyone, especially * because * he had never been depressed before, and before his doctors figured out what the trigger was he was afraid he'd become chronically depressed like me. Having that experience actually made him a lot more sympathetic to me and my issues. I'm not saying it's a good thing that you had that painful experience -- I'd rather no one have to go through that -- but a side effect, so to speak, might be gaining greater empathy for others who struggle with such issues. You certainly seem to be an empathetic person.

...

agony @69 I'm sorry you have to struggle with these medical conditions, but glad that you have found ways to get support that helps you (and to provide that support for others). I also have a lot of experience with various types of specialists (cognitive-behavioral therapists, psychiatrists, endocrinologists, pulmonologists, otorhinolaryngologists/ENT's, allergists, nutritionists, an orthopedist, a podiatrist, a circadian rhythm specialist, an ophthalmologist, and a cornea specialist, just off the top of my head). It is, indeed, often difficult for specialists to see things outside their specialty. It's amazing what specialization had done to contribute to the ability of the medical community to treat specific disorders, but it also often causes tunnel vision in such doctors/healthcare providers. That's why it's so important to have a good primary care physician who is used to looking at the whole picture and coordinating care between specialists. It also places a burden on the patient to be able to describe and advocate for their own needs and keep track of often complex treatment regimes and who knows what. I've taken to carrying a printed list of all my Rx's and OTC's in my wallet, both in case of an emergency and because I got sick of having to remember all my meds and doses every time I went to a new doctor.

74

Also, BiDanFan + LavaGirl = butt buddies is this comment section's new theme song.

75

Calliope@74~ I hope someone can share the lyrics to that song... Griz, do I hear a new movement for your symphony?

76

CalliopeMuse@58 and agony@69: thank you for those comments--enlightening and compassionate.

77

PS, given the subject matter, I guess that would be a “bowel” movement”...

78

@73 CalliopeMuse
It was scary and quite terrible. But looking back it was one of the most enlightening experiences of my life.

It didn't take me long to go to google a way to escape the depression; for some reason I set upon Seligman's Learned Optimism" and thankfully my nearest library had a copy. By the middle of the book, I came to the thought (maybe literally reading the phrase) 'this will pass', and in a matter of a second of two it did. That moment endlessly fascinates me.

It happened not because of truth but of need. I'll never forget the moment I grabbed hold of it to be launched back to my natural state because I literally needed it. Because those two days had been untenable; everything felt existentially pointless, I had no impetus to do anything.

Now I still think, and I think that having experienced I understand, that everything in truth may be existentially pointless(1)...but feeling that truth made life impossible, untenable, unbearable for me. I needed my optimism, that I had lost, and when the train came by to get me back to it I needed it so much I immediately jumped on without a second thought. Apparently everyone needs that degree of optimism, or delusion, to be psychologically healthy.

(1) For example, how much will make any difference X hundreds of years from now.

The book itself taught me something else. That different people have and need different degrees of optimism. Apparently, salespeople tend to have extremely high levels of optimism (which equates objectively to a need for a very high degree of delusion); a salesperson who makes one sale per thousand sales calls, will completely believe every time that the next call will be a sale. Not just attitude, but full belief.

Personally, I think I'm more comfortable than most with seeing as objectively as possible both the positive and negatives of me and everything.

My first job as a teen was in telemarketing (for which I was ill-suited); at first I couldn't sell a thing; after a few weeks I was amazed to find the people who didn't want the stupid thing I was selling couldn't resist buying it. The only difference was I learned to do what had been described by the successful salespeople as 'smiling through the phone'; this was something like connecting to the other person with positivity. Of attitude. So I can see where attitude is a job requirement for salespeople; but I knew it was an act, I didn't accept it (I didn't psychologically 'need' to accept it) as an actual belief. Oh, and I do feel bad about all the crap people bought that they didn't want, even though I was working for a very worthwhile charity.

79

Thank you Muse and agony for sharing. Hugs to both of you.

81

Oy.

82

Oy indeed, calliope.

83

@ 80

"there's a 10000% chance you'd get violent before I would"

... says the guy who's always angry at the whole wide world. Yeah, right.

"As someone who's been in a fight or two"

Just so you know, non-violent people do not get into fights. They know how to defuse the situation or avoid it altogether. That's what I've done my whole life.

Absolutely everything you say every day in every thread proves your "opponents'" point, and you don't even seem to realize it. A bit like Trump, really. SAD.

84

@80 Sportlandia
"uppity ladies"

"the term [UPPITY] was originally used in connection with the phrase uppity [N-word]s. Black people who weren't subservient."(1)

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=uppity
"Taking liberties or assuming airs beyond one's place in a social hierarchy. Assuming equality with someone higher up the social ladder."

Presumably Sportlandia knows that the word "uppity" used to be employed by those who believed blacks were inferior. Employing this word towards any woman is the pure misogyny.

(1) https://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/49/messages/163.html

85

@ 84 - As I said, "Absolutely everything you say every day in every thread proves your "opponents'" point, and you don't even seem to realize it"

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent, you know? Intelligent people don't need violence to prevent others from taking what's theirs.

And if 99% of men are like you, I'm quite happy not to relate to them. But since it's coming from a man who's demonstrated time and again that he's incapable of relating to 100% of women and the vast majority of men (who are in actual fact nothing like you), I'll take your pathetic attempt at an insult as a compliment.

And just so you know, I'm not from the US. This is the Internet; it's international, didn't you know? Your frame of reference is not universal; stop trying to apply it to anyone outside of your in-group of deplorables, it doesn't work.

86

Now where has Spitlandia's moronic comment gone?

87

@86 Ricardo
From https://www.thestranger.com/users/23698298/sportlandia looks like he got banned yet again; presumably as before temporarily and in the interim will cling on as before as SportlandiaXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVW

88

@ 87 - But he'll be back, won't he? Like herpes.

89

Did you know that there are cobras (genus Naja) that literally spit venom at your eyes when challenged? Reminds me of someone here.

...

I usually avoid spats like this, but I've been resisting the urge to correct his grammar and punctuation (you meant "you're," not "your," among other things), so I figured I might as well stick up for everyone being attacked. (Also, I just wanted to share that there are snakes that can blind you with venom without actually touching you. Because evolution.)
...

And before you go there, bridge goblin: Yes, I'm a mentally ill virgin with no social life who is still dependent on her parents -- but I'm constantly working to improve myself, and my ultimate career goal is to do good in the world by promoting a love of science and knowledge. Can you say the same?

90

Oops, I hadn't refreshed in a couple of hours. I see he's been banned. I wonder why?

91

Man! I missed all the fun. Looks like Mr Anger Management hasn't been banned, just one particularly abusive comment removed.
Calliope @89, before your time there was a particularly vitriolic user who made Sporty look like a mentally balanced individual, who in fact used a cobra as his icon. It was apt.
Loving the butt buddies theme song, lol! Makes me think of this sweet toy from the 80s:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdximU6Ao00

92

@88 Ricardo
"he'll be back, won't he?"

Yes, that's what I mean by "temporarily".

@91 BiDanFan
"Mr Anger Management hasn't been banned"

The reason I said he had been and think he has been is "banned" that his user profile that I quoted @87
https://www.thestranger.com/users/23698298/sportlandia
has been disappeared(1). That's happened every time he was (previously self-described himself as being) "banned". But the bannings have always been temporary, from which I've inferred that the bannings are reviewed and overturned (maybe by Dan himself?).

(1) https://www.thestranger.com/users/23698298/sportlandia now reads
"404 Page Not Found
That page doesn't exist." In the past when his bannings have ended that page always returns to being his account page.

I've never actually been "banned", so I don't know anything further; I dunno if a he gets any kind of notice, and what word is on the notice; in practice it seems like more of an account "hold" to me actually at this point.

I'm curious, do you still think given the above that he hasn't been banned (temporarily, or put on "hold" or something)? Do all of a users comments disappear (perhaps after the review)?

93

Curious @ 92 - "Do all of a users comments disappear?"

There are still various comments of his on the thread, so I guess not.

"Yes, that's what I mean by "temporarily"

I understand that much, but a) being temporarily banned doesn't mean that the user doesn't (finally!!!!) get the hint and decide not to return even if they let him (I know, wishful thinking), and b) "But he'll be back, won't he?" was just the setup for my punchline.

94

@93 Ricardo
"I guess not"

Right there in that sentence I wrote and you snipped "after the review".
I am well aware that his other comments have never been removed yet so I hypothesize a review hurdle he always overcomes.

"get the hint and decide not to return"

The time a month back he came right back as SportlandiaX and said he's been banned, he wrote something like that we 'could continue with our feminist circle jerk'. Apparently something about women and feminists drives him to vent and thus to not leave

It is unfortunately a thing that people in oppressed minorities oppress others to feel better about themselves..

/Break/
I'm wondering who YetterbyBeMine aka L.Hand will resurface as, assuming a temporarily not-ruined reputation.

95

@ 94 - Sorry if I misunderstood you/the removal process, but since we get a 404 message, I thought the review had already happened, that's all.

"Apparently something about women and feminists drives him to vent and thus to not leave"

Something about white people, too, who he seems to think are always privileged no matter the place and circumstances.

96

Curious @92-@94, yes, you appear to be right. I was in fact confused by the fact that most of his comments are still here. Maybe he is properly banned after having gone too far (I'm bummed that I didn't get to see the comment that broke the camel's back), or perhaps he deleted his own account, due to the great feminist conspiracy against him? ;)
I do remember the user SportlandiaX briefly appearing, but then the original Sporty returned.
Ricardo, you totally nailed it with your observation: "Absolutely everything you say every day in every thread proves your "opponents'" point, and you don't even seem to realize it." I do hope he gets help someday. But in the meantime I'd be quite happy if he took his bile elsewhere.

97

BDF @ 96 - I'd be quite happy if he took his bile elsewhere.

Yes. Aren't there plenty of like-minded people in the dark incel recesses of the Internet?I'm sure he'd get along great with Eudemonic (was that his name?).

98

BDF - By the way, the message that broke the camel's back was directed at me (after my post @ 83).

In it, he accused me of being unable to relate to 99% of men because I'd never been in a fight, and said that he would never let anyone take what's his just because that person was more willing to become aggressive, as if violence was the only way to prevent that. He also said that I surely had grown up in a cozy white suburb and I had to get out of my Capitol Hill bubble (because every white person who disagrees with him obviously lives on Capitol Hill, a place I have never been to and am highly unlikely to ever visit).

Just the usual, then, but the anger was palpable.

99

@95 Ricardo
His useraccount URL (and presumably his ability to login to it to comment) always goes down right away; I imagine as soon as a staffmember looks at the log of Reports (which has options for "Spam", :Off Topic", "Trolling", and "Threatening or Abusive". But then later I'm guessing a senior staffmember reinstates him.

@96 BiDanFan
"Maybe he is properly banned after having gone too far (I'm bummed that I didn't get to see the comment that broke the camel's back)"

It was far from his worst (in terms of any of the above Report options). I tried using the Wayback Machine but it didn't capture this thread's URL...but you really didn't miss one of his more vile tirades.

As SportlandiaX (and then SportlandiaY and SportlandiaZ) got disappeared, he incremented the appended letter. And I wondered if the webmaster would end up being directed to write some code to disallow account signups containing "sportland".

100

Curious @ 99 - Understood.

"And I wondered if the webmaster would end up being directed to write some code to disallow account signups containing "sportland"."

Couldn't they just track his IP address and block it? I presume it's illegal, but still.

101

@98 Ricardo
Good memory!
I probably wouldn't have been able to forget that drivel had it been directed at me.

"the anger was palpable"

That should be his next username.

102

@100 Ricardo
"Couldn't they just track his IP address and block it?"

Yes that would be another approach they could take! (And they could cancel accounts that tried to use his avatar images.) But most people's IP address changes occasionally at the whim of their ISP, and through other means such as using a VPN.

I think if a ghost wants to haunt us bad enough they will keep materializing.

103

Congrats on the @100 Ricardo!

/Break/
That reminds me: Griz, we miss you! Are you still feeling ill?