How is it possible to deal with this many problems by yourself and keep going day in, day out unaffected?

I apologise in advance, the situation is horribly complicated.

I have been a long time sufferer of depression. Every time I think I’ve escaped it with a day or two of relatively brighter moods, weeks and months of sadness, anger and anxiety follow. This negative extreme has been growing in particular over the past couple of years.

I currently live away from my wife and children. They’re in Canada whereas I’m in the United Kingdom studying for a university degree. Our marriage last August was not under ideal circumstances. I had to marry in secrecy away from my blood family (they live in the UK as well) for they saw my girlfriend at the time as unsuitable and shunned any opportunity throughout our relationship to talk to her. I've always been the less favourite child. Having a younger, difficult to deal with sister, it was natural that my parents would cater to her requests more, so I was always one to hide in the background and not get overly involved. To compound matters, for 5 months of each academic year I have to live with them in order to fund completing the degree. As can be assumed, the relationship there is incredibly unhealthy.

As much as I love my wife, when it comes these issues they’re ones I’ve had to face mostly alone. She doesn’t have the mental composure to help deal with the problems (she has diagnosed ADHD bi-polar as well as many other things). The vast majority of friends that I have of whom I could possibly talk to about the issues she has banned me from discussing with. I understand that she’ll feel insecure when I could be talking about her to friends of mine, but it’s resulted in me having no one to talk to and becoming more and more introverted and reluctant to go out and socialise.

Major financial issues, fighting with both my blood family and family overseas from the stress, feeling completely inadequate in my studies and physically (I am currently in the process of losing weight) and feeling completely isolated from everyone and anyone that could possibly help me, I have no idea what to do. I can’t even begin to understand myself with regards to which of those above reasons have been causing the depression and I have to start dealing with it somehow before it all gets out of hand. In different guises, I’ve had all the above issues in the time I’ve realised I’ve had depression. It’s crippling my relationship with both my wife to the point where at times I feel I just want it all gone to be left alone. My dreams have been getting progressively dark. I’ve always had the common “falling” dream but over recent years many dreams where I die from a whole host of reasons have become prominent and over the past few months I’ve been having dreams about having an affair.

It’s all a mental mess and I simply don’t understand what I can do to dig myself out of this pit. I don’t even know what I want because I don’t feel like I have any way of determining which of the many issues prompted this downward spiral. What can you possibly do in what feels like a permanent checkmate?


8 Replies

  • Firstly, do your family now know that you married your wife? If not this will put an unbearable strain on you.

    As for your wife, she married you for better, for worse and marriage is about communication, whatever it be about. Relationships do not survive well with secret thoughts and she really needs to support and discuss your problems with you and likewise you with her. If she is unwilling to do this I would suggest that you take a step backwards and ask yourself if this IS the right relationship for you in the long term.

    It is no wonder you are having strange dreams as your mind is trying to resolve all your conflicts in your sleep.

    It does no good to dwell on exactly what began the downward spiral, I know this only too well from experience, just take things from where you are right now, include your family, I'm sure they do care very much about you despite what you say.

    You are coping with an awful lot at the same time, two distinct families, weight loss and study. What makes you feel inadequate in your studies, is it imagined or actual? You may just need some praise for what you're achieving or you may indeed require some one to one assistance.

    Hope I have given you a little food for thought and a direction to start with.

    Good luck and I'm around if you want to chat further,


    :) one day your sun will shine!

  • Thanks for the swift reply first of all!

    They do know, yes. There were concerns that they'd fly out to stop it if we told them beforehand but they were told afterwards.

    When it comes to inadequacies on the academic side, it stems from going to a public school (private in the US sense). I was always the hard grafter as opposed to being naturally talented and generally speaking compared to those around me I struggled. It was a school where results came above everything else, usually at a cost of social well-being.

    Once I moved to University, I went from being a small fish in a big pond to the exact opposite, but with very little challenge by peers, I felt and still feel completely out of place. I'm so used to being bashed for failing that even getting marks most of the class would have taken themselves doesn't feel anywhere near enough.

    I'll be brutally honest and say that I don't know what keeps my wife and I together. I know she loves me and vice versa but there's always tension and fighting occurs constantly, not helped by a 4 hour timezone difference and the fact I must sleep between 10 and 12 hours per day. I hate to think that it could be guilt or pride rather than genuine affection.

  • OK, so you can talk to your family about your problems or do they expect more of you than you feel you can give?

    I can really relate to that as I was brought up by two teachers and remember the constant pressure felt by them saying "oh, she's such a clever girl, she's brilliant etc." I constantly felt I was letting people down, myself included, was afraid of asking questions in class as I felt I should already know the answer. Do yourself a favour, tell your family you're human and not Einstein and that you've worked very hard to get where you are but are struggling at the moment. The sooner they get the bigger picture in all of this the sooner you'll feel under less pressure yourself and DON'T, I repeat DON'T beat yourself up for a result of over 60%. That puts you in the top 15% of the national average.

    Even Einstein and Edison failed 99% of the time but look what they achieved with the other 1%!

    Put your marriage issues to one side for now as best you can and focus on yourself and being comfortable inside of yourself.

    Take frequent rest breaks - the brain can only process so much at once and if you're having bad dreams then its not helping you process your study information. Be kind and gentle to yourself and, pardon me for saying this but, sod them all!

    You can't please everyone all the time so please yourself - that's what I taught my daughter from the remnants of my upbringing.

    Feel free to continue our chat as long as you wish either publicly or by private message. Either is fine by me.


    :) one day your sun will shine!

  • I'm not permitted to talk to them about it. I've attempted to before. Now they insist that they want to hear nothing about my wife, nor any of the issues relating to her/us.

    Ever since I rejected their advice to do an accountancy apprenticeship (I really wasn't interested in doing one) in favour of going to university to study geography, they've rarely even asked about how it's been going. Unless I bring it up first, they don't seem to really care too much about it. Even with the success of weight loss they don't congratulate me over it. All they've done throughout (especially my sister) is taunt me for my weight and that's been going on for at least half a decade.

    I do wish I could put my marriage to one side for a bit. My wife is one of those that constantly needs attention to not feel insecure. It's kind of ironic as I'm not "mushy" in the slightest and definitely not spontaneously romantic. It would be nice if she could cope doing things by herself but I'm fully aware that if I'm not around at all times she'll have a mental breakdown of her own...

  • You NEED to be able to speak freely to someone about your situation, your studies and your family. Your wife is being extremely unreasonable in requesting that you talk to no one about your relationship - go ahead, do it, speak to your friends, meet with them. If your marriage cannot survive YOUR needs then it is not worth having.

    I am very sorry if this sounds very harsh but you only live once and should do it to the best of your ability and not allow others to dictate to you who and what you can see and say.

    You cannot contribute positively to a relationship if you can't be comfy with yourself.

    As for your parents, they sound very narrow minded...we can't choose them, if we could we would probably not choose the ones we have. Do what you need to get you through your studies and be proud that you've stood up to them and followed your own path in life.

    Have you tried using the University facility of student counselling? This may help you to resolve some of your issues.

    Be aware that you probably do have a tough time ahead but there is always light at the end of the tunnel no matter how long the tunnel.

    Remember to rest adequately and try to enjoy your studies.


    :) one day your sun will shine!

  • Around this time last year I had thought about using the university counselling services as it seemed a pretty logical thing to do. I explained to my wife first that I intended to go, but there was quite a backlash to put it diplomatically. Needless to say I was basically forced to not go. I suppose once it gets this bad you sort of (and wrongly so) give up trying to look after yourself and simply try to get on with life. I'm pretty certain if she even found out I was typing here I'd never hear the end of it! It's a calculated risk on my own part. I've ripped enough hair out thus far as it is haha.

    The issue with talking with friends has been that the people I feel comfortable enough with to talk to them about are spread all over the country, doing university degrees of their own. As nice as some of the people on my course are, I'm not convinced any of them are the best to talk to on such serious topics.

  • OK, ignore your wife and make use of the Uni counselling's the only option you have by the sound of things. You obviously can't have an honest and fulfilling relationship with your wife no matter how much you love her, she is demanding that YOU suffer for her sake - that is NOT love!

    Sorry to be so blunt but it is the only option I can see for the sake of your own sanity.



  • Hi Onion,

    Sounds like there's many layers going on here :-)

    Now I'm no expert, but what I see in you words is your parents are controlling your life, and that would depress anyone.

    Haven't they heard of loving ones children regardless of what or who they are, how they succeed or dont, to be frank, I'm disgusted.

    Its sounds like your a commodity to them, and your allowing it by needing them financially. Please dont think I'm putting you down or your parents, as I have been guilty of this too, and been on the end of it from my parents.

    I would look to become self sufficient at some stage, and sooner rather than later.

    Go see the councelling at Uni, and if you can I would ask them about healthy love, detailing your childhood, because its affecting how you operate now, without a healthy coping mechanism in place, you will struggle, however that can be addressed.

    There's a therapy called EMDR where you will be able to process some of the past, and learn to move on, also, I was given a nurturer, a protector, and a safe place, these are used to replace what it seems was lacking as we grew up, i.e. unconditional love.

    I found since I got over my parents lack of skill in bringing me up, I've learn't to love myself as I am, the depression and so much more has lifted.

    I can sit and work things out clearly, I am happy, really happy, my relationship with my wife and children is so much better, I can look people in the eyes and not feel inadequate, so many things, I dont like saying it but I'm becoming normal :-)

    I now do and love theravada Buddhist meditation, and have learn't about RIGHT VIEW, something that is core to anyones happiness in life, and how you give loving kindness to myself and others.

    I'm not a Buddhist I just like their way of dealing with life.

    A key point here is honesty, to yourself first but also to your parents and wife, when we do this alot of baggage drops off our shoulders, and we feel so much better.

    I really wish you well, if I have upset or offended you it was not ment, I want to help, because I see alot of me in your situation.



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