Trapped in the Green Mile...but not with Tom Hanks

I'm NEW here and am seeking support for spouses and family living with an ADDA sufferer. I am 52 and my wife is 57.

I chose the title because I watched the Green Mile a few years back and realized I am the Warden, and my wife is just like his. But there is no tragic prison hero in real life to step in and remove the afflicting spirits, So I live with it and pray - day-in and day-out.

If you don't know the movie, here is my situation and what I hope to find here. My wife suffers from a multitude of ailments ranging from chronic depression, anxiety, avoidant personality, paranoia, flat out fear and ADD (that I can so far diagnose). Oh and let's spice all that up with a strong dose of alcoholism to give it some real kick.

There is no way to diagnose, confirm or treat any of these because she also has an extreme fear of doctors. A near-death experience will not move her to do so.

Anyone who meets her would never guess. She has an IQ of 145+ and is one of the smartest people I have ever known (one of the reasons I married her) and has a very big and giving heart. But like a high-functioning alcoholic, she has developed skills to divert, dismiss, distract and foil any suspicion or inspection. So, I live in her private world.

This is a tough life but I love my wife. So much so that I have been the one who is on anti-depressants for the past 3 years. I call it situational depression. I really feel I could write a book on what it is like, but I really just want to find some people with whom I may share experiences and possible solutions. At this point my options are few: leave, or force an intervention. Either of which could lead to a very tragic ending for her.

Thank you for reading my sad little story, and I know there are worse ones by far, but I live in her world and really would like to connect with anyone who can help me guide her back in to "our" world.

Thank you.

M

4 Replies

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  • Hello Mr. M,

    I too am A newbie to this forum among the many who can readily empathize with your green mile. I wish I had more than my personal experiences to share but unfortunately I share a wing off D-block.

    There are some great people on this forum that can certainly offer more in the way of guidance. I just wanted to say hi, you are not alone brother. I myself am 58, my wife 62, and our youngest daughter, who is incredibly smart, artistic, witty and loving by nature, is 27. We know too well the voices and cries of the 'afflicted spirits' that without invitation invade what could in every other sense be considered wonderful.

    We are seeking the same support systems you mentioned. In our situation that means a minimum 65 mile commute. Which I'm certain is nothing compared to the Green Mile, and I thankful to be able to say that we are, at this part of our journey, all in it together.

    Our daughter suffers with both extreme anxiety, clinical depression and a band of physical gypsy ailments.

    Until this week we had always been living and fighting for her from outside the cell block, mostly just attempting escapes which always ultimately resulted in failure, harsher sentences and loss of time served.

    By what I can only describe as our very own Green Mile miracle, a window opened up into her cell block and my wife an I crawled in.

    So, we are not out yet, but we are 'all in' so to speak. So, now we are students of the Prison itself, the way things work on the inside. It wasn't until I walked in her cell block, ate from her tray, was introduced to her cell mates, slept in her cell and woke up from having her dream...that I began to understand the insidious nature of her captivity.

    Know that you are not alone. There are many here seeking pathways and some who hang out to help us learn, survive and ultimately return to the 'outside'.

  • Welcome! You have my sympathies. It's tough being close to someone with all of the problems you mention. And you're living with the negative results of being so close to your wife and her problems by having depression yourself. It's a depressing situation, isn't it? Somehow you've got to reach her. Maybe if you can get her to AA she would eventually accept help from people there and then possibly become more open about accepting medical help? With her intelligence I would hope you can make an appeal to her logically. Or possibly have her come with you to your medical and/or counseling appointments as you pursue treatment for yourself? This way she's not the patient but you hope she'll become the patient at some point down the road as she becomes desensitized to seeking help. Just some thoughts.

    I'm treated for depression and anxiety myself and I enjoy a wonderfully functional life. It's hard to believe that your wife would choose her dysfunction over healing if she knows what being well feels like. What a tough situation! She's using her intelligence to dodge any effective help. I recommend you get counseling for all of these problems. You need it yourself and you may even learn a way to reach her.

    Blessings...

  • M,

    Thank you for writing. I am new myself and what you have described could be me, as in I am similar to your wife...age, IQ, afflictions. I have sought help but not because I wanted to: My husband said he was leaving if I didn't. Obviously, your situation is not mine. However, I want to give you a glimpse into my world to offer insight. We have been married over 30 years. Six years ago my husband drew the proverbial line in the sand and I feared losing my children. I started 12-step recovery and therapy - for them not for me. I have stayed in recovery for me. There are days and months that I want to escape again because of physical and/or emotional pain; not having my escapes anymore often results in depression. Recovery is messy and painful. My husband is best when he too is in 12-step recovery and therapy - even though I am the primary. Individual, couple, and family therapies have been very helpful. Our biggest take-away has been our unhealthy enmeshed relationship; he is now taking ownership of his thoughts, feelings, and actions ... and attempting to live with me rather than enable me. Being quite sober and continuing in therapy, I can now see his pain - I couldn't see it before. He has learned that I did not cause his pain; I am a thick layer that was added well after he was created - a layer that would not have been placed had he been a healthy individual to begin with. That is our life - not yours. It may not be similar or helpful. I wish you and yours the best.

  • Thanks for sharing your story, Mr. M. Depression and anxiety are incredibly difficult for both persons in a relationship. I think SueSz had some great advice. Try to get her in to therapy some way, some how. Best of luck to you.

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