not really living life

Those of you who've read my blogs before will know I've been depressed for most of my life although it wasn't until after therapy that I became able to really FEEL depressed - before that I was slightly shut off and didn't really know what was missing in my life. Now I realise it was the love and support that I needed as a child. I've had a lot of therapy including a four year training as a therapist but I still feel depressed though very much better than I did years ago. Therapy has helped.

Now I'm writing really just to share how I'm feeling because I find sometimes responses from other people on the site can be helpful. As I said, I completed a therapy training only to find that the form of therapy I trained in is now out of fashion due to financial cuts and so makes it almost impossible to work anywhere apart from freelance. I tried to do that without success as I didn't have the ability to sell myself - I'm good enough at helping other people but not good at helping myself. I let my registration lapse and sunk into deep depression. Gradually I pulled out of it a little and did a fine art degree, but although I am creative I don't have the ability to produce the kind of art that is saleable. I feel it's yet another skill that I have that has no value in the world. The way that feeling repeats my childhood feelings of being unwanted and unlvoeable sometimes distresses me though at other times I can be philosophical and realise it isn't as simple as it feels to me at times. I'm now over 60 and have applied to do a further training in brief therapy in order to get back into working with clients but just can't hold onto any sense of there being a point in trying because I will fail again. I guess that's the depression talking.

I'm struggling with the lack of relationship with my (3rd) husband. When I met him I was at the stage of therapy where I was no longer preoccupied by the past and could tell my story of emotional neglect, childhood isolation, breakdown at 11 and sexual abuse. I knew what I wanted from a relationship and in meeting my husband thought I'd found it. He is a warm person who wants me to be happy and looks after me in material and practical ways. I feel grateful and in many ways should be happy with him, but I'm not. We were happy for the first 7 years, bringing the house and garden back to its former glory, me in training and full of optimism, my husband taking early retirement and working part-time for more money than he'd earned full time. Lucky us, I know. Then he developed kidney failure, became impotent and continually over-aroused me in order to try to arouse himself. That triggered my feelings about having been sexually abused as a child and although I tried telling my husband how I felt he wasn't able to alter the way he dealt with his frustration. Then he developed sleep apnoea and I went to sleep in the spare room. My husband has always drunk wine heavily but he responded to his empty bed by becoming an extremely heavy drinker which I found difficult as although he wasn't violent he looked drunk much of the time, stopped interacting in a sociable way and slept much of the time. Then it became apparent that his kidney failure was serious and now he's on end-stage dialysis, end stage meaning he cannot have a transplant so is at the last option which is keeping him alive althugh he does still manage to work part-time. He also has a potentially life threatening aortic aneurism. Additionally he developed hearing loss which is now quite bad and that has affected our relationship more than anything else as it's caused endless misunderstandings and rows. Most of the time he refuses to accept that he mishears and becomes angry at things he thinks I say. Life is hard for him I know which makes it feel really difficult for me to deal with my feelings. The trouble is that I no longer feel any love for him. I reached out for years, felt him reject my attempts to get him to enjoy my company, to spend time with me, instead seeing him become more and more distant, and drunk a lot of the time. Now I just want out and that makes me feel guilty. I probably won't leave him as to do so feels daunting but I find it so depressing to live with someone but spending all day every day speaking to no-one for more than five minutes. I have several friends who live 30 miles away and do see them regularly but have no connections near where we live and don't feel any sense of identity with the local culture. We've tried to sell our house without success due to the recession. My children both live a long distance abroad though I do have a good relationship with them both and talk to them on the phone at times. I'm stuck at home in an area I dislike with no family or friends and a husband who is content to spend the rest of his life with headphones on watching the same tv programmes over and over. I feel like screaming with frustration at feeling my life pass by.

I'm sorry, I just wanted to have a moan, I'm feeling sorry for myself. We do have a nice home, warmth, enough money, good food, four cats and I have reasonable health, so I feel guilty, wonder what am I moaning for when so many people are worse off. Depression is shitty! It makes everything so hard. I just wanted to rage a bit.

11 Replies

  • I'm so sorry, your not in a situation anyone could handle well hun. Youre taking positive steps in getting back into education, you should feel very proud of yourself! What type of therapy were you previously trained in? Its so much easier to help someone else than it is to help yourself isn't it, although it does only seem to be people with depression that say this! Perhaps we care too much and that attributes to the way we feel? Because we feel everything, and it hurts like hell.

    I don't know what to say about your husband, im so sorry, im totally unqualified in that area I assure you. Seems like your in very different places, and perhaps have been for some time. No one would envy your place, its ok to feel rubbish. Im sure you have but try and take all the negatives away and see what youre left with. Why did you think it would work? Why did you chose him? What did your love for each other mean to you? And how, and why is it different now. What can you do? What are you prepared to do? What can he do?

    Things are hard, you cant do this alone so keep up those relationships with your friends. Keep open communication and don't be afraid to ask for support when you need it, they will understand if they are good friends.

    My thoughts are with you x

  • Hi, thanks for your support. I trained in psychoanalytic therapy but unfortunately it tends to be longer term, although I did also practice Cognitive Analytic Therapy and Family Therapy each for several years but am not qualified in them. The real issue was that I didn't have a health or social work qualification as my background was in teaching and so I'm not eligible for employment in the NHS or stautory f voluntary social care agencies. It's a real bugger and sadly no-one told me it would be a problem before I trained. I did try GP practices, they wanted a Certificate or Diploma in counselling which would be like going back 20 years for me. Thanks anyway for the kind thoughts.

    In terms of the marital issues, my husband and I are seeing someone but my husband is unlikely to develop insight and anyway now I feel that I've withdrawn emotionally and no longer have the motivation to improve the relationship. It does feel sad. I didn't fall in love with him or fancy him, although by the time we married I did love him, but all the bits of him that I enjoyed ended when he became ill and then drank very heavily, although he wasn't aggressive I saw sides to him that I really don't like or want. I will think about the issues you raised. Thanks again.

  • Your sharing was so open and transparent I could empathize with so much of your story.

    I have worked hard as you have and finally supported and re-parented my inner child who was abandoned abuse and isolated.

    I began to feel better less anxious and able to face life again this time with my healthy inner child and my self esteem in a good place.

    No one can give us happiness and I would not rely on anyone for mine.

    You will know the counselling jargon and how to channel out to others go inside for all the things that matter and keep "talking"

    You are in my thoughts

  • Hi, thanks for your good wishes.

    I'm glad you've been able to learn to care for your inner child.

    I don't know counselling jargon as I've never been drawn to counselling theory, my background was in psychoanalytic practice which is different although all therapies and counselling have some features in common.

    It's sad that you would not rely on anyone for happiness, we do all need other people, in fact I would say that what I have most learned from therapy is how much I need and want an intimate relationship and that interdependence is the most important thing for happiness in life, but it has taken me a long time to come to accept that. Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Yes Depression is shitty. I read your need to find happiness outside yourself and from others and the outer world in work and education. What if the person dropped my "happiness"? I have learned to enjoy my first healthy relationship in fifty years by giving fifty percent and keep fifty percent for my self.

    That includes happiness but its evolved by love and trust not just because of a piece of paper and big expectations; as well as wasting energy, it keeps you revisiting old introjects and behaviour. My personal journey brought me to that conclusion. If Freud was to be believed we would both be hysterical women needing a man to complete us or at least look after us? I am happy and respectful of your conclusions brought about in therapy for you and interdependence.

    I taught Counselling theory at FE and HE level as well as having a thriving private practice

    we all find our way its just now I take my life were I need to go.

    Best Wishes on your journey

  • Hi

    thanks for your good wishes, but you know that's not at all what Freaud said or thought! What he did say was that biologically we are all driven by desire for the opposite sex and that it can be expressed in many different ways through sublimation etc but that if it is not expressed but in a way that brings satisfaction then that will lead to ill health. I think clinicians of all modalities will probably agree with that view.

    Yes, I taught counselling as well, but just enjoy the long term deep work where clients have a need to find the way to be.

    thanks again for the good thoughts.


  • Hi Sue

    Oh havent been on here a little while as dealing with my own demons that you are aware of, you know what i love about you the most is just how open and honest you are, your in no way a failure and you are trying your best, and you help out so many others here, I happen to think your a very valuable member of this community. and yes depression is totally shitty.

    Its so hard to have fallen in love with a person and then watch them turn into something that you dont really want to be around but just cant seem to leave, because you feel responsible and like you owe them something and well maybe its also because you know he does not have much time, suggestions for communication are to write it down so he can see what your saying and not mis understand.

    Now you say about how your art is not good enough, is that for a gallery standard, have you thought about maybe putting a few pieces for sale on ebay or even going and speaking to a gallery or even putting a couple of pieces up in the local doctors all are other options, and you have not failed I did joinery yes i dont think i am now good enough to do it full time but I love it as a hobby and when i do it well it makes me feel good.

    I am sure you have a big trip coming up soon to go and see your daughter and you can focus on that for now, and just try to accept that your doing so well, your a good person you have raised two children that have gone off and made good lives for themselves does that not show you something that you are a really good mum.

    What are the local interests in your area, is there any little hobby class you could do or a charity shop you could go and do a few hours a week just to get out of the house and speak to other people, I found that really helped me alot even if most of them were 35 years older than me I found it was more about just actually speaking to other people and feeling like i was still alive.

    I am not going to go into the areas of therapy as i have only ever been a patient, but i can say that i read alot of posts that you have taken the time to answer and i just think well i really cant add anything to that Sue has really covered it totally, lol so take that as a compliment, you know we would all be lost without you, because you are better than a therapist that we all go to see, you have lived it, you have spent years working out these issues and you understand what we are not saying when we write.

    Your a good person Sue, that has lived through and survived so much, because you are a survivor, and you will continue to be one, and in all honesty there is only one person that you can rely on in life and that is yourself.

    Keep safe



  • Thanks Helen, I started crying my eyes out like a baby as I read all that you've written, it feels silly to say that because I know I'm not a bad person, have been a good mum, was a good therapist most of the time which is more than good enough, I just seem to mess up my own life. It's not that I don't like my husband, it's just that I married in order to find things that now I realise he just can't give me, he gives me parental kind of love which I needed, but I wanted the kind of love that an emotionally mature man can feel for the woman he loves, and I don't mean just the sexual attraction but the enjoyment and mutual sense of connection and moments of fun. Life with him is safe, he's caring and a lovely man, better than many, but we just don't have the spark or rapport. I guess I am grieving at the fact that I married for security without fully knowing it and that now I have the result which is everything and yet not what matters, not company or mutual enjoyment, not really love. It's just sad, though I guess many people's lives are far more sad than mine.

    Thanks for all the positive feedback about my replies on the website, I'm only human and often get it wrong, and particularly on the website because of course here I'm just a person with my own needs and problems, not a therapist putting those aside. You've given lovely feedback too, it's really supportive.


  • I agree with Helen, Sue. I think your insights into people are remarkable and I have learned so much from you. You put into words things that are in my own head and help me to clarify my thoughts. I think I have learned more from you than any therapist I have seen.

    I remember reading some posts here and feeling totally inadequate to help someone. I then read your replies and think WOW. You are a star.

    When you married it was for valid reasons. And you must not look back in regret. Spark or rapport is all very well when you are young but as you mature other things can be more important such as companianship and safety. They are very important qualities. You are only human as we all are. We all get things wrong all the time. Don't beat yourself up about it Sue - you can only do the best you can in life and if your best is not very good no one, especially you, can expect any more. Its just the way life is. As long as you are aware that you are doing the best you can in any given situation then you can't do any more than that can you? On my headstone will be - I tried!

    I think you are a great person, loving, caring and giving and most of all human!

    Be kind to yourself love. Lots of HUGS and KISSES xxxxxxxx

    Bev xxx

  • I'd just like toa dd that as a result of the positive feedback and a very helpful therapy session last week I'm now feeling very much better. Thank you

  • I just want to let everyone who has supported me recently know that I'm feeling a lot better at the moment. My husband and I see a marital therapist and it has suprised me to find out how different my husband is from the way I imagined him to be and how that understanding has really taken the stress out of our relationship. We're getting on so much better. He is a sweetheart - he sent me a huge Valentine's Day card with a little card on the front which says "My favourite love story is ours". Isn't he sweet. We've also heard someone wants to view our house so maybe we will finally manage to sell it, you never know. At the moment I'm trying to pluck up courage to end with my current therapist who is lovely and very good and understands me well) and go to see someone else who I have seen previously and feel ready now to work things through with. I hope I have the nerve to do it, that would be good for me.

    I hope you are all feeling reasonably ok - I shan't hope you are all feeling well, that's unrealistic, but I hope none of you feel really in the pits and that some good things are happening to you. It's spring and we already have crocuses and of course snowdrops out in the garden, soon the weather will be even better and hopefully we will all feel better with the sunshine.

    Take carexxxxx

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