We’ve probably all been there. Had a significant other, going through a tough time. Perhaps they have a mental illness, or a serious physical illness. Perhaps they don’t have any sort of illness, but life has them flailing. As a concerned significant other — what do you do?
The first step is probably to wring your hands and worry about it a a bit first, before acting. It’s quite possible that, while you’re wringing your hands and doing the “polite” thing and not saying anything, their situation is getting either better or worse. If the situation is resolving itself on it’s own, then your boyfriend is lucky. If the situation is getting worse, you tell yourself that they will surely seek help.
When it is said, “seek help”, that means help of any sort. Perhaps they will come to you with their problem, their struggle, and ask you to listen. You may have some knowledge of what they are going through, having gone through it yourself or having someone close to you who has struggled in the same way.
Perhaps the problem is out of the bounds of what a layman can do, and they seek professional help. A therapist, their primary care physician, an internist, a specialist, a member of their ministry. Someone, hopefully the right someone, who can help them with this problem.
What is more likely is that your significant other, or whatever he is to you at this point, does not seek professional help. Instead, there is denial that there is a problem, and you get your head bitten off for suggesting a call to the ol’ PCP is in order.
There may be Googling of symptoms and WebMD may lead your boyfriend to self-diagnose. No one should ever diagnose themselves from WebMD. It is a very bad idea, and they have a disclaimer on their website.
Perhaps your significant other has no insurance. Perhaps they are unable to take a sick day to go see a specialist. Perhaps the driveway is blocked with snow and they are unable to receive this much-needed attention.
So you, the significant other, has resorted back to a wringing of hands and worry mode. Your mental health might start to suffer. You might start to take those Klonopin PRN’s and find yourself wanting to stay away from home, because there is so much tension with this person who refuses to seek help.
He gets sicker and sicker, in body, in mind, in spirit. You almost don’t recognize him anymore, for all the pain he is going through. Your back and feet and head are killing you for the constant waiting on hand and foot, all the while working your regular job and trying to run your household. The stress is breaking you.
It gets to a point, that he is so sick, even he has to admit it. He admits it, but does not seek help, choosing instead to wait and see if things subside. You are a party to all of that because, well, you live together and you are taking care of his every need. Anticipating things that might go wrong and trying to veer things onto an even course, which he doesn’t let you do, because control is always his, even in this.
He has so many physical symptoms, and they’re getting so much worse, that you start waking up at night to make sure he’s still breathing. Your mind turns over and over, with the thought that he is getting ready to die, and probably will, in your bed. With the certainty that what is going on could kill him, you tiptoe around on eggshells, but you are never allowed to say what you are thinking, because you don’t poke spears at a sleeping lion.
The day comes, when you realize you have memorized his entire (quite lengthy and involved) medication schedule, because you know you will eventually break him into going to the ER. And you know that he will not know these things, along with the fact that he might not physically be able to do so, due to severe pain or shortness of breath or general malaise.
You take charge and you make sure the nurses have the right information, the information that will get him admitted, because that’s where he needs to be. Of course, blood tests and chest X-trays and CT’s are ordered, because it is very clear, even to your partner, that at this point, there is a very serious problem.
He tells you that he should have gone to the doctor “a week ago.” It is not in your best interest to point out that you have been suggesting such for the past three. In fact, it is not in your best interest to do much of anything while waiting for tests to come back. Including going out to smoke a cigarette, because, well, you know, HE can’t, so why should YOU?
He asks you to go dig for change in your car so he can have a Pepsi, although the closest vending machine is worlds away through a complicated maze of the hospital’s basement floor. He doesn’t take no for an answer, and when you bring him one from a convenience store, because that was, well, more convenient, he is enraged.
It is not his money, but he cares how you spend it. In trying to explain that you perhaps spent 20 cents more, he yells at you. For no reason. And mutters to himself, “I should have just taken care of this shit myself. I should never let you do ANYTHING.”
While you try and tell yourself that he is in pain, and that things will be better soon, you are faced with an awful truth. This is round six in the ER in the past two years, and things are the same as they always have been. In fact, it’s round two in the past month. You start to realize that this is not going to get better.
Of course, they admit him, mostly because you have provided a wealth of information, and then the hospital stay starts. You shouldn’t smoke while he’s in the hospital, because he can’t. You shouldn’t eat fast food or do anything “fun” while he’s in the hospital, because he can’t. You dutifully bring him requested items once, twice, sometimes three times a day. He is miserable and in pain, he can’t breathe, there is always something and he takes it out on you.
They are ready to discharge him, for the sixth time. You know he will be coming home to a fairly clean house, because you begged your mother to come help with the mess. When he arrives, he is critical of how things look, and especially how things smell. You think it smells clean, and he accuses you of using chemicals to poison him.
You realize, with this sixth hospital admission, that something inside of you broke a little bit. You realize that you aren’t sure how much longer you can hold on. You continue to wait on him hand and foot, but you don’t care as much. You continue to listen to the ranting and raving when you want to go do something, and still, you’re not able to break free.
And then on the 30th, he’ll tell you about all the plans he has for his money, and none of it include anything for you, including groceries. Another month in a two year relationship rolls by, in which, you’ve had help with groceries a handful of times.
And then a fight starts. He screams at you and tells you that you are the most self-centered person he has ever met in his life. He tells you that your family treats him like dog shit on their shoe and that they are trying to ruin your life. He tells you that he could have made it through all of that, without your help.
A few more angry words, more yelling on his side. You ask him, if you really feel that way, why are you still here? He says, fine, then I’ll go. And you scream at him, “please motherfucking do!” and cuss and yell your way out of the house, leaving behind two dogs who are used to the drama, so you can go to your mom’s and get away for awhile.
While at your mom’s, you text him to please plan on sleeping on the couch, and all items need to be removed and him gone by the end of the next day.
Best text message ever sent.