ShakeyJerr

What Do You Do When They Don't Understand?

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What do you do when the people closest to you don't understand what you are going through? Or how the things they ask of you affect you?

 

My wife fluctuates between being totally loving and supportive, to just not understanding what I am dealing with at all.

 

For instance, she just texted me now (I'm at work, which is a whole level of suffering during withdrawal all its own, as most of you know). She wants me to stop on my way home at her sister's house to pick up some leftovers.

 

But my commute - which is long and can have heavy traffic if I don;t time it perfectly - is one of my key stress triggers. So making a variation in it is filling me with dread. My heart is starting to race! Also, what if her sister wants to engage in conversation? Conversation is another stress trigger for me! And after I disappear only 2 hours into the family Easter party (due to huge anxiety), she's probably full of questions (we haven't really told her what's going on).

 

I don't get it. One minute, my wife is the most sympathetic person in the world, but then she gets tunnel vision and thinks I should just deal.

 

I can't say no to getting the food, because that could trigger an argument - talk about stress then!

 

So what do you guys do when you are faced with people not understanding what you are going through? Is there a video we can show them?

 

SJ

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Disclaimer: writing this from a window.

 

Wow. It's funny, I came here from your post in the neuro-emotions thread and I thought, just before coming here, "hmm, what kind of relationship difficulties..." I get here and I can relate to it so much!

 

"I don't get it. One minute, my wife is the most sympathetic person in the world, but then she gets tunnel vision and thinks I should just deal."

OMG. If I could high five over bad news, it would be this. My girlfriend is very supportive most of the time but yes, some days it feels like I'm expected to 'just deal'. On those days I feel like I have to muster up what little energy I have to explain, again, that SSRI withdrawal is real (and I provide links to scientific studies with conclusive evidence), that I am experiencing it, and that yes the symptoms are as bad as they are described at the aforementioned links. Doing so makes me feel like I'm part of some cult with pseudoscientific beliefs, and that I'm trying to convert everyone around me into believing it!

 

I've given up trying to convince doubters though, or even the occasional doubter. I just iterate that the evidence is out there, I can signpost you there if necessary and then get on with my coping regimen! I think most people here have come to the realization that unless someone is experiencing or has experienced SSRI withdrawal, then they are unlikely to ever understand waves, how long they can last, and how unpredictable they are. What makes me feel better is acceptance. That is accepting that my expectations are now low, this is a journey I must complete alone, and that at the end of it, I will be a better person and will have a profound insight into people's true colors. 

 

When my waves are bad, I think it is reasonable for me to draw a line and say 'sorry, I just cannot do that'. At the beginning this included some very basic tasks. When there are stressful consequences to me saying 'no' then I try to remove that stressor. When the stressor is your partner? Damn, I am still working that one out. The last 24 hours have been tough for me but luckily it was all in a window. I think things are resolved now but like you, it was about me taking on a few more responsibilities that I felt I couldn't handle. 

 

I compromised and things are okay again. I hope that I can milk a few more months of peace out of this compromise though but it lately it seems that as I make progress through withdrawal people become less patient with me. 

 

For what it's worth: you are working a job and being productive, that's a miracle for someone in withdrawal from my perspective! That makes you borderline superhuman, so it should be good enough for those closest to you. 

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I can completely relate with what you wrote, KG. The people closest to us are that close because they trust we will be their to help me their needs, as well as them wanting to meet our needs. But sometimes people get blinded by their needs. Sounds like we just both had that happen. We just have to remember that even though we are the one's directly suffering under the yoke of withdrawal, they too are suffering. And when a person suffers, they can sometimes be temporarily blinded. We just need to be patient with them and with ourselves. Love does win, even if it takes time or needs a gentle reminder.

 

As for being a superhero - well, I suppose so. I want to be humble, though - any strength given to me to even get out of bed these days is a gift straight from God!

 

SJ

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You're right. I think it's only fair to say that waves, windows, and the whole withdrawal experience is extremely difficult for us to understand, let alone someone who isn't going through it. Your post made me reflect on what I wrote about acceptance and I now realize that I should extend my acceptance to include the fact that people close to us will sometimes forget or not understand aspects of our withdrawal, and then become impatient. It's an additional burden but it is probably necessary in order for us to get through this more peacefully! Your latest post seems like you're feeling better about this difficult aspect of withdrawal, so I'm glad if that's the case! It was good to talk this through with you. 

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You're right. I think it's only fair to say that waves, windows, and the whole withdrawal experience is extremely difficult for us to understand, let alone someone who isn't going through it. Your post made me reflect on what I wrote about acceptance and I now realize that I should extend my acceptance to include the fact that people close to us will sometimes forget or not understand aspects of our withdrawal, and then become impatient. It's an additional burden but it is probably necessary in order for us to get through this more peacefully! Your latest post seems like you're feeling better about this difficult aspect of withdrawal, so I'm glad if that's the case! It was good to talk this through with you. 

 

Things are better - to a point. When I am in the midst of a bad wave - like I am right now (the anxiety got so high, I almost went to the ER {but then again, what would they do for me there?}, but it has backed down some) - my wife is very loving and concerned.

 

But when I am not in a big wave, she forgets that we have to be careful not to trigger one. Then she'll ask things of me and I have to explain what I am going through again, and she gets disappointed and upset and frustrated.

 

But she is sacrificing so much right now because of my withdrawal - plus carrying the financial burden by working a hard job that she hates and has health concerns of her own. I owe her everything for her love and kindness.

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