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Carer education & support is not just needed for parents & grandparents...

It's also needed for some spouses too.

There is not enough discussion about what happens when the role between Spouse and Carer becomes blurred.

It's one of the reasons we deliver Carer education and support in all sorts of forms, including fishing, SUPing and canoeing. As a society, we are not taught to prioritise our own needs when our spouse is having challenges.

There are no conversations happening about what it's like to be the person silently counting how many tablets they are taking while washing it down with wine, knowing that you will be calling in sick for them in the morning and how to mentally prepare yourself for that.

There are no conversations about the PTSD you accrue from constantly being on alert that this might be the night they try to harm themselves again, looking at their actions, words and lead-up that gives the signs away and how to manage your nervous system with that.

There are no conversations about the guilt you feel if you were to ask yourself if this is what you really wanted in a relationship, and reflecting on how much of an asshole you must be to even think of yourself when they are the ones that are struggling.

There are no conversations about the trauma you experience when taking your kids to see their other parent in mental health facilities for long periods of time and then continuing over the years, seeing them stumbling around totally "out of it".

There are no conversations about walking on eggshells for years trying not to upset them or set them off as you know they can't help it. How you spend your whole time protecting them so that no-one else knows, and how lonely that journey actually feels.

There are no conversations about how you have to settle for how you are treated by them because they can't help it, so you just drink another drink and settle for the fact that you are a 'man' or 'woman' and you are not entitled to having relationship standards as they are not well.

There are no conversations about how to not feel resentful when you have to set an alarm at night to wake up at a time that you know you will need to go look for them, only to be met with hostility that you were ruining their fun.

There are no conversations about how you don't dare think about it the next day, totally paralysed with fear about what you would choose if you actually had a choice, and how you push it deep, deep down under a lot of alcohol and a lot of other unhealthy coping mechanisms to just get through, keep going, don't look back.

There are no conversations about the sabotage you do when you do have opportunities for bettering yourself, how it becomes so entrenched that your role is to go without. That is how you are conditioned to love someone.

But there probably should be conversations about what it's like to be that spouse who does what they do because they love their partner... and who also makes some pretty big sacrifices for themselves in the process.

If you can relate to any of this, whether it's something you are going through now or trauma you experienced like this in the past, please take the steps NOW for your own recovery. It is ok for you to live a happy and healthy life in your own right even though it feels wrong when your spouse is struggling.

Actually, it's not only ok, it's imperative.

- Rob x

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