Dear Amy: I suffered an injury that caused internal bleeding. This gave me severe anemia, which I was unaware I had.
I was unknowingly battling its symptoms of depression and anxiety before being diagnosed.
I had no idea what was happening to me. I had no mental health struggles my whole life (I’m 45) until this medical condition changed my behavior considerably.
My wife of almost 20 years left me before I was diagnosed.
After diagnosis, doctors were able to stop the blood loss. The anemia and its symptoms went away, and I returned to my normal self.
I was sure my wife would reconcile with our family after my diagnosis, but instead she said I was using the illness as an excuse for my behavior. She does not understand it was the cause.
She doesn’t understand these symptoms went away once the illness was successfully treated, and believes I am permanently mentally ill.
She believes the illness brought out my true personality, when that is not true at all. What happened was a complete accident.
My wife and family are my whole life. I never would have gotten this medical condition on purpose.
We have a 4-year-old daughter who I am a great father to.
My wife is throwing away our family and is trying to take me away from our daughter because I had a curable illness, which I no longer have.
How can I save my family from this tragedy?
– Heartbroken Husband
Dear Heartbroken: I understand that depression and anxiety are possible side effects of anemia, but you don’t note precisely what considerable changes in your behavior emerged during your illness. If this change in your behavior had a significant and direct impact on your wife and child, then it is important for you to acknowledge and own any specific episodes that might have been alarming or harmful to them.
This falls under the “sickness and health” portion of the marriage contract, and your wife obviously does not have the fortitude to stick it out.
You should find a couples therapist as soon as possible, in order to discuss this in a calm and controlled environment, with someone who could help you two to communicate your concerns.
Sadly, people leave marriages for all sorts of reasons – and sometimes for seemingly no reason at all, despite the life-altering disruption to the lives of children.
Once a spouse has decided to leave, there is not always a clear path toward saving a marriage, and if your marriage is ending, therapy (and the advice of a good attorney) could further help you to accept this, and to clarify your own choices moving forward.
Dear Amy: My husband and I have a friend in her early 70s whose husband is in his early 80s.
He has dementia and will need a care facility soon. He knows that.
She wants to stay in their home after he moves, but we believe this would be a mistake.
Should we share with her other options?
How should we proceed?
Dear Concerned: You don’t note why you think it would be a mistake for your friend to stay in her home after her husband moves, but – if she is healthy, a person in her early 70′s likely can enjoy many years of independent living before making her own move.
In my opinion, staying in her home could be the very best thing for her to do – for now. If her husband moves, being in her home during the period of his decline could provide the sense of stability she needs.
If she asks for assistance or advice to review her housing options, you could be very helpful by researching local places and offering to tour them with her. Even if she decides not to move right away, being aware of her options will help her to make the decision later.
Dear Amy: Your response to “Nervous Newlywed” who was welcoming her bickering parents to her first Thanksgiving in their new home contained some good suggestions, including that each person should make a “toast” about what they were most thankful for.
When I was hosting one Thanksgiving feast, my mother decided to have everyone around the table take a letter from T-H-A-N-K-S-G-I-V-I-N-G and say what they were thankful for.
My elderly father got the ‘S’ and he could think of no word other than ‘sex’ so he said it; Mother was horrified and never made that suggestion again!
– Still Thankful
Dear Thankful: I may be feasting on your anecdote this year. Thank you!