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Finding a philosophy to help one cope

(23 Posts)
Nanamar Wed 19-Aug-20 18:08:50

I have been seeing a psychiatrist and been on an antidepressant since February due to many current stressors in my life; DH has Stage 4 lung cancer and congestive heart failure and is in a lot of pain, has been in treatment to which he has not been responding all that well; DS has lost his job due to the pandemic and divorced his wife (amicably) and moved back in with us; DGS and his mum live a mile away so I have some childcare responsibility, etc. My husband spends almost the entire day sleeping due to both medications and his conditions. So my life is like being alone, because I have to do everything related to household and medical things, but still having the responsibility for another person’s well-being in terms of monitoring medications, etc. We are all realists here and recognize the probable eventual outcome of his disease - just don’t know when, of course. I am not religious or even very spiritual but my psychiatrist has encouraged me to “find a philosophy” that will be the thing that will help me cope going forward and with the current and future events that await us. I’d be grateful for any suggestions on how you have formulated belief systems and coping skills when going through difficult times and not having any particular religious faith.

SueDonim Wed 19-Aug-20 18:13:07

I’m not at all religious so can’t help there, but it sounds to me as though you need someone to offload onto. That’s a heavy load you’re carrying and sharing it might make things seem a bit brighter. flowers

tanith Wed 19-Aug-20 18:52:09

I’m very sorry to hear what you going through, I relied heavily on Marie Curie for support both medical and emotional their hospice team were there at the end of the phone and when I was flagging under the strain their nurses took a lot of the strain from me. Their night care nurses were particularly helpful they kept DH comfortable and cared for while I was able to get some sleep. They were wonderful and I could not of gotten through it without them I’m sure.

I hope you manage to find some philosophy’ to help you through flowers

boheminan Wed 19-Aug-20 19:06:26

I'm not religious either and believe (like SueDonim) just being able to talk to someone about your feelings is invaluable.

My partner has cancer and over time, when it's all got too much to cope with (for both of us) I've found the Macmillan nursing site have been so helpful. There's a private place on the site especially for carers. It's a good, safe place for letting off steam, screaming - and basking in the 'good days' too! - with others who are in the same place as you.

They're open 24/7 for a chat, well worth visiting. I'm so pleased I joined and feel the benefits of giving and taking support are immense.

Not a philosophy as such but refuge in a time of crisisflowers

Alexa Wed 19-Aug-20 21:19:52

“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca

Eloethan Wed 19-Aug-20 23:02:18

Well, I'm not sure if it will help you cope with life better, but I think the following is worth thinking about:

Jiddu Krishnamurti

“When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.”

(Interestingly, he seems to be practising a similar type of separation himself when he refers to "he" "man" and "mankind" but I guess everybody is, often subconsciously, influenced by social norms and constraints)

JuneRose Wed 19-Aug-20 23:10:23

This too will pass. You will survive this time and you will take comfort that you have done your very best in such a tough situation. Don't know if that's a philosophy but it's helped me at times.

Pantglas2 Thu 20-Aug-20 06:14:19

I find the serenity prayer helpful in most situations.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

mumofmadboys Thu 20-Aug-20 06:43:27

I am sorry life is hard for you at the moment Nanamar and not likely to get easier for a while. You are unlikely to have happy or joyous days at present but you can enjoy special moments. Try and take pleasure in the simple things of life eg looking closely st a beautiful flower, soaking in a bubble bath, a fun time with your grandchild, an affectionate moment with your DH, something nice to eat. I agree the Macmillan nurses would be a great support. Have you a close friend who you can unburden to? I wish you courage and strength for the journey ahead x

Esspee Thu 20-Aug-20 07:12:50

Nanamar my thoughts are with you. So many of us on Gransnet are in, or have been through the nightmare you are experiencing. Please know that you will one day look back on it without the extreme pain you are currently experiencing.

I am not sure your doctor’s suggestion that you formulate a belief system is at all helpful. I know that I had neither the time nor the inclination to be personally self absorbed at that point in my life.

I coped by completely devoting myself to ensuring my husband had the best quality of life in the time we had left. Everything else simply faded into the distance.

You have your son with you. This will allow you some freedom to take a break for the sake of your own health. Get out into nature, make sure you have enough sleep and eat regularly.

You will get through this. Just hang on in there. 💐

GrandmaMoira Thu 20-Aug-20 10:49:31

I don't have any answers about a philosophy but I have been in your position of nursing a sick husband. My step daughter helped quite a lot practically which made a difference. Can your son do shopping and cleaning to take some load off you? My GP said battle on! Best wishes.

Peardrop50 Thu 20-Aug-20 11:12:18

flowers Sorry, I don't have personal experience but hope that knowing lots of gransnetters care will give you some comfort.

GrannySomerset Thu 20-Aug-20 11:17:37

Not in quite so extreme a situation as you yet, though will probably be in months/years to come. I take some comfort from the thought that nothing - good or bad - lasts and try to find small joys to offset the frustrations and furies of the worst days. At least there is support for cancer sufferers - nothing like that for Parkinson’s victims.

loopyloo Thu 20-Aug-20 11:46:34

I feel for you . You have so much to contend with. Do seek as much help as possible,. Marie Curie or the local hospice. Perhaps your husband could go for a couple of weeks respite.
I find it helps to write out the problems and possible solutions. Do you have a friend so you could go out one evening a week for a break? Or something like a swim, a real bit of "me" time.
As for a philosophy.... Take a day at a time. This too will pass . Dig deep. Just try to survive!.

Luckygirl Thu 20-Aug-20 11:49:48

I am sorry that life is currently so difficult for you.

The philosophy (or thought) that has helped me is the idea that we are all in the same boat - all of us, all around the world, rich or poor. That people get sick, and people die (as did my OH in February) and that it is all part of the natural order. And we need to try and accept that, as no amount of fighting will change it.

Bizarrely I do find that a comforting thought. There is so much about the human condition that is difficult/sad/unfair - but we are all in this together, and the fact that our modern health systems and science shelter us from all this to some degree, masks that fundamental reality.

I know how hard it is to see a loved one suffer; and send you lots of love and good wishes; and strength to carry on.

Greeneyedgirl Thu 20-Aug-20 13:47:39

What a challenging time you are having Nanamar and I also send and love and kind wishes at this difficult time. Life can be so tough, but I take comfort in the fact that it is transient and everything both good and bad does pass. I agree we humans are indeed all in it together. We are born, we live, we die as Luckygirl says, it’s part of the natural order.
I try and live in the present moment, and take joy in the smallest of things. It can be hard to see those we love suffer, and it’s important to have some support when we need it. I belong to a humanist group, and if you are not religious you may want to check out the website, and you may have a local group if you are interested in chatting things

AGAA4 Thu 20-Aug-20 17:08:43

Nanamar I am so sorry you are going through this very difficult time. I have been through this and come out the other side. I thought about all the good times in our life together and had to accept that this was ending.
Acceptance does help but talk to others about how you feel.

Illte Thu 20-Aug-20 20:51:25

It wasn't a philosophy but when I felt overwhelmed I used to think "Other people have done this, so it must be possible."
I borrowed my mantra from Rose Kennedy who after the death of three of her sons said, "I will not be vanquished!"

Pantglas2 Thu 20-Aug-20 20:56:24

So many wise words following mine x

Jaffacake2 Thu 20-Aug-20 21:12:41

When life has been unbearable with the pain of watching my beloved brother die of brain cancer at a young age, the only thought to keep me going was " breathe in breathe out " . At the time that's all I thought and that life will continue. It will be different and the loss will always be there, but life will not stop. The sun will rise and set,the tides will come in and out and stars will shine at night. Life carried on regardless.
Sounds a strange philosophy but if you have no other expectations of yourself at this difficult time other than breathing,you will survive.
Thoughts are with you.

Greeneyedgirl Thu 20-Aug-20 21:16:59

I think that is a very good philosophy Jaffacake2, just being aware of the breath, and even slowly counting it, can be a real refuge at difficult and upsetting times.

Nanamar Fri 21-Aug-20 00:34:36

Thank you all for your comforting and wise words. I find great joy, of course, in my DGS whom I’m blessed to see almost everyday. I am a big believer in putting one foot in front of the other and I know I will survive since others have been through similar challenges and done so. I think the acceptance that this is the way my life is now and that the best I can do is make the best of it as much as possible is what I am formulating as my “philosophy” and am hoping that stays with me for whatever the rest of my life may bring. DH’s illness and DS’s issues are difficult to accept because my nature is to fight to make things better and sometimes that borders on trying to control everything- which of course I can’t!

fevertree Fri 21-Aug-20 08:29:46

Nanamar I think you have hit the nail on the head - we cannot "fix" everything and that brings us back to acceptance. We have to live life on life's terms.

There is nothing wrong (in my view) - for people who are not religious - to say a prayer to "a Higher Power" or "the God of my understanding" or even "the Universe". I pray at times to all of the above because I find it calming and it makes me feel better. Is that a philosophy? Who knows.

thanks for you, sorry that you are having such a sad time.