- Question from LeraNY: It is very difficult for me to stay home all the time as my job is very demanding and I need to travel like 50% of the time. How can I deal with my feelings of guilt, knowing my wife is not well and sometimes very depressed? We hired home help but that does not seem to solve all the problems around the house that only I can fix. How do I schedule the priorities?
- Answers - Marc Silver Can you ask your boss to adjust your schedule during this time?
Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W.
This is a very difficult conflict. An open discussion with your wife that talks about your conflicts, the demands on your time, and your feelings of guilt may help clear the air.
There is something dangerous in believing that there are things around the house that only you can fix. That's much too great a burden for any one person to carry. Are there other friends, neighbors, or relatives who could pitch in during difficult times? You might want to discuss with your wife what you described in your question. Would she be willing to discuss this with her physician? There are also wonderful medications that help people with depression. Dealing with major illness is very difficult and the use of medications is extremely helpful for many people.
It may also be helpful for your wife to meet with other women in her situation and learn how they've coped with the illness. It may also be helpful for you to see if you can find other people to talk to. There's truly no easy answer to this. You need to maintain your work, to pay the bills while you feel you're responsible for your wife. If there's a possibility of maintaining your work with less travel, that may be something you should look in to. But speaking to your wife's physician about more support for you and your wife is something that you ought to consider.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Partners, Loved Ones, Caregivers: Taking Care of You featured Author Marc Silver and moderator Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W. answering your questions about how you can take care of your loved one and yourself during and after breast cancer treatment.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in February 2007.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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