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Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

Old May 19th 2019, 12:23 am
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Unhappy Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

I don't know what this post is supposed to be. Just getting things off my chest? Hoping for (undeserved) sympathy? Requests for practical advice. Dunno. All. None. Shared experiences? I need to write it though... I know it is going to sound pathetic to say "I have no friends" but I basically don't. Never made the effort. Just content to be a family man. I do 'know' people, of course, nice people, but someone I know well enough to feel comfortable offloading to? Not really. So what else does one do, but turn to a forum of hundreds of strangers!!

Situation: I'm a 47yo permanent resident, Aussie wife, two kids (7 & 3). The wife wants to separate

It's really my own fault. I've been suffering from depression for a long time. But, instead of seeking help, I drank, on and off. There was an incident last year - I drank a bottle of whiskey over night, then fell and smashed my head through a wall. Wife wanted me out - she thought I'd smashed the wall on purpose in some drunken rage. She even called the police just in case. I had absolutely NO memory of falling. The first I knew was two paramedics saying I was bleeding a lot form my head and I really needed to go with them. I initially refused - I had no clue what I'd done, felt no pain, nothing. The police said "we suggest you walk, or we'll carry you". I chose to walk to the ambulance, then saw myself in the mirror... not pretty. I'm extremely non-violent, an excellent dad, no risk to my kids. Short story shorter, we got couples counselling, worked things through. I stayed. I stopped abusing myself. We were fine. That was that.

Last week or two, feeling low, I did more stupid things. I'd have a glass of wine before the school run to make me feel that bit happier. I'm confident I was never over the limit. Police and RBTs here are hot. I'm dumb, but not stupid. But still, it apparently got noticed by people (a non-drinker nose can smell even just one glass on someone's breath). After getting home I'd maybe drink some more, knowing I'd no need to drive again. As my wife told me Thursday, if that was just it, we may have had a way out .. but I was hiding the bottles, getting them out into the recycling just before the garbage trucks arrived.

Wife - not happy to say the least... and she wants we no more.

Can we blame her? Not really. I understand her position completely. My kids were never at risk in the car - I'M SURE OF THAT - but should I have been drinking while looking after two active boys before she got home ... no. I shouldn't. I know that. Last weekend I told myself "this is stupid, you HAVE to stop". For two days I did. Of course, mid week I hit BWS for "just one more bottle". That was my undoing. And I got caught being sneeky.

What. A. ******g. Idiot.

I saw a counsellor on Friday. Felt good to get things off my chest. Is there a way back with my wife? I think maybe, in time. Counsellor says maybe, in time. Wife right now says you gotta be kidding! We've been married 10 years. I know her inside out. I know she's mad. I know she's serious about wanting me out, so I know that if there EVER is going to be a way back in, I have to leave first. She says I can see the boys, no problem. But not having them 7am-8pm every day ... the kid groups, swims, music groups, etc... I am (I was) a full time dad ... this is killing me. Absolutely killing me.

So, being a full time dad, here's the major practical problem. I have no money. I have no job. I own half this house, and wife says she'll give me my half, but I can't and won't burden her financially like that. My family is 10,000 miles away. I have nowhere to go. "Get a job" said the wife. "She's right!" said the counsellor. "It'll do you good. Full time dad-hood had run its course, to be honest".

But, no money+no job = nobody will let me rent. Full time dad for 7 years - previously I was in IT - IT qualifications (MCSE from 2000) are worthless. What AM I going to do?

Dear reader, if you have got this far thank you ... I don't know what I'm expecting from you good people. Free money and a place to live close to my boys would be a good start (with fast internet, of course). But I'm only a permanent resident, not a citizen. I'm entitled to nothing from the government. I think my wife understands this, which is why she hasn't literally kicked me out (bed=the sofa now). Practical advice would certainly be welcome. I'm too messed up right now to look at options objectively, but I know I need them.

I'm so pi55ed off, angry with myself. All those times my wife asked "are you ok" and I said "fine". She meant "are you REALLY ok". If only I'd talked. Even with all the stigma being lifted around mental health in recent years, I'm that generation where it is still a difficult thing to deal with. I didn't want to burden my wife's busy life with my depression (school music teacher - lots of after-school activities, lots of evenings out, etc = lots of opportunity for me to drown my self-pity. No, it's not really self pity, I have identifiable issues, but what I should have done was seek help, not drink). I should have talked to her. She told me to. On a scale of 1-10, how much of an idiot am I. 1000, that's what.

At least there is one plus side for her. That awful coffee table I brought from England that she absolutely HATES will be out of her sight... I just hope she learns to not absolutely hate me ....

Bye for now. I'm off for a drink ... but TEA this time.
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Old May 19th 2019, 1:19 am
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Default Re: Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

I think it's safe to say that you're not having the best day you've ever had. Really sorry to hear about your troubles. The first thing I want to say is please try to stop beating yourself up, you obviously have a very good awareness of where things have gone wrong, you've faced up to that and what's done is done.

Income support - I think you've been a permanent resident for more than 4 years now? If so you most certainly can access all income support payments and other assistance, the only exceptions being the Age Pension and the Disability Support Pension, both of which have a 10 year wait period.

There is Newstart Allowance which you could receive while looking for work. It's not a lot, around $555 per fortnight, but it's something. There are also various training and 'work ready' programs available to people receiving Newstart https://www.humanservices.gov.au/ind...tart-allowance

Rental assistance - you would likely also be eligible for this payment, how much you get depends on how much rent you pay. You're right when you say it will be difficult for you to rent until you find employment, but keep your eye out for accommodation designed for one occupant, such as studio flats - not everyone who rents has a job. A 'room for rent' would probably be an easier initial option for you - rent assistance is also paid for people who are lodgers. https://www.humanservices.gov.au/ind...-payment-rates

Low income health care card - for bulk billed GP appointments (if available at your GP), and much cheaper prescriptions. https://www.humanservices.gov.au/ind...alth-care-card

Looking after yourself - you seem to have this sorted and it's great that you're getting some counselling. Just a few thoughts. If you haven't done so already, see your GP to get some treatment for your depression. Depression is a horrible condition that is the absolute enemy of motivation, energy and reason, as well as happiness! Your GP will also be able to offer some resources to help with the alcohol thing. You don't have to be drinking every day or even once a month to have a problem with alcohol, it's such a tempting crutch when you're feeling shithouse. Trouble is, like most crutches, when it's taken away you fall over and end up in a worse place than before.

It's great that you at least can stay in the house until you find somewhere to live. Your kids will be fine as long as you and your wife keep what you tell them consistent and make sure the kids know it's not about them (ie not their fault). Steer a slow and steady course, you don't need to (and can't) resolve everything at once.
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Old May 19th 2019, 1:44 am
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Default Re: Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

Thank you spouse of scouse.

I really appreciate the pat on the back, but more so the good advice. I had no idea I was entitled to anything.

I've been here since September 2012, was granted permanent residency November 2012, so yes been here well over four years and I'm encouraged that there may be help available for me. I just remembered when I was granted my visa being told I either had to be (a) fully supported by family, not a burden on the state in any way, or (b) need a job. Plan A was actually (b) when we first got here, but I had trouble finding work (we lived in Orange NSW at the time), so we decided to make me daddy daycare, and so we went to Plan B which was (a). Makes sense, right ...?

Actually had a surprising brief chat with the wife this morning. I expected her to either call her mum down from Griffith to take over from me, or put master 3yo into daycare while master 7yo was in school. The good news, whilst two days ago there was no trust whatsoever, she does trust me to carry on caring for them. That is such a relief. I know it is not going to be permanent or long term, but at least I have a little time on my side now.

BIG thank you for taking the time to read & help.
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Old May 19th 2019, 4:25 am
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Default Re: Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

So sorry to hear that your world has gone pear shaped and can only second SoS' excellent advice. Do look after yourself and deal with the depression and you're already on the right track to start doing that and your GP should definitely be able to help. You could consider AA for support too - in your mind you're probably not "one of them" but, in reality, your relationship with the demon drink - for whatever reason - has led you to this spot and affected your life very negatively. AA may hold the key to helping you cope with it and also help you negotiate the support structures that are out there.

On the other pragmatic side, you've done your time, you can become a citizen and it might make you marginally more marketable in the workforce for when the day comes that you have to find a job. It also ensures your right to any and all support that is going.

Good Luck!
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Old May 19th 2019, 4:28 am
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Default Re: Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

Posting on here is a very good start on your road to recovery. You have to talk to someone and ask for help.

Go to centrelink, tell them exactly what you told us and ask what support might be available should you need it. I recently did a Traffic controller course which I paid for. There were a couple of chaps (I was about to say older chaps but they were younger than me!) who had been sent on the course by centrelink for free. All the protective clothing was paid for, the lot. They walked into a job for free. All sorts of help will be offered to someone who asks for it.

Go to see your GP. Tell her/him exactly what you told us and ask what support might be available should you need it.

Find your local AA group - tell them exactly what you told us... etc.

Going in the the attitude that you have shown us in your post and all sorts of opportunities will open up for you. People will love to help you and will welcome you with open arms.

Your biggest problems were when you were relying on 'you' to give yourself advice - you need to rely on professionals now who, if you follow their advice, will set you on the road to recovery.

Tell your wife what you're doing. When she sees you doing the right thing then your relationship has a very good chance of survival.

Keep asking for help. Stop relying on yourself for advice until you're over this. Stay strong!
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Old May 19th 2019, 5:07 am
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Default Re: Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

Thank you quoll and SoCalDon.

AA is not a bad suggestion at all. I have considered it. I just have reservations about that group - I've read things, seen snips on documentaries, that they tend to get a bit too forceful with the God stuff. No offence to any of the faithful out there, but that's not for. As an atheist, I'd get to the step and probably get discouraged, tell them "are you having a laugh", and ditch it. That said, I know there are alternatives out there. I plan on chatting this over with my counsellor on Friday.

All, again, much appreciated (going for an ironic emoji joke there...)
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Old May 19th 2019, 6:00 am
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Default Re: Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

Originally Posted by Lucas_Dad View Post
Thank you quoll and SoCalDon.

AA is not a bad suggestion at all. I have considered it. I just have reservations about that group - I've read things, seen snips on documentaries, that they tend to get a bit too forceful with the God stuff. No offence to any of the faithful out there, but that's not for. As an atheist, I'd get to the step and probably get discouraged, tell them "are you having a laugh", and ditch it. That said, I know there are alternatives out there. I plan on chatting this over with my counsellor on Friday.
Recovering from your situation is not going to be easy but you need to be strong enough to overcome preconceived ideas. I guarantee that AA groups are NOT full of god botherers and, the best way is to swallow your pride and go along anyway. They might be just the thing that you need at this time. You may well find the friends that are missing from your life. If you're serious about getting your life back on track you're going to have to make some changes.

If I went along and they said a little prayer for me then yes, I would not go back as I'm an atheist too. However, I would never consider not going to seek help just in case. Turning away support because you don't fancy it is not going to help your recovery.

Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh - it comes from the heart though.

Stay strong and you will get through this.
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Old May 19th 2019, 7:00 am
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Default Re: Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

I'm not going to be much help on the practical side (except to say that many gps will take depression seriously and will put you on a care plan, so you're bulk billed etc... please do go and see one) but just talking about this all is the first step on a long road.

I hope you get the help you need, and, even if a way back isn't possible with your wife, that you manage to come to some kind of beneficial compromise.

Good luck with it all - and well done on crying out for help, no matter what lead to it - that can be the most difficult part.
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Old May 19th 2019, 8:28 am
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Default Re: Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

I'm really glad you reached out. Even though we may not "know" you (as in-person know), this forum is a great place for support and we're here to listen (read) any time you feel the need to vent.

You've been given some wonderful advice re AA. I know the religious aspect may not be your thing, but if you can look past that bit I really think it may help. When my son died I found a suicide grief group through The Samaritans. Even though there was a prayer at the beginning of the weekly group I just chose not to participate in that bit. And when they said a prayer for me and my son I chose instead of dismissing it to being thankful that others who know my pain and distress were caring enough to share their faith. Prayer may not be my thing, but to me it was a show of compassion and caring. And it only took 1 minute out of the 2 hour meetings, so not that onerous really. Faith doesn't always have to mean religion - it could be simply learning to have faith in yourself.

On a practical note, as a PR you are entitled to pretty much all the same programs as a citizen. You can get Centrelink and New Start, etc. To get yourself sorted in a practical way I would suggest you pop into your local Centrelink office and speak to them. I'm sorry about your marriage and your struggle with alcohol. No matter what happens you can be proud that you're committed to making the changes necessary to be a healthier, happier person for your kids and yourself.
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Old May 19th 2019, 11:35 am
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Default Re: Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

Thank you Dreamy and Dorothy. Counsellor basically said he's dealt with loads of this. Unfortunately he said women's situations are always easier to deal with than men's ... great!! ... but no reason to think there isn't light at the end of the tunnel.

The odd thing with the alcohol is it hasn't felt like a struggle. As I sit here right now enjoying my millionth cup of Extra Strong PG Tips I don't miss it one bit. I have other periods of not drinking quite happily. Happily had periods of just one beer each on Fri, Sat, Sun evenings, just enjoyed it. But when I look back at the times I've used it to 'medicate' rather than something to enjoy ... yeah, not so healthy after all perhaps...

Cheers. So many kind people on here. Really did expect a slap around the head or two. It would have been deserved!

Last edited by Lucas_Dad; May 19th 2019 at 11:37 am.
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Old May 19th 2019, 12:28 pm
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Default Re: Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

Oh don't worry, there's bound to be the odd one or two or aren't adverse to giving you a slap I think you've given yourself enough slaps though, it's all about the future now. Your wife sounds lovely, she obviously knows you better than anyone and for her to trust you to not drink while looking after the kids is a very good sign for repairing your relationship at some point.

I'm really glad that all these lovely BE members have responded to you and been so helpful and understanding. We've probably all had dark times in our lives and giving a bit of support to others when they need it seems a natural thing to do.

We're all human, we all make mistakes and do things we regret later. You've already taken some big steps towards being the person that you don't feel needs a slap around the head As I said before, slow and steady, get support in the areas you need it, and you'll get yourself happy and enjoying life again. Cheers to your and your cuppa, from me and my coffee
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Old May 19th 2019, 9:50 pm
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Default Re: Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

HI Lucas_Dad, no slap from me either but a request to please go to an AA meeting. I once took (supported) a friend to one - I also had concerns about the "higher power" malarkey but was pleasantly surprised. I'm also an atheist. The "higher power" can be whatever you want it to be, but the support my friend received from a bunch of strangers was beautiful to see.

Just because you feel you don't need it right now, doesn't mean you don't.

I'd also suggest you get out there and meet people. Find a Men's Shed, get busy and creative. Do some voluntary work. Network - IME that's how you find jobs in Oz. And be more than "Lucas_Dad" and a house husband - get YOU back. Can you fix your relationship? I don't know, but firstly you need to fix you.

Love and strength from somebody who has also been a bored trailing spouse who needed to get her identity back. (And I'm about to become one again, ha!)
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Old May 20th 2019, 4:42 am
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Default Re: Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

for starters there are councillors and councillors out there. Not always easy to find one that 'feel' comfortable with so like a doctor, move on to another if not feeling you are getting desired results. My partner is one and specialises in particular a area that is very intense as well as gives supervision. I meet many on a personal level and if you knew how many enter such areas in an attempt to sort out 'own issues' it could well be you feeling the need to offer the counselling.
I know some doctors don't appear to want to spend time on 'treating' depression symptoms. It is time consuming and perhaps feel 'losing' money. Obviously many will pass you a referral to see a psychologist, some who are trained in specific areas .may be of help and I believe free for a set number of sessions?
It is good you feel you can reach out to strangers on line in time of need . I doubt if I would be so inclined. But we do need people or at least a person that we can talk through 'difficult' times with. That is for certain. I'm afraid our modern times are not as really open to one on ones where especially a fellow can open up. Not sure if social media has been an improvement or a negative for such things. Then perhaps it was never much different even back in 'the day'. I know many men feel somewhat uncomfortable being placed in that position.
More the reason to seek out help. AA may or may not be of benefit. Of course it provides a listening ear. Its a start. Someone mentioned church as I recall, Again that could help. I've a 'friend' (don't see much) but he attends some sort of chapel and found connections in time of need through that.
Day at a time as they say. Firstly your economic situation requires certainty before anything else. What ever help Centre Link can provide would be obviously first port of call. If you need help with things like food or clothing there are places that should be able to help as well. I could tell you where to go if in WA, but I'm sure going on line will reveal what is available in your state. Check out your local library as well. Besides a warm place of respite, they often have courses within the building at a very cheap rate, if not free, on things like mindfulness or even just offering a space to perhaps connect.
I never under estimate how difficult these things that occur in our lives must be difficult to overcome. the main advise would be for whatever it is worth, is don't attempt it alone.
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Old May 21st 2019, 4:42 am
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Default Re: Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

Originally Posted by Kooky. View Post
HI Lucas_Dad, no slap from me either but a request to please go to an AA meeting. I once took (supported) a friend to one - I also had concerns about the "higher power" malarkey but was pleasantly surprised. I'm also an atheist. The "higher power" can be whatever you want it to be, but the support my friend received from a bunch of strangers was beautiful to see.
I've not completely discounted it. I just don't feel .. I dunno .. not that I don't need something like this, but I've got counselling and GP coming up - have booked a long appointment to discuss maybe starting medication and/or a referral to a clinical psychologist.

Wife has given blessing for me to use as much of our health plan as possible so that means getting a colonoscopy soon (not 'just because' - to check on ulcerative colitis, as I fear when I have to get my own policy there will be exclusion periods); got to go for an eye test on Friday (eyes have been feeling blurry for a while. Eye test yet another thing I've been putting off); dentist - last check up he said he thought I may need my wisdom teeth out; ... it just all feels like a lot to take on at once. So not a "no" to AA, just a "I think I can manage for now".

Originally Posted by Kooky. View Post
I'd also suggest you get out there and meet people. Find a Men's Shed, get busy and creative. Do some voluntary work. Network - IME that's how you find jobs in Oz. And be more than "Lucas_Dad" and a house husband - get YOU back. Can you fix your relationship? I don't know, but firstly you need to fix you.
Good suggestions - already looked into (that makes me feel a little better that I must be thinking right somehow). I love working with wood and making things. I have made the boys' beds and bedside tables, big TV unit, big bookcase, all kinds. Not sure how I'll feel being the youngest in the group at 47 though!![/QUOTE]

Originally Posted by Kooky. View Post
Love and strength from somebody who has also been a bored trailing spouse who needed to get her identity back. (And I'm about to become one again, ha!)
Thank you Kooky. And I hope you manage to not lose your identity on your next round of trailing spouse!
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Old May 21st 2019, 5:01 am
  #15  
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Default Re: Advice/sympathy/slap in the head - all welcome (long/heavy post)

> for starters there are councillors and councillors out there.

Indeed. When I first got counselling 15-odd years ago, I struck lucky. Lovely retired lady. It was like talking to a lovely nan who also know how to sort out your psychi. She was great. The counsellor I saw last year was a lovely chap, got on with him great. BUT, after my 5/6 sessions were up and we'd discussed some strategies he said "I don't think I need to see you any more, but contact me any time". My head only registered the first bit. I was NOT ready to finish with him, and did not contact him again, as I should have done.

> I believe free for a set number of sessions?

I'm kinda lucky in that respect. My wife works at a school that has an arrangement to provide counselling. Due to being family, that extends to me. I'm happier with the counsellor I'm seeing now. Kinda feels like he's saying the right things to me. I have 6 free sessions with him.

> Someone mentioned church as I recall, Again that could help.

Indeed it could help - if you were not atheist like me hehehe

> Day at a time as they say. Firstly your economic situation requires certainty before anything else.

Indeed, and I think that after a couple of difficult chats my wife now understands that. It should be me moving out, but I've nowhere to go. Her parents have a second home 0.5km away from us. Not appropriate for me to move there, so she is going to go there with the boys. I think she can see I'm not just sitting on my hands taking no action, so she is going to let me stay here and continue to pay the mortgage (she'll not pay rent at her parents'), and bills. After all that has happened, how amazing is that.

> What ever help Centre Link can provide would be obviously first port of call.

I thought I'd be entitled to nothing. Apparently this is not true (as discovered at the start of this thread (thanks again spouse of scouse). How soon I get there is going to depend on how much my youngest goes into daycare next week & in future until this house is sorted. It'll certainly be my job no. 1 when I get the opportunity.

Thanks for taking the time to reply
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