3 things to let go of when your spouse has a bleeding episode
How a columnist remains productive amid the anxiety of her husband's bleeds
Modern psychology often emphasizes the importance of letting go. In a world constantly pushing us to hold on tightly, learning to let go can be surprisingly liberating.
As I get older, I’m realizing the significance of discerning what truly matters in life and cutting out the fluff. Our capacity to handle things mentally and emotionally is limited. Pushing beyond our limits can lead to emotional and mental breakdowns.
My husband, Jared, battles two chronic illnesses: hemophilia and a seizure disorder. Given his conditions, we can’t afford to dwell on anxieties about an already uncertain future. Instead, we’ve adopted a Stoic mindset by focusing on the present moment and tackling new challenges as they arise. While it requires conscious effort, it’s undoubtedly worth it.
Approaching life in Stoic fashion
Anxiety can be overwhelming, distorting our perception of reality and causing us to worry excessively about the future. During moments of anxiety, I often find myself losing sight of the now and neglecting important matters at hand.
Jared’s unexpected bleeding episodes can induce anxiety. They disrupt our plans and provide little time for preparation. But why be anxious about something we already expect?
Instead of fearing change, we have accepted it as our reality — as the Stoics do — and learned to live with it. We embrace flexible schedules, forgive ourselves for skipping appointments, and make adjustments to our tasks and chores to ensure we can still manage them with ease. By letting go of our anxiety surrounding change, we have created space for a more productive way of life.
During a bleeding episode, spousal caregivers like me can let go of the following things:
It’s not the time to compare what you’re doing with what your spouse is capable of in that moment. Forgive your partner for not being at their best, and if you’re too tired to pick up their slack, it’s OK. Prioritize urgent tasks and seek support, or wait until the episode is over and tackle the work together. Avoid comparing yourself with other caregivers or spouses, as each relationship is unique.
2. Pursuit of perfection
When Jared has a bleeding episode, our house may become messier than usual. Rather than stressing about it, we do what we can. I clean up after my work, but if I don’t finish, I let it go and try to get more cleaning done the next day. Our 4-year-old daughter is encouraged to clean up after herself, but we don’t expect perfection. With time and consistency, she’ll improve.
At 30 years old, Jared has experienced numerous types of bleeds, so he knows, more or less, how long they might last. While it’s helpful to have a general idea of how long recovery may take, it’s crucial not to become fixated on a specific time frame. Doing so sets you up for disappointment. Instead, focus on finding productive distractions while waiting it out, such as hobbies, TV shows, pets, or sports. This way, the waiting won’t feel interminable.
Bonus: The one thing you mustn’t let go of
Amid the challenges of caring for a chronically ill spouse, there’s something you absolutely can’t let slip away: your love and affection for your partner.
Responsibilities pile up and uncertainties loom large, but nurturing your connection and showing your love become even more important during tough times. Love is a mighty force that gives humans strength, support, and comfort in the face of adversity.
So hold on tight to that love and let it be your guiding light.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.