I agree. I tried to find help for the horrible way my husband was treating me during his chemotherapy—constant financial and emotional abuse, criticism, yelling about everything I did, moving in his family into our home then elevating them above me, telling me he had brought them here to help but then yelling at me for treating them like servants even though I asked them for nothing and never wanted hem here in the first place. It was a nightmare. He was already abusive before the diagnosis and I had been making plans to leave but then of course the diagnosis changed everything. He would scream at me, trap me in a room and forbid me to leave the house, he even grabbed my arm hard enough to leave bruises and screamed at me for asking him too many times if he was ok. He denies all of it. It seemed like he took his diagnosis as a green light to just do whatever he wanted and no one would bat and eye, and that is exactly what happened. I tried to find ways to address it, but there were very few resources. I tried to join an online support group for caregivers but was actually rejected because I reported the abuse and they said it would be “too distracting for the other members.” Talked to my husbands social worker and she said she couldn’t speak to me without him present, which is not what you want to do when reporting an abusive situation. He forbade me to talk to his doctors. I tried to talk to the other oncology psychiatrists but they said they wouldn’t see me because they wanted to save the space for Actual cancer patients. Tried to use the mental health facilities at the hospital where he was getting treatment and they weren’t even covered by our insurance. I even went to a counselor with him, even though that is not what you are supposed to do with abusive spouses—I was just completely out of options. That didn’t help either, as the counselor just told me I need to make sure he doesn’t experience stress and made it out like he was some huge hero just for showing up—immediately after we left he would start in on me again. I have my own therapist but she is so out of her depth as to understanding the delicacy of the situation. There really needs to be some resources for caregivers, the only solace I could find after a while was drinking alone in the garage with my phone switched off. And I really really tried to find functional ways to cope.
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Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.