After the trauma, emotional exhaustion

woman-watching-tv_300x200Last week I wrote that my husband and Lovefraud co-founder, Terry Kelly, suffered a heart attack. I am very happy to report that Terry is doing really, really well, all things considered.

After being unconscious for a week, he finally woke up. The next day, the doctors took him off of the breathing machine. He’s now in a regular hospital room, rather than intensive care. He’s eating, drinking fluids and sleeping when he’s not coughing himself awake.

Terry has started taking walks down the hospital corridor, assisted by a walker. His feet don’t quite move the way they should, and he has some balance issues, although each day gets better. We hope he’ll soon be moving to a rehabilitation hospital, where he can build his strength.

I am happy and grateful.

Still, I am emotionally exhausted.

First there was the shock of the heart attack, and the very real possibility that he might not survive it. Then the decisions I had to make, with life-or-death consequences literally. Then days spent with him while he was unconscious, talking to him and holding his hand, to provide sensory stimulation to his brain. Then, once he woke up, staying on top of his medical care there were some glitches, requiring me to be forceful.

So for the past couple of days, when I came home from the hospital, I just wanted to collapse in front of the TV and watch mindless movies.

Obviously, my attention hasn’t been on my work, so that is piling up. But I find that I sit at my computer and I can’t focus. I wander aimlessly around the house. It’s easier for me to do trivial chores, like filling up the birdfeeder, than what really needs to be done, like paying the bills.

And as I said in my article last week, I’m dealing with a normal life crisis, not the betrayal of a sociopath.

I have plenty of support from family and friends. No one is actively trying to undermine my support by portraying me as a mentally unbalanced, vengeful, scorned woman.

No one is taking me to court, trying to pry the kids away. No one is trying to force me into destitution. No one is threatening my life.

So for all of you who are dealing with the machinations of a sociopath, and feel emotionally exhausted, well, you deserve to feel that way.

In this article, I’m not offering advice. I am offering empathy as best I can, because as far as I’m concerned, anyone who is still dealing with a sociopath has far bigger problems than I have.

So if you’re feeling tired, or spacey, or like you just want to curl up in a ball, well, cut yourself some slack, at least for a little while. Yes, you’ll have to pick yourself up and deal with it all, but if you want to watch a stupid movie for awhile, I think you should.

Trauma is exhausting. Recovery will take time.

Anyway, thank you to everyone who offered prayers and kind wishes for Terry’s health. With your support, I hope we’ll be back to living our life again soon.

UPDATE 3/10/16

GREAT NEWS!!! My husband Terry is home. He is well on the road to recovery. Thank you to all Lovefraud readers for your prayers and warm wishes.

Donna and Terry

Posted in: Donna Andersen

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26 Comments on "After the trauma, emotional exhaustion"

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I’m glad that Terry is doing well! I also understand the emotional exhaustion. I have a theory (it seems to be true in my life anyway). I used to bounce back fairly quickly from traumas and problems and life’s curve balls. But since my experience with the s-paths…I don’t anymore. Now, every new trauma seems to put me into shock for a while and wear me out for a long time.

I think when we have experienced an extreme trauma like dealing with someone that changes your entire outlook on life, even if you heal, part of that stays with us and makes it just a little bit more difficult to heal from further traumas, even if they are not due to s-paths.


Stillinshock…I agree with you completely. Wish I knew how to clear the stress from the trauma completely.

Hi Donna,

So glad to hear that Terry is doing so well and that he will be coming home soon!

Take care of yourself too … whatever you need to do for you!


lol. you sound just like my disorganized self!
I know you are there 100% for your husband and that he is lucky to have you there. I know you are being accepting of yourself because you are going through this trauma too.
Go one extra step and recognize that YOU need all the self love you can muster to stay in balance adequately. GIVE yourself mindless rest and pleasures with no other reason than to replenish your waning energy. Hug yourself. Congratulate yourself for what you do each day, even if it seems minimal. Give yourself a hug! Cheer yourself forward! It is the best way for you to maintain the extreme level of outgoing energy caring for your loved one. If you can, delegate some tasks to your support network so things get done.
You wouldn’t expect a marthon runner to do the marathon without all that support so why should you forgo it now?
I’m cheering you on from here, join me and celebrate your capacity to meet adversity… but feed yourself so you can sustain it!! RAH!! RAH!!



So happy for the two of you, Donna and Terry!!

Fantastic news Donna. So happy for both you & Terry.

God speed Terry with your full recovery! 🔜💜💯

Wow! Great news. Thanks for sharing,Donna. Stay strong and all the best! Let’s count our blessings. Take care, God bless & hugs! 😊

Hi Donna & Terry, you both have been on my mind this week & just wanted to send some hugs your way.

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