Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Despite my knowledge of and experience with depression I don't know how to help my husband.

Topic: Despite my knowledge of and experience with depression I don't know how to help my husband.

10 posts, 0 answered
  1. ElleR
    ElleR avatar
    3 posts
    4 December 2017

    My husband and I are in our late 30s and have a 5 year old daughter. As background, i was diagnosed with postnatal depression when our daughter was 10 weeks old. A 2.5 year battle followed. Thankfully I'm now well.

    A year ago my husband was, finally, diagnosed with depression. I know it's common if one partner suffers a mental health issue then the other can be more susceptible. I say finally diagnosed as, even with all our knowledge from my experience, it took a long time to convince my husband to go to the GP. His first anti-depressant, didn't work. It took another few months to get him to go to a psychiatrist. He doesn't like her but is on a new medication. I'm trying to get him to transfer to my psychiatrist, who is happy to see him separately to me.

    My issue is that I'm pretty sick and tired of him. It sounds awful to say this, especially since I know what he is going through and that he can't just snap out of it, but I hate being around him. He lost the major client in our business and lied about it to me. All the while spending money. I didn't find out until I sent the client their monthly invoice. It has left us in financial stress. He is now only handling two clients and bringing in minimal money. I'm working 60 hours a week to make up the short fall. Plus i'm doing all cooking, cleaning, parenting. Most days I have to drag him out of bed. I know these are all part of depression - I had it myself not too long ago but I still did all the parenting, cooking, cleaning and some work while I was sick. He asks how he can help but then is upset when I tell him what to do. Often he still doesn't do it. Says I'm nagging.

    I can see things getting worse too as his dad has stage 4 cancer. He will not discuss this with me and is just sweeping it under the carpet. I fear when his dad dies (in 6-12 months time) he will really hit rock bottom. I want him to see a psychologist too but so far he won't. Even with all the knowledge he has about depression too, given my experiences, he won't get more help.

    I really hate him being at home with me. He tries to compliment me saying 'you're doing everything so well' but to me it's just insipid. It means nothing and I honestly don't want him to touch me. I'm too busy to care about that. And to be honest it feels like he's saying that just to get out of lifting a finger.

    How do I get him to get help?

    And how do I stop myself from hating him so much? I am going to see a psychologist myself in 2 weeks time.

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10556 posts
    4 December 2017 in reply to ElleR

    Dear ElleR~

    Welcome here to the Forum. You are in a very tough situation with no easy answers.

    You have the weight of the family, household, business and partner all on your shoulders and quite rightly from the sound of it see him as bringing everything down. It is not surprising that you are sick and tired of him and don't like him being home.

    You ask how to stop hating him, well while things go on as they are I'd be surprised if you were ever able to. The pressure remains on you and has prospects of getting worse if the financial situation worsens or his father passes away.

    You also ask how to make him get help. If he is seeing a GP, on meds and still visiting a psychiatrist it probably more a question of getting effective treatment. Perhaps your psychiatrist might be better. The thing is though whatever the treatment it takes the active participation of the patient for things to work, and by the sound of it your husband is reluctant, maybe doing the minimum asked - I don't know.

    By the sound of it you are a forthright person and I'd expect you have already tried whatever means you can to get him to engage with his treatment. Beyond that indirect means is all that is left to you.

    From the sound of it things can't continue as they are. While you may see a psychologist yourself it is not going to change the basic situation.

    Everyone has to have boundaries and look after themselves. At the moment your workload and emotional load is very great indeed. What do you think you should do for a long term solution, at least until your husband shows significant improvement and starts to shoulder his share too?

    As a person under so much stress it's important to have as much help as possible. You may have arranged medical support, but how about on a personal level? Is there a family member or friend to care about you and try to support you?

    I know this post is no answer to the question you asked, however that one basically asked how you could be made happier to keep going in an untenable position.

    Please feel free to post here as often as you would like. If you think I'm on the wrong track that's OK too

    Croix

    2 people found this helpful
  3. ElleR
    ElleR avatar
    3 posts
    4 December 2017 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix, Thanks so much for your reply and advice. I appreciate it.

    I do hope my husband's new medication will help. He's 3 weeks into it so still a few more weeks until it reaches full impact, so to speak. I think if he could feel even just 20% better that would spur him on a bit to participate more in levelling the playing field here. At the moment I can't even convince him to come for a walk around the block with me. We know exercise helps but I just can't convince him.

    As for me I do have personal support from my parents, especially my mum, my sister and a core group of three friends that are amazing. One of them dropped off some dinner this morning so I didn't have to cook tonight.

    I also go to the gym three nights a week and my trainer lets me bring my daughter along. My mum has my daughter for 2 hours each sunday so i can get a massage or just do something for me.

    The psychologist, who I have seen in the past, is someone I trust as a 'professional' opinion, if that makes sense.

    I was pretty harsh before. I do love my husband. We've been married 10 years. It's hard to see him like this. He really is difficult to be around though. On the business side of things, I won't let it fail as I started it three years ago. It's my baby, so to speak. My husband only came on board recently. so that's a bit of a sore point given what has transpired.

    I thought I'd turn here to see if those who have experienced this themselves might have some words of wisdom. Thank you for your help.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10556 posts
    4 December 2017 in reply to ElleR

    Dear ElleR~

    I don't blame oyu for starting out a bit harsh, you have a great burden to carry. I am happy however firstly that you sound a little more up-beat and secondly because of the support there for you. It also sounds as if yu are looking after yourself pretty reasonably.

    I might mention that while I'm sure you realize normal standards can't be applied to someone with severe depression it also applies to expectations and encouragement. You know quite rightly exercise helps, but perhaps the walk around the block might be a little too much to start with? After all it involves not just exercise but also going outside, and possibly seeing or meeting others.

    Is here a half-way type thing to encourage him to do? You know every time an encouragement fails that affects both of you (well I'm extrapolating from my experience here). He may well feel a failure, and you may feel frustrated, which in turn make him feel worse. If you can pick targets that he is likely to succeed at then the opposite effects are true.

    3 weeks is not enough for some meds, that's true, so there is hope there. I also found my wife talking occasionally with my psychiatrist was helpful - as much for her as anyone else.

    It is a long journey. Please feel free to talk over anything you might want.

    Croix

    I will mention one thing, I don't know if it is useful under the circumstances. when I remember my worse cases of depression I think at the time there really is no hope, that I'm a failure and hter is no point in doing anything.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10556 posts
    4 December 2017 in reply to Croix

    P.S>

    Sorry about the bit under my signature, I was going to say something then decided to delete it, however that did not happen for some reason:(

    I was going to try to give an idea of why your husband may not do things, drawing from my own experience, but decided it might seem a little too vivid. Ah well you have it now anyway:)

    -C

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Winterfell
    Winterfell avatar
    83 posts
    5 December 2017 in reply to ElleR

    Hi Elle

    my husband has major depression and its been a huge upheaval in our lives. It sounds like you are feeling very resentful and angry towards your husband, its very difficult when you are loaded up as you are. I found sometimes seeing the depression as seperate to my husband was helpful and also knowing he didnt want nor ask for it to happen. Its tricky when you want to help and try to fix things but it doesnt work. You have to make sure to look after yourself and perhaps give yourself some distance from him. I found doing my own thing on the weekends with my kids helpful in creating space for me. Its food to reach out for help and share your feelings, you are not alone.

  7. Veryoverit
    Veryoverit avatar
    1 posts
    6 December 2017 in reply to ElleR

    Hey Elle

    Just reading your thread.. I am kinda of in the same boat. Can't seem to be able to stand the site of my partner. He's certainly not the person I met and fell in love with an I just can't force myself to like who is has become. I have 3 young children, I don't want to look after him but I feel so guilty.

  8. risetothewomanwithin
    risetothewomanwithin avatar
    1 posts
    14 December 2017 in reply to ElleR

    Hi ElleR,

    I can relate to your story on so many levels. I am mid-30's, hubby early-40's, a 5 year old daughter, I had PND when she was 8 months and have come a long way since then. Hubby has stages of depression and the worst scenarios see him shutting down verbally. Sometimes he won't communicate for a 2 days, sometimes 2 weeks! ATM I am onto day 5 of zero communication. He is flat. Tired. Grumpy. Stressed. Always seems to happen this time of year, for the past 7 years. He has many factors that play on his mind; business in construction that he does alone (no off-sider and very labour intensive), has no family where we live, his mother (they're two peas in a pod) has dementia, dad is very unwell (Dr's can't do any more so he could die tomorrow), his dad also calls him often to offload his own depression/worries/rants/frustrations onto his son's shoulders and he no longer talks to his sister. He has A LOT on his plate but I too am tired of him. I dread going home every night as I never know what I am walking home too.
    I have come a long way with my recovery but when I try to talk to him about seeking help he starts with the blame game 'you don't realise but it was hard for me when you were depressed and you still are . . . ' it leaves me flat, defeated and I close up. I can't reason with him as any time we start a conversation he throws the 'blame' card onto my side. I get emotional and he hates that so the conversation stops (it is something I am VERY aware of and am trying to address). I work full-time, do the school drop-off and pick-up, cleaning, cooking and then try and do his bookwork and communicate with his suppliers and customers as well. He works hard and has the clients to deal with to but doesn't do much around the house except sit on the computer as soon as he is home, and as soon as he wakes up (he doesn't sleep, suffers insomnia - I know, right!?)
    I try to support him as much as I can but I get incredibly frustrated and hurt when he doesn't talk to me. Even if he could say 'I need quiet time, I am struggling and will come out of this' that would be fine. Instead my anxiety flares up and I start with thoughts 'he's going to leave me', 'he hates me', 'I'm not a good wife, lover, mother' etc. etc.
    He has told me before that he snaps out of his depression by himself and he doesn't need help, but seriously, this déjà vu every December/January is hard to deal with - it should be a happy time of year and it never is.

    2 people found this helpful
  9. ElleR
    ElleR avatar
    3 posts
    25 April 2018
    Thank you all for your thoughts and comments. It is nice to know i'm not alone, but I'm sorry that some of you are in a similar position. Things came to a head recently when I sat my husband down and said that while I loved him I couldn't continue living as we were. I said I realised getting well was not simple but that I needed to see that he was actively invested in seeking treatment in attempts to get better and those treatments hopefully working. If he was not able to turn over every stone trying to find the answer then i would save myself and our daughter and ask him to leave. I would not continue indefinitely to carry the load of everything myself without him being prepared to contribute positively to our family. I stressed that this is not the outcome I wanted but that I would do it if necessary. I said we'd reassess in 6 months. Since then he has finally changed psychiatrists. So far he likes this one better. He is on a higher dose of medication, with a second one thrown in the mix. This only happened a month ago so we are still seeing how it plays out. He is still up and down a lot, but what has changed is his effort and he is now getting out of bed and setting himself 2-3 manageable tasks a day and almost always completing them. He is seeing a psychologist, who he says helps in a minor way, and has also started going back to playing in a band with his brother and practicing weekly. He says the joy of playing the guitar hasn't returned as yet, but he hopes it will. From my perspective I'm finding that while he's still frustrating and I could scream at times, I'm pleased to see effort, however small it may be. Working with my psychologist has helped me apply my mindfulness techniques directly to my husband, as opposed to the situation. I'm also working on looking at each problem or hurdle as an individual occurrence and I'm trying not to reply the entire saga in my mind each time something new pops up. Easier said than done but when I do catch myself doing it, I can stop my mind going there. So things are looking a fraction brighter.
    1 person found this helpful
  10. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10556 posts
    26 April 2018 in reply to ElleR

    Dear ElleR (with a wave to all)~

    Looking in from the outside that is a pretty impressive improvement and it down to you. I know that impatience and frustration will now be pretty massive feelings to try to cope with, but you seem to have started things moving. I'd hope at least in part it is affection for you that has inspired his attempt to improve.

    One of the things you said struck a chord with me "I'm also working on looking at each problem or hurdle as an individual occurrence and I'm trying not to reply the entire saga in my mind each time something new pops up"

    While my situation is different I too try to do this in my life as it seems to me the only way not to be overwhelmed. I wish I was better at it too.

    Do you think it would be a good thing to encourage his playing? Even if he is not really enjoying it at the moment it might be an avenue to commitment, activity and self-esteem.

    Croix

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


Sign me up