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Topic: my depressed husband won't get help

13 posts, 0 answered
  1. Jdog
    Jdog avatar
    5 posts
    18 April 2015
    I have described my husband as my beautiful husband for the last 28years. For the last 2 years at least he has turned into a dark stranger after a number of traumatic life events, car accident, injury, surgeries on the injuries, father passed away and lost job security. His response has been hostility and non communication, but when he does communicate its usually to blame me for his unhappiness. He saw a councillor early on, this turned his sadness into anger and he didn't attend any more sessions to resolve this anger so it has festered into complete hostility toward me, the councillor advised him to move out of home without inviting me in to provide a different perspective.  I have gathered all of my resources to try and support him and continued to be loving and gentle but this also seems to feed his anger. I am so desperate he is ruining our beautiful marriage and family without any attempt at problem solving and he is becoming deeper into his depression. Any thoughts?
  2. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    18 April 2015 in reply to Jdog

    Dear Jdog

    Welcome to Beyond Blue. I'm not sure how much help I can offer but I will have a go.

    It definitely sounds like you and your husband have been through a rough time. Often this affects on person more than the other. I wonder if you husband is angry that you have not been as upset as him.  I gather it was husband who was injured in the car accident and required the various surgeries, plus his father passing away and the loss of job security. Blame is often irrational in these sort of situations.

    However, that does not help you much. Have you told him how much these events have affected you? While you have not been injured etc you have been the carer for him. That takes a great deal of strength and energy. Don't minimise the help you have given to him.

    With regard to the counsellor telling husband to leave, how do you know this is what was said? I presume husband told you, but how accurate is this information? I realise you cannot ask the counsellor, but it is so easy to misinterpret what has been said.  Also you do not know what husband has told the counsellor.

    Would it help do you think, if you could both express your feelings to each other in a controlled environment.  Would the counsellor be prepared to facilitate a mediation between you, or perhaps a marriage counsellor? From what you have said it seems husband is not listening to you and may believe you are not listening to him. And there is too much hurt and anger getting in the way.

    Mary

     

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Jdog
    Jdog avatar
    5 posts
    19 April 2015 in reply to White Rose

    thank you Mary, that actually helped a lot.

    In regard to the councillor, he described to her how he was treating me, she told him that she didn't think that it was very fair and that he should take time out, out of home. We have tried marriage counselling but he just wouldn't engage in it or try any of the strategies suggested. I have come to the conclusion that he needs to address his depression and distorted thinking before any progress can be made with the two of us. 

    I have invested considerable emotional resources in his depression with absolutely no progress and the key is in the fact that he needs to have his distorted thinking challenged and he provides no opportunity for that. He is living with his mother currently she copes by avoidance and denial his friends don't pressure him to talk and just jolly him along. 

    It is just great to have a constructive space to vent and gather myself up and your kind response has helped 

  4. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    19 April 2015 in reply to Jdog

    Dear Jdog

    So pleased my post helped. Thanks for writing in again.

    Now that your husband is staying with his mother you have room to consider yourself. I imagine you miss him but not his behaviour. So now is the time to get yourself well again, rest, do the things you enjoy. That is if you have time after caring for your children. How are they coping with all of this?

    Don't know how old your children are, but if they are fairly young they may start to believe that in some way it is their fault. Sounds silly I know but children get upset, don't know what's happening and conclude they must be to blame.

    How are you managing financially? I wonder if there is any difficulty in this area, although I am not prying. Just a thought.

    I wonder if it would help you to see a psychologist for a couple of visits. This is another way to vent your feelings in a constructive manner. I suggest you do not go to the same person as your husband. Too much conflict of interest. I suggest this because talking to an objective, 'outside' person who will not tell you what to do can help a lot. Your GP can help with this. Have a chat with him/her.

    I agree 100% that your husband must decide to get well himself. It may be a good thing living with mom if she ignores his behaviour. Without you there to run after him and try to make him feel better he may start to think about his situation more. In any event he is the one to ask for help. Like alcoholics, he has to admit his depression before he can change.

    Remember I am here to 'chat' whenever you want.

    Mary

    1 person found this helpful
  5. geoff
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    geoff avatar
    16241 posts
    20 April 2015 in reply to Jdog

    dear Jdog, I would like to thank you so much for your comment which has indeed unsettled the family.

    I am so pleased that Mary has responded to your comment and has offered some very good but also some reasonable advice for you to consider, which she is one that is very good at doing.

    I also agree with her when she says that your husband has to accept that he has an anger problem, and I appreciate what he has gone through, and by no means am I forgetting that you too have to be involved in all of this as well, so the situation would create tension, and although you are trying to assist him, he is rejecting this help.

    I am really interested in your relationship with his mother, and after being married for 28 years I would expect that it would good, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

    I mean no harm in asking this, I am only curious as to what his mother would say to him, but with everything else he would also be having trouble with PTSD.

    Look forward to hearing from you. L Geoff. x

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Jdog
    Jdog avatar
    5 posts
    20 April 2015 in reply to White Rose

    you have given me a lot to think about Mary, I have struggled along without support and because the friend I would normally consult has just lost her beautiful daughter she isn't available for support. Your advice has been very wise and caring, I will follow your advice and get some counselling for myself and rally some emotional resource for the next step. 

    My daughter is grown up (23) but I have a 2 1/2 year old grand daughter lives at home with me and somedays are a struggle and some days she is just the lightness and happiness I need.

    Thanks again, Jane

  7. Jdog
    Jdog avatar
    5 posts
    20 April 2015 in reply to geoff

    Hi Geoff,

    Its possible that he is suffering form PTSD but until he commits properly to counselling we wont know. 

    Sadly I don't have a great relationship with his mum despite my best efforts, she has never really liked me and I have let her get away with murder for the sake of my husband but she has been fairly difficult over the years and wasn't very receptive to any suggestions of getting my husband treatment, she is in total denial sadly.

    Thanks so much for your interest Geoff.

  8. BK13
    BK13 avatar
    28 posts
    24 April 2015 in reply to Jdog

    Hi Jdog,

    A loved one being affected by an illness that they refuse to seek treatment for..... it's one of the hardest things I have had to deal with.

    My partner is in his early 40s and (I believe) suffers from depression.  In trying to self medicate his dark feelings all these years this has flowed over into also being an alcoholic (or at the very least an unhealthy relationship with alcohol), a drug addict, and has anger issues.  Thankfully the anger isn't directed to me in the form of verbal or physical abuse but at times it's made communication very difficult and him getting angry over the silliest of situations is draining.

    A couple of months ago these issues all came to a head and culminated in a suicide attempt.  I had to call the police and ambulance on my own partner.  He's always skirted around his issues, downplaying them or saying 'its my thing to deal with', 'it's not affecting you' and then the 'I'm not good enough for you - I don't know why you stay', 'you'd be so much better off without me'.  He has been quite secretive and tried to hide some of his issues.  Avoidance and denial are how he's been dealing with this until now.  But this time, finally he agreed he has a problem.  He said the words I Am An Addict.  He agrees he needs to seek help to deal with all the issues above.

    But now the hard part.

    Getting help.

    He was given some phone numbers at the hospital and they eventually made a follow up call with him to ask him some screening questions (he checked himself out after not being seen for 3 hours at the public hospital).  They referred him to some specific services.  He initially refused to call.  He then agreed he would call within a certain timeframe.  The timeframe came and went and he agreed to a new timeframe.  That time came and went and then he didn't agree to another. 

    I ask him periodically about calling and he agrees he needs to.  He is doing ok in the sense that he is stable and communicative.   But is still too scared to take the first step.  Meanwhile he's still drinking more than he should, and at times still using drugs (self medicating).  I worry all the time that without treatment he'll eventually head back to feeling acutely suicidal.

    So we're stuck in this limbo land of both agreeing he needs treatment but still not quite having the courage to take that first step.  But I feel we are making some progress, albeit VERY slow. 

    I can't seem to write what I want in the character limit - TBC!

    1 person found this helpful
  9. BK13
    BK13 avatar
    28 posts
    24 April 2015 in reply to Jdog

    CONTINUED...

    The progress relates to hearing stories of other people's experiences with mental illness, with alcoholism, with psychologists, with medication.  From family, from people that he knows and also famous people.  The stigma around seeking help seems to be diminishing in his eyes.  It's like every new bit of information he gets around people having a mental illness or seeking help, is added to a little file in his brain, building up a case for 'it's time to get help'.  I am just not sure how full his file needs to be!

    I have contributed by seeking help for my own untreated anxiety and depression.  In a way I'm 'road testing' it for him, although is journey will be considerably more complicated, with the addiction issues and his lifetime belief that problems are dealt with on your own and men should be tough and not ask for help.

    So although his family doesn't think he's making any, or enough progress I think he is - it just hasn't culminated in formal treatment yet.  I hope it happens soon but I have made peace for now that it may not be.  And also have considered that there may come a time I have to make a decision as to whether I will continue to wait for him to seek help or whether I leave.

    It must be hard for you to deal with everything you are, on top of it all he blames you for it, his mother doesn't think there is a problem and there isn't a good relationship there either.  Someone on here suggested to me that if I tell my own parents about my mental illnesses, that I print out information on them to give them to read over.  Maybe part of the denial on her part may be a lack of understanding of his illness (whether it's PTSD or depression).  Maybe if she has a greater understanding she'll start to see the signs in him? 

    Maybe spell out to your MIL that untreated mental illness can culminate in harm and/or death.  Irrespective of your marriage, getting treatment may just become a case of life or death.  Your MIL surely does not want to lose her son.  At the end of the day I'm sure she wants her son to have a full, healthy and happy life.  I really hope you can get through to her that currently he's not having that life - with or without you.  You care and want him to get help and be well.  You want your husband back yes but ultimately his wellbeing is what's important.

    I do hope you get some support and counselling.  It's a lot to deal with on your own. 

    We're here for you too & I hope that helps you a little.

     BK. 

     

    1 person found this helpful
  10. geoff
    Life Member
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    geoff avatar
    16241 posts
    25 April 2015 in reply to Jdog

    dear Jdog, thanks for getting back to us and in some way I was worried that your relationship with your mother in law wasn't going to be the best although I did say otherwise, because she will have an influence on your husband and whether or not he needs counselling, and if she is in denial, then it's going to be difficult for him to listen to anyone else.

    So at the moment he has his counselling and maybe mum telling him otherwise, if you know what I mean.

    I feel sorry for you and the kids, but I also feel sad for your husband and the situation he has got himself into, and the necessity of him having to take medication and going to counselling, irrespective of what his mother says. L Geoff. x

  11. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    25 April 2015 in reply to Jdog

    Hello Jdog

    It's good you feel your husband is making some progress.  It's also great that some of our high profile men are owning up to depression.  This is making a huge difference to men such as your husband who are wary about being perceived as a whimp.

    On BB there is a link to web site called Man Therapy. On the BB home page, underneath the pictures there is a bar with various titles. At the right hand side is an arrow. Click on that and it will move to another set of titles where you will find Man Therapy. Click on that to take you to the web site. I suggest you read and explore it. There is heaps of information for men and about men, including tips for family and carers.

    If you can get your husband to look at this he may find it helpful. It's presented in a semi-humorous manner, which is meant to relate to men although it would irritate me. But that's not the point. There is all sorts of 'stuff' there which he may be interested in.

    The second thought for your husband is the Men's Shed organisation. I don't know if there is one near you but you can search for Men's Sheds and look up your area. There is also a blurb about the reason for this organisation. Your husband may enjoy doing and making in the company of other men. These blokes also talk about their problems, which is the main reason for it's existence, so maybe husband will have a chat and decide to go for help.  Worth a thought?

    These organisations are not a substitute for expert help but may be able to give him that little push in the right direction.

    Mary

    1 person found this helpful
  12. Jdog
    Jdog avatar
    5 posts
    1 May 2015 in reply to BK13
    thank you for sharing your story it was really generous and brave. I will take your advice on board about getting counselling for myself, I could use it.
    1 person found this helpful
  13. White Rose
    Champion Alumni
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    2 May 2015 in reply to Jdog

    Dear Jdog

    It's good to hear from you again.  How are things going with you? I see BK13 has also joined the conversation with his story.  I know these stories are sad but it so good when people can share them so that you know you are not alone.

    Have you managed to meet up with a counsellor or psychologist yet? Where is your husband staying at the moment?  Is he back with you or still with his mother? 

    I would love hear how you are managing and if there is any progress with husband.  Please remember to look after yourself and your health.

    Regards

    Mary

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