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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Wife of depressed partner. Need some guidance

Topic: Wife of depressed partner. Need some guidance

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Tracey B
    Tracey B avatar
    1 posts
    9 July 2020

    Hi

    My husband just got diagnosed with major depression. I'm so lost and confused as to how I support him. At the moment all I feel is frustration and sad that this is happening. Intimacy has dwindled, I feel I need to be in a great mood everyday to try and lift his, I feel I can't rely or lean on him as an equal partner. This all feels so sad.

    I know what he is going through cannot be helped. He has started taking an antidepressant and  is going to see a psychologist soon.

    But will this get better?

    Can major depression be reversed or is this us now?

    Trying to be positive but it's so hard.

     

  2. Blake_S
    Student Mentor
    • Masters of Psychology student on placement
    Blake_S avatar
    37 posts
    9 July 2020 in reply to Tracey B
    Hi there Tracey B,

    Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums, we are so glad you decided to reach out and let us in about what's been going on for you. Firstly, I'd like to say that taking the step to reach out and say that you're struggling is a massive step, and I commend you on taking it - it's not easy to reach out, let alone when it's related to your husband's depression.

    It sounds like you've been going through a very difficult time, I can see that you're sad, frustrated, lost and confused by your husband current depressive mood. It's important for you to know that your feelings are valid given the situation, it is a very distressing position to be in to see someone you love struggle with depression. Supporting a loved one with depression is tough, and I say this from experience, and I am genuinely proud of you for supporting your husband, even though it's having a toll on you.

    I am glad to hear that he is starting antidepressants (often they take a couple of weeks to get going) and seeing a psychologist soon. In terms of depression, I am going to link some information about the nature and process of managing depression - I will let the experts speak instead of me. Nonetheless, depression can be managed!! (if you could see me right now, I'd be clapping my hands). It is not an irreversible state, that doesn’t mean it's an easy fix, but it does mean that there is HOPE! Hope that it will get better, hope that his low-mood will improve. Have a look at these resources - I often find the more informed I am the better I feel.

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/depression/what-causes-depression
    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/depression/treatments-for-depression
    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/who-can-assist

    Also, during this time it is essential that you look after yourself too. As I said before, caring for someone with depression can take a toll on you and it's important that you prioritise your mental health too. Have a look at the Beyond Blue form 'Stayin Well' - it provided some ideas of things you can do to ensure you look after yourself. https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/staying-well

    Let me know if you found any of these resources helpful and what other support you'd like from the forums - we are all here for you.

    All the best,
    Blake_S :)
    1 person found this helpful
  3. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    2198 posts
    9 July 2020 in reply to Tracey B

    Hi Tracey B

    I feel for you so much as you face the challenges that come with raising someone in a depression.

    From my own experience, having lived with depression in the past (some years ago), I tend to see depression as a deep hole. From the top, we may barely feel it. We may not even notice our self in a depression. Then there are the very depths, which is an incredibly dark and potentially soul destroying place to be. Then, there is all the in between. Sounds like your husband is in the depths of depression.

    When someone is at their lowest point, there is no light, there is no obvious way out. It is a truly horrible and torturous place to be. So, the question becomes 'How do I raise them to find the way out?' The tiniest things can make the tiniest differences. Difference is the key. One thing you do not want when depressed is sameness. Tiny steps. Step by step by step means graduating out of the soul destroying sameness and hopelessness. Tiny steps are often about changing our 'I am...'

    If you say 'I am someone who never tries anything new' and then you try something new, you become 'I am someone who raises myself to challenges of trying new things'. It might simply be about trying a new food, to start with. This is not too demanding. If you say 'I am someone who is hopeless' and then someone shows you a list they've been keeping of all the new things you've tried, all the challenges you've gradually risen to, you become 'I am someone who has hope when it comes to change, when it comes to making a difference'. Our 'I am...' can be life changing. We change through the tiny steps. To show your husband, in various ways, that he's not the person he thinks he is can be a powerful way of supporting him. It's a way of actively loving someone back to life. It's not enough to simply say 'I love you' or 'You'll be okay', as these are just meaningless words when we're depressed. The love must involve activity. To be loved inactively is depressing. I know this sounds a bit harsh but this is my experience, within a depression.

    I know this all sounds a bit romantic perhaps so from the perspective of chemistry or biology, it pays to provide someone with little hits of dopamine to the brain (the 'payoff' chemistry we feel with a sense of achievement). When in a depression, we not initially feel these hits until we eventually recognise them, even in the smallest of ways. This is a start, a part of the graduating process.

    Hope this helps a little :)

    2 people found this helpful
  4. 815
    815 avatar
    207 posts
    18 August 2020 in reply to therising

    Hi therising,

    I am new here and stumbled upon your reply to the original post. These words, have really hit home to me.

    "It's not enough to simply say 'I love you' or 'You'll be okay', as these are just meaningless words when we're depressed. The love must involve activity. To be loved inactively is depressing. I know this sounds a bit harsh but this is my experience, within a depression."

    I guess I have been loving inactively as you say, and probably contributing to my husband's depression...so thank you for these words.

    Thank you.

  5. 815
    815 avatar
    207 posts
    18 August 2020 in reply to Tracey B

    Hi Tracey B,

    I just wanted to reach out to you and see how you're doing and see if your situation has improved?

    I am in a similar situation, however at this point my husband refuses to seek help. My story is here:
    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/supporting-family-and-friends-with-a-mental-health-condition-(carers)/supporting-a-depressed-husband---seeking-hope

    Anyway I hope you are keeping well and really would love to hear back and see how things are going.

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