How to Deal with Your Spouses Depression

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I'm going to try and get him to the GP again. I don't think I could live with myself if I gave up on him because it was too hard for me. One hour at a time. Originally posted by: geoff on 29 April dear Karen, I have typed and re-typed replies to you, but just like Roger I was the same. All I can say is that the comments made by these dear people gives you some great advice, I am so sorry that I can't help you, or maybe it just brings back my past, and this should not have happened, but it's a story so close to my heart.

I totally sympathise for you and know the hell it causes and I hope that it improves greatly. Please stay in contact, which will give me time to think over this. I feel as though it's a 'cop-out', and this should not happen, what if it happens again, and say, someone close to me was in the same position, then I should be able to help them, no matter what.

Or the question may arise of how come I have been able to control depression, but can't help you, this is a valid, but a stupid question to me, it doesn't seem to be logical. Maybe I should just cancel this letter again, but here goes. L Geoff. Originally posted by: Karen on 30 April I was so overwhelmed to read the replies to my post. At last I don't feel so alone. I can't tell you all how much it meant to read your kind advice.

Love Someone Who Has Depression? This is What You Need to Know.

This week I have tried to explain to my husband that if he does not address his depression that I did not know how our marriage would sustain and that I needed a few days break to think. He has responded by getting even more depressed, he rang me yesterday and said he wasn't well at work, that his body is aching all over and he can't stop crying. He said he doesn't know what he can do about the marriage he doesn't think he's doing anything wrong. He is just a man who goes to work and comes home and that's all he will ever be. He says he just doesn't have any interests.

I told him that's because of the depression. He disagreed. He thinks i'm making unreasonable demands on him for expecting him to spend time with me on the weekends. I could tell by the way he was talking that he is starting to suffer psychosomatic symptoms and I knew I had to change course very quickly or he would crash. The last time this happened, he locked his keys and wallet in his car and disappeared. The police and I searched bushland for him as we suspected he was suicidal. It was the most terrifying time of my life.

I suspect he was going to jump off the bridge however he eventually walked home. He spend a week in hospital and they did all the tests but the psychiatrist eventually diagnosed psychosomatic symptoms. He buries things so deep that they manifest physically. The doctor put him on anti-depressants but he went off them after about 4 weeks, said they make him too drousy and he felt better.

So on the phone yesterday I felt I had to tell him everything would be alright, I will never leave him, just to stay in the day and not allow his mind to tell him bad things and not to think about anything but what he has to do right now, that I would cook a lovely roast tonight and we would cuddle in bed and he could have a good sleep. It got him through the day and he feels a bit better but I am still left empty and unheard.

I am taking all the advice on board. I think I'll start by seeing my local doctor and explaining it to her and then I think an intervention is necessary. I live in Sydney so I'll need to find out who can come to the house. The most frustating part is that because we have been through this all before my husband knows damn well in his heart that he is severly depressed he is just too stubborn to get help. I feel that if someone else can tell him the tremendous responsibility he is putting on me that he will listen and understand.

At the moment he just thinks I'm a nagging wife. I'll keep in touch and thanks again, what a fantastic forum! Originally posted by: Rob on 1 May Karen, I was reading a parenting book today which happened to have a section on parental depression. It described many feelings I have and reactions i give. This was somewhat of a shock to me. Because depression is something I know little of, I immediately googled the subject and got onto this website.

I read your story and the comments, which gave me something of an epiphany. My wife and I have now discussed the issue more clearly and I am now using google to find a psychiatrist to see next week. I'm sorry I have no advice to offer you, but I wanted to let you know that your posting has helped me a lot and I thank you for it. I wish you the best and I hope you can find a positive resolution to your situation. Originally posted by: lynthi on 1 May Hi Karen, I'm sorry to say that your husband knows how to press your buttons.

He gets what he wants by direct threat or innuendo. Very cunning. When the situation determines he raises the anti on how he is going to get you to do what he wants e.

How to Help When Your Spouse Is Depressed | Focus on the Family

That got you back didn't it? What was it he didn't get from you? He is indeed very ill. In my opinion he needs hospitalisation. When you talk with your Doctor explain how he has been playing you like a fiddle. He shouldn't be rewarded for doing nothing to fix his 'own' health. It's difficult to assess whether some of his behaviour is pure 'rat cunning' he gets exactly what he wants by its use combined with a serious mental illness. You are able to contact the Crisis Assessment Treatment Team. If you don't have their number call the nearest large Hospital where you live and ask them for the CAT Teams phone number and give them a brief description of his behaviour.

They will assess him over the phone and determine whether he should be placed into a Mental Health Facility. This order requires that he adheres to the Mental Health Review Board Orders order to visit a Government Psychiatrist and depot medication may be administered. Depot medication is an order that he must take medication by order of the Law. It is generally administered with a syringe on a monthly basis. If he does not attend for its application the Police have the right to arrest him. It should keep him on an even keel. It may even make him better. If he is ordered and doesn't comply he may be placed by the Mental Health Review Board into care, until he is well enough to leave.

He does have a right of appeal against the Mental Health Review Boards decisions.


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The Board consists of a Civilian, a Lawyer and a Psychiatrist. If your husband is acting up, you would be able to call the Crisis Assessment Team, they will assess him in situ and determine what risks if any are evident. If he appears mentally unwell, in their opinion, after consultation with their Crisis Manager and with that Manager's approval they shall call the Police and Ambulance and have him transported to a Mental Health Facility at a Major Hospital for his own safety and that of others.

21 Questions to Ask When Your Partner Is Depressed

Your husband may trip himself up by being so cunningly needy and cute. You can play the Ace. The CAT team will have him removed and he shall be dealt with for his own well being. Personally, in my opinion I think your husband is cruel in the extreme. He plays emotional poker with you. You need in all honesty to have the strength to leave him.

If you stay I can't see the future as being particularly bright. Least of all for you, Karen. When he threatens to do things, let him. You are not responsible for his well being. He alone is responsible for that. Feel no guilt. No matter what the outcome. No one can make another behave acceptably in a marital situation.

My final advice would be to leave him. Ignore his attempts at attention. No one else should feel they could have done more. I think you have done and put up with enough. Stay safe, Lyn. Originally posted by: geoff on 2 May dear Lynthi, you are remarkable with your knowledge and advice, good on you and I am sure everybody appreciates it so much, I certainly do, as I learn a hell of lot from you. As usual you have come out with amazing advice and knowledge. I would just like to support your words by saying that as a person that has been in the worst grip of psychotic depression I would submit that any legal response to my illness was warranted.

I was hospitalised and involountarily committed to the mental health system because of my illness. I would like to say that this action by the authorities was completely warranted.

When a person is in the grips of a serious mental illness I believe that any action by the health services is completely justified. It is not like olden times when people are locked away in a lunatic assylum. I was hospitalised against my will for a poultry 2 weeks and given amazing treatment in a modern mental health facility , caring, by most of the staff and given medication and I engaged with a Psychiatrist.

All this protected my wife and family from my severe illness. I thank the mental health authorities for doing what they did and protecting my family. If a person is mentally unwell, aggressive, abusive and possibly violent it is surely the authorities responsibility to do what they must to. By the way Lyn, I am feeling a bit burnt out and I think I will follow your advice and take a break for a while. I think I'll be vegging in front of the TV for a while. My wife has been making a few comments that I have been spending a bit too much on here.

I'll look forward to catching up in a week or so Best regards to all the regular posters Originally posted by: Heth on 3 May Thinking of you, Karen. You don't need to be walking on egg shells for ever. I would be telling him that if you do not get the help you know you need, you give me no choice but to leave and like Lynthi says you can not be responsible for his well being.

Though he wants you to feel guilty for being a "Nagging wife" He would rather use you as the reason than deal with this, because it's all too much and he has too much pride. It sounds like you are remaining strong with all this and I don't know how you do it, but something has to give. I can't believe how stubborn and proud he is! How long can someone remain depressed without wanting to get help for themselves!? Surely they see this at his work too, particularly if he is in tears there?

Take care darling, Heth x. Originally posted by: Lynthi on 4 May Have a well earned break, Phil. We'll still be here. Fond regards, Lyn. Originally posted by: jo on 4 May OMG! I am now really struggling being the carer in this relationship despite being in the medical profession and feel that my husbands illness is killing our relationship. I have been with my husband for 18 years and we have 2 fabulous kids. Most of our time together has been happy, however over the years he has regularly taken himself off to bed, often for days at a time saying he had a migraine but wouldn't take any painkillers??

About 10 months ago he had a total meltdown during which I insisted he see his GP. We went together but the GP wasn't totally convinced he was depressed but put him on medication anyway which he took for a while then just stopped. The cycle started up again and was triggered on a weekly basis. My husband came to his own conclusion thankfully after doing some research on the net that he might be bipolar.

We saw a different GP who agreed with our diagnosis of bipolar type2. Again he was prescribed meds took them for a couple of weeks but they "dulled" his creative side so he stopped taking them. One day whilst at work I work 12 hour shifts he phoned me to say he was feeling awful in fact so awful he had taken himself to the local hospital as he just couldnt bear living like this anymore.

He was given an appt for a medical review but said he couldn't go bacause he couldn't afford the time off work. Admittedly he has throughout our time here spent about half of his time unemployed so our financial situation is crap. He also won't see a clin psych bacause he can't afford it. I suppose I am fortunate in that I know what his trigger is living in Aus- he would desperately love to return to the UK but we can't due to our kids, 1 of them is in year 12 and wants to go to uni yadda yadda.

However I know I can't go on carrying him like this as it's killing me too. I can't keep wondering if at any time he's going to end it all because it's become too much and as heartless as it may sound do I ensure he has life insurance because I can't afford to do all this by myself with no family support here in Aus? There is so much more to this story but my fingers are now aching and I feel i've bored you all enough.

But do you know what tops this story off? Most of my friends in Aus are depressed and taking meds! I am the only 1 of my set of close friends who is not on any medication.

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Sorry I am unable to offer any advice or support to yourself, I just wanted to say your not alone. What the answer is I do not know I just hope my answer doesn't hit me in the face one day. Good luck. Originally posted by: Karen on 5 May To Lynthi, I appreciate your trying to help although I found your comments very upsetting and very over the top for what my situation is.

I don't blame you, the way I worded my last post must have lead to your misunderstanding. My husband has never been cunning or a manipulating person. He has always been very unselfish and kind and it is only this deep depression in inability to be able to support his family that has him perhaps, without even knowing it, manupulating me in an subconscious way.

Its been a very difficult week as I've listened to different ideas including to leave my husband but we love each other very much and I am drawing strength on this today and will keep fighting for him. I did get very stern with him on the weekend and managed to get him to the doctor. The gp was very concerned and he is now 5 days into medication and will see someone weekly.

He has already improved in his thinking. I have today contacted a financial helpline to see if I can get help with our dire situation so as to relieve some of that terrible burdon my husband feels every single day that he has failed his family by not being able to support us. I would rather choose to see him as a man who is succeeding in overcoming something much greater than financial trouble.

How brave that makes him. I still feel very alone and have been getting very tired and teary myself but I've just watched the Beyond Blue Carer's DVD I received in the mail yesterday and I have tears of relief as I identify with others. It's not until you look back on what's happened that you stop and think "how on earth have I managed to cope" but I thank God that I have. Thanks everyone I encourage you all to reach out and get the gate open to the road to recovery. I always appreciate any feedback. It's only by receiving feedback that we can improve our responses.

You may have noticed that we require Responder Volunteers. The current Responders who are volunteers are pretty much burnt out with the number of people seeking help and the small number of generous people who are able and willing to respond to specific issues. Please feel free to become a Responder if you think you can fit it in around your current circumstances. I am so happy to hear that things are going along fine and that your husband is actually seeking help now. Best wishes, Lyn. Originally posted by: Karen on 5 May Hi Karen I have been in the exact situation you describe, except I was the one suffering from depression.

My husband did eventually leave me and I have been receiving great medical and psychiatric care for the last 12 months as an outpatient. Although it was devastating, the experience has not been totally negative and I think I am actually stronger now than I have been in years. It forced me to take action and put in place some positive things in my life, and I no longer feel that there is no hope for my future.

I think I was very self-focused and inward-looking, and I now have goals and a different attitude. There are still darker days, but they are much less frequent, and I now have a support system of friends and professionals in place to reach out to when I need to. I think shame was a major factor in my refusal to seek help. I think you should be commended for standing by your husband and being so supportive - I know I was very difficult and frustrating to live with.

Your loyalty is wonderful and I'm sure your husband will appreciate it eventually, even if he doesn't now. It seems as though you need to focus on yourself more. Your health is very important, both physical and mental. Is there a doctor or counselor you can see for support at this difficult time. Its not only the sick that need care. Take some time to enjoy life for yourself even if you can't do it with your husband at the moment. Spend time with family and friends or just take some time out to treat yourself.

It sounds as though you need a reward of some kind. My best wishes to both you and your husband - I hope things work out for you. I have expressed concern about his lack of sleep as I have read this is also not good for his depression. Usually I hold a lot in and just get on with it and try to do it all with a positive attitude and smile on my face as I don't want to add any stress or pressure on him.

This can go on for a while then I seem to explode or fall into a heap. I'm starting to see this is not good for either of us as it is impacting me in a negative way. Last week I told him I wanted to go stay with my parents for a while as I desperately needed a break from our marriage just to recharge and gain some clarity. He didn't want me to go so I didn't. The week got worse and I felt angry and irritable and explained that I'm not leaving to punish him but rather get myself together and have some breathing space from it all.

He agreed reluctantly. We have discussed the possibility of relationship counselling together before and are both open to it but I thought maybe this would be too much at this point and to focus on his own therapy for now. Maybe we should go together? Hi SupportiveWife, your situation sounds very similar to my own. I would highly recommend the relationship counselling. I did so with my hubster while he was going to counseling and it was fine. Your husband needs to understand how you feel as the long term neglect carries a level of grief that can affect your mental health.

I would also try to find ways you can connect with him again as a couple and a family. Day trips, picnic, etc. I would find locations that provided for a lot of fresh air, long walks, etc. Being in nature does wonders for clarity and peace. It doesn't require a ton of money, but a lovely picnic basket and hope in your heart. Being a carer for a person with a mental health condition is an unenviable task.

It takes a strong person to stand by your partner and understand what they are going through. That is love, unconditional love.


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  • Don't feel guilty for your feelings. They are there for a reason. Acknowledge them and replace them with self-love. Do things that make you happy - catch up with family, friends, take up a hobby if you don't have one presently and don't sweat the little things. Your life is difficult enough and if reading a good book will help give you peace, the housework, etc.

    You are a supportive and loving wife and your husband is very fortunate to have you by his side. Take care of you and stay strong. Hello Carmela. That was a wonderful reply to Supportive Wife. I hope you can take on board Carmela's comments. Those that have been there know how bad it can get. So much of Carmela's comment are similar to those I was going to suggest so I will not repeat them. Except for one there is always one. Take care of yourself. This is important for you. You need to be well for your own sake and your children. So if your husband will go for walks etc with you that's great, but go by yourself if necessary or get a friend to walk with you.

    You continued good health is important for your husband until he can take care of himself. Carmela thank you so much for your reply. Sorry it's taken me a long time to reply. It has helped me a lot to know I'm not in this alone and having someone such as yourself give advice, who is experiencing a similar situation, means a lot to me! It is great to hear the couples counselling helped you and your husband so I will suggest this to my husband. I did start counselling for myself this week and it went well. I do feel good that I have support from a professional and someone who can give me more insight into depression and how best to cope.

    I have tried for the family days etc. He has been better lately at coming out and joining us so that's a positive step in the right direction. He does love his daughter very much she is the only person that seems to be able to make him smile and laugh. Carmela did the counselling help to get your intimacy and connection back with your husband?

    Did they suggest any exercises or it was mostly talking? I would love to hear of your experiences with it. Thank you Mary and yes I agree - very helpful advice from Carmela and I have definitely taken it on board! I am lucky in that I have a very supportive family and friends I can call on when I need to. I was enjoying going to the library and read when I can but don't seem to have much time for this lately. I also started gym with a friend so this has been good when I get the time to go.

    Hi SupportiveWife, the counselling looked at repairing many facets of our relationship and intimacy was one of them. The sessions were a mix of talking and activities - one of one with the counsellor and together as a couple. I recall two activities that were the 'aha' moment or lightbulb if you like.

    We were asked to list all the activities we used to love doing together, and another was a list of the reasons why we married. The lists were completed separately; then we were asked to share them. I remember crying, almost grieving at how we had BOTH neglected each other. I always thought it was one sided - my husband's fault. For the first time in many years, I saw my husband trying to understand and process what had been uncovered.

    We both acknowledged that saving our marriage was important, and it would take the two of us to do it, which meant revisiting those lists and see the beauty in our struggle. As strange as it may sound, there was beauty, as the pain we felt, provided us with the lessons and opportunities to grow. It was with the counsellor and her gentle approach, this was revealed.

    The key to the counselling is baby steps. The counsellor was fully aware of my husband's background and the years of depression.