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Depressed husband- I can’t hold it together

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Depressed husband- I can’t hold it together

Postby hopesanddreams » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:06 pm

I’m new here. Looking for some advice and support about my husband. He has had depression and anxiety for many years, as long as I’ve known him (about 15 years). He has had his ups and downs over the years, and I vowed on our wedding day that I would stand by him in sickness and health. But I feel like each time he has an extreme low it breaks me down a bit further an it is wearing away at my positivity and strength. I am finding it harder to stay strong and keep going and bounce back each time. I feel like I can’t tell him how much it hurts me because that just adds pressure to how he is feeling and he already feels that I’d be better off without him. But I can’t help but feel angry/resentful that he keeps having massive mood swings on dates that are important to me (like my birthday, or Christmas or anniversary etc). I can put up with the highs and lows of daily life but it seems like on the odd occasion that I plan something really nice for myself with my friends or family that things will blow up. It stops me wanting to plan anything.i don’t include him in my plans anymore because he always used to drop out at the last minute and has made it clear he doesn’t enjoy doing the things that I do. I am always making excuses for him and lying to friends and family so they don’t think badly of him but it’s really getting to me. We are planning to have a family and I can’t help but think what if he does this to our children as well. I wouldn’t mind but he won’t even accept any help or treatment, I’ve been trying for years. He thinks that that’s s***** life that he’s been dealt and he’s just got to get on with it.

I feel guilty even just writing this. Like if he read it he would be devastated. It’s so hard to differentiate between what is him and what is his illness. Sometimes I feel angry because it seems like he’s being selfish. And other times I think I am not being empathetic enough and I should support him through whatever he is going through, even though he takes it out on me.

I don’t really know what i even want you to say, just to know I’m not alone really...

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Re: Depressed husband- I can’t hold it together

Postby lucym » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:18 pm

Oh hopes,

You’re not alone. Firstly, you’ve really been going through it and you needed a place to come and say how you feel and that’s what this forum is for, so personally I’m really pleased you’ve spoken out. Secondly, your emotions are important too and this is a first step in recognising that. By that I mean as your role in supportive wife, you need to take care of yourself too.

It’s only natural to worry about those things, and guilting yourself will make you feel worse about it. You’re trying to be practical and think about some really tough things while you try to support him. As someone who has a depressed partner, you need to know he’s only going to get help when he recognises that he’s in charge of that. You can’t make it happen, so don’t make yourself feel bad for not being able to come up with a magic solution.

Remember, his mood swings will be a symptom of depression. It’s likely that the timing of them will be do do with anxiety of having to deal with an event, see people etc and that could bring up a lot of anxiety. Again it’s only natural for you to feel disappointed when it happens but hopefully that might help you feel a bit more patience.

I hope that’s helpful, from one to another xx

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Re: Depressed husband- I can’t hold it together

Postby amaya » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:14 am

You need support for yourself, because living with someone with a serious mental health condition means that you will get very worn down. It is a little like being a carer. I would suggest talking to the GP or a CAB group about whether there is listening support for you available anywhere in your area.

He needs to get medical support for himself. You cannot control what he chooses to do about this, but if his depression and anxiety are having such a big impact on your lives then he needs to take responsibility for reaching out to get the help that he needs. It might not be his fault that he is struggling, life does deal some people a hand that causes these things. But what is down to him is how he responds. The right thing for him to do is to look after himself and his relationship with you by asking for support. The difficulty is that depression makes it hard to reach out for the help, I think withdrawing from the pain by not dealing with it and feeling so low about yourself that you don't believe you can be helped are both symptoms of the illness. So this advice from me needs to be talked about with him in a very kind way or he won't be able to tolerate it.

Maybe you could both go to the GP together.

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Re: Depressed husband- I can’t hold it together

Postby fozzie » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:58 pm

I really admire you that you are hanging in there even though your husband is not having treatment. That gives hope that things could improve if/when he does. I've been with my husband for over 30 years now and he was diagnosed with depression about 17 years ago. I was lucky that it was not too difficult to persuade him to seek help, the doctor was great and his medication worked well. I changed careers and became the major breadwinner so he was able to do part time jobs and look after the kids. Then I started getting depression/anxiety through the work and he decided to get a 'proper' job again so that could work part time or change careers, which I did and found a job with less money but which I am very happy in. I didn't realise it but the pressure of work and/or possibly a mixture of his medications for different conditions began a gradual slide for him into much worse depression than before. I can't believe that I didn't realise it was happening until his behaviour became so dramatic that it was really obvious. He was having incredible rages becoming angry about the strangest things. When he broke down and described being in a deep dark hole that only I could help him out of, I realised it was depression and I persuaded him to see the Gp. There he denied that it was anything to do with depression but said that the kids and I were lazy, that our house was a mess and he had to do everything. She seemed to believe him and suggested that we go to Relate but also gave him details of the mental health services for self-referral. He was told he couldn't do both types of counselling at the same time and he desperately needed for me to be part of the problem so we went to Relate for a few months. It did improve things somewhat and his rages stopped. It helped me and the kids find a better way to approach him and he us. But he forgot about getting counselling for the depression and things started to slide again. Every weekend was an ordeal, my 50th birthday passed by with barely a glance and the past few christmases have been dreadful so I now volunteer to work so there's less 'holiday' to endure. Work has been my saviour and I have very supportive colleagues, some of whom are having similar experiences themselves. He's given up work now which I'm fine with. We can manage just about and at first it seemed like magic. He seemed happy again, taking long walks with the dogs, doing all the diy jobs he'd been too tired or depressed to tackle but weekends are started to get a bit tricky again as the novelty has worn off. I had started to think that Christmas might be okay this year but I'm not holding my breath. There's been several times where I felt that we might split up, though he was the first to suggest it, which upset me an awful lot. The Relate lady scared me a little at our last appointment when she mentioned the possibility too. I'm determined not to give up but he doesn't make it easy to like him sometimes. He's horrible to our kids a lot and is very critical and dislikes that I stick up for them but they are fantastic human beings and it breaks my heart that he doesn't see it. I wish you all the best and hope that your husband gets the help he needs and that your life together improves. Do seek help for yourself. It's hard to find in my experience but the gp is a good place to start. Maybe if he sees you getting support, it might help him take the first step too. I'm going on a 'managing stress' course next weekend as he has accused me of not trying to sort out my problems and blaming everything on him. I'm hopeful that it will be useful and give me techniques to cope with these difficult weekends and holidays. Wish me luck! (Sorry I've gone on a bit)

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Re: Depressed husband- I can’t hold it together

Postby lucym » Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:36 pm

Oh fozzie, I really feel for you. some of this sounds pretty familiar as well.
It sounds like you're working really hard to keep things together for you and your family.
I normally don't try to say things that include 'shoulds' but I think your husband really needs to get proper help with his depression. From what you've written, you are getting the brunt of it and relate appears to be only doing half a job. If you don't want to stop going to relate, and I totally understand why if it doesn't feel right (to stop that is) then would he consider going to a private counsellor?

Of course as amaya said above, it is his responsibility to deal with it. You can't fix him and it sounds like your quality of life, and your kids, is really suffering at the same time. Of course he's not choosing the emotions he's feeling, but he can express them in a way that doesn't make you and your children feel so bad.

However, it doesn't sound like that is going to happen very soon, as he seems to be pushing 'blame' on to you. Not that there is any blame - perhaps he's fearful of his own emotions and facing up to them- it can be really scary to admit that there's a problem, especially one so long standing. My partner has suggested we break up in his darkest moments, and this seems to be a pattern in depressed partners for various reasons. In my experience, and I'm not saying it's the same for you, it feels like he's pushing me away but it's because he's struggling to cope with his feelings of low self worth. Maybe the reason the relate councillor suggested a break, was that in your case that a break might do you all some good, and help encourage him to seek help for his depression?- Is that similar to what your Relate councillor said?

My partner also hates it sometimes when I suggest things I think might help- like seeking help on Sane or Calm- mainly because he knows they're already there- and can react quite badly when he's feeling particularly anxious or depressed. There is a certain degree of letting them know you're here for them, but also 'letting them get on with it'- which I know, can feel really hard sometimes when all you want to do is help. Sometimes help comes in the form of allowing them space to feel what they're feeling.
I'm sorry if any of that sounds like enabling him to talk to you like dirt, that's not what I intended. I find it difficult to be concise about this subject matter, as you can imagine. What I'm trying to say is that, of course you have sympathy for his struggle with depression, but you need clear boundaries for you and your kids.

It sounds like you've got an awful lot on your plate so please, please, please look after yourself. Are you seeking counselling for yourself? Remember you're only human and it's natural to find this tough,it is really really tough, but don't think you have to deal with it alone. I hope that's helpful, and not to wordy- look who's going on now! :)

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