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Depressed husband. What shall I do for the best?

(19 Posts)
MammaBearonstrike Sun 15-Jun-14 20:28:33

This is my first post but I have lurked for a while and feel that Mumsnet will be able to provide some level headed advice.

DH was diagnosed with depression whilst I was pregnant with DD1, triggered by worry and lack of work (he's freelance). We went through Hell but eventually ADs were a huge help, work picked up, everything was fine again, DH came off the ADs and he was a wonderful father and supportive husband.

Fast forward two years and we moved house (a week after DD2 was born due to house chain nightmare) and DH's work dried up again so he sunk into depression once more. Once again I was completely supportive, albeit totally exhausted due to a very hungry breastfed baby and an unsettled toddler who refused (and still does) to sleep. I recognised the signs that DH needed professional help, I managed to shield our DDs from the anger and tears etc and I sorted out urgent childcare so I could take DH to the doctor. Five months on and I'm still exhausted ( DDs don't sleep and DH is on sleeping pills so can't help) and we don't have relatives nearby who can help me to have the full night's sleep I so urgently need. Anyway, DH still doesn't have any work although he's on ADs that are making him more proactive so he his surviving on a daily basis and getting "stuff" done but he's not doing nearly enough to find a job. He's been on the waiting list for NHS counselling for four months now (we cannot afford private) and although I'm positive this will really help him, he refuses to chase it because he insists he is fine now. He certainly is not fine. He used to always be a fun, spontaneous, relaxed and generally content person (but also seriously moody and a big worrier) and now he is angry, loud, impatient and generally nasty.

My predicament is that I don't know how much more I can take of DH shouting at my baby and two year old. Most of the time he's in an awful mood and generally ignores DDs or is just grumpy but other times he is "funny daddy" and plays with them in a manic over-stimulating at the wrong time kind of way then he yells at them for being "naughty" (DD2 is only 7 months). I'm just so confused and worried/stressed/sad/lonely. I simply don't know how to handle this for the best. I can see that DH is nowhere near as well as he claims he is but we've just had another blazing row because he thinks I'm having a go at him. He hates me and now blames his depression on me, even though I have stood by him for years now when many people wouldn't have. I really want us to have a civil discussion about helping his depression, finding a way for me to have a break/sleep away from him and the kids and working out how to save our marriage. However, he takes everything I say negatively and refuses to admit that he is not fine. I cannot go on like this but to start divorce proceedings when he is unwell and there are children involved just seems wrong. Please help!

LEMmingaround Sun 15-Jun-14 20:43:18

It is so hard. I suffer from depression and the impact on dp has been massive. Is the work situation causing money worries or are you covered. That is a massive insidious worry but there is help available if you are struggling with repayments. Might you qualify for tax credits? Your accountant can help you claim. Cpuld you go back to work and him be sahd for a bit. I can't work when im depressed but many can and for lots its better to be busy.

Im sorry but his depression is no excuse for shouting at the babies. I try my best not to let it impact on my children although i do snap at times but sll parents have times when thier patience is tried

LEMmingaround Sun 15-Jun-14 20:45:04

Four months is a long time to wait for counselling. He should ring them and ask where he is in the queue . It may speed thi gs up

MammaBearonstrike Sun 15-Jun-14 20:59:31

Thanks for your replies. The depression is definitely caused by financial worries but DH also has underlying confidence issues that are now surfacing in a huge way (which is why I'm sure counselling will help). He is definitely happier/more normal on the odd days he does work. He is quite a traditional proud man who wants to do the best for his family. We have been to the CAB and now receive tax credits. I start a new part-time job in a couple of weeks but DH doesn't think it's a good idea that he provides the childcare as it will prevent him getting another job, which potentially pays more than mine.

LEMmingaround Sun 15-Jun-14 21:03:55

I hear where he is coming from but if you are only to be working part time then if he gets work then you can organise child care between you. Him and possibly a cm. It wont stop him getting another job. It might stop him from falling further into a rut.

MammaBearonstrike Sun 15-Jun-14 21:47:11

That is still an option LEMmingaround but TBH, I don't think DH could cope on his own with DDs all day. But my real problem is how much more can I take of a marriage with no emotional or practical support from DH? I know he is ill but he could be depressed forever. How do I know how long to stick around before it affects my own mental health and the happiness of my DDs?

LEMmingaround Sun 15-Jun-14 21:50:12

Tbh if he is not seeking help then I would be considering my options.

Char1612 Sun 15-Jun-14 21:56:41

Hi MammaBearonstrike,

I am sorry to hear what you have been going through but it is very similar to my life right now. It seems you have been far more patient than what I have been.

Am I able to share my life story as it were with you (I didn't just want to jump on your post without asking?)

Iwasinamandbunit Sun 15-Jun-14 22:33:24

Is there any charity that offers counselling for free or at a reduced rate?

I have had years of counselling with two lots of therapy lasting for a year on the NHS. I am now getting counselling for free from a Charity and this particular counsellor is the best so far, probably because I'm ready for this but also we just clicked.

My DH has stuck by me and tbh I can be very ill at times and have required hospitalisation. However he knows I do try, I take my meds and I do everything I'm asked by all the MH professionals.

He did know I had problems as I was honest and told him when we started dating. So I guess he sort of knew there could be trouble ahead. The very worst incident was after the birth of our first child and I had a full blown psychotic incident that I have no recollection of whatsoever.

I used to work with a woman whose BF had depression, he refused to get any help whatsoever. I see another poster who has depression is saying consider your options about leaving, I have to agree with her/him.

Couples can get through MH issues and still have decent relationships but even the half of us that is ill has to be co operative as best we can.There are days I can't leave my bed and I'm very apologetic to DH about this. I don't have depression though which is what your DH sounds like he has so don't fully understand what he is going through.

MammaBearonstrike Mon 16-Jun-14 06:19:16

Iwasinamandbunit - I am sorry you have been through such terrible times but you sound like an amazingly strong person to manage to be so honest with your husband.

Char1612 - Please do share your story. I'd appreciate it.

LEMmingaround - DH says he will chase the counselling session today so I'm going to wait and see if he does. I'd like to support him through the counselling but the more time that passes, the more anger (on both sides) builds up. I'm going to get in touch with MIND or perhaps DH's doctor to try and get support for myself so I can deal with this without crying and getting angry with DH.

lifesavingnoodles Mon 16-Jun-14 06:31:37

i suffer with depression too..... the way i have felt most supported by my DH is with the little positive comments.

You look gorgeous today ( said with sincerity not sarcasm)
do you remember that day on the beach (positive memories)

little positive actions

I saw this today and it reminded me of you
i bought this for you today ( a cream cake) i thought you might enjoy it.

little offers of help

do you need me to help you with anything today?
what is worrying you today?
do you need to talk?


he was fantastic

MammaBearonstrike Mon 16-Jun-14 13:09:12

Your DH sounds lovely and I hope you are feeling better. I have tried consciously to be kind but I'm usually met with indifference or hostility and then I get angry and say nasty things, which I feel awful about. We're just not connecting on any level and I miss my husband. It sounds ridiculous but I feel like I'm grieving for him.

lifesavingnoodles Tue 17-Jun-14 10:38:19

mamma i see that, but you have to remember, as hard as it is for you to get to grips with its hard for him to.

Its like being lost inside yourself.... everything is too much.

i have to say that DH got the sharp end of my tongue sometimes when he asked those supportive questions, but he kept coming back, becuase he knew the real me was still inside the horrid nasty depression.

stick with him, it will get better

gildedcage Tue 17-Jun-14 18:37:40

Can I just say that your happiness and mental health also matter. As someone who is also going through this it feels like I'm staring into a black hole...no one can tell you how long this will last and if he hasn't even started counselling it will be a long while yet.

Personally I have been off work for 2 months the stress of dealing with my husband's depression, three little children, a professional job and doing literally everything at home eventually got too much. I'm waiting for counselling now to help me. I could cope with everything but feeling alone and grieving your relationship while your husband is still in the same room...but just not there ifykwim just got too much.

I've run out of cheeks to turn and I'm now in the same position as you whereby I am questioning whether I even love him anymore. I will watch your thread with interest as I'm keen to see if you can get the connection back when you have been through this.

Sadly I don't think that I'm good enough to keep it up. I wish you the best.

MammaBearonstrike Tue 17-Jun-14 22:02:45

Gildedcage - your situation sounds really tough and I'm sorry you feel like giving up. I totallysympathise with the exhaustion of doing everything in the household and not even having your partner there emotionally to help.

I guess I am still lucky at the moment in that DH and I still have "good" days, in a functional way rather than loving/emotional so I do hope that things can still improve for us.

Soopermum1 Fri 20-Jun-14 22:37:44

watching with interest. Dh has been on anti depressants for the last month or so and is waiting for CBT. we're booked in at relate for Thursday but it's so hard, our marriage is hanging by a thread. I don't know how much of his behavior is the depression and how much is him being a wanker. it's difficult to differentiate brteen the two and I suppose time will tell if we make it that far. I feel like I am not allowed to speak my mind, everything I say and do that involves disagreeing with him stresses him out.

HourByHour Sun 22-Jun-14 22:58:11

I've considered starting a very similar thread many times over the past few weeks. DH has had problems with anxiety on a few occasions over the years I have known him, the last time was eight years ago. Since April he has been getting help for severe depression with anxiety.
I know it is the illness, but he denies how ill he is, argues about taking medication and accuses me of ganging up on him whenever we have a meeting with his Dr because I agree that he isn't fit for work. All he talks about is getting back to work, not getting better or fixing things with me and the kids.

So I am also really struggling to remain supportive whilst being effectively a single parent, a carer and feeling so lonely - DH has vanished and left a person I don't recognise. He shows no signs of caring for me and struggles to pay attention to our three DCs.

DH is about to go onto statuatory sick pay so we will be living on our savings. If I was to leave then there is no chance he'd get better without my support, I earn next to nothing self-employed in school hours, he isn't fit to help with childcare and he wouldn't be able to earn.... So I feel trapped and guilty for even considering leaving someone I am supposed to love when they are ill. I feel dreadful even just writing this but I do often feel like running away, it does help to hear others are in the same position.

SO... I would love to offer useful advice but unfortunately I don't have much. Sometimes I just feel it is easier to pretend a lot of it isn't happening e.g. when I go to pick the DCs up from school. I've started a diary so that if I ever do need to remind myself of how bad/good it's been then I can look back and I can vent my feelings. Maybe writing down some of the reasons/problems/evidence could be a starting point for you talking to your DH, even just to organise your own thoughts?
I really feel for you, and would say take your time so you can be as sure as you can be that you are making the right decision and try not to feel guilty.

SilverStars Mon 23-Jun-14 19:19:48

Hi - would it help if your dh was not freelance, so had a regular weekly work pattern and salary. As you say financial concerns seem to be a contributing factor to both epsiodes he has suffered. So is there a way he can change how he works. Also a permanent job may provide sick pay which is helpful.

WhoWillIBeToday Fri 04-Jul-14 18:22:36

My thoughts go out to all of you struggling with a depressed DH/partner. Mine's been on the depression roller-coaster for 6 years, or is it 7? Takes his meds, sees a counsellor and a psychiatrist regularly. I thought things were picking up but he crashed again a couple of days ago. I feel so helpless, I don't really understand how he feels, he rejects my kindness and support (am I doing it wrong?) and is generally angry with and about everything and everybody.

I'm sorry I don't have anything useful to contribute. Many people cope with, actively manage, or even escape from depression altogether, but you need luck to find the most effective treatment for a person early on. Their attitude towards their illness and its cause are also significant.

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