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to ask how to deal with depressed dh

(28 Posts)
Ineedhelp510 Sun 04-Jun-17 20:09:48

Posted here for traffic.

Ugh I feel awful tonight. Been with dh for 10 years and we have a 2 year old. When we first got together dh told me he suffered from depression from time to time and it could get really bad (once attempted suicide in his teens). He said he felt it would be a lot for someone to take on but I was adamant it wouldn't be an obstacle for us and we would get through absolutely anything. If I'm completely honest I was very ignorant about depression and how it affects people - I still struggle to fully understand it now. 9 years went by and we were very happy and any episodes of depression were short enough and relatively mild.

However for best part of a year he's been consumed by it. He's just not happy anymore - and I don't know what to do! Hes told me there's no tangible reason for the way he feels but that he's the lowest he's ever been. He doesn't enjoy work or hobbies anymore, doesn't look forward to the weekends, has cut off his family and friends (says me and dc are the only relationships he can handle at the moment) and he just seems to have lost interest in life.

I really am at a loss of what to do. I get that depression is an illness and people can't help it but I'm struggling to cope with it. I keep trying to find a way to fix things by encouraging him to go out with friends or me or arrange holidays - but he's not interested. In fact, he point blank refuses to do anything! It's really putting a strain on our relationship as I'm struggling to see an end to this and I just don't know how to make things better.

Is there anyone out there that can offer some advice? Maybe someone who has suffered from depression or has a loved one who does? He is an introvert and hates talking about feelings. He won't go to get professional helps s just says he's dealing with it if I ask him how I can help. He's brilliant with our dc - it's the only time I ever see him light up.

missiondecision Sun 04-Jun-17 20:12:19

It sounds heart breaking. I don't have any advice sadly. I hope you get some knowledgeable people along soon.

Giraffey1 Sun 04-Jun-17 20:12:50

First question : has he seen his GP?

LottieDoubtie Sun 04-Jun-17 20:13:17

flowers I have no magic answers but I am also there.

I would gently suggest to you that you need to decide where your lines are. For me, it would be that he engages properly with professional help or it's game over.

HandbagCrazy Sun 04-Jun-17 20:14:27

Unfortunately you aren't going to be able to make this better. As you said, it's an illness therefore he needs to see a GP. I know it's hard for him as in his current state, he likely feels that they won't be able to help and I doubt he has any real understanding of the strain he is putting on you.

For now, try and ensure he is eating properly, drinking a lot of water and some mile exercise. All these things have helped me sleep better when I had mild depression which in turn made everything seem more manageable. Then get him to a doctor flowers

gassylady Sun 04-Jun-17 20:18:02

Agree a walk in fresh air each day very helpful perhaps take your son to park. Ideally see GP if he really won't suggest he has a look at "living life to the full" it's a CBT based online self help course. But rum by a respected medical team

Wolfiefan Sun 04-Jun-17 20:18:04

You can't fix it. He can help it. I don't mean in the "pull yourself together" way. I mean in the recognise it's bad and seek treatment way. At my worst I could hardly crawl out of bed. I saw the GP. Took meds and had CBT. I am sooooooo much better now. I still do certain things to keep it at bay. Exercise and getting out the house really helps me. As does planning my week to make sure I can do what I want to do, need to do and routine stuff too.
He needs to seek help.
flowers it's tough to have depression but must be tough to see a loved one go through it too.

PaintingByNumbers Sun 04-Jun-17 20:18:45

you cant fix him. he is not your responsibility. he needs to see his gp if he needs medical help, or not, and not impact on your relationship. I know that sounds harsh but you will be the next victim of depression if you dont detach from this. I dont mean you have to split up (but you can if you want, it isnt necessary to stay just because you once said you could cope) but you must focus on you, self care, your support network, not on him. if he refuses to get help, he is making that choice.

Eatingcheeseontoast Sun 04-Jun-17 20:20:12

I don't think it's fair of him not to get help and it's OK for you to say that. It's an apalling strain on you to deal with this if he won't get help.

My DH is being treated for depression, seeing the GP, on medication staying in touch with friends, we're leaning heavily on his family for support, and exercising regularly.

I'm still finding it an awful strain. I'd honestly have made it a condition of staying together that he did all that. I also read up about depression and found that really useful.

You have to take care of yourself too,.

Love51 Sun 04-Jun-17 20:23:18

I've had really bad depression, when I was married but before we had kids. It took me an unfeasibly long time to recognise it as depression, and it was getting worse the whole time. If he acknowledges it, you need to make seeing the GP your deal breaker. Yeah, he might get better without drugs. But not quickly. Or he might not get better.
When ill, I missed a gp appointment when I had nothing else to do that day, I'm not unsympathetic and I'm not saying don't help him. Take a days leave to go with him if thats what he needs But he needs to appreciate (not get all guilty, just realise) that this impacts on all of you, and he needs to commit to treatment to get better. This means meds, counselling / therapy and exercise. All of them. Not unlikely, with an ultimatum, but actually, if he doesn't do these things, he is making the relationship untenable. Also, make sure you have some time for yourself (use childcare!) - he may have to exist and not live, but you don't have to, you are allowed to have fun!

smithin Sun 04-Jun-17 20:23:46

He needs professional help. The only thing that you can do is try to get him in a routine, get up, eat and sleep at the same time each day. Also exercise (walking) helps. This is not a cure against depression but there is some evidence that this shortens the depression. Basically you try to keep the body's hormones in a biological rythm.

Love51 Sun 04-Jun-17 20:28:08

I notice I've crossed posted with several other 'exercise' people. I joined a team as I was less likely to decide not to do it if I was letting people down. It really helps change the structure if your brain, and prevents relapse. Wishing you both the best of luck!

Ineedhelp510 Sun 04-Jun-17 20:48:16

He's completely refusing to get help - he won't go to a gp as he doesn't want to take pills and he won't consider counselling as he says it won't work for him. Not that he's ever tried.

Mil was on the phone to him in tears last week begging him not to cut them out. He's definitely aware that his behaviour is affecting those around him but if we talk about it he just says he's sorry. He seems numb to absolutely everything around him except our dc.

He goes running a couple of times a week and has just done a half marathon. It did seem to help a bit at first but that was short lived. He used to go running a lot, love travelling, playing instruments and going out with friends but now he doesn't do anything. He's happiest when in bed doing nothing or watching Netflix. He doesn't even enjoy food any more - never eats proper meals.

It's so sad. I miss him. Next week we're going to visit my family who live really far away but last time we visited he just locked himself in the bedroom for most of the time pretending to be ill. I'm worried it'll be a repeat (hes always got on brilliantly with them).

I do have sympathy for him but I'm starting to find it tougher to fight the anger. Especially as he won't get help. He knows if it goes on we won't last and keeps saying he's dealing with it. Thanks to everyone that replied - it is nice to know there are people who have learnt to cope with this illness I just wish he'd listen and seek help.

HundredMilesAnHour Sun 04-Jun-17 20:48:44

He really needs professional help. It sounds like he's clinically depressed and is past the point where exercise etc may help. I've been there and I feel for him. Is he aware that depression can be caused by a chemical imbalance? He needs to see his GP as a starting point. Anti-depressants are horrible (side effects can be pretty grim) but sometimes they are the only way to get someone back on an even enough keel to allow them to then think about exercise, talking therapies etc and taking other steps to manage the depression.

If he's not willing to seek help for himself, will he do it for you and/or your DC? He's clearly not dealing with it and you might have to show him some tough love and tell him just how badly it's impacting you and your DC.

I've struggled with depression since my teens (never realised what it was back then) and there have been good patches and bad patches but overall I was on a long slide downhill that I just couldn't fix myself. A relationship breakdown combined with the pressures of a stressful job and no support network meant I pretty much had a nervous breakdown and was off sick for several years. I finally got some help (I was lucky in that I had a very supportive employer with good private health insurance) and I turned my life around. The techniques I learnt (CBT and others) have stayed with me. I am much more open about my feelings, and I met some amazing people who were having a much more sh*t time than me! I turned my life around but I couldn't have done it without professional help.

user1471462115 Sun 04-Jun-17 20:50:02

Low vitamin d levels make depression worse as it has a role in serotonin production and serotonin is the brain chemical that is low when we are depressed.

Would he start with a blood test to check vitamin d and iron and the normal other stuff that is checked by a blood test

I totally agree with other posters who say that depression is not his fault, but refusing to get help is totally his fault and he MUST go and see his GP

GetOrfMyBin Sun 04-Jun-17 20:54:09

I don't know what to suggest to you, as I'm in the same situation. My DH has had depression for years and has tried different meds. He was most recently on an old style antidepressant, I think it was Trazadone.

My dad committed suicide near the end of April (we had no warning signs anything was wrong at all) and my DH stopped taking him medication. Cold turkey. I am so cross with him as it was a high dose and it's so dangerous to do that but he didn't want to continue taking them. He'd already started slipping back in to sleeping in the day again and they weren't being effective really, but now he's on nothing. He won't do CBT either.

Sorry for hijacking your thread. I suppose all I can offer is to say that if you can go with him that may help. Also take time for you and seek counselling if needed. It is very tough to have to deal with a situation such as this and can be extremely wearing.

I hope he gets the help he needs flowers

PacificDogwod Sun 04-Jun-17 20:54:31

I am so sorry you are in this situation thanks

YOU cannot make him better, you just can't, nobody can.
Please accept that you are quite powerless in this situation.
You cannot change him or his behaviour, all you can do is change your response to his behaviour. So, for instance, if he pointblank refuses to seek help and his illness is making all of your lives miserable, tell him once: "I love you, but I cannot live like this. I am worried about you. It is your illness talking that prevents you from seeking help. I want to help you find a way towards recovery, but I will leave with our child unless you see your GP by whatever-date. I will come with you if that is helps you or not if you'd rather go alone."
Once. And then have somewhere to go lines up if he still does not go.
Stay in contact with him.
It is his illness and needs to be his recovery.

You can contact his GP yourself, bearing in mind that his GP cannot tell you anything (but can listen to your concerns) and cannot go an visit anybody against their wishes.

annandale Sun 04-Jun-17 20:55:45

He is not dealing with it, it is dealing with him.

Make a plan to go and live elsewhere - untreated depression is a horrible environment for kids. Then tell him he either sees his gp and complies with treatment or you are off. His illness, his choice but you have to live your life too.

The illness will do pretty much anything to keep him away from help, so yes, make him a gps appointment and go with him. If he absolutely refuses to go, keep the appointment yourself and inform them of his deterioration.

Ronnyhotdog Sun 04-Jun-17 21:18:01

Getting out of the house everyday if even just for 5min helped me so much, a quick walk in the park, across the rd to the bit of grass with a bench and back, it all helped. The thing is when you are that low even that seems impossible.
Just knowing dh was there, asking if he could do anything but not being overly concerned or asking why because then the guilt kicks in.
I have a little set of mantras I say in my head while taking deep breaths, gives my mind a moment of peace.
The biggest thing though is my medication and cbt but he needs to decide to seek the help himself.
He will get through this and he'll be grateful for you just being there even if it doesn't seem that way at the moment.
It must be so hard to be on the other side of this, take care of yourself too.

BellyBean Sun 04-Jun-17 21:35:14

He needs treatment. Even in the darkness of depression, he can understand he's being selfish.

He needs to see the GP to understand his options.

Ineedhelp510 Sun 04-Jun-17 21:35:18

Thank you for the supportive responses - and also to everyone sharing their own experiences. It's helpful to hear what others are going though and what's helped. It's also interesting to know I can contact the gp myself with my concerns - this hasn't occurred to me.

It's going to take a lot to get him to budge on getting help. I will keep trying and definitely bring up a blood test - I feel that would be more achievable to start with. Sadly I have already thought about what I'd do/where we'd go if I left him but it's definitely not time for that just yet.

Mellifera Sun 04-Jun-17 21:37:03

He needs professional help.

I have suffered from depression a few times and only the first time I was blase about not wanting tablets.

I did go to therapy but still slid into clinical depression, it was horror. So tablets for a year and therapy sorted it.

Next time 8 years later I recognised the symptoms early, went on the (same) tablets immediately and started therapy. Much quicker results.

I have a family, it's not fair to submit them to my illness without doing anything to get help. I didn't cause my depression, and I don't feel guilty, but hell yes I'd feel guilty if I didn't do anything to make me feel better.

You need to look after yourself. Tell him how you feel and that you want him to get better but can't fix him, he needs to get over his refusal of tablets and therapy. If he had a broken leg he'd take painkillers and let himself be operated on.
Tell him the kids will be affected by his behaviour, it's not fair on them either.

minifingerz Sun 04-Jun-17 21:37:17

He is ill and needs to see a doctor for treatment.

Try to get him to go.

Blossomdeary Sun 04-Jun-17 21:50:12

He is ill and needs help. No amount of running, dieting etc will get rid of this - he MUST see the doctor.

Many people with depression do not have insight into what is really happening and the effects on their families.

Go and talk to the GP yourself - I did this with my OH - they cannot discuss the patient directly with you but the can listen and advise about the symptoms and the steps to take.

PacificDogwod Sun 04-Jun-17 22:22:34

"Sell' him seeing his GP by suggesting a possible physical cause for how bad he is feeling, something like ?underactive thyroid.
Sadly, even today, men still struggle to seek help for a MH problem.
If you let his GP know your concerns before he attends, they will stir the conversation in the right direction.

I don't think that anybody here is saying a blithe 'LTB', but a period of separation for you and him may spur him in to action. And you AND your DCs may well need a bit of time to recover from living with somebody in the throes of depression.

Look after yourself thanks

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