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Is there a thread on here for support for wives and girlfriends of people suffering from depression/anxiety?

(158 Posts)
Biancadelriosback Sun 13-Jan-19 17:42:51

I know this is self centred of me but it's really difficult! DH has some days where he cant handle being around us. He isn't a dick, he is really depressed. When DS is having a tantrum or just being a difficult 2yo, sometimes DH just can't do it. He's burst into tears over nothing. Some days I spend my whole day being a mum, and looking after him. I can't rest. When there is housework to be done, he can so easily lose his shit over nothing and he gets so worked up that I have to send him away and do it myself.
He hates himself for this. I know he has had suicidal thoughts. He's been to the drs for help and he keeps getting fobbed off and given a number to call for CBT, he did and is now waiting on them to schedule his first session...he's been waiting for over 2 months. It eats away at him that he can't enjoy things anymore. He gets so worked up and stressed when we try to do something that he just breaks down.

I'm at breaking point. I'm exhausted. I've got a false smile plastered on my face at all times because if I'm having a bad day, it sets DH off. I am trying to keep things normal for DS but it's crushing. Last night I told DH I was going for a bath, but really I sat on the floor of the bathroom and drank a bottle of wine.

But DH needs support and help. I love him so powerfully and I know he loves me the same. He hates what he is doing to us which sends him on a downward spiral if he knows I'm upset. He never blames me and tries to hold as much in as he can but then it explodes out.

I just want to make happy memories (I know we all hate this phrase on here), when I look back at photos I don't want to be reminded of the struggle we had just to leave the house. DH won't speak to family or friends about it, he doesn't want to look weak, he doesn't want to show how much he is struggling. He says he feels emasculated.

I'm so scared I'm going to lose him, but I'm also worried I'm going to fail and ruin DSs childhood. I feel so helpless

Satwatchinganotherswimlesson Sun 13-Jan-19 18:27:47

I’m a long time lurker and joined to reply to this. My husband had always suffered from underlying mental health issues, however this significantly worsened about 2 years ago. It’s has been awful. I looked for support groups for partners and couldn’t find one.

At its worst I felt like I was trying to rescue a person who was drowning and they were dragging me under with them. I was lucky and had a friend who had been through similar. The best thing she said was “it’s not my fault”. Whenever he was really upset he would try and blame me. I now reflect this back and tell him that it’s not my fault and he feels like that because of his depression etc.

We were lucky enough to be able to pay for some private intervention that significantly helped. My husband didn’t want the online course provided by the nhs or a group session. The turning point for him getting help was me breaking down in tears and telling him how miserable he was making us all. That I loved him and needed him to get help.

I’m not sure what the point of my post is. I just want you to know you aren’t alone. Living with someone with mental health issues is bloody hard work, especially when you can’t share it with anyone you know in real life.

We are having more good days than bad now. We are both better at understanding what makes it worse (lack of sleep, poor diet, no quiet time) and things that improve it (swimming and walking).

Things will get better. He needs to recognise he needs more help that you can offer alone. It’s such a common illness now that he will find lots of people he knows have experienced it. Make sure you take measures to protect yourself.

avocadoincident Sun 13-Jan-19 18:30:09

I'd like to be on this thread please

PurpleWithRed Sun 13-Jan-19 18:40:40

DH has suffered from depression and anxiety for most of the time I’ve known him: we are lucky in that his profession and his previous military experience are increasingly focused on mental health issues; it’s OK for him to talk about issues to his colleagues and he has had access to support. That said, it’s not always been the right support for him. He has also found a GP who he feels gets him.

I work a little in this field too and know that one thing that really helps is finding someone - a gp, a counsellor, a therapist, a charity worker, anyone - who they feel understand them.

Even with his self awareness and his determination that his health won’t impact on our life we have very difficult days.

Like Satwatching says, recognition that external help is needed for all your sakes is important. Do not attempt to soak this all up yourself, he is still capable of seeking out help on his own behalf. flowers to those of you in so much a harder place than I am.

Liberated71 Sun 13-Jan-19 18:49:49

As someone who has experienced depression and who's partner is currently battling anxiety and depression I'd like to stress the importance of medication alongside other interventions. It can take a while to either take effect or find the right type and dosage but I wish I'd taken it earlier than I did.

RolandDeschainsGilly Sun 13-Jan-19 18:57:27

DP has depression, anxiety and is pretty much house bound due to an injury. He is on a lot of meds which he takes on time, all the time, has done CBT and other therapies and sees a Psych once a month. He does most of the house work, cooking etc. He actually enjoys it and says it gives him a sense of accomplishment because he can do it and he can do it well (because he can’t work at the moment - he’s always worked and it crippled him having to leave his job but he was suicidal and I was fucking terrified of losing him, he’s evened off a lot since he’s left.)

I also have depression, anxiety, ADD and I’m medicated. I’m a full time University student. My funding has changed due to DP not working any more and we’re just about scraping by but my course is what keeps me going, and I will have decent salary when I’ve finished.

I’m mild to moderately mentally ill at the moment and he’s severe. When I was severe and he had no MH issues he took such good care of me and I’m trying to reciprocate that now. I can’t stand to see him suffer the way he does and I bloody wish it was me instead.

CardinalWigwamTommy Sun 13-Jan-19 19:26:19

My husband has been suffering with depression and anxiety since a breakdown four years ago. He had a second breakdown in September last year. The main reason was due to him hating his job. But the depression takes over everything and seeps into every aspect of his life now.
It is utterly exhausting. It feels like his depression is contagious. If he is having a happy day, I feel happy and positive. But if he is having a bad day, I just crumble and can't cope. My happiness is completely dependant on his mood. It just zaps the happiness and enjoyment out of everything in our life.
I feel like his depression is a black cloud over our family. Sometimes the cloud lifts and disappears, but it always comes back.
He's told me in the past that he has felt suicidal. So I'm always worried about him having another breakdown and taking his life.

I hope anyone out there reading this and feels the same realises they're not alone. It is a very lonely place to be especially if you can't talk to anyone about it in real life.

Huntlybyelection Sun 13-Jan-19 19:31:45

My DH has had battles with depression and anxiety for a good 9 years now. Longer really.

I find it difficult always having to be the strong one. Always.

Any time I need support we end up talking about him which he claims is him showing empathy but really, it's a selfish trait of his anxiety. It means I never get support.

Any Time he is low or anxious he's like a bear with a sore head and expects it to be ok because it's his anxiety. He refuses to accept that it's not ok. He expects it to be something we work around.

I'm just tired. Of being the strong one. Of being the support. Of being the one who carries the burden of looking after everyone.

Ohanami Sun 13-Jan-19 19:49:28

I've never seen anything similar, but it would be a wonderful help at the moment.

Dh has mild but persistent depression. He's been noticeably better since taking medication and doing a couple of courses of counselling through work, but still tips over the edge when something triggers him (and there are many things that do). He's not in a good place at the moment - Brexit affects his job significantly, there are some rumbling issues with his family that have resurfaced recently, and his current job is extremely stressful (from what he says there are a number of his colleagues struggling with depression and anxiety and the work environment isn't helping). The stress/anxiety is building at the moment and he's irritable, angry, verbally aggressive, sad, hopeless... he can go hours or days without anything prompting an outburst, but when he starts he's just awful. We suspect he has undiagnosed OCD as well so living in a small house with small children and busy lives means he doesn't have the quiet, clear space he needs to clear his head, or if he does go out running or walking it'll be leaving me with yet more of the responsibility for keeping things going.

He wants to see his current project through to completion, but that won't be until the end of the year and I'm worried our marriage won't last that long.

I want to support him - and I see the person I married trapped under the surface- but at the same time he can be downright nasty when he kicks off. If I saw my children in a similar relationship I'd encourage them to leave. But I don't want to give up on him.

30birthdayholiday Sun 13-Jan-19 20:35:47

Yes I would like to join this thread too.

My DH suffers from depression and anxiety, and is very stressed with work.

He is seeing a therapist and it seems to be helping, but it's bringing to the surface lots of hidden feelings from his childhood that he is working through, which is tough.

Like others, his mood affects us all. I find myself tiptoeing around him, scared of what will make him grumpy/ angry again. He can be a right joy-sponge at times. Nice to have someone to talk to about him.

Biancadelrioisback Sun 13-Jan-19 20:45:22

Brexit has nearly ruined us and it hasn't even happened yet. DHs job will be put to the ultimate test after Brexit and there is a good chance he will lose his job. If that happens we will lose our house. The pressure is on. It's basically been the catalyst that caused this. I've been begging him to look for something new and we've both found loads of jobs he would be great at, but he can't even write his CV. He can't sell himself when he hates himself so much at the moment. He spends his evenings absorbed in his phone or lying in a dark room. He doesn't have the push to do it and I don't know what else I can do. He won't even consider medication either as he doesn't want to put "shit" in his body, he doesn't want to be drugged up or dependent on chemicals. He had a friend who suffered from bipolar and took his own life when he came off the meds so that has scared DH.

The black cloud analysis is so, so true. I am beyond grateful for your responses. I had convinced myself I would get flamed for this. I am so sorry that others are going or have been through this too. I tried to open up to my mum about this but I feel like I'm betraying him.

NolongerAnxiousCarer Sun 13-Jan-19 20:59:46

Try googling mental health carer support in your area. It took me years to realise this applied to me, but I've now find a local charity that provide support for people who support their family/friends with mental health problems. The service I use is commissioned by our local authority and I've found the support amazing, I wish I'd accessed it sooner.

chocolateworshipper Sun 13-Jan-19 21:10:32

I've been on both sides - grew up with a severely depressed Mum, had depression myself, and have a DD who has taken ODs. It's shit, whichever side you sit on. A book which genuinely helped me is "Depressive Illness, The Curse of The Strong" by Dr Tim Cantopher. It really helped me to understand and accept that I had depression, and not to feel weak because I had it. Something else that helped me was realising that there are lots of different ADs - I kept trying different ones until I found those that were right for me.

Biancadelriosback Mon 14-Jan-19 07:50:36

Another bad morning. I slept in by accident which meant that everyone is now late. DH is always exhausted so never wakes up for an alarm, I have to have the lights on, hair dryer going, general getting ready noise for him to get up. DS was sound asleep too and when he does get up, he can't do anything quickly (he's only 2). The end result was everyone rushing about and generally in bad moods. DH is in such a mood, he keeps putting his head in his hands and just shaking.

I miss my full of life DH. The one who always had me laughing and was able to support me too. Like PP says, every time we talk about how I feel, he turns it back around to being about him.

FlashingLights101 Mon 14-Jan-19 08:09:22

I don't have a lot of time to reply, but just wanted to say my dh has been suffering with anxiety for a year or so now (actually longer, I think it's a general character trait of his to be hard on himself, but it's been severe for the last 18 months) to the point when he was so crippled with self doubt and the inability to see he wasn't completely shit at everything, it was really hard to watch. Eventually he went to the docs and was prescribed anti depressants and the difference has been amazing. He still has those thoughts, but he is able to take a step back from it now and work through them in his head and rationalise the thoughts and not become totally paralysed.

I would really recommend asking the doc to consider it. I'm sure it won't work for everyone in the same way, but it's worth trying. My dh is so pleased he did and he's back to his old fun self again. He was also recommended CBT but he hasn't got round to calling yet to make.the appointment. I think he will though because he wants to find a way of dealing with it long term that isn't medicated.

BooRadley35 Mon 14-Jan-19 08:30:34

It can be so draining. My partner has had anxiety and depression for years. He tried ADs but had an awful reaction. He takes low dosage diazepam to help with the anxiety. If you can afford to privately pay for therapy i would seriously recommend it. Unfortunately you could be waiting a long time through the NHS.

I understand the stress it causes, always trying to jolly them along, not to say anything that might set them off. A life walking on egg shells is exhausting!

Please please remember that your mental and emotional health is just as important. Depression and anxiety is not a blanket excuse to treat you badly. You can try to help as much as you can but they will always need more support, more time, more energy. This is where you need to set boundaries. I know you love him and want to support him but at some point HE has to take responsibility for his actions and welfare. I have spent countless evenings bawling my eyes out, wondering if i'm selfish to consider leaving but at times it becomes too much. Self care is essential.

I spoke with my partners psychologist. He explained to me that i am my partners 'safe space'. I will take the brunt of his emotions as I am closest to him. He also explained that I need an outlet too. I cannot shoulder the burden of this. If you have anyone in real life you can talk to i urge you to tell them!

ShatnersWig Mon 14-Jan-19 08:44:37

Don't forget there is a mental health section in the forums.

BadlyAgedMemes Mon 14-Jan-19 09:01:30

It's a bit shit, isn't it. :-/ I have my own MH issues, so I have understanding from that side, too, and DH has always stood by me and supported me when I've needed him to, but it doesn't take away the worry and frustration of watching him ill.

He's currently been off work for six weeks. I thought it seemed like things were gradually getting a bit better for him, until the weekend. This morning seems like a particularly bad one again, and he's just gone back to bed. I find myself worrying about leaving him alone, and I'm considering staying in today, as he seems so bad right now. He's seeing his psychiatrist later this week, and I'm just holding on hope that something positive will come out of it.

Usually I'd go through all these worries in my own therapy, and get support, perspective and tips from there, but my therapist has been away most of the past six weeks DH has been struggling.

ItStartedWithAKiss241 Mon 14-Jan-19 09:14:57

Hello, I want to join. DP isn’t depressed (I don’t think) but has anxiety that affects our lives a lot and makes every day living difficult. I also suspect a tad OCD or Aspergers. Unsure of the “regimented” OCD traits and selfish Autism traits are side-effects of the Anxiety? He is starting private therapy ASAP and seems positive about it however feels he only need to go for 6-12 weeks whereas I feel like he should go for the foreseeable future?

Gatehouse77 Mon 14-Jan-19 09:22:35

Yep, DH has depression although he's not had a persistently long bout for ages. After realising that he had to actually employ the CBT techniques rather than simply understanding them on an intellectual basis he improved massively. It was a long, hard struggle. I do worry when I know he's feeling particularly stressed.

DS was diagnosed with biological depression when he was 15 and still struggles (19 now) regularly but he is only just beginning to accept that his 'normal' is what he needs to work with and not expect to get 'better' from the depression so much as learn how he can function with it.

I do know that one day I was in a bad mood and DH was griping and I did blow up at him "You don't have a monopoly on bad moods!".

It's incredibly hard feeling like you are the one carrying the 'mood' for the whole family. The times of feeling like you are walking on egg shells because you don't know how they're going to react; smoothing the path before them to avoid explosive outbursts (DH mostly - he was angry that he felt that); having to be the calm influence in the house and bring reasonableness and rationality back; trying to do the right thing by other children who are affected by the general mood.

Exhausting and emotionally draining at times. I am fortunate that both DH and DS will openly discuss their MH and that has made it much easier than for some.

DH is doing so much better since he decided that if he put in the work (very hard and I'm not simplifying that) he could control 'it' rather than being controlled by his depression. But only by returning to CBT techniques.

WillowPeach Mon 14-Jan-19 09:25:40

Can I join this thread please? My partner has ME otherwise known as CFS. It’s not depression but it certainly gets him down and affects his daily life. Because he spends so much of his time sleeping, it can be really hard to be alone so much sometimes which I imagine is how you guys must feel too.

troubleintheheartland Mon 14-Jan-19 11:10:44

I've also just joined for the first time after being a long time lurker. Almost did a double take when I saw the subject line, I've been wanting to know of such a thing for a while. I'm a mix of somehow relieved and happy that I am not alone and so much of what all of you have said resonates, and yet sorry that so many have clearly been dealing with this alone as well.

My husband has severe depression, having never suffered before, and it's been 10 months now. It's down to a particularly awful 2 years of events, including being diagnosed with advanced cancer, and then the treatment having a side effect of mood changes. He has done all the right things, he's had counselling and seen his GP and is on ADs, although no tablets have worked yet and we're now on week 5 of a higher dose of the second type he's tried.

It's only the two of us at home, and he doesn't work so to an extent I am the only person he sees. Which means that I bear the brunt of this, and it's hard and painful. Reading about depression, I know a lot of sufferers can feel like their feelings, like love, aren't there and I think he's feeling some of this with the twist that he tells me that I'm the one being distant or that I've changed. He's obsessed with the notion that I've either had, am having, or will have an affair and fall in love with someone else. If it isn't that, then he fixates on how he's ruined my life and I should go and find someone better. He's checked my phone, I feel like I'm being grilled about what I do and where I go every day. My head understands where all this comes from because his self-esteem is just non-existent, but my heart aches every time he says it although now I am starting to feel numbed with the realization that nothing I do or say matters. I am never going to give up on this or him and while he turns these things - unintentionally - into my fault, I will always be there and hold him, but it's like being kicked over and over.

He knows that he's hurting me and that I'm upset (although like others here I don't show it if I can help it, because it just makes him more upset) and he confesses to things like when he's checked my phone and says he knows how awful it is. And I fully believe him, before all of this he would never dream of such things. It's the illness that's doing it.

I have been seeing a counsellor myself and it does help, so I would definitely recommend that if you're able to. We do pay for this and I know we're fortunate to, but it was through a local organisation that keeps costs reasonable (because we're fortunate but not THAT fortunate!) so don't necessarily discount it altogether if you really need to see someone.

At the moment, after another weekend trying to work out where I fit in to this dark cloud and also trying to make a decision about whether or not I go out with family, by myself, next weekend - I merely mentioned this on Friday night when we were having a meal when everything was good, and suddenly it was like watching that cloud literally descend in front of my eyes - I am trying to work out how to begin to accept the notion that this may never change. This may be how things are now. Maybe it won't get better, or it certainly won't ever be like before. Some days I can be more rational than others, and on the bad days I feel like I can't cope with this on top of trying to deal with an inevitable cancer-related future. Today, I am feeling stronger.

Hope you all have strong days too.

BadlyAgedMemes Mon 14-Jan-19 11:21:55

@Biancadelrioisback I can relate to the Brexit worries. It's worry over jobs here, too (and me being an EU citizen and currently not working). I think we are both lacking in recilience and very bad with uncertainty, so the ramp up for Brexit talks has us both quite anxious, and I was never expecting this year to be easy. sad

@troubleintheheartland, sounds like the two of you have been through an awful lot! flowers It's great you've managed to have your own counselling, too.

Extending warm thoughts towards everyone on this thread.

Re. ADs, I want to add my own personal positive experience: I honestly thought they didn't really work for me. I had been on three or four different kinds, at various doses, and they never seemed to make all that much difference, and I was even questioning if I actually had depression (as mine has never been like my DH's is, which is much more easy to pinpoint as major depression). And then suddenly I switched to the 4th/5th one, and it was like a cloud had lifted, that I hadn't even known was there before it went away. All of a sudden I was sleeping okay, feeling rested, and had energy and motivation for hobbies, friends, healthy eating, exercise, all that jazz. I've been on it for nearly a year now, and it's not like things are great all day every day, but it's so much better than what it was. So there's definitely hope even after a few ADs don't seem to do much!

mediawhore Mon 14-Jan-19 11:47:13

Can I join.

My husband (13 years, together nearly 18) told me a few days ago he didn’t love me anymore. And his feelings had changed over last couple of months.

This is a total shock and not like us/him at all.

He’s been mega stressed/pressured and I’ve been a bit eg,ectful as I’ve also been work-focused. Money has also been shit too which has added the pressure.

Anyway. Me and a friend persuaded him to go to the doctor about depression. He massively ticked all the boxes and is now on sertraline. Obviously suffering with side effects.

* [post edited at OP's request to remove sensitive info]

Biancadelriosback Mon 14-Jan-19 13:49:01

I've posted in the MH boards before and had very few responses. Tbh, if you want something read on here, it's either AIBU or chat.
I don't know where else to turn. I can almost promise that when DH went to his GP, he didn't tell the full story. When our HV came over to meet with us (recently moved), she asked if we suffered from any MH conditions or similar and DH point blank said "no" whereas I admitted to having anxiety when DS was born. I went through a phase of being scared to leave the house and refused to take DS into town for fear of a terrorist or acid attack.
Money is so tight as well which just adds to everything. All our savings are gone and we are living on credit and over drafts. I'm slowly starting to add to my savings again but if we lost either job we have nothing to fall back on.
I can't force DH to get help. I've tried. I broke down one day and told him that I was struggling to keep going. I do everything so that nothing can tip him over the edge. It doesn't help that he is very disorganized so when he does try to do something, he makes hard work for himself. For example when he cooks, he leaves all the cupboard doors open then hits his head on them or similar. Then he just breaks down that nothing is ever simple.

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