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Struggling with DH's depression

(10 Posts)
emess Thu 11-Oct-12 20:37:42

I may not be in the right thread here, and I may be flamed for being insensitive, but I am really struggling with DH's depression. He talks about suicide a lot and it's getting very wearing. In case I sound like a heartless cow (I just might be, you don't know me after all!) he's been treated for depression for 4.5 years. It was triggered by work-related issues. I have supported him as best I know how but some times I am just at a loss. He sees a CPN and a doctor (in an MH unit) regularly. He is currently on "the highest doses possible" of lofepramine (sp?), seroquel and diazepam (lots of diazepam).

I do not think that he is in danger of taking his life right now. But on bad days (and there's a lot of them) he goes through what I call the 'suicide talk'. It goes a bit like this: 'my career is over, my life is over, I just don't want to be here, I should just crawl into my box now' and so on. He is still in work, but facing early retirement/redundancy. He is looking for other work but not even getting interviews. Yes he has a lot to be depressed about. He insists 'I'll never work again, unless it's stacking shelves in Tesco, and that won't happen because I'll find another way out'. I've tried to remain positive, but he knocks down any attempt I make to encourage him to retain hope for the future. Many evenings we hardly speak. He shows no interest in anything beyond the end of his nose (or so it seems to me). I try to have a conversation (as people do), you know- talk about your day and so on - but often he is so self-absorbed in his own misery that he doesn't engage with me. I'm just wrung dry. Do I sound selfish?

BTW he made serious attempt at suicide this time last year, and part of his monologue is 'I won't fail next time'. Anyone else have experience of this - from either side? How do you deal with the 'suicide talk'?

musthavecoffee Thu 11-Oct-12 21:48:57

I'm afraid I can't help with dealing with the suicide talk but know from first hand experience that depression affects the whole family not just the main sufferer. I often end up spending a lot of time listening to/counselling DP and have found seeing a counsellor myself very helpful. Have you considered going to speak to someone yourself? It can really help to have somewhere to go to speak freely and to release the tensions which in turn I find enables me to be in a better (calmer) place to support DP.
Also, your feelings aren't selfish, it's perfectly healthy to feel this kind of frustration!

emess Thu 11-Oct-12 22:44:21

musthavecoffee - first, thanks for not flaming! I had a few sessions with a counsellor myself and it was very helpful. Yes it really does affect the whole family. Does your DP talk of suicide?

Caladria Thu 11-Oct-12 23:16:03

There's a message board called 'depression fallout' for people close to depressed people that you might find helpful. (I'm not in any way implying that you shouldn't post to mumsnet, just that t'other place might be worth looking at too).

AlteredState Thu 11-Oct-12 23:28:49

You are not being insensitive at all. 4.5 years is a long time to be supportive and you are only human. I'd definitely advise a counsellor for yourself. I only know what it's like to be in your husband's shoes however I do wonder whether you have had a discussion about his suicide talk with him ie that you are finding it draining, upsetting etc. I do think he should respect that hearing this a lot is detrimental to your wellbeing and come to an arrangement with you about how not to involve you so much. If he hasn't done any CBT I wonder if he could as this might help him to manage his negative thoughts about how he won't work again etc. Sorry you're going through this.

purplepenguin86 Fri 12-Oct-12 00:11:22

Have you considered going to a support group? There are lots around for family/carers of people with mental health problems, and apparently they can be really helpful as you can talk to others who have experienced similar and just get things off your chest. I don't really know what else to suggest, as I have only been the depressed one, but something like that could be worth thinking about?

musthavecoffee Fri 12-Oct-12 10:15:50

emess I'm glad you've had a positive experience with the counsellor. DP doesn't speak of suicide in a serious way, more when he is upset and venting for release. He needs to let it out and I respect that, but it can still cause hurt and worry at my end. It breaks my heart to see him be so tortured, it's taken me a long time to learn that sometimes the most helpful thing I can do is to take a step back as otherwise I just end up 'feeding' the situation and so the cycle continues. I think there is a lot of useful advice on here, CBT is something that DP is finding very helpful. Is this something your DH has tried?

cestlavielife Fri 12-Oct-12 11:00:58

you need to see a counselllor yurself - mine was extremely hlepful.

i also found it therapeutic somehow to plan nowexp's funeral wehn he went on a bout suicide - the music etc. who to invite. what would be said.

if in the end he chooses to kill himself there is nothing you can do about it - as you say he is already under plenty of MH profressional help. he really should be telling them hi thoughts.

i would suggest you take him at his word and call the crisis number every single time he says he will kill himself and pass him on to the phone with them. or dial samaritans and have him talk it out with them - they are trained to talk thru this; you presumably are not.

it is very wearing.

go see a counseelor explore what is good about him why you with him etc and how to set your boundaries.

see also the depression falout board and read anne sheffield

emess Fri 12-Oct-12 13:38:51

Thanks for the thoughtful responses.

Has he had CBT? I don't think so: he has actively avoided things like that because he says that he doesn't want to change the way he feels about what's happened /is happening, becasue that would be avoiding "the truth". In his view, other people need to take action to remedy the wrongs they have done to him so that he can stop being depressed.

His CPN told me once that he is presenting himself as "someone who can't be treated". Sadly, if that's what he thinks, I fear he might be correct!!

Re calling Samaritans etc: hmmm, it's unlikely he would speak to them. This morning he tols me several times "I wish I hadn't woken up". I told him that if he genuinely felt that way he should phone the clinic. He never menioned it again. Why does the phrase "attention seeking" spring to mind? (sorry if I sound unfeeling, I'm just so frustrated that he's not dealing with this in a constructive way.)

cestlavielife Fri 12-Oct-12 14:33:05

the way he chooses to deal with it is his choice. you cant change that.
you can only change your reaction and your own behaviour. set your own boundaries

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