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Trouble coping with DH's depression

(5 Posts)
snarf78 Tue 16-Apr-13 16:52:16

I'm having trouble coping with my husband's depression. I just can't seem to get anything right.

He is a stay-at-home dad and I'm working.

He says he wants some time to himself but whenever I offer any he says no and that I can't take time off work. It's the same with anything else, he says he wants something but when it's offered, the answer is always "no" or "can't". I'm getting really frustrated with this. Whenever he talks about his feelings I offer solutions to change things to make it better for him, but it's always "no".

He says he wants support from me but I don't know how to offer the kind of support he wants. He says he wants sympathy but I don't know how to give this. It just feels so false to say "there, there now, things will get better" when he doesn't do anything to change the situation to be better. I just feel like an uncaring b*tch.

It doesn't help that I'm suffering from depression myself but I'm dealing with mine.

EldritchCleavage Tue 16-Apr-13 17:00:52

Sometimes it is important just to hear each other, i.e. to be there and listen without necessarily going into 'solve' mode and offering practical solutions. Try asking open questions such as whether he would like to talk, ask him to tell you where he is with things at that particular moment. Then just listen. Ask questions to see if you understand what he is telling you. Tell him how you feel especially if positive (e.g. that he has coped well with something, is doing well at SAHD despite illness). But mostly, just allow him to tell you what he wants and needs to tell you.

Please make sure that he is there for you in the same way, since you are ill too. It is very important that you don't lose yourself in caring for him, or position yourself as less important and less worthy of care. You aren't.

If you are less badly affected there may be times when it is appropriate for you to take practical decisions like time off work etc. unilaterally.

It is also important that a diagnosis of depression never becomes a licence to be uncaring or overly demanding or get away with bad behaviour.

Martyrdom helps no one, least of all the sufferer.

I say this as someone who suffered very badly with depression. One thing that did help my recovery was having a supportive family who were understanding but who also had good boundaries in place and pulled me up on the few times I overstepped the mark. Through that I learned I wasn't helpless in the face of the illness, I still had choices and the ability to be a good person.

snarf78 Tue 16-Apr-13 17:22:23

Thanks EldricthCleavage

I just typed a long response about how crap today was and it's disappeared! I don't fancy typing it again though as I was crying while I typed. Just typing it has made me feel better. May be there's something to expressive writing.

EldritchCleavage Wed 17-Apr-13 10:43:10

Well I kept a notebook and wrote in it-it helped me a great deal, so I think that writing stuff down could be a really good idea.

TheCeejOfWinterfell Sun 21-Apr-13 17:09:38

I could have written your post, snarf. I feel I'm constantly getting it wrong with my DP.

It's a strange reversal of the Mars/Venus theory - like you, I try to come up with practicals solutions, but he doesn't want that. He says he just wants me to 'listen' but he doesn't actually talk much - so I end up filling the vacuum with stupid suggestions and the cycle feeds itself. Or I get fed up and cross, which doesn't help anyone hmm

I wish I had some more practical advice, but everything Eldritch has said makes a lot of sense. I just want you to know you're not on your own.

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