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Loving someone with depression

(16 Posts)
elephantsaregreen Mon 03-Aug-15 07:58:39

Hi folks
It's been years since I have been on Mumsnet, nice to be back! I have posted this thread in 'relationships' as well, but was hoping people active in this thread might have additional insight.

My DH has depression and anxiety. His anxiety is often about social situations. He is also quite introverted and insecure, partially because he is dyslexic. Despite these challenges he is a great dad and when things are good with us, he still makes me laugh and I love him. I still think he is a sexy dude after ten years and two kids together.
My challenge is that I feel like I pour a huge amount of energy in to trying to deal with his depression. He needs his space, he is sensitive and as a result it doesn't take much for him to get frustrated with 'everything'.
He hates taking meds. He says the side effects are too bad. We moved from an English speaking country to Switzerland which has been a huge challenge. He is very isolated, but we have met a lot of English speaking people but he makes no effort to connect with them.
I guess I am looking for some advice on how I can support him but also gain some perspective for myself. It is hard not to get overwhelmed by his melancholy and negative perspective on this. I work hard on keeping all of us buoyant (as I am sure he does too). But it is exhausting.
Thanks for reading :-)

Newquay Tue 04-Aug-15 18:14:29

Hi - I was about to post a similar thread: my DH has been signed off work with stress and is depressed and on anti depressants. I'm also just coming off ads for pnd but I'm feeling ok. We have 2 Dcs of 3 and 9 months so sleep deprivation is an issue - and so sex isn't happening (which used to be my 'go to' method for lifting his mood). Now he doesn't want to go back to work - wants to open a campsite etc etc. I'm finding it hard too to keep him lifted, keep myself from shouting at kids when I can feel him getting irritated and keep myself ok while coming off my own ads. So!!!! I'm sorry I've hijacked. My advice to you (and me) is to make sure u keep yourself healthy and rested - it'll all hit the fan if u also get down. Try getting him to read books: I'm trying to get him to read: the secret, the magic and the mindful way to cure depression. I got a nutribullet and give him and me 2 x green shakes of kale and fruit a day in a bid to help him get off his coffee habit. Baby whining now but I just wanted to say 'hi' and look after yourself and to hope that someone else may be able to offer you (and me!) some support. Here's a gin and tonic for u and some pistachios xxx

Snog Wed 05-Aug-15 04:26:53

Having ongoing counselling yourself would be my best advice as you need support for yourself and a counsellor will also help you to manage your relationship with dh.
Apart from that I agree take care of yourself first so prioritise healthy eating, exercise, sleep and mindfulness meditation.

Snog Wed 05-Aug-15 04:27:46

Also be sure to maintain your own interests and social life.

ladylinda52 Wed 05-Aug-15 20:27:39

Agree with everything that Snog has said.I 've been where you are, and it's a very lonely place to be. Try to accept that none of what is happening is your fault. Depression is a very selfish illness, and it is hard for the sufferer to see it from any point of view but his own. Try to find someone you trust that you can talk to - we had a very supportive CPN who probably helped me as much as he did him! My husband is completely recovered now , although still on a maintenance dose of antidepressants. It's a very slow , frustrating process, and nobody can give you much of a timescale, but it will get better. Oh, and keep posting on here, you will find people who have been through it before you. flowers

PlateGirl Thu 06-Aug-15 08:41:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Newquay Thu 06-Aug-15 09:17:23

Hi Plategirl. Hugs. Keep looking after yourself, it sounds like you are doing a great job. My dh went through about 3 episodes of this over the last few years and it's only been now that he has sought gp advice. Gp signed him off work (he was almost at end of contract anyway) and gave him ads. The reason he went this time was I think that he finally told his mum and she told him to go!! The gp also prescribed this talk

And since then he has mostly been happier (although he is off work at the moment as it is). It's like he seems to accept advice on how to deal with it if the advice comes from someone else other than me. Maybe you could try a similar tactic? Maybe it's a macho thing?! I've been on and on about positive thinking/gratitude/visualisation for years but he has always been dismissive. But once he had discovered the TED talk - not via me - suddenly he's all over it and telling ME about those practices. Maybe we all need to be a bit more 'clever' about it?? Dunno - get him to think that he has come up with a unique solution himself (which actually u have led him to). I'm currently trying to find a way I can get him to decide that he's going to go to meditation - without ramming a class leaflet down his throat.

Hugs all round xxx

ladylinda52 Thu 06-Aug-15 10:29:35

Great advice from Newquay. Been through it, come out the other end! None of it is your fault Plate. It's really hard, especially with small children, but you will find lots of support on here flowers

Oh2beatsea Thu 06-Aug-15 23:02:32

Hi all. I am in a very similar position. My OH has had depression and anxiety for last 7 years. Started almost like a post natal depression but for him not me. We've moved house and downsized considerably, he has left a stressful job and I would say he is actually no better in himself. He's on Prozac but needs reminding to take it. He works very part time in a zero hours contract and he has no motivation or urge to do anything. I'm feeling really fed up because he's just been away for a long weekend with friends on a 'holiday ' and now we can't afford to go away as a family. He knows he's not well / right and I keep suggesting he goes back to the GP but he won't. When I try to talk to him about all of this he starts to cry and we don't get anything sorted. He is losing friends, he's becoming more unpredictable in his behaviour ( telling lies about money) and I just can't see any way to improve the situation. Feel physically and mentally drained trying to hold it all together and to keep our 7 year old ticking along too. Not sure what the answer is really!!

Newquay Fri 07-Aug-15 07:38:00

Oh sweetheart that sounds so tough. Thank you for sharing -especially the point that leaving a stressful job hasn't changed much. It goes to show that this really is a medical condition/imbalance in brain chemicals - and I guess a bit of their underlying character. I'm not sure re what to suggest. Have you sought advice from Mind? Well done for holding it all together. Rant here about your frustrations. I know from my own pnd that it's such a 'selfish' place that having people point out how it effects others/others are worse off - doesn't help the person suffering. You need an outlet to let off steam and then a focus on something naice for u to do. He's obviously got to go back to the gp - and ask at reception which doc they would recommend for this: go to a doctor who has the most experience in it and perhaps has a more holistic approach so u can throw drugs/counselling everything at it. Thank you again for sharing. This will help me persuade my dh to at least give his next job (starts next week) a shot - as opposed to becoming a farmer ??? (He's obviously running away from reality.)

PlateGirl Sat 08-Aug-15 00:09:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Oh2beatsea Sat 08-Aug-15 06:07:31

Hi all. Gosh isn't this hard, this depression for all concerned. The medical profession seem to struggle dealing with it too and unless youve seen it first hand, I don't think anyone can appreciate how difficult and draining it is.
Newquay - thank you for your lovely, kind and uplifting words xxxx You were spot on too about it being part of his character too. A tendency to look on the negative side has always been there but this has magnified it massively.
And Plategirl.....I really feel for you....what you've written in your last post is brave but I could have written it word for word too!!!! I think almost on a daily basis, if this is now normal for him/us, can I live like this? I don't want to live "a half life" where we limit what we do, where we go and which friends we have because of his anxieties. My OH is the same in that he can be all happy / smiley with friends or at work but ask him to do something at home and it's the end of the world!!! It is exhausting being the "glue" that holds it all together - mentally and physically. I can see our friends all doing the normal things: going to work in a full time job that they've worked their way up to and been promoted, taking the kids to Disney in Florida and generally enjoying life. I am sat here wondering how the day will pan out (going to a family wedding reception tonight - his family, and he's never told them he has depression) and it does make you wonder how much longer you can exist like this.
I feel that I am a naturally positive person but even my tolerance is wearing thin. I probably can't afford for me to go back to see a private counsellor (again) andi feel a bit like - why should I go, when he won't but i know that's me being grumpy about it but I think I might contact MIND and see if I can talk to them instead.
It is nice to hear that some people have had this awful illness and have come out the other side......I just can't see that happening after 7 years and he seems to be getting worse rather than better.
I do think all your advice to look after yourself is essential and I make sure I see family and friends a lot to neutralise the negativity at home.
Thanks again everyone for your helpful and kind words - makes such a difference to come home from work and read something positive and to see we are not dealing with this alone!!!
Here's hoping we all have a decent weekend - (hugs to all) xxx

GourmetGold Sat 08-Aug-15 18:25:12

Hi OP, sympathies, I have suffered with depression and I know my partner has found things really difficult with me and probably worried a lot about me.
I would say that unless you are mental health professional, it would be difficult to deal with another person's depression.
Empathy helps ie 'sorry you are feeling low, that must be difficult', it's always helpful when you are feeling low to feel others do care about you.
Your husband does need help if he wants to feel better, either seeing a mental health professional and/or using self-help books.
I could see how 'destructive' to myself and others that my depression was being. I asked for CBT in a appointment with my doctor, but the waiting list was at least 1 year. I found a self-help book worked for me, but I know this is not for everyone.
I do the simple exercises in the book and I'm MUCH happier (and nicer person to be around for others!)..not that I was really horrible, just 'moody', didn't want to go out etc
I'm like a record on repeat, I have recommended this book already on 2 other threads, and many before! But it is just excellent:

ladylinda52 Sat 08-Aug-15 23:33:42

Oh, girls, I could have written your posts several years ago. I remember thinking many times ' this is not what I signed up for' . I wanted to be a wife , not a carer, so my heart goes out to you now. We weathered the [long] storm and now we are closer than ever. So glad we stuck it out. It's hard to come to terms with the fact that it is the illness, not the person behind it, that is at the forefront. There are no easy answers, but time, and the right meds, can make a huge difference. Keep talking here , it is so helpful to talk to people who have been through similar things. flowers

Newquay Tue 11-Aug-15 13:44:59

Hey all. This thread is such a comfort. We went away at the weekend and things seem to be improving. I found that sex helped! smile - ha ha - as if we all don't have enough to do already!

Plategirl - how did it go with oh at the doctor? My oh is going back to Dr tomo after 3 weeks on ads.

Thanks lady for all the advice and support and Gourmet for the link. I shall look it up. Oh2 - did Mind have anything useful to say? I think gourmet is right - depression definitely needs expert help hey.

Go on then - blowies all round I think! ;) x

Newquay Tue 11-Aug-15 13:48:45

Oh if anyone is up for it - I'm reading a well recommended book called 'the mindful way through depression' and As its scientifically based then it seems quite persuasive and probably a good read for our ohs (mind tends to poo poo my angel based books iykwim) but accepts anything based on medicine or science. And for us lot supporting I recommend 'the magic' very hippy like but it has 28 days worth of positive thinking /mindful
Exercises based on 'gratitude' and it always makes things easier for me to deal with. Just a thought.

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