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Support for those with depressed DHs?

(52 Posts)
Wordsmith Thu 08-Feb-18 20:10:44

That's it really. My DH is suffering from depression. Has been for years. I'm trying to help but everything I say seems to make it worse. It's in my nature to try and find solutions to problems but I don't know if there is a solution for this. It is destroying him, our 33 year relationship and the happiness of me and our teenage sons. I desperately want to help him but I don't know how and I don't know who to talk to about it. Just need a virtual hug from anyone who's been there or is still there now x

disneyprincess87 Sat 10-Feb-18 12:03:26

Sending lots of love, happiness, strength and best wishes to you. You’re not alone so please message when you need to talk about your situation.

It sounds like life is very tough for you and your family. You must be a very strong, patient and understanding person to cope when a loved one has depression.
Has your DH seen a doctor? Have you got a close friend to talk to? Xx

Wordsmith Wed 14-Feb-18 08:14:40

Thanks Disneyprincess87. It is tough but I am used to it. Most of the time he is fine but I'm constantly on the edge waiting for the next episode when it's too much for him. He hates his job and says it is too stressful - but he has said this about virtually every job he has ever had. I don't think it's the job. When he's really low he lashes out (verbally) at me and the kids and upsets everyone. He is on ADs and has tried CBT (at my urging) but only stuck with it for about 4 sessions. I don't think he thinks he has a big problem.

I don't think I am strong and patient - I feel as though I'm in a situation that I can't escape from. We pay off the mortgage next year and I have fantasies of selling the house, giving him his 50% and telling him to go off and find himself and leave me and the kids to get on with life.

I know he loves me and the boys but he cannot cope with any difficulties or the sorts of household or financial problems that everyone has to deal with occasionally. Everything is the end of the world.

disneyprincess87 Wed 14-Feb-18 17:58:00

He may well be using the job as an outlet for his emotions, by blaming it on the job being stressful it’s not as threatening by saying how he truly feels and acknowledging his feelings.
Can he see his doctor and discuss his medication? Perhaps his dosage needs to be reviewed? It’s good news that he has accepted help before.
From what I’ve been told, from people in similar situations, they’ve had to present an ultimatum in order for their loved ones to accept the help that they need as well as realising there is an issue. With how you’re feeling maybe consider this. Are you prepared to spend the rest of your life how it is? Or will you and the kids be happier elsewhere? Would a separation help you to decide this?

Wordsmith Thu 15-Feb-18 11:51:00

I really don't know. He's on lots of meds at the moment as he also has a stable angina (which hasn't helped - as it makes him feel even more out of control).

As I say most of the time he is fine but any stress or conflict, he can't handle. And there's often stress and conflict in a house with teenagers! If he has a bad day at work, we get the brunt of it. It's like living with a loaded gun.

ClemDanfango Thu 15-Feb-18 12:05:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wordsmith Thu 15-Feb-18 23:01:05

I am beginning to realise that and I do often just refuse to engage. But he catastrophises everything challenging. Like we're in debt, but we'll pay off our mortgage in 10 months and be £800/month better off. But he ignored this and insists "we'll never be out of debt!" We've been in debt our whole married life and we're still here! He said to me tonight "I can't believe you don't care about it" and I replied "I do, but I don't panic, because panicking doesn't help!" Panicking just shuts down the discussion and we're back at the beginning again.

MissTFied Thu 15-Feb-18 23:10:34

Oh dear Wordsmith, I do sympathise with you. Your post resonates with me, especially where every little thing is the end if the world. I am going through the same thing with my DP, only he hasn't worked since he was made redundant 9 years ago. We have young DC and I just don't know what the future will hold.
I am unable to offer advice but would be interested to hear what others say. flowers

Wordsmith Fri 16-Feb-18 09:25:40

Oh MissTFied sad...

He's just called from work (it's only 9.20 FGS!) about another spat he's had with his immediate manager (who does sound like a bit of a w*nker tbh) and says he's stressed, his chest hurts (that's the angina). Most of us would just let it ride over us and carry on but he's manufacturing this paranoid theory that they're trying to get him out...

I've just had enough, I'm trying to run a business here and all I'm feeling is stressed myself. Every time he calls I think "uh-oh, what is it now..." Of course I sympathise but if I try and point out that it's his reaction to this that is the problem, not the situation itself, then "I don't understand" <cue another rant>.

Lackingimagination6 Fri 16-Feb-18 09:30:03

Fellow traveller here. My DH sounds pretty similar to yours except that he's not working at the moment and is also a heavy drinker. It's hard work isn't it?

No time to post more but I'll be back later!

MissTFied Fri 16-Feb-18 09:52:33

Wordsmith and Lacking imagination that's it isn't it? Just extra hard work we don't need.
Wordsmith, I wonder why he offloads on to you to give you a bad start to the day? As you say it was only 9.20 and he's already had one drama. I should think any responses you gave him were probably rubbished going from experience.

It's just miserable, but we carry on. confused

Maverick66 Fri 16-Feb-18 10:05:23

My advice may be controversial.

I have been on antidepressants for 25 years.
My depression ebbs and flows but with help of medication it is mostly managed.
Your husband's medication obviously isn't working.

The controversial bit?

By not confronting him you are enabling his behaviour.
He needs to think of you and the children and not just his feelings and weaknesses.

I have had clinical depression most of my life and have been married 30 years and had many stressful debt related anxieties. Dh deals with my depression by always being there to listen but that's it. The rest is up to me.
Depression is something I have accepted as part of my life and part of me not something that my husband and children have to suffer for.

My opinion may not be a popular one but it is, what it is.

Wordsmith Fri 16-Feb-18 10:33:24

Thanks for that insight, Maverick. It's hard. I have confronted him, I have told him his behaviour is threatening our marriage and our future and upsetting the kids. I have told him we should sell the house and split up. It's not what I want but I don't know how to get through to him any more.

HurculesMorsesHorse Fri 16-Feb-18 10:59:27

A virtual hug from me Wordsmith and anyone else who is going through the same thing.

The bad, stressful day at work really resonates with me. My DH got home late and immediately started on me. In the end it disintegrated into a full blown argument.

I am really struggling between knowing if I am being unreasonable about certain things or if it is the depression skewing his views. I know I need to communicate with him more but it always ends up in an argument and I'm running out of emotional energy.

Maverick66 Fri 16-Feb-18 13:21:29

You need to be kind to yourself wordsmith.

This is your husband's illness not yours, not your sons.

Tell him firmly you support him and always will but you don't have energy any more to deal with his melt downs.

Tell him he needs to start helping himself.
You have had enough.
You have been more than patient.
Start detaching yourself lovingly.
Find a space for you i.e. Walking,swimming, a hobby or whatever it takes that is just for you.
When he is in his depression you smile, comfort acknowledge his concerns and then do what you need to do for you.

Wordsmith Sat 17-Feb-18 04:30:16

Thanks everyone. Virtual hugs back at you all flowers.

It's awful isn't it Hurcules? You can be having a great day and then all of a sudden there's a phone call and he comes home and he brings the thunderstorm with him. You're not being unreasonable. It is all about self-preservation.

Yes Maverick having my own space is vital. I do a lot of gym/exercise/walking the dog and I've joined a choir. I think if my DH did more it would help. He loves cycling but with his recently diagnosed angina he can't push himself too far. He can still go out on his bike although the weather has been terrible so that hasn't happened much. But he cycles with another bunch of guys who do push themselves and he's depressed that he can't really keep up the pace any more - it could be fatal!

MusicianLab1 Sat 17-Feb-18 19:54:31

Hi everyone, I’m sorry but can’t offer advice as I’m in need of it.

my dh was diagnosed with depression in December after he suffered a breakdown on Christmas Eve. We went to the a&e because I was so worried about him and the dark thoughts he was experiencing. The local crisis team took him under their wing and were brilliant as they came to visit him at home daily, then every other day. He is on meds and is now signed off from the crisis team awaiting counselling. He’s been given so much good advice by the crisis team on how to make positive changes in his life (they recommended a book, recommended exercise etc) but he’s not doing any of these things and gets angry at me when I mention this (in the most politest way).

We talk about how he’s feeling every day, I am being 100% supportive in every way but every weekend he picks rows usually resulting in me crying. Then he blames me for his spiralling anxiety levels because he’s upset me. Twice he’s stormed off out the house for 5 or 6 hours and won’t tell me where he’s been.

This is all new for me and I’m scared, I don’t know how to get through this.


CrabappleBiscuit Sat 17-Feb-18 20:08:17

Been there. My dh was severely depressed for a year. I was on here about this time last year driven half mad by it...

He got help, drugs, exercised, forced himself to leave the house. He had left his job which was the cause of 90% of the stress. That was awful in that we had no sick pay and no support but the best thing in the end.

I would have left him if he hadn’t got help and helped himself and he knew that. I couldn’t have lived like that any longer.

We divided up helping him with friends and family, he was very open with both, as was I. We’d have sunk without the help of his parents.

Taking care of yourself is so important.

The best advice I got on here was that being depressed doesn’t give you the right to be a dick.

CrabappleBiscuit Sat 17-Feb-18 20:09:58

Oh and I got some support through work welfare services in terms of counselling to help me and a session with s private counsellor.

MusicianLab1 Sat 17-Feb-18 20:16:06

Thanks crabapplebiscuit 💐

He says it was mostly work that was getting to him, plus pressures from his family (brothers mostly).

He will go for hours not talking to me on weekends and when my daughter comes down from uni he’s critical of her yet tells me he loves her but worries about her when she’s at uni as she’s far away.

You’re so right though that having depression doesn’t give you the right to be a dick.

MusicianLab1 Sat 17-Feb-18 20:17:36

My work offers this too. I think it would be a good idea for me to do this too

AnoiaUnstickMyDrawers Sat 17-Feb-18 20:21:18

I'm so sorry for you all, I'm convinced my DP is depressed (I am too, so I recognise the signs), but he won't see the doctor. It's so hard. Will come back later to rtft but phone is about to die and I don't want to lose the thread!

GreenTulips Sat 17-Feb-18 20:25:14

How long has he been depressed for or has he always been like this?

Upsidedownandinsideout Sat 17-Feb-18 20:30:39

Great idea! People who haven't been through it don't get it at all - so often here people post about the impact that their partner's depression is having on the mental health of their DCs and themselves, and how living with a depressed and anxious partner can feel borderline abusive, because you all live on eggshells, and their overwhelming emotions shape the lives of the rest of the house ... Only to have other posters, often ones who have suffered from depression, pile in and say that you wouldn't consider leaving a DH with cancer. I love my DH and when well he is a great dad and wonderful husband, but honestly? I feel awful and disablist even thinking this, but if I could turn back time I would not ever marry someone with ongoing mental health issues, because these things are chronic and even any 'cures' seem transient, and often take a heavy toll in another way, from his health to our love life to our finances. That said, he's so well now, and every time this happens I forget the bad times and assume that summer will last forever, because I am an eternal optimist - but even for me, the niggle of 'when next?' is now always in the back of my mind.

MusicianLab1 Sat 17-Feb-18 20:39:55

Hi GreenTulips

He told me at Christmas that he has felt this way for a long time but things just got too much. What scared me though was he told me he had had dark thoughts. Today we where talking about his next milestone birthday and that doing something special would be exciting but he made a very odd comment along the lines that his mind is so all over the place he doesn’t know if he would be here. This was like a punch in the throat but he refused to talk about it any more. In fact he’s refused to speak to me since 4pm. We’ve been married 20 years, together almost 30 so his illness has really rocked our lives.

Upsidedownandinsideout I’m so pleased to hear your dh is doing well now, I’m the eternal optimist too but am beginning to struggle

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