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Helping us both to cope with dh's depression

(17 Posts)
harrisey Thu 13-Sep-07 10:44:17

I'm not really looking for advice or anything, just a bit of empathy I suppose.

I've had really bad PND, so I know what depression is like from the inside - in fact I have been hospitalised at one point.

I've been better for about 2 years, and for the last year dh has been treated for depression too! I think a lot of it comes from having to care for me (I was also physically very ill in 2 pregnancies, one was unplanned, I was in hospital a lot, and he had to shoulder a lot of stuff as well as working ft). I don't feel guilty about this - we promised for better for worse, in sickness and in health. We have 3 dc who are 7, 5 and 3.

I'm sure that the way I am feeling about it now is how he felt when I was so unwell. I feel like I have 4 children at the moment, not 3. He is having to change medication as the prozac stopped working, and we are at the bottom of the curve right now, with the prozac having worn off but the new tablets havent started working yet. He's still working, but he is so tired that he often goes to bed about the same time as the kids. Some nights before! He's just kind of sweetly apathetic, has no drive, no enthusiasm, forgets things, cant make decisions etc .... I feel like it is all on my shoulders, all the things that need done every day. I dont realy have an adult relationship with him at the monute as we hardly get any time together. Even when we did a couple of weeks back (had a few days away while MIL had the kids) he was so tired and washed out he just slept, and couldnt hold up his end of most conversations - though he did try, poor love.

I'm SO tired. We dont have family close by, my MIL offered to come and stay for a while but that would hardly reduce my stress levels! (though I get on fine with her). I'm very very lucky to have a nanny in the afternoons, but I dont feel like I really have anyone to talk to about this in RL. People know he is unwell, but folks are so keen to come up with solutions rather than just listening to me. I also feel a bit disloyal moaning about it, i did consider changing my MN name for this, but didnt.

I dont even know if I am making any sense. I just want my lovely dh back, not the sad stranger who is living in my house right now! I would do anything to help him get well (it was me who talked him into going to the doctor inthe first place, me who got him to go for counselling etc).

Is there anyone else dealing with depression in a partner? It would be good to talk to you, if you are around.

SauerKraut Thu 13-Sep-07 10:51:39

Hi. Sorry to hear this. You must really be struggling- it's very hard to have to take sole responsibility for everything, and tiredness in itself makes things look bleak.
We went through something similar in 2005, when Dh was having a difficult time at work.

SauerKraut Thu 13-Sep-07 10:54:44

It was hard to know how to help- especially as he didn't say much.
I'm glad you have a nanny- I found the most important thing was to take as many steps as possible to make it easier to keep going.

harrisey Thu 13-Sep-07 15:19:22

Thanks SK.
Did you and dh get through it OK? I'm sure we will, we've had worse as a couple, its just the unrelenting nature of the illness, where there seems to be no glimmer of fun, ever.

He struggles to have enough energy to look after the kids, so I think my main bother with it all is knowing that I am always the bottom line, the fallback, not BOTH of us being the botom line, which is how it has been the last couple of years. I feel like I'm never of duty. I miss being a part of a team with him.

Just feeling tired and sorry for myself today!

harrisey Thu 13-Sep-07 22:23:01

Dh came home again tonight totally exhausted. For the last week or so he hasnt even been able to read the newspaper (and he is a Grauniad addict!) as his concentration is so shot.

So he went to bed at 8, and here I am spending the evening alone again. It is making me feel very lonely - I dont even feel I could go out and meet a friend, as I dont know how he would cope if a child woke up (dd2 has ben getting up a lot in the late evening, and ds has a cold and a temp).

I feel like such a MOANER. My poor dh is ill, and I am going on about me feeling bad!

He has agreed that tomorrow night we will try to have a nice meal I will cook before he gets home, and watch a DVD or something - a bit o adult time, as that will help me.

Its so good to have somewhere where I can write down what I am feeling, even if noone is reading it!!

harrisey Fri 14-Sep-07 10:01:57

You know, its nice to be able to talk about this, cos I feel if I moan to dh then I am being realy unsupportive.

I'm a nice person really, not themoany b*tch who is coming across here!

kualalump Fri 14-Sep-07 13:18:37

Harrisey - sorry to hear you are struggling.

If both of you are suffering from depression (or have been in the past) it's bound to be bad and you are not going to be the best support for each other. It is an illness that makes you (one) appear selfish because all your energy goes into just keeping yourself going.

You mention that caring for you during the time you were ill has probably contributed towards how he is now. I've had a rough time for the last 2 to 3 years and although I feel better emotionally now, I didn't look after myself very well or eat properly and it has caught up with me physically and I am exhausted. Maybe your husband is the same. All the adrenaline and cortisol (or whatever it is?) that he used up keeping the family going while you were ill has worn his system out and it will take years to recharge. Maybe I am wrong and maybe there is more to it than that but maybe that is part of it. He is no less a man than he was and will get better in time. You will be stronger as a couple for having got through this together.

Anyway, given this, and the fact that you do have an insight into what he is going through, you just have to be kind and patient with him. I know you know this and it's fine to have a moan. That's what we're here for. You are a nice person, just a very tired and fed up nice person. Hopefully the new meds will kick in soon for him and things will start to improve.

You don't want advice but is there any way you can get yourself some more practical help or a break from the grind? Are you taking any meds at the moment or do you think it would help? Are you eating properly? Could you try any 'natural' remedies (a la other thread) to boost your mood? Are there any books you could order from Amazon about caring for a depressed partner that might give you some solace? Keep moaning on here if it helps.

BTW my ex had a long term anxiety/depression problem. We split up over it as he was paranoid and cold and detached (partly the effect of his meds). Do depressives attract (?!) Or are there just more of us these days? Communication completely broke down. It was hopeless. But we hadn't been together very long and we didn't really have a relationship that was worth saving. You know your husband is a good egg and you are still talking and you are both doing your best.

harrisey Sat 15-Sep-07 19:19:31

kl thnaks for replying.

I'm not depressed atm, nor have been for over 2 years now. I love being well - I would have said before I was well that managed was the best I could be, now I revel in every minute of mental health! I love it!

Dh has made a HUGE effort today, taking the kids out to do all sorts of fun things (though he did fall asleep in the softplay this afternoon). Now he is sleeping, but we had a lovely evening last night - ate nice curry and watched 2 eposodes of the West Wing! Nice to be cuddled up on the sofa.

Have realised that part of the prob is the new ad's are affecting dh's ability to dtd, which IS a problem (! blush !). I know we ca get through it and know we will, but I just hope I wont end up too tired by the time he feels better.

onlyjoking9329 Sat 15-Sep-07 19:41:49

you sound like you are suffering from responsibility fatigue, it is hard going and it is hard to live with the changes in the relationship, your DH sounds very similar to my DH. try and sort out for you to have some time to yourself or go out with mates, and keep talking.

harrisey Sat 15-Sep-07 21:15:14

thanks oj. I am going through nothing like you are ((hugs)), but yes, responsibility fatigue sounds like a great description.

We got a demand on a bill yesterday - we never get them, cos he deals with the finance. SO I spend yesterday afternoon going through the admin, paying stuff etc ... not that there was much, but I felt I had to check!

Today was nice, but I was aware by the time that he went to bed that I had got up and made breakfast with the kids while he lay in, I decided what we needed at the market and did all the shopping (he stood with kids at free facepainter!), I decided we neded other shopping, I chose we took kids to the softplay, I sent him to bed for an hour, I kept kids quiet while he watched F1 qualifying (his only tv thing!), I made kids tea, sent himto bed at 6.30 and put kids to bed, did dishes etc.

I feel crappy - am I being a mug? He's very tired today and I am so impressed he has done a week of locums (he's a GP) which will make a big diference to our income this autumn. But I still cant help thinking I did a lot too!

Our nanny is on holiday for a fortnight now, and I will have to do all with the kids in the day as he is working, out of the house 7-7, and then next week away Mon - Fri.

I feel so ungrateful! Its not like he is usually like this - he's a fab dad. I know he cant help it. I'd doesnt help the dd2 has a really nasty cold, and he's being unsympathetic to us all about it (this is another feature of his depression - he sees so much worse every day!!).

Moan over. Your right, OJ, I need to get myself a break this week, even lunch with a mate or an evening out.

Thanks for listening.

harrisey Sat 15-Sep-07 21:20:52

oj - just wanted to reiterate thanks for caring when you and steve and famil y are going through so much. I cant begin to understand what you are facing .. you are so brave .. and in my thoughts and prayers ...

onlyjoking9329 Sat 15-Sep-07 21:27:26

i think you should get some extra help in, it is hard if you have to do everything that involves organizing remembering and generally sorting stuff, you will get throu this, but it will take time.
i get steves mum or brother to come and sit with steve so that i can go out, went to the cinema on thursday night grin
people on mumsnet have given me lots of support, i try when i can to give some back.

creambunnie Sat 15-Sep-07 22:41:57

Oh Harrisey - want to give you a huge HUG and say I know what you are going through - your story re dh is very familiar.

It's not easy at all - but God IS good and He will give you the strength to get through this. Its only natural to feel resentment (we are human) but try to be patient and pray to God whenever you can to keep you strong. I haven't really looked through the other threads but what comes to mind is the verse in scripture "underneath are the everlasting arms" and "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

Do you attend church? If so what denomination if you don't mind me asking?

Maybe they will have creche where you can put your young ones in while you listen to the service - or maybe even have podcasts?

I know from experience you have to be good to yourself, try hard to be patient, our dh's didn't chose to have this awful illness and it could easily be the other way round - ie, you and I in the depression and the dh's struggling to cope.

I will pray for you and I would ask you to pray for me.

Try staying as close to God as possible - because He is the sustainer of our lives, the Great Physician and our Loving Heavenly Father who does love us and want the best for us.


harrisey Sat 15-Sep-07 23:55:05

Creambunnie - thankyou. You must have seen I'm a CHristian elsewhere on the site I presume!!! Either that or you are a VERY bold evangelist! grin

I do go to church, we're pretty Happy Clappy Baptists and church have been helpful, dh meets regularly with the assistant pastor just to chat and give dh a bit of accountability that isnt to me - I think this is healthy, having a close male friend to talk this over with as well. Our houegroup have been fab with babysitters, taking the kids out for a couple of hours, cooking, etc which we really value.

I think its just that they all go home in the end and then its just me again. I know God is there, I just sometimes wish I could have an intelligent conversation with someone.

Very much looking forward to going back to College (we both study at International Christian College in Glasgow, where I can see more people, have all day intelligent conversations etc. Roll on Oct 1st!

creambunnie Sun 16-Sep-07 16:54:29

I do have a link that might help - am I allowed to post it here?

Its comforting, true and relevant - maybe you could listen to it with dh??

How is he today - what courses are you studying??

Hugs to you both xx

ps. I did see you were a christian when I quickly read through other topic lists - or maybe there was a link to this one by you?

harrisey Tue 18-Sep-07 17:10:54

Things are a bit better the last couple of days.

He's helping out more and is actually more cheerful!

harrisey Wed 19-Sep-07 23:35:02

Looks like I started this thread at the bottom of his curve, cos things are really looking up!

I went to bed at 5 when he got home tonight as I had had a migraine all day. He said he could cope - so I trusted him!

Woke up at 10.30 this evening feeling much better. Lounge and dining room are tidy, the whole days dishes are washed, 2 loads of wahing done and hung up, he's made his lunch for tomorrow, bathed and hair washed 3 children and put them to bed (without me hearing or waking up - that means no fighting, no squealing, no running about - amazing).

He was still smiling when he went to bed.

I have not had this man in my house for at least a year. I'm SO thankful!

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