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DP has been diagnosed with 'severe depression' & has just started taking citalopram. What can I expect?

(12 Posts)
SnowySunshine Sun 21-Dec-08 20:34:21

DP's been having a lot of increasingly worse 'issues' recently & I eventually managed to get him to visit the GP. I'm 24 weeks pregnant & things have been really difficult, with me almost leaving a few times in the last couple of months due to his great levels of aggression, etc. I wouldn't say that he's generally what you'd consider to be 'depressed' (he doesn't lie in bed all day crying, or anything clichéd like that) because his problems manifest themselves in very quickly confrontational ways. He's never hit me, but has been very unpleasant in most other ways - he has been abusive, to be honest.

The GP has given him a prescription of citalopram which he's been taking for 3 days now & will be on for 4-6 months. He's also going to be referred to a 'mental health worker' to discuss his issues, but that's not been sorted yet.

I'm wondering how long it's going to be until things get easier. He's trying really hard, but I'm having to walk on eggshells so as to not set him off, as I have been for a while now. I know the standard advice is that it takes 3 weeks for the citalopram to work, but is there any positive effect before that? Will the counselling be automatically helpful, or make him worse for a bit?

I know that there are no fixed answers & everyone's different, but I was just wondering if anyone has any anecdotal evidence. I think I'll find it a lot easier to be patient & supportive if I have a realistic idea of how things may go from here? Thanks.

NorthernLurkerwithastarontop Sun 21-Dec-08 21:29:37

No personal experience but didn't want your post to sit alone smile

this is an excellent organisation and their website may be a place to start?

Take care of yourself and your baby - you sounds like you've been a great support to your dp but don't put up with stuff that harms you. If you can hang in there do so but it wouldn't hurt to make a bit of a plan of what to do if things get worse before they get better. Make sure you have friends phone numbers, car keys and money to hand so that if you need to leave for a little while you can do so safely. Talk to your midwife as well - they should know whats going on with you so they can support you properly.

TotalChaos Sun 21-Dec-08 21:35:10

agree with NorthernLurker about looking after your interests too.

with the counselling - i would say it depends if he's likely to be rehashing traumatic events/sad childhood etc - which partly depends on the sort of counselling. if he has a lot of sad stuff to discuss that may make him feel worse before he gets better.

re:ADs - it's possible he may feel a bit better before the 3 weeks, but I wouldn't bank on it.

PeachyBidsYouNadoligLlawen Sun 21-Dec-08 21:41:34

Hiya. Dh is on citalopram after several spells of severe depression.

The good news is that ime citalopram is effective and seems to have less side effects than others, prozac was a nigtmare for examlpe- Dh even started to have bad liver problems (GP didn't know why). On citalopram he is fairly stable health wise.

DH does still ahve depression though, meds seem to 'mitigate' it for him and deal with the panic attacks etc, but it' still tehre and I do have to monitor it if for example anything happens to challenge us (eg this week DH is low as we got a final diagnosis of autism for ds3). It seems to cream off the worst of the illness, if that makes sense.

what it cannot do obviously is deal with the underlying causes. Fors ome that is chemical and transient, for Dh it's deeper and related to his Mum, and it would take more than a medicine to deal with it.

It's usually ime about a month before Dh gets any effect it hink (its his second time on this drug).

In terms of you, you do have to keep yourself safe and put your on needs up there as it is unlikely a depressed dh will be able to do that. this is especially true when you are pg I think, although dh has generally been good at that time. Yu need to have an dea of cut off points for behaviours in your mind, and perhaps some ideas as to where you can go / money if you need to. Womans Aid is a great resource to be aware of I think.

SnowySunshine Sun 21-Dec-08 21:44:16

Thank you, NorthernLurker. That site looks useful - I've had a quick read & will continue to look at the relevant bits

I'm already fairly prepared to go - as I say, I've been very close a couple of times. I've been trying to hang on & see if he can get better & we can have a happy family. It's not seemed possible at times, but I'm going to give him a bit of time to get himself together now that he's getting professional help. He seems very eager to help himself, too. That's good in itself, I know.

It's just very difficult. I'm at least an hour away from all of my friends & everything can be quite lonely. Especially as I'm pregnant & hormonal as well.

Selfishly, part of what I'm worried about is how this will all affect our sex life. I'm one of the pregnant women who finds their libido increased, which is the opposite of what his depression has been doing to him. Now the antidepressants have side effects listed as decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, etc. I'm not sure how common that is, though. It sounds like such a pathetic thing to be concerned about, but I find the rejection to be really emotionally difficult - not the sexual frustration, so much. I hope that makes sense blush

I just want him to be normal again. I'm also really worried about him coming off the drugs - it will coincide pretty much exactly with the birth of our first child & the sleep deprivation, etc. won't help, I know. I desperately want to believe that there's light at the end of the tunnel, but I don't know how easy it will be to reach it.

SnowySunshine Sun 21-Dec-08 21:52:56

There are a few things that I think have caused this - mostly things relating to his parents. He's very happy & excited about our baby, but I think that the idea of impending fatherhood has raised a lot of insecurities & repressed memories from his childhood. Without going into it all, his father was far from ideal & his mum became (to be honest, selfishly openly) depressed & suicidal - relying on young DP to keep her on a relatively even keel. He's keen to avoid making the same mistakes (nobody could unknowingly or accidentally make those kind of mistakes, but depression isn't rational) but isn't sure that he will be able to.

That's obviously not all of it & I probably only have a limited understanding, never mind me trying to explain, but basically it is going to be a great deal of talking about specific issues, not just a case of fixing a chemical imbalance or whatever

Peachy, how long has your DH been receiving treatment? How often does it become a problem after he's 'better'? DP's been warned that it may reoccur as well...

I'm quite strong-minded about what I will & won't tolerate. For example I've always been very clear that as soon as he's physically violent with me (or the baby), that's it. No questions asked. & whereas I can take a degree of verbal rubbish from him, I won't tolerate it being directed at our child. I know that it'll be harder to hold onto these things if / when they happen, but I can only support him so long as me & the baby are okay. He's the top priority after that.

NorthernLurkerwithastarontop Sun 21-Dec-08 21:58:06

It's good that he wants to get help and it's good that you feel clear about what you can put up with. I really hope things improve for all of you soon.

PeachyBidsYouNadoligLlawen Sun 21-Dec-08 22:14:40

Snowy, dh hs relapses yearly or so but our situation is a bit different as they tend to be related to our autistic children, so not something you will have to face. Withe very day stuff he deals OK- it takes a major event or a very tiring time to send him back again.

Your MIL doesn't sound too far off from mine; she was completely dependent and needy too. They dn't realise the damage they do, do thy? she's out of ur lives almost completely now and its far better, he's finally realising the roots of it all.

your priorities are very well placed and I think you will be OK. DH seems to know what my boundaries are and doesn't push them either.

SnowySunshine Sun 21-Dec-08 22:24:24

Thanks NorthernLurker.

Peachy, I'm not sure that MIL will ever be out of our lives. He doesn't seem to blame her for anything. It's really strange - he'll talk about how she helped to mess him up, but because she was also victim he can't blame her. I take issue with her in quite a few ways, but it's not my place to voice an opinion & just have to put up with it.

What is annoying is that he's told me all about how much he 'hates' my parents, but they're genuinely supportive & very difficult to fault at any point in my childhood hmm

He's not intending to tell his family about this diagnosis though, in case his mum blames herself because she 'might think' that she had something to do with it. I'm kind of hoping that counselling will help him to put the childhood trauma in line with the reality of the situation. She's not a malicious woman & wouldn't have meant any harm by anything she did, but that's not to say that harm wasn't caused.

I'm sorry to hear that you have to deal with a regularly depressed DH & autistic children - it must be very difficult at times. I have a lot of respect for you. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me

techpep Sun 21-Dec-08 22:25:45

This is really difficult to cope with. Unfortunately, nobody has any answers and there can never be a 'finish' time. My mum has suffered with depression/personality disorder since i was about 14. Its really hard to even try to understand them. Sometimes i get really angry with her, other times i'm very supportive, luckily i have brothers and sisters so we take it in turns depending on what our lives are like at that time - we all have children and dont let them see their grandmother when she is ill. Hopefully, the pills will work for your DP, but if he has family members that can help out at times or your family, take all they offer because you will need it especially when the baby arrives. Nobody can deal with that on their own. Good Luck.

PeachyBidsYouNadoligLlawen Sun 21-Dec-08 22:35:42

There are people you can get support from you know if you need- homestart might be worth a look if you need it once baby comes? HV might be able to help with that.

Do be aware that living with a depressed DP does put you at risk of the same, if you get on with your HV mention it (can't say i ever did though!). But do be aware.

It took Dh until he was 37 to be rid of a very malicious MIL. He had to be ready, not my place to enforce. It's prpbaby better for your Dop is he oesn't have to take that step- too much baggage in the futue I expect!

SnowySunshine Sun 21-Dec-08 22:49:05

Peachy, that's the thing - I find myself getting really down & thinking 'what's the point?' about things, because of how difficult it can be living with him. I have to fight against that & know that it's just because I'm having to push us both through life at times. I will bear in mind that HV can help, though - fingers crossed for a nice one! Thanks

& I wouldn't want MIL out of his life entirely. She's nice enough & will be a good grandmother, I think. I just get wound up by the near reverence I'm meant to exhibit - but that's a purely selfish gripe blush

techpep, I'm the same - sometimes I become really infuriated, even though I know that it's the illness talking. Unfortunately, my family live quite a way away, but thinking about what you've said, I think I will be making sure that I get a bit of extra childcare from a nursery, or whatever, so I can have a couple of hours a week to worry about me & not be responsible for anyone. I just need to keep my head above water & see it through as far as I can, hopefully with things getting much easier along the way...

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