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Can a marriage survive depression (long sorry)

(12 Posts)
onionlove Wed 17-Oct-12 20:11:08

Really need some advice please. First to say I have suffered depression previously and so have people close to me so I do understand what it means.
My DH and I have been married 7 years (today), we have been through a lot, a mean and nasty ex, a child from his previous relationship who he finds hard to parent, IVF, miscarriages, his parents don't like me see me as the other woman (I wasn't) and other challenges that I'm sure lots of couples have faced.
Our first child was pretty difficult, a combination of my inexperience and him not sleeping at all unless on one of us and crying a lot and constantly wanting to be held meant we both got tired and our relationship started to deteriorate, DS is nearly 3 now and we have DD who is 6 months. I think that DH has found having children very difficult, I wonder now if that it why he left his ex (ironically she said it was).
Our relationship is in tatters now, we have not had sex for over 6 months, he barely talks to me, prefers to stay up until 2/3 am watching movies or sports whilst I fall asleep on the sofa at 10.00 pm from being with the children all day. He is not interested in me, my life, how I feel, the house, the children. We have had some terrible rows, never physically violent but horrible, he very uncommunicative and mostly doesn't look at me when I talk, he doesn't sleep with me anymore because he says I snore. He used to have what I would call eruptions of 'my life is over, I've got nothing, I hate my life, I hate living here, I spend my life pleasing others' etc. etc. every six months or so, I put it down to he bottles everything up so it comes out somehow, usually after drinking and unfortunately one time was at my best friends wedding when I was pregnant, he ruined it for me and we had to go home.
These eruptions have got more frequent, I realise our life has changed but no more than anyone else with young children, i.e. tired and skint. I really enjoy the children though, he seems to think they are a drain.
So, we went to counselling together, the counsellor thought it would be most helpful to see him on his own as she felt that he was depressed, I had not considered it before but it made sense.
His individual sessions seem to be dredging up issues he would probably rather not think about and deal with (I think about his parents and his daughter) and he has actually got worse, I understand why this is happening but it is making him even more difficult to live with, he didn't get out of bed for 2 days last week and rang in sick to work, how am I supposed to manage that with a baby and a toddler, in the end I got mad with him and he stormed out - to the cinema and left me to put the children to bed on my own. I know he has also been lying to his friends that he can go out with them and then cancelling at the last moment (trying to please everyone!) He told me he needed to go to the doctor and get some medication because he was feeling worse so today he went but then he told me that he didn't want to take drugs so they didn't give him anything, he has gone for another counselling session tonight and the doctor said he should finish that first before considering medication.
I suppose that over the time this has been happening I have put up barriers to protect myself from getting hurt and channelled my energy into the children, they are so little and need me and I don't seem to be able to do anything right for him he just thinks I'm nagging the time.
At the moment I feel numb and can't see a way back to how things were, I really want to make things work for everyones sake but I just can't bear to be around him, there are some moments when I get a little spark of what it was like if you know what I mean but they are few and far between, I just don't know if this will get any better or what I should do anymore, I'm just so fed up of feeling like I'm walking on glass.
Please help...

nicholarseparsons Wed 17-Oct-12 20:56:55

I had to respond to you. You sound so desperate for help.

Can I recommend Dorothy Rowe's book 'Beyond Fear' to you. She has written loads about depression (she was a sufferer as well as a psychologist).

Do you still love your DH? You say you want to make things work for everyone's sake but what does that mean to you and what is your bottom line? It seems to me from your OP that some of what is happening may be as much about how your DH manages marriage and parenthood as depression (i.e. the two are intertwined).

Keep posting, I know there will be lots of helpful people who will be here for you. smile

daffydowndilly Wed 17-Oct-12 22:31:34

Google 'depression fallout', good chatboard with lots of people who can relate to your situation.

IME, can a marriage survive depression? In my case there was a combination of depression and alcoholism and that was the most horrific, traumatic experience as I had very young children. Everything centred around his moodswings and the threat of him drinking, and I was utterly lost and miserable with no self-esteem left.

I think if he had had depression on its own and had been doing everything he could to get better, taking his meds, doing therapy, the marriage might have survived. But what I did learn was that the most important thing I should have done is take better care of myself, not necessarily through leaving the relationship in that scenario, but detaching with love from his problems. That and setting down boundaries to protect myself. Walls or barriers just deflect the problems and nothing gets better, and channeling all your energy into your children, was for me at least a form of denial or hiding, and made me more into a 'victim' than I should have allowed myself to be.

I have every absolutely sympathy with people suffering from depression, I have several close friends who do, and not one would ever treat me badly. I don't think depression is an excuse for bad behaviour, and definitely should not be used as an excuse to allow poor behaviour to continue with no consequences.

daffydowndilly Wed 17-Oct-12 22:33:44

Also Anne Sheffield has written books aimed at people living with depressed family members, that might be worth a look at.

StaceeJaxx Wed 17-Oct-12 22:53:17

I'm sorry that everything is so difficult for you atm. A lot of what you wrote could have been said about me and DH a few years back. Horrible ex, step-child hard to parent, miscarriage, difficult family (his), difficult first child, being so hard when second child was a baby, arguments that would erupt from nowhere and could often get aggressive (both of us). It was a very, very hard period to go through and lasted quite a few years. I got PND after our second child, he was thoroughly depressed but refused to get help, our sex life was none existent, he slept on the sofa for a few years TBH. We nearly split up.

We did get through it though thankfully. We kind of reached a crisis point were something had to give. We knew we couldn't carry on as we were, so it was either split up or put loads of effort in and make a go of it. We both realised that we loved each other and the prospect of splitting up was just too upsetting and neither of us wanted it. We went to Relate but didn't find them that helpful really. We started to talk to each other more about everything, open up about how we were feeling. And even though we didn't want to have sex straight away we started to make time for each other, did our best to sleep in the same bed (had co-slept with both dds so was difficult at first). We tried to have a "date night" at least once a week, most of the time we couldn't afford to go out so would get a bottle of wine, some food and a film. We found we would often be up till the early hours talking about everything. Eventually it did bring us back together.

Things are so much better now. The dds are older, DSD is grown up and over the teenage problems. dd1 was diagnosed with ASD earlier this year which explains why everything was so difficult when she was younger, and dd2 is no longer a baby so we're being woken up several times a night! I know sleep deprivation was a big factor, also when they're small everything is so much harder as they need your constant attention.

I don't know if I could be of any help but feel free to PM me if you want to chat about anything.

StaceeJaxx Wed 17-Oct-12 22:54:55

we're not being woken up

daffydowndilly Wed 17-Oct-12 22:58:26

The googling didn't work, but this link does.

cestlavielife Wed 17-Oct-12 23:34:29

I think what stands out is that you enjoy the children despite everything,
He can only see them as a drain.

Do you want them growing up to be drains in his eyes?

Could he go elsewhere you give each other a break even for a few weeks ? Get some space to see how life is without having to deal with him

cestlavielife Wed 17-Oct-12 23:36:06

I think what stands out is that you enjoy the children despite everything,
He can only see them as a drain.

Do you want them growing up to be drains in his eyes?

Could he go elsewhere you give each other a break even for a few weeks ? Get some space to see how life is without having to deal with him every waking moment? See what it is you miss about him? See what he misses about you and dc? Is he prepared to fight ie get himself treated properly to restore your family and relationship ?
Does he actually want to enjoy being dad and wil get whatever help is needed ?

If where you were is pre children. And he doesn't do children then you need to think long and hard.... Who comes first ? Him or dc?

My good friend used to tell me that he is an adult and he is responsible for his mental health. He is not your child and you cannot cure him. He and his therapists can work on that. Your dc otoh have no choice but to go along with what you decide...

Cbt made my ex worse when he was in throes of depression.

As daffy said think about your boundaries about what you can put up with... Read the depression fallout Board and Anne Sheffield... Maybe take yourself and dc off for a weekend to your family or friends ? Get some time away from him to think without the black cloud hanging over.

But if he is prone to being angry and controlling have a read of Lundy bancroft why does he do that and see if you think he really fit into a depressive who needs help or if there is other stuff going on... Erupting and spoiling a day out at a wedding was typical for my ex too. While some was depression some seemed T be much more about control perhaps jealousy . No way are you going to t have a nice time if I am not !

But think more about how he feels about his children, your children... And what is he prepared to do to start enjoying them? Because if he isn't going to work it out how many years will you put your dc up for being "drains" on him?

cestlavielife Wed 17-Oct-12 23:38:16

Ps yes marriages can survive. . One I know she was depressed after bereavement , he said look you get help or you go to your mum and stay there... She got help, meds, things are fine.

Another it was the fella who was depressed, following a stroke. She said, get out or get help. He got help. They together still.

In both cases tho it was a very clear reason for the depression rather than maybe an ongoing personality thing... ??

emess Wed 17-Oct-12 23:42:12

Sounds like a tough situation, but there are many people on here who can help you find a way through this.
Heed what daffydowndilly wrote. It is not your job to make things better for everyone, or even to hold things together. Your job is to look after yourself, first and foremost, so that you can look after your children. Your DH is an adult and is responsible for looking after himself - both mentally and physically. If he is motivated, then he will seek help and take action to help himself, in which case, your support for him will hasten an improvement in your relationship. However, depression can be very difficult to live with and it can be very hard work - as you have found already.

Keep posting!

onionlove Thu 18-Oct-12 20:59:20

First of all, I'm overwhelmed, thanks to everyone for your responses, this is my first post on this board

NAP - I will check out the book you recommend, I think I do love my DH still but it is eroding away, I don't feel like I would never really love him again like I used to but I know its going to be a long road to get there if I ever do. I think your insight is very good, I think the issues he has prevent him being the husband and father he should and probably could be, he has even admitted in the past that he wants to do better. My bottom line is happiness really and time, I am willing to give him some time but not so it becomes detrimental to everyones happiness.

Daffy - I'm sorry for what you have been through I can imagine that the situation with alcohol thrown in would be a nightmare. I am trying to take care of myself and the children and stay on an even keel and leaving him to get on with sorting out his troubles now unless he asks for my help which he doesn't, just getting on with the day to day, we spend such a small amount of time together anyhow that is not hard to do. Can you explain more about detaching without barriers? Thanks also for book recommendations.

Staceee - thanks for your post, its frightening that someone else has experience of a similar situation I thought I was alone in this. How the hell did you overcome it and stay together. I thought going to counselling was the crisis point but it seems to have made things worse in the short term, I guess the crucial thing is loving each other enough isn't it? Its heartening that you got through it though, you must be very strong, I would love to PM you when I have some more time to write if that's OK?

Cestlavie - I do really enjoy the children, after being told I was infertile and then losing two babies I'm not particularly religious but I thank god for them every single day, they are children and have their moments and it is hard work of course but they bring me so much joy, they are wonderful little people, I feel sorry for him that he is missing out. I don't ever want them to hear/think that is the case. I don't think he treats his pre-teen daughter like she is important, just like she is her mate, it is a weird relationship really, I am pleased for her she seems to have a good relationship with her stepdad. I would love it if he could find somewhere else to go but that might be easier said than done, my friend has offered me to join her at her holiday cottage for a few days so I will do that with the children I think soon. I think some space to think would be good, the atmosphere in the house is pretty bad right now. I think your questions are excellent and if we get a moment of clarity I would like him to answer them really. To answer your question DC come first every time, they are only small they need to be taken care of whatever happens, I know I cannot cure him I don't even try to help anymore unless he asks me as it just leads to arguments otherwise.

I wouldn't say he is controlling, more childish really and just wants to sulk in front of TV or sport and be left alone. I am not going to put up with it endlessly if he doesn't start appreciating what he has, life is too short. Its funny but his ex told me he was like this, seems history is repeating itself, of course I didn't believe her I thought it was just sour grapes.

emess I think you're right the truth comes out in the end and time will tell whether he wants to sort it out even just for his own sanity!

Thanks again everyone xxxxx

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