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Me "being on alert" for wife's depression, perhaps unnecessarily!

(26 Posts)
letsgomaths Fri 15-Feb-13 19:34:43

The lovely lady who is now my wife and I have been together for nearly four years, and married for 18 months. When we first got together (met through a shared interest), she was an emotional wreck with almost no self-esteem, prone to tantrums, had (and still has a few) issues with her appearance, used to cry a lot, and was constantly afraid I would leave her. She had only recently left her previous partner (with good reason), and was having problems at work.

Somehow I saw past this negative exterior, and my instinct told me that persevering with her was the right thing to do, even though she herself tried hard to talk me out of a relationship with her. I moved in with her, proposed to her, and married her.

Like many others, we have had our ups and downs over the last four years; we have had many happy times, interspersed with her occasional very bad strops and depressions (and sometimes from me too), during which she would be utterly inconsolable, and I would have to try very hard not to get angry with her. She loves Christmas and present-giving occasions, but there's often an emotional crash in January when it's over, and it's dark and cold. During low moments I do my best to support her, although I sometimes told her it was time she pulled herself together and stopped being miserable, and once I felt really ashamed for timing one such statement badly.

She was delighted when I proposed to her, and said yes straight away. (I had prepared myself for having to convince her that she was good enough for me, but I didn't need to in the end.) She loved every moment of the wedding planning, totally sucked up wedding fairs (with me by her side), and loved the day itself. I anticipated a huge fall once it was over; she did get some post-wedding blues, but not as much as I thought she would.

I am happy to say that her low moments are now quite rare; and I very much hope that this is because she is now a happier person, because that was my goal for her when I saw a future for us. However, an anxious part of me keeps wondering if this is too good to be true, and that a major strop is always just around the corner; for example, I anticipated the usual January blues, and I could scarcely believe it when this year, they barely came at all. (The year before was very bad!) I gave her lots of praise, but I kept wondering if she was bottling things up, instead of expressing her feelings. I really hope she's still being her true self, and that she's not hiding any sadness for fear of how I might react. (I've read "Families and how to survive them" a lot.)

I'm sure all this says a lot about me. I need to trust her happiness more: in our early years, I was constantly on alert for her getting upset, which could be triggered by many things, such as a sudden change of circumstances (an event not going ahead, perhaps). Although I am much more relaxed now, sometimes I am thinking "it's been a very long time since DW got depressed". And yes, I know I should be very pleased about that. Perhaps I'm struggling to shake off the memory of what she was like when we first met, and perhaps that was an especially low moment for her, and I assumed she was like that most of the time.

A possible low point coming up is that it's her 30th birthday this summer; her own birthday is a celebration she's not fond of, perhaps because she dreads getting older. At low moments, she has said once or twice that she doesn't want to be 30. (She teased me a lot about my own 30th birthday, three years ago, told me I was getting "old".) What encouraging words might I give her?

Thank you for reading this far! I am wondering if any of you have success stories helping a depressed partner... and if you think I'm worrying too much about things now going wrong. She's actually the only serious girlfriend, partner or wife I've had (and I'm not foreseeing that changing), but it means I have less experience than many people to go on.

captainmummy Fri 15-Feb-13 19:39:23

Wow - seems an awful lot of hard work, OP. Has she had counselling? I know, if the roles were reversed, i would be very hmm about tiptoeing around on eggshells the entiretime, waiting for and eruption/depression/'low point'

Can't advise, sorry, but i think she should get some help with self-esteem, and def depression. It's not fair on you to expect you to cushion life's pitfalls.

SundaysGirl Fri 15-Feb-13 19:53:44

Youre entire post read as though she is a naughty child whose behaviour you have 'managed'. You sound like you have a serious control and rescue complex going on to me. This actually made me go cold reading it.

magimedi Fri 15-Feb-13 19:57:48

I think you have a very controlling attitude towards your wife & maybe need to lighten up a little.

I'd be very interested to hear her side of this story.

TheFallenNinja Fri 15-Feb-13 20:19:23

Mate do you wear your undies outside your trousers and wear a cape.

What a load of guff.

carabos Fri 15-Feb-13 20:25:09

Very strange post. Reads like a reverse to me. At least you don't appear to have any self-esteem issues yourself OP.

joanofarchitrave Fri 15-Feb-13 20:34:15

Hmm. What actually happened the last time she was depressed? Was it different from a strop? What is it like at its worst?

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 15-Feb-13 20:59:12

I get the feeling that what you're saying is "my wife isn't the woman I married anymore."

It sounds like you liked her being damaged and needy and now that she's not, you're at loose ends.

MajesticWhine Fri 15-Feb-13 21:30:25

I think you are overthinking this for sure. It sounds like your issue not hers. Trying to anticipate the possibility of a depressive episode isn't going to help at all, and could in fact feed into triggering another one, by reducing her own sense of self-efficacy. Ups and downs and strops are all normal, in my opinion. If she did get down again, what would be so catastrophic about that? You've coped with it before.

familygirl27 Fri 15-Feb-13 21:40:02

Are you fed up OP?

AnyFucker Fri 15-Feb-13 21:43:20

You are scaring the shit out of me

Please go away. I am going to have nightmares.

MarilynValentine Fri 15-Feb-13 21:45:22

Relationships based on a particular skewed dynamic - eg rescuer and victim - rarely survive very long, whether friendships or partnerships.

It sounds like you love your wife very much but you do sound excessively controlling and invested in 'managing' her emotional life.

I think maybe what you should be asking (and perhaps in a way you are asking) is how to stop being so codependent and absorbed in managing your partner's feelings.

She will be acutely aware of your relentless eagle eye on her and her every mood. She will feel the weight of that. In the long run, as she continues to evolve, as we all do, she may well want the freedom to feel and be without that level of scrutiny.

Are there any relationships, family or otherwise, in your past that drew you into feeling you could only be loved and valued as a saviour?

You sound like you care deeply, so it's really worth confronting your own role in this, your own stuff.

Branleuse Fri 15-Feb-13 21:54:36


Branleuse Fri 15-Feb-13 21:55:02


cestlavielife Fri 15-Feb-13 21:56:16

Has she actually been diagnosed with depression? If so then when or if she goes down you march her to gp for meds or change in meds.

If she hasn't been diagnosed you should not bandy about the word depression.

But you cld benefit yourself from quick Cbt course to treat your anxiety.... No one knows what is round the corner. Enjoy the good times and stop fretting !!

But you know you can't help someone with depression unless you a medical professional or trained therapist etc... You can support someone thru it. But quit worrying until it happens ....

Crunchymunchyhoneycakes Fri 15-Feb-13 21:58:34

That's one of the creepiest ops I've read on here.

familygirl27 Fri 15-Feb-13 21:58:54

It felt strange to read your post as you sounded like you were describing how I was a few years ago. You need to continue to be supportive and if your wife does fall into a depressive episode, support her through it. Don't make her feel guilty as that usually contributes even more to the depression as you feel guilty for feeling depressed and end up suck in a state of mind that can be extremely difficult to get out of.
You do sound like you care a lot for her and she probably feels very lucky to have you helping her through this. Does your wife have issues that have never been dealt with from her past? Do you have issues that you have not dealt with?

Maebe Fri 15-Feb-13 22:02:34

This is a reverse thread, isn't it?


Otherwise... <backs slowly out of the thread>

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Fri 15-Feb-13 22:12:25

Advanced Search indicates it's not a reverse, Mae.

Maths, this fear of "relapse" is now your issue, not hers. Can I suggest that if she does get low again, you encourage her to seek counselling or speak to her GP rather than trying to "save" her yourself - you can then get on with just being her husband. But don't be watching her every move or reaction for it - she should be able to have a shitty day without you reading stuff into it.

MarilynValentine Fri 15-Feb-13 22:15:48

I think the OP would benefit from some feedback though and that in turn would help his wife. He's stuck in a controlling, codependent loop and maybe can't see that his own behaviour is just as relevant as his wife's.

OP you are getting some negative reactions because what you wrote does sound stilted and self-congratulatory, and waaaaaay controlling to the point of being a real concern. I'm sure that's not how you meant to come across but it's there.

If you love her then focus, now, on yourself - you own motivations, your own past. I'm guessing you had a parent with some emotional issues that got you hooked on this kind of dynamic.

Spree Sat 16-Feb-13 01:42:06

OP, you are not responsible for your wife's happiness.

I read an article yesterday which suggested that when we get married, we stop enjoying our partners because we now feel responsible for their happiness / feelings.

Step back and let her be responsible for her own feelings & you, responsible for your own.

TheFallenNinja Sat 16-Feb-13 11:21:47

I think the OP would benefit from downgrading his opinion of himself.

KatieScarlett2833 Sat 16-Feb-13 11:36:40

You need professional help OP. This is your issue and you have set off all of my red flag klaxons hmm

showtunesgirl Sat 16-Feb-13 11:44:00

This thread is seriously weird. confused

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Sat 16-Feb-13 12:40:05

This sits really uncomfortably for me and I'm not quite sure why. I don't want to bundle into the thread and turn it negative but, why do I feel wary and a bit nervous of the OP?

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