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DP suffering from depression - what can I do?

(41 Posts)
FruitString Sun 10-Mar-13 22:13:04

Sorry for the long post, but the time has finally come to get something off my chest. I have never discussed this with anyone else before, so here goes...

My DP has been suffering from depression from years. I reckon he had it before we met, but since our DS was born 7 years ago it has really got hold of him. It took a long time for him to face up to it, but he finally went to the GP about 2 years ago and was put on anti-depressants (Fluoxetine). At first they made a difference, but then it seems as though he just got used to them and they stopped working. Again he took a lot of persuading to go back to the GP but finally he did, and the GP upped the dose. Again, it did make a little bit of difference for a while but now he seems to be back to square one again.

I am finding it really, really hard being the partner of someone with depression. I'd really appreciate hearing from anyone else who has experience of this.

My DP's mood-swings are pretty extreme and I am quite certain that they are now really affecting our DS too. I don't think he's bi-polar (not sure if that's the correct term these days?), as when he's "up" he isn't particular manic, just a bit more cheerful than usual. But when he's down, well it's just awful. He shouts and swears, is rude, angry, irrational, and just exudes this horrible horrible vibe which really changes the atmosphere of the house. When he's like this I want to run away. (Actually I did run away once, when our DS was about 6 months old - DS and I stayed the night in a hotel a few miles away, but came back again next day. This was before I understood it was depression. I just wanted to teach him a lesson! It didn't work).

His bad moods usually end with him falling deeply asleep, usually on the sofa but sometimes he stomps upstairs and crashes out on the bed. He'll sleep for a good couple of hours (this is during the daytime) and is usually seems a bit better when he wakes up - though the waking up process itself takes a long time.

The trouble is he will NOT allow any discussion about it. Unless he is feeling particularly cheerful, and then he jokingly refers to his "loony pills" and how there's nothing wrong with him at all, it's just me keeping him "under sedation"...

When he's OK then it's like the sun comes out and I almost forget what it's like when he's down. But within hours of everything being fine, everything can turn bad again. The change is unbelievable actually - real Jekyll and Hyde stuff. And he doesn't seem to realise how bad he has been (or at least he doesn't ever admit it - if ever I try and comment on a bad episode he says that I'm the one "who's mad").

I'd really appreciate hearing from anyone else who is in a similar situation. How do you cope? How do I get him to seek more help? He refuses any kind of therapy other than the anti-depressants, and as I said he will NOT talk about it so even if I try to offer some support or understanding we get nowhere.

Just a few points:
I am unsure whether I still love him (it's taken me a few years to get round to being able to say that). I guess if I loved him I would have more patience / compassion..? But I think I'm completely out of those now..
We don't have sex any more. Ever. (Partly because I'm afraid I just don't fancy him any more either physically or emotionally, and partly because he himself is usually too tired, so neither of us ever initiate anything).
He isn't violent - at least not with DS and me, just with inanimate objects.
I had PND and I do have some understanding of what it's like to be depressed but sometimes I wonder whether this is something else other than depression.

TranceDaemon Sun 10-Mar-13 22:26:23

Depression is not a reason to be a twat and treat your partner like crap. I wouldn't blame you for leaving him. He has killed your love with his behaviour and if it were me it would be ultimatum time. Get a grip or get out of your life.

And I say that both as a sufferer of depression and a therapist. He is taking the piss. You are not there to serve as his emotional punch bag, why should you sacrifice your happiness and have the life sucked out of you depending on his mood?

Time to take stock and put YOU first.

cestlavielife Sun 10-Mar-13 22:52:51

Have you told the gp what he is like when "depressed" ? Have you been to the appts wi

cestlavielife Sun 10-Mar-13 22:53:53

Have you told the gp what he is like when "depressed" ? Have you been to the appts with him asked about changing meds, taken a diary of how he has been for the last few weeks with every outburst written down so gp can see what is going on ? I suggest you do keep a log diary from today and list the ups and downs.....

What things does he smash up or be violent with ? Is it in front of you and ds ? That is a no no and you need to ask him to leave til he does sort himself out..,

Read both depression fallout book anne sheffield and why does he do that Lundy Bancroft...

If he really is out of control /suffering depression in his bad phases then he needs more help. If he doesn't accept he needs help then you need to ask him to leave til he does. It isn't fair on ds to grow up in this environment. Even if he can't help it due to illness you have to consider whether it is appropriate to raise a child in this environment. He can see ds when he is feeling ok.

Otoh if he appears to be able to control himself out of the home eg at work or with other people then it is a different matter...does he go to work hold down a job ? Is he equally erratic shouty and violent towards inanimate objects at work ?

Graceparkhill Sun 10-Mar-13 22:57:37

It would be worth getting some support for yourself as a carer for someone with a mental health problem.

I struggled in your situation for years but now have access to a carers support group and a counsellor.

I also saw my GP who was very supportive.

My DH refuses all treatment which is very difficult and frustrating. The carers support has helped me to carry on.

Flojobunny Sun 10-Mar-13 22:59:11

Two things come to my mind. Firstly, are you sure he's depressed? Seems quite extreme swings for depression. Are you sure there aren't any other factors? Some sort of drug abuse? Legal or otherwise?
Is he working? You mentioned day naps.
The second thing, his refusal to get therapy. CBT is a very good form of therapy and is highly rated. If he is refusing to get help then you have to decide whether to issue that ultimatum and stick to your guns.

ImperialBlether Sun 10-Mar-13 23:06:47

OP, you can't live like this. My (now ex) husband suffered from depression and it was awfully depressing living with him. It was only when I told him that if he didn't get himself sorted out I'd leave him that he was shocked into taking action.

I could tell when he wasn't taking the pills (Prozac then.) I could tell if he'd missed just a couple. He would feel OK on them but hate the stigma of being on them and would stop, but would then collapse again. He now has accepted he's on them or something like them for good. There's a family history of depression.

However, his depression would involve him backing out of family life and staying upstairs etc. It was easy to see it was depression; he looked terrible when he was in a bad way. He never shouted at me or at anyone but internalised everything. I think that's what most people (in my experience) do.

Your husband sounds awful to live with and if you do want to continue with him I think you need to give him an ultimatum. Keep a log on a Word document that's password protected, too, or at work if you can. You should definitely see the doctor, but I would go alone. The doctor can't comment on his patients but can listen and bear what you say in mind when your husband visits again. He can call him in for a check up, saying he doesn't want to give too many repeat prescriptions.

It sounds like a really unhealthy house for you to live in and I'm not surprised you have PND. You are walking on eggshells and at a time when you are vulnerable, you have to live according to his moods and temper. It's not right.

ImperialBlether Sun 10-Mar-13 23:07:42

Flo, the problem with CBT on the NHS is they only let you do it for a few weeks and, whether you are improving or not, it stops then.

Lucyellensmum95 Sun 10-Mar-13 23:10:07

i must be putting my DP through hell too sad It i hard to read the "other side" of depression and see the affect it has on the partner.

Would he consider at least goin to the doctors and having his meds reviewed? It might be that he needs to change. Does he have a "reason" or triggers for his depression?

Seriously, im surprised my DP hasn't walked away from me tbh - but he hasn't (thank god)

Not sure why i am posting, rambling (tired) trying to put the other perspective - to say what works for us. To be fair, my DP doesn't have any of my bullshit and can be pretty harsh with "dont be starting that shit" if i am being self pitying and selfish (i know i can be) MAybe its easier because hes a man and i tend to want to be "looked after" when i am ill so i just tend to do as im told. Would taking a firm stance with your DH help? My DP isn't a shit - im having a horrible time just now and he knows that i am at breaking point and firm will tip me oer the edge - he is being wonderful, it does break my heart to think that i am probably waring away the love we had.

Lucyellensmum95 Sun 10-Mar-13 23:12:36

Imperial, i think the CBT and NHS thing is a postcode lottery, i was offered CBT and it didnt really work for me, my therapist said i had 12 weeks and if he felt i needed more after that then he would refer me to a second course. I didnt complete the first course because i got a job, then had a breakdown and im trying to recover.

Lucyellensmum95 Sun 10-Mar-13 23:15:03

cest la vie - i have been shouty and erratic these past few weeks, maybe I should leave my DD with my DP then? And see her when i am "better" but then probably not, because Im a woman.

cronullansw Sun 10-Mar-13 23:15:44

FFS, if he can't get a grip and start treating you well, you should LTB.

He's just using his illness as a typical, pathetic excuse.

I mean, he obviously wants to be depressed, and it's obviously his fault his doctor can't get his medication right. The lack of sex and intimacy hasn't got anything to do with his meds. Leave him.

Oh no... wait a minute...... hang on, I'm just wondering..........

tawse57 Sun 10-Mar-13 23:33:05

Testosterone deficiency syndrome? Lack of testosterone?

How is he in the manhood department? Are you having lots of energetic sex? Does he get rock hard? Is he putting on weight? Is he tried?

Have a read of this:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2047662/Disappearing-muscles-lack-energy-mood-swings-snoring--Is-man-suffering-low-testosterone.html

tawse57 Sun 10-Mar-13 23:33:20

Testosterone deficiency syndrome? Lack of testosterone?

How is he in the manhood department? Are you having lots of energetic sex? Does he get rock hard? Is he putting on weight? Is he tried?

Have a read of this:

www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2047662/Disappearing-muscles-lack-energy-mood-swings-snoring--Is-man-suffering-low-testosterone.html

Lucyellensmum95 Sun 10-Mar-13 23:39:18

err interesting name you have there tawse (are you scottish by any chance?) WTF has this got to do with the anything hmm

Lucyellensmum95 Sun 10-Mar-13 23:40:47

oh and no one here takes anything printed in the daily fail seriously

cestlavielife Sun 10-Mar-13 23:51:07

He refuses therapy and wont talk about it.

He is violent with inanimate objects.
That is more than just shouty.That is not nice and is scary for op and ds.

One thing family therapist said to me and to exp re my exp was he had to "own" his depression.... Know when he is bad, do something eg remove himself not take it out on others... All depends how much he knows about his own illness or not. How much insight he has. But if he won't talk about it or discuss they can't decide strategies together and it.s a lose lose situation.

I asked if he the same at work or with others? Or does he save these episodes for the op?

Lucyellensmum95 Sun 10-Mar-13 23:57:19

Sounds a lot like me sad

tawse57 Mon 11-Mar-13 00:10:46

"err interesting name you have there tawse (are you scottish by any chance?) WTF has this got to do with the anything hmm"

"oh and no one here takes anything printed in the daily fail seriously"

Wow - what an ignorant person. You speak for everyone on Mumsnet do you - how arrogant! How uninformed. How lacking in knowledge about male medical conditions and Men's health.

Firstly, the above medical condition is a bonafide medical condition, with the exact symptoms that Fruitstring says her husband has, that doctors diagnose and treat every single day in this country. Millions of men will suffer from it at some point. You did the read the DM article didn't you?

Oh, I forgot you think the DM is beneath you. Well, go and educate yourself via Google and see that there are numerous detailed medical texts out there describing this very problem. It affects millions of men and can easily be misdiagnosed as anxiety & depression.

I posted the DM article as, apart from being very good at pointing out the symptoms, it gives real world accounts from men who have suffered from this and who have been successfully treated.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the OP's husband was suffering from a lack of testosterone - it could be easily and quickly fixed and they could go on and live happy lives again. You would want that - wouldn't you? Would you?

You sound an angry rude and judgemental person IMPO. Fruitstring has come here asking for help and, immediately upon reading her post, I thought of a testosterone deficiency misdiagnosed as depression. The poor man has been on anti-depressants FOR YEARS and things are not getting any better. Perhaps it is NOT anxiety & depression after all - go figure!

It can take an awful lot to get a man to go to a GP and admit that he is suffering from mood swings let alone getting angry with his wife. How many times more difficult is it for a man to admit there he might be having problems in his man-bits department - especially if the GP does not ask.

Even if the GP asks how many men do you think would admit to that? One of the biggest problems in health in the UK today is men not talking to their GPs about problems they have with their man-bits. Men die as a result - in their thousands.

A lack of testosterone is a serious illness. Apart from the mood swings, bouts of anger & frustration, tiredness, etc, it can lead to much worse things. His pituitary gland or thyroid, as examples, might not be functioning properly.

The symptoms Fruitstring describes, including him falling asleep on the sofa after one of his bad moods, could be a sign of a lack of testosterone, as could be his "Jekyll and Hyde stuff" between being fine one moment and then awful the next with his mood swings perhaps being indicative of his testosterone levels peaking and falling.

Fruitstring, please, please, please look into low testosterone or lack of testosterone as a possibility rather than anxiety & depression.

The doctor can do some simple tests such as blood tests and if this is the problem then they can sort it... and you can have your old husband back again happy in himself and happy for you as a couple.

Lucyellensmum95 Mon 11-Mar-13 00:15:52

Did i hit a nerve? I don't need to educate myself via google, i'll rely on my PhD in biochemistry to do that.

I didn't actually take issue with you pointing out that it might be a certain hormonal condition, but to be fair, it could be many "conditions" or just plain old depression. It was the "does he get really hard" comment that i found totally inappropriate, im sure i'm not alone. But then im just an ignorant woman.

thetrackisback Mon 11-Mar-13 00:35:14

This could be bipolar depression or any condition. I think your partner needs further tests and needs to be referred to a psychiatrist. Firstly you need to complete a mood diary of his moods. This will give you a clearer understanding of any patterns are emerging if the moods are worse at certain times. Ideally your partner needs to be on board with the idea of a psychiatrist but he could be sectioned for assessment if required. You also need to see a counsellor to help you decide what to do and how you want to proceed with your relationship. Hope things start to get better soon.x

tawse57 Mon 11-Mar-13 00:35:55

No, it was not just the "does he get really hard" question - which is a very important question and one which a GP will ask - that got you started was it?

Your PhD in biochemistry - Wow, what a coincidence that you happen to have one of those. No way for us to verify that on-line is there - not that it matters. But tell me, do you go around telling waiters that you have a PhD whilst peering over your copy of the Grundian and looking at the little people reading the Daily Mail? How small the rest of us must look to you.

Going back to Fruitstring's original post - her husband will not even discuss what is going on with him now. What is the one area where men either get angry or give the silent treatment - fears about their own sexual prowess and fear of being unable to satisfy their partner.

I find it very sad that Fruitstring's husband has apparently been written off with anxiety & depression for all these years. There is clearly something else going on there and in order for him to get well, so that he, Fruitstring and their family can live happy lives, then other avenues need to be explored - and asking if "does he get really hard" is a VERY valid medical question. GPs ask that question of patients numerous times per week. Sometimes numerous times per day.

Only a prude would think there is something wrong in asking that question when discussing a man's health.

FruitString Mon 11-Mar-13 10:40:21

Everyone, thank you so much for your responses. I felt a bit bad writing that post last night but I am now so glad that I did. It has given me a lot to think about - and do. Thinking of myself as the carer of someone with a mental illness makes me feel kind of better and I'm hoping that it will, as Graceparkhill suggests, enable me to get some support - to be honest it never even occurred to me to get support for myself! I will def look into the low testosterone issue, and I'm going to start keeping a diary of the mood swings.

You ask if he's working, and whether he has the moods at work. Well he does work - but he works for himself and he feels under a huge amount of pressure as the main breadwinner. However, he has been like this since I first met him and in those days he was actually quite successful and certainly not struggling finance-wise. So I don't think it's work stress that causes the depression - it's probably the other way round in fact.

The falling asleep during the day happens in the weekends. Every weekend without fail. If I pop out and leave DS with him, I can absolutely guarantee that by the time I get back DS will be playing on his own while DP is sleeping on the sofa - not just catnapping but deeply asleep and hard to wake up. Often when I announce I am popping out, DS says, "Oh no mummy please don't go because Daddy won't play with me, he'll just sleep". And he doesn't go to bed late - on the contrary he often goes to bed at 9.30pm, so is not suffering from lack of sleep (I have tried to suggest that he is suffering from too MUCH sleep but he reckons there's no such thing).

I have suggested that I come to the GP with him, many times. Because I just know that he doesn't really tell the GP anything. But he doesn't want me to come.

I think that the time may have come for some ultimatums because it's wearing me out, mentally, just keeping going. And I am now starting to seriously worry about our DS and how it's affecting him.

One more thing - I get on with DP's sister quite well, though don't see her often (she lives about 3 hours drive away). She is his elder sister and seems like a very "sane" person and easy to talk to. I often feel I would like to talk to her about all this, as I have a hunch she could shed some light on it (DP once indicated to me that he had some kind of breakdown when he was about 12 yrs old - but then refused ever to discuss it with me again). And very naughtily I recently peeped at a diary that he had kept when he was in his early twenties and read the words "my bloody depression..." So it's obviously a long term thing and maybe his sister could give me some useful insights. However, I am worried that this would be going behind his back and maybe a bit disloyal. What do you think?

Thanks everyone.

cestlavielife Mon 11-Mar-13 11:38:26

there is a good chapter in anne sheffield book on impact of a depressed aprent on children and how you can mitigate this (lots of time with happy cheerful people, respite effectively etc) - www.amazon.co.uk/How-Survive-When-Theyre-Depressed/dp/0609804154/ref=la_B001ILHJVS_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363001172&sr=1-1 (you can buy hard copy too)

you and your DS are carers of someone with a serious problem - eg your DS at seven looking after a sleeping adult.... speak to MIND, RETHINK and your GP about support. young carers can provide an outloot for your DS to talk and get support. youngcarers.net/

try speaking to him again about addressing this, going to gp with him and moving forward.
if he wont then i think you quite entitled to "go behind his back" and speak to his sister, also as someone else said, go to GP and speak about him tell your concerns. then at least you can feel gp has full information and can decide what to do with that information.

if you do nothing, then you and DS will suffer; and possibly dp wont get teh help he needs.

my ex had similar history of teenage "breakdown" and ongoing depression but it did get worse and worse....he also tended to sleep at weekends very incoveniently - has still done so acc. to DC when they have been on contact visits.

how often does he smash things up and what things? keep a diary. has it been recent? ie is it getting worse? you need to be more proactive in calling GP when any such incident occurs. ignoring it wont help you ds or dp in the long run... in my case things escalated into a major episode in which dp got v agressive and violent; and i should have called 999 a lot lot sooner....

not saying that will happen but clearly you now recognising there is a big issue here -especially if dp wont talk about it and wont let you go to gp with him to discuss strategies together.

you can only move forward together as a carer of person with MH if there is full disclosure, he fully involves you in terms of lettting you in on GP visits etc and he has insight, which is shared; and some way of discussing strategies and what to do.

are you happy leaving DS with sleeping adult?
is DS responsible knows how to call you etc? knows what to do if someone comes to door while dad sleeping etc?

i know my dds have felt v alone when being "looked after" by sleeping dad - when they were younger than now ie closer to your ds age.

if not, you need DP to tell you if he planning or might sleep. if you dont know if that will happpen or not perhaps you need to make other arrangements for DS or go out at times when you know dp wont sleep. or tell ds what to do if dp falls asleep. ie accept it happens and set up strategies.

FruitString Mon 11-Mar-13 13:17:36

Thanks Cestlavielife. When I say he isn't violent with us, just with inanimate objects, I don't mean he actually smashes things up. It's more just getting angry with tools, etc, and the most he'll do is just throw stuff on the ground/floor and shout and swear at it. Same as a lot of people do really, only he does a lot and very loudly! I honestly cannot imagine for one second that he would EVER take things out on our DS or me and I cannot imagine we would ever get to a situation where I'd have to call 999. DP is in fact a kind and gentle person underneath. I think that no matter how bad he gets he does have limits. The only person he gets REALLY angry with is himself.

I will take a look at that book - thank you.

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