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Has anyone had or know someone who had a nervous breakdown or MDE?

(28 Posts)
ItsBinDay Mon 22-Feb-16 11:27:42

I have put this in relationships because it's really about relationships, but I was wondering if I could hear experiences from anyone who has has a nervous breakdown or major depression and how it affected relationships?

I was married and very happily and he had a nervous breakdown and just left and started a new life. I tried very hard to help him but he changed completely and said he didn't have room to care about / look after anyone but himself and made it clear that he saw me and his stepkids as a burden.

I always thought he loved us, that we were the happy part of his life and not a burden so it has been difficult to understand it all.

He left and processed a divorce without even really seeing me at all bar a couple of phone calls and I do know he was quite ill with his depression and took a long time in recovery.

He now has a new life where he lives alone and says he does what he wants to do and only thinks about himself. I never really talk to him, haven't for a year or so but always thought that when he got better he would feel bad for what he lost but it seems he doesn't.

I phoned him today and he sounded as if I was just a stranger and someone he barely knew and he said he wa different now and put himself first and he is happy.

The inference somewhere in there is that I was a burden, that it was my fault he was ill and it's very hard to get to grips with how he saw me that way when I saw a very happy marriage between two people who loved and supported and card for each other.

I go over the tick boxes of what makes a good marriage and I think we had it all. Few arguments, agreed on most things, he was better at some things, I was better at others, we were both good parents who put the kids first, we were friends and could talk about anything, we had a fantastic sex life and we were affectionate and prioritised the other one.

He took care of me, in many way (financially, was quite protective) and I took care of him in other ways (emotionally, supportive) and overall we were just a great team as I saw it and thought he saw it the same way.

He'd never told me anything about our life was making him unhappy and as far as I knew he couldn't have been happier in terms of our relationship. I knew he looked after me a fair bit in a lot of ways but this was always the way he wanted it, from day one he liked it being like that and I feel like I loved and cared for him in every way I knew how.

He got ill and within a few weeks made the decision to leave and wouldn't talk about why or whatever was going through his head. He said he just had to get away and I always thought he would be back.

I see now he just decided that us, me, the children and out life was something he didn't want and I just wondered if anyone has experienced anything with depression or breakdowns that leads to this sort of thing.

He always said that he left because he had a breakdown, but I wondered, if he knew that...why leave?

In the aftermath of things, it's like he just ceased to care about me at all.

I haven't been able to have a new relationship and can't see any possibility on the cards of me ever being able to until I make my peace with this. I would just be looking at my new partner all the time wondering what I didn't know.

Angieyy1 Mon 22-Feb-16 11:49:49

Hi I did i wasn't married but had been in a long term relationship with him. I was in a bad way I couldn't work, get dressed or even eat .. I had no concept of time he left me, I couldn't of possibly of started another life I couldn't even go out of the house but I'm sure everyone is different .

I didint care at the time he had gone but as soon as I was better I wanted him back...but what came with that is knowing I couldn't spend the rest of my life with him. It must of been hard for him but he left me when I needed him that's not husband material we are not together anymore he ended up cheating on me several times and I look back now and make no wonder I was so depressed been with him x

Angieyy1 Mon 22-Feb-16 11:52:01

I also think for me sometimes certain things can take you back to that time when you were so Ill and you don't want to be reminded of it it was even something as silly as a certain smell of a shower gel

ItsBinDay Mon 22-Feb-16 11:55:58

Is that why he sounds so angry to speak to me?

I didn't do anything to him (knowingly) so you'd think if he decided he didn't love me that he would be the one who was sorry. Instead he treats me like scum. I messaged him to ask him to call and he replied "what have I done now?"

It's like he has nothing for me but contempt.

I have asked him why and he has no reason, that I did nothing. Just says he was sick of looking after other people

amarmai Mon 22-Feb-16 12:06:51

it sounds as if he found the reality of being a husband and stepfather too much. If you read the step parents forum , this is very common.

Angieyy1 Mon 22-Feb-16 12:08:08

Maybe he was just so mentally tired and been were he is right now Is peaceful for him.

Maybe you are showing him that he still needs to take care of you ( as you put it ) and the thought of that makes him feel like he just can't do it ....

Have you tried to have very little contact with him, show him your ok on your own maybe make him see that if he came back he wouldn't be coming back to the old life he wanted to walk away from ?

ItsBinDay Mon 22-Feb-16 12:12:32

I understand he might have found reality too much but this was not the way to handle it. We were married for four years, and in that time I don't think he ever indicated it was a problem for him.

I don't want him to come back.

Just to understand.

We hardly have any contact. We went through a divorce without him ever being in the same room as me really. He just never, ever talked to me.

I always was okay. He just liked taking care of me, it was never because I neede that. He said he liked feeling needed.

Angieyy1 Mon 22-Feb-16 12:20:06

I wasn't aware of the divorce. I know how hard it is to want closure and to understand I'm going though it now with someone else and it's painful .... I don't know maybe in time he might too to you about it ? That's what I'm hoping for ! Sorry you arengoingnthrough this it's an awful place to be x

TheWildRumpyPumpus Mon 22-Feb-16 12:22:42

I had major PND after the birth of DC2 and spent a few months in psych hospital. If I'd had the option of walking away from DH and the children and making a whole new life for myself elsewhere, I'd have quite happily done so, believing it was best for me AND for them.

twistedlove Mon 22-Feb-16 12:27:21

I've done this, i left my partner and 5 SC 6 weeks ago and moved back in with my mum, i was in a really dark place and couldnt do anything for myself, the depression and anxiety really took over.

I didnt leave because i didnt love her and didnt want to be with her, i left because i didnt want to burden her and i didnt want her children to see me in that state, i couldnt cope with life and i needed a break from reality. I didnt start a new life though, i went to the doctors got some AD's and a referral to CBT and now im on the road to recovery.

We got back together but im still living at my mums, sometimes i cant face going to my partners house because thats where is all started and it can be very triggering.

ItsBinDay Mon 22-Feb-16 12:30:48

I don't think he will ever talk to me about it. It's like he died and then there's a new person that almost doesn't even acknowledge he had a life before.

He will tolerate a phonecall here and then but he never wants to know about me, or the children he raised for 5 years with me and they are stuck in the same position as me of not understanding. I don't know what to tell them because I don't know myself.

Of course I miss the old person, still talk to him in my head or while washing the cups out in the sink but that person is gone. The new person I hate to bits. He's vile.

Thanks Wildrumpypumpus ride for that comment as I really wanted to hear from people who could or would have thought of doing this just so in my mind I can say he was mentally ill, rather than that he didn't ever love me.

ItsBinDay Mon 22-Feb-16 12:31:29

Thank you twisted and sorry to anyone else who has been ill

twistedlove Mon 22-Feb-16 12:52:19

My partner felt like you do and it took her some time to understand that i wasnt just being a selfish bitch but i was actually ill.

I understand how hard it can be explaining to the kids, i personally took on the roll of explaining why i wasnt going to be there, i told them i was very poorly and needed to go away to get better so i could be a better parent and so i could do fun things with them. It was hard and i miss them everyday but for the kids to see me the way i was just wasnt fair on them.

ShareefDontLikeIt Mon 22-Feb-16 12:59:09

I had a complete breakdown some years ago. If I could have run away from my life (including my very good, loving DH and two small children), I would have done it in a shot. But I was too ill to make plans on that sort of scale. And those feelings were the depression thinking for me. As soon as I started to feel well again, my 'escape' feelings gradually went away and my good, healthy, loving emotions towards my family came back.

This sounds different. Do you know much about his life now? What is he doing with himself? Has he got a mental illness diagnosis?

It must be very hard for you to be left wondering what actually happened. I wonder if you'll ever really get those answers, though?

Zaphodsotherhead Mon 22-Feb-16 13:17:58

I could have written this exact post. My husband, apparently happily married for three years but together for eight, left me and my children (again, stepchildren to him), said he'd had a breakdown, couldn't cope, didn't want responsibility etc etc, despite telling me he liked looking after people...

He moved into a houseshare with students and I severed all contact, because I loved him so desperately I couldn't bear to see him struggling. I thought he'd come home one day and tell me it was a terrible mistake. Five years later, he still hasn't and I still miss him.

ItsBinDay Mon 22-Feb-16 13:19:45

What I know is this basically.

He was happy as far as I knew it, he'd most definitely never given me any sign that he saw me or our marriage in a negative way. The opposite was true and I felt we were extremely happily married.

He had probably had quite long running "repressed" pain and anger from his life before we met, which was quite a sad story but he was just a positive person who didn't dwell on anything.

That said, he told me he'd not known he could be happy like that again until he found me and it felt like myself and the children were the happiest and best part of his life. Definitely not something he could ever bear to lose!

He was a jolly person, very kind and loving and perhaps yes I would characterise him as definitely the type who liked to keep everyone happy although I certainly didn't think that included me as we (I thought) talked about everything.

He had been under quite bad stress with work, money, everything crashing around his ears for about six months but we were supporting each other and remained very loving through it and saw it as just a rough patch. Not with us, but in life in general but I know he felt lot of pressure he always said he was strong and told me not to worry about it.

He'd been ill a few weeks before with a bad concussion and this had given him some mood changes where he was snappy, always tired and a bit down but I thought it was the concussion rather than anything else but when he left I realised it was more severe.

Yes, I did help him and get him medication and even counselling (he refused this for a long time and then went only briefly) and yes, he did get a medical diagnosis of a full breakdown and was unable to work or take care of himself for a while but he felt he wanted to be alone to do this which did not make sense to me.

He just went very cold and told me he didn't love me anymore and wanted a divorce. Any attempts to talk to him or fight it were met with extreme anger and aggression and both overt and subtle insintuations that it was my fault and that I was some sort of hideous person he needed to escape from.

At times he did say he loved me, cried and apologised and even asked to come home two or three times but changed his mind again. He was extremely labile over several months, going from displays of extreme rage and anger at me to extreme displays of crying and quite severe anxiety and shaking. He did also let out much of the past pain from before we met, to some degree anyway and spoke of it to me for the first time with anger and tears rather than the smile he had always worn.

I probably did only ever see him a few times and mostly it was just really unpleasant. It was clear that he did not and could not see either what he was throwing away or how it was making me feel. I tried very hard to look after him, help him and support but he made it extremely clear that my very existence made it worse for him and the best thing I could do was disappear.

I left him alone at his request, let the divorce go through, and became a stranger to him and he settled into an equilibruim where he just had a new life - his old life was completely dead and any reminder of me or the children was clearly something he did not want.

The life he leads is a quiet one but relatively normal. He admits to being a different person, he says he is just not as interested in other people and he is harder inside. I don't see enough of him or hear anything about him but I know he said this morning that he felt ready to come off his pills now so presumably he is fine.

He could not get rid of me fast enough and he was very cold and seemed to give away absolutely none of the regret or sadness you might expect. It felt a bit like I was a pest just for saying hello. His voice is different, like he is just mean. I can't exlain better, he's just mean.

ItsBinDay Mon 22-Feb-16 13:22:54

Sorry Zaphod sad It's like a death and no one can understand

Zaphodsotherhead Mon 22-Feb-16 14:10:03

Thanks, Bin. It did feel as though the 'real him had died and someone else had taken over his body. There was some other bizarre behaviour too (announcing he'd fallen in love with a woman he'd hardly ever spoken to and knew nothing about, and asking her if she would be his partner; must have scared the poor girl to death!), all indicators that he was unwell. But he'd always said, as your partner did, that I was the best thing ever to happen to him, and he'd used to cry if he thought of me dying first...

Now, I ever so slightly find myself hoping he rots in hell, even whilst missing him profoundly. Is that weird?

ItsBinDay Mon 22-Feb-16 15:11:26

I miss him but know he's gone for good, if he came back he'd not be the same person so there's nothing to bother with really.

I don't hate the new version, I just don't know him.

Liminalstate Mon 22-Feb-16 15:37:45

I'm sorry you are struggling to make sense of this. You mentioned he had suffered a concussion prior to the breakdown? I'm wondering if there was any mention or investigation of acquired brain injury? I'm just asking as sometimes acquired brain injury can cause radical personality changes and increased aggression. There is some information about this on the Headway site here www.headway.org.uk/about-brain-injury/individuals/effects-of-brain-injury/

theredlion Mon 22-Feb-16 15:59:44

I expect I'm older than you OP but my Dad had a nervous breakdown 22 years ago ItsBin and with the exception that he didn't leave the family home he said he was going to every day my Mum could have written your posts at the time.

Mum and Dad had been married for 25 years when this happened, happily so.
It was work that pushed him over the edge.

In the end he did recover although the experience did change him and their whole relationship and in fact, his relationship with all of us. Things did get better but they were undoubtedly different and he was changed from the experience.

It was an awful time for my Mum who was working and looking after 3 children and him.

Poshsausage Mon 22-Feb-16 16:32:36

What I think is that if h is allowed to feel emotions them they can take him to a place he doesn't want t go to
Emotions such as the love he had for you have had to be switched off so that he also doesn't feel the emotions that probably were telling him to take his own life
It's probably a survival thing
It's not you he was very poorly but in order to survive he has had to change his life entirely and himself

ItsBinDay Mon 22-Feb-16 18:25:28

He just had a concussion from a fall, and no they didn't look into it and after six weeks he was okay again just snappy and tired a lot. I did read that link, not sure, but maybe that might be a factor.

Thanks for trying to explain it all to me, I think he does associate me with something he'd rather forget - but that's hard for me

choceclair123 Mon 22-Feb-16 22:17:21

The concussion theory crossed my mind also. Could be a factor... Guess you won't know if it was never investigated. Seems quite a coincidence.

TealLove Mon 22-Feb-16 22:23:02

The post concussion personality change jumped out at me too.

I'm so sorry this happened to you it must be so painful.

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