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How can I help DH?

(14 Posts)
shiningbright567 Tue 29-Mar-16 23:01:16

I'm really worried about DH at the moment. I suspect that he's been depressed for almost the whole of our relationship (he was before too). Recently he's taken a turn for the worse and has become far more withdrawn, he barely speaks to me or communicates with any one. He goes missing for hours at a time at the weekend and won't tell me where he's going, just he has stuff he needs to do. A couple of my friends have suggested he is having an affair but I feel that seems unlikely. From what I've managed to grasp from one of his co workers he feels that DH could possibly be being bullied by his boss at work and he has recently had a very abusive student (he's a teacher). DH has flatly refused to talk to me about any of this so I've no idea what exactly is happening at work or if anything is happening at all. He rarely sits down and properly talks to me. He spends a lot of time with DD14 and I recently had ago at him for letting her smoke. He didn't really respond at all other than to apologise and tell me he knows he's "useless." I didn't say this to him at all, that was his choice of words. He's generally good with our youngest son who is 6 but he interacts with our eldest son (16) about as much as he does with me.
I got frustrated with him tonight as we were spending time with friends and he barely spoke to them, playing candy crush on his phone most of the night with DS6. He struggles to engage with anyone except for one co worker who I know he's been marking coursework with over the holidays and who's the one who mentioned he's had a rough time at work. We've hardly had sex over the past few months and when we did at the weekend he was completely disengaged and clearly thinking about something else.
He's had a lot of problems with drugs in the past and I know had a fairly rough childhood and I am of course a little concerned he may be taking drugs. I've tried to convince him to go to the doctors or see a counsellor but he shrugs me off and tells me he is fine.
I'm sorry this is so long, I just really want some advice or some words of comfort. He's 37 if that makes any difference in the type of support he may be able to access.

goddessofsmallthings Wed 30-Mar-16 02:32:51

Ifyour dh is a member of the NUT I would suggest he consults his union rep with regard to being subjected to bullying in the workplace and the stress of dealing with an abusive student, or he can call the advice line on 0203 006 6266. If not, I suggest your urge him to join NOW www.teachers.org.uk/

Your dh's age makes little or no difference to the type of support he may be able access through his GP which is likely to consist of antidepressants and a referral for assessment to determine which therapy, if any, can help him resolve whatever issues are causing him to implode/disengage from you.

However, as the demand for therapeutic services provided by the NHS may result in him having to wait 6 months or more before an initial appointment, I would again suggest he makes contact with his union/the NUT as they may be able to facilitate sessions with a private counsellor at a favourable rate.

I find what he said when you rightly chewed him out for allowing your 14yo dd to smoke signifcant as it most probably reflects his current mindset and indicates the lack of self-belief that often accompanies depression.

I share your concern that he may be doing drugs when he's awol at weekends and that would be an absolute tragedy as he's overcome and achieved so much in his comparatively young life. Does he seem short of cash and do you have access to any bank accounts/credit cards he has in his sole name?

As he doesn't seem to be listening to what you're saying, do you think he'd read an email or letter if you conveyed your loving concern for his welfare and wellbeing in writing?

shiningbright567 Wed 30-Mar-16 13:15:32

Thank you for your reply goddess. He is a member of ATL so I will have a look at what services they can offer in terms of counselling. It will be very difficult to get him to look himself as he refuses to accept (or won't admit) there's anything wrong.
He has absolutely no faith in himself and that is horribly evident. He never has a good word to say about himself or can tell me anything positive that has happened or that he has done. We spent much of the night awake last night and I had very little success in talking to him once again, he communicated mostly with our cat. Which while sounds insignificant is a little progress for him.
He finally got out of bed at around 12 today which again concerns me what he was doing yesterday to be that tired. The only reason he got up then was because he is heading out to mark coursework. He's spending less and less time on his appearance and to be honest looks a bit of a mess at the moment.
I like your idea of a letter, I may look into drafting something along those lines later today. He may at least read that. As I say I don't know how much he is even listening when I talk to him.
Thank you once again for your kind message.

daisychain01 Wed 30-Mar-16 13:27:22

My concern is that if he isn't even willing to acknowledge his present fragile mental health situation it her o himself or you, and won't even talk about it with you, then the chances of him accessing support services of his own free will could be limited.

An email is a good starting point, telling him how his behaviour is affecting family life and that his relationship are suffering, plus the real risk to his employment if he doesn't seek help. If you are clear that you give him your full support, that you love him and are concerned about him that will hopefully make him see you have his best interests at heart.

If his teaching union gives support to family members, maybe you could ring them up in advance and seek their advice, and find out what facilities he can access. Then you can add that information into the email so some of the initial legwork is done. Then the rest has to be up to him....

AnotherEmma Wed 30-Mar-16 13:30:32

You can't help him if he doesn't want to help himself. It may be time for an ultimatum. You need to be prepared to follow through, of course. But it might be the shock he needs to accept there is a problem and seek help. Or he might continue to deny the problem. But you can't carry on living like that can you?

daisychain01 Wed 30-Mar-16 15:25:35

And what sort of ultimatum could that be, Emma? If you don't get help, I'm leaving you?

That would surely create the worst sort of environment to help someone on the path to MH stability by 'holding a gun' to that poor guy's head. Even if the situation got unbearable, I still can't see how saying "if you don't do such-and-such...." would help matters.

shiningbright567 Thu 31-Mar-16 19:25:02

Thank you for your kind messages once again. I have written him a letter suggesting that he gets help. Money isn't an issue so I have suggested that we pay for him to see someone privately. I've given it to him and he has said he will read it although he hasn't yet to my knowledge. He was out all day yesterday but appeared late last night, which is when I gave him the letter and has been around ever since.
Thank you once again for your kind messages.

AnotherEmma Thu 31-Mar-16 19:49:46

I hope he reads the letter and talks to you about it. That's the least he could do after you took the time and care to write it.

Counselling may well be helpful (if he is willing to engage with it) but if he has severe or even moderate depression he may well need medication as well, so he really needs to see the GP for an assessment, diagnosis and prescription if needed. And if drugs are an issue for him, he may need a referral and/or medical care for that too.

From your previous posts I think it unlikely to he will be up for any of this, but I hope I'm wrong and that's why I'm sharing my thoughts on what he probably needs.

Hope you have lots of support from family and/or friends - this can't be much fun for you!

pointythings Thu 31-Mar-16 20:06:36

The only person who can help him is him. That's brutal but true. My DH has just started coming out of the other side of depression, bereavement and alcohol abuse and it was only because he finally acknowledged he had a real problem and took action that it is happening. You can and should support him if he does decide to seek help, but you can't make him do it. I'm sorry.

My DH had ADs, but what really helped him was counselling. He is a very different person from who he was 3 months ago, so it can be done - but he has to do it.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Thu 31-Mar-16 21:45:48

Oh you poor things. He has classic depression, somewhere in the moderate-severe range. The disappearing act may not be drugs, but simply hiding from everybody.
Meds first, then counselling, then getting work sorted. flowers for you both.

shiningbright567 Mon 18-Apr-16 18:14:07

Thank you all once again. DH has read the letter and responded. He has said he will get help and I know he has been to the doctors a couple of times so that is progress. He is still very withdrawn, doesn't talk a lot. I asked him to have sex the other night and he consented but he went for about an hour and didn't finish so gave up. I feel guilty for asking him to because that has clearly made him feel much worse about things.
He's been better with our youngest. Our eldest is looking horns with him whenever he can, I have asked him not to but he is a typical 16 year old boy. I've just been doing my best to keep things calm in the house. He is a little better with a routine now we're back to work.
Once again, thank you for your messages, it's appreciated.

ImperialBlether Mon 18-Apr-16 18:19:55

When your friends thought he might be having an affair, what was that based on? If he comes into the house after being away for several hours, what does he say if you ask where he's been? Is his colleague male or female? Does he drive off or walk off?

Standalittletaller Mon 18-Apr-16 18:57:19

Who is the person he's meeting up to mark coursework with? That stood out from your post to me.

shiningbright567 Mon 18-Apr-16 19:14:48

I'm 99% confident he's not having an affair. He's not got the confidence to do something like that. The person he's marking coursework with is a man and one of his colleagues for about 20 years and DH is definitely straight. So I'm sure there's nothing going on there.

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