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I think my DH might have work-related depression and I need advice

(8 Posts)
SendReceive Wed 26-Aug-09 16:08:05

Since we got back from holiday (as well as on occasions before), DH has been moody and difficult. It's worse on Sunday evenings - when he's dreading the week ahead - and he tends to prowl about, restless, then reach for the drink.

He dreams of living in a remote place and leading a simple life. He says he's sick of the routine of working life. Even of his job, which is mostly stimulating, well enough paid and worthwhile (so I don't really get it). The worst part is probably his long commute, but we've looked at it from every angle and there is no practical solution to that.

I don't know how to handle it. I feel sad for him, and have no idea how I can help.

Any advice?

Mouette Wed 26-Aug-09 16:29:35

My DH had two bouts of depression. Each time he was moody, withdrawn, and snapped easily. Nothing I did or said made any difference. He obsessed about things like noise from the neighbours, and spending £3,000 on soundproofing didn't make a difference. The issue is that if your DH does have depression, just changing the commute will not help. Changing jobs would probably not help either, because when you're depressed just changing one's environment doesn't help. What does help depression is counselling. What is worrying is the fact he's reaching for drink - that's not going to help as alcohol is a depressant. My DH went for counselling - cognitive behavioural therapy - and that's what sorted him out. He hasn't relapsed since. That would be my suggestion. CBT is recognised as being effective to treat mild to moderate depression. If your DH has become dependent on drink however he might need help with that - hopefully it's not the case, but if it is, the AA can definitely help. Hope this helps a bit. Depression is treatable.

SendReceive Wed 26-Aug-09 17:08:27

I think you might be right about the commute. His problem runs deeper than tiredness or boredom with the journey.

He has been seeing a psychotherapist for years (initially to get over his messed-up childhood) and has stopped that recently because he thinks he has covered everything. I don't know if he would go for more counselling after that. Should he see a doctor first?

The alcohol does worry me but he knows he has a problem with it - he doesn't drink all the time but finds it hard to stop when he does - so he said recently he wanted to stop drinking altogether. Whether he can or not...

Mouette Wed 26-Aug-09 17:49:16

Hmmm... I have doubts about psychotherapy myself, know people who went through it and it wasn't that helpful. CBT is totally different though. It's really a practical way of retraining one's mind to be more rational about things amd take control of negative thoughts and emotions. DH and myself found it invaluable. Might still be worth talking to your DH about it but selling it as a "mind control" technique, as it's really not at all like psychotherapy, they don't talk about your childhood or anything like that, and it's short - 6 to 12 sessions max. It is also effective in dealing with addiction. I would certainly recommend speaking to your GP however the issue is that they often simply prescribe antidepressants which are only a quick fix. They did nothing for DH. There are books on CBT and websites so your DH could give it a try without seeing a counsellor.
AA can definitely help him, and I would also recommend Al Anon which supports the partners of people with a drink problem. Finally, do you have anyone who can give you support? Living with a depressed person is very hard, and you must make sure you look after yourself and don't get "sucked down". All the best - do talk again! let me know how it goes.

SendReceive Wed 26-Aug-09 18:44:42

Thank you Mouette, I appreciate it.

I tend to agree about psychotherapy - after his years of treatment I haven't noticed much of a difference in him. I will suggest CBT, see what he says. Is it useful even for something with an obvious cause (his work)? I'm sure it's not generalised depression, he's fine at the end of his working week and on holiday.

I grew up with a depressed father, though he and our mother succeeded in shielding me and my siblings from it - I don't think I even knew until I was almost an adult - but when I did find out it explained a lot. But the idea of putting up with what my mother put up with over the years fills me with dreadsad

Mouette Wed 26-Aug-09 19:17:31

You are very welcome. Yes, CBT does help even if there is an apparent cause - for my DH it was noise from the neighbours. You see, some people get fixated on a particular problem, like work, or noise, or whatever, but the fact is that even if that problem were sorted, they would still be down. I definitely think it might help. Do you live in London by any chance? I could recommend the clinic where DH and I were treated, they deal with all sorts of problems - addiction, depression, anxiety, etc - and they're really very good. Our CBT counsellor recommended the following book: "Overcoming anxiety" by Helen Kennerley. It explains the CBT techniques and how you can apply them to any particular problem (can be work, or anything else really). Perhaps your DH could take a look at it. All the best x

SendReceive Wed 26-Aug-09 21:09:52

That's all useful information, thank you. No, we don't live in London but I will look for a counsellor if DH is willing to try it.

Still, at the moment he isn't even convinced it is depression so there is a bit of a way to go before he's thinking about treatment (that doesn't involve running away to a deep dark forest and building a tree house to live ingrin)

Mouette Thu 27-Aug-09 10:31:39

Tree houses are so 1990's. Eco-dwellings are where it's at. There's always the Outer Hebrides. smile

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