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Depressive DH, I'm 8mo pg, strategies please!

(13 Posts)
WaterGreen Fri 11-Sep-09 15:42:56

It's our 2nd dc and I don't think the impending birth is the cause of dh feeling low right now - we're having a pretty busy and stressful time and that is often the trigger for him becoming quite withdrawn and angry and, frankly, quite selfish.

Most of the time he's on a pretty even keel and we have a very equal partnership. He's a great husband and dad. Then there are times when he feels very depressed and then I know I need to step up and keep things going. That's fine.

But at the moment I am really struggling myself. I'm 8mo pg, we have a 2yo ds, and just this week I've been in hospital overnight on a drip after an awful bout of gastroenteritis. DH has been lovely and supportive but last night he just snapped and said he couldn't do any more and needed a break and wanted to kill himself if he had to carry on like this. I don't think he would harm himself - he has no history of it - but he also doesn't bandy these threats around. I do believe he is at the end of his tether.

Thing is, what to do? He has been working very hard recently, and has been asked on several occasions to cover for a more senior colleague - I have been supportive of this because it's a fantastic thing for him (he often feels insecure about work), even though it means I have to fetch ds from childcare after a full day's work myself and do bath, bed etc alone. I am exhausted.

And although dh has been brilliant at giving me rest time at the weekends, he's now saying he cannot cope and needs some time to himself... All of which is true and even sort of reasonable: he's a terrible sleeper and is working very hard. The problem is, for him to work this hard requires me to take on extra childcare. And for him to get the rest he needs to compensate requires me to take on extra childcare. And I simply haven't got the energy (I have SPD as well).

He is being selfish, I know (we rowed last night and he texted me, after storming out for a bit, to ask: "do you have any idea how ill i felt driving you to the hospital?". Well, er, given that I had full-blown gastroenteritis and dehydration, and he was feeling dodgy but wasn't actually sick, yes I do know - not as bad as I was!). But I also know that when he's in the midst of a spell like this, to tell him he's selfish is completely pointless. He gets incredibly defensive, reels off all the things he's done for me - conveniently forgetting that I might do a bit for him too - and we fight.

I'm prepared to step up for now, to make sure he gets some rest this weekend and try to make him feel less pressured. But given that this baby is coming in a few weeks, there is a limit to how long I can do this.

Any advice on how we can get through this?

WowOoo Fri 11-Sep-09 15:47:30

Oh gosh, hope someone who can give you some ideas is around soon.

You need all the rest you can get now. Any chance of help/support from outside? Family? Friends?
If I were you I would want to lie down in bed, lock the door and listen to my ipod. Not helpful sorry..

MissisBoot Fri 11-Sep-09 15:48:14

he needs to take some responsibility and go and see the docs for some advice/meds/counselling.

its not fair on you to have to deal with the emotional fallout of his depression.

has he been diagnosed?

onebatmother Fri 11-Sep-09 15:48:43

watergreen I can't write at length but wanted to respond.

This sounds familiar to me - both dh and I, while not depressive, work 7 days and take it in turns to be On The Verge...

Usually we row. But recently I've tried to get across the fact that if DP just shows willing for a tiny bit when I'm feeling at end of tether, and crucially listens sympathetically to my litany of woe WITHOUT FEELING CRITICIZED and launching his own litany, then I feel much better and can get on with things.

randomtask Fri 11-Sep-09 15:49:30

Step up over the weekend, then talk about it on Sunday evening when he is 'rested'. Explain that you want to support him, you appreciate his support but that given your pregnancy/being ill you can't do as much as you'd like to.

DH and I tend to balance our moods so if one of us is down, the other will be extremely positive. I think it's because we have to 'get strong' to look after the other. It's fine and it works well but it is tiring. Thankfully our 'downs' never last long!

Good luck.

WaterGreen Fri 11-Sep-09 15:59:11

Thank you all.

wowooo That sounds tempting!

missisboot He has had counselling in the past, not for a while now though. I would really like him to tackle it a bit more proactively - I feel as though I am doing all I can to minimise the effects of my SPD on myself and the rest of the family (exercise, painkillers, tips from mn) and I have to admit I get fed up at times being told how tired he is when, for example, he does nothing to tackle his insomnia. But I also think that's a conversation for the future: if I try that now, I know he'll be furious at me "blaming" his depression when if I could only give him a break, he'd be fine, etc etc. He won't see it right now.

WaterGreen Fri 11-Sep-09 16:04:41

onebatmother Yes, On The Verge sounds pretty apt right now! There is a pattern to our worst rows, tbh: they usually come right after - not during - a really stressful event, most often one when I've been relying on him, eg when I had a miscarriage last year, he was wonderful through the worst of it - then just lost it. He knows how to be supportive and wants to be - he just seems to run out of capacity to do so quicker than I do, and then everything gets very bleak.

randomtask That's a good idea about leaving The Conversation for a couple of days. It will be hard as I'm prone to wanting to fix things straight away... It's just so hard to know how much time to give him, especially as me giving him a break is (no doubt about it) going to wear me out and cause me physical pain.

MissisBoot Fri 11-Sep-09 16:16:12

Is he not on any medication then? I'd be tempted to address this before your baby is born?

What's he going to be like with a newborn and preschooler in the house?

You can't hold it altogether - its not fair on you.

Perhaps you could have some groundrules about what and how things are going to work over the next few months - ie you'll do night feeds (although if he's an insomniac maybe he should do them wink. He'll look after dc's on sat and sun weekend mornings to give you a chance to rest.

I'm sorry but I don't have much sympathy for your dh - he sounds very self obsessed atm - is he worried about not having enough attention when your baby is born?

WaterGreen Fri 11-Sep-09 16:33:05

He's quite anti-medication (ADs, anything to help him sleep better). I've never quite been able to figure out why.

I think it would help to have some sort of plan/ground rules in place for the next few weeks and when the baby arrives (like the night feeds idea, but unfortunately - or maybe fortunately! - dh doesn't have breasts wink). My concern is that now I've switched into "supportive, coping mode", I'm more likely to be generous towards him in setting those rules, in an effort to make him feel better supported now, and that might work against me in the long run if I end up making too many concessions, IYSWIM.

Yes, he is self-obsessed right now. It is a pattern with him. Not likely to be very empathetic for a while either, so I know any efforts to try to make him see anything from my point of view will have zero effect. At times like these, any conversation we have gets steered round to him. I have to try to remember that it doesn't last for ever...

mathanxiety Fri 11-Sep-09 20:00:41

It's not fair of him to be anti-medication. Can you as a couple afford the luxury of his attitude? He has responsibilities to you as a couple and to your family, and it's not all about him (and his anti-medication preciousness, sorry to be blunt or derogatory) any more. Living with someone else means you need to take them into account and not make them carry more than they can. He sounds as if he really needs to adjust his view of what your partnership's main aim is -- is it in existence solely to support him or is he willing to recognise the burden you carry and take some responsibility for maintaining his own equilibrium? I'm speaking as a woman whose depressed (ex)H seemed to suffer from PND every time we had a baby, but who refused to even see a doctor about his very clear problems. It's very tiring and stressful to deal so much with all the drama of a self-centered 'partner'.

Conundrumish Fri 11-Sep-09 20:51:37

WaterGreen - I am a bit like that - fine through a crisis and keep going when I have to, and then have my drama afterwards.

The counselling sounds like a good idea if you can afford it or get it on the NHS. Is there any lee-way on your budget to get some help in? if there is a local college with a childcare course, then you could get someone to come in from 5-8pm at £5ph while you read to the children while they do all the horrible bits like hoover peas from under the table and wipe tomato off the walls.

mamas12 Fri 11-Sep-09 21:15:43

Good god how are you coping with three bloody children in the house. Sorry if I sound unsympathetic to him but atm you need to be/have to be selfish to look after your baby and toddler.
Get help
Tell as he cannot/will not help you will have to get somewone in, a family member or a maternity nurse.
Really have to get it across that this not the time for you to make concessions it's him who need to make the concessions here.
Whe YOU get more help you will feel better and maybe he might feel better too.
Otherwise send him to the docs, you are not qualified to deal with him like this.

WowOoo Sun 13-Sep-09 07:20:59

Watergreen, are things any better?
I understand his anti medication feelings a bit. I get insomnia, yet I try to aviod pills as they are addictive and I start to rely on them.

I get mildly depressed yet I try to work through the root of things, stay positive and have never taken them. (been offered them loads)

What I mean is it's such a stressful, life changing time for you both. That's why he's acting like a selfish tosser.! !?

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