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To expect some support from DH re: Depression

32 replies

Fairypants · 23/06/2013 21:01

I have had bouts of depression over the years. After both dd's were born, when there are problems in my life and sometimes for no reason.
I have always managed to come out the other side after a few years without support or medication. I have been feeling like I'm heading in that direction recently off and on so have told DH what is going on and asked for help but none is forthcoming. I told him again today how in feeling and he seemed sympathetic but when I asked him to stay close to me for the evening as this would really help in the short term he said he would just do the hoovering then stay with me after that. He then forgot and went of playing computer games.
He is no good with depression or expressions of emotion in general but AIBU to expect him to do something so simple when I a that specific about it or should I not expect support because I've always managed without it in the past?

OP posts:

squeakytoy · 23/06/2013 21:26

I may sound harsh here, and dont mean to but, being married to someone who is prone to long bouts of depression, (and also having suffered it myself from time to time), I know how draining it can be and also how nobody can really help you, and you have to help yourself.

Your husband sitting next to you is not going to fix the problem.. but him hoovering is a practical job that needed doing, and now he has gone to play a computer game.. there is nothing he really can do, and to be honest, although right now you feel that him sitting by your side would "help".. it wouldnt.. and it also isnt fair on him for you to say he is being unsupportive.

"I have always managed to come out the other side after a few years without support or medication."

A "few years" is a bloody long time, and in that time medication and professional help could have saved you from wasting a lot of your life feeling like shit. People have trained, and spent many years developing the right medications to treat depression. Nobody will hail you as a hero just because you didnt see a doctor and nobody will see you as a failure because you did. If you had a broken arm, you wouldnt spend a few years waiting for it to heal.. you would get it fixed surely?


Liara · 23/06/2013 21:30

Many men do find it very difficult to do the kind of emotional support that involves just being there and not actually doing anything.

Dh is massively supportive always, but is forever looking for something he can do to make things better. He just cannot understand that sitting by me and holding my hand can in any way be helpful.


Jinsei · 23/06/2013 21:31

I'm with squeaky. Of course your DH should try to be supportive, but it's bloody hard to live with someone who is depressed, and sometimes you just have to do whatever it takes to preserve your own wellbeing.

Get some proper help, OP. There is no shame in it, depression is an illness like any other. it isn't fair to expect your DH to get you through it.


WorraLiberty · 23/06/2013 21:35

In the nicest possible way, if you're intent of getting through years of depression without medical support or medication, you're putting a lot of burden onto your DH.

Supporting anyone with depression is difficult...and not everyone is cut out to do it, no matter how much they love that person.

But rather than look to him for all of your support, could you not at least share it with your GP?


Fairypants · 23/06/2013 21:51

Thanks for the supportive responses Confused
Actually he isn't the first place I look for help but the last. I tried my gp who was kind enough to offer to not mention depression on my notes but didn't offer any other help.
I am the caretaker in my family and am very careful not to impose my problems on others so he is not tired of looking after me- he rarely knows there is a problem. There are tipping points for me when I do better just being around other people- even a normal work day is helpful. I am not talking about wallowing here, more 'fake it til you make it'.

OP posts:

BlackholesAndRevelations · 23/06/2013 21:57

Why wouldn't you want depression on your notes? It's nothing to be ashamed of. You can't be caretaker to everyone else without taking care of yourself first. Medication or counselling might help.


Corygal · 23/06/2013 22:07

What strange replies - helping people through depression, medical or otherwise, isn't some ghastly marathon or a horrific burden for most people. OP, I hope they haven't made you feel worse. Mind you, some people think it's ok to cut and run on a partner who's got cancer - you get all sorts on MN.

Everyone gets down and support is pretty standard, not to say expected, from friends and family, let alone a partner in a marriage.

But... if I were you I would get counselling. You'd really benefit from talking to someone, and if your DH isn't that type you need someone who is. If he can't cope, you need someone who can.


whois · 23/06/2013 22:07

AIBU isn't the place to get supportive posts OP!

Nothing to be ashamed off re depression, so unsure why you didn't want it on your notes? Seek medication and counselling.


Jinsei · 23/06/2013 22:09

If you are truly depressed, I doubt you're faking it very effectively tbh. My mum always thought she was able to hide it, but she couldn't see it from our point of view.

If you are talking about depression - and not just being a bit down - then you need to go back to your GP and ask for some proper help. There is no benefit in him/her leaving this out of your notes. It isn't something to be ashamed of at all, but it needs to be acknowledged and properly treated.

People aren't being unsupportive, they are just being honest. I have lived with both a parent and a spouse who are prone to serious depressive episodes. It is not easy to support someone through this, and it is a whole lot more difficult when they won't acknowledge the need for professional help.

Depression is awful. I hope you feel better soon.


WorraLiberty · 23/06/2013 22:13

I haven't seen any unsupportive posts on this thread? Confused

OP, if he rarely knows there's a problem...perhaps that's why he forgot to go and sit with you after hoovering?

Did you go and remind him that he'd agreed to do this?


Jinsei · 23/06/2013 22:13

What strange replies - helping people through depression, medical or otherwise, isn't some ghastly marathon or a horrific burden for most people. OP, I hope they haven't made you feel worse. Mind you, some people think it's ok to cut and run on a partner who's got cancer - you get all sorts on MN.

corygal, have you ever actually had to support someone close through multiple serious depressive episodes? It is incredibly different from supporting loved ones when they're a bit "down", and actually can be pretty ghastly in my experience. Hmm


chickensaladagain · 23/06/2013 22:27

Actually supporting someone through depression can be horrendous

Be mentally and physically draining and can impact your own mental health

Op, go back to your gp and get some proper help
If your dp sees you taking positive steps to get better then it will become clearer to him how to help you


NatashaBee · 23/06/2013 22:34

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fairypants · 23/06/2013 22:53

It was the dr who suggested not putting anything on my notes so clearly she considered I should hide it.
I did see a counsellor a few years ago when my mum was sick but counselling doesn't really help me - as a caretaker, I didn't want her to feel she wasn't helping so ended up pretending she was. (Yes I know that's my own fault before anyone else points it out)
I'm very good at faking it as no-one in my family knew I was depressed after dd2 was born even after I told them.
Just to clarify, I'm not talking about expecting DH to support me on a regular basis or anything, I have asked/expected his help less than half a dozen times in 15 years of marriage. This was literally a case of feeling that I was at a tipping point where I would go downhill if left to my own thoughts and could use some company to help me fight it off.

OP posts:

ecclesvet · 23/06/2013 22:58

Couldn't you go to sit with him as he played?


SolidGoldBrass · 23/06/2013 23:00

OP, if you are ill, then you are ill and need professional help. It is not possible for mental health problems to be cured by making someone else obey you.


Jinsei · 23/06/2013 23:16

I think you need to find a new GP. There is no need to hide your depression at all, and certainly not to edit it out of your medical notes. It is a very common problem, OP, and nothing shameful.

Have you spoken to DH since he went off to play his games? Could he have just forgotten? Lame, I know, but he's only human I suppose. Or do you think he deliberately didn't keep his promise?


PoppettyPing · 23/06/2013 23:29

I don't know, I'd be pretty depressed too if I felt like my feelings were a total burden on everyone around me and I had to claw my way out of sadness "without any support".

I agree with the posters saying you shouldn't be ashamed of your depression. And you should be getting some more support, isn't the lack of it what generally contributes most heavily to depression? Humans are social creatures! Do you have any friends around that you can talk to, ease the pressure off your DH? Or even just to get out with, in the fresh air?
I wouldn't give up on counsellors though. There are good ones out there, and you sound like you need to find the right one. It can take some time, but seriously get as much help as you can, you can't do it alone.


Fairypants · 24/06/2013 10:19

There is no pressure on DH. I asked him to stay with me not to hand hold but for conversation etc so that I wouldn't be introspective and go downhill. The last time I asked for help was 6 years ago when my mum died.
I am not long term depressed. As I have said, I sometimes get bouts of it but get myself out without help from DH or anyone else ie he is not expected to support me generally.
Without sounding too pathetic, there is literally no one to ask for support as my relationship with my sisters is more parental. I have coping mechanisms and have learnt to recognise danger signs. Not sitting alone and wallowing when feeling wobbly is a pretty effective coping mechanism.
Given what I was asking, maybe he didn't understand would be a reasonable response or some theory that leaving someone alone would help.
I didn't expect to be told I am an awful burden for asking to spend an evening with my husband! I find that quite shocking and seriously question the humanity of some people. I get we all have our own history which colours our posts but to berate someone for asking for support for one eve as being a drain and a burden for life is a little extreme.

OP posts:

IvanaCake · 24/06/2013 10:41

If you are depressed, go to a different gp and discuss medication. You can't expect your Dh to alter his life for years to attempt to fix your problem.

I realise that sounds harsh, but I have had depression and it would never have occurred to me not to do anything about it.


KellyElly · 24/06/2013 10:48

Depression is an illness like any other. For the posters who seem to imply your condition is draining on your partner, would they say the same if you had MS or cancer...I doubt it. This is the problem, many people seem to think that depression is some kind of attention seeking non illness.

I think it is good that you are recognising the symptoms and asking for support at that stage. Firstly you need to change doctors as by saying you shouldn't put anything on your notes is like saying there is a stigma or something to be ashamed of. You need to have your full medical records on your notes so that if you move/see another doctor they are fully aware of your past medical history.

Secondly, your partner should be there to support you, as he should through any illness and you should be able to feel secure in this.

Thirdly, you need to do your part and seek proper help as part of coping with depression is to help yourself. If someone becomes co-dependent on your partner/children/parent etc and go into bouts of depression, for which you seek no help whether it be medication or counselling, then I would agree with the posters upthread.

I would get this moved to mental health as you will get more support and better advice than AIBU.


livinginwonderland · 24/06/2013 10:53

I speak as someone who has depression and who lives with a DP who has had it before as well.

If you cannot cope you need to get help. There's nothing to be ashamed of and even if you don't want medication, you can get access to counselling and your GP will tell you some coping mechanisms so you can help yourself at home.

There's nothing wrong with wanting your DP to be there for you, but you need to talk to him and tell him why. If I want a hug or for my DP to listen to me talk for half an hour, I just tell him and he's more than willing to give me his undivided attention for a while. But, if I don't tell him "I'm feeling a bit crap and I need a hug/a chat" he won't think to ask because he assumes I'll tell him. It has caused arguments before because I just assumed he would come over if I was upset, but since I started telling him, he's always been there and we've never had problems with it again.


gnittinggnome · 24/06/2013 11:52

Speaking as someone who has attempted to "deal with" severe PMS and depression by myself, I can tell you that it's hard hard work, and you don't get a medal for making yourself miserable.

I didn't want medication, so after a few years (!) I got help from a Dr specialising in this kind of thing (not in the UK, but your GP ought to be able to help / recommend someone who could help). I was given advice specific to my situation re diet, exercise, various non-medical therapies (yoga, counselling) and put on a specifc kind of mini-Pill which all really, really helped. I still had to deal with stuff, but it was a lot easier, and it was all without psychiatric medication. NB psychiatric medication can also be an absolute God-send, as several of my friends can testify, so I'm not saying you shouldn't try it if it's recommended for you and your situation.

This is not to say that this approach will work for you, but clearly "faking it" and trying to deal with it yourself isn't working so well - bouts are years long, and you're isolating yourself from your loved ones trying to cover it up. If you're covering it up and not expressing yourself, then it would be hard for your DP to understand that you are serious when you ask for help - my DP needed some very frank conversations before he understood how he could help me.

Good luck with it all, and I hope you can find the right path for you to get help.


PoppettyPing · 24/06/2013 12:40

Oh god no no OP I wasn't saying you were a burden! Quite the opposite! I was saying it sounds like you felt like you couldn't "impose" your feelings on anyone else and I was saying how I would hate to feel like that!! I myself struggle with bouts of depression too and I totally think your husband should have been there for you 1000X!

I'm sorry if my post wasn't worded clearly. All I was saying is that it's hard to deal with sadness when you feel like you have no support. And I empathise completely and wish you had more people to talk to. Even if it's not long-term depression I don't think it means you have to suck it up. And I don;'t think YABU to expect some comfort from your DH at all.


BarbarianMum · 24/06/2013 12:52

Living with someone with MS and cancer is draining. So is living with someone with depression.

But generally, someone with cancer etc would be receiving medical help, wouldn't they - help to make them as well as possible. But this is not the case with the OP who has a very unhelpful GP. Instead she battles on as best she can and however well she feels she is hiding it, it will have a negative effect on those around her.

I lived with someone with untreated depression for 15 years. Never again.
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