Encouraging getting help
I’ve got a pretty awful story and I am looking for the kindness and help of strangers.
My husband and partner in life of 16 years told me three months ago that he doesn’t want a future with me. I’ve been devastated and it’s been the most awful thing that has ever happened in my life - we are both still pretty young, but I never knew I could feel pain like this.
I was diagnosed with depression in my early 20’s. He has been amazing throughout this (up until this last episode where I have relied on the support of my parents rather than him)
Four years ago he began seeing a counsellor to help with work stress. I never really got into this counselling with him thinking it was something just for him. He has gone every fortnight for the last four years. I did ask my husband if he could go back to a monthly session or see how it goes, and he said the counsellor told him he doesn’t see anyone on that basis. I thought that was strange but if it was supporting him I was of course supportive, but couldn’t help but be somewhat judgemental that it seemed to be running his life.
He has always been pretty social and extroverted, much more than I am. I am in a pretty high pressure job with lots of hours so my time out of the office is regrouping time whereas he loves to go out. We have always balanced each other out.
We have tried talking, I would like to reconcile. He says it’s over because he has tried so much and just doesn’t feel anything anymore. When I got him to open up, he said he doesn’t feel much about anything. His old hobbies - he won’t do anything with. He is going out still with his friends at any chance he gets but is drinking a lot - around binge drinking. He is also using recreational drugs.
Over the past little while it has felt like I am living with a stranger. He has always been the kindest, warmest, least judgemental person. Now when he talks to me it is laced with resentment and it’s just so flat and with no joy for anything.
I want to know how to help him. Not because I am seeking something to blame for the breakdown of our marriage, but because he is not the person I used to know. He also has told me he is not happy and not getting any enjoyment.
how do I navigate this, especially knowing he has a long term relationship with a counsellor? I keep thinking if there was something underlying surely this person would have seen it. But then I also think after 16 years no one knows him like I do.
Thankyou for reading.
Welcome here to the Forum. I can see you are unsure which way to go and can only suggest that as your husband's metal health appears to be markedly deteriorating that needs to be attended to as quickly as possible.
With a desire to leave coupled with no enjoyment in life, forsaking pleasurable hobbies, and drinking to excess and relying on recreational drugs then his fortnightly sessions with this counselor are at best highly ineffective, and may even be currently unsuitable.
In an ideal situation a fresh set of suitable qualified medical eyes should look over his lifestyle and unhappy state, possibly diagnose if he has a mental health condition (to me it sounds like when I'm depressed) and then act on that basis. It may be possible medications plus therapy by a registered psycologist under a GP's direction might be the way to go.
While there may be reasons at times not to go to any medical session with your husband I'm sure there are other occasions when you might be able to go, at least for part of a session to provide your view as to what has been happening.
After around 100 regular and frequent sessions it may well be your husband has come to see these sessions as a form of security, irrespective of the good they may or may not do. Do you think there is any chance of his going to be reassessed by a different medical team?
In a calm moment he may well agree his current flat and lack of feelings need to be altered for the better, and life made enjoyable again. Also his use of alcohol/drugs is harmful and should be reduced.
If this is something he might not take from you is there anyone else in his life who might be able to persuade him?
Having talked about your husband I'm wondering about you. Your own state would be highly stressful and full of worry, not to mention a host of other feelings. What support do you personally have? To face the potential crumbling of 16 years marriage when you already have depression is a huge weight to carry.
So first may I ask if you are receiving medical assistance and secondly is there anyone, family or friend, you can lean on and receive support from now?
I hope to talk with you again
Thankyou Croix. I am so appreciative of your time and kindness.
Looking back I feel like I was very judgemental of my husbands relationship with his counsellor. I felt he never opened up to me and that he shared everything with this counsellor. He did try with our marriage with some of the stuff like date night etc but again, I was pretty flat chat with work myself and my focus was not on finding the spark. I was always looking at the future which I thought we shared a vision for - bigger house, starting a family, nice holidays. This came with a sacrifice of me working all the time.
when he sat me down, he told me he felt like he had been ‘propping me up’ for so long.
I immediately went into a space of self blame and doubt and negative thoughts about myself. How could I have done this.
I went home to my parents for two months. Horrible to say but I was thankful for the lockdown as I just wanted to sit at the bottom of the hole. I managed to go through the motions at work. Sleep was my only blessed relief and I wanted to be unconscious. Every time I thought I had hit rock bottom, I would sink lower the next time and think ‘oh, so this is what rock bottom feels like.’ I just didn’t want to exist, and every day I woke up was in an internal war.
I was lucky - I had and have support. I spoke with a counsellor myself weekly. My parents just showed me unconditional love. I have a beautiful little soulful dog who never leaves my side. I found the strength to walk - once around the block and finally up the hill. I am also medicated at the moment, having been on and off for the past ten years I’ve been on it unbroken for the last year. I ate well and also ate a lot of chocolate. It’s a battle day by day.
I want to help my husband. But I’ve realised my laying prostrate in front of him making myself small won’t help. I’ve been focused on myself - starting to learn a language, again getting focused on work, doing things that bring me joy.
I have asked him to spend a bit of time living with his parents - partly for me to get a break on the pervasive sadness and difficulty of living together separated and partly to try and break the nexus of him having easy access to friends who will go out and drink with him. Our finances have suffered with his spending.
I want to gently push him to go to a doctor. He has been getting a mental health care for plan to support his counselling sessions, but it has never been with the one GP. How can I broach the subject?
Thanks for coming back. It sounds like being with your parents for a while has done you a fair bit of good . You are right, I'd not think simply prostrating yourself would work. It is after all looking to him to lift you up,somethng he has said he has done for too long. A partnership of equals might be better.
I also think it might be a good idea if staying with his parents for awhile might be a practical thing, after all anything that slows down the drink is good, and if his being alone saddens both of you then being with his family might help. Worth a try.
I'm not sure how he could get more than 10 sessions per calendar year on a MHCP, however you did say he was seeing different doctors .Are you sure they are aware of each other? Otherwise under normal circumstances he would have to pay full price for the extras. Have I misunderstood something?
As for getting re-assessed, maybe the best way is simply to give him the facts which we discussed in our last posts and see what he says. His life might well be a very miserable one at present. This may dovetail neatly with visiting his parents.
If it was me I'd think 16 years is worth fighting for, even if your work habits had to be slightly altered to have more energy at home.