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Husband has anxiety, depression, OCD- effect on family

Community Member


im new, so not sure what to expect or to write actually.

Been married 28 years. Husband has had anxiet for 8 and more recently depression and now pretty severe OCD.

i have 3 gorgoues kis- they are starting to feel the strain. They are 11, 13 and 15. Their dad has basically become estranged from them. It's tricky as he is a secondary teacher at their school. They are constantly embarrassed because of his odd and inappropriate behaviour at school and at home. He doesn't talk to the kids anymore and he doesn't do anything with us- just sits on the couch either watching tv or drinking. The kids' dad has gone and my husband is a stranger. What to do? It's been a lot of time (8 yrs) and a lot of $ had gone on wasted appointments. I'm not sure what my best plan is. Thinking of my mental health but especially that of my kids. How healthy is this life for them? Suggestions? 😀😀😀

4 Replies 4

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hello Nic05

I'm really sorry you & the kids are suffering through your husband/father's suffering. I wouldn't call the money "wasted". Those appointments must have done some good - he's still around.

None of us choose to get mentally ill & we would most certainly "snap out of it" if we could. It is no different to any other illness. If your husband had diabetes, cancer, or any other illness how would you feel then?

I think another thing to consider among the many questions you are asking yourself is what kind of example would you be setting your children if you left your unwell partner?

Also, if you stay & you believe your mental health is suffering (all of you), then you can set them another good example by seeking out help & support. You can all have explained to you the ins & outs of your partner's illness & also learn ways to cope (especially your children). In this way you teach them a very proactive method of coping.

I know this is a really tough gig. I have lived through it. My partner left & I raised 3 daughters on my own. During those years my mental health was very precarious but we all survived. My girls are out successfully living their lives. I believe they are more resilient & compassionate as a result of all they endured.

Please wait for others replies. You will meet some of the most caring people here that you could ever wish to meet.

Take good care of yourself. I read a lot about the breathing masks on planes - you can't help anyone else unless you put yours on first. Cheers for now, Lyn.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Nic, does your husband accept that he has depression/OCD and anxiety, however if he is showing inappropriate behaviour at school this maybe because of his OCD which is an usual illness but it can be quite common, where sometimes people may not recognise they are actually doing a habit, however golfers and tennis players always do the same routine before they hit the ball, but then may not display any other forms of OCD.
Firstly you and the kids need to have some counseling now, because all of you are trying to cope with how your husband/father is behaving, and 8 years is too long, because nothing has changed and isn't going to until he makes a concerted effort, but I don't think this is going to happen, because 8 years have passed and nothing has improved.
If you decide to move out or ask him to it's going to quite awkward with the kids being at school, plus the fact that the kids maybe being teased because of what their dad is doing, so this situation is quite complicated and not particularly easy to rectify.
I can see that you have several options and one is as he hasn't gone to appointments and doesn't want to get any help then there is not much you can do for him, especially as he is a teacher.
Another option is either you and the kids move out although it would be much easier if he was the one who moved out, but there is still the problem with the kids going to school, and whether or not you can find another school may or may not be difficult, or you maybe able to frighten him that if he doesn't get any help then you will tell him to move out.
None of these are going to be easy to decide on, however you need to have some counseling and I would contact Reachout, Kids Help-Line 1800551800 and if you google this 'children of parents with mental illness'.
Please get back to us as this is very concerning for us. Geoff.

Community Member
Thanks so much Geoff for your response. It is a difficult situation. My husband has been having counseling for the whole time and we have increased this as we've gone along. We even had marriage counseling but the result was that it was t the marriage that was the issue but him. No relationship can work when it is up against someone completely disengaged with life and so fixated on their own health. He was last at the anxiety clinic in Richmond, Melb- $800 per appointment. He knows his behavior is odd/weird/illogical and he can't even give reasons for what he does. He realizes it's useless but just keeps up. The kids are really over it. Wanted to do all I could to keep the family together for the kids sake but I'm now thinking it is for their sake I should be asking him to leave.ive already told him it wouldn't be fair to expect us to move. I have been advised by close friends, my doctor, his mum that it isn't healthy for the kids or me. I've thought of counseling for the kids but we've wasted so much money on this stuff and for no result. I want to keep their life as normal os possible.,My husband has had lots of big and small blocks of time off and can only work part time. He has become a very sub standard teacher- he used to be fantastic. This makes paying the loan difficult and we have no financial goals. Our life is just so unstable. I am on overdrive trying to be a mom and a dad and giving the kids as much of a fun, rich and normal life as I am able. Now the kids don't even want friends over because of his behavior. I will look into the numbers and sites you suggested. You're right- it's been too long. It's been so long I'm sort of used to it and normal use it even, that's not how it should be. It's only when I look at other husbands and dads I have that real reality check.
Thanks again.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hi Nic, there was another place I forget to mention and that's Anglicare, I used them when I was in trouble financially when my wife moved out and then divorced me.
I think you know what you want to do, but just needed someone to give you a boost and agree with you, 8 years is too long for you and the kids, and now you want some stability for you and the kids, and I say this because I'm answering to your post and not your husbands.
When you see other dad's and husbands you feel that you have missed out, very possible, but now you can change this, and whether you decide to sell the house and then rent a house maybe better for you, as you can get rent assistance and don't have to pay these huge water/sewerage bills, this may also reduce the pressure you have been under all of this time. Geoff.