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Husband trying to help his Wife

Community Member


I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this but I'll start anyway.

I believe my wife is starting to suffer from depression, she has a history of it when she was younger and plus her family has too. For the past week she hasnt gone to work and has not stopped watching Netflix until she literally falls asleep. Now this is a woman who is career minded and loves her job and she's damn good at it! But recently she's has been stressed out by trying to achieve a promotion to climb the ladder and her workload has been extreme. I've seen how hard she's worked and how much her employers have taken her for granted.

We have also been recovering financially from our wedding last year and it has been tough money wise but we all work together to make things work but also the stress of childcare on us has been massive with those costs. Plus our two year old son is he energizer bunny!

I dont know what to do. She's refusing to talk to anyone at home, I thought if I waited a week and then approached her to ask what's happening she might open up but she explodes and tells me that she just wants to be left alone. She's ignoring our son who wants nothing more to be with his mum but all she is does is sit and watch to show after to show. I think this is how she is escaping what's happening but I'm scared she going loose everything if this continues.

I love her a lot and I just want to help her. If that means we have to see someone for her to talk to then I'm onboard with that but I think she knows something is wrong but doesn't want to face it. I'll do whatever she wants me to do to help but I don't how to help her if she's refusing to talk.

what can I do to help? Am I doing the wrong things or are there steps I can take to help her?



28 Replies 28

So what did the GP say?

Hi Lachlan

I have been reading your posts and the replies. I respect and admire your courage and commitment. It is a hard situation you are in. You are amazing. Can I suggest that as your wife opens up even just a little bit, the best thing I find is just to listen and ask "intelligent" or probing questions.....dont try and give advice, as she is trying to appear strong, so you giving her advice might make it difficult for her to swallow. MAybe if you have ideas, suggest "we do this or that together".

I am in a similar position as you somewhat, although in my case, I am finding increasingly difficult to open up to my wife, as she has open and shut answers for everything, thinks she knows everything or has learnt from whatever TV show/s she watches, and wont accept my insights. The TV can either be an escape or a replacement for intelligent and meaningful conversation between partners.

That's great news! Even if it is a short while away, that's some real good progress. It would be very hard to see someone you love in obvious emotional pain but not really allowing you to help. But take this as a victory in an ongoing battle and keep on keeping on. (:

The doctor did some tests on her physically to see if anything was wrong, they came back negegtive which was good. So he reinforced seeing someone to talk to is the next step to help her.

But on the plus side this weekend was good. I took her out to get her hair done and she had a pedicure, manicure the works! I thought if I could give her the things she loves it might boost her spirits and it did, she even asked if we could go dancing Saturday night because she said she was feeling on point and we had a lot of fun. She was seemed a little back to herself, but after today when we got home, she immediately went downstairs to the tv and has been there since.

But it's progress and I'll do my best until she sees the new doctor in two weeks. Even if I have to sit next to her while she watches her shows, I'll do it because I'm by her side if she needs me and if she wants space while she watches I can give her that too.

Part of me sees this a test if that sounds strange. It's really hard for me to sit next to her when I know she is feeling the way she is and not try and help her. But like the advice here I've learnt, I have to patient and support her in any way I can. And even if me sitting next to her in silence does even a fraction of help I'll do it as much as I can.

Alright enough rambling, thanks for reading guys and your advice. I really appreciate it it's helped me a lot when I don't know what to do!

Yay! Another thing to be pleased about! Even though she ended up falling back into that pattern, she went to the doctor and she went out with you, so all in all, things are looking up. You're right, just be patient, loving, supportive - everything you obviously are already. (:

Good luck in the future, I'm sure it'll all work out.

I made a mistake tonight with Eb, I lost my temper after she was talking to me really horribly. I instantly knew I should have kept my mouth shut but she just ripped into me for making a sandwich wrong. Im starting to struggle with this.

She hasn't been to work for a month and financially were in serious trouble with all the bills piling up. I know what she's going through isn't something I can comprehend but it's talking it toll on us. I can't sleep, I can't eat. I don't know what to do or say. She's become so volatile I'm struggling to keep my composure and to make sure im keeping level headed to support her when she needs me. I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing and being there for her but I'm at the point now I'm so stressed it's all I think about.

This is the only place I have anyone to talk to At the moment. I don't know what to do.

Hang in there, it sounds like she is getting the help she needs,

A bad day is not a bad life. Just take it day by day and be there for her.

And really keep care of yourself. Have your own time to destress and look after yourself. Have time away from the home if you can to just breathe.

take care


hi Lachlan, I have read all the help from these lovely people have given you, and wow it reminds me so much when I was married, so instead of my wife watching TV she would just go to bed, wouldn't talk to me but she did talk with our two sons.
There was absolutely nothing I could do until I decided to blame everything on myself, for what reason I don't know because it wasn't my fault why she felt like this, but I gathered it was a way for her to hammer me down as much as she could, and blame everything onto me.
I wonder whether she did have PND, as my wife did, but I am not sure I can link these together, I am only curious.
I know you are finding money problems, however have you considered taking her to the hospital where she will be given treatment, but don't forget that this is going to affect you as well, so perhps you should visit your doctor and get medical support there. Geoff.

Don't beat yourself up about the outburst. In the longer term though it's important to try and maintain what is called "frame" (try googling it), even when it's easier to blow up and explode. When you enter her frame things become totally unproductive. Saying that, I'm struggling to work out what the hell it going on in your situation. I don't think we have the full picture.

So all of a sudden your wife has just "downed tools" and become a couch potato? She's stopped communicating with you, stopped going to work, stopped being involved with your son, become irritable and critical of you in the space of 2 weeks?? If so such an acute change is very unusual. What about the last 2 years or further back? What was she like then?

I'm inclined to agree with Geoff. I'm wondering if she's got some kind of delay onset PND, or she's been masking it for such a long time, that all of a sudden work pressure has brought it to a head and this is her reaction - to shut down, shut you out (and your son) and do nothing. Perhaps she dove back into work shortly after having your son as a mechanism to cope with her emotions?

Without more information it's really hard to help you to any degree. What I'm thinking is that you need direct support for you. From the little information you have provided it sounds like you do everything for the family and have done so for, well, ever? I'm wondering if there's an element of you being completely "betaised" - which is somehow playing a part. Once again, need more info. Therefore you need someone to talk to and help you with this. You mentioned your wife is due to see someone soon - is this a psychologist? One on one for her? Definitely. But you need to talk to someone too about this situation. You need to work through your worries and concerns so you're better able to handle the situation at home. Here's fine, but you need to talk to a professional about the situation. Even go back to your GP and tell him/her what's up. You're wife hasn't worked for a month? She's not giving you any real indication on what's going on in her head, apart from telling you she needs space. NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I'm not telling you to confront her, because that won't go down well. But you need to take the reigns. This is your family and you're the boss. I'm assuming your GP completely ruled out other factors such as thyroid etc with blood tests. Did he do a depression screen etc?

I'm a bit confused because she came good for a bit, you went dancing, now it's back to square one?

How is she towards your son now? How is your son going? Are your parents/her parents aware of what's happening?

Once again - focus on what you can control, and that's your actions and how you carry your frame. I would consider keeping a secure diary about what's going on on a daily basis. Make sure you're being the best father you can be. Be there for support but encourage her independence. If you make her dinner or whatever, have her come and get it. If she criticises you about something like that, don't fall into the trap of reacting. If she doesn't like it, she can make herself another sandwich - the the one you made for her, start eating it and walk off to do your own thing for a bit. And hang in there. You're actually being stronger than you think. Whatever the hell is going on with her, it';s up to you to be the rock for your family - now and into the future. So go and get some help for yourself, so that you may continue to hold things together. But I do think like Geoff says, that PND needs to be considered. She may need meds, because you can't keep living like this.