Husband with PDD wants divorce
My husband has had depression for the last few years and for the last 6 months it is been at its worst with suicidal ideation. We have 2-year-old and 6 month old daughter's. The last 6 months have been incredibly hard with a young bub and my husband was also medically discharged from the Air Force.
He says that he doesn't see a future for us because we will drag each other down. What do I do? Do I refuse to accept this as being him? Is it his depression dating we are better off without him?
I can't imagine my future without him.
We are sorry to hear that you and your partner are going through these challenges right now. Suicidal ideation and depression and incredibly tough for carers to manage, it is so very draining to be supporting someone ever if we love them. It is wonderful that you have been able to reach out for support here on the forums, it must have been difficult to write this post, but you never know who might read it and feel less alone in their own experience.
It is so hard to know how best to support someone - hopefully there is some useful information for you here - we have a set of articles that may be useful for you. Our advice is to be gentle with yourself, it sounds like you are doing the best you can in a really tough situation.
We are sorry that a call to Beyond Blue hasn't been helpful in the past, we are always here for you if you want to speak to us and there are these wonderful organisations you can also contact if that will work better.
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
We also think it could be useful for you to call Carers Australia on 1800 422 737. It is so important that you look after yourself during these times and they can help you, or just be there if you want to talk.
This community is here for you if you need us, thank you for sharing and please feel free to drop back in and let us know how you are going.
I feel for you so much as you work so hard to raise everyone in the household - your kids, your husband and your self (trying to raise your spirits and even your consciousness as you search for some way forward).
Can't help but wonder whether your husband's lost his sense of identity since leaving the air force. To some degree, is it kind of a matter of 'If a large part of who I am and my sense of value comes from being a member of an elite group of people, who am I now that I'm no longer a member? A worthless nobody?'. As members of the forces are conditioned to believe they are mentally and physically strong, highly valued members of society, protectors, saviors of those who need protection and saving, virtually unbreakable, powerhouses of ability and so on, how are members of the forces led to see those qualities in themselves outside of the force/s? While integration into the army, air force and navy is full on, there can be a kind of 'Now we're leaving you on your own to work out how to live as a non member/'ordinary person''. Not only is there a sense of abandonment but there can also be a period of dis-integraton (in more ways than one) as those who leave the force try to work out who they are now.
While you know there's so much more to your husband than what the air force led him to believe and you try convincing him of that, the mental programing that comes with conditioning someone who goes on to serve is seriously intense. You're going against air force conditioning. Not sure but if you ask him what the air force leads its members to believe in about themselves and each other, would he be able to make better sense of why he feels the way he does?
Thank you for responding.
You are spot on. He actually said to me that he had no identity before joining the Defence and now he is back to nothing. He also said that a huge part is that I am better off without him which makes me think that somewhere deep down he must love me.
I don't know what to do and I am so tired.
Had a bit of an online look. Not sure if you or your husband know about an organisation called 'Open Arms'. It appears to be about helping service people transition into civilian life while recognising the deeply depressing factors that can come about in such a process. They offer a huge variety of support and resources. Even if your husband doesn't feel like having a look right now, can't hurt for you to look into it as a way of better understanding what he might be going through and why you're having such a hard and exhausting time based on what he's facing. Could be something that helps you.
Read another interesting article about the challenges of transitioning into civilian life. It spoke of the importance of recognising identities pre military, military and post military and how different all 3 are. People tend to think of 'brain washing' as solely putting something into someone's head, in order to have them believe in something. When I considered this term some years back, I realised the washing part comes down to washing out what was there to begin with. So, you can have someone commanding, like a commander, 'Get any idea out of your head that you are average. You are elite members of society. Get any idea out of your head that you have no purpose. This is your purpose. You were born to serve. Get any idea out of your head that you are weak. You will become masters of emotion. You will be fearless, thoughtless (reactive when you need to be), emotionally detached from anything that gets in the way of the best result' etc etc. Of course it's not all going to be phrased like that but, hey, it's the gist of things. When coming out of the force, a person is no longer a member of the elite, they are a member of 'the average, purposeless and emotionally weak or fragile masses'. 'How to wash that out in order to gain a constructive sense of self?' becomes the question.
It appears to be such a common theme, ex military members who experience a lost sense of self and depression. While military conditioning can be impressive in a number of ways, it definitely has a dark side not everyone knows about. I imagine the inner dialogue to sound a little like 'Soldier, you are weak. You're showing weakness and it's pathetic. You are pathetic'.