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I don't know how to start again. I feel I don't have the strength.

Community Member
I've had depression most of my life, since adolescence. I've been on SSRIs for probably 30 years. The depression seems to be cyclic. About a year ago, after 31 years of marriage and with two grown young sons, I decided to go off antidepressants. They made me feel empty and disconnected. Then late last year my dad passed away, our dog died and I unknowingly slipped into a downward spiral. The black dog bit me hard and with a vengeance I have never known before. My wife wanted me out of the house. I spent the worst 48 hours of my life in a hotel room, alone, not sleeping, endlessly playing out how I would end my life. What stopped me was the thought of the pain I would inflict on my family. They talk of going to hell when you die but only the living can truly experience its horror. I have now seen my GP, resumed antidepressants and am slowly climbing out of the darkness. But now, I think, my wife and family do not want me back home. For a while, or maybe forever, I am not sure. My recent episode has shaken them to the core. If it was one tenth as bad for them as it was for me, then I can understand that. But here's my point and why I am writing, for the first time, to this forum. I don't know how I can begin again without being with my family. Without the chatter over the dinner table, the afternoon strolls, "it's a lovely day, let's do to the beach", "you'll never guess what happened to me today". The thought of being separated from that is too much to bear. I cannot expect my family to live with my depression. But I struggle to find any purpose to go on without them. I cannot face another blank wall, an empty silent room. The thought of it is like a cold hand gripping my heart. I know the right thing to do it accept and deal with it. But I am struggling to find the strength. The allure of "escape" is strong. Anything to stop the pain. If I could just envision a life beyond fog of now . . .
11 Replies 11

Hi Lambent,

Welcome to the forums, and thank you for your bravery and openness in sharing here. It’s a really good place to share with some really understanding people. We can hear how difficult the past year has been, we’re so sorry that’s been going on, and we're sorry to hear that you lost your dad and have had so much happen since then. We can hear you're feeling really disconnected without your family around you, that's incredibly hard to deal with while you are in the process of trying to feel better and find purpose again. 

It sounds like you’ve taken some really good steps in seeing the GP, receiving a diagnosis and beginning some new medication. It sounds like it would be a rally good time to update the GP on how you’re going, especially since you’ve been having thoughts about suicide. If that's feeling difficult right now, you could call the Beyond Blue Support Line on 1300 22 4636 to talk it through with them. The counsellors there are super kind and supportive, they’re understanding and can be good to talk to right in the midst of these feelings, or at any tiem you feel like talking it through. You can also reach them via Online Chat here (11am-midnight AEDT).

It’s really important that you are kind to yourself, and keep yourself safe. Please remember that if you feel unsafe the number to call is 000. It also sounds like the Beyond Now suicide safety planning app may be a helpful resource to you. You can read about how it works and where to download it here: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/beyondnow-suicide-safety-planning. You can even call Lifeline (13 11 14) and compete it together with one of their counsellors over the phone.

We're sure we'll hear from the community soon, but in the meantime, is there anything that's helped you through this time, that's helped you towards that sense of purpose? 

We hope that you find our forums to be a safe and supportive space to talk through your thoughts and feelings. Our community is here for you, and we’re sure they’ll spot your post soon enough and have some kind words and understanding for you.

Kind regards,

Sophie M

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Lambert,

I want to extend a warm welcome to the forum, although I am sad to hear that you’ve been having such a tough time recently. Firstly, I think it would be a good idea to see your GP as soon as possible and get back on your antidepressants, at least for the time being (if you haven’t already). Once you have your medication stabilized, you will be in a better place to deal with the other issues.

Regarding your depression, I will share what really helped me in the hopes that you may take something from it. When I was young, I was diagnosed with a pretty serious medical condition that caused me a lot of pain and made my life miserable. In my early 20s I fell in love and ended up being a victim of domestic violence for many years. The pressure of all that and my illness caused me to attempt suicide in my early 20s, and I battled with severe depression for all of my 20s. And then in my early 30’s I suffered a stroke (and lost my job). But rather than sink further, it was a total shift in my thinking. While I was in the midst of the stroke, I found myself bargaining for 10 more years. It was only when faced with the prospect of death that I realized that I wanted to live. Since then I don’t really let anything bother me. I let bad things wash over me and I just put my head down and keep going until better days arrive. I try and add positives to my life, a dog, a garden, new friends, sports, next a career change, small incremental things that add to my happiness. Life can feel endless sometimes, until suddenly it’s not.

You are going through a tough time to be sure. A marriage ending is never easy, everything feels foreign, and the thought of loneliness feels crushing. But it does get easier, so many marriages end so that something better can come together. I know a lot of divorced people and they are overwhelmingly glad that it happened, not in the immediate aftermath of course and you will need support to get through this part. But you can do this.

Community Member

Hi lambent,

I am so sorry to hear how you are feeling. Speaking from a mother/wife point of view, it's actions that will get you back with your family. They need to see you making progress in whatever form that may be, formal counselling, (ask them to come so they might understand) actively seeking to do things that do make you happy.

I am sending love.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Lambent,

Sounds like you are going through a really tough time at the moment, I am sorry to hear about this. Did you abruptly come off your meds without consulting your GP first? As abruptly stopping your meds isnt really a very good idea because this can onset strong depressive feelings. Sounds like your depression is chronic, I recommend speaking to your GP about alternative treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), it has helped many people with their depression. I have seen it help people in such a positive way. There is also Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy which is also similar for depression. I recommend doing some reading about these treatments too online. Your family loves you and they do care about you. I think trying out the two therapies mentioned might be beneficial towards you and your family will be happy to see that you want to get better.

All the best Lambent

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Lambent, I'm really sorry about the passing of your dad and the loss of your dog, both happening can be very traumatic, especially if you've been taking AD's for 30 years and the decided to stop.

Perhaps this medication should have been reviewed by your doctor as our circumstances and situations change over this period.

My 25 year marriage ended much to my disappointment and contact with our two sons was difficult and had to rebuild contact with them, which didn't happen straight away, but now for a long time the three of us have been in regular contact and one son is my carer who lives just a few streets away from me.

Since the divorce my ex and I have regular contact by phone as well as seeing each other, but we probably couldn't live together anymore as I no like living by myself.

With all of this happening to you still doesn't mean you won't lose contact with them because you can rebuild a connection with them, and if you have any questions then please ask.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Lambent

My heart goes out to you as you face the challenges that come with depression, especially those that come with the very depths of depression. I believe no one fully understands what the depths feel like unless they've been there themself.

I'm wondering whether your family would consider something like a trial period. What I mean by this is what if you were to discuss trialing a month of separation while seeing what works and what doesn't when it comes to managing some of the seriously depressing challenges that can come in life. If after a month you return with having done some serious hard work that defines you as 'Becoming a different person', would they reconsider? Being a different person may involve developing a meditation practice of some kind, for example. When people speak of meditation, it's easy to imagine someone sitting there cross legged chanting 'Omm' while thinking of nothing. There are so many different types of meditation that work for various people. There can be ones to get us out of our imagination and feeling what we imagine, ones to lead us to feel more deeply, ones that can lead to our mind opening to constructive self analysis etc.

Becoming a different person could also look like 'Becoming more aware of your triggers'. How to calm your nervous system once triggered can also point to becoming a different person.

So, to turn away from your family in the process of self development might help you re-turn or turn again to them a new ways. In such a self development period, you may even return with skills that you can teach them in life. I understand all this may be hard to imagine right now but the idea of returning is an idea that I assume you would like to relate to.

I found living alone, temporarily splitting from my husband before we were married, was a serious trigger for me. Living alone can be a serious trigger for someone who's experiencing depression. Managing the triggers that come with living alone can feel like a full time job. A trial period may be able to help you see it as a temporary job.

I'm so sorry for your loss. I feel such sorrow for you having lost your dad and your pup. So heartbreaking. I found one of the benefits of coming out of depression involves developing the ability to feel yourself on the verge of re-entering. The verge is something I believe we can get a feel for. The verge takes seriously intense management. It's hard and emotional work, not going back in.

Community Member
I am sure you are right. I need to show I am taking control of my life, adopting new habits, committing to new regimes to keep healthy. To move closer to my family, I need to establish my independence. I know there are no guarantees of resuming my former home life. And while that saddens me more than I can describe and each hour I have to fight off the utter feelings of pain, loss and despair, I know I have to find a way to go on. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post. It is deeply appreciated.

Community Member
I am surprised and humbled by your thoughtful response. I guess no-one expects to find themselves on these pages in these circumstances. And yet, many people do. And now I am one of them. Thank you for your care for a complete stranger. Asking for help doesn't come easy. Thank you for the work you do.

It's now more than two months since I posted "I don't know how to start again. I feel I don't have the strength." At the time I could only think of was getting back to my old life with my wife and two sons. I was super anxious and distressed to be alone. It has been a struggle but all those repliers to my first post were right. I have slowly found a way to be alone and even slowly started to get to know myself again, grateful that I am healthy and feeling a new strength in an independent life. My wife and I have stayed in touch, text or talk every day. But just in the last few days, she has become overwhelmed by anger at me. I think she thought I would recover from my suicidal episode and return contrite for the trauma I have caused her. As if all the problems with our relationship were the result of my depression and that I was the one who needed to do all the work. I accept her anger. I did cause her and my boys enormous trauma. I was on the edge and barely hanging on. If you are on this forum, you probably know what it is like to come back from that. Many days just living moment to moment. A day at a time. Not being capable of working out the big things; just trying to be present and accepting. But somehow over the past weeks we have moved on from dealing with the consequences of trauma to facing a marriage that hasn't worked for 15 years. My wife is so angry because she feels I never would have left if she hadn't asked me to leave when I was feeling suicidal. And though I thought about it many times, she is probably right. Her telling me to go - although utter terrifying at the time - has provided me with distance and perspective and as I have started to feel more solid in myself, I have come to understand how our relationship was contributing to my mental health issues for years. And me to hers. Married 31 years but all intimacy stopped 15 years ago. She is so hurt and feels I should be fighting harder to get back together. But I don't want to go back to that relationship, which was not giving either of us what we needed. I know she will need to work through these stages, anger, grief etc., and want nothing more, in my heart of hearts, than for her to be happy and solid in herself. She is gregarious person and it's really sad to watch her contorted by anger. I will keep taking her calls, keep listening to how bad a person I am, how it is all my fault. And hopefully, slowly, she will work through her feelings.