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Husband has depression and left home to get himself right

Community Member

I don't know where to start with this all but 2 weeks ago my husband told me he needed a break from our marriage and originally moved into the spare room. It was so hard on me as we have a 2 year old and it was confusing for him why Dadda was sleeping in the spare room. He eventually told me that he as been suffering in a black fog for the past 3 months and that he doesn't know anything anymore, including us. He even told me he had dark thoughts while I was away but thankfully it scared him and he has since gone to the GP. He is on Anti depressants and booked into see a Pysch. In the meantime he is talking to a counsellor online I think. A little bit of background, my hubby was adopted and always held a hatred for his birth mother, he has had low self esteem and never feels good enough. We have been together 9 years and married for 6 years. His adoptive mother is interesting as well and never really handled things right with the adoption. Anyway, recently (October) she told my husband that she knows his birth name and has some documents from his adoption. This has sent him into a tale spin, I noticed him changing from there. He says he no longer knows who he is or what his life is.

We recently sold a house and purchased Land to build. This has added to his stress....I told him that I would support him through this but he has decided that he needs to go and left, ironically to his mothers. I am heartbroken, I don't know what to do and how to support him. He sends me messages that he wants to build the house and that we are just taking a break while he sorts himself out. Then will say that he wants to build the house so I and my son have a roof over our head. I told him that I can't afford to live in it on my own. He came over on Saturday for 3 hours and when he left I was a mess. He was dark and moody but walked around the house like he still lived here, it was very weird. He says he doesn't know how he feels. I am confused as well, we ended up fighting and I feel he wants me to say its over. I have no idea if he will come back or not. I wanted to do this together but he has left.

How do I deal with this? Do I disconnect and let him work it out, or try and support him?

42 Replies 42

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear MishnLinc

Welcome to Beyond Blue. Yours is a sad story and unfortunately quite common. Let me explain.

When someone is depressed they often feel worthless, and I imagine it may be more so if the person was not confident before. But I'm not an expert. They also start to distance themselves from others. Crowds, which may be 3-4 people, bother them. It is hard to cope with talking to people and sometimes they find it more difficult with family, spouse etc than relative strangers. With someone they don't know it's easier to put on a mask and pretend all is well with them and the world.

May I suggest you read the information on depression and anxiety on BB. Look under the blue tab at the top of the page, The Facts, and choose from the drop down list. You can download any information you want or ask for it to be sent to you, no charge. Booklets are only available by post. It's a good idea to be as well informed as possible. There is a booklet for family and friends which has information about how family feel in this situation.

I have noticed on BB that when men are depressed they are more likely to leave the family home "to get themselves together". They don't want to be a burden on the family or spouse, feel the family would be better off without them, need space from everyone to cope. I don't think it's a good situation as the person has too much opportunity to brood over their life, becomes inward looking without a balancing perspective and often stops caring for themselves. So please take heart that you and your husband are going on a well trodden path. Not good but predicable.

May I ask if he is going to see a psychologist or psychiatrist? Does the online counsellor work with off line as well?

Changing his mind about important decisions is also par for the course. This is not to make your life difficult but because his mind has him wrapped up in his depression and he has lost his perspective. So any decision can be changed at a moment's notice. I know it's confusing and distressing for you plus the additional care for your baby.

May I suggest you leave all major decisions such as when you are going to build a home, and put them to one side. It is very difficult to make a reasonable decision when both your lives are turned upside down. He needs time to get back on track and you need time to process what is happening. Both of you need time to work on your future. I know I have not answered all your questions. Hoping you will talk more with us.


Thank you White Rose...I am so heartbroken that he has left. I am trying my best with everything but something will set me off and I am a crying mess again. I worry for him and so wanted to do this together. I am so hurt that he left us. The one person who loved him the most.

He is seeing a Pyschiatrist but the appt is not until the 9th Feb, he has asked to go on the waitlist for a cancellation. I think that he has been talking to the online ones that the GP gave him while he waits for his appointment. He blocks me out and just says he is having a bad day and nothing else. So he is cutting off communication with me.

Hello MishnLinc

Please do not tell yourself off for crying. It is a normal thing to do when we have been hurt although we find ourselves apologising if it happens in public. I've done it myself and then wondered why. It's because we are not supposed to show our grief in public. What rubbish.

Quite often there is a long wait to see a specialist depending on the patient's need and the doctor's availability. It seems your husband is going to try to get well again which is good.

Yes it does feel horrible when you love him and he seems to turn his back on you. It is because you care so much that he wants to be apart. It's not a bad thing that you love him and want to help him. It's because he feels he is letting down the people he loves most, you and your child. He does still love you, just cannot find that place at the moment.

I think the only thing you can do at the moment is to wait. I know it's easy for me to say and it's you who are hurting. From what others have said it's more a matter of waiting until he can see past his depression and realise he is loved and wanted. Once he starts to see his psych regularly you will see him improve. Is he taking an antidepressant? Often these are tremendously helpful in getting him stable as it were.

I want to suggest you go and see your GP and ask to see someone about coping, probably a psychologist. Being able to talk to someone who truly understands you is helpful and you will start to feel better. If money is a problem ask your GP what free services are available or look them up yourself. Relationships Australia can be very helpful and their charge are under $10 I understand. Also your local Anglicare branch. They do not charge at all but I'm not sure what is available in your areas. The Salvation Army is another good resource. Look on the net to see what you can find.

How did you go with the BB information? Try to live as normally as possible. I know, I know, it's hard but keeping up with your usual routines can be reassuring and stops you brooding too much.


Hi. I have supported, cared for and loved a family member who has a mental health condition for the past six years. It is not an easy road and I am sorry that you have found yourself in such a difficult situation.

Like you, I also had other responsibilities--mothering, managing our home, financial decision-making, etc. What I quickly realised is that, if I went down, "the whole ship went down". I encourage you to look after yourself during this challenging time and to start by finding appropriate professional support.

In my case, I found a mental health nurse in private practice and her advice was cost-effective and invaluable--she gave me critical insights, which enabled me to better understand the behaviour I was dealing with and respond effectively. Importantly, she persuaded me to be kind to myself. Every day, no matter what was happening around me, I made time for self-care. I know It's hard with a young child and limited finances but when you can, take a bubble bath, read a book, call a friend, write in a journal, meditate, watch your favourite TV program--whatever pleases you. The dishes and laundry will wait. Switch off and look after you.

And please, please, please remember that while people do unfortunately fall ill, they can also get better. There is always hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Thank you Mary, he spoke last night and told me the online Counsellor has said that he is a very troubled man. He never got over his fathers death, the adoption or that there wasnt alot of love growing up, finding out his birthname was the thing that tipped him over the edge. He is on antidepressants and has been for a couple of weeks now I think, he said they make him tired but he is not sleeping.

I am going to a counsellor myself tonight and seeing the GP Thursday. I know that I can't keep going on like this and I need to pick myself up. I go back to work next week, so I am looking forward to just getting some routine back in my life.

Thank you Summer Rose, I hope he can eventually get better for his sake, as I hate seeing him so hurt and lost.

It is a tough road and I know might be a long one, I think that we just sold the house and about to build the new one, its creating a financial stress on me, as I feel that I will be building a house, I will never live in, as I can't do it on my own. Lucky I can rent my house, so I don't have the stress of moving on my own. Its just all these little things popping up, like my cousins wedding RSVP etc and I have to do it on my own for a while. I have a great support network and I have been humbled by the amount of people supporting me and inviting me places so that I don't sit around and think.

Thank you, often people keep telling me to be strong and while I know under it all I am, at the moment, I am not. My boy keeps me going and gives me the best cuddles, he is my saving grace. Thank you, I don't feel alone, as people dont understand depression and when I tell them, they say....Him,,,no way..he doesn't look the type. Its sad really.

Today wasn't a good day for me and I actually spent most of it crying. I have been having horrible anxiety and decided to try St Johns Wort, I hope that I can get on top of this, my poor son doesn't need 2 people down. I think I am a person that looks to the future and needs a plan and at the moment I have to live day by day. One of my friends today said I need to live my life like he isn't coming back and if he does its a bonus. While I kinda agree, this is really hard especially when the house you sold settles in a couple of weeks and the house you were suppose to be building together starts too. I have to pick the colours on Tuesday, I feel that I am going to be building a house that I will never live in. My Hubby tells me to continue and that we will get there but he can't even look at me when he comes to visit our Son and it broke my heart yesterday as he came over and I had an appointment and when I got back, he left after 5 minutes. Then said to me that he hates seeing me so hurt. My son heard him say goodbye and went screaming down the hallway after him with his shoes in his hand. It truly broke me. I cant explain it.

Hi again. You just hang in there. I believe we all have a "window", in which our emotions fluctuate every day, and we can handle the fluctuation and cope with life as long as the emotional variation is within our window. When we get pushed "out of our window", like you did today, it's really hard. But you will get through it. Perhaps you could download a mindfulness ap and give it a go. Or just do something pleasurable to give your mind a break.

What I've taken from your post is that, your husband loves you, he feels he's let you down, he doesn't want to hurt you and he has hope for a future with you. Try to hang onto that and remember that your husband can't help it that he has depression--in exactly the same way that a person can't help it if they have cancer. If you can, try to put yourself in his shoes. Can you imagine how hard it is for your husband to look you in the eye knowing he is the cause of your pain, yet be powerless to stop it from happening?

Your husband needs treatment and he is taking steps to get help. He also needs your love and support, which is ironic given your pain but it is true. I know it's not fair and I know it hurts but I encourage you to try to ride it out. One foot in front or the other, one day at a time.

Hello Summer Rose

Great posts from you. I also got a lot from your words so thank you. Not sure I can add more.

Hello MishnLinc

You may think nothing has changed but your husband is starting to work on himself. Your son still sees his dad and dad is going for therapy.

When you see your GP please tell him/her you are taking that preparation. As I understand it there are some queries about it's effectiveness and I understand that when it is taken with an antidepressant there can be some odd things happen. So please check it out with your doctor first.

Keep a journal of your journey. It's helpful to write down your thoughts and feelings. Similar way to writing on BB but probably with more detail. No need to show it to anyone but good to look back on in a few months to see how far both you and your husband moved on. One rule, once it has been written down it stays. No looking back saying life was not that bad and changing your words, when you are looking from a future which is getting better.