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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

Dear MishnLinc

So sorry you had such a bad day yesterday. Amazing you had someone on site to talk to and you have accepted what she has said. I must admit I thought you were taking care of yourself hence my post above. Whoops! Never mind, you had validation for your feelings from the psychologist and that was timely.

Caring for young children is huge task no matter how much you love them. So much energy, makes me tired to watch.

Nice your husband had completed some chores for you. Sounds like he is getting ready to come home. Make sure you are ready also when he wants to return.

May I ask what book the psychologist recommended? I think many mothers feel they have lost sight of themselves when bringing up children. It is important to do some of the activities that once you enjoyed. It also means your children see you as a separate person to themselves. Maybe not at two but later and that is the start of their independence. It's where we can show mutual respect for each other and in mom's case, that she is not there to wait on everyone.

This is a short post as I have to go out. I'm glad you were able to have that talk to the psych.


I feel like so much has happened but not alot if that makes sense.

My anxiety has ramped up a bit and I have been trying to control it but at times I feel that it is getting out of control but started mindfulness. My husband is still all over the place and I think I kinda knew that he would go backwards a little bit after finally getting in to see the pyschiatrist. They have also changed his medication, so I am assuming it will take a bit to get that settled. On Saturday he wanted to take our son to the Zoo for a couple of hours, so that I could go shopping for a dress for a wedding, anyway, he was gone from 9.30am to 4.30pm and he wondered why I lost my mind at him. We were supposed to go on a Date that evening but he was not in a good space or me for that matter after it all but then he went out on his own to a bar to have a drink. I was like are you for real....so on Sunday we had a big talk and I asked him if he wanted us to end, as he is being a jerk to me. He said that he doesn't and went for a drive but ended up at beach and seen the festival on and stayed. He said that he is all over the place and doesn't know what he is thinking. I asked if he thought there was a hope for us after all of this and he said in his heart yes but his head is messed up and he can't think. He asked me to hold on a little longer but knows that I can't wait forever. I know that I can't take much more of this and wish he would just come home so that we could work this out together, its been a month now.

I sent him a message today asking a question and he told me he is having a bad day, he said he thinks its the change in medication messing with his head, I said for him to be kind to himself. I am starting to lose hope in all of this, its so hard.

The pyschiatrist wanted him to ask his mum questions, so that he could get some answers but she changes the subject or doesn't answer him, I just wish she would so that he can move forward. Arrrgghhhhh.....it makes me angry. Help him for goodness sake.

Anyway, I think I just need to help myself so that I can be a good mother to my son.

Community Member

Okay so a little update from me and my situation. My hubby is still not home and has had another breakdown. This time shutting me out completely from his life. I have not heard from him for about a week. I am so heartbroken I can't even tell you the words. I thought that he was making headways but last week, he had a panic attack visiting me and then told me not to give up on him and I have hardly heard from him since.

I am beginning to think this is it for us, especially as he is not returning my messages or bothering to call me at all. He is in a very dark and scary place. Its hard when the house we were suppose to be building is starting shortly and I am trying to keep my head above water. Its making me question everything including why is he treating me like this, the one person that loves him so much.

I guess there is nothing much I can say and I am so lost for words. I am so lost on everything. I am just trying to keep putting 1 foot in front of the other.

Thank you for listening MishnLinc

Lovely to hear from you again although sad that the news is not so good. Depression can be such a tricky beast, up one minute and down the next. We can rarely predict when these things will happen and need to make contingency plans to deal with the hurt times and the down times. Even so it can be difficult to manage as we forget the plans to deal with our thoughts. We have this default option that sends us in a panic to an action we learned long ago to manage our lives. It may have worked then but is not useful now, but we are such creatures of habit we keep doing the same thing.

I think the phrase is, Keep repeating the same action and expecting a different outcome. Oh yes, we know that one. Your husband appears to be doing this from what you say. Therapy for severe depression takes time and needs constant and consistent practice by the patient. Your husband is learning a whole about himself, even if he does not realise it and sometimes that knowledge is hard to accept. The instinct is to run away and deny the whole thing and can lead, as in your husbands situation, to a breakdown.

He bounces back a little and starts again, which in itself is fantastic, and gets to the spot he was at before and then falls over again. Clearly I am not a medical expert but I know from my own experience how easy it is to walk the default path, and even if we remember to use the alternative, we still go on with what we know and still expect a different outcome.

I am reluctant to offer suggestions as these may run counter to his psychiatrist treatment. I am interested in the psych requests for information from your mother-in-law. Do you know what the psych wants? I wonder if you can ask his mother and perhaps explain why the psych wants the information. This may be a good idea or the worst option ever. You know the situation best.

Have you thought of getting some counselling for yourself? You have so much grief in your life that talking about it may help. At the very least you can explore your wants and options. A good counsellor can help you make sense of the contradictory events.

I think there probably is little you can say to your husband at the moment and I appreciate how hard and hurtful this is. I think we hurt the person who cares most about us because it is safe to do so. Anyone else may well tell him to go away. Yes it is unfair but so often the case. Chat to a counsellor or your GP and see how you go.


Hi Mary,

I have since seen my Psychologist and he has said that I need to put boundaries in place, I explained that I hadn't heard from him for most of the week. He said to obviously not bombard him but that I need to explain my needs and how I felt as well. So when he came and got our son from Childcare and left him with my mum again not seeing me, I asked if I was the one he was trying to avoid, he said it wasn't me and to not take it personally and that it was all getting too much for him again. I said that this past week has been the worst in history for me and that I struggled and missed him immensley, all he said was that he was sorry and that I could call him whenever I want. I said that he can always call me too. He said that he went camping again at the weekend on his own and that he wanted to escape the world. And he wanted to know why I didn't hate him for F*king up our dreams, I said that I still held out hope that he would come back to me and he said he did too. I was worried that he was saying things to please me but he isn't. When I tell him I miss him, he says I know. I still care for him so much and hate that he can't see a way forward yet. Its been 2 months, I was hoping that by now the medication would start kicking in a little but that hasn't happened yet. He seems to have anxiety more now. Anyway my Pysch said that people tend to do what he is doing? and from what you have written Mary, I can see that he is going to his default mechanism. I know that I say it but I need to look after myself, it is my birthday on Monday and I know that I will not see him or that he will not worry about it. He told me that he thinks of me often a couple of days ago, I said that I didn't know and he said I told you last time and I said but I haven't heard from you in over a week, doubt and insecurities come in. He said he would try.

I think the pysch wants to get some information from his childhood, which is the reason for the breakdown, he needs to get some questions answered from her as she sees it differently, he has a very different take on his childhood. Even his sister has a different take, it is bizarre.

I don't know how long this is going to take, when I asked him what do I tell people this weekend when you are not with me again, he said tell them I couldn't get off work. I asked him if he had told people we have separated and he still hasn't. Not even work.

At the moment, I can just take each moment at a time and hopefully know my limit.

Hello MishnLinc

I can see how much you are struggling to keep your head above water. It's a very difficult time for you without the consolation of knowing when your husband will return. You have someone to talk to who can help you understand what is happening. In fact in many ways your psych is the best person to talk to as your husband I gather is still unsure of what is happening and how he will get well again. Has he continued to see his psychiatrist?

I think I have told you I see a psychiatrist regularly to help me deal with some very stressful situations for the past 18 months. I am finding at the moment we are talking about some situations that make me a bit nervous. And all I want is to run away, deny everything, be given the solution and in general get her to use her magic wand. Apparently the batteries are flat. 😊

I am not a patient person and I want to have moved forward faster and further than I have actually achieved. Well it's not exactly a crime merely a frustration but the downside is the tendency to blames myself for not working harder and causing a mini collapse. I am learning, albeit slowly, to manage the day to day frustrations and hurts. I know I am getting better at this because disastrous situations used overwhelm me for days. I am managing better now and I can get my breath back usually in a few hours. It has taken a long time to do this and very patient therapists.

We all advance at a different rate. If I had a partner would I get well more quickly or would he hinder the process? No idea and the reality is I live alone and need to accommodate this when I move forward. I can understand your husband a little. Don't you hate it when someone says, "I know how you feel?" I can sympathise with his struggles and see how hard it is. And I am quite certain you can see this as well.I also have some understanding of the sadness that partners and carers endure watching someone they love struggle with such a huge burden.

I suggest this as you cannot move ahead as quickly as you want. Your husband's depression will take a little time before he can persuade himself he will be better off living with you. I think this is a topic you could gainfully talk about with your psychologist. Recovery is a slow process for both.It seems to me you can only tell him you love him, offer support and wait. Just listening to his story is the most generous and loving ways to show you care, especially when it is done without creating an atmosphere of urgency.


Thank you White Rose (Mary), It is so hard when you don't really understand what is happening in the other persons head. It was a really difficult weekend for me and my birthday, being a long weekend and I went away with my little boy. People know now that we have separated. They are all shocked as people thought we were the perfect couple and honestly I thought we were too,of course we had our ups and downs. Its so incredibly difficult to comprehend for me. He text me a couple of times over the weekend and told me Sunday he was having a bad day. On my birthday he rang me to wish me a happy birthday and dropped passed the house and left a fish he caught at the weekend. I really had hoped that I would see him but I didn't. I didn't even get a card. Its so hard for me to realise that he just doesn't think of me like that at the moment. He went away with a mate and you could see he was struggling. I feel like saying do you think its because you were not with us. But he can't see that yet!

I get so upset when I see our son follow other family members around, he misses his dad so much and when I mention Daddy, he just goes quiet and doesn't say a word, when normally he talks non stop. I know that he is only 2 and a bit but he knows something is different and is now anxious when I leave him. I know that I have incredible support from my family and friends and they want to support Peter as well but he isn't responding to them when they send him messages.

I am glad that your sessions are working Mary, even if they are slower than you would like. I am a planner and this has really thrown my whole life into a tail spin. I have to keep remembering to just be and not look too far, that is what causes me anxiety. I actually feel that I need to take a step back for my own sense of worth. Yesterday really hurt me!

He is suppose to come and mind our son Saturday while I am at a family wedding, the family keep asking if he is going and I tell them that it would be too overwhelming for him and to be honest, a bit weird for me as I haven't really seen him much in the last 2 weeks. He promises me that I will see him tonight but I am not holding my breath. He is still seeing the Pysch and also the Anger Management. I personally don't believe that his medication is right but its not up to me.

Thank you for listening again, Mary.... Best of luck with your recovery

Awww Misch I really feel for you.

My advice is to look after yourself and even if you find 30 mins a day where you don’t think about your problems it gives you that mental break. Your read my story and and I think we have a lot in common.

My husband just left as he came over to help me connect up the foxtel. I offered him dinner and he accepted which is the first time in 4 months. In the first few months it seemed like he could not get away from me fast enough.So we are progressing in baby steps....... Things may get better in time and I am hoping this is for both of us.

Yes there are very similar connections in our story. He seems so overwhelmed with everything. He did come over on Tuesday, even if it was for only 15 mins and gave me a kiss and cuddle. As he was getting in the car he said, I do love you, which is the first time he has said it since he left, so I was shocked but didn't want to make a big deal of it.

I am happy that your hubby Redhuta stayed for dinner, I hold out hope? How do you stay calm without the anger, I myself can feel it building and just want to yell at him and ask...WTF!!!! then I see sense and obviously don't but its horrible. I am doing everything to keep it together and he is just looking after himself. I am juggling all these balls in the air.

His mum rang me yesterday which is probably only the 2nd time since he left and made me feel like crap. Basically saying we are not getting back together and that she still wants to be in her grandsons life. I was taken aback and she said I don't even know why he left you. I could feel the rage boiling in me and I said, its not about me, its about you and his childhood and then he snapped at me and said I don't know why, I gave him the best childhood. I was gobsmacked. I thought you are delusional lady and now I know why your son is so screwed up. Thanks..... I was angry and I know that I shouldn't but I sent him a text that night and asked if the plan was still in play for him to come back and he said yes, why...and I said....well tell your bloody mother..... why he is living with her is beyond me!!!

Thanks for listening xo take care xo

Hello MishnLinc

Sorry not to reply earlier. I have been away for a few days at the beginning of the week and returned to a series of doctor's visits for the remaining two days. Sigh.

I have written a fair bit today and suddenly realised how tired I have become. Please accept my apologies and I will write more tomorrow. It may not seem like it but you are managing your life. Keep faith in yourself.

Talk more later.