Supporting a depressed husband - seeking hope
Towards the end of last year, my husband told me he was depressed. At that time, I asked him to get help. He said he didn't want to and we left it at that and things got better for a few months. But for the most part of this year things have been very up and down,. A couple of weeks ago he admitted that he wanted to die.
I know nothing about depression so every time we talk about it, I ask him to get help. However over the last few weeks he has stopped talking to me, and started sleeping in our spare room. He has told me that I can't help him, he wants to go it alone, I haven't been there for him, and may other hurtful things. I keep telling myself that it is the depression, but it causes me great pain and sadness.
Last week one of his oldest friends contacted me to tell me that my husband had been to see him. He told him he's lost and disconnected, doesn't know where he is, and how or where I stand with him. But his friend told me that he loves me, and that I can't give up, even when/if my husband says he has. He hasn't given up. But I need to be patient and try to find a way to reconnect. I cry every time I think of this.
I do believe there is still love there. But I can also appreciate that the depression probably leave very little room for him to feel/see anything else right now.
I know the priority is to get him help. However as he keeps refusing, I feel there is little more that I can do.
I know he needs professional help and as long as I still have the strength to, I will keep trying to convince him to get help.
I am writing this post basically because I need hope. I need to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I need to know that loving him and simply being there for him (even though he says it's not enough) can get us through this. So if anyone has any experience, stories to share, tips and suggestions on how to reconnect, I would be very grateful.
I know that it sounds highly idealistic, and we don't live in fairy tales. But I have to keep believing that we will get through this somehow.
I think that it is really good that your husband has seen his GP and is going to see a counsellor. Do you know how it went?
I know that from the previous posts it has been a very difficult, strenuous and challenging journey. I for one can see how much effort, love and care you have put into the process. Speaking from experience though from knowing people with severe depression, often they are in pain and 'lashing out' can be a mechanism. Sometimes we have all this pain and don't know what to do with it.
Forgive me if I have asked before but have you ever thought about seeing someone yourself? I know partner's of those who are depressed can really feel the shockwaves of it and it's really important to take care of yourself too and make sure you have support.
How are your children with this situation?
Here for you
I'm rather new to this forum as well with my own issues, but I wanted to write to you as the support I have received has been amazing and I want to pass that on where I can.
My husband has been a sufferer of depression and anxiety for 20+ years. It comes and goes, but when it goes, it's never really gone. I just wanted to let you know that it's not your fault and you aren't to blame. In my experience, my husband has blamed me as well and also accused me of being unsupportive and not helping him. Like you I tried all I knew how to do and in some cases I didn't go to him because I didn't want to make the situation worse or anger him. Our marriage has also taken a hit. We're still together, but other factors have me doubting.
All you can do is be an open ear when he does feel comfortable to talk and make sure he knows you're open to talking when he is ready. Unfortunately I think they have to have someone to blame and the easiest person is the one they love the most and the one who they think won't judge or leave. My husband is social and popular with everyone external, but behind closed doors I can be blamed for almost anything - whether I've caused it or not.
Please try and look after yourself and your kids - I didn't and I'm emotionally drained literally hanging on by a thread some days. You're early into this, you can get through this. It's so good he's sought help on his own, that is a big step and the most important one.
Please take care and I hope it does get better for you soon.
Hello 815, and everyone who has replied or to those who are just reading, because there is so much depth in these comments.
A person who is suffering from any type of depression could be lost in direction and blame the person they love and feel the need to blame someone for the situation that they are trying to cope with, and unfortunately, this could be the one they love.
There are times when people feel that no one seems to understand or care, and that they seem to be insincere in the questions they ask, but this only happens, simply because it's not easy to know what is the best way to ask in a caring manner that will allow this to happen, and by no means is it any fault of yours.
Even showing the greatest love towards someone suffering may not be strong enough to regain any connection until they receive the help they need.
As has been suggested are you able to get help yourself and ask your doctor about the 'mental health plan', this entitles you to sessions paid by Medicare to see a psch.
Please keep talking with us.
Thank you again for your reply. I know it is a huge step for him to have sought help. I did ask him last night how the appointment was. He just shrugged. It was done via phone given our current restrictions in Melbourne. He said he will be speaking to him again next week, and has to speak to him for a year. He didn't offer any further information and I didn't want to push him to talk if he is not ready. But I am hopeful that he seems committed to the treatment plan even though I know it will still be a long difficult journey.
Thank for recommending that I seek support and help myself. I know I will have to in time. It is still very raw and hurtful for me to process and I know I need to also take care of myself and the children.
The children seem to be doing OK. Of course I don't know for sure how it is really impacting them. However despite my husband's depression, he loves our children deeply and spends time with them and our routine has not changed much. We all still eat meals together (though conversation between us does not exist and my kids usually do the talking otherwise we eat together in silence), my husband and I participate in the bedtime rituals and because of lockdown we still do family movie nights each Saturday night.
They know my husband sleeps in the spare room, and he has told them that he finds our bed uncomfortable and doesn't like it. They haven't questioned this further. They have noticed that he has been going to the GP a bit more regularly and ask if he is OK. For now, I think they are quite well protected from all of this and I hope in time things will improve and we will have the chance to function as a loving family again.
Even though our current restrictions are not the sole reason for his depression, I think it has contributed to it. However ironically, I find that being in lockdown makes it easier for me to not have to deal with our family and friends during this time and just focus on his recovery and mine and my children's wellbeing.
Thanks again for your support.
P.S.Thank you also to emotionallydrained and geoff for your responses. I appreciate them so much and want to take the time write separate replies to each which I will try to do later today.
Thank you for taking the time out to reply to me and I am sorry I didn't have a chance to reply sooner. I am so sad hearing that you have had to go through such struggles and for so many years. The fact that you are still here, and still trying to support your husband, shows such strength of character.
I appreciate your advice and I will continue to do what I can for my husband, as I still do believe that behind all of the depression, the anger, the sadness, the hurtful comments - that there is still love there. It is just behind the cloud of fog and I hope that over time, with the right treatment and support that cloud will lift.
I hope for the very best in your situation. Please do continue to reach out, and as you have suggested to me, please look after yourself too. I know I won't be able to provide much advice, however please do know that I am also here to provide any sort of support and care that I can.
I hope you are well and thank you once again for your response.
I appreciate all of the advice and the insight into what my husband is going through. It helps to know these things and gives me hope that we have a chance at working through this together. I will continue to be by his side through this.
I do realise that I need help myself and I will get there too with time so I appreciate the push.
You have lots of support here! We really do care about you and your wellbeing. I'm really glad to hear that your husband is going to be speaking to the counsellor again especially since it can be really hard to find the motivation to keep going with treatment, so hopefully they have a good relationship, he feels comfortable and the counsellor can help.
Please continue to keep us updated on how you are going! We are definitely here for you
I've been off the forums a little just trying to process everything. However I am after some thoughts on something.
I went to chat to my GP on Monday. My husband knows I went out, but I didn't tell him where I went. Do you think it would be helpful for him to know that I went to seek help, on how to support him? So that he knows I want to go through this together? Or is it better for him not to know that I sought help, seeing as I don't want to burden him with the thought that this situation is difficult and hurtful for me to.
I know ultimately the decision to talk to him about it will be mine. I was just after some thoughts or experiences others might have had.
Hi 815, When I noticed my partner's mental health gone down hill, I called his GP and spoke to him of my concern. He suffers from chronic pain, he has been taking pain killers and smoke marijuana to manage his pain. GP advised me to speak to him and make an appointment for MH assessment. I did not tell him immediately as our relationship is not very smooth sailing, I waited until 2 or 3 weeks later. I told him my concern and assured him I am willing to hold his hands to guide him and walk with him on the journey. To my surprise, he was so calm and agreed for me to make the appointment for him with his GP for MH assessment, get referral to see psychologist. So 815, don't be afraid if you need tell him, you just need to find a right time to tell him.
He emailed the psychologist office for appointment, but very reluctant to follow thru. I gave him time to follow thru, however, he did not bother, kept telling me they will let him contact him. I told him I am going to call the psychologist office. So I called the the psychologist office and explained my situation, The practice manager was very kind and understanding, and managed to get an appointment time for him. Yesterday was his 1st consultation with the psychologist, it went very well, Phew.. He likes the psychologist, both of them has same wavelength he told me. It seems like he is very comfortable taking to him, and told me next appointment will be in 2 weeks time.
815, Being silent reader to this forum has given me so much support and strength on how to support and care for my partner and focus on getting him well again and claim our little happy family back from MH. Sometimes words that came out from his mouth can be very hurtful, I just told myself that is his MH talking not him. Of course being a carer, we have to look after ourselves too, stay grounded and make sure you have someone to talk to and take some ME time for yourself.
Working from home since Covid19 has opened up my eyes, I see how unwell my partner's MH is lately, managed to step up and intervened. He used to be doting father to our child, kind, lovely man (He is still one one good day).
First, well done on going to seek support yourself. It is a big step and I hope it helped you feel that you are not alone. As you say, whether you tell your husband about it or not is something you need to be guided by instinct on.
I have sought support on several occasions to help manage my own emotions in supporting my brother who has several MH challenges and an alcohol addiction. I once told him this in anger and haven’t again as I know he will overreact and add to his “victim” behaviour. I also haven’t told my parents I’ve sought the help as my father has his own MH issues and tends to view me needing help as a failure on his behalf (long long story).
The way I deal with it now is to say “I’ve done some research and have you considered xx” and then if challenged, say I have consulted popular support services such as this one. If you can keep it objective and being about helping tackle the problem, it may be received less emotionally than if he thinks you went to the doctor to talk about him, if that makes sense. My brother is still on a very long path but I’ve had more success with the objective information route.
Sending you positive vibes and again well done on taking the step.