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Feeling Helpless

Teddy Bear
Community Member

Hi there,

This is the first time posting on here, but I feel desperate. My husband has depression and anxiety and it has slowly been getting worse in the last 10 years but only really noticing it more in the last 2 years since he retired and Covid hasn't helped either. He has pushed away most of his friends and some family, but the most upsetting thing is communication has broken down between his eldest daughter and himself, whom he has always been very close to while she was growing up, but since she got married things have not been good and he cannot tolerate her husband. He has been to four psychiatrists over the years to try and get help, but it is so hard to find one that he can connect with and feel like they understand him. He also was seeing a counsellor but that hasn't helped either. Now his daughter has had enough and he just feels this barrier between them and he gets anxiety and just wants to melt away when he actually does see her. It is so sad and hard for me to watch him shut down and I try really hard to support him and let him know that I am here for him but he just shuts me out too. I am so worried about him and I want him to try and get help again but he doesn't want to. He stopped eating and drinking this time and I have managed to make him eat a bit and have some fluids, and I thought he was starting to come out of the depression , but today he is shutting down again. I feel like I am walking on eggshells most of the time, I leave him alone because I know he wants to be very quiet, but its so hard, I feel like I have lost my husband and he is just an empty shell. He said he doesn't want to kill himself but he just doesn't want to be here anymore, that's why he stops eating and drinking hoping he will fade away. Usually when he has a downer it lasts 3-4 days but this has been going on for about 8 days now. I just feel helpless and not sure what to do anymore. Just wondering if anyone else is going through the same thing and how they cope.

8 Replies 8

Hey Teddy Bear,

Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums. Thank you so much for having the strength to reach out today, we understand it can be fairly daunting to do. 

We're so sorry to hear about your husband. It sounds as though he is having a very difficult time. We also acknowledge the stress and heartache this causes you. You've mentioned that your husband was seeing a psychiatrist and counsellor, can we ask if he is still seeing either? 
It's concerning to hear your husband is not eating or drinking. If you feel your husband is at risk of self-harm or is feeling suicidal, we would strongly urge you to seek professional help. You can do this by: 
  • Speaking to your doctor
Or he or she is not available right now:
  • Attending the Emergency Department of your local hospital
  • If you feel unable to keep your husband from acting on your thoughts about suicide or self-harm it is an emergency and you should call 000 (triple zero).
We would also encourage you to call our Support Service on 1300 22 4636. We can help 24 hours a day, seven days a week with counselling support, information and referrals. www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport It might also be beneficial for you and your husband to join some local support groups. You can find information on what support groups are available on the Black Dog Institute site here: https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/support-groups/

You are not alone here, and we hope that you keep us updated on your situation whenever you feel ready.

Thankyou for replying to my post. At the moment he is not seeing anyone. I did ask him if he wanted to talk to the counseller he had been seeing, but he said no it would not change anything. He has been trying to eat these last few days , just not proper meals , and he is taking his medication. I am hoping that the cloud will lift in the next few days, but if he does get really bad I will ring the CAT team at the hospital as that is what my GP told me to do. It's just very distressing to watch him shut down like that and he won't talk to me about what he is feeling, so I just try to keep an eye on him and I am not sure how bad he has to be before I call the CAT Team, I don't want him to get to the point where he just loses all control as we had two episodes like that last year and I took him straight to emergency which was very upsetting as he was yelling at the hospital staff. So anyway, I will hope for the best , but just be on guard in case I have to make the call. Thanks for your advice and I am interested to hear anyone else's experiences with this type of thing.

Hello Dear Teddy Bear..

A very warm and caring welcome to our forums..

As I was reading your post..I thought straight away what a beautiful and caring person you are..

I haven’t had a depressed husband as such..but just wanted to call in and say hello to you...and say how sorry I am that your husband is struggling so much with depression...and how heartbreaking it would be for you to see him like that...

Its so nice to hear that your husband is trying to eat and drink a bit again.,,

Retirement in itself is so hard..We go from working x amount of hours for years..getting up early to go work..having our work colleagues to chat to...then we retire and feel completely lost, because years and years of a particular routine we had vanishes overnight...

Since retirement has your husband picked up any hobbies or something that he likes doing to keep his mind busy?...

Teddy Bear...I will join you and hope so much that things improve for husband...and you..

I think if you feel your husband is getting deeper into depression or his personality changes for the worse or he isn’t eating or drinking enough to keep his physical health.....it’s time to ring the CAT Team..

My kind thoughts lovely Teddy Bear with my care..


Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Teddy Bear,

Wellcome to our forums!

Im so sorry yourself and your husband are going through this it must be so difficult….

I went through a mental health condition OCD I had severe anxiety while I was going through this and I was constantly in my head…. It was the most exhausting debilitating hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my whole life! I didn’t know what was happening to me….. I didn’t understand I thought I was going crazy my loved ones were at a loss they didn’t know what to do… I felt so scared and I cried a lot…. I couldn’t eat or drink properly because I had so much going on inside my head….I lost a lot of weight……. I seeked professional help for what I was going through …… Ive now been recovered for 4 years going strong…. thanks to professionals…

There is hope that your husband can come out of what he’s currently going through but he really needs to seek professional help…….. I don’t know we’re I’d be today without the help of health professionals… they helped me to recover and I’m now on the other side of my condition a new person….

I understand when someone retires it s hard because you work flat out day in and day out you have work mates to talk to you have a routine…. Then retirement comes and it all stops….. you think what now? Our brains need stimulation, we need friends and routine… humans need company…..

Im sorry what’s happened between your daughter and husband that’s very sad….. is it possible that your daughter can forgive her dad for what ever is keeping them apart? Can your husband forgive your daughter? Forgiveness brings healing……. I hope they can come back together there is always LOVE between daughter and father no matter what it’s there ❤️

Please urge your husband to go and see his gp he needs to tell the gp how he’s feeling they could do a mental health plan together this will enable him to see a psychologist……. When I saw my gp my gp put me on a antidepressant to help me to manage my anxiety…… and I did therapy…, maybe you could offer to go with your husband, let your husband know your worried about him let him know he’s not alone…..

We are here as a community to support you…and your husband..

Please feel free to chat to me anytime..

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Teddy Bear, and a warm welcome to the site.

Although your comment may not have anything to do with OCD as you haven't mentioned it, can I ask you a question and please only answer if you want to, I wonder whether your daughter's husband has anything to do with how he is feeling, as he was very close to her while growing up, but now she's been taken away from him.

Best wishes.


Thankyou for your kind words, yes in answer to your question it has everything to do with how he feels. I think he has had a hard time accepting the fact that she is a grown woman making decisions and choices of her own, sometimes they don't always coincide with what he thinks, he had ideas in his head about how she should be doing things and because she doesn't always agree he takes it as a rejection, it got to the point where his daughter went to see a counseller because she was becoming more and more anxious and felt very uncomfortable when visiting him. Because of his depression I feel that he just focuses on the negative things especially concerning her husband and that makes her feel very upset. Communication has broken down between them, and it is so sad, because she recently came around to tell us she was pregnant and due in Feb next year, and his reaction was very disappointing to her. He didn't really have much to say about it at all. I think this is the final straw for her. He told me that he wants to have a talk with her and tell her why he feels the way he does, but I am not sure whether that would be a good idea , as he has done this before and I find he doesn't really listen to her point of view. They both just seem to put up defenses without listening properly to what the other one has to say. I just feel really sad inside as this should be a happy time in our lives and I have to say that Covid has not helped either and I am sure that is the same for a lot of other people out there too.

Hi Teddy Bear,

How are you today?

Please know I’m not saying your husband has OCD this is something I was diagnosed with……. I was just giving you an idea from a person who’s had a mental health condition perspective of what someone may go through if they are suffering with one…. Not everyone is the same we are all different….

No one else lives in your body or sees life through your eyes……


Thanks Petal22, I am feeling a little better today, not quite as anxious as yesterday, thankyou for your caring words of encouragement, my husband does have a hobby, that is why he retired early so he can pursue it, he is in the garage most of the time building hot rod cars , he has loved this hobby since the age of 14 and it is his life, everything revolves around the cars, he has been to the GP quite a few times regarding medication and referrals to different psychologists, he sees them for a few weeks but the connection is not there so he stops going, and it's hard because of Covid because some places won't do face to face consultations and he hates talking on the phone or online. He was seeing a mental health practitioner and had a good connection with her, but at the moment he doesn't want to talk to her so we will just have to wait it out, I am hoping that he will feel a little better in another week once he has had time to process his feelings.