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Advice on how to help my husband overcome anxiety/depression

Community Member

I've known my husband for 4 years in which we are married for 2.5 years. My husband has been suffering with anxiety for awhile. He's a child survivor of cancer and was diagnosed in his early 20's with anxiety and depression. He was on medications but when I met him 4 years ago, he was off them. Lately, I can see his anxiety is taking over him. He's avoided many events and refuses to share what he's going through.

We are living with my parents/his parents (taking turns every 3-4 months), to save for a house deposit. This was something I was never comfortable with and wanted us to have our own space but he convinced saying buying a house is best for us. However, now he's really frustrated about where we are in our life as a couple and compares with our friends, who are settled with a growing family, house and advancement in career. I've tried to talk to him that everyone run their races differently and this was a decision we chose and we'll have it all, but now he blames me for us not being progressive.

My husband spends most of his time playing games and says it's a way to escape from reality and his miserable life. Most days, he doesn't go into work or calls in saying i'm working from home, but he'll be playing games. His boss has figured it out and now is more micro-managing my husband, which is making the situation much worse at home.

I do make it a point every evening after work, to ask him how his day was, if work was going good, is there anything he wanted to talk about but he just says nothing that concerns you, I have people who are more concerned about me. I do feel very embarrassed in front of his friends as I feel they think, I'm not being the a good partner to help him be better and be more motivated. On the days, his mood seems to be lifted, I suggest we should go for a walk or go to the movies, perhaps a weekend away but it results to another fight and him saying I don't deserve special treatment. I should just be happy with being in the four corners of our room. We just don't go anywhere, and he sits in bed playing games all day/night with no communication.

As a wife, i keep looking into ways I can be more supportive to him, but feel i'm failing miserably. He now blames my family and I for his situation but refuses to seek help when suggested. And now, his anxiety is making him become violent. And I'm afraid to approach him. I've spoken to his parents to seek their help but afraid things are going to go south.

15 Replies 15

Community Member

Hi. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide you with advice because I actually am in a similar situation and am seeking guidance too.

I have been with my boyfriend for more than three years now. Ever since the beginning of the relationship, he has mentioned that he has anxiety and sometimes has panic attacks. He was seeing a counsellor when we were studying at university but this stopped when he graduated. He was referred to see another but he refused and said that he might not 'have that same trust and connection' if it was not his university counsellor.

It went downhill from there. After he graduated, he looked for jobs but was very 'picky' with what he wanted and turned down some of the offers. He was very anxious about not getting the offers that he wanted. He dreams to work in the USA but all of his plans were cancelled when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. He became very depressed and even though his family, friends and I tried to encourage him to explore other job opportunities while international travels are not yet open, he is very hesitant and always tells himself how unfair it is. I have also reminded him that there are things that are simply out of his/my control and all we can do is make do with what we currently have. I also try to make sure he thinks about the other blessings in his life. He would have panic attacks when he thinks what is said to him is 'bad news' and thinks of the worst about his problems.

He also plays games and watches television shows for the whole day. When I try to encourage him to do something productive or relaxing, he would get angry at me and would demand to stay home instead. He also refuses to exercise and eat healthy even if he tells so himself that he is gaining weight rapidly.

I am struggling to continue supporting and understanding him because lately, he has been blaming me for everything. He even blames me for things that are out of my control like when he does not get picked for a job interview. It seems like his family have given up on him and just let him do what he wants because whenever we talk to him about getting professional help, he shuts off and refuses to converse.

I am actually looking forward to hearing what other people can suggest because I am much at a loss as to what else to do.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

hi there

i was a bit shocked by his response to ur question about going away - replying that you don't need special treatment
I think partners should try and treat each other and make the other person feel worthwhile and a weekend away isn't a dramatic luxury, but often a nice chance for couples to reconnect and have fun.

i have a friend in a relationship like this, who's partner plays games a lot and they don't have much intimacy.

I don't think it's fair for him to blame you, I think u should start going out by yourself a bit for walks or to movies and see if he decides to join.... you have a right to feel happy and get some space too.

Is he interested in seeing a therapist or even going to the GP to discuss anything? It sounds very hard for you and I wander if he knows how much it is hurting you. It's okay to suffer from MH but as someone myself who has anxiety and PTSD i have to watch that I don't take my pain out on others. Sounds like he's not there yet.

Community Member


I'm so sorry you are experiencing quite similar to me. It's not at all easy and put us in a very difficult situation to say the right things not to frustrate them or hurt them.

Does your boyfriend have any close friends he has confided to about his problems?

Stay Strong, we are here to support you through this and here's hoping and praying both our partners will be able to overcome this

Take care

Community Member

Hi Sleepy21's,

It is very sad when my husband says that I don't deserve. I recently have started to take myself out for walks, or go places that I'd like to explore. I do mention it to him and his response is " You're going without me?". Makes me feel guilty, and then I regret.

My husband did use to see a therapist when he was battling with cancer, but he refuses to see anyone cause he feels that it won't work cause he know what's best for him. My husband does have an attitude of he is right and if any professional, friend or family was to advice him, he'll end up advising us. This has burned a few friendships and he blames that on me too.

I just feel that every avenue I take to help him has been exhausted, and now just don't know what I can do to help him. It's worse living with my parents, as they can see what's happening and they now have a very bad impression on him. Our relationship wasn't initially approved by my parents, took alot of convincing and getting to know him for them to accept us to get married.

As much he's aware that he's suffering from anxiety and depression, he keeps denying. I'm hoping soon, he'll take measure to help him get better.

Community Member

Hi ~*~ and frau,

I am so sorry to hear about the situation you are both in. A lot of what you both have written is so similar to what I have been going through.

I wish there was a simple answer, something that could make things better. It took me a long time to realise that all the love and care in the world wasn't enough to fix the situation. My husband needed proper medical/professional support and even when that happened it was still a long road, a road that we are still travelling, but at least it is together.

~*~, my husband said the same words to me. I would always ask how he was, what could I do to help, and he said the same things, that he had people in his life who showed more concern for what he was going through. And when I asked him to get help, he refused. I also tried to find ways to be supportive. He started blaming me for his depression. I felt like I failed my husband and family.

You are not alone in this battle. But I know that probably provides little comfort.

In the end, my husband went to get help. He is on medication, and he is speaking to a psychologist. Although he tells me that he doesn't feel that it's helping, I am so proud that he continues to go.

What I think is so important for you is to get support for yourself. I confided in some close friends, my mum and my sister in law. I also ended up speaking to my GP who referred me to a psychologist. We have also since been seeing a relationship counsellor together.

All of it is very confronting to deal with, very painful and very raw, especially because you love your husband so much. Apart from all of us getting the support we need, all I could do in those really dark moments was just to hold onto hope, that things would get better for us. I cared for my husband in the only ways he allowed me. I continued to cook, clean, work, pay bills, look after our children. It was the only way I could express my love and care that he would accept.

Other than sharing my story, I think the only thing that I can tell you is that there is hope. Things can get better. But you will both need support to do that. Maybe speak to your GP, and see how things progress from there. Please do come back and update us if you feel up to it.

Community Member
Try to negotiate device free blocks of time throughout the week to spend time together.
Try to keep devices out of the bedroom.

I have degenerate habits around computer usage and video games. However I can almost completely shift my attention from them when I am in an environment away from the devices.

Do you share any tactile hobbies? Running, Walks, Rock Climbing, Cooking, Fishing, Painting Warhammer?

Community Member

Hi 815,

Thank you for sharing what you have been going through and the solutions taken to help. I recently spoke to my GP about seeing a counsellor too, and hoping to see her soon. I've only opened up to my in laws. They have been a huge support to me, even though time after time I feel like I keep portraying their son as a bad person, which isn't my intention. I only went to them at start to understand if I was doing something wrong and wanted to change myself to help with our marriage, and they have been very patient and understanding. However, since my husband doesn't confide in his parents or myself, we find it hard to help him realize that we are doing it out of care and not make him feel "like a villain" in his words. I've asked my husband we try marriage counselling but he keeps saying we don't need it.

I'm hoping my step to seeing a counsellor will help me breakdown a few insecurities as a wife and perhaps be a motivation for my husband to see someone.

Community Member

Hi CheeseDingo,

Sadly, we are living with my parents, pretty much all electronics are in our room. Even when we watch a movie or a TV show together, I try to get us both to avoid screen dipping and just sit and spend that time together. I've also told that when we move out no electronic devices in the bedroom, it just needs to be the two of us. I'm hoping this would be something that works.

We do share a lot of hobbies together. At the start of our marriage we did write a list of things we'd like to do as a couple. Sadly, that list never got ticked. Everytime, I bring up about we should start attempting the list, it just turn sour.

Community Member

All the best with your new counselor.

All you can do is continue to be honest with yourself and your family and work towards your goals.

Don't let him blame you for wanting to have emotionally honest discourse, intimacy or for wanting to do outside activities together or with friends. I have seen myself become petulant, extremely selfish, unable to emphasize and have distorted reasoning when I was in the middle of gaming/gambling binges. That line of reasoning from him is toxic, whether he understands it or not. If I was acting like that in the midst of a gaming/gambling binge it would be because I am trying to normalise/justify my degenerate habits.

In those times I would disregard all structure in my life and push people away where possible if they got in the way of me playing videogames or gambling.

One thing that has helped me in the past was to put up a big whiteboard in my bedroom to plan out my week. Maybe that could be something you could start for yourself so he is 100% clear of your plans for the week and have that to refer to. Hopefully it is something he could join in on to work on adding structure to his life.

Please bring up his previous issues with friends, interpersonal relationships and how he "blames" you for things with your councilor. If he can't accept fault or change his ways, he will lean more and more on this terrible behavior if he can elicit a desired response from you.