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How to communicate better with my wife and children

Community Member

Hi. I am Jason Iv had depression for a number of years . l am married for 20 years and have children . Over a number of years my depression has got worse hence I am going to a counselor to help me out. My family life has taken a tumble for the worst where we currently separated to make life easier for all. My biggest problem at the moment is my communication skills with my wife and children is not very good. I find it hard to express my self to them in how I am feeling . If someonecould offer some advice that would be appreciated. I feel some days I am stupid that I can't even talk about how I feel.

6 Replies 6

Paw Prints
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Jason,

I know that feeling, not being able to find the words you want. Perhaps if you try writing down what you want to say it may help you put the words together to get your meaning across & help to break thru the brain fog.

Paw Prints

Community Member

Hi Jason,

Great to see you posting on the forum. It is really tough to go through some of the things that you describe such as low mood, relationship difficulties as well as having trouble getting your words out. I would just like to acknowledge your strength for going to counselling and now reaching out of the forum for additional support. These steps can be really difficult and you are on your way towards your recovery and improving your mental health.

If you have been keeping your feelings inside for a long time, it can feel really unnatural to just start putting them out there into words. As Paw Prints suggested, journalling or writing down your feelings can be a great start. Even reading what you wrote out loud to yourself in the mirror can help you to feel more comfortable with your words. You are not alone in feeling some worry when speaking your feelings to people you care about. This is quite common but with practice, it can be overcome. You might ask your counsellor to do some role playing with you and play out some scenarios where you might verbalise feelings. By practicing you will gain more confidence in this new skill of putting your feelings out there in a constructive way.

If you want to do some reading yourself, there are websites, books and reading about Emotional Intelligence. Another way is look at whether expressing your emotions is due to worry or if it is due to self confidence in what you are saying? Both of these can be discussed with your counsellor where you can explore some of the reasons why you struggle to talk about your feelings. But again, I would like to reiterate that difficulty expressing emotion is common, you are not stupid in feeling this way and you can improve with practice, support and guidance.

Reviewing the beyondblue forum you will find others who have a similar experience as well.

Wishing you the best possible outcome,

Nurse Jenn

Thank you for the reply. I try to put these suggestions into practice and have a go. Hopefully it will help me out a bit. I'm sure that I'll be back on the forum again to share. Once again thank you.

Thank you for that suggestion.

Community Member

Hi Jason,

as a wife/mother...all I can say to you is be honest...tell your wife/children exactly how you are feeling!!! Don’t be scared...every single person on this planet has feelings...our feeling all differentiate...and That is fine!!!!!

please be honest to your self! Xx

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Jason

Sorry to hear you're facing such a challenging time. Communicating the impact of depression can be seriously tough. Personally, I find a constructive form of communication in some cases can involve using analogies. Analogies can be powerful in helping people relate to where we're coming from.

Sometimes I will use the following analogy to describe to people how a lack of certain emotions felt during my years in depression:

Imagine you're at a party where you've had a few glasses of wine/beer. You feel relaxed, pretty happy with yourself and everyone around you. With that warm fuzzy feeling happening inside of you, you become a social butterfly, flitting around the room with great confidence. Technically, the alcohol is creating a chemical reaction in your brain/body, which is leading you to feel this way (a little tipsy)...

Now imagine, no matter how much you drank, you couldn't feel the impact. By the way Jason, I am in no way whatsoever advocating the use of alcohol as a stimulant. It's just a relateable example as far as chemistry goes.

Once I've set the scene, I go on to emphasise the impact of the chemistry in depression: Imagine drinking in the fact that you've won 5 million in lotto but you just couldn't feel great excitement. Imagine donating the lot to charity where you make a massive difference in the lives of many but you just can't feel any great sense of pride or love for yourself having done this. Imagine your partner and/or kids wanting to be close to you, celebrating you and your kindness, but there's just not enough oxytocin present to lead you to want to bond with them.

The take home in regard to this analogy: Saying to a depressed person 'Be happy, be excited, be proud and self-loving and feel connected' can be like saying to someone who can't even get tipsy 'Be drunk'. In other words, it's hard to get drunk on life when the chemistry's not happening.

Seeking professional help, like you've done, involves addressing not only thought processing but chemistry also. Tweaking the thought processing and chemistry is what helps make the difference.

Of course, different people will relate to specific analogies, based on their personal experience. It is quite interesting how, when communicating in this way, you can actually see that proverbial light bulb go off in someone's head. Setting a scene in someone's head and helping them gain a better understanding means using the power of imagination to your advantage.

Take care Jason