How to support myself while caring for a spouse with anxiety or depression
Okay so I’ve never really talked to anyone about this because I don’t want to share it with my family & friends as they also know my husband and it’s unfair to him.
But my husband suffers from bad anxiety and lately, depression. We’ve been married for three years, together for seven, he’s been through bad patches before but always worked through it, sometimes with the help of therapy other times without it. He has been on medication for it when he was about 15,16 but he got himself off it at around 18 and seemed to be doing really well. But then about 6 months after our wedding, he started going down hill again. We’d have talks about it and he would say he was aware of it, apologise and say he would try to do better. And then slowly, those conversations stopped happening. The pandemic didn’t help. He got worse despite me trying to support him as much as possible. The middle of last year, I brought up getting therapy again. Originally he was open to it, but after looking into it he came up with a few excuses and never looked into it again.
The problem is, I don’t have anyone to support me. And I’m feeling really emotional exhausted & broken lately. My husband has his good moments and I love him dearly, but he also deals with things by getting anger and probably has like a rage for like ten times a day. I’m really not exaggerating either, like today he spilt a bottle of water and proceeded to swear his head off, getting so mad that I worry about his blood pressure when all he had to do is wipe it up.
I know it’s not his fault. I know it’s hard for him. But lately I feel like I’m looking after a bratty, angry child & that’s just not a healthy relationship.
Like I said, I don’t want to talk to our family & friends about it, they all know him and it wouldn’t be fair to share this with them. But I also need some help. How do I cope with this? I feel bad for not just being able to give him support but this relationship is taking so much from me and I don’t know what to do anymore. I know it’s not his fault. But he doesn’t seem to be interested at all in getting help for it and I just don’t know what to do. I’m really lost, and I feel very alone & broken. No matter what I do, things don’t change. Has anyone got any advice for me?
And please, no hate on my husband. I love him and he is a great guy. It’s not his fault that he is suffering from these conditions. Also a small note- I have had depression & anxiety in the past so I understand what it’s like.
So, who cares for the carer? Golden question. You can google that and get many ideas.
I do think there is much more scope in both your actions to explore. He eont seek more professional medical advice and that's unfortunate. Most of us with mental health issues have ongoing attention all our lives. But, you have to work around that. Maybe earning with him will one day see his decision change.
"A bratty kid". Yep, he's frustrated and sensitive. If a kid dropped a container of water you'd likely comfort him and give reassurance that its OK. Well that's how you do it with hubby because- he's crying inside.
So part of the problem is the difference in the sexes in how we react and how those reactions are portrayed. It's hard to think he is unwell and desperate but he is.
OK. In my case of bipolar, dysthymia and depression I've had to wait till my motivation arrives. Not much point being ultra positive if your state of mind isn't ready.
Meditation. I think it would benefit him greatly.
I'd like you (and him if possible) to read the first post of each thread below.
Beyondblue topic anxiety, how I eliminated it
Beyondblue topic meditation he helped me for 25 years- Maharaji
Beyondblue topic the timing of motivation
Beyondblue topic distraction and variety
Beyondblue topic worry worry worry (that one's for you)
Beyondblue topic meditation is a whirlpool
There are many more simply type your topic in search. Reply anytime
Firstly, welcome to the forums we are so glad that you found your way to this supportive and welcoming community. We hope that you find ideas, options and support from the shared experiences and knowledge of all our members. This is a safe space to share and express your own feelings, struggles and experiences without judgement.
Well come to our forums.
You have come to the correct place for support we are all a very caring supportive community and we are more than happy to support you.
I understand that it would be so hard for you to watch your husband going through this but really not knowing what to do if he wont seek the help he needs.
Please know that you are never alone.
What do you do for yourself? What do you enjoy doing?
Please make sure that you do these things for yourself.
I understand it's so hard to watch someone get easily angry multiple times a day, for you being the watcher of this try to just remain calm inside yourself it's the best thing we can do for ourselves, try not to get caught up in their anger.
As TonyWK has mentioned meditation would be great for your husband I also believe it would be great for you too. Meditation can teach us so much more than we can ever know until we do this practice on a regular basis.
Just breathe..... learn to follow your breath use it as your anchor it will always return you to a calm place.
Please chat to us anytime
Hello Dear Apple23,
A very warm and caring welcome to the forums...
I am so sorry that you feel very alone and broken, while trying to support your beautiful husband through his bad anxiety and depression....
Looking after and caring for a loved one with mental health I think is one of the hardest things to do... while doing the best we can to help them keep afloat...we start forgetting to care about ourselves and eventually we could end up having an emotional burn out...and start sinking...
It’s very sad, to watch our loved ones go through such hard times when mentally unwell...You are doing the best you can in supporting him....which can be very exhaust.
Even though it’s really hard to accept... your husband has to want professional help before he will reach out for it...is it possible to sit down with him and gently explain to him how your own mental health is starting to decline...maybe that might give him a little push towards getting help...
Apple...you sound so tired and deflated, needing someone outside of his and your family to talk to is a good idea...coming here into the forums is a great first step...we are always here to support you the best we can....another step forward for you..is to reach out for help with your Dr...they could set you up with a mental health care plan...which includes a professional person to help you...He/she would be someone outside of your family circle, that you could talk out all your concerns to....and they can help you, by teaching you some coping strategies...maybe even after a few visits, your husband might decide to go along with you...
We are all here for you lovely Apple..to support you the best way we can, so please talk here anytime you feel up to it..,,
My kindest thoughts with my care Dear Apple,,,
I’m really sorry to learn of your struggles caring for your husband. I do understand your situation, as I have cared for my daughter who has a chronic MH condition for many years. You are not alone with this—sending you a hug.
You have already received some excellent responses, so I won’t repeat what’s been written but want to share two practical ideas that might be of use to you.
The first revolves around stigma. I totally understand your reluctance to talk to your family and friends, I felt the same. I didn’t want to betray my daughter’s trust and felt it wasn’t my place to share her story.
The trouble is that, like you, I felt utterly alone and unsupported. This isolation and stigma was almost worse than the impact of her illness. Imagine the difference if your husband was recovering from major surgery or if he had a broken leg or back. You would be surrounded by support and offers of assistance.
What I did was to explain how I was feeling to my daughter and ask her permission to disclose what was happening for me to my closest friends. Thankfully she understood and agreed. Once I had this support life got better.
The second idea relates to your husband’s apparent reluctance to seek professional help. It could be that he is overwhelmed, unwell and just can’t deal with “looking into it” right now. Could be he is lost in a maze, confused about how to get out and “stuck”.
This is something you could assist with. You can’t make him do anything but you could present him with local treatment options. If you ring the bb support line they can help to get you started or have a chat with your GP.
Bb also has two excellent publications called, What works for depression and What works for anxiety (titles may be slightly different but very similar, sorry my memory is failing me). The beauty of each of these brochures is that they are evidence-based and provide evaluation of various treatments.
The next step would be to discuss the pros and cons of the options and hopefully choose a path. You could continue to support him by offering to make the appointment, help with the administrative side and even go with him.
Please post any time. Our community will do its best to support you.
Kind thoughts to you