Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

My support for my wife is failing

Community Member

Hello. I'm brand new to the forum. My main reason for joining is to try to find some help and encouragement in assisting my wife through her depression and anxiety. She was diagnosed with bi-polar 5 years ago, and although that is semi controlled, she continues to suffer depression. We have been together 10 years and married for 4. It's such a rollercoaster. Some weeks and months are great, but over the last 3 months she is at an all time low. I left her last year in frustration and feeling that we had nothing left. 10 months later I returned with promise and hope that she had some fight left in her. All things looked promising. Now, some time later, we are back in the same place. I am stronger in support now, but the cracks are appearing. We have tried everything. She is seeing a psychiatrist, on her meds (with some changes in meds advised by doctors), we have called BB, the CAT team, I've listened, supported, suggested, encouraged and even left her be. It's not working, and my want for her to be at peace is stronger than ever.

For me, I'm lonely, and unsupported in general life. I feel I have lost my wife and best friend forever. Who supports me? I need support to retain my strength. Who asks about my day, who shows interest in what my passions are, who do I rely on now.

This post is not just about the poor me, it's about being happy in our life together. Something I'm not sure is achievable for the foreseeable future.

I think we have tried all avenues, but the hope is by reaching out to you fine folk, a new idea may present itself.

thanks for the opportunity to contact the forum.

28 Replies 28

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi YLTT, welcome to Beyondblue and thankyou for having the strength to post.

I do apologise for the delay in replying to your post. I feel that you are grieving for your relationship and the wife that was once well. I understand the situation as l have supported a husband with depression for 18 years. We had many good times but also very dark periods, as the emotional rollercoaster required me to hang on.

As a carer, to be the best support for your wife and particularly yourself, it is important to recognise that our resilience will crumble if we do not take care of ourselves. This includes reaching out to family and friends to receive help, respite and reduce the loneliness you feel. It also includes making sure you don't lose sight of your goals and priorities. Don't give up friendships, plans, or activities that bring you joy. You need to fill yourself up with goodness to have enough in reserve to help another. Happiness starts and ends with you. It is unrealistic to expect our depressed partners to give happiness when they fight an internal struggle that has eroded their own.

Do you see the psychiatrist with your wife? The reason why l ask this question is that it allows you an insight into her thoughts and condition that you might not get otherwise. I attended several of my husbands' psychologist sessions and was given the opportunity to ask questions about his care. This helped to reduce the hopelessness l felt when his depression engulfed our marriage.

You wrote that 'this post is not about me'. On the contrary, it is as you take on the role of carer, and your role is important to maintain hope toward recovery. Our depressed partners need this, as it presents to them, an ongoing reason to move forward and find their centre of empowerment towards recovery. So on those days or weeks, when you feel frustrated or lost, focus on you and what you need to get back to a place of positivity and hope.

It takes a courageous and loving individual to be a carer, and l am sure you have this in bucket loads as you have reached out to find hope, and desire peace in your wife's life again.

Please reach out again and never forget, you are not alone.


Community Member

Thank you for your insight and advice. I get what your saying. I need to take care of me too. I an 13 months into having started my own small business, as well as a full time job. So to do it all will probably burn me out some time soon. ill try to manage myself a little better.

Where are no better as of this weekend. Zero progress. She is seeing her psychologist and is on her meds. that's it, that all. She has no desire to do anything, go anywhere or see anyone. She only gets out of bed for our 8yo son, he is back to school today, I am at work now and have additional work tonight. I worry all day about what she is doing and thinking. She is so lost and unmotivated.

I have suggested gently that there is help and support available here, also suggested small walks, meditation and everything under the sun. She has no drive or energy now to function.


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member


Carmela has provided sound advice.

As a carer it does sometimes need to be all about me.

If you're not able to self care how can you care for Another?

I was wondering if there has been some trigger that has resulted in these backward steps?

I don't suppose she has support network at your son's School?

I hope you can resolve some issues and progress. Sometimes it 2 steps forward and 6 back.

Hang in there.


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi, it is great to hear back from you. From my experience, patience is key in recovery. It is not a race and has no timetable. If she is on meds and seeing a Psychologist - this is great. She is trying in her own way, but the length of time she struggles is not one you can control. Keep suggesting gently activities that might help, tell her that you love her, hold her and be available if she wants to share her feelings.

When my husband was at his darkest point, l would leave him little Post-IT notes next to the bed or somewhere l knew he would find them. They would be reminders of how previous he was or what l felt he needed that day - sometimes my own words or poetry I found. One note l left was (he still carries it in his wallet) -

- You are precious to me. I love you. Love those around you. You can do this.

I left notes like this for many months, and my hubby later told me that it was these notes and my love that helped him to push through. I won't say this will help your wife, but try and find something you know will touch her heart.

You are not alone, and we understand your struggle and feelings of hopelessness. As Kathryne said - hand in there. All will pass, but patience and compassion are important.



Hello and welcome to the forum. The two great ladies, Carmela and Kathryne have offered great suggestions. I have not been in the position of caring for someone with depression which makes it difficult to add to the suggestions. I can , however, tell you what it is like from the perspective of a depressed person.

I am certain you know a great deal about your wife and love her very much. You want her to get well and be the person you once knew. Your wife would also like this to happen. It is easy to suppose if someone wants to get well they will make the effort but depression does not work in this way. I am not telling you this is how your wife feels as everyone has their own wants and needs. This is how I felt and what helped me. And what I would have liked if it had been possible. It may help you to care for your wife in a different way or at the very least understand her more. It's not a criticism.

I am not big on exercise, never have been. But with four children I needed to be active just to catch them. If my husband had suggested we go for a walk I may well have gone. If the walk was gentle and undemanding I would probably go again. This may not be your idea of exercise but at least your wife is out of the house and seeing things she cannot see inside. I'm sure you know the benefits of exercise for mental illness. Don't rush things. A gentle stroll may not raise the heart rate but it will offer some stimulation to the senses and that makes it all worthwhile.

Can you sit outside the house with your wife and have a cuppa? Another simple action with not much apparently happening, but to your wife it shows you want her company and want to spend time together, even if it is sitting in silence. If she wants to talk, let her. Encourage her to tell you how she feels, what hurts, what she wants. It won't happen overnight, as the ad says, but she will start to open up. I would have loved to have a partner to sit with me and show his love in that way, but my husband and me had separated.

What sort of hobbies or activities did she have? Can you bring them out, one at a time and encourage your wife to 'just look' at them again. Every time she takes even one small step to doing something like this is a win for both of you. Always remember you are coaxing someone who probably feels she is useless and unworthy to take a baby step back into the world.

Gentleness and perseverance is your mantra. Knowing you will be there always is what she needs.


Community Member

Thanks you all for your help here. Unfortunately all of my efforts are not having a positive outcome. We had a major argument last night. Due to me coming home from my second job 30mins later than expected. Her anger was enlarged. Lately she has been very defeated, but last night she was angry. Ended up sleeping in another room, and drinking too much. I was beaten and wanted to make it all stop, so drinking seemed like the best way to forget. I am not looking after myself. I have made an appointment to see my counsellor today.

Not sure what to do anymore.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member


I just wanted to let you know that I admire you and your perseverance with a difficult issue, plus working two jobs and a young child. You're in a tricky spot and I'm sorry that it is so difficult. I think I understand a little from both sides, sufferer and carer.

Your old companion is still in there she just has to find her way out of the maze. Celebrate the good times.

But as the others have said it is really important that you take good care of yourself. It's great that you are seeing your counsellor, I hope that the meeting is really helpful and gives you some ideas and support.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hi YLTT, well all of the 3 replies back to you have been fabulous, and I know that Carmela had made an enormous effort to help her husbandwith his depression, and perhaps I could refer to what happened with me, as I was in the same position as what your wife is in right now, where my ex tried hard for a period of time to help me overcome my depression or perhaps it was called a break-down, wanting me to go here there are anywhere else to try and stimulate me, but nothing worked, all I wanted to do was stay home by myself and drink alcohol, so eventually she gave up and kept on complaining why I am still seeing my psychologist because nothing was happening and all the 'I love you's stopped or I care for you.
So for a large part I was by myself suffering in a hole filled with alcohol, because there was nothing at all I wanted to do, so this made her change her mind on what our marriage meant to her.
The love and support from her stopped and she became very cool towards me, resentful for me not wanting to help myself, but I didn't have the strength nor the inclination, I couldn't because depression was too strong to even forget about, and at that stage all I wanted was the alcohol, which was only highlighting my depression and making it worse.
One thing you need to do as the others have said is to start looking after yourself, because if you are run down and deflated then what help are you going to be to your wife, you won't be any help and will get cross with her because your spirits aren't there any more, so it will be a 'no-win' situation, but if you feel betterthen that's the best you can be to help her.
We can never predict how long our depression is going to last, no one does, so you could wake up one morning and there you will see a revived person standing over you and wanting to know what's been going on. Geoff.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

I am so sorry you had a difficult time last night. You are allowed to feel your emotions and acknowledge them. It's ok that some days are harder than others, and we don't know what to do. Time away to get clarity does wonders, and will give you some renewed energy to hang in there.

Please don't underestimate your efforts. Your partner may not show her gratitude, but she will eventually appreciate what you are doing when she is well again. I thought the same of my husband as he just kept pushing me away. But l knew him before the depression and understood the capability of this heart. Their darkness must be a scary place for them, l would tread lightly on the challenging days and move on with my day and directed the focus to me.

Seeing a counsellor is a wonderful step. Can l suggest that you bring up how to identify resilience and coping strategies. Creating a personal toolbox that you can tap into will keep you strong.

Sending you blessing and peace YLTT.

Carmela x