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Supporting a depressed husband - seeking hope

815
Community Member
I am married to an amazing man. We have been together 20 years, married for 15 and have 2 amazing daughters. We have always stood by each other, and he has always been loving and supportive.

Towards the end of last year, my husband told me he was depressed. At that time, I asked him to get help. He said he didn't want to and we left it at that and things got better for a few months. But for the most part of this year things have been very up and down,. A couple of weeks ago he admitted that he wanted to die.

I know nothing about depression so every time we talk about it, I ask him to get help. However over the last few weeks he has stopped talking to me, and started sleeping in our spare room. He has told me that I can't help him, he wants to go it alone, I haven't been there for him, and may other hurtful things. I keep telling myself that it is the depression, but it causes me great pain and sadness.

Last week one of his oldest friends contacted me to tell me that my husband had been to see him. He told him he's lost and disconnected, doesn't know where he is, and how or where I stand with him. But his friend told me that he loves me, and that I can't give up, even when/if my husband says he has. He hasn't given up. But I need to be patient and try to find a way to reconnect. I cry every time I think of this.

I do believe there is still love there. But I can also appreciate that the depression probably leave very little room for him to feel/see anything else right now.

I know the priority is to get him help. However as he keeps refusing, I feel there is little more that I can do.

I know he needs professional help and as long as I still have the strength to, I will keep trying to convince him to get help.

I am writing this post basically because I need hope. I need to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I need to know that loving him and simply being there for him (even though he says it's not enough) can get us through this. So if anyone has any experience, stories to share, tips and suggestions on how to reconnect, I would be very grateful.

I know that it sounds highly idealistic, and we don't live in fairy tales. But I have to keep believing that we will get through this somehow.
227 Replies 227

Hi rt,

Thank you for reply in the other thread and for posting in here too. I did see your reply this morning.

I know there is no right answer, no quick fix. So I thank you for all your thoughts as it helps me in a lot of ways to consider different things that I may not have thought to consider myself.

I will continue to talk to him, continue to be with him, and be here for him.

missep123
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi 815,

I'm so glad that there have been many responses to your thread. When I came on here to reply to you I was really happy that others have been replying as well. How has that been making you feel? I hope that you feel a sense of support and comfort from us.

I think writing a letter is a good way to sort out your feelings and 'say' exactly what you want to say and in the way you want to say it. I can understand that the situation in Melbourne at the moment is really challenging which poses more pressure on the situation. It sounds like golfing was one of your husband's protective factors so I hope that he is able to do that again in the near future.

May I ask, have you ever considered seeing a relationship counsellor? The reason I ask is that they are able to help open the communication channels between a couple. Depression can be really difficult for the person dealing with it but also the partner as we can see in your case and many others that I know.

Please continue to keep us updated! Here for you!

815
Community Member

Hi missep123,

Thank you again for your reply and checking in. It does provide me some comfort and support that there are people out there willing to respond and share stories, no matter how difficult. However I am still extremely sad that my husband has to go through this, and that he feels he needs to go through it alone.

Through this journey, I know there are two things that need to be addressed. First and foremost is my husband's depression. I still don't know the way to move forward with that as I feel he's not letting me help him. However I will keep trying and have started writing my thoughts down and will hopefully be able to share this with him soon.

The second thing is our marriage/relationship. But I feel like this can't be addressed until we make some progress in addressing his depression, as I feel like that is all that is on his mind right now. However I am not sure that one can be addressed without the other. But in the meantime I am trying to focus on getting him help first. I will try not to neglect our relationship but I acknowledge that we will both need help through this. So I would definitely consider seeing a relationship counselor at some stage.

Thank you all again for the support. Hope you all have a great day.

815
Community Member

Hi everyone,

Just felt the need to post in here this morning. The sun is shining through the front window of our house. I hope this is a sign of hope, but I do feel very sad and very guilty this morning and I am really hoping that my husband will forgive me.

He has told me on many occasions that I have done nothing to help him. I have asked him what I can do to help and he says nothing. Of course, this confuses me. So I have gone from backing off, to begging and pleading for him to get help. However I haven't forced him or done it for him myself...However I never felt that I could force help on him and felt very much that this is something that he needs to choose for himself. That may sound like a cop out, or an excuse, and so I feel extremely guilty for not pushing him and I feel in many ways I have failed him.

I know I can't turn back time and I can only look forward. I just really hope he can forgive me for failing him.

Anyway I just needed to get that off my chest.

Hope everyone is well.

missep123
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi 815,

I'm sorry to hear this. It sounds like you have so much on your shoulders. I don't think you are failing him, in fact it sounds like you are trying everything you can to understand his perspective and what he is going through. I think it's also important to make sure to look after yourself because in my own life I have seen it where the partners of those who are depressed also feel a lot of pressure to 'fix' the situation.

Can I ask, do you have self-care in place? Little things that will help you feel better?

Here for you!

geoff
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hello 815, when a person in a marriage or a relationship say to each other that one needs to get help for whatever type of depression they have, and they say they'll be alright, there could be a chance that they can improve their mood, whether it's real or pretending, but after a while, it becomes too much and falls back into depression.

My ex tried to talk with me rather than write a note, but this only made me feel the guilt that I was causing, and as I self medicated with alcohol only wanted me to try and numb how I felt.

The problem with being able to cope socially when friends come around, only appears to our spouse/partner, we've overcome this illness, but really disappointed when they've gone and we fall back to depression.

If alcohol is involved with friends, then this is another reason why they want friends over.

Can I suggest that you consult with your doctor, as your health in this situation is so important, feel for the two of you.

Best wishes.

Geoff.

Sleeping in the spare room doesn't mean he doesn't love you, it's only because he doesn't want to keep answering any question, that's too complicated and he may not know the answer.

Writing a letter would depend on how long you've been together and how you have been able to communicate and if trust between the two has always been established.

815
Community Member
Hi missep123 and Geoff,

Thank you very much for your replies and being here. It's just been a low few days for me, which undoubtedly will happen during this journey.

Living in Melbourne, self-care is somewhat difficult right now. And with having to care for the children as well, it's hard for both of us to get a time out.

However I do still do my best to take care of myself with a balanced diet, regular exercise (though I have taken a week rest for now) and just trying to spend time with my kids.

Geoff, thank you for the words of hope about my husband's choice to sleep in the spare room. It makes sense and I need to respect his choices right now. I do believe he still loves me. But I guess things are a bit foggy for both of us.

We have been together for a long time, communication and trust have never been issues until now. I'll have to keep faith that we will get through this.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone and thanks again for taking the time out to show your support.

missep123
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

We support you 815!

As Geoff has said, your health is so important during this time. I am so glad that you have a balanced diet and try to exercise regularly. Exercise is great at releasing endorphins! Whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed it definitely helps me.

Sorry to hear it's been a low few days, I'm really glad you're reaching out to the forums so you know that you are not alone and that we care about you and your wellbeing.

Please keep us updated!

815
Community Member

Hi everyone,

Thank you again for your support. A bit of an update...

I wrote a letter with the intention of going to him and reading it out aloud. I chickened out. It just didn't feel right. Instead I went with my instincts and went to 'talk'. I told him I didn't want to argue anymore, but that I just really wanted him to get help.

He told me he had been to the doctors last week (I had a feeling since he left the house without telling me where he was going, but I wanted to give him the opportunity to tell me himself). He has been diagnosed with severe depression and is now on anti depressants. He is seeing a counselor later this week... I am grateful that he has found the strength and some sort of clarity to finally seek help.

I asked what he needed from he. He says he doesn't need/want anything from me. I still find this extremely painful and difficult to think about. He said that in some ways, I have contributed to his depression because he feels that I haven't taken it seriously and I have just brushed it aside...But I just really haven't known what to do or how to help him. I do feel extremely guilty and like I have failed him. I honestly don't know if he will forgive me for not being able to help him.

I am grateful that he has opened up to me a little, even if it wasn't the things I wanted to hear. I know that he could have chosen not to tell me anything about seeking help or admit to me that I am part of the problem.

I am not sure where to from here. However I do hope that this is the start of his journey towards recovery, and that in time he will forgive me and realise that I have only ever wanted him to be happy again.

815
Community Member

Hi everyone,

Just after some support and some thoughts or suggestions on what next...

He is seeing a counselor for the first time tomorrow. Should I ask him afterwards how it went even though he's asked me to leave him alone and not help him anymore?

I know that this will be a long journey to recovery, and the first priority is his health. So our marriage/relationship, has taken a huge hit, and a backseat. I know he feels that I haven't been there to support him. From my perspective, I have tried everything. I'm not saying that I was always right, but I did what I knew best - and that was to try to love him and be there for him. To be honest I am still not sure what he expected of me, and hopefully in time he will be able to work through those issues with the help of the anti depressants and speaking to a counselor, and maybe address those issues with me.

And although I know that his health is still priority, I do want to give our marriage a chance to survive through this too. But I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to remain connected throughout his recovery if he's basically told me to leave him alone and doesn't want my help (because I don't know how to help).

Would anyone have suggestions? Should I continue to try to talk to him? Or just leave him alone as he's asked me and just hope that he will open up to me with time? I know there's no right or wrong answer, and a lot of it will be something that I will need to decide and work out as time goes on. But was just looking for some guidance.

Thanks again.