Gransnet forums



(31 Posts)
Dara Sat 07-Nov-15 13:38:08

Had a breakdown in 2009 and is not the lovely man I married. What do I do about this please?

grannyjack Tue 10-Nov-15 18:45:20

My OH had an episode of depression 2 years ago. It lasted 6 months & it was one of the toughest times in our marriage. The GP prescribed anti depressants but the ones she prescribed gave him serious side effects. She also suggested 2 very simple books for us to read - both by Matthew Johnstone who suffers from depression. The one for my OH is called 'I had a black dog' the one for me 'Living with a black dog' . We are both mental health professionals; he was a consultant clinical psychologist & a director of mental health services. I was a psychiatric nurse & a mental health manager. (No prizes for guessing where we met,) We both found the books helpful, although in cartoon style they gave us both some important messages. He also went to see someone who worked with a time limited therapy called 'Human Givens' - they have a website. I don't know what went on or what he said but he appreciated the approach taken. My approach was to ensure that we went out for a walk every day, I asked him to do some domestic chores & cooking, just to get him off the sofa & so that when he cried & said 'I'm useless' I could point out that wasn't entirely the case.

However Dara, your OH being depressed since 2009 sounds a very different bag. Has your husband had a full physical screening - there are sometimes underlying physical causes to depression which need to be addressed. In the meantime - please take care of yourself.

GrandmaH Tue 10-Nov-15 12:16:07

Take heart. 2 years ago members of this message board kept me going when DH- who had always suffered from clinical depression -was finally diagnosed with Bi-Polar & was in a clinic for a month. The weeks before were hell & it took a long time when he came home to get him back to something like the man I married.
Believe me you will get through this. At times I hated him for what he was putting us all through but he could not help it & was going through hell himself inside.
I really do know how you feel but take all the help offered to you & if it is not offered- ask for it. My own doctor was brilliant to me. I had to get out of the house at one stage as he was potentially violent.
It took a while for the meds to get him sorted but now he is on a even keel ( & massive doses of drugs) & has been signed off although his doctor checks him regularly.
My heart goes out to you. It will get better.
love to you

tigger Tue 10-Nov-15 11:52:44

I think Dara has posted on the wrong thread (see Christmas Brunch)

downtoearth Tue 10-Nov-15 08:25:04

That makes sense Still as OH has been going out to feel normal and block out what I would describe as his inner voice telling him he is weak etc,I know that depression can be recurrent and will be aware that he is susceptible just as I am now,everything is an emotional rollercoaster at the moment..

I feel I must apologise to Dara as I feel I have hijacked your thread and made it about me that wasnt my intention,but I hope some of my posts in some way helped or supported you to show that others share your problemflowers

stillhere Mon 09-Nov-15 23:03:55

No, you can't take it personally, I know it's hard not to - such as DBH not really wanting to come home from his parents' just yet. He has to though, otherwise he will miss his CBT appointment. Tonight when he phoned he was wondering whether to go back up there afterwards, which would be a real pain for me as much needs his attention, but I can fully understand why he feels happier up there, away from everything.

I tell myself it's no different from having a broken leg, or a dodgy heart, it's just his brain instead. That helps me to put it in perspective. Of course, as Dara says, they/we are not them/ourselves until they not only get their medication sorted, but also learn to sort out how they deal with it. DBH has been depressed before and neither of us knew what on earth was happening to us, we both dealt with it entirely the wrong way and we ended up separating for almost a year. He changed jobs and that seemed to work for the past eleven years, now sadly it has returned. At least this time we both knew the signs, but I'm not sorry that we got back together. This time round he is willing to talk things through.

downtoearth Mon 09-Nov-15 21:42:16

I have suffered with depression for most of my life and have many types of anti depressant over the years but now am on beta blockers and anti depressant all the time to keep on an even keel.I have been looking into mens depression over the last few weeks and understand that the way they react to it is totally different which is why I am staying in the background and looking for ways to support him but it is so hard not to take it personally and question the very basics of the relationship,I thought I was a strong person and I have dealt with many blows in my life and battled on,the lashing out verbally is really painful xx

vampirequeen Mon 09-Nov-15 21:26:43

It's hard to come to terms with having a mh condition as so many people still perceive it to be a weakness of character rather than a genuine illness.

I can't begin to tell you how many times I've been told to pull myself together, had people tell me how they were depressed but just 'worked their way out of it' or that I should just think 'happy thoughts'. People who should know better (family) think I should 'snap out of it' or 'stop giving in to it' as if I have a choice. Someone asked me if I liked being miserable and then was taken aback when I asked her if she liked having migraines. Apparently it's not the same thing because when she's having a migraine she's in real pain.

I think men have it even harder. They're not supposed to show emotion and are supposed to be the 'strong' one so when they start to be ill they blame themselves and try to hide it. They often don't talk about it until they breakdown then they see themselves as weak. Also as you become ill your thought patterns become more and more warped. I was consumed by guilt because I felt I was letting so many people down. In fact I felt guilty about everything and anything. I swear I could have given a convincing argument as to why I was responsible for the horrors of WWII even though it ended 15 years before I was born. That's how warped thinking gets to you. It sounds like your husband is isolating himself. A lot of us do that. Depression is an insidious illness that can turn you into your own worst enemy hence you cut yourself off from people just when you need them the most.

I know this doesn't help you but it may give you an insight into the sort of thing that's going on inside his head although everyone is different and his warped thinking won't be the exactly the same as mine.

Has he had a proper diagnosis? It's really important to be referred to a mh specialist rather than simply accept a GP diagnosis. I'm not disrespecting GPs...mine is brilliant but she's the first to admit that mh issues are complex and she's not an expert.

downtoearth Mon 09-Nov-15 21:22:37

I am ann but making sure I have a life away from the home as well,I am building friendships and making a social life for myself..xx

annsixty Mon 09-Nov-15 20:51:56

Just step back dte and be there if he wants company, he will appreciate his space and will come back when he is ready. But don't give him too long, you will know if he is going to change or if you are giving him too much of yourself.

downtoearth Mon 09-Nov-15 20:21:51

thanks vq he has been in denial and running away from himself by going out,staying out,it has been a testing time,I am being supportive,and keeping my distance not to smother him he cannot deal with closeness and cuddles,we have always been that way,this has come as a total shock to both of us,he is hurtful with his comments and coldness,I hope he can find his way back,I just walk on eggshells.

vampirequeen Mon 09-Nov-15 20:06:50

He'll be using all his energy to function normally at work. The meds should start to kick in soon.

downtoearth Mon 09-Nov-15 20:00:42

mine is having a breakdown at the moment,he has been behaving totally out of character,is very shut down and flat ,but functioning on the work front,medication has only just started 2 weeks ago,he has been becoming unwell for a few months.

vampirequeen Mon 09-Nov-15 19:02:44

Ah I understand, mh issues are a cross that I have to bear. I thought I may have misunderstood which is why I asked.

Two reasons they might have put off the CBT for a while. They may have had to wait until he was ready but also there would have been a whacking waiting list.

CBT can be very effective but also difficult to do so don't be surprised if his mood fluctuates whilst he's doing it.

annsixty Mon 09-Nov-15 14:56:02

vq re my comment,I said it is a cross we have to bear,not we are a cross to bear, which is my clumsy way of saying we
have to deal with it.I also said it is not their fault that they are the way they are, not our fault. I feel completely misunderstood.

stillhere Mon 09-Nov-15 14:04:23

Not strictly so, actually Alea, she messaged me a few times. I think she just needed to get it off her chest, I know I vent on here when I get frustrated, then occasionally regret it. Oh for a 'delete' button.

VQ he seems much better, no longer apathetic, but yes just needs to sort out his meds so that he can sleep and doesn't get so agitated, and also has some more energy. He will be back from a break with his DPs later this week, as next week he starts CBT. They believe he wasn't ready for it until now - I take that as code for, he was in denial that he needed it, until now.

Alea Mon 09-Nov-15 13:27:41

Oh dear, another of those "pebble in a pool" threads, where somebody makes a statement or asks a question and then buggers off ignores comments, requests for background or even advice hmm

vampirequeen Mon 09-Nov-15 13:25:11

Stillhere....perhaps his meds are not balanced properly. Sometimes it takes a while to get the mix right. Even then there will be up and down times but they tend to be less often. How apathetic is he? Does he get out of bed, get dressed etc without encouragement? Is he functioning or shut down? Has he seen a psychiatrist and had a proper diagnosis? I was initially diagnosed by my GP as having depression but it turned out to be far more complex than that.

annsixty....not sure how you meant your comments. I agree it's not our fault but we are not 'a cross to bear'.

annsixty Sat 07-Nov-15 20:39:52

I can relate to these feelings but as it is not their fault, I feel it is "a cross we have to bear". It would be too awful to blame them for something over which they have no control. However I speak from an age of late 70's for both of us and many years of marriage. I can understand how hard it must be for younger people.What I really long for is an adult conversation with sensible opinions.

stillhere Sat 07-Nov-15 19:56:23

I hadn't thought of that, VQ. I do hope DBH doesn't end up like that, he's not good with money at the best of times. On balance though, I think I would prefer mania to apathy. Isn't there a medication that can balance things out, VQ? I do feel that DBH is scared to try out new medications that are suggested to him.

ninathenana Sat 07-Nov-15 17:31:09

Well expressed vq flowers

vampirequeen Sat 07-Nov-15 17:25:55

Can you give us more details? Are his 'uppers' taking him too far up? Are they making him manic? I can be mindbogglingly annoying when I'm in Peter Pan mode (manic) because I whizz around starting lots of things but finishing nothing. I spend money we don't have and I'm so certain that no matter how bad things are everything will be OK. Peter Pan is great for me and hell for DH.

soontobe Sat 07-Nov-15 17:25:30

How do you feel?

stillhere Sat 07-Nov-15 15:08:21

I suppose he must have had a change of personality, at the very least. Irritability and unpredictability maybe?

petra Sat 07-Nov-15 14:46:23

When you say he is not the (lovely) man you married, I assume he's not so lovely anymore ? In what way is he not 'lovely'?

Alea Sat 07-Nov-15 14:24:11

How has it been since 2009?
Have things changed significantly suddenly?

Sadly, illness, whether mental or physical, often means they are "not the last very man we married", but that can also work the other way.