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Husband is depressed and anxious - help please!

(26 Posts)
Philippa60 Fri 03-Sep-21 11:04:36

Hi all, this forum is wonderful and the collective wisdom here is amazing. I wonder if you can help me again?
My H has suffered from low grade depression most of his life. He is on medication.
Lately things have taken a real down turn (again) and anxiety is also in the mix now. Covid has played a role here - he is terrified of catching it and doesn't want to do much outside of the house, despite being fully vaccinated.
One of our children lives abroad and despite it being possible, he refuses to travel.
He actually said yesterday that he "hates his life".
All my suggestions are met with complete rejection.
He is in therapy and his medication is monitored by a psychiatrist.
He has so much that is good in his life but he simply cannot (will not?) see it.
I am honestly at the end of my rope here.
He is such a misery to live with, he doesn't provide any emotional warmth or support (but he is fine on the practical side, and does a lot around the house so I guess that is something to be grateful for).
He doesn't acknowledge the depth of the issue nor the impact it has on me and the rest of the family.
I'd really welcome suggestions - what can I do to help him and us?
Thank you!

Sparklefizz Fri 03-Sep-21 11:28:56

I am so sorry that you're going through this Philippa. To be honest it sounds as if he is getting a great deal of help with medication, therapy and being monitored by a psychiatrist.

I would suggest that you look after you. Try and spend time away from him with family and friends, and bring some joy into your life because you're surely not getting much with your husband. Find things you like to do and don't waste your energy trying to help him. He is getting professional help, he can't see all the good things in his life ... don't let him pull you down.

I wish you all the very best. flowers

Grandmabatty Fri 03-Sep-21 11:30:14

You can't help him if he won't help himself. I'm sorry but that's the situation. You are not responsible for his mental health issues. I would build a life without his input, I'm afraid. If he won't travel,go without him. He should not restrict your life.

Philippa60 Fri 03-Sep-21 11:35:16

You are both right, and I KNOW that but cannot stop trying to "fix" him, I am an organizational psychologist and coach so very strong on the helping skills and it is killing me to see him like this.
I desperately want him to help himself but he won't.
We are nearly finished building our dream home and will be moving there soon and I honestly wonder what is the point?

Thanks for your kind messages of support

25Avalon Fri 03-Sep-21 11:40:41

This is really very difficult. It is easy to criticise your dh but he is not a well man mentally. He would probably love to pull himself round but is unable to. Getting tough with him or going off without him is something you most likely would not feel comfortable with doing.

Can you talk to Dh’s psychiatrist? If he is saying he hates his life then perhaps the medication and therapy is not working and they should be made aware. I think it is good advice for you to have some activities outside of the home specifically for you as your mental well being is equally important if not more so. May I wish you all the best. xx

Skydancer Fri 03-Sep-21 11:47:31

Coincidentally I was going to post this morning saying that I was feeling the same way as your husband. I have become negative and very afraid of old age (I'm in my 70s). I feel better when I am out of doors but as soon as I'm inside the thoughts start again. I know the causes - I used to enjoy my work, loved looking after small GC (now grown up), arthritic hands mean I can no longer do as much gardening. I can sympathise (though not offer help) with your DH. Sometimes nothing seems worthwhile. I feel awful about my feelings as I am so lucky with a lovely home and family. Just to say please do your very best for him as he needs help - a short break, a different hobby. All those things that I am prescribing for myself.

25Avalon Fri 03-Sep-21 11:53:35

Skydancer I am touched by your posting. I would like to send you a big hug if I may. xx

Skydancer Fri 03-Sep-21 11:58:18

Thank you, 25Avalon. That is really kind.

Jaxjacky Fri 03-Sep-21 12:22:58

I don’t know if this will help
There is also
You have my sympathy and I hope you find some support for you.

sodapop Fri 03-Sep-21 12:46:28

It is so difficult for both the depressed person and their partner to live with this illness. You say this is a long standing illness Philippa so perhaps it's time for you to take a step back and stop trying to fix things. Your husband is getting professional help and he has your support so look at a making time for yourself outside the home. You need to care for yourself as well as your husband that includes a social life when restrictions allow.

Sparklefizz Fri 03-Sep-21 13:47:40

Philippa Sorry to say this, and I don't mean it to be harsh but perhaps he is fed up with being psychoanalysed and organised and "coached" at home? He is already having outside help. Perhaps at home he just wants to "be".

You remind me of myself decades ago when I was married to an alcoholic and was an "enabler". I didn't realise it, nor had I even heard of the word, at the time.

Redhead56 Fri 03-Sep-21 14:11:35

My lovely friend and neighbour was married to someone clinically depressed who did dictate her movements and turned aggresive. She kept a lot of her frustration and unhappiness to herself. I used to knock and keep her company so she could pore her heart out. She didn't want to tell her daughters as they had enough on their plates.
One of my closest friends is so upset and it's causing her heart trouble. Her husband usually a lovely man with a kind manner. Has developed depression only since lockdown. It is developing rapidly with anxiety its heart breaking.
My friend has decided the only way for them to cope is for them to have more personal space. She is on heart medication now but she gets herself out more and she finds it helps.
I hope you manage to do this and travel on your own. Your husband is getting professional help. It's up to you to look after yourself reach out for support from friends. If you are able volunteer and try to get out and mix more.

Philippa60 Fri 03-Sep-21 14:39:45

Thank you all for the kind advice.
I do see that I am probably over stepping the mark with trying to "help" him...
I know it's crazy but sometimes I just want to yell at him to pull himself together because he is truly blessed in life (nearly 70, physically very healthy, good family relationships, comfortable financially) but of course I don't, and know it won't help anyway....
Thanks again

Floradora9 Fri 03-Sep-21 15:37:06

If he is really depressed do not expect him to be a support to you . In his mind he cannot cope with himself let alone someone else. It is pointless pointing out to him the good things in his life as all he sees are the negatives. All you can do is urge him to get medical help for himself.

Katyj Fri 03-Sep-21 15:53:24

So sorry Philippa. I’m having the same problem with my mum. It’s bad enough that I have to talk to her several times a day on the phone ,it must be awful living with someone.
I would talk to someone that’s trying to help him, maybe they’ll know best how you could help him. At least he’s getting some help, my mum is refusing help and driving us all mad !
As someone else said look after yourself, do things that make you happy.
Every time I call my mum, i put my headphones in and listen to something I enjoy with a cuppa. It is a difficult time.Hope he feels better soon .

Deedaa Fri 03-Sep-21 16:07:24

Sounds rather like my DH. He was always vaguely depressed. I realise now that he had ASD and this will have been partly the cause but his parents were the same, we'd been married some years before I realise that I'd never really seen them laugh at anything - life was always doom and gloom. Things actually got better when DH was diagnosed with cancer and was put on permanent antidepressants. He also enjoyed the attention he got when he went for treatment which used to cheer him up. I'm glad really that he didn't live to see Covid because I think life would have been a nightmare with him. He would have wanted to leave the house even less than normal and visitors certainly wouldn't have been welcome.

I think the only thing you can do is accept that this is how he is and try to do things you enjoy anyway. He seems to be getting help (even if it isn't helping) and you sitting at home with him isn't really getting through to him.

Puzzled Wed 08-Sep-21 20:05:26

Possibly, one of the best therapies, is being as close to another, physically, as possible.
Years ago, a friend had a breakdown, and for months showed no improvement. His wife took the suggestion very much to heart, and he began to relax and improve. Within three months he was back at work again, and has survived several very stressful times, and continues to do so, with the aid and loving support of his wife.
It may take time but nothing succeeds like success. Build on the small successes, great oaks grow from little acorns.

welbeck Wed 08-Sep-21 20:21:04

i'm puzzled, Puzzled; what was it that your friend actually did that helped her DH ?

sodapop Wed 08-Sep-21 21:09:28

Is it something we really want to know Welbeck smile

CafeAuLait Thu 09-Sep-21 10:27:32

Having a husband who has been through the same, I sympathise with what you are going through. Much earlier in our marriage I felt quite responsible for trying to fix him and make him happy. I even apologised to him for his anxiety and depression as I felt like if I was good enough, he wouldn't feel that way. Someone should have given me a reality check! I should have given him more responsibility for helping himself and been just a support.

That's probably what I would want to share with you - don't take responsibility for what is not yours to be responsible for. You can be a big support but still take care of you. Make sure you have things in your life that give you connection and make you happy.

I'm another one whose husband is now diagnosed with ASD. I think it gets more obvious as he gets older. He often gets lost in himself. I'm having a scan tomorrow and haven't even got to telling him about it, that's how little he's engaging with me beyond surface chat at the moment. I'm a bit nervous so would have liked the chance to chat.

Philippa60 Fri 10-Sep-21 08:08:06

Oh Cafe-au-Lait, that is so hard for you!
I totally understand.
I have ZERO emotional support and warmth from my H.
He has ADHD (very late diagnosis but clearly was there from the beginning) as well as depression and anxiety and likely ASD too.
Sometimes I have fantasies of running away from this life with him but I am too committed
Wishing you all well

Puzzled Sat 18-Sep-21 08:58:03

Try to boost his confidence and self esteem in every possible way, so that he is aware of his achievements.
Tell him how good he is in whatever he does, or has done.

Kiss and cuddle him, so that he feels wanted.
Tell him, and show him, that you lust after him.
Hopefully, with greater confidence, his depression will lift.

Germanshepherdsmum Sat 18-Sep-21 10:43:39

I’m so sorry Philippa. Your life must be very difficult. I have suffered from depression and anxiety for many years and am on medication which makes a big difference most of the time. I have never had therapy or seen a psychiatrist. I know many people swear by therapy but I wonder if this is all a bit too much for your husband? It sounds quite intrusive. Might he perhaps try not having the therapy or seeing the psychiatrist for a while and just have his medication monitored by his GP? Constant medical appointments are a source of stress in themselves.

I can understand the fear of covid at present, he’s by no means alone there.

Do you have a garden or a park or countryside nearby or easily accessible? I have a garden and getting out into it and pottering about and planning next season’s flowers or veg makes a huge difference to my wellbeing. I know it’s something that’s often trotted out, but being outside, and especially gardening, is incredibly good for mental health.

I wonder if your husband would be interested in looking at the Black Dog Gang on GN? Everyone there has and shares their depression and anxiety and life problems in general. It’s very supportive and comforting - a safe place to share, and all are made very welcome.

Look after yourself too.

Germanshepherdsmum Sat 18-Sep-21 10:46:40

So sorry for you too CafeAuLait. I hope your scan went well. Look after yourself.

CherylObrien85 Sun 17-Oct-21 16:35:03

@Philippa60 Hi there, I'm sorry to read about your situation, I know how difficult it is for you as you become physically and emotionally saturated. According to studies, the number of people suffering from mental health difficulties as a result of covid is increasing at an alarming rate. Mental health should be taken care of, and people should not hesitate to seek therapy if needed. My older brother, who has heart issues, began to exhibit extreme anxiety symptoms after covid. It turned out to be very difficult to live with him. CBT was recommended for him, and after a few sessions, we began to see a minor change in his behaviours. Similarly, you should not limit your happiness; instead, look for methods to keep joyful, such as talking to old friends, starting new activities, and carving out time for yourself.