I too wish the world knew how difficult "the other side" of depression is. I.E how much the rest of the family suffers too. I also wish that the world knew about the lack of support for "the other side". I too wish that everyone knew how hard it is for us to not explain away the behaviour of the depressed person to other people.View Thread
Yes! I do wish we could all get together and sit around over a drink of wine and talk about it. It does help to feel that you're not alone. I am in Australia. Where are the rest of you?
You have to all realise that it's not your fault. I get so frustrated when I read other forums or advice columns about living with a depressed spouse because they're all about helping the one with depression and understanding it and trying to have hope but there's very little about how living with it actually kills us a little inside too each day. There's nothing that says it's ok to be angry and frustrated about having to be the responsible, happy, upbeat one and do all the parenting and all of the other life chores AND try to be supportive of our husbands.
It's exhausting. I wanted somewhere to go that let's me say how unhappy it makes me sometimes, how exhausted I am sometimes, how emotionally spent I am sometimes, how frustrating it can get. There are good times of course but they're few and far between and it does make you feel lonely and isolated as you stop attending social events and stop asking people over to your house because of the "black cloud" that follows you everywhere.
Hi sweetypie295. Only you can decide what is best for you and what you're prepared to put up with. I for one would never tell anyone to stay in an unhappy marriage, especially with someone who doesn't seem to want to make the changes. I refer to my husband's depression as his warm blanket. He's so used to it he feels uncomfortable without it. Having said that though, he has made some incredible changes and we have an agreement now that when I notice the symptoms of a heavy withdrawal period coming on I bring it to his attention and he tries to address it rather than what he used to do which was get angry at me and tell me I had no idea what I was talking about. Don't get me wrong though, it's taken a very long time to get to this point and a lot of hard work and misery. It's not easy, as you are now acutely aware. If you're husband truly wants to make the changes you too should see the therapist and work through your feelings and the two of you should have a session with the therapist together so that you are given an open forum in which to tell your husband how the situation makes you feel. Beware though, not all therapists are the right therapists and you might have to therapist "shop" to find the right fit. My husband was seeing one and I thought she was making matters worse by "enabling" him and giving him permission to continue to feel miserable and that I was to just do whatever I could to help him. Unfortunately it meant more giving on my behalf when I was completely spent. I wanted change and if it wasn't going to come then I was going to walk. I asked him to change therapists. He promised he would but then just stopped going to one altogether. He spent a lot of time observing the relationships of others and the way they interacted with their partners and kids and started to see that the way he behaves is just not the behaviour displayed by other men in "happier" families. We are still together after many ups and downs and one separation but I am seeing changes I never thought I would ever see and having him accept that his behaviour has far reaching consequences for us all has meant that he is more able to talk about it and listen to advice when he never would before. It may be the case that you need to take medication because you may already be feeling the effects of his depression and there is no harm or shame in doing that if it means you are going to be able to cope much better with what you're faced with. Understanding his depression doesn't make it any easier to live with, you're right. Having to explain his behaviour to other people who don't understand is also tiring but I gave up making acceptable excuses for my husband and started telling people he suffers from depression. Why should I hide behind that veil and leave myself open to the possibility of having a lonely life.
I don't know if I've been any help and I sure wouldn't ever judge you for wanting to walk away and doing it. It's a tough road there is no doubt about it. He might not be on the right medication and I know that depression leads to a break down in communication and you may get to the point where you can't even raise that possibility with him - he will protect his situation at all costs and block you out - it's up to you to decide how much of it you can take.View Thread
The common thread in all of this is how lonely and isolated we feel and angry at having to singularly take on a role that would normally be taken on in a partnership i.e. a husband and a wife, supporting each other and their children. I too used to be such a happy, incredibly social person but I no longer socialise, rarely, if ever invite people into my home and try to avoid saying yes to any invitations we might get to a social engagement. My husband and I separated for a short period of time after he told me in front of our counsellor that pretty much everything was my fault for not understanding his depression and what it does to him. Despite my best efforts to explain how very much I understood it but wanted him to understand how it affects me and the children, and our extended families but that I wanted to work towards saving our marriage, he told me also in front of the counsellor that he felt there was no hope of saving our marriage unless I changed my behaviour. I saw red and after becoming quite agitated I explained that I had spent the last 11 years changing my behaviour to suit him and walked out. He refused to see that I was desperate to have him see what it was doing to us all. He, of course wanted to come back but I wouldn't let him until he started to make some changes, which he did but of course after a couple of weeks of being back home things went right back to where they were. His mood improved slightly and I could tell he was trying very hard in that regard but he was still disengaged from the rest of us. I knew in the last couple of weeks that a serious bout was coming on after he had an upset with his best mate. Things started to go downhill and he finally confided in me. I have to wait for him to do this because if I confront him with it he gets angry. I explained that I knew it was coming and that he was going to have to find some way to deal with it because I was tired of trying to protect him from the stresses of having a family and a job and trying to protect myself and the children from his depression. I know it's not the suggested way but I pretty much told him I wasn't interested and that my priority was first to myself and the children and that he is a grown man and would have to find a way to act responsibly to move forward. Of course he tries, always in a very nice way, to make me responsible for everything, including if he's not doing enough around the house. He recently had to re-sign a contract at work for a position he doesn't enjoy and even that was my fault. In the nicest way possible he tells me that he only signed it because of me and the kids. One more way to make me responsible. Don't get me wrong, I know my husband loves me and the kids but the responsibility of a family is very difficult for him to cope with leaving me burdened with it and for him, it's ok for me to take that on because his "depression" means he's incapable. It's like he believes I have a never ending reservoir of energy and resources and that as long as I'm not expecting anything from him things should always run smoothly. My husband is incredibly smart and generous but doesn't want to know about the responsiblity. He thinks if he cooks dinner he's made a world of difference to my life and that of the kids. He believes that being in the same room as the kids is spending time with them. He believes he's not rude to people that come to the house when he ignores them and then goes and hides away in his room. He thinks his behaviour is pefectly normal. He holds onto his depression because it's an excuse for not trying and not having to be responsible. Ahhh, so exhausting and I have decided that now, my responsiblity is to ensuring the kids and I are as happy as can be. I can't help him with his depression and despite what all the "advice" says I will not accommodate it and make room for it in our lives. I know though that it's easier to say that than it is easier to do. That black cloud hangs around and looms low.View Thread
Thank you Sargemommy. Glad I was able to help, in some small way. I got a bit irritated when I ran out of "space" to keep going with my story. I too feel like a single parent of 3 children instead of two but he is much harder work than the actual children. There is very little in the way of support for those of us living with it. It invades every aspect of our lives and I find that too often, therapists, support sites etc are so focussed on telling us how to understand it and accept it and accommodate it that it feels like to me, they're telling us to enable it. I understand that clinically "snap out of it" doesn't work but sometimes I so want to say that. I envy my friends and family who live with a non depressed spouse. I envy that they may only have to worry about the fact that their husband won't do the washing. We have to worry about the fact that our husband won't do the washing OR anything. It's like having to be 100 steps ahead of yourself all the time and taking into account the possible mood your husband may be in when he gets home from work or you get home from work, whatever the case may be. It's stealing yourself emotionally on your drive home for what you may confront when you get there, for ensuring you remain upbeat and positive for the children who may have been home with their father but who have had absolutely nothing in the way of interaction from him. I could go on but I'm sure you and many others know all too well what I'm saying. It's like living on the knife's edge every moment of your life. Making a simple decision to go to the hair dresser is fraught with angst about how he may feel about you having time to yourself, whether or not leaving the children with him while you do will cause him so much frustration that he will lash out verbally to them or just completely ignore them. Don't get me wrong, my husband has never been physically harmful to our children but when he is upset his words can cut like a knife and I spend all of my time on edge trying to ward that off and protect them from those verbal attacks which he believes are justified. When my husband is having one of his better days he can be very loving but never very engaging. We've had marriage difficulties of course and many times I've thought about leaving but like many others, when the good times are around you remember why you married them in the first place. I feel like sometimes my husband likes the way he is and it excuses him from ever having to take responsibility for anything. The reasons behind my thinking may have to wait for another day though.View Thread