Depressed Spouse

Ashley - posted on 02/01/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )




SO I have a depressed spouse. This began shortly after the birth of our only son. He has said that the stress and pressures of raising a son is a lot for him to handle. As in my other post he stated he changed his mind and no longer wanted a second child. We went to therapy over this issue, I contemplated the idea of leaving him over this issue, feeling very betrayed (because we had always agree on having at least two children) I decided to drop the subject for the love of my husband, but more for that of the son I already had. I looked past this and decided to move on with my life that I was already happy in although disappointed. Then he became very depressed by his own omission. He hardly spoke to me, no longer played baseball, bowled, went out with friends, or was the happy, fun, loving man I married. For over a year now he has been depressed, not as badly at first and now much worse. We are not intimate including holding hands, cuddling or sex. I lost the man I fell in love with. I decided to stick through this with him because I love him. I do everything from cleaning, laundry, taking the dogs out, taking care of our son, cooking, shopping, working. He works and comes home, sleeps, watches tv or uses the computer. Has little interaction with us. Some days are better than others. Some days he plays with our son talks a little more with me and other days it is the opposite. It has been almost a hell like experience. I feel horrible and tortured, I think of the great life I once had. So in love and best friends. Now I just think about everything before I say or do it. Like will this make it worse, does he still love me, or what am I doing wrong? I try not to bring any subjects up that will trigger him. I don;t complain about the fact that I am doing everything or that he is making me miserable due to the depression. I have been very good about giving him space. Yet I am still showing him I care and try to be supportive and loving. I know he is suffering silently. I feel for his pain also. Some days I cry just for his hurt. He has had a difficult life growing up. He also recently revealed a horrible thing that happened to him as a child. I thought this may be the true source of the depression. I thought with this off his chest he could start to heal. He is in counseling and has been for some time, starting taking an antidepressant for some time with no effects. Nothing is better at this point. One of the psychologists suggested he move out and we date each other to stimulate a start over. I find that idea horrible. I am married with a child. I want us to work this out together. But then some days I get so mad and I feel maybe it would be better for us both if he left. (we don't fight, if it ever gets on the verge of that due to this depression subject he always ends the conversation). But its misery. But I know if he does leave that the it will be a very difficult task for me to even think about taking him back if he decided to come back. I will feel so hurt that he turned his back on us. We still sleep in the same bed and everyone else besides very close family do not suspect anything is going on with him. Our son is two and too young to notice that he is depressed. I just don't know what to do anymore. I just want him to get better and for us to be a family again. I still do love him so much and I just want him to heal and not feel this pain any longer. I am at a loss for what to do. Hoping that someone else has experienced this.....


Rebekah - posted on 02/02/2013




I'm sorry its been so hard for you. Certainly, going through depression itself is extremely difficult, but so is being the caregiver/partner of someone who has it. I don't think that gets enough attention. My husband has some bouts of low mood and he also felt unable to handle a second child (which I had to come to terms with), and though it isn't quite on the level you are experiencing, I do feel for you and understand some of what you are dealing with (plus I work in mental health, so I see depression daily).

I appreciate the fact that you are trying to be supportive, sensitive, and stick with him through this. It can be a long ordeal, especially if he has just revealed something from his past that he needs to work through. Is he committed to staying in the marriage too? If you are both trying to make it work, then give yourself all the supports you can to get through this. Its great that he is in counseling and trying medication (are they considering switching meds? If its been ample time, maybe the one he is on isn't the right one, or right dosage). He should keep going with that, and maybe schedule more frequent sessions if he needs to.

What about supportive counseling for you? It sounds like your load is heavy and it may do you good to have someone professional to talk it out with and give you insight into the depression and/or past trauma that your husband is dealing with, and ways for you to cope. There may also be the option of a support group for you...specifically for family members of people dealing with depression/mental illness, etc. I don't know where you live, but you can check out NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness)... they are a great resource that does have a support group for families.

As far as reconnecting the both of you, I agree with you...for him to move out and "date" you seems like a poor would you explain his absence to your child? And how is it a good thing for your husband to be more isolated from you two? But date nights are good...get a sitter, have some time for just the two of you to do something out of the ordinary where you can let loose and enjoy time together. There are also marriage encounter type weekend getaways that can be really good for bringing couples closer...though he has to be ready for that. If he's in the midst of sorting through issues, he may need to get through that first before he can invest himself in something like that.

The other thing I'm thinking, is it would be good for you both to openly be able to talk about this, possibly in the context of his counseling session. I don't know if you've let him know how much you are hurting, or how angry or helpless you feel. I'm sure you don't want to add to his burden, but as he is working through this, it would be good for him to know how to conduct himself at home, with you, with your son, so that he can include you in his life instead of push you away. If its hard to talk about at home, it may work better with his counselor (like a therapeutic family meeting), so the counselor can offer suggestions and help him handle your input so that he can keep perspective. Its not about you complaining...its about communication, which is extremely important in any relationship. I would think he would be touched to hear your words of how much you love him, how you cry for his pain, and miss your best friend. (I was!) You've been trying to protect him from your feelings, but the result is that you are getting more miserable and you two are no closer together. Let the bulk of your anger out in counseling of your own, but if you two can talk together....him about his pain, and you about yours, it will be all the better for your relationship. Hopefully it won't put more pressure on him to get better, but simply make him feel loved, valued, and motivate him to do what he needs to do.

I wish you the best...take care.

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