My husband is depressed... How do I help him?
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My husband is depressed... How do I help him?

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Old 05-23-12, 08:23 AM   #1
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So here's the thing... I love my husband. I know he loves me too, but right now he is EXTREMELY depressed. He had been off and on the whole time I knew him, but before I knew much about depression, I had just chalked it up to him being moody, especially since his family situation wasn't all that great (problems with his parents) when I met him. When we first got together, he was really excited about our new relationship. I was too, and so when suddenly his excitement seemed to dwindle suddenly during his first major "low" that I had witnessed in him, it came as a surprise to me that it wasn't just his family issues... It was actually a psychological issue.

At this time we were still just dating, so when I asked him about his feelings, he confessed that he had depression and had been experiencing hallucinations that were making him paranoid at night. I asked him what was being done for his condition and he said he was on antidepressants- HUGE doses of Celexa, which he had been on since he was 12. Freaked out because I knew that antidepressants can actually cause depression in teens and stir up things like hallucinations, we worked him off of the Celexa entirely, with the aid of his psychologist. Looking back now, I can see that the half-dose of Celexa would have been the right amount. At this point his mood was stabilized and there were no hallucinations. But he and I both expected that he might go through a withdrawal and were convinced he had to be completely off the medicine, so once he was off the meds, the headaches and ill-temper that resulted were taken with a grain of salt, and since there was improvement- no more hallucinations and less frequent changes in highs and lows during the day -we thought we had made the right decision for him and decided that maybe it would take some time for his mood to level out.

He did reach a peak time during the cycle, which had now slowed, and so we got married and he seemed really happy... and then took another dive down. He started back on his self-hate talk, and, feeling that he was not good enough for me, he started taking his frustration out on me by watching porn and telling me about it as though it were meant to hurt me, which did hurt, and I calmly told him so and that he should stop watching it. He started getting increasingly manipulative and angry with himself but then he cycled back up and started treating me very kindly. I got pregnant, he was excited, and then he went through another down and started being mean again, talking himself down, treating me poorly... and then he was excited again and taking amazing care of me. Late during my 5th month of pregnancy, I gave birth early to a stillborn. This was in April 2011. It took a crushing blow to both of us, but to him, it stirred more than just grief. He became extremely ill until he could no longer walk for a month or so, and he grew suicidal. At this point I was more than certain that something had to be done and that he certainly did still have depression, and I began suggesting going to counseling since he did not want to go back on medication of any kind. He went once and never again.

Unwilling to force him, since I was the only person he had left himself with and since I had to be trustworthy to him, not taking away his pride in being the husband and the one in charge, I just continued as I had been, asking him about his feelings often, doing my best to take everything calmly at all times, but now I was depressed too, feeling that he was leeching the life from me and tired from the grief that came from losing our first child. Unfortunately, I snapped at him a few times despite myself, and he is extremely sensitive, and although I didn't say anything particularly mean, it was unlike me to be anything other than comforting and quiet and using questions to help him sort things out. It must have shocked him when I told him he was acting meanly and selfishly and that it was killing me that he was offering no mutual support for me during our time of grief, but it was how I felt, and I never told him how much his ups and downs hurt me in any sort of firm way before. I have apologized a million times for it, but that seems so unreasonable that I should have to. I feel that I should be able to say my feelings as clearly as I like and however I like and that the fact that I rarely do say them gives me that right all the more, because it makes it obvious that if I do say something, there really has to be a change. But he is and was depressed, so I know there is no reasoning with him or obtaining comfort from him. He hates himself, and if he can't care for himself, he certainly can't care for me either.

So, here I am a month after the anniversary of our loss, but I'm pregnant again. On the baby's birthday we went to the grave and put flowers there. That was the last time and one of the first times my husband has done anything that shows a care for my feelings. He hugged me real close there and even wiped my tears away. But then, the next day he was already back down farther than ever and has been suicidal ever since. When he found out I was pregnant again, he said he wasn't ready to try being a father and that he wished this baby would die, which I calmly said I knew he didn't mean, but then he said he did mean it so I just walked away and called my sister about it to cry since I knew I couldn't share my feelings with my husband. Last week he tried killing himself by hanging himself with a belt, but thankfully it failed. He denied it at the hospital so they wouldn't admit him. He finally agreed to back go on medication the day after his suicide attempt and is going to the psychologist today. However, two days ago he snapped at me and said he was done with me always trying to help, that I'll just make things worse, and that we're over, and he left for his mother's house. That makes no sense though, because the day before that he was still telling me he loved me. He seems to think that because he said "We're over", we are suddenly not married. Still, he now continues to text me and asks me to play online games with him, like Scrabble, and comfortingly, yesterday he set up a new account for a game to play with me and used his usual password for it, which is his nickname for me. He doesn't know I know, though, but to me that shows that he obviously still loves me and is probably not entirely serious that he wants the marriage to end, even if he wants to think he is.

My questions are these: How do I help him with his depression while he is not living with me? As the antidepressants take effect within the next month or so, how do I slowly work at getting him to rejoin the marriage and to come back home? And lastly, how do I work with him on accepting the pregnancy in the condition he is in?

Sorry I wrote so much, and thanks to anyone who can offer me any help. <3
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Old 05-23-12, 10:44 AM   #2
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I feel like I should add something kind of amusing. I decided to call his mother about an hour ago because I wanted to talk to her about the situation. I told her about his suicide attempt and his claim that he was leaving, and I asked her to inform me whether or not he had seen the psychiatrist whenever he got back to her house. She said she didn't want to be a part of it in any other way but would notify me about psychiatrist visits and would just look after him until he comes home. Then she told me not to be worried about a divorce. When I asked why, she said, "You know that woolly mammoth beanie baby you gave to him in high school?" and I said, "... Yes?" She said, "Well, he brought 2 changes of clothes, and other than that, all he brought was his toothbrush and that stuffed mammoth. And he slept with it on the couch all night." I thought that was funny and wanted to share. xD
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Old 05-23-12, 11:54 AM   #3
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Oh Bubeleh... First, I want to say that I am so sorry about your first child. I'm glad you found your way to TTL - welcome. This site has helped me understand about depression immensely.

I don't have depression, so I'm not the best person to answer your questions though. It sounds like you have a ton of knowledge about it already. I really hope he gets the right kind of treatment now.

Just my suggestion for helping him while he isn't living with you - send messages, but don't expect him to always answer. Play the online games with him. You seem very understanding, and know that his request for a divorce is likely a temporary feeling. Hopefully his psychologist will help him work through it, and also deal with becoming a dad. That can be a big stressor.

It's cute how he slept with the mammoth :)

I think others will find your thread and post suggestions - give it a little time.
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Old 05-23-12, 02:44 PM   #4
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Thanks for the encouragement, Dawn. He is at the psychiatrists now, and I'm wondering how it's going. I'm real worried about him, but I know that the best thing I can do is give him space right now until those antidepressants start kicking in, lest he become more resentful of me. It's also difficult texting him without saying that I love him, talking about our marriage, or expressing my feelings. I realize that right now, any of that could push him away, as though I didn't take him seriously. And the thing is, as much as it seems to me that he didn't mean it when he said it, it's still hurtful, and I still am worried that I might lose him, either to divorce or to some hasty impulse while he's away from me that could end his life. It's also difficult for me to so suddenly entrust him back to his mother when I'm so used to caring for him myself. I am VERY stressed out right now, and trying very hard not to be, since I know it isn't good for a developing baby for their mother to be upset.

Do you think it's likely that the marriage will be saved? After he said he's done with me, he took off his ring, which he's never done before, and he left it here. It wasn't in a dramatic way, either. I have a feeling he doesn't even know that I know he took it off, and that neutral way about his ring being left here is what makes me worry that he is serious. But the fact that he is sleeping next to the stuffed toy I gave him when we were dating and that he still is using my name for his passwords gives me hope.
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Old 05-23-12, 02:47 PM   #5
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And no sooner do I post that last message than does his mother call me to say that he is being admitted to a mental hospital. What do I do? I hope it will help him, but how is he going to ever forgive me?
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Old 05-23-12, 02:56 PM   #6
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Hey hey,

I'm not sure if there's much you can do right here right now. The mental hospital thing sounds really stressful- but it's also a really loaded concept for a lot of people and it's not necessarily as bad as it might seem.

I've only ever been in hospital once for mental stuff and it was a really really good experience. I voluntarily admitted myself cos I was seriously suicidal. It was such a great thing to be looked after, to know that there were other people there who were paid to prop me up. It was also a bit of an eye opener in terms of my understanding of mental illness and people with mental illnesses. I met some strange and wonderful people there.

I know it's not always like that. I've had my older brother committed before and I still feel awful about it, but totally unnecessarily. He's chronically bipolar and narcisistic to boot, so he'll probably never forgive me. But I actually think it was the right thing to do at the time, still the guilts are there :=]

Don't panic is probably the first thing I'd suggest. It's not necessarily a bad thing at all. He may get something out of it. You might too. Do you think having some independent opinions on his mental state etc might be useful for everyone?
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Old 05-23-12, 05:26 PM   #7
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Honestly, I think it's GREAT that he's been committed. I know that's what's best for him. I just know he didn't expect it, that he's going there now, and that he has blamed it on me for suggesting he go to a psychologist in the first place. He sent me some pretty angry texts, calling me a b*tch and stuff- and he has never called me that before -and then said nothing more, even after I suggested that he just be calm and realize that maybe it will be good for him and that everything will be okay. I know a few people that really benefitted from going, but the thing was, most of them were ready for it. I told him those peoples' stories via text as well, but I have no way of knowing if he read them. At any rate, my husband had no idea that he would get admitted into the mental ward, and the shock has just turned him into a raging bull. He thought it would be "go in, get meds, get out" at the psychologist. I'm hoping the hospital will at least accept him for a few days, because if they send him home right away because he doesn't admit that he's suicidal, then he'll take out so much anger on me, whereas if he's there for a while, they'll really help him and it will decrease his anger and I will be able to visit him in a few days and give him my support, and there will be a way to patch up everything. I care about his life more than I care whether or not he divorces me, but I want the marriage to be saved very much. I am afraid more than anything that he will NOT be admitted into the hospital and then that he will divorce me and end his life more in anger toward me even than just due to his own depression, and I don't know how I'd live with that guilt or that grief.
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Old 05-23-12, 05:38 PM   #8
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Wow, there's a huge amount of stuff going on there for you. I guess you know that though, so it's kind of dumb of me to point it out. But maybe not :=]

It sounds like you're really adamant that hospital is the right place for him. From what you've said I totally agree. I wonder if there's anyway you could put your spoke in on that one with the hospital? I know that would make me feel guilty as hell, but it might be worth it.

Where I live there's really only one ground for involuntarily committing someone- if they're a danger to themselves or others. Sounds like your husband is definitely a danger to himself. If the hospital knew that (instead of some unreal picture your husband might give them) they might act appropriately to the circumstances. I dunno, it's not an easy thing at all, I know. I guess I'm just quietly suggesting it totally with the proviso that I might not have the guts to do the same thing myself.

How about you though? In the midst of all this stress what can you do to look after yourself? You're putting heaps and heaps of energy into him, but don't forget you're not superman (or superwoman) :=]
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Old 05-24-12, 10:03 AM   #9
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I didn't have to say a word. The psychologist got him in there, and they took one look at the mark on his neck from his attempted suicide, and his reactions to their questions and to his arrival there via ambulance got him admitted to a mental and behavioural health hospital 3 hours from my home.

I have brought together a support group of his old friends that he pushed away (I spent a lot of time on Facebook and on the phone finding people yesterday) and so, when he begins getting well, I am going to visit him first, and then send in all his friends little by little, so that he knows that, despite anything and everything he's done, he is still cared for. I want him to see how much encouragement he can have when he is in a position to do the right thing for himself and those who are (and those who want to be) around him. The more love and support he can get, the better, even if he hates seeing all of us at first. He is really far down. Bringing him back up will take time, and I and his friends are just going to have to understand that he may reject us at first and attempt placing blame everywhere, but that it's just his depression speaking, and that in him more and more, the person we love in him will be revealed again, and that it is that person inside that needs us and that person inside that we are supporting. A person who hates his life, naturally, will hate those that wish to sustain it, and I know that is the cause of his resentment toward me. I hope his friends will understand that too, when they visit and are not recieved warmly.

What I am doing for myself is just talking on here, talking to his mother, and trying to relax by writing and going outside. Now that there is a support group for him, I realize that these people will probably also be around to support me too, and we will hold up one another while we try to help him. Most of his old friends were my friends, too, before he pushed them away. The thing about them, though, is most of them have not gone through this sort of thing before. Through my husband, I have developed a lot of understanding about depression and can reason out my feelings fairly well between what he means and what he doesn't and what he needs and what responses are his own and what come directly from being depressed. So the things I don't understand are not going to be things they can help with. Thus, it's important that I seek support here, as well, and I thank everyone here very much for being that extra support that people like me need in times like these.

What was the hospital like for you? What was done to help you get over your suicidal feelings? If you had a wife like me, would you forgive her once you got well and rejoin the marriage? Would you see all the things she had done for you with new clarity and want to return the love and kindness? Or would you still resent her too much because of the feelings you had pinned against her?
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Old 05-24-12, 10:41 AM   #10
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Wow, that is so good :=] I usually have a fairly negative reaction to hospitals, but I think it's a really good thing for you and your husband. I really hope the next few days go well.

Um, I don't mean to burst your bubble here, but I'm gay. When I was in hospital I didn't have the rare priveledge of having the relationship I was in endorsed by the pschiatrist who was in control of my hospitalisation. The guy couldn't even get it through his head that my ex-partner was a man, he kept on refferring to him as 'she.'

Honestly, I would have loved to have had a partner as committed and as switched on as you seem to be :=]
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