How do I help my husband with his depression
I'm in desperate need for advice. My husband and I've been together for almost ten years and we've been married for almost a year.
My husband told me at the beginning of the year that he was depressed and that he felt like it was caused by him being molested as a child. He said he wanted to be separate for a while so he slept on the couch for a few days and then things seemed to get better. Cut to a few months later when we moved and him sunk back into his depression. I finally got him to tell me what was wrong this past week. He claims he doesn't want to start a family with me anymore, he just wants to be alone forever, that he's self destructive, and he doesn't think he deserves to be happy. He believes no one cares about him which couldn't be farther from the truth. I know he needs help but so far he refuses it. I'm at my wits end. All I want is for him to be happy and I just don't know what to do.
Has anyone else been in a situation like this? I'll take any advice I can get. Thanks.
Insist that he go to the Dr. and tell him/her how he feels. He doesn't need to feel this way. There are medications and therapy that can help.
Since YOU are not a Dr. or therapist, then you can only insist that he go. If he wants to hold this marriage together, then he will make SOME effort to help himself.
If he does not, then he leaves you no options, does he?
He's very lucky that he has you for a wife.
As a manic-depressive, I've been through the depressive cycle, and the mania, without the right medicine, before I got diagnosed right, and then put on the right medicine, lithium for me, and an anti-depressant.
I can rem. the depressive cycles of thinking, that I was so far down, nothing could help me. I would be like, out of a job, and for the first week I was OK. Then I would start a slow decline into depression, then I would be so far into depression, I didn't think anything would help, I couldn't make decisions, I couldn't think, I couldn't see what was going on.
After a couple of weeks into dep., it would change to anger, then really bad anger, then I was mad at the world. And nobody could tell me that people and the world were OK. I had figured out that they weren't,to match my moods.
After I was increasingly depressed for 3-4 weeks, and then super angry for a week or two, I had a nervous breakdown from the sheer weight of the depression and the intensity of the anger, and from not getting treated for that. My mind couldn't keep going without help. Well, I didn't get help and I collapsed.
Some people don't recover from those nervous breakdowns. Those breaks are godawful, and you really don't know if you're going to pull out of it. I've had 3 of those.
I was never (for 20 years) correctly diagnosed as manic-depressive. I wasn't the best patient, either, and scouthed at lithium, because someone else gave me that idea and I believed them, but it was the correct medicine, but I did take another one, but had panic attacks when lithium and an anti-dep. would and did stop those attacks, the dep. and the mental breaks.
You're dealing with someone who hates everything, who believes no one can or will help him even when people are trying, is negative, is getting further and further away from being able to be reached. Depression is treatable. Many illnesses are not. To reject help is ludicrious, but it's the world they live in. It's part of the disease. The part of the body that thinks and makes decisions is sick.
You might see if he'll take a test on the web under "depression" search engine, to see if he'll answer the 10 or 20 questions, with him supplying the answers, to give an idea if he is depressed. Print out the questions, and if he won't answer the questions, maybe you can. (Also look on search engine for "manic-depression" and answer those questions, to see if he might be that.)
If it shows depression, see if he'll go to a psychiatrist. If he won't go, see if you can find a good psychiatrist, male or female as one or both of you choose. Maybe call the secretary, and ask if you can come in. See what the sec. says.
Ask if you can make the appt., and then if he won't go, if you can keep the appt. and then tell the psychiatrist what is going on and does he or she have any suggestions?
"He slept on the couch and things got better." If you could catch him in one of those better moods, maybe he could agree with an appt. Of course, he'll say I'm not sick. I would con. asking around for a good psy., and see if you can find one, whichever gender you think might be better.
I found a good psy. one time when I took some sort of assertiveness training course, and there was a woman who headed the women's improvement dept., or some such title, at a local hospital. And she gave me the name of a good psychiatrist, or psychologist, whichever one I was looking for at the time.
I called our city's "Mental Health Association" from the yellow pages, and asked the director who she would recommend as a psychiatrist, and she said, "Dr. Jane Smith. I would go to her myself," and I got an appt. with her and that was 4 or 5 years ago, and she's the best psy. I've ever had.
So, there are "insiders" in the field of mental health. Try to find one, and ask them. Or there might be a mental health association in the yellow pages of your phone book, or "psychological development" heading, just look around on the computer yellow pages, also, for you home town. Call some of those people who head those agencies.
Or, look under "psychiatrist" in the yellow pages and pick one out according to which gender might better be able to help. And ask the sec. if you can go if he won't.
You said, "he just wants to be alone forever, that he's self destructive, and he doesn't think he deserves to be happy."
I would do the leg work now. I would find a psychiatrist, I would set up the appointment, I would ask the sec. about you going in if he doesn't, cause you need help too, I would evaluate the psy. while I was at the aptt. I would conceiveably set up a 2nd appt. with the same opened ended situation. I would not sit there and watch this go down the tubes.
Oh, molested as a child. Whole different ballgame. My older brother and sister were molested by our mother, who was also molested when she was a child. My sister is depressed and my brother has a lot of problems. I was affected by my mother, also, and maybe some of my struggles are due to that. I think that can make things more complicated.
Did you and he get along OK when you first started dating. Did you notice he had huge problems? Did he seem OK? Did this dep. just start after you had known him a year or two, but he was OK before that?
Does he work? Did he "want to be alone forever" when you first met him?
You need to stay positive that this can be solved. He will be fighting this all the way, for he is sick. But you, hopefully, can take steps, such as looking for a psy. Just call one up right now. Look in the yellow pages, phone book or computer yellow pages for "psychiatrist" in your home town.
Call the number, set up the appt., make the appt. for both of you, and if he doesn't go, you go. Determine if you want a man or a woman psychiatrist. Tell him, the appt. for both of you is in a week. Don't tell him, you're going if he doesn't. Make it seem like he has to go.
In a caring, motherly way, relieve him of decisions and thinking.
I can send my helper up there and she could do it. She would say in a certain tone of voice, "The appt. is in a week, we will be getting up early that day. Your clothes will be laid out. Our marriage is on the line. We will not be late. I have put up with you long enough. You cannot keep hurting us both. Think of somebody besides yourself for a change. Think of what you're putting me through. You'll be sitting here by yourself if you don't cooperate."
Deep down he wants to be helped, like a child. Outer shell will be resistance. You have to reach his inner shell. Tell him the appointment is for Wednesday at 3 p.m. and we're not going to be a second late, and walk out of the room, and maybe out of the house, you decide.
When you come back, assume everything has been set. Walk around the house and don't say anything to him. If he dares to bring it up and protests, you lay into him. "Let me tell you one thing," type of words and voice. "I am sick!!!!! of this!!!!" And walk out of the room, as the time for the appt. gets closer and closer.
I didn't know if I needed or wanted a colonostophy, and my helper said, "You have an appointment with your general practioner in three weeks. We will ask her what she thinks."
Hey, issue settled, in five seconds, wonderful response.
In three weeks, I forget all that, and my helper is in the treatment room with me and asks the doctor, "Bill here is wanting to know if he needs a colonophsy." Doctor said, "When was your last one?" I said, "Five years."
She said, "Who's your doctor." I said I can't rem. his name, but it's a French name. I said, if I had a phone book, I would recognize it. She's typing into her little lap top, and she said, "La Jones" and I said yeah. (Turns out, she looked it up on the computer yellow pages, maybe from when I said phone book.)
She types some more and she says, "You have an appt. for that in 30 days." Whoa.
And my helper came by at 6 a.m. and drove me to that, and I was as nervous as I could be and I had the procedure and I lived to tell about it and I don't have to worry about that for 5 more years.
All because of a helper, who was my surrogate wife, who died of a long illness 5 years earlier, and my physic wasn't sure who I felt comfortable with for that procedure until my helper "sometimes friend/sometimes mother figure" took charge, along with my female general practitioner, mentally and physically took me down there.
The point being, you need my helper.
She will walk in there, and she will take over. She will take control of his psychic, in a stern but motherly, caring fashion that will appeal to a little bit of his brain that is wavering about whether he really wants to be helped.
She will take hold of that, and he will collapse, and on the morning of the appt., he will go, out of fear/concern for upsetting anybody. He will relent.
As long as the tone of voice is right, and it is real. You may have to change rolls with your husband from being submissive to being dominant in a concerned/stern way that a mother would inform her 5 year old that his shots are due next wed. at 3 p.m. and he will not be late to go to that appt. Stern in a motherly way.
Get the doctor, make the appt., start talking in that tone of voice now. Start marching around the house, not walking meekly. Throw clothes in the basket, don't lay them gently, do everything matter of factly as if it has to meet your guidelines. "All I'm fixing for supper tonight is......." type of attitude.
Tell him when the appt. is, on what day and what time, and we don't want to be late, in an edgy tone of voice, and walk out of the room. (The aggressive tone of voice is my late wife. The stern but motherly is my helper.)
When the day of the appt. comes, get up, get him ready, have his clothes laid out, sternly make him a breakfast, tell him to start getting dressed when that time arrives, keep the pace going, never let up. Take charge. Get to the appt. on time.
This process started a week early. Any time he balks, you lay into him. "I'll walk out of here so fast it will make your head spin. Now you fix your own lunch." And walk out of the room and/or house, if that's what you think.
Let me add something in the next post.
In original post, I wrote, "You need to stay positive that this can be solved."
What I was referring to was the below column on being positive, that has helped me. Unconsciously, I was negative and didn't know it because it was in my uncon., but for some reason I had difficulty solving problems.
When I came across this col. below, on being positive going into a problem, I knew what my problem had been: con., I wanted to solve the problem, but uncon., I was neg., and until the 2 parts of my brain could work together, I wasn't gong to solve a lot of problems.
This col. helped me to train my uncon. to be positive. Prio to my nest problem, I said to myself, just read this col. first. The problem is your uncon. neg. So I read the col. first, and by the time I got to the 4th paragraph, I had solved the problem, by first clearing my uncon. of neg. When away from the col., and I had a problem, I would say to myself, "Think positive, think positive...." again, trying to clear the neg. from my uncon.
Here's the col. below.
by Niki Scott
June 21, 1994
“We all know people who race around in small, futile circles whenever they’re present with a problem to solve, and others who seem to be natural-born problem solvers—able to tackle obstacles, calmly, logically and effectively.
“Fortunately, being a good problem-solver is not a genetic trait. It’s a learned skill, one that can be learned at any age. If you want to improve your problem-solving skills, here are 10 steps that will help:
"The three most important things of a good problem solver are attitude, attitude, and
attitude. If you think of obstacles as anxiety-producers and unfair burdens, you almost certainly aren't an effective problem solver."
“If you view obstacles as opportunities to gather new information, stretch your imagination, learn new coping mechanisms and achieve more control over your life on the other hand, you’re probably a problem-solving whiz.”
“Be an optimist. If your general outlook is pessimistic, you’re probably not a good problem solver. Facing every puzzle with the assumption that it’s probably unsolvable practically insures that it will be.”
“Happily, changing from a pessimist to an optimistic frame of mind isn’t as difficult was it might sound. Pessimism isn’t a genetic trait, either. It’s a habit of thought we learned as children—and can unlearn as adults.”
“Keep an open mind. Most problems have not just one solution, but many—and sometimes the best ones sound far-fetched or even bizarre at first.”
“Be flexible. Force yourself to give up old, outmoded ways of thinking or acting even though they’re comfortable. Experiment with new ways of thinking and acting, and you’ll be surprised by how quickly THEY become comfortable.”
“Believe in yourself—no matter what. If you believe you’ll be able to solve a problem, your chances of solving it double. Review your past successes—frequently!”
“Take one step at a time. We all want guarantees that our imagination, diligence and hard work will pay off, but good problem-solvers are able to concentrate on the job at hand and move toward their personal and professional goals without blueprints or guarantees of success.”
“Ask for the help you need. There’s no shame in needing help—only in being too self-conscious, too self-protective, too proud or stubborn to ask for it.
“Don’t ask for help you don’t need. Those of us who were taught as children to run to an adult whenever a problem arose, or encouraged in other ways to be helpless and dependent, may find ourselves automatically seeking help now when a problem arises—whether or not we really need it.
“Resist the temptation. Asking for assistance before we’ve honestly tried to solve a problem robs us of our dignity, self-respect and self-confidence—too high a price to pay. “
“Respect the process—not just it’s outcome. Never discount a learning experience just because you didn’t get an A+ on the test.”
“Regardless of whether you’ve been completely successful at solving any problem, working on it almost certainly has gained you valuable experience and insight—good tools to bring with you the next time you have problem to solve!”
“Finally, never hold the past over you own head. Learn what you can from your mistakes, give yourself credit for trying, then wipe the slate clean, quickly, and give yourself the same sympathy, understanding and encouragement that you’d gladly give to any friend.”