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Readers Respond: Coping With a Depressed Spouse

Responses: 174


Updated September 30, 2011

Do we have to be the ones who sacrifice?

Married for ten years. One beautiful son. One depressed wife. She is from another country and wants to go back to her life there. It is a third world country and she feels that I can not survive there - despite me saying I will try. For the past 7 years she has been depressed. I get phone calls at work where she does nothing but sob. She sometimes is short with my son because of her mood swings. We haven't had sex in 4 years - in fact she says the thought of anyman - not just me - touching her in a sexual way makes her angry and depressed. Clothes are not ironed. Piles of them lay around the house. Unwashed dishes are stacked in the kitchen. I do my ten hours at work and then come home to a wife who cries or abuses me, and then I head to wash the dishes or other housework. I love my son and divorce is out of the question - he would be devastated. When she is in a good mood, she is wonderful. Unfortunately, those days are rare. She has seen a therapist but stopped. I am at a loss. Suck
—Guest Life unfair

Had enough

I'v been with my wife for 20yrs and I,m at my limit. My wife has had depression the whole time We have been together she says it a because she is overweight . So I paid for her to have a gastric band fitted to lose weight she did loss weight and seemed to get better the problem arose when she cheated on me and our sex life was far from great for about a year then she told me what she had done. The problem is she angry to me and the kids and it's never her fault the only reason I stay is to protect the children. It's not physical but the anger is a verbal problem. I now feel that I've wasted so many years living with a person who has depression. When I said I do I didn't realise that I had to suffer so much and I'm starting to think why should. I so all you people who say you love your partners with depression then I would rethink as its a life long drain and believe me it only gets worse. If I could turn back the clock I would find someone who loves who they are as well as there partne
—Guest Paul

It helps

At 5am every morning my alarm rings, waking me up. Before my feet hit the ground I purposely say to myself "be positive today". Now I know as a man married to a person who suffers with depression that there might not be a lot of positive things that day but my point is to remain positive (enough) through it. I get up, brush my teeth, then go to my children's room to pick their clothes for the day. I iron them and put them in their rooms on their beds. I then make their lunches and place them in there backpacks. Of course weekends are different but as consistent. It's what after doing these things that's my biggest... only real help. I sit at our kitchen table and read at least one chapter out of my Bible. I then make a cup of coffee and take a seat on my comforting couch. There I pray, pray, and pray some more. Praying I had done before but never like I have for the past few years. Married for 17 years I will always hope she will "get" better, "be" better. Consistent prayer...

the mountains and valley's

I just was recently married to a man with dysthymia. It really sucks because he is on medication and we are going to start counseling in less then a month, but even with all of the help and support he can not see the big picture. He comes off as selfish and self-centered, spoiled and lazy, but I know that under all of the uck is a beautiful person. After being married for about 3 months I am finally starting to realized I CAN NOT FIX HIM. Only the depressed person has the power to fix themselves. They are so used to living in pain and discomfort that trying something new that might actually work is scary to them. It is frustrating and painful to watch. They are self destructive as well and to our relationship. You get to see this glimmer of hope for like 3 maybe 4 days and then crash...the walls come crashing down squashing any hope or light that you see. Often their thoughts are completely irrational and make no sense. All you can do is pray that God will save them.
—Guest love God

Run from depression and abandonment

Run. Don't look back. Your husband will drag you nd your children into his self focused world. He will hate you for being well and blame you for his not being happy. Thenantidepression mess don't work. He will drain u of whatever he can and then shutnwhatbisnleft of u out. When that is done he will move on to the children and drain them. Thinking he is a mentor they will act like him in too many ways and the cycle of abandoned abuse would only continue. Better to find another man who treatsnyounwith love and respect and loves your children. Laughter heals a heart.
—Guest Tortured wife

All the help is in front of you

These tips are from a male depressive to wives and partners The first thing depressives have to learn is THAT IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Also, it is not your spouse's fault either. Depression is a disease; it can be inherited; it is mostly caused through a chemical imbalance in your brain. That is why it is of the utmost importance to get the correct medication from a good doctor. That's a start. The second is to enquire whether there is a call-out team in your local mental health department. I have benefited enormously over the years from both these. Spouses and partners should not have to tolerate any depressive who will not take the first step and visit their doctor. Depressives can be very stubborn--I know! You may have to give the patient an ultimatum. After all, you are entitled to your own life.
—Guest sensei

My Depressed Husband.

My husband of 10 years has had depression really bad the last 3. He went to the doctor and got meds, but now says he doesn't like the way they make him feel, so he quit. His disease has drained me emotionally, phyically, and mentally. I work 50 hours a week (he over spends when he is depressed), do all the housework, and take care of our 2 kids. He completely ignores or children, I feel like a single parent. On top of that I have to deal with his crazy mood swings. If I ask him how his day went he will yell at me for being too nosy. He yells and me and seriously acts like he hates me know matter what I do. I try and be strong, but I end up secretly crying in the bathrom every night. This is his depressed side, which usually is going strong for 4 months or so. Why do I stay? Because the other 8 months are amazing. When the depression clears he is the best husband and father I could imagine. During the good times I can't imagine being without him. How much longer can I do this
—Guest Heartbroken

I'm in need of some advise

WOW, I have been married for almost 18 years. My husband came home today and told me he was leaving. He has all the signs of depression and is going to seek help (that is good). I myself feel betrayed and in shock. I guess I was lying to myself thinking his stress was coming from work. Him leaving came out of left field! Now I am here with three kids and have the whole world on my shoulders and even though I have wonderful friends I feel completly alone. Part of me thinks him getting help will be the best thing in the world for our family the other part feels like what if he gets help and then decides to leave for good. Again WOW I just don't know what to do. How do I get through this myself without going over the edge? Someone has to be strong for these kids. Sorry for so many thoughts and questions I am just totallyinshock...

Egg Shells hurt too...

Living with a severely depressed husband is severely hard. Walking on egg shells is an understatement. You never know when you will say the wrong thing. It is hard not to take it personally. I love him so deeply and treat this like the illness it is. I am commited to him for life. Even after the ugly things that he has done and said. I know that is not the man that I know and love. It really hurts when you say I love you and he only says I know. He says "you would be better off without me", "you're stupid for staying with me. The holidays were overwelming. Went into a deep state. It is so hard that he doesn't smile. I try to keep the mood up and say things that usually make him laugh, but not right now. It is very wearing. He gets paranoided too during these times. Things that normally are no big deal when I ask, suddenly I'm suspicious. Very little affection.. Which is normally very affectionate. It is like living in a room full of elephants.We talk about it...looking for a light.
—Guest Forever Always

self help

my husband is so low hes below the dirt. he functions bcus of us. weve been married almost 27 years, 6 children and now grandparents. hes bipolar due to gulf war 1. and anthrax shots, this has affected kids. 3 children bipolar. bipolar in his family too. all I can offer is self help books, they have helped me a bit. managing your mind, loving someone with bipolar disorder, one book my son read was get it done when you,re depressed. my husband drinks too, this goes up and down. so if he didnt read I read to him, something on the possitive side to help him think of what hes doing to hiimself and us. I run the house as normal and will include him. I help him sort his thoughts, making a list of importants for the day. I found a stress relief and do it dailey which for me is piano and art. I have read these books and others, all I can say is research. but alcohol is a depressant and causes anxiety too. I I am shut out, ignored like a lot of people but I never loose hope. Iv loved him 30 yr
—Guest ds6

Run if you can

My partner is bipolar and on medication. We have 2 kids together 16 and 2! We split between having the kids and decided to try again. If you met my partner he would come across as very confident and life and soul of the party but in real life he is miserable. His depression is beginning to really get me down now and I am wondering what I am doing in this relationship. You have to be very strong to live with someone like this as they are very demanding, moreso than our kids! Like someone else mentioned I often wonder how much of this is selfishness on my partner's part. There have been other relationships on his part and it is almost as if everything has to be done his way,even if it is wrong. I don't want my youngest child seeing his father this way and for my own sanity I cannot continue with someone who is negative about everything. Be very careful going into relationship with someone with depression love won't get you through it. I am a strong person but this is beatin me
—Guest Carol

Hate to be negative but ..

I've been married more than 25 years. My husband knows his problem but refuses treatment or even discussion. He is deteriorating. 5 days used to be the average - last year was 12 weeks of no words whatsoever. Its hard on my incredible family to watch it happen - not just me but everyone on eggshells. I am not optimistic for our future. Just about to tell my parents I'm calling off Xmas - this is gonna be fun .. Thats the worst - the embarrassment of it all - it makes me look so weak. Its been soooo many years of this now. Anyway - I have saved some of the responses from here .. I can't believe the similarities in our situations. Good luck guys!


I dont know if any of these help, or if what i have to say will help. I have a past that my depressed spouse blames for his depression its always my ex's fault. Not that that bothers me he was abusive. but i get told i am selfish when i have given up my home and my friends to make this work. i get told i make him want to kill himself. I cant get him help bc he wont take it, not from a dr and not from me. today i spent hrs coming up with comprimises to make talking to our families work. all were wrong. I wont tell you to leave your spouse bc you love them but i will say that tonight i have been told i am selfish for getting him help and i am pushing him infrunt of the bus. I love him and I dont know how much more i can take.

depressed spouse reply

hello concerned wives. i am writing this to remind you all that your husbands have tremendous stress worrying about how to take care of himself, his buffoon of a wife and who knows how many children. IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ANY OF YOU WOMEN TO GET UP OFF YOUR LAZY BEHINDS AND GET A JOB? you all make me laugh, you take in tennants and live in squalor rather than seek employment. are you so selfish and inconsiderate to help releave some of that pressure from your husbands heart and soul. are you so wonderful that you can't help financially? when they cheat, don't complain. i have a message for all of you - YOU ARE NOT WORTH YOUR WEIGHT IN GOLD.

ten things to say and remember

‎1. You're not alone in this. 2. You are important to me. 3. Do you want a hug? 4. You are not going mad. 5. We are not on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through. 6. When all this is over, I'll still be here, and so will you. 7. I can't really understand what you are feeling, but I can offer my compassion. 8. I'm not going to leave you or abandon you. 9. I love you . 10. I'm sorry that you're in so much pain. I am not going to leave you. I am going to take care of myself, so you don't need to worry that your pain might hurt me.
—Guest jamie

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