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Readers Respond: Coping With a Depressed Spouse

Responses: 212


Updated September 30, 2011

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

hes mildly depressed

Me and my partner have been together for nearly 2 yrs and we love eachother too bits, i would do anything for him....! I hate that i cant help him and th more i try the more irratated he gets with me. He isth loveliest person you could ever meet,this is not him and its really hurting me, i dont know what to do?
—Guest mrs mulroy

Help Me

IV been on and off with my boyfriend for years, this time we been together for just over a year. I love him with all my heart but his depression is killing us. We are only young but sometimes I feel so old.. tierd... exhausted... I don't know what to do. Nothing is ever his fault it's always me.
—Guest Alicia

thanks posters

reading all of these posts, i was looking for some way to help my bf to deal with my depression. when he was depressed and i was good, i stuck through and helped him. now that i've done this spiral, all he wants to do is cheat on me. he's done it with my best friends because i've become so disgusting. reading how much of a burden i am just makes me want to kill myself and i try to find reasons everyday to stay. i feel like i'd be doing more damage if i killed myself but now that i see what everyone writes i'm better off dead.
—Guest jessica

tired sad and lonely

my husband has had depression for about 11 years and it is progessively getting worse. Episodes of manic behaviour are getting closer together...in this time he distrusts me and ignores me if he can (unless he needs something)mI am not a wife anymore but a carer, I am at the stage is he really that ill or just using me as he has no one else? what I am actually saying his...he has knocked the stuffing out of me...anyone reading this should get out while they can..do NOT live the life that I have.. clinical depression never goes away, and the person you love becomes a monster....it is sad but it is true..especially if you have children as they will grow up disfunctional
—Guest Yvonne


re dont run for the hills. i have lived with a depressed husband for 18 years. Others told me he was abusive and I should leave but I have always believed in him as he is a good man and father to our 3 children. I always suspected an underlying problem and last year after he had a breakdown he shared some pretty terrible stuff he had kept to himself for 18 years. He got help, therapy, meds and we had a "fairytale" year. But he thought he was so well he could stop the meds...we are now in a state of crisis. He has locked up the bad stuff...won't get help, blames it all on me. Has attempted suicide twice and tells me next time it will done properly. I can't break that hard, closed exterior that I reach through last year. He has really shut down although still functions and goes to work and is good with the children. Not too sure were it is all headed however I do know, I will never give up on him...he is so worth the wait. I just need to find a way to chain up the "Black Dog"
—Guest pat

Shame of yourself

I've been with my girl for a year and she she been suffering with depression for 4 years and I'm still with her because I love her no matter what if I was in the same position as her I know that she wouldn't leave me that's how I seen it. Why leave someone, that you love because there sickness I feel bad for those who leave there girlfriends because of there depression I love my girlfriend I will never ever leave her no matter what she's my number one on a good day or bad day we love each other that's all I need in my life yall should feel bad.
—Guest King

Still Here

Do as I say not as I did. Leave. Now. It has been 30 years of struggling with a depressed husband who cannot or will not meet my needs. It hurts most when he is nasty to our kids. Only the youngest, a high school student, is still home. She is angry with me for not divorcing him years ago. But I did not want to lose my home. I cannot afford it on my own. So I made a pact with the devil and here we are. Don't let this be you.
—Guest Coward

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Coping With a Depressed Spouse

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