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Readers Respond: Coping With a Depressed Spouse

Responses: 212

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Updated September 30, 2011

Are you married to someone who is depressed? Coping with a depressed spouse can be physically and emotionally draining and make you more prone to becoming depressed yourself. What tips can you offer to others who are in this situation? Share Your Tips

Please explain

I don't understand why depressed people have children?? is it some illogic urge? I've been depressed all my life and that's one thing I've never wanted to do. This world/life is awful and why would I want to bring someone else into this.
—Guest Susan

Hope...

I love my husband.We've been together for 18 years. I always found some of his overreactions to small things, a bit odd. Spent lots of time with his family for holidays/celebrations . Started noticing they always dwelled on the negatives. Their mother was always so emotionally detached from them. (No hugging, kisses , praise nor any positive words for her children). After she died several years ago my husband began detaching himself from our daughter and myself. Did not really understand what it was all about. I decided to be more observant during their family gatherings. I noticed the majority of them were taking pills for something. I never asked why. Just learned last week that the majority of them have been diagnosed with depression. I am no Doc but I know my husband has it too. I've tried to encourage him to see someone. He reacted with anger and offensive language. I am at wits end. I'm joining a support group. It should help me find answers and support for my family. I hope..
—Guest LoveHimAlways

Sometimes it's hard, but...

My girlfriend and I have been together now for roughly six months, and we knew each other for about three months before that. Although it's not necessarily as long as some people, I still care about her and love her deeply. There are some tough days and nights, but what I think most people forget are the good times. You fell in love with that person for a reason, and if you're married to them, you're commtitted to them fro better or worse, in sickness and in health. Just becasuse it's a rough time right now doesn't mean it will always be. Even in these short few months, I can see an improvement in my girlfriend's daily attitude and her outlook on life. Stick with it for the ones you love, they're worth it. Sorry if I offended anyone, but I think this needed to be said. Stay strong!
—Guest Still supportive

DEALING W/WIFE DEPRESSION DEPRESSING ME

FOR A LONG TIME MY WIFE;S DEPRESSION SEEMED MINOR UNTIL HER DAUGHTER(ALSO DEPRESSED) STARTED OVERDOSING ON ALL SORTS OF DRUGS. THATS WHEN HER DRINKING,BECAME UNBEARABLE AND EVERTHING UNRAVELED SHE BECAME SO BAD THAT I WITHDREW, WE SPLIT UP, AND SHE EVEN GOT WORSE,NOW SHE SOMEWHAT WANTS TO RETURN BUT I AM SO RELIEVED, BUT I KNOW WHEN I SEE HER AS MUCH AS I LOVE HER I START TO GET WITHDRAWEE. I KNOW SHE NEEDS HELP W/ BOOZE AND DEPRESSION AND I LOVE HER AND WILL TAKE HER BACK IF SHE CAN GET UNDER CONTROL I AM 53 YRS OLD AND WONT DEAL WITH DRAMA NO MORE
—Guest KRD

What do I do from here?

My girlfriend of a year and 1 month, broke up with me a couple weeks ago and I had been wondering about her lately withdrawing from me socially and physically. She decided to ween herself off her anti-depressant and anti-anxiety meds so that when we got married we could have kids right away. I think that started us down a path of no return to her breaking up with me. We went from having our lives planned out with our kids names and everything to "I love you but I'm not in love with you anymore," and "I'm unhappy." I know her depression is causing so much of this as well as her anxiety but how do I help her now that she won't talk to me?
—Guest Jack

Lonely and exhausted

Reading these posts is like looking into the mirror of my soul. I can related to all that is said here. It is both comforting as well as discouraging. It puts me at ease to know that I am not alone, but at the same time I come to the conclusion, as many of you have, that there the situation I face is a dire one. I have been married for almost 12 years, and have two lovely daughters. I do not regret any minute having them, and in fact, they are what keeps me going most every day. But, I do regret marrying a depressed person. There have been ups and downs, but it seems recently the downs have gotten worse. Most weekends, she lays on the couch all the time, sleeping and reading. I am lonely, and exhausted. It is like taking care of another child with disabilities. I look at other couples and long for the intimacy that I no longer have. I just want more laughter in my life... nothing much. Just a smile. I worry for my daughters and I long for something better for them.
—Guest Exhausted

I am one

I am a depressed wife. I have made progress, but over 43 years it has left Steve battered mentally and he gets his own version of depression at times. He nudges me out of the dark house and isolation and into the sunshine and fresh air. He's learned he cannot help me when my mind is in a dark place, except to let me work it out on my own until the dark time goes, but stays nearby to let me know he has not abandoned me. I force myself to exercise more, eat better, pray to God especially when I cannot function at all. I don't really know what causes my depression.You name it--I've probably tried that therapy. Decide if you really love your spouse and are willing to do whatever you can to deal effectively day to day with your spouse's depression; you will be inspired for what to do. Pray to God, be patient, be kind, and take care of your own mental health with friends and other family. If an episode is unbearable, leave and take the kids with you; you all need a break from each other.
—Guest Elysa

CRUEL

Everyone is so quick to want to run away from your depressed spouse. What is wrong with everyone here! When you committed to marriage you swore to be with your spouse "for better or for WORSE". Did you read that clear instead of sitting on the Internet whining get off your butt and find good doctors who will work with your spouses. Also I would seek treatment yourself because nobody decides to be or "want to be" depressed. Fight for your spouses health because a lot of doctors can be LAZY! They just wanna give Meds and tell you adios! Be strong for your spouses and tell your spouses you are going to fight and find a cure and literally doctor shop untill you find a someone who cares. It takes time and patience but how would you feel on the other end, if it was YOU that was depressed. If your spouse "use" to be a fantastic person fight to help get your spouse back there! Complaining on the Internet is not helping the situation and some people on here need to GROW UP
—Guest RealisticallyCorrect

Let it Be

It's difficult not to meddle, just do you. Give your problems to God. Open your heart to peace.
—Guest Marisol

Its impossible to cure

I have been dating a depressed girl for a year now. Anythings about the past that is negative will never be let go no matter how often things are agreed better left as past. If I go do activities with friends I come home to a seething attitude. It is mind boggling to grasped.I am constantly told I cannot own my behaviour even after matters are discussed. Depression sucks and is very hard to empathize with.
—Guest bigdogs

Hope

when you married- it was until death do you part. Through bad times and good. You can't just give up and walk away there is always a better way. A friend once said to me "if someone calls me a thief, before I jump up and get defensive and say I'm not a thief...I'm going to wonder why this person believes this truth. When I understand their truth, I can figure out mine." I try to use this practice when my husband has an episode, when he is angry there's a reason, if he blames me I consider the problem amd know his feelings and thoughs are valid and try to correct it from my end. Relationships fail because there is so much blame and no forgiveness or acceptance. be mindful. Your marriage can work if you really want it to.
—Guest Hangingon

there is no cure

unfortunatly, there is NO cure- the people who suffer from the "mental illness" of depression cannot help how they act..they are not driving the car, somthing else is...they are robbed of their time on earth...very sad.. my son is one of those people, he was married once, but his wife left him..and she did the right thing..no one should have to sacrifice their lives.."mentally ill" people have no choice, but we do. if you stay with them, you are throwing your precious time away on earth, and why do that to yourself. all the talking in the world won't fix any of this...you must, if you can leave. whatever the depressed person does, is out of your control. you are NOT responsible for their actions. You are however, responsible for living a heathy life, away from all negativity.
—Guest maryannn

depressed together

Reading all your blogs gives me insights and helps me believe that things might get better. I love him more than anything hes all i have, i do not have family of friends (literaly) hes does. with the struggles i have had in life are crucial and so thankful that the worst is over but now its this. he seems to hate me, doesnt take me out to the bar with him, nor any other outting when hes out he doesnt anwser my calls when hes home hes ignorant calls me names and its awful, i get the raw end all the time and demeaned by him regularily, then theres a window were hes my love my life my future then its dark again... what to do? Hes depressed and i no i havent always been the happiest but i am trying so hard inerstrength and willpower are powerful or i wouldnt be able to write this. anyways thanks for letting me get this out and reading your blogs to show me further to be strong regardless
—Guest uppppp

Hubby depression

My husband has suffered bouts of severe depression-sleeping and smoking for weeks, saying horrible things about himself every time he is awake, and refusing any positive activities that might help. I find myself constantly doing things to try and make him a little happy, only to be judged and isolated if I try to tell him how I feel. He is a good man, but this is 9 years of turmoil and I stop taking care of my kids and tiptoe around him when he's down. I worry about suicide but also that he won't work to get through this, he becomes completely self absorbed and refuses to try anything but sleep. I just needed to vent tonight.... I'm drained emotionally.
—Guest Guest wife, mom

I will not give up

My husband is sad and withdrawn all the time and stressed, i am sad and depressed too. I am choosing to take action with good organic food and supplements,omega-3s,st johns wort,and i want to start taking SAM-e. I also took some personal development courses through landmark education(very cool). and i say positive affirmations every day. I still have my moments through out the day but I feel good about the choices I am making and I am heading in a healing direction. I will not give up. I know there is a rainbow at the end of this.Life is wonderful and I want happiness! And when I am feeling tired,beat,foggy,sad,in pain and totally angry, I know all I have to do is say, Ok Cathy reach out talk to someone, do something good for yourself,slow down your mind.BREATHE!(meditation helps a lot) I will not give up!! :)
—Guest Cathy

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Coping With a Depressed Spouse

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