When depression takes over your partner, you’re likely to go through an emotional waterboarding, a torture you have to escape. You may feel overwhelmed, confused, helpless to do anything. You take the brunt of the punishing anger or indifference that is all your partner can give you.
The relationship that means the most to you feels like it’s breaking fast. What can you do to keep yourself together?
There are thousands of men and women who have lived through this struggle or are in the midst of it right now. They have a lot of insight and share their painful stories in face-to-face support groups as well as online communities.
The members of one of the oldest of the online forums, Depression Fallout, report over and over again that the support of such groups has been a mainstay for dealing with their depressed partners. Communities like these might be a good starting point for you as well.
Here are 10 ideas drawn from the experience of people who have had to live with depressed partners as well as from my own experience as a depressed partner.
Take care of yourself as well as you can. When depression strikes and you find yourself living with a distant stranger, it’s only natural to focus first on your partner. You’re likely shocked and confused and want to bring back the familiar loving person you know. But it’s easy to lose sight of your own needs and gradually undermine the health and inner balance you need to get through the crisis. The obstacles are huge since your partner is right there and depression is now part of your life. It’s important to keep your own life going, get out of the hothouse as often as you can and spend time on the things that most help you relax.
Get help. There’s so much stress in living with depression that you should reach out for support. Perhaps you have caring friends you trust enough to confide in, or can find a support group, online communities, perhaps individual counseling, . That’s the critical first step. And keep on getting their help. You need regular support because the injury doesn’t stop until depression does.
It’s not your fault. Depression is the cause of the problem, not you. Nothing you’ve done could have brought on the ugly transformation of your partner – whatever accusations they might throw at you. Nor is it possible for you to fix the illness. Depression is complicated, not fully understood, and has multiple causes. No one really knows how to cure it. You may be able to help your partner get the right kind of help, but they need to commit to the work of recovery and stay with it.
Learn about depression and how pervasive an impact it can have. That will prepare you to recognize the many ways it can distort your partner’s behavior. You should realize, though, that what you’re learning is just a small part of an evolving field of research. It’s easy to jump to conclusions about exactly what’s wrong and what can be done about it. Consulting a mental health professional is a good way to get further insight into your partner’s illness.
Offer love and support without trying to be directive. Suggest it might be helpful – but pushing it, demanding that he get help in certain ways or learn what you’ve been learning won’t work. Tell him you’re trying to figure out what all the changes in the relationship have been about – and will be there to help as much as you can.
Depression can control you both. Be aware of the danger that you can easily be drawn into the same vortex that’s spinning your partner around. Anne Sheffield describes it as Depression Fallout. Michael Yapko writes that Depression Is Contagious. It’s common to develop your own illness as a result of living with a depressed person. That’s why it’s so important to get all the help you can and to watch your emotional and physical state.
Break the Cycle. One way to keep from being dependent on your partner’s moods is to look closely at your reactions to each of them. What are the worst, most painful moments for you – the ones that trigger your most intense feelings? What does your partner do to set you off? What is the feeling that wells up in you – anger, fear, hopelessness? And what do you do in response – meet attack for attack, hold your feelings in, leave? How do you feel about your own reactions afterward? It can help to track these reactions on paper at first to help you recognize the triggering events. That tactic could make it easier to interrupt your usual reaction, restore a sense of emotional independence and break the cycle that’s hurting you in so many ways.
Be tolerant of yourself. You probably can’t stop the emotional rollercoaster all at once or persuade your partner to get help or take perfect care of yourself. Expecting too much too soon can only lead to more frustration and reduced self-esteem. You already have enough of those to deal with.
You Can’t Go Back. Try to remember that the relationship you used to know may not return. It’s likely to be changed as a result of living with depression, especially if it recurs of if a single episode continues for several months, perhaps even years. It’s only natural to long for the return of the loving partner you used to know – your partner wants the same thing – but be prepared that it may not be so simple as that. You and your partner are more likely to face a gradual process of redefining how to live together.
They’re responsible for getting help. (edited 12/20/2013) Depression may be the underlying problem, but that fact doesn’t take away responsibility for destructive behavior. This is a difficult subject to talk about, and I do so from the perspective of someone who inflicted pain on his family during bouts of depression. When feeling better, I might well say something like: it was depression driving me to say and do those things. It’s not about you – don’t take it personally. But of course it’s personal. I was constantly leaving my wife and kids out of my awareness and often spoke and acted abusively. The anger, attacks, threats to leave and emotional withdrawal are as personal as it gets in a relationship. It’s especially important, then, to set boundaries. Depressed partners have to know when you can’t take anymore, or they cross a line that can’t be crossed. Remind them about what’s at stake and what you are really feeling. A depressed person is ill, yes, and probably wouldn’t choose to act hurtfully when well, so simple blaming is not appropriate. But there are supportive ways to remind them of your limits and insist that they get treatment. That is what my wife did for me, and it was a powerful wake-up call that got me back into treatment after a long period of denying the problem, despite my long history of depression.
My spouse has been going through a bout of depression for some time now. Starting around last February when his doctor cut off the pain meds he had become addicted to. He hasn’t worked in a year, and he does nothing but sit on the couch and watch tv. He’s bad. He’s not civil to me or my lids. He either yells or acts like we’re inviaible. He’s not grooming himself and he won’t help with anything around the house. From time to time when I tell him I can’t take any more, he’ll call his primary care physician and ask for a different drug but he really doesn’t seem to make any effort. I don’t know what to do but I am starting to hate him and my kids don’t deserve to live this way. Help!
Hey, I am suffering with a boyfriend who is depressed. I notice it said in the article that there are online forums to connect with others in a similar situation. Does anybody know of any that I could look at? I always thought Id be okay but I find myself crying for hours most days and just feeling incredibly scared anxious and alone. I really need some support and dont want to get depressed myself. Any help would be appreciated so much!! Thank you
I found depression fallout site helpful, its no longer live as Anne Sheffield is no longer with us, but people still post on there now. Maybe you are looking for something more for interactive in which case you might want to consider getting direct therapy if thats possible. What country are you in?.
I have never commented on a thread like this, but feel like I’m reachable breaking point. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 16 months now. We don’t live together, but spend about every other night together. Since it’s November and the days are getting shorter, his depression is getting worse. It’s difficult to not take personally sometimes. He says it’s not me, it’s just November. I am generally a positive person, trying to see the silver lining in every situation. But I think his depression is starting to take a toll on me. I am currently battling a bout of shingles, which I can only assume is brought on by emotional stress. I am young (ish) and healthy, so that’s my only conclusion as to why I would have been struck with this disease. My nerves are frazzled. And we still haven’t said “I love you” to each other. I’m afraid to be rejected and pushed away. Maybe he is too? Or is he incapable of loving me. I’m not sure if I’m looking for advice or just a safe place to vent. I appreciate this space to be able to share my burden. Thanks!
Hello. The same thing is happening to me. He reads lots of self care books. He also goes to therapy. He recently told me his feelings for me changed and that he was very sorry. I’m deeply in love with him. I don’t know what to do at this point. We are currently living together since the pandemic started . I’m sorry for anyone who is dealing with a depressed partner
I’m sorry that you are dealing with your current situation. It must be tough, especially since you live together! Has he said how his feelings have changed?
From someone who had been through it, is it worth it?
I have been with my partner for a little over a year. I love him to pieces and on good days he’s my best friend.
This entire time he has been struggling with depression. It’s been pretty on/off. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t make any plans with him, for Thanksgiving we were just going to make dinner with my household but he fell into an episode so deep he just stayed in bed all day… he hasn’t met any family since he gets depressed and those plans fall through. I’ve had a friend straight up tell me that she was confused why we are together, since my partner is so quiet and gloomy and I am very bubbly.
He’s not a gloomy person though! I feel like I’m going crazy. He is my best friend, we share so so many fun memories together and just waking up next to him every day is amazing. It’s so sad to me that no one else gets to see that side of him.
But the bad days are so much. Anyone who is looking for guidance in this article can relate. I find myself getting just sucked into this pit of bad energy. I don’t mean to sound dramatic it’s just overwhelming and awful. I feel like I have no support since people just judge the relationship based on this and the episodes can last indefinitely.
We’re both young. Reading these comments makes me nervous. I don’t want to skip to five years from now and still be in the same place. I told him early on due to previous experiences with depression I wouldn’t make myself go through a situation where I am his sole support and he never seeks outside help. So he is working on his depression and he has more tools for getting through it. His moods are still just so volatile and unpredictable and I find it so easy to fall into them. He just feels like an empty shell during those times.
I’m writing this because his mood has sunk again and I feel confused and lonely. What do I even do???
Firstly – you are not at all alone in this, I am feeling similar.
I have no great answers but what I just did is go on a nice long walk to clear my head and phoned a good old friend, she talked to me, encouraged me as my ‘failure’ made me worthless, and reminded me of good future plans. Is there are friend you can open up to? Or an older wiser lady? (If not – lets chat)
I’m sorry that your Thanksgiving did not go to plan. Are you in touch with any of his friends that have helped him before? It’s difficult in this pandemic but maybe they can share & support you when he is in an episode.
I also get nervous about plans (also with Covid), but for Christmas we are making plans to visit my family, as other relationships are what we need in general but especially when our other halves are ‘absent’. This article has helped me see I shouldn’t be as emotionally dependant on him as I am, that doesn’t mean being absent from him.
Don’t stop being yourself with him, your friends and family, and honest with them too. I also hope your partner and my husband will invest their good days with our friends like they did with us.
What helps with my husband on occasions like Thanksgiving is encouraging him to make the plans with his friends and family- this can be good therapy for him and he is less likely to fall as he has some hope. And it is a good time for me joining him as I am less worried about the relationships between him and my family and friends. And looking out for him is shared.
It is tricky for me as my husband doesn’t get help – when my husband is in an episode I say to myself that I will push him to get help as soon as he is okay. And then he is okay and I don’t as we feel happy & I don’t want to trigger more sadness. – tips on that would help.
I’m no wiser woman but we are not alone and lets remember the joy that we have had and will have more of. And as you say – waking up next to him is amazing (:
Thank you for such a kind and considerate comment; I never thought I could find such understanding on an article I happened to stumble upon.
My boyfriend got a little better after Thanksgiving and we ended up having a long conversation about what happened and what to do going forward. He is very dependent on his routine and ability to be productive to handle his depressive thoughts, and the absence of those seemed to kickstart the episode. I unfortunately spent the rest of the visit being paranoid of everything that could trigger it again. He left yesterday (after we both had a negative covid test), and today I feel burnt out and exhausted.
I’m still wondering if I can handle the next episode, and the one after that, and the one after that. I feel like I have to compromise on a lot of things I expect from a relationship and I sooo badly just want to be childishly angry and blame it on him rather than the illness that comes between us. It feels like it takes SO MUCH of my empathy and understanding to deal with everything it gets overwhelming.
Unfortunately, none of his friends know the extent of his illness. I think maybe I should push him to open up to his close friends, though, it would certainly at least help him. He’s also very introverted and isn’t inclined to make many plans, either, which probably adds to everything.
For pushing your husband to get help, what has really worked for my boyfriend and I is delegating some time every week for a relationship talk. It might sound weird, but basically every Sunday we sit down for a bit and create a space to just share any issues or thoughts we have on the relationship. And if it turns out neither of us have anything to bring up, we can still spend that time together. It’s really helped me not hold onto things forever and be able to actually voice issues. I think it’s also really important to advocate to your own happiness. (Obviously much easier to say than do, otherwise we maybe wouldn’t be here.) Current you may be happy when he is okay, but you owe it to both of you to work for the same future, too.
Take my advice with a grain of salt, though, not sure how much advice I can give when I am so unsure of my own situation ^_^;
Finally, absolutely okay if you’d rather not, but I really appreciate your offer to chat and am happy to accept – I have a friend I can vent to about this stuff, but I think it’s really hard to convey the nuances of dating someone with depression. 🙁
12 years. It didn’t pay off. And together when it’s good, it’s insanely good. Hard to leave. But I lost my chance at having a family. It wasn’t worth it.
Oh boy I can relate to this, especially the part about family/friends not understanding why you are even with your partner. My partner has social anxiety and depression. Her moods become very low and she can also have days of being ‘flat’ and feeling no emotions at all. My struggle is that these moods seem to suck the joy out of me as well, and I don’t have the emotional reserves to keep things positive when I am getting nothing back. It’s like throwing energy into a black hole that does nothing but suck it all away…..
I know what you mean about the person seeming like an empty shell and how frustrating it is when they do not receive outside help. My partner refuses to consider counselling or therapy, insisting that she is too damaged and it would just be a waste of time.
My advice would be to find those (like us) who can be an outlet for you and who actually understand just how exhausting and difficult it is to have a partner who is deeply depressed. Having someone to talk to can make all the difference, and can provide another perspective that you might find useful. Whether it makes sense to stay and support him or leave, if you feel that you have done all you can.
I see you posted last year. I really hope that things have improved for you since then.
To all of you that look after us that are depressed. Thank you. We wouldn’t be able to do it without you.
I know much of the time we do not show enough how much we appreciate it. As bad as we are without the loved one in our lives we would probably have committed suicide already. Thank you.
Love is not enough to fix our brains. You don’t believe that love will fix a broken leg do you?
Reading all your stories makes me feel so sad. The depressed person I am is truly a monster. I found this site trying to find a resource for my husband to read. We have nasty fights and they are all created by me. I literally have a melt down over the silliest things and even though I don’t mean to it comes across as blame. I hate myself so much.
I would like to explain to you all how it feels like. I’m a completely different person when I finally get the anger and frustration out saying the most horrible things that I truly don’t mean. Its almost like I dissociate from my own mind and loose control. The worst thing is I say it, more like scream it like a rabid dog, then cry, really ugly cry in shame over the things I say. I see this is manipulative and yet it is what I always do. These are the depression fall outs and mine are nuclear in nature. After I feel exhausted but better but my husband is burnt, severely wounded from the onslaught of blame, shame and meanness I hurled at him. It always hurts the sane person the most as they truly hear all the words. To the depressed person its about the feeling. I would love to promise that I wont do it again but I don’t know where it even comes from. He gave me an ultimatum in or out and I realized that years of damage I didn’t have the choice. The only thing I can do is out. I am not fair on him and never was.
How will I go on. I don’t know but I realized the pressure to need to be ok for someone else sometimes is too much. I almost overthink myself into another gloomy day because I’m so caught up in not being good enough.
I am not looking for pity, just want to help you all with some perspective so that maybe you don’t get to the point I pushed my husband.
1. I am responsible for my depression and getting better. I know he did so much to try and ease my burden to make me feel better. At the end of the day it was stuff that he would like me to have done for him. Most of the effort he put in I didn’t appreciate at all and it just depleted both of us. For example he kept buying me hair products as a sort of hint to sort out my hair. It just made me feel more inadequate. All the effort in the world will never be enough if its not aimed in the right place. Its like knowing a map of Chicago off by heart but trying use it to navigate round new york with it. Its pointless as its the wrong map and secondly all the effort is futile with modern technology and resources to help you find your way
2. I say a lot of nasty stuff. I truly don’t mean it. I usually get to that point when completely mundane things are said. When its things that are said though that show he truly doesn’t understand where I am coming from it makes me so angry. I wouldn’t be angry if I had never tried to explain but I have and he says things that belittle my feelings. This then makes him feel like I am just a bitch and he can do nothing right. I will list a few that set me off ‘you don’t try’ ‘well do you think anyone understands me’ ‘ you haven’t done x y and z’ ‘how do you think I feel’ ‘why are you blaming me’ and many many more. I have come to realize I am a raging bull and there re so many things that are a red cloth to me with an inexhaustible amount of anger. Yes I am a selfish bitch at this stage. Yes I ugly cry and be manipulative. It is ugly and not ok but it still happens. I’m just trying to say please don’t take on the raging bull. You cant reason with that part of depression and nothing you say no matter how. When I am drowning I cannot be reasoned with, coaxed into learning how to swim etc. When you save a drowning person if you don’t have a board for them to hold onto then it is advised you take a stick. If the person is able to be somewhat reasoned with you get them to grab the stick and if not you hit them gently with it until they do. Why because a drowning person will take the person down with them. Please don’t drown with us. Learn how to help and what you can and cannot control about the depressed person you live with.
3. On the drowning analagy. When someone is depressed it feels like they are drowning. There is always this expectation that they will know to reach out. sometimes not always in the throws of depression I am trying so hard to stay afloat I cant reach out and the cries for help may not come from where they are expected to be from. I know it hurts when a loved one wont share their feelings with you and let you be part of their life. Just know whats going on. Its a strange thing but so many times I thought I had communicated it but I was still just trying to stay a float that communication was not what I thought it was. When depressed I want so many times to not share the pain and the misery. Also sometimes I am so damn sensitive that I am scared that some silly mundane thing will set the bull off inside of me. I am terrified of trying to communicate. It is easier to be alone and in my misery than to have opened myself up to someone and have their words feel like knives in my back wen they are trying to connect or to have the truth that no one cares realized when the person I left myself open to doesn’t check in. I know how illogical it is and how stupid it is but the emotions completely take over. Also many times there is a voice saying no one cares, no one wants to listen, you will be ridiculed, what will so and so think etc. The critical voice inside overrides all the love and support and the worst part is at that time your brain is convinced this is the only truth.
4. On communication of the feelings. This is a hard one. I have spoken my truth many times and have had on more than one occasion had the person say ‘if you want to talk about that then this conversation is over’ It makes me hesitant to share
Many a fight has had me screaming you just dont understand. I realize that I don’t want to be understood. I just want someone to listen. To hear that I want to die. It does not mean that you are not good enough and that you have somehow contributed to me feeling this way. I want to say how alone I feel even though you are right there with me holding me while I cry on the bathroom floor. I want to say all the stuff that I know is awful to say. the stuff that comes across as meaning that you are complete waste of oxygen in my universe. It is so hurtful that I can say such awful things to someone that has only given me love and has gone above and beyond, that has followed me into the darkness but unfortunately at that time it is the truth I feel. It is all I feel and it is overwhelming and it sucks that love is not enough to overcome it. Yes it is awful and should I be saying these things to the person closest to me. No I should be paying someone to listen to the dribble. Unfortunately I cannot predict when the gloominess and helplessness will roll in. I can only withdraw and try not let my loved ones into the bleak reality of my mind. Most off what a depressed person says just isn’t true. Telling me that you know what I am saying is not true does not help, If I am convinced that the sky is pink and you keep telling me it is blue will not help. You can make me see it through other ways. When I am miserable and suicidal reasoning and saying my beliefs or feelings at that time are not true will make me withdraw.
5.me as a depressed person just equals an asshole. And that is who I am at times. At other times I am lovely
6. You have to have your own life and let the depressed person come and go as needed. This is for true chronic depression. Many people have a single incident and you grow from there. You need to have your own life, own happiness, own friends. The depressed person will want you to live in their gloomy world. If you want to support them set the boundaries that you support them but you also support your needs. AND do not feel guilty about this. When depressed I will hate my husband if he is having fun or miserable here with me as he may as well be having fun. Also I have one less thing to worry about. Him concerned about me is an absolute gut wrenching added weight to my weary depression house I am carrying around.
7. Mostly it cannot be cured. I was a pharmacist and I had a client walk in for some antidepressants. She was asking me how long it would take before she was better and when she could stop taking them. I got a bit of history that she had suffered on and off for years. I gave her the blunt truth that she would never be cured and finding how to manage and treatment plans may be a lifelong endeavor. She was so unset with me that she never came back. Then I saw her 5 years later and she thanked me for telling her the truth. My own husband somehow thinks one day I will snap out of it. I don’t take medications as it never worked for me and the withdrawal scares me more than my normal depression (I struggle to hold down work so am scared one day I cant afford the medications). On this note make sure you know what your expectations are so you decide how you cope with the depressed asshole. if you are waiting for the rainbow- Don’t. It may happen but don’t kill yourself trying to fix something you just cant. Don’t lose yourself. Chronic depression needs constant treatment. I thought I had it all figured out and suddenly couldnt eat, was sick all the time. Psychosomatic illness after loads of unnecessary tests.
8.It definitely gets worse as you get older. I think because the hope slowly dies as reality of the lifelong imprisonment sets in. But also changes happen as you get older, friends move on, jobs get competitive, stress of additional family members you need to support then friends get divorced, children become unruly teenagers, kids get married and friends become fewer and finally you get old. Depression hurts enough when you are you so age with changed in hormones, aching bones etc makes it worse. Also it shrinks your brain so I think it actually gets more difficult to fight. Got to get fighting strong. Am I there. Nope unfortunately not.
9. It is an illness. I know people say they understand that it is an illness but in my opinion I don’t think they truly get it. The brain is sick. That’s it. I have found my husband trying to reason with me. ‘What would you say to me in this position’ when I am so depressed my brain is only seeing darkness. I don’t understand logic and am manipulating everything to keep the depression voices alive. I do not choose this. if I was having an epileptic fit I would not be being asked what to do about it. I’m sure my husband would be calling 911. If it is too much for you to bear, it is too much. Find a way to solve that. The depressed person will have to get better on their own but will not be able to see the solutions from the mindset of depression and anxiety. Have a plan in place. If you do not get out of bed for x number of days you are going to the doctor. If they refuse decide whether you will continue to enable them. I cannot tell you how many times I thought that tomorrow I’m going to wake up and do the housework only to wake the next day feeling even bleaker. At that time I truly believe that I am going to be a better wife. You would not listen to your spouse tell you that their broken leg will heal on its own why do people let the depressed mind of a loved one convince them to go along with the charade day after day. I is difficult to set that line to when you need to get professional help but maybe if there is an ongoing task eg a mood chart and gratitude chart that I have to fill in every day maybe I will see when the depression monster has taken over and that it is no longer a normal bout of just sadness or exhaustion. I don’t have this in place yet as the depression monster has currently won leaving me alone and possibly starting from scratch. I know money can be an issue with depression but there are a few free online tools. If you must be an enabler enable your loved one by being an enforcer. I dont know I am spitballing. I am far from having formed solutions for me and my loved ones.
Lastly there is usually other stuff going on in the chronic cases. BPD, CPTSD anxiety, personality disorders etc. I don’t want a label or to be told there is additional stuff wrong with me but sometimes realizing the complexity of mental illness is important and I am guilty of living with my single label that I got when I was 17 for years before realizing that there were other aspects of my illness that I hadn’t been facing. Why the professionals are so important.
Thank you for saying this. My girlfriend of many years exhibits much of this behavior, though it’s expressed in withdrawal instead of anger. I really want to find a way to help, but it is hopeless. I think you’re right that the depressed person has to decide to help themself. When I push her too hard to get help, it just makes it worse.
The only thing I have to add to this conversation is that it’s addictive to help someone (on the rare occasion it works). It’s a great feeling when you finally make someone feel better. But maybe that’s my own problem to deal with.
Thank you for sharing!!
Thank you for taking the time to write this. It’s absolutely the most helpful thing I’ve ever read (as the loved one of a depressed person).
Thank you for this. It has really helped me. Married to a depressed man for 20 years who I adore and want to support better. Best wishes xx
This. This is everything. Thank you thank you for putting this all down for me to read.
I am struggling with a depressed partner at the moment who I love but I have only just realised I do not understand the illness. This resonates so much with who he is a person, minus the aggression. He tends to simply withdraw. The current episode is the worst one we have been through in our almost 5 years together. It’s been a few months and there is no end in sight. Luckily, he is super aware of his depression and seeks help in therapy and medication. But that isn’t a guaranteed result.
I am struggling to be the person who I need to be to keep this relationship afloat at the moment. But reading this has helped me gain some insight and clarity. I have a choice, and my choosing is to be in this thing with him, on the sidelines, there to help.
The love we have is still so strong and pure and it drives me forward.
Some dude says
Thank you for composing this. I’m crying and grateful. Want to help my partner of 3 years, running out of bandwidth and starting to spiral a bit. This is illuminating. So many layers. Peace be with you
Reading these have made me feel so much less alone with it. Me and my partner having been trying to date for the last 10 months. We tried dating a couple of years ago but communication just broke down because of his depression When we started dating this year he was ok but within a month he was really bad and just shutting downs and pushing everyone away and suicidal at times. During this time he refused to even see me so all we had was texting. Lockdown came and despite us both working through it he was still pushing away and distant at times. Eventually he started to feel much better and we started to actually go out on dates and generally be happy together. I’m trying to buy a house and he wants to move with me and have his own space as he feels that still living with his mum isn’t helping him. However a lot of the time it was still a struggle to see him as he would get too anxious and cancel just before.
All of a sudden he has spiralled back to a bad place and everything I say is misunderstood and now when I talk barium the future he just says we’ll see what happens. I’ve always been so supportive and there for him but it’s as if I just don’t exist or am not wanted around. I feel like his punch bag and the one he takes it all out on while everyone else gets the good side of him.
I love him to pieces and just don’t know what to do anymore. Now that we are in lockdown again it seems to be the perfect excuse for him as to why he can’t see me even for a walk. I just feel totally rejected
You usually hangout at your favorite café with your best friend Nicole. You have gradually noticed that she was not paying much attention as usual when you were talking to her. Lately, she has been self-critical and discouraged as well. Weeks went by and your hangouts with her became rare. On one opportune day with her, you tried to ask what her problem is and encouraged that it will be safe with you but she answered in a low energy voice that everything is fine. Increasingly worried about your best friend, in this circumstance what would you do in order to help her?
My boyfriend has been depressed for about 5 months now. I thought I could handle it and help him. However, nothing seemed to get better, and now I feel overwhelmed. And, honestly, I just feel like I have so much weight on me now and that I’m not taking this the right way. He has a bit of a temper, so he tends to take all his anger out at once, and sometimes it’s kind of on me. But, the things he says such “I hate my life”, “I hate myself” and so on continuously saying so much all at once. I want to help him, but I feel like I make it worse. I’ve tried to be patient, but it’s so much all at once. He’s been suicidal before too. Now, I feel lonely, afraid, and anxious. I don’t know who to talk to, and most of all I feel selfish. I feel like I’m too emotional and when this happens which happens almost everyday, I start crying or feel terrible. It has been affecting my mental health. We don’t live together and can’t see each other a lot because of the virus and our parents. So, it’s much harder through text. I did push him too see a counselor because I realized that I’m not a professional and I can only do so much to help him. I’m afraid sometimes that he might take what I say the wrong way or that my words hurt him more instead of helping him. And just today, he said that he needs a break and wants to be alone which I feel lost about. I think it’s a good thing but at the same time I dont want him to feel alone either. I wish I could be stronger mentally but this affects me alot and impacts everything I do. I did kind of tell him that I was getting overwhelmed, but it was more indircetly said as I feel bad telling him how I feel. He does rely on me emotionally a lot as he doesn’t have many people to talk to. I feel lost and I feel stressed. Sorry, if this is a long post but a lot of people in my life have been suicidal and they come to me as the first person they wanna talk to. It’s overwhelming. I just hope things get better for my boyfriend and that he heals. However, would it be good to check on him once in a while since he wanted to take a break.
Hi – I don’t know if you’ll get this message but I saw it and it sounded a lot like my situation. My boyfriend has been depressed for the best part of a year, on and off, and it sounds very similar with what’s going on with you. I wanted to share with you a book that I’ve been reading, it’s called – ‘Codependent No More’ by Melodie Beattie. It’s been around for years and honestly some of the feelings within it seem so true to me. It was initially written for the partners of people who were alcoholics, but what I have found is that there are a lot of similarities with being with a person with an addiction, and being with a person with depression. That is, they need to seek out their own help – only they can change – we cannot change them. We will wear ourselves out if we try. Additionally, depressed people often act in ways that are out of character (like a person with an addiction does), and sometimes in quite a self-destructive way. They also might do disappearing acts (like my boyfriend does). Of course, we want to be there to support, but when we get emotionally overwhelmed, we’re unable to do so. And we start to blame ourselves and damage our own self-esteem. This book has offered me some tactics of how to detach myself a little bit from my boyfriend’s moods, and helped me to see that none of this is my fault, but what is my responsibility is how I respond to it all. I am now trying to be supportive, but in some ways, from a distance. The book does have a bit of a religious element to it – and I’m an atheist, but I haven’t found that too detracting from the message that it gives. For the first time in a while, I feel hopeful for my future, whether it’s with my boyfriend (I hope), or without (whatever will be will be.)
Hey thanks for this! I hope things work out for you two <3
This is so sad to read, I’m sorry. I really hope things feel easier for you soon. Talk to your friends and relieve some of this burden of thoughts – its a lot to carry on your own. Take care <3
I really, really relate. Down to being the first person people come to if they are feeling suicidal. I don’t think it’s bad at all to check up on him, even if he doesn’t give much of a reply. Much like this post says don’t forget to focus on yourself and take time to heal from this experience. Best of luck <3
This article and your comments made me feel better and worse at the same time. Better because I know I’m not alone, worse because it’s evident that some of you could not find a way to save your relationship.
My partner and I have been dating for 4 years. Things were never easy because he has a complicated family history, but he was a fun and caring partner. He has been depressed before and I now wonder if he ever recovered. Covid-19 lockdown had a very bad effect on him. He’s been working throughout the whole period, none of us lost their jobs (I work from home), so far we’re all in good health…but that does not seem to matter to him. He only sees the bad side of things. We were due to buy a house this year and we decided to go for it. We completed a couple of weeks ago and it should have been a happy period, a big accomplishment. He was still living with his parents, refused to rent together not to waste money and buying a house was what he said he wanted. It has turned into a nightmare. I am the one with savings and the higher paid job. He’s not an admin person so I ended up going through the buying process all by myself. I wanted a bit of help in exchange of the stress and the considerable amount of money I put in it. But his depression kept getting worse and he started to be less and less involved. He promised things would change with exchange of contracts (when the purchase is finally real), then that he would be happy when we got the keys, now the version has changed again and he promised to be involved once we move in. There’s considerable renovation to be done and decisions to be made and I am alone in this. I feel exhausted and scared and anxious all the time. I have worked full time through the pandemic, often extra hours, never left the house, spending 2-3 extra hours every day for five months to sort out all paperwork, purchase and renovation. I take care of his children during the weekend, his depression having an impact on their relationship as well. I’ve never felt so alone in my life because everyone expects us to be happy and want to hear happy stories so I hide his depression, wear a fake smile and tell my friends, family and co-workers that we are over the moon. I feel useless and ugly and fat and absolutely unattractive, because I feel rejected by the man I love. I know he suffers and he does not have control on the way he acts, but I started to resent him because I feel like he killed the sparkle and sucked the happiness out of my body. I am a strong person and the fact I am so strong also mean I always got my life together and I struggle to cope with mental health, I am totally lost. Sometimes I try to talk to him, but he’s always on his phone/iPad/playstation/TV and that annoys me so we fight and then I feel guilty, but the more I feel guilty the more lonely I feel and I just wish I could have my early relationship boyfriend. He’s not going to see a doctor because he’s scared and all he says is that he feels useless and I should leave. If any of you have some advice, I would love to hear it. Thank you.
I don’t know if I can give you advice, but I am facing very similar thing, I am having many sleep less nights, only one thing I understood and following is to not to depending on him and trying to do things by myself mostly and no expectations and trying to become a good actor as if I am happy with whatever he tells even it is hurting, because afterwards the arguments turn so ugly that keeping a fake smile and moving forward is much better. Because there understanding is very very less about others and depressed people are always right for themselves at least while having a argument they will win because there is no point for us to be right
Advice I’m sure has been given to you already, but it sounds like you need to put your foot down and issue an ultimatum for the changes you want to see happen.. (without backing him into a corner and triggering the flight response, however you’re able to do that..)
I’m in pretty much the same boat as you (to an unnerving extent on some points!). Ive always accepted my partners depression and severe anxiety and took the ups and downs as they came throughout our relationship, supporting her, encouraging her to get help and being there when she needed me. Many months and various treatments later, things are no better / potentially worse. She says Covid is making things worse (and I’m sure it is) but then other worries will layer themselves on top and if feels like a never ending cycle. I’m constantly being told everything will be fine “once *this* is done” (whatever *this* happens to be that month).
I’ve generally always been direct with her, but never in the heat of the moment. After an argument or bad day, I’ll take a step back and work out what it is about her behaviour that bothered me, try and identify the root cause and then figure out if it’s something I should a) actually be annoyed about b) accept it as one of those compromises you make or c) something I can reasonably label as unacceptable (and can be changed)
To my mind, you are very much in the last category and can very reasonably expect change.
As an example, I made my partner understand that constant anxious activity on her phone (endless scrolling of social media for example) was neither healthy nor helpful to her situation, and that it really bothered me when she did it. She’s now all but stopped doing it when I’m around. She’s also started taking part in the cooking / general household activities. She made these changes after I put my foot down because she wants this relationship to work as much if not more than I do. If your partner isn’t able to come to this conclusion (with or without help) and doesn’t want to make the first step in doing what it takes, then “dependent” feels like a more accurate descriptor than partner.
“First step” is key here.. Change needs to be in manageable increments, one thing at a time.
I’m actually on this page because despite all her efforts and being grateful for them, I still feel extremely lonely. I’m a shoulder to cry on when needed, rejected when it comes to showing actual affection and a piñata when things go wrong… I don’t know how much more of “it’ll be better when…” I can take.
So yeah.. The changes you want now might not be the cure you want them to be, but the only way of finding out is getting through them..
Hi! I’m sorry to hear about that and I hope things get better for you two. But I can relate a bit with you. I feel lonely and guilty too. The way I feel and act is being influenced by my partner. I can’t focus, I feel disgusted of myself, I feel useless. I miss everything we had before he felt so depressed. I feel selfish all the time now because I feel overwhelmed even though he’s having a harder time. I feel useless now. I can’t help him, I just end up sometimes responding back in anger, and we’ve had fights because of this. I end up feeling more guilty because I say to myself why am I depressed, why am I acting like the victim if that makes sense. And, I feel bad for feeling this way, but it’s just so hard to not feel overwhelmed and depressed because of this. He relies on me emotionally and just he says so much all at once, and sometimes i don’t what to say. I feel tired mentally, and I’m just holding on that time will make things better.
As soon as I read this, I could relate. I have a depressed husband, it’s been like this for about 5 years now. I got married when I was 26 and a few months later he was diagnosed and within the next year my life completely changed. I started seeing less and less of the man I married. Instead a distant stranger who struggles to communicate, does not engage with me and becomes defensive when I ask him about this. Why is it so difficult for him to talk to me instead I feel so alone and isolated from him. I had such big dreams and now I feel stuck like I made the wrong decision. I know it’s not his fault and I have been more than supportive but lately he cannot get out of bed. He lost his job a year ago and now he struggles to leave the bed. If I attempt to wake him, he is angry and defensive and says I am controlling when all I want is to help him, get into a routine and live a healthier lifestyle. He also refuses to have a shower and it’s a battle to get him to take a bath. I know it’s his illness but I honestly feel like It is my battle as well. It’s a daily struggle. I pretend to be happy, smile and talk about our life to friends and family but inside I am slowly dying. My husband is not the man I loved. Most times I feel he is barely there when he is in the same room as me. It’s like the lights are on but nobody is home and I have been in denial for a long time hoping this would pass but it just gets worse. I am afraid of divorce and the hurtful impact it will have not only on him but me. I fear about our future and what lies ahead. It is dark and gloomy and I try to stay positive but anyone with experience of depression knows how impossible the situation can feel. Any response or tips or advice will really help. I need it!
Trusha – I feel exactly like you do! It’s so hard and unfair! I’m exhausted, the weight of the world is on my shoulders and for 10 years I have been his support, emotionally, financially, mentally – everything. Now I’m realizing I have no support. I feel empty and drained and so exhausted. I keep trying to help him but it’s like beating my head against a wall most of the time. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through (and I’ve gone through some really rough stuff). Selfishly I was to leave! I want to be happy again!!! But I can’t leave him like this. It’s such an awful place to be 🙁
I have no advice. Only that I want you to know you are not alone. I hope one day it all gets better!
I actually was looking for the opposite problem (me being depressed, my partner not caring and ignoring it) but stumbled upon this and God it made me feel so guilty. I try my hardest to either hide or work through my depression when it takes over to not bother anyone and then work through it on my own till it passes. Rarely, I might be more irritated or snappy, usually just really sad and quiet though, but overall I’ve learned to control it quite well I think. But God it gets difficult when all I need is some attention and knowing that he is with me yet he just ignores it and even gets more irritated and mad or critical towards me which just makes it harder for me to crawl out of the hole. But this post made me feel so much worse and I’m scared to approach him at all now to not be a horrible person and a weight on him.
I’m going through the exact same thing with my partner now. She was diagnosed with depression 9 months ago and it’s got worse and worse. We argue a lot and she thinks I don’t care and I’m not supportive, this is completely untrue and hurts a great deal, but I can’t seem to convince her otherwise.
Does your husband support you in ways that are more subtle that you don’t even realise?
My partner’s depression has made her very apathetic – she’s reduced her working hours and seldom leaves the house.
I support her by being the ‘engine room’ of the family – I drive her and my daughter to their appointments/commitments, do all the cooking and shopping, and I work extra hours to make more money so my partner can work less. It’s exhausting and I sleep on average 5-6 hours a night. I feel like I ‘show’ my support in this way, with actions…maybe your husband does too? He may not be a good talker. I’m very bad at talking. But I take action to reduce my partner’s responsibilities and stress, so she has more time to concentrate on making herself better.
Unfortunately it’s not working very well and I need to improve my verbal communication and see if that helps her more. But don’t feel guilty – maybe look at other ways your husband supports you, he may be more of a ‘actions speak louder than words’ guy like me. My partner doesn’t notice or appreciate these things (or rather, her depression doesn’t allow her to) and maybe this is the case with you, also?
Hope this helps.
She is lucky to get a person like u..but definitely words play a. Major role..so as u said should cool down while talking to loved once as a girl it’s more than anything for them.. ya u r right more than actions .. because girls tend to think much ..and remember the words spoken ..if those are harsh that only will sit in there brains all the help u have done to her will be overlooked so my dear friend just be happy and soon she will come out of depression
I am sure you are not a horrible person or a weight on him – that is your illness distorting how u see the situation. He probably just feels frustrated he can’t help you. All these people making comments love the person they are talking about the are frustrated at their illness and how it makes them see the world through a dark often angry cloud. I am sure your boyfriend just wants you to reach out to get help and support.
Thank you to everyone that has been so honest about how they feel. I’ve always felt like his depression, his behavior, was MY shame, a secret I could never talk about because it was humiliating, embarassing. I have been married for 21 years. We have both had our ups and downs but he has struggled with depression his whole life. In the beginning he always seemed so loving, grateful for my love, but always had the underlying feeling that he doesnt deserve love. After many years have passed our life has become a vicious cycle of him being low and me trying desperately to build him up. I’m tired. I’m resentful. I’m a fool. I used to just feel angry that everything was about him and his feelings. Then I felt like it was something about me that made him unhappy. Now after 21 years I feel NOTHING! I don’t feel sympathy , I don’t feel comforted or secure. I don’t feel sexy or wanted. I don’t feel attraction for him either. I feel defeated. So much time has gone by with both of us being so unhappy that I feel like, even with help, our relationship could NEVER be what we both deserve. There are so many things I wish I could change, I wish I could have been honest in the beginning about my feelings and had the strength to follow through. Maybe my tough love would have been the way to help him. Don’t let things get out of hand like I have. Say what needs to be said, be everything to your partner that you need them to be for you!
In a very similar position to you Rebecca, been googling the issue for about 40mins before I found your post and felt like I found someone I could relate to.
I feel bad that I don’t feel sympathy for him, or want to support him but it just feels like it’s gone on too long (about 13yrs). I feel defeated by it too and to listen to him is like letting poison drip in my brain, it solves none of his problems and weighs me down ever so.
Don’t want to say too much and affect those on the other side of the issue who may read this but for me, your post was very meaningful, thank you.
Wow, you both took the words out of my mouth. I feel exactly the same way – guilty about having no sympathy anymore, but I’ve also had enough of the world revolving around him, him and himself, with seemingly no consideration for the rollercoaster/eggshell effect on myself or all the family/friend relationships he has pushed to breaking point by pushing everyone away over the past 18 years.
All three of you, exactly the same for me except we’ve been married 30yrs, and this issue reared it’s ugly head about year 4. There was intermittent fun early on, and a good chunk later was me always trying to “help” him. But the sympathizing well started to run dry about 15yrs ago. It was when we had our daughter, which I foolishly thought might help, but instead it was my dawning realization that now, he’s not only got me under the hopeless and blaming microscope, (because I don’t care enough) but now he has more fodder as in not raising her right, KNOWONE cares about him, he’s just a paycheck, we don’t have any fun when he comes with us, I’m not a good enough dad, all the normal downer things that suck you dry, it all has just compounded over the years and now she’s a teenager who sees how he is. And runs full speed away from it. Making him more hopeless. It’s a vicious circle. I wish I had gotten off a long time ago.
Count me on board. We’re in our sixth year together and I’m so drained from everything revolving around his depression. I identify with the loneliness and exhaustion, and I feel like I have no agency in my own life – I’m just a satellite of him.
I’m seeing lots of people talk about their depressed partner’s anger but I don’t know that I agree that’s a symptom of depression. I don’t think it’s okay for my partner to be angry at me but struggle to tell him when I think his behavior is inappropriate.
You’re right – it is a vicious circle. Perhaps people with depression should be in relationships with other people with depression. I really don’t know how long I can continue before I shrivel up and become a husk of myself.
My partner of nearly 3 years has severe anxiety, stress and depression. He owns a business which has always had its own responsibilities and stresses but since one of his two employees has been diagnosed with cancer and been unable to work (more than a year and a half on and off) and with lockdown (now said employee has been shielding for the last 6 months) he has had an unbearable amount of crap to deal with. He works 6 days a week till late, brings work home with him on Sundays. This man is my soulmate, he is (was) the most wonderful, fun, happy, loving man I could ever wish to meet. All that he was has now almost disappeared. He can’t sleep, he can’t eat, he tells me he wants to kill himself or just leave everything behind. He is on medication but it doesn’t help because he cannot rid himself of the cause of his depression – the business (that he’s worked so hard at for so long). I feel like I have lost him, I feel lonely and alone. We live separately atm as I am trying to sell my house so I can move nearer to him and we can be a family. He is still married which I find difficult, he’s been separated for 7 years but doesn’t have the time or capabilities (due to work) to change things. He has no life but neither do I because I am living and breathing his life with him. I love him, I worry about him, I look after him (buy food for him, do his cleaning, washing etc) as much as I can but I feel like his mother. He is distant, sad, doesn’t have any conversation anymore. He tells me that he loves me constantly, he apologises for his absence in my life. Occasionally I get annoyed, upset with him, he becomes defensive, very angry and aggressive. No one else knows what he is going through. He puts on a false act with his teenage kids, his friends, his parents. I can’t cope with the responsibility I feel that I have for him. What has happened to my wonderful, attentive man I once knew? I need him, I cannot cope. I’m struggling with my own mental health. I feel like I can’t take any more and that I would be better off alone.
This is the third depression I have gone through with my husband. The first two were solved by him getting a new job. Now he is close to 70 and he is retired. Before the lockdown I made him get a part time job and join the gym and go to the wellness center. I felt in time this would help. Now all those places are closed or I don’t think that going is worth the risk of us getting the virus. I have asthma and high blood pressure and he has a heart condition. I try to weigh the pros and cons. I too feel at times that I am losing my mind. I too feel at times that it’s all on me. Working was his refuge, his identity. I get it. I am encouraging him to work around the house and he feels better when he does. But I have to constantly be on his back and I can’t stand it.
Hi. Reading this post and all the stories in the in the commentary makes med feel both not alone and alone. I have been with my husband for 6 years. Most of the time we have fun, talk, travel and cuddle up. But sometimes it is like we are in a black hole with no connection, no fun, no talk. This is replaced by silence and withdrawel, angry comments and blames like I speak condescending to him og see him as a nobody. This, is of course not true. I can get irritated though, but I dont view him this way. But there is no words I can say that changes his view, when we are in this state. We are right now and he doesn’t speak to me and have withdrawn totally. I find myself looking for the right way and the right time to approach this in a manner that keeps us bot whole and our relationship intact. But I’m worn out and heartbroken. I miss him and try not to cry at work. He says I’m the first one to know about his dark thoughts, and I feel it’s like they have befriended him en a weird and unhealthy way. We cant continue like this. The holes are getting deeper and blacker. I know when this hole is past, I will slip into a state of “nice-it-is-over-lets-forget-the-whole-thing-it-probably-wont-happen-again”. I know I’m lying to myself. I know that it is either a depression or bipolar. Hope you have some advice and comforting words for a heartbroken wife that misses her husband dearly right now. – A
Everything you have just said is word for word exactly what I’m going through in really really struggling as well. You are not alone xxx
Thanks Lauren. It is a sad thing not to be alone with, though.
I am going through the exact same thing with my husband. I wish I could offer you something more than to say I’m there too. I made the decision to seek out a therapist to help me learn how to cope. I hope it helps, I really do.
Thanks the this reply. I think I might need some help too. Its getting harder and harder to keep myself together. I’m heartbroken.
I am depressed and I am so sorry for my husband. I know I am too distant, my emotions are fleeting, I am mostly negative…
I didn’t use to be like that…
I want to climb out of this pit but I lack energy. I feel empty most of the time.
I am so sorry for him being stuck with me. So sorry his emotional needs are neglected. But I feel like I can’t change anything.
Arven, thanks for this reply. I guess that is how it can look from the other side of the hole. I love my husband, not his depression. And all I want to do is lift him up from his pit. I know its not that simple.
I feel the exact same way, my husband has been diagnosed with major depression and there are some good times but still a lot of bad. Anything that goes wrong or ticks him off (for example getting stuck in traffic, long line up at the check out, kids misbehaving) he gets angry and blames me for it. I try to stay quiet thinking it will pass and if I say something or defend myself it will just make things worse. I really don’t know what to do, but I think I will try to find a support group.
Stuck in the same hole!😩
This has been so refreshing to see that this is not just happening to me/in my relationship.
We want to be able to help and assist our loved ones, but it is very hard when they push you away and blame everything that goes wrong on you because you are the closest person to them.
I am in the same boat and have been married for 15 years but sometimes lately I wonder is this his depression or is this emotional abuse?
I know exactly what u mean I to am in this same situation.. have u found anything helpful
I am going through the same thing with my husband. He blames me for his depression and tells me it’s me that needs help. He tells me to leave, I have nowhere to go. He is also verbally abusive to me most of the time and says he can’t control it and I should suck it up. I love the man I married, however, I am beginning to feel there is nothing of him left. I try to not upset him, seems that everything I do upsets him,I am lost.
It’s so helpful to read this and see that I am not alone.
We are not alone sister. Me too.
Same with me .
My husband(28) has Autism, specifically Aspbergers. He also has clinical depression. I do my best to not belittle him. I love all these comments but yours rang very true with me. I’m a well-rounded go-getter, I want to DO things. Anything really. One example of ‘him’ is saying I should be greatful he ate that day. Therapy helps him, his pets do too. I am losing my mind. He can’t care for me and I accept that, it’s just hard when the words/attitude/actions sting. I try to always smile and research Depression at least once a week to keep up on new tips ‘n tricks. Understanding myself helps me understand him. I can’t expect that thinking out of him though.
My favorite tip is the “glass-filling until it overflows and you must wait till it goes down’ way of describing miscommunications/approaching after arguments. It helped him visualize things.
My second tip is speaking in “I” instead of “you’s”when explaining how insensitive he’s being. It helps immensly as it isn’t an ‘attack’.
I hope that helps someone/makes sense.
The whole year has stretched us thin. We might become homeless as this is the first month we didnt pay rent… It will be very difficult for someone like him, but I have not once cared for myself this year. I exercise that’s good. I worry about me more then I do him these days. Thank you for taking time to type it helps me understand. <3
Bless you all good luck. Thank you.
I have been with my partner for 13 years. For the first 11, we were doing pretty well. 2 years ago, he lost a father figure whom he loved very much in March and then lost his biological father in April. He seemed to be cooping as well as one could but about 7 months later (November), he broke down. We ended up at a psych hospital and he went through a 7 day out patient program where he was diagnosed with depression and placed on meds. They assigned him to a therapist/psychiatrist and set up his first initial appointments for him. He never followed through with any of the appts. It was always an excuse…too tired, have to work, etc. A few months later (March of following year), we were back at the hospital once again in the same boat. I am not a sympathetic person and to me, going through this a second time was quite ridiculous as you had it all mapped out for you prior and you just had to follow the plan, but he didn’t want to follow the plan. So, we went through the outpatient program once more. they have a 9am-noon program and a 9am-3pm program. My thoughts are if the 3 hour program didn’t work, you should do the 6 hour program, the psychiatrist agreed too. He only wanted to put in the 3 hour days, he felt it was too much. It was his decision, so we let him make it. Again, they put him back on meds, made his appts and again he didn’t follow through with any of it. He coasted along that summer and again in September he was admitted to the hospital. The not eating had taken a toll on his body. All his levels were completely off that he spent 12 days there. They couldn’t even put him in the psychiatric part of the hospital, because medically he was doing so badly. After 12 days, they said they would have to transfer him and the nearby hospital options were not that great. He asked if they would follow the same protocol as the other hospital did (giving him meds, therapy, etc) and they said yes, these hospital would do the same thing. He felt he knew what was best and said to discharge him and he could go to therapy on his own rather than being admitted to yet another hospital and go to therapy there. He and his team agreed on a plan for aftercare and they discharged him. He did the same thing he always does, no follow up with therapy appts and eventually his meds runs out and since he is not seeing anyone, he goes without meds because the rx expires. Now, December he lost his job. Once more, we are back in this same boat. He stops eating for days at a time and now that I am in quarantine due to COVID and working from home, I am stuck with him all day every day. It makes me feel like I am losing my mind! It is August and for 9 months I watch him sleep all day, not shower, not eat.I have told him I need him to try and work on a goal or 2 a day, I plead with him to help me more around the house. I beg him to eat. I fell like I just want to die most days. I don’t want to kick him while he is down, but how many times do you have to go through this? I fear our relationship will never been the same before his illness and it scares me. I feel like I can no longer count on him or trust him. I know he doesn’t chose to be this way. But I have needs and I want to feel and be loved and I do deserve that. When do you walk way? Do you walk away? Do we just need time apart? Can I help him as friend? It is so scary not knowing. I told him I will fight with him as long as I see him trying to fight and putting forth effort, but if no effort is being made…do you continue to live your life unhappy and unfulfilled as you watch someone slowly die inside? I feel like a I a bad person. An uncaring person. A selfish person. Not a good partner. I just don’t know what to do.
I was on the other side of this situation.
Only when I wanted better for myself and actually put in an honest effort. Was I able to change. I had to let go of the victim mentality and make the decision to fight.
I have Bipolar 2, so it’s a little different. But it’s depression all the same.
My advice to you is to take care of yourself. Let him know how you feel and how his moods are effecting you. Be honest but also empathize. At the end of the day he will be on his own. It takes a lot of work and self reflection but he can do it. If he really wants to.
Don’t let him end your life. My wife stuck by me. But it wasn’t until she emotional detached herself and told me flat out “I’m not happy. I don’t know how to help you”. That I took it seriously.
It’s a fine line between being supportive and enabling a persons self destructive Behavior.
Wife and I have a great relationship now. Our kids are happy and productive. I’m thankful for her tough love. Because if I’m honest. I wasn’t happy with who I was either. I was tired of being sad and unmotivated.
This is hitting home for me so much. It wasn’t a death that sparked my husband’s depression but something else, but the same reactions are what I am now going through. I feel like a shit person because he is so depressed and unhappy and I cannot break out of the idea that its all because of me and all my fault. I feel like i can’t bring up my concerns because then its making it all about me, and how dare I do that when he is the one depressed and dealing with hurt i caused him?
He has no motivation, and when I try to get him to do just some small things he gets mad at me that I am babying him, that he is grown and can take care of himself, but he neglects things he needs to do for himself. Sleep does not make depression better. It helps for a small amount of time, but finding joy in something would be so much better for him to feel better.
He raises his voice at me, talks down to me, tells me it is my fault he feels the way he feels but then tells me I need to love myself and go to therapy myself to figure out how to love myself again. It makes no sense to me. I have no depression (other than residual from his) and yet I’m the one getting help, trying to change. All I do is work and clean and take care of everyone but myself and then i get told that I can’t have a hug or i cant touch him when im down because he doesnt want me to.
I feel so alone and I don’t know what to do.
Indian Arcturus says
Hey you are not alone.
I also feel and face the same. My husband has depression due to his Job and had multiple episodes small or long earlier as well. Iam married since 4 years now, in our initial courtship period and after marriage also i thought he gets irritated soon but its ok every individual is different. But it started happening so frequently,he used to shout even if you question him something or something dsnt happen as per his comfort zones. His parents and sisters everybody started complaining to me that iam not taking good care of him thats why we are having differences between us.last year he got transferred to a different state different city and i stayed back at home due to my Job. That whole year he was disturbed,gloomy sad all the time.He came back home on weekends but he used to get angry with me kept on saying you dont understand my situation my job etc blamed me for no reason.recently he got himself transferred back and the department to which he is now moved to is not of his liking and his struggle again started he was not willing to eat or to take bath for days.lost all the pleasure in the things he used to enjoy earlier.and even after staying apart for an year and now also it feels i live alone just taking care of him.Iam working from home, managing household chores too. But all he does is blame me for not understanding him and what not.after a lot of talk he got ready to meet a psychiatrist and is under medication and therapy,but still i feel i have noone for me…to whom i can talk to..he hardly says a word to me..i feel so irritated,it seems even after doing all this,All i get in return is blame …that i an not doing all what iam supposed to do,i dont know why he thinks i can treat his problems.only i can fix him nobody else can.I cry at times cuz i dont know where my life is heading to. All his family members are living in denial they don’t understand that whatever he says against me is under depression.and they also blame me. I sometimes want to tell please i tok want sone love and care from my husband which i never get. He is highly negative and sarcastic,never appreciates anything just find faults.when he was not under depression he used to be such a romantic and caring husband but that all is gone.and what is left is me getting hurt daily but i still hope things would turn better. I should give him some more time but more distant i feel.some days are so bad i feel like a failure But still next day i pull my socks. I dont know how long this would be. But its really difficult to be alone when you have your loved one right next to you.Cuz they are not themselves, they live in their own dark and negative world. I feel helpless and alone. But what keeps me going is the hope that one day he ll be as normal as before.
Wow, I could have written this word for word…my husband has been through treatment 6 times, in the last 3 years, same pattern, and I am numb. No sympathy. Sometimes I think next time I am just going to let him starve himself to death. The thought of being his “caretaker” for the rest of my life is unbearable. He makes NO effort to help himself and I am angry, hopeless and resentful. When he eats anything he wants praise and adoration and I got nothing. I know it’s not his fault, I know all of this stuff, I could teach a class on depression and anxiety, but as another poster said, this is not my universe, this is not what I want to do with my life! If he were fighting, going to therapy, taking his meds, if there was some hope I would be right there. But why give up my life to try to save someone who doesn’t want to live? And how can you stand and watch someone slowly kill themselves? I can’t…so I take him to yet another doctor/treatment center/hospital, start the pattern all over again, and time goes by. But there has been a shift this time and I have decided to fight for me. I will do the minimum to keep him alive, but he is on his own this time, and I have made that clear. I am taking my life back and he can do what he wants with his. He knows what he needs to do to improve himself i.e. eat, bathe, take his meds, go to therapy and it is his choice. I am done living his life for him…I am going to live mine.
I have to share how thankful I am for this article. I’m grateful and my mindset has drastically changed towards my lover/boyfriend. I have a difficult time finding the right words to express my feelings but, I was trying to share with him MY feelings of emptiness that HE was causing because of HIS lack of intimacy, making ME feel not wanted, no longer attractive to him. Thankfully I didn’t get that far into sharing these feelings. I love and care for him deeply and don’t want to “attack/hurt” him.
I typed some of my feelings in the search engine to help me better share this with him in a less invasive way. This article opened my eyes to the selfishness of MY FEELINGS being hurt. I immediately felt a renewed love for this important person in my life that deserves better from me. He’s hurting and needs support not more to be depressed and stressed about. Thank you for in lighting me so I can react in a more compassionate way to a hurting person instead of thinking I know it all and my feelings are all that matter. joanna [at] zoominternet [dot] net
So does it feel like your husband is no longer in love with you or even hates you. My husband of 8 months has been cruel and insulting me saying I have mental health issues, I’m all over the place, I’m unpredictable etc. He’s taken antidepressants long term but seems to have no idea he’s in a deep depression ( I hope that’s what it is or ive married a monster)
My 50 year old daughtet is depressed because she has never found a partner. She sayes there is no point in living if she has to be alone. We have no family left. She is an olly child and her Dad died a year age. Her job isas a caregiver is mentally and physically difficult. She cries and yells and screams at me as to why she should be gone. She refuses counseling. She just screams at me. I has tried everything I can think of. Maybe shs will kill her self at some point. I love her so much. What can I do?
I really hate to admit this , but having an emotional affair helped me to heal and it helped me to deal with the drama at home. Why? Because I felt a connection with someone who was beautiful inside and out. We had a chemistry I didn’t think I could have with anyone else. After decades of being with the same man married ,happy,traumatized, working on things, happy again,depressed, anxiety, etc I just got tired of going in circles. I didn’t know who I was. I rejected any man who spoke to me until one day I just didnt. I figured, “Be adventurous, you have nothing to lose he doesnt know you and this is online so you can block him and forget him” except, I couldn’t. I really liked him and everytime I blocked him, I unblocked him. I craved him. It gave me something I needed…life. I was at a point where I wanted to kill myself but I didn’t wanna die if that makes sense… I wanted to live for my kids but this stranger actually made me wanna live for me also. We had similar interest and come to find out, were the same zodiac sign. That’s was beyond sexy chemistry to me. Do you know how sexy a Virgo finds intelligence to be? Umm. Anyway he was everything that resignated with me and he hid it well. Leaving me things to discover often. His modesty but attention to detail was impeccable. He dressed with perfection and his grooming was superb. He was fit and his smile was almost like a blush. This man made me wanna be better. I wanted to be who I really was with him, not that person I had settled to be with a mediocre lifestyle full of anxiety and depression. Before we would video chat I would make sure I looked like the best me I could. He would always tell me how beautiful I was. But i would take that as a grain of salt because I didnt really believe I was anymore. I had let myself go.. He would catch me off guard at times and I would say,” omg I am looking a mess”. And he would say no youre so sexy. I was so honest upfront with him because I wasnt invested so he knew my age, my martial status and that I had 2 children and a bit of my history. But why did I tell this stranger all this? Because he made me feel comfortable with him. One day I realized I was crossing a line. One that I had set for myself and him. I had already crossed the line of my spiritual beliefs which I tried to justify with,”why is love limited?” or “don’t I deserve to be loved?” Or “what difference would it make if i would just kill myself” but I knew cheating was wrong and I hadn’t Physically met up with this person. I just felt like my husband had already stopped loving me and I wanted my love for myself back. I realized someone else can and will love me. But that line I was about to cross,would’ve been a point of no return. So I said to mr (lets call him) lover boy, ” I think we need to stop talking” we asked why and I felt the fear in my hear as I was replying “because im starting to have feelings for you. ” he told me that he felt the same and that he didnt want to stop talking. I told him. You know that I am married, and He said He knows and He doesnt treat me right. (He wasnt wrong” we didnt stop talking instead somehow we fell in love. But Love is not enough is it? See the younger me would’ve said yes love is all you need, but thats just not true. Love may be the biggest factor,but its not the Only factor and Rationale must line up. Love requires sacrifice and. Sometimes you are sacrificing yourself literally to death and other times you sacrifice your comfort zone. There were factors that rationally made me questions my morals and values. But then I questioned why I even had those morals and values and if I wanted to keep them. He was a different ethnicity than I. He was younger than I and he hadnt experienced the things I had. But that didnt seem to matter to us. He told me we had a mutual friend and after prying it out of him it was one of my best friends. That made things very complicated. Because now we were officially a secret which put even more stress on me. I couldnt tell my bff that me a married woman with children was dating someone like her FAMILY MEMBER young (but grown), and single. I didnt need the extra judgment after my husband had already found out.. One day I was in the restroom and Loverboy texted me. My husband picked up the phone and seen all of our recent messages to each other. He then struck me. I escaped his attack but let him know hes the one who told me to pursue. Which in the beginning he did. But he didnt know it would become serious,and neither did we. This made my husband furious and very insecure with me. I didnt care though because Finally he had been feeling Everything he was making me feel and Finally he realized other people may want me and I had options! I was over his depression and anger/abuse and I was over my depression,hurt and wanting to lash back. I just simply no longer cared. And that’s what scared my husband into wanting to work on our marriage. He realized I was no longer gonna take the crap from him that I realized I have more worth to discover and that no one else will love him and put up with all his crappy abuse and mental issues like I have as long as I have. He had let himself go. In sooo many ways it literally disgusted me. His words made me sick and his drinking and marijuana habit had taken a complete toll on him. He knew I was no longer that same girl he met when we were teens. He realized It was him I loved but wanted to be free of the pain I felt in that reality. So we agree to try and move forward. But what about Loverboy? Oh,I really did love him. He was a good friend. He made me feel special and when my husband would hurt my heart he would kiss it. When my husband wanted sex and just wouldnt turn me on intimately 1st, he would get me there. And even at times say , “Now go Fk your husband” lol its so not funny, but it really is hard to spread eagle for someone who didnt even invest in intimacy with you before intercourse. See I think I fell more for Loverboy before he did for me at 1st. I had more of the need and he grew a need for me. I realized when I really believed he finally had fallen in love with me despite the other many times he said it. There was a moment in which I knew he loved me. So as far as Our love for each other goes, We have love for each other and it continues to grow. Lover boy helped love me back to health and intune, helped my relationship with my husband and others. But I really tried to completely let Loverboy go and I just couldnt. I had crossed that line of no return and so now I love 2 men so much. One I have a beautiful history with and the other O want to build a beautiful history with and I dont want to hurt either of them but theres no way to have my cake and eat it to so I decided the one that makes me happier I want to be with bit at the same time I want to stay in a good place with the other. Especially for the kids.. My husbands better and I dont wanna risk him defaulting but he needs to stand on his own two feet and allow me the freedom to love without being hovered over. My husband chose to become better . But it was a little to late. I waited so long until I couldnt anymore and I chose me. Its not fair to be emotionally available to someone and them to you and yall fall in love, only for you to return back and ditch what healed you for what broke you just because they are now better. Yes theres a lot to consider and one day my children will be all grown up and have beautiful lives. I just want to be fully happy and love for as long as I can and have a fresh start . I know maybe the grass isn’t greener on the other side but I have options and Im not choosing Loverboy,Im choosing me and right now hes good for me and if that stops, I will leave for myself & I will still thank him because he taught me that rather he knows that or not. I choose me. When a partner has a mental disorder then their spouse develops one to. Its the only way to cope and deal with the different personalities they display and it hurts us. We already have our own crosses to bare in this life. We cant carry theirs for them as well! If you all wanna help your loved ones get professionals involved and get yourself someone to confide in. I know many of you wouldve chose differently than I have, bit fact is you dont know the history in full nor the hell Ive been through. Furthermore thats the beauty of all of us being different and making our own choices. Im content with myself 1st as I was when I 1st met my husband and I will be content and cordial even single. Loverboy isnt perfect and in fact his parents tried to marry him off. Didnt happen and he is currently dealing with grief at the moment which led me here. But Even though he needs some time to get through what hes dealing with, I am going to support him in everyway he needs me to as he did for me. That is Love! Not you dealing with your own issues &supporting your spouse and when you need it you are abandoned because they have issues,No! That my dears is called neglect. And it will lead you to finding your “loverboy” who may not even love you and just add on more pain and stress and you dont need that! Furthermore the guilt that comes with you doing things out of desperation and needing emotional , physical and mental connection. You all deserve better and if you took vows for better or for worst , realize. That if hey are refusing to help themselves or you,they themselves have already broken that same vow to you. Dont gibe up on them bit definitely do everything not to give up on yourself even if that means leaving them . And if you are like me with kids. Be strategic and PLAN TO LEAVE. Give the (in your head) that much time to get their crap together and if by the time you’ve got it figured out,they are still that way,do what’s best for you and especially the kids and Go! You will be doing more damage to the kids allowing them to grow up in a toxic environment than you would co parenting or being the nest parent you can. Be encouraged. Loverboy helped me to het back to a healthier me and I hope that my words help someone else.
… The best thing you can do for a depressed lover is call them out on bad behavior that comes with the territory of being depressed and make it known that you love them. Its hard to see any of the bad or inappropriate things you do for yourself while depression still has a big hold on you. Its like addiction in that respect. Only after you find a med that works or therapy etc will you even have the ability to look back on actions you took. While depressed your minds natural defenses so to speak keep you from seeing anything wrong with your own actions and thoughts. Your not broken , your not a bad person, you deserve happiness just like everyone else. Find a med or therapy or whatever that works. There’s no one size fits all for depression. Just gotta go through trial and error process till you have that (holy shit moment) and you actually feel in control of yourself again. I’ve seen it happen to the one I love. I drew my line , I made it known that she and our kids meant everything to me, but the hurtful things she would do or say to me during depressed bouts were not ok and the self destructive things she was doing while blinded by her depression were hurting her as well as me. Thankfully she decided to try something new to help her. And it did! I cant stress enough to not look for fault once you do find what works, meaning , once your heads clear and you see things differently than when depressed. Don’t dwell , it was a dark time you lived through, nothing more. Then move ever forward knowing you found what works , and will never go back to that frame of mind that kept you in such a dark confusing place.
Heartbroken Hubby says
My partner is depressed. We’ve been together for 6 years and nothing i can say or do will help. Everything will be fine for weeks and months then all of a sudden something will happen and she will just be cold and wont talk to me. She’ll be distance which i give her but it can be days and weeks till she says sorry. She wont talk to anyone wont take meds wont tell her family and i’m typing this with our 2 kids playing next door and me wanting to pack my bags and leave. I’m on meds and i’ve spoken to people but she never does. I’m lost and i dont know what to do.
im so sorry.im dealing with the same .My husband has had me on an emotional roller coaster since this covid 19 lockdown began in march and its been very difficult…to say the least. Im holding out but barely.we have two young children together and I’m caring for them solo 95% of the time from the moment they awake to the moment they fall asleep at night and most timed daily he is not at home.in fact it’s sunday and he left the house at 7pm and returned 12:03 am to socialize he says…i cant remember when last we were happily in eachother’s company without him sending emotional attacks my way…it’s hard.he cant regulate his emotions and blames me for the state he is in. today while looking at his garden plot he said to me at random that he doesnt think im with him out of love and im just caught up in the idea of being with a nice person.i m think thats such an ungrateful things to say. we have been together since we were 20 (im 32 now) ive given him my best years, support all his efforts even when he sunk mine, sacrificed so much to be with him, including live in with verbally abusive in laws for 3 years, and hearing this hurt me. Ive dealt with literal abandonment for a full month even after our 1st child,with no real explanation. i forgive freely and he makes judgemental statements that i would forgive anything,,,taking stabs at my past relaationships, its so hard to keep ur guard up around him so it hurts when there jabs make their way into seemingly jovial conversations.that scanario u described abt ur kids playing outside and u wanting to back ur bags…it resonated with me.i know ur still there because u genuinely love this person despite the hurt but above all ur still there because u have a strong sense of responsibility.Be strong and take the powerful message from this post.love yourself treat yourself…in a way that doesnt have to be damaging to others too.i visited the spa it helped my mood…expect it to faade when ur back in ur spouses company but it will help u cope.
Tired Heart says
I am in the same exact state. About 10 years, 3 kids. But complete denial of any good. Narcissistic tendencies, borderline personality tendencies. Some days he is amazing. Most days he is a ball of negativity, insults, disrespect, hypersensitivity. I loved and supported him through more than any woman I know would…but I feel more unappreciated than any woman I know. The amount of pride and lack of accountability is surreal. Tried counseling, worked for a while..then back into his ways again. He intentionally hurts and retaliates if he feels ‘disrespected’…which could mean having a simple disagreement. Always says I involve the kids, even though I have been the one to save our marriage from his destructive behavior for as long as I can remember. I am so tired. Affection from him feels forced and robotic, I used to yearn for it, now I cant stand it bc it feels so fake. No emotional connection. He will leave and abandon us for a whole day, block phone calls and messages, over a disagreement bc he felt ‘disrespected’, even though he would be the one that would use foul language. Just constant attempts to blame me. I find solace with God, and my kids. I can only pray things change soon.
I want to start by truly thanking you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to write this, im literally in tears of almost relief that I finally found something that damn near resembles exactly what im going through. I’ve been trying to choose for almost a year now and its destroying all 3 of us. i love them both for different reasons and i can’t imagine my life without either one of them so I find myself stuck in this rut. Thank you again your story helped me alot and was truly inspirational ❤
This is so similar to our situation. I was in midst of feeling balanced (Lost over 80lbs, hubby of 14 years didn’t even notice.) Of course ai unintentionally sought attention and honestly that other man is one of my dearest friends now. He saved my marriage at that time, although it took time for husband to truly see my perspective throughout his “complicated grief”. Although here is it 3 years later and we are still dealing with the fall out from his choices during that time. Like quiting his job of 23 years and not discussing it. Taking his retirement full of penalties and us having a major accident that supported us. So now Every tax man wants his dues, and I feel my hands are truly tied. I can help once he gets certain processes started but legally it was all in his name with me just a benofactor and unable to withdraw from those accounts. Yet he blames me often. I love this man and often question what to do. Reading this reminds me that this is his form of depression showing its ugly face and hiding my husband away. Thank you, because to be honest until I read this as I sit an hour before our 17th wedding anniversary, I really began to try to emotionally try to disconnect myself and find my inner strength. However my reaction is that of a reaction to the depression I assumed we had worked thru before.
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! perhaps it will be your words that helped reassure my marriage for a new other 17 years
I appreciate this post, the comments and hearing others stories this journey is more than isolating and it helps knowing others have weathered the storm as well. I fear that I’m in the beginning of a long unknown journey and from where I stand I’m losing hope that it will work out well.
My husband and I have been married for 8 years as of last month. Which sounds longer than it feels at times. We had two children under two years, unplanned. While we always planned on having children, I definitely wanted it more and it would have been a deal breaker if we didn’t. The past 3 years becoming new parents has been a whirlwind and challenging at best. And we’re now a couple years into this battle with depression.
Looking back there we’re definitely red flags with anger, abuse and outbursts. I didn’t realize they were early signs of depression. I think the stress and strain on our lives, finances and marriage after having kids triggered his depression. He had a very traumatic childhood and upbringing so I have no doubts that having children has trigged a lot of subconscious issues.
On good days, he’s a wonderful husband and father and I deeply long for those days. On other days he’s angry, isolated, withdrawn and just wants to sleep. A year ago, I had to hospitalize him for being drunk & trying to self-harm. It was an incredibly traumatic experience for the both of us but especially me as I had to be the one witnessing his behavior, reporting it, being a single parent of two VERY young children for 3 days and dealing with the aftermath. He has since been on a low dose prescription and immediately after the incident was doing talk therapy. He didn’t like the therapist, the cost or the commitment and felt that it wasn’t for him. He’s now turned off of the idea of finding a new talk therapist.
Since then we’ve had good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, even good months and bad months. But still the journey continues and I’m losing hope. Since Covid things have gotten worse with his depression. He was drinking too much, spending all of our money online (while drunk), and anger/lashing out got worse. He blames me for his depression, for the way he feels and constantly threatens divorce. When he’s not working, he spends all of his time playing a video game on his phone because he doesn’t have the energy to engage with his family. It seems that the weekends are worse when the family obligation on his is highest.
After several bad weekends and episodes. He finally reached out to his doctor, to express that the medication wasn’t making him feel any better and she simply added another medication to go along with his anti-depressants. I don’t think any of it is going to make him more emotionally available but I’m also desperate for something to improve.
I’m not a firm believer that medication works without doing work – talk therapy, exercise, eating well, etc. we started dieting, taking vitamins, and exercising daily this week and he said that he was finally feeling better & everything seemed to be improving.
I know things doesn’t happen overnight, they don’t change in a week. It’s a longer process that requires constant effort. This past week gave me hope, until the weekend came.
Another small disagreement today triggered another chain of reaction. Anger, lashing out, criticizing me, blaming me, threatening divorce, then sleeping all day and not speaking to me. I told him we couldn’t afford divorce, even if we wanted to and that decisions shouldn’t be made until after quarantine.
But I just don’t know what the “right” thing to do is – when he’s lashing out. He doesn’t care about me or my emotions. I don’t want to fight or fight in front of the kids. He has no boundaries when he’s like this and I feel like I have no control. Do I try to engage? Do I respond to his threats of divorce? Do I take him seriously? Respond in the moment to anything he’s saying? Do I let him sleep all day or encourage him to interact? Do I leave?
I’m a stay at home mom caring for two kids under 3. We’re living in one of the most expensive cities on a median income. And no family nearby. There’s not many options for anything – for separating, for divorce, for paying for therapy, not even affording date night. Not to mention the added stress of quarantine.
I no longer know how to navigate these interactions or how to make things better instead of worse. I don’t know what my expectations should be. I don’t know if things will ever truly get better.
For now, I just keep focusing on diet, vitamins, exercise and hoping these healthy practices will get us to a better place, eventually. Just in need of a little advice to get through the other parts.
Thanks in advance.
Yours is a tough situation. I feel for you. One big takeaway from the internet research I’ve conducted is clearly defining your boundaries, what is an isn’t acceptable to you. Ultimately, you have to look after your kids and yourself. Your kids are very impressionable right now. Things they see and hear now very well could impact their adult relationships.
If he is depressed, keep in mind it is an illness. He is not right. The internet is filled with recommendations of how best to deal with someone who is depressed. See if any of those work. Getting him to exercise and eat right are high on the list. The boundaires piece is paramount. For me, emotional or physical abuse is a red line. A respectful relationship contains neither.
If you don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, I would begin to explore opportunities to stay at a women’s shelter, returning to family, staying with a friend, etc. Don’t become a prisoner of your environment if it is emotionally and physcially unsafe.
Danielle, I stumbled upon your comment (and this lifeline of a website) after yet another sobbing collapse, feeling yet again like my sanity is turning to dust, after yet another bout of irrational, paranoid accusations and pure hatefulness spewed by the terribly depressed, childish, angry, self-pitying alcoholic who has replaced the soulmate I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with. I don’t know which way is up anymore, and it is harder and harder to find positivity and hope. Increasingly, I doubt that he will ever get help. Shameful as it is, at times like this I feel only an overwhelming urge to get away from him and his black hole of misery, and just keep running…but for so many reasons, logistical and deeply emotional, I can’t give up just yet. Anyway, while I hate that someone else is going through this living hell, I related so much to your post and just wanted to send a virtual hug and tell you you’re not alone. I am thinking of and rooting for you, and all others feeling at their breaking point.
Elizabeth – your post brings tears to my eyes, I relate to every word so much right now. It’s so impossibly hard to live with, witness and be crushed by. Bless you.
Danielle – I can relate to you so much as well. The seemingly okay days upended by some small thing triggering an enormous and unyielding rage. Trying to make things normal for the little kids. Watching our beautiful children hum by while my husband sleeps or sinks into his iphone screen for hours, no energy or desire to engage with us. The drinking as a coping mechanism and denial that it’s hurting anything. The anger, the irritability, not knowing how to navigate it and walking on eggshells constantly. I feel desperate as well. Thank you for sharing—this is such a lonely painful journey for us spouses, and helps to feel less alone.
Ladies I’m right here with you in the thick of it. Mother to a fantastic toddler and wife to my childhood sweetheart who has suffered with depression for several years. I’m fed up of being dragged into miserable arguments that aren’t even arguments, just accusatory statements worded to bait me into arguing back and then have my words twisted to imply he is always at fault. I’m so acutely aware that my son is picking up on this unbearable tension and he has already told his grandparents that daddy made mummy cry 🙁 I can’t love my husband better and he refuses to show interest in therapy for himself and us as a couple. I feel consumed and overwhelmed by his misery, anger, malice and displeasure. The more I consider leaving I start to feel like I am building a wall of divorce, brick by brick, between us both. Something that seemed to unfathomable when we got married now seems like something I wouldn’t rule out. Strength to you ladies xXx
I never have commented on anything online in my 39 years, but I have to reach out. I’m so sorry you’re all dealing with this. I’m sorry I am too.
Charlotte, I could have written your post, it’s so similar to my experience. These non-fights are so unbelievable and their impact on me so embarrassing, I can’t even tell anyone about them.
I don’t know how to love someone I can’t trust. I struggle with how to care for someone whose primary symptom is lashing out at me or disconnecting about the house, keeping us edgy and quiet.
Often, he’s actively yelling, sulking, panic-apologizing (e.g. if I say “brr I’m chilled,” he freaks out, apologizes profusely, and asks if I’m saying he turned down the AC too low or asked for a sweater he never retrieved, terrified – because I am such an abusive tyrant, somehow?). When he snaps out of it, he apologizes, but it’s mopey and sad, head hung sorry and let’s move on, order pizza?
Should I get over his accusations and words and behavior, if he “wasn’t doing well”? I have. We’ve been together 17 years, and his depression got bad about 5 years ago and has since oscillated between okay, bad, and worse. Our 7-year-old girl will adopt his phrases sometimes when she wants to be difficult: What did I ever do to you? Fine, I don’t exist. Iiiii just want to have a good day!
It. Is. Heartbreaking.
How do I teach my daughter both self-respect and compassion? Boundaries and unconditional love? My father was abusive, and he yelled all the time. I shut down when voices are raised. But my man keeps doing it. (He was never like this before, but gentle as they come.) My father passed this April, and I told my husband that I was now a fatherless woman, and no one was going to yell at me. Ever. Again. I was not going to tolerate it.
He has actually worked on it since then, which is first time any improvement or effort. But then he blows, and there goes my trust, and I feel like garbage about myself. Sigh.
I feel very alone and not alone too. Much love, and thank you for listening and sharing.
Thank you for this site. I have a depressed spouse. After many years of him being so angry and eroding our relationship, I finally came to realize it is depression.
Busy all the time says
Reading all of the posts, is so familiar with my experience. Every time my husband, or as I now feel this abusive stranger living in my house, falls into a deep dark mood, it escalates into unimaginable pain for me. My escape is walking, I try desperately not to react to the emotional abuse and name calling. Like many of you, I too feel like I too am going insane. I constantly surprise myself with my resilience but also ask why, and who would willingly accept the type of behaviour issues. If it was a child they would be considered to have serious behaviour problems. But a fully grown man seems to fall into the cracks. Leaving partners and wifes to deal with the fall out. I feel hopeless and despair and think unimaginable bad things are going to happen. Living with depression is worse than the depression I think.
my fiancee is also suffering from depression. we got engaged in February. everything was perfect till mid march. she told me she was in a relationship with one guy for 3 years and got break up 1.5 years ago but somehow those memories bounced back in march and her behavior with me changed. the worst part is that in july her Ex got married with another women. she can not accept this and blaming herself for this and do not want to have a marriage.
i do not want to leave her at the half way and at the same time i do not want to ruin her life by marrying her because if she marry with me without getting attached with me then there is no point of this marriage.
and if we do not marry then she will not marry for her life and her life will be hell.
Ive reached the end of my rope and don’t know where to turn. Im so tired of burdening my friends and family with this that I need to turn to someone who understands and has experience, so here I am.
My husband has been struggling with depression for about 6 years and has been on medication for 1 year. He has gone to therapy and we have also gone together. Still, nothing changes. It seems only to be getting worse. I have been supportive of him this whole time, listening, offering advise, setting boundaries, and trying to remember its not about me and its his responsibility to find the right kind of help. I cant “fix” this.
But, Im drowning. My emotional needs are not being met, and haven’t been met for a very long time. Last night he told me he cannot be emotionally available to me when I finally broke down and told him how I feel. It breaks my heart and I feel so alone and isolated. Im not sure what to do with that information, do I stay and continue to “hope” he finds his way and we still have a relationship left to salvage when that happens? Or do I go, and mourn the loss of a wonderful man but find myself again?
I love him dearly and I think I am strong enough to handle this most of the time, but it is getting harder and harder to stay afloat. I feel my world is getting smaller and smaller and he has said he no longer wants to participate in the things we enjoy together. These are the things that we both have found help him. We have 2 kids and he has stated he doesn’t have the energy to spend quality time as a family. He wants to be alone, to be left alone, to not be included in plans or even to be asked if he is interested. Im so scared for what this means.
I don’t know if im looking for advise or just to be heard. I imagine this is a familiar story for most of you.
Thanks for listening, and if you do have any advice, I would love to hear it!
It sounds to me as though you are in a terrible place and you have all but lost your husband through no fault of your own.
My wife is going through depression and trying to destroy our marriage in the process and I can identify with your sense of hopelessness at what seems to be something you cannot solve but have tried to for a long time.
You don’t say how old your children are and whether or not your therapy sessions are ongoing.
I completely identify with your need for emotional input as my partner is unemotional at the best of times and cold as ice when she gets into a depressive state.
It sounds to me as though he needs a serious shock because he doesn’t seem to care about anyone but himself and wallowing ion his moods. Whether he can help it or not. The medication is obviously not working and the therapy is inadequate if it isn’t addressing your needs too.
You absolutely have to look after yourself and go and enjoy yourself otherwise you will shrink as a person – easier said than done I know.
He is going to have to find his own way out and you might be able to shock him into action by suddenly finding plenty to do without him or separating for a while.
Us blokes have very thick skins and it has taken my wife walking out on me for me to see how I have let her down and without such a shock I probably would have continued making excuses.
When I got depression I didnt recognise it and went into myself for several years but I snapped out of it eventually. That relationship didnt survive and probably wouldnt have in anycase but I will never know.
This time around it wasnt depression but men often need an almighty kick up the pants to wake up and smell the coffee.
If he has it in him he will find a way back to you but you cant hang around being sad and so unhappy with your life becasue your unhappiness will not help him either. It feels like all the responsibility is on your shoulders in this situation and there is no quick solution to that but you can bare it whilst trying to have fun and make a life away from your husbands illness. That way may lie a cure for both of you,
I am going through a very similar thing with my husband of eight years. He’s been on depression medicine for ten years and when we met he was attentive, romantic, wonderful. We tried having kids but we couldn’t, so it wound up just being the two of us. But we were happy.
Fast forward eight years and I’m married to a man who has these episodes where he doesn’t speak to me, or is cruel and dismissive, or drinks more than he should, or criticizes what I do, or is as cold as ice, or withholds intimacy and sex…Or all of the above!
And the episodes are becoming more common. I’ve spoken to him about it and somehow he throws it back at me, and makes me feel bad about myself. I’ve broken down in front of him in tears and begged him to go to the doctor. He says he will but hasn’t yet. And I cant force him. It’s been a nightmare. And this had been going on for at least 3-4 years, and getting worse.
I wish I had some advice for you. I’m on here looking for just that, but I hope to be of a little comfort to you to know that you’re not alone. There are more of us out here struggling.
And I will say, that finding something that makes you happy, taking care of your needs and doing your own thing are important and helpful.
I go for biweekly chair massages at my nail salon, throw myself into my work and meet with friends when I have the energy (because depression is draining and not just on the person who has it). I even went on several trips overseas without him, with girl friends. Not my first choice but I love to travel and I do have fun.
He seems fine with it which is sad on the one hand for me because it’s like he’s doesn’t care. But, actually, I think it’s a relief for him. I think it takes some pressure off of him. He sees how his episodes make me unhappy and I know he feels guilty for that.
Anyway, I wish you the best. I will be looking for counseling for myself, and will be hoping for brighter days. I wish the same for you.
What ever happened? I am in a very similar place….
I would love to know what happened too as it could have been me that wrote that.
Me too. 10 years of bliss followed by husband quitting his anti depressants because they gave him a false positive result during drug tests at work. Fast forward 6 years.. . I get glimpses of his true self but now it’s mainly a wall of silence, no physical affection at all, and constant cruel put downs. Now hes started to criticise me in front of friends and family.. If i try to respond or discuss the situation, i get shouted at a told how stupid I am and that it’s MY fault he gets angry. up until reading this thread, I was starting to believe his insults. Now I realise that not only am I NOT alone but all of you are wandering in this dark place too. I have hope now! I am actually about to try alternative therapy on him. This is my last attempt at trying to pull my best friend out of the hell we’re both experiencing. If it doesn’t work, I have to find the strength to walk away because this toxic situation is killing us both. Hes unlikely to spontaneously get better !
its more likely that he’ll completely lose any respect for me that ever had because I’m allowing him to carry on like that. I’ve always put him 1st, and vice versa up until he quit his meds.
I know it’s a chemical imbalance that needs treatment. He cannot get better without treatment and i will continue to be the focus if his illness until i dissolve too. My friends have finally persuaded me that I must rebuild myself in order to be the person I used to be too. Rather than the bitter victim that I’m becoming. I feel like I’m dying. I feel like if I don’t do something positive right now I will dissolve away completely. The girl HE fell in love with wouldn’t have accepted this crap. Would any of you fallen in love with your partners if they’d treated you like this back then? I have One grain of hope left thanks to finding this forum. thank you for your bravery in speaking out. You all deserve better. This is like fighting for your life. I hope all of you find the strength to remember who YOU were before this happened and that you reclaim that. We all need to breathe deep and decide…. is this how we imagined our lives would be when we were kids? What would we say to a friend in our position? Our hearts are already broken, so why wait to lose self respect, self worth, our spirit and our ability to look in the mirror and see life in our eyes. I sound brave, but I’m utterly broken right now. I’m choosing to walk away from the cliff edge if I fail in this last attempt to find my best friend again. Too many bloody tears.
Hello, hopefully I can get answer since this post is kind of old but here goes nothing. Me and my best friend dated for almost three years and they were amazing. It was so full of love and support and beautiful energy and there probably at two and a half years we started getting involved in new people, I started making new friends and he lost his job so I was working and paying the bills until he found a new one. I could see that it was all going down hill. He fought more. He would go stay at his parents. And he broke up with me. It was devistating. I pictured my whole life with this man. We got together a couple days later but only lasted a week. He wanted to experience things and other people. He wanted to be on his own and share his love not just with one person. It was very hard on me and still it. I lost a couple of friends because of it because they took advantage of him in this stage. He had a couple of kisses while we were broken up but he slowly made his way back to me. Admitted to me what had happened with other woman which hurt but we weren’t together. Now we’re kind of back in the same routine but I can see he’s hurting. He still feels like we need a break sometimes. Sometimes every once and awhile we’ll drink and he’ll get so angry. Say he’s leaving and never coming back, says he wants to kill himself and says I never listen to him which I do. What you said on your article in parts explains so much how he’s acting. Why he’ll be sweet and will tell me he sees a future with me but he’s unhappy and needs time to work on himself. Another thing that makes this harder is I’m not in a happy home. We’re both still unemployed and he hasn’t really looked for a job. We both live with out parents now but my mom can be very emotionally abusive. I’m not really sure where to go at this point. I love him and I’ve tried giving him space but he feels bad leaving me alone without many friends and with my mom. So we’ve distanced ourselves. Only see eachother every couple of days for a few hours but do you think this will help? I’ve been taking time to take care of myself of course but I don’t know how to help him. He won’t see a doctor. He drinks a lot of coffee and alcohol with his friends. I know he can only help himself but how can I help nudge him to take care of himself?
It’s a very tough situation and any advice would be greatly appreciated ❤