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Old 04-12-2004, 09:48 AM   #1
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Help with Husband

Hi, I believe that my husband is really depressed. (so does he actually), but he won't go and see someone. he says he knows whats wrong, yet he can't really talk to me about it, and doesn't seem to able to do anything about.

can anyone advise me on how to help him, and how to get him to a doctor?

 
Old 04-12-2004, 11:12 AM   #2
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Re: Help with Husband

Quote:
Originally Posted by babynoek
Hi, I believe that my husband is really depressed. (so does he actually), but he won't go and see someone. he says he knows whats wrong, yet he can't really talk to me about it, and doesn't seem to able to do anything about.

can anyone advise me on how to help him, and how to get him to a doctor?
Hi, babynoek. I'm sorry for the pain and worry that you & hubby are facing right now.

A poster recently described the same problem you're having, except that poster was trying to find a way to help her depressed nephew. Please read that thread to see what was suggested. Hopefully, you'll be able to find help there.

The thread you need is still showing on the current page. I believe it has a blue "question mark" next to it. It's the one posted by "splink" & is titled "How to Get Someone to get Help?". Good Luck! Fox

 
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Old 04-12-2004, 11:48 AM   #3
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Re: Help with Husband

thanks Foxbluff,
i did go on and read the thread, i guess i just have a different situation where I am not actually able to talk to my husband that way about therapy. as soon as it is mentioned its like i've asked him to commit a major sin. he aggressively responds by letting me know that he doesn't need to talk to someone, he knows what the problem is.

so i don't really know how to convince him to even consider it. i certainly could not print out information for him to read, or buy him a book etc. etc. as he would just throw it away. he would not even consider looking at information like that.

 
Old 04-12-2004, 12:57 PM   #4
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Re: Help with Husband

Quote:
Originally Posted by babynoek
thanks Foxbluff,
i did go on and read the thread, i guess i just have a different situation where I am not actually able to talk to my husband that way about therapy. as soon as it is mentioned its like i've asked him to commit a major sin. he aggressively responds by letting me know that he doesn't need to talk to someone, he knows what the problem is.

so i don't really know how to convince him to even consider it. i certainly could not print out information for him to read, or buy him a book etc. etc. as he would just throw it away. he would not even consider looking at information like that.
Sorry you weren't able to pick up any useful tibbits on the other thread. Since you can't use the word "depression" w/him, try using the words "sad" or "unhappy" when dealing w/him. I must have missed something here...have you ever asked him pointblank what's bothering him? What his problem is? or have you just assumed that when he said "I know what the problem is" that he was referring to depression?

If he won't answer you, then get the CBT book for yourself...you're going to need it!

 
Old 04-12-2004, 01:36 PM   #5
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Re: Help with Husband

i have tried using the other words etc. etc. (i've been depressed myself, so i think i'm pretty sensitive when i talk to him.)
Yes, I ask him all the time what is bothering him, he is the one who admitted to me that he was depressed, and we talk about what is bothering him etc. etc. he knows that he is miserable, and says it out loud all the time. the thing is that he when i ask him or bring up going to talk to someone he is totally against it. he has a family history of serious depression as well, which concerns me of course.
he knows all the things that are making him miserable at the moment, and i use the word miserable because he uses it, but he can't find a solution or a way to deal with these things. most of which, he doesn't have to deal with on his own.
i'm not sure if i'm making much sense here. i have a few worries with regards to this as he wants to make some major life altering decisions, and i don't believe he is in the right state of mind to be making them. we have been through this once before, and he quit a job (which he regrets) while in a similar state. he hasn't forgiven himself for that either. i don't want to be in that situation again. for him or me.
what is CBT?

 
Old 04-13-2004, 08:02 AM   #6
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Re: Help with Husband

Thanks for clarifying the situation. You're making good sense! CBT= Cognitive Behavior Therapy. You can google that to learn more. Billy, Elana, and others on this brd recommend a book by Sam obitz titled "Been There, Done That? Do This!" Best of luck! Fox

 
Old 04-13-2004, 09:09 AM   #7
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Re: Help with Husband

Thanks, I'll look into the book.
What I'd like to know is why I should be getting help, when he is the one who needs it? I'm not saying I don't. but it seems so odd to me for me to be getting help, and him not to be? does that make sense?

 
Old 04-13-2004, 10:08 AM   #8
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Re: Help with Husband

Quote:
Originally Posted by babynoek
Thanks, I'll look into the book.
What I'd like to know is why I should be getting help, when he is the one who needs it? I'm not saying I don't. but it seems so odd to me for me to be getting help, and him not to be? does that make sense?

Okay, let's admit that all the advice I've offered here is useless. I'm sorry that I can't help w/your problem. I will repeat, however, that if he doesn't seek help you will be depressed. You did say, didn't you, that you had suffered depression in the past?

I should probably run for the hills here rather than making you endure a useless, flight of fantasy w/me. I'm envisioning a wife whose friends are asking lately why she looks so down. She's mentioning this to her husband in passing. Later she voices her concern that she's depressed, too. Maybe a friend suggested that the wife get a copy of a remarkable new book that will help how she views things. Maybe the wife trots off to the library and gets a copy to try and help herself. (under no circumstances does she even hint that the book might help him, too) Hopefully, he won't throw out a library book that his wife checked out to help herself! He sees her reading it for several days. With huge luck, he might ask her if it's helping or what it's abt? Or maybe after several days of seeing you reading it just for yourself, you might be away while he's home alone w/the mystery book & he might take a gander at it. Not likely, I know, but then flights of fantasy never are...

 
Old 04-13-2004, 12:29 PM   #9
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Smile Re: Help with Husband

Hi,

Depression is difficult to deal with because sometimes even if the person you want to support ADMITS they are depressed, characteristically it's hard for a depressed person to be motivated to want to do something about it. Some people don't understand that when depression is involved, it can completely change a person - making them appear mean or stubborn or indecisive. That's just part of the illness. If you spouse is getting angry at the mention of talking things out or addressing his illness, you can better understand why if you understand that that sometimes is the nature of the beast.

Unless your husband is hurting himself or others, or is referencing suicide, there really isn't much you can do to MAKE the other person get help. And that puts you and other family members or caring friends in a frustrating spot because then you feel helpless to do anything about the situation. That causes more anger, or even guilt.

There ARE things you can do to provide gentle support to yourself and your husband, but ultimately your husband needs to get to a place where HE recognizes that he needs to do something for himself.

1. You may want to stop asking him what's wrong all the time and/or asking how they are feeling or doing. Sometimes a depressed person may not KNOW what's bothering him or her. Sometimes a depressed person does not know how they are feeling, or don’t want to be reminded that they aren’t doing their best. Instead of coming across as a caring and concerned question, it will begin to come across as badgering and will point of contention. Change it to something else, like “Hi, what’s up?”, or “Hi, what are you doing?”.

2. You may want to stop asking what you can do to help. Many times a depressed person is so overwhelmed that they may not even know where to begin to ask for help, or may be too angry or frustrated to request it. There are subtle things you can do TO help, without it coming across like that.

Along those lines, if your husband appears to be making quick decisions that are not in his best interest, you may try something like, "why don't we revisit this another time, when things don't seem so daunting?". Or just a simple, "Maybe this isn't the best time to be making this decision". You get the idea.

3. You may want to go ahead and make an appointment for your husband to speak to his doctor or see him for a check-up. Granted, your husband may not follow-through and keep this appointment, but sometimes a depressed person is too ‘tired’ or drained to make appointments for themselves, so set up the initial appointment and just let him know about it. Leave it up to your husband to decide if he wants to go or not, and when you set this appointment up, make it with this in mind (let the doctor’s office staff know what’s going on).

4. There is an excellent self-help group called Recovery, Inc. Many cities and towns will have at least one active group running somewhere. If you do search on this name, you will be able to locate a group near your town. There is normally a $3 donation fee, but you will not be turned away if you cannot afford it. I would call them and ask for a brochure, and then simply give the information to your husband to read at his leisure. For some people, any kind of talk about counseling or self-help groups can lead to embarrassed feelings, so don’t push it. Your husband can choose to check out a group quietly, or with you in attendance.

Speaking of counseling, people hate to be pushed. It’s no use trying to push someone to get help, get counseling, or take an anti-depressant medication if they’re not open to it or ready to try it out. Constantly pushing it will only cause angry or resentful feelings. You may want to get the name of a reputable counselor and give him the information – maybe at some point he would want to try an appointment.

5. Depressed people aren’t children, so your husband should still be consulted on all issues, and treated like an adult, even if he isn’t acting like one at times. Also, with depression comes low self esteem, so he may not feel worthy of adding input or making good decisions. He needs to know that despite the situation, he is a well loved and liked person, whom you are attracted to and love very much. Don’t stop joking with him!

6. Help yourself! Depression isn’t “contagious”, but its effect on one person can affect a relationship or an entire family. It’s good for you to make sure that you are being supportive without feeling as though you’re drowning, yourself. It’s easy to forget to “live” and that there is a “world outside” of living with a family member who has depression. Grab some counseling for yourself if you need a place to vent or feel secure. Take time to smell the roses yourself, and enjoy your hobbies and friends. It’s too easy to feel guilty that you’re NOT depressed. And remember, when a depressed person is yelling at you, or accusing you on being or doing something that you’re not, it’s just their anger and frustration coming out; try not to take it personally or give it back. That’s hard to do sometimes, I know.

7. Sometimes depression can be severe; a person can “give up” on themselves and life. They may take to bed, stop eating, stop showering, stop dressing. They may not be able to offer anything productive to conversations or the household. They may have no sex drive, no sense of direction, no feelings for much. It’s very scary to watch someone you care about go down that road. Not only does the person seemingly change, but everything around that person seems to change, too. I feel that although you have no control over another person (a person will do what a person wants to do), it’s important to maintain some level of checks and balances to ensure the well being of a person suffering from depression: You don’t want someone to completely stop eating - you want to make sure that you regularly check in on someone who has taken to bed – you want to make sure that necessary medications are still be taken – you want to make sure that perhaps someone is not left alone who is going through a very dark time – you want to keep in touch with necessary doctors – you want to make sure that a bit of sunshine pokes through drawn shades – you want to see if a walk in the air might be desired – you still want to include everyone in events and conversations and dinners – you get the picture.

Be gentle and kind, to him and yourself.
Be supportive, but not pushy.
Be caring, not critical.
Just love him.

 
Old 04-13-2004, 02:00 PM   #10
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Re: Help with Husband

Hi,
thanks so much, this was really helpful. it helped to remind me of what i went through/go through, and also really helped me to think about how to deal with him.

if you don't mind i do have some things i'd like to comment on, and would also like feedback on.

Yup, thats pretty much how i feel. Frustrated coz i know I can't help him, and very guilty. (but the guilt is of course complicated.. as is everything in life.)
that puts you and other family members or caring friends in a frustrating spot because then you feel helpless to do anything about the situation. That causes more anger, or even guilt.

aah, now i like to be able to say that i can honestly say i don't do that. i know better. yay, one thing i do right!
my only problem is he claims to know how he is feeling and whats wrong... but he won't talk about it. how do you fix something if you don't talk about it? also, he seems to believe the solution to all problems is moving to the west coast.(just a little background, we live just outside NYC, he used to live in San Diego and he has a sister there, and all his close friends.)
1. You may want to stop asking him what's wrong all the time and/or asking how they are feeling or doing. Sometimes a depressed person may not KNOW what's bothering him or her. Sometimes a depressed person does not know how they are feeling, or don’t want to be reminded that they aren’t doing their best.

ok yay, another thing i am doing right. i recently stopped doing that. i don't think i can. i believe he has to find a way to help himself. i just wish i could help him.
2. You may want to stop asking what you can do to help. Many times a

well.. he isn't doing that. he is actually extremely cautious. but, he wants to move to CA, which he has always wanted. I'm not against it, I just want it to be something that he decides in the right frame of mind, so that he doesn't regret it and can't say it was another stupid decision on his part.. or mine. I've tried to say to him that I don't think we should be making major decisions now, but he doesn't like to hear that. He thinks its me trying to get out of going.
Along those lines, if your husband appears to be making quick decisions that are not in his best interest, you may try something like, "why don't we revisit this another time, when things don't seem so daunting?". Or just a simple, "Maybe this isn't the best time to be making this decision". You get the idea.

ok now this one i have been thinking about. Is it worth it even if he refuses to go with the Dr's suggestion for help, or for medication? Is it worth him probably being embarresed by the situation? In other words, I don't want to make things worse for him. (In general, I do all of the administrative type life things for us - make appointments, balance the check books etc. but that's only because of the business he is in. he is unable to be on the phone during office hours etc. so i do it all. )
3. You may want to go ahead and make an appointment for your husband to speak to his doctor or see him for a check-up. Granted, your husband may not follow-through and keep this appointment, but sometimes a depressed

thanks i will look into this.
4. There is an excellent self-help group called Recovery, Inc. Many cities

I've actually only mentioned it a few times to him, but i really appreciate you saying it, because it reminded me of a time when i needed to go, and was really frustrated by those pushing me, because i wasn't ready. I'll be more sensitive to it now. thanks.
Speaking of counseling, people hate to be pushed. It’s no use trying to push someone to get help, get counseling, or take an anti-depressant medication if they’re not open to it or ready to try it out.

OK good. 'coz he is still very involved in all of that, and in fact I am trying to get him to go with me to an appointment with our leasing agent tomorrow.
5. Depressed people aren’t children, so your husband should still be consulted on all issues, and treated like an adult, even if he isn’t acting like

hmmm... my mom mentioned this today, but i didnt' take it very well... hmmmm. i think i see a pattern. I was concerned that he would take it in a bad way if i went for myself, and without him. any thoughts?
6. Help yourself! Depression isn’t “contagious”, but its effect on one person can affect a relationship or an entire family.

OK, he isn't this bad. He is still going to work, a new job he recently started in the same industry, but he is not enjoying it. I'm trying also to get him back to the gym. He used to be a professional athlete, and he was extremely active up until a few months ago, so I'm trying to get him back into that routine, but his hours are quite bad at the moment.
7. Sometimes depression can be severe; a person can “give up” on themselves and life. They may take to bed, stop eating, stop showering, stop dressing. They may not be able to offer anything productive to conversations or the household.

 
Old 04-13-2004, 02:31 PM   #11
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Re: Help with Husband

Hi Foxbluff,
I missed this message

I can't agree with that, it has been very helpful! Honest. And yes, I have been depressed in the past, and I went for counselling. The last time ... although who knows maybe its still happening... I did not go for help.
Okay, let's admit that all the advice I've offered here is useless. I'm sorry that I can't help w/your problem. I will repeat, however, that if he doesn't seek help you will be depressed. You did say, didn't you, that you had suffered depression in the past?

Nah.. that was before... when I didn't go for help.
I'm envisioning a wife whose friends are asking lately why she looks so down.

hmmm... well I dont see him asking about it.... (I'm a big book worm so I'm always stuck in a book. ) but i do think he would page through it if i wasn't there. great idea. i'm going to try that. thanks. do you think the book will say "don't move to california until your head and heart are in order?" that would be nice.
out to help herself! He sees her reading it for several days. With huge luck, he might ask her if it's helping or what it's abt? Or maybe after several days of seeing you reading it just for yourself, you might be away while he's home alone w/the mystery book & he might take a gander at it. Not likely, I know, but then flights of fantasy never are...

 
Old 04-13-2004, 04:21 PM   #12
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Foxbluff HB User
Re: Help with Husband

Quote:
Originally Posted by babynoek
do you think the book will say "don't move to california until your head and heart are in order?" that would be nice.
Oh, yeah, sure, that's going to happen!

 
Old 04-14-2004, 08:19 AM   #13
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Wowwweee HB UserWowwweee HB UserWowwweee HB User
Re: Help with Husband

Good Morning,

You state, “My only problem is he claims to know how he is feeling and what’s wrong... but he won't talk about it. how do you fix something if you don't talk about it?”. Again, you can lead a horse to water…..constantly asking him what the problem is won’t make things better. He needs to come to you to talk, or needs to decide to talk to an objective party (ie., doctor or counselor). Or maybe he’s trying to sort things out internally, and needs some time to do this. Sometimes people don’t want to talk about something out of embarrassment or hardship. Maybe he’s done or had thoughts about something that he’s not proud of, or maybe it’s a physical issue that he feels embarrassed to be open about. Or maybe his frustration in “life” (you mentioned he’s looking for a job or location change) is causing him angst. My advice would be to let him know you love him and are there to listen to him, and that you are willing to work together on whatever issue(s) he needs to resolve. Something like, “I can see whatever is on your mind is truly upsetting you. I’m here for you in whatever way you need to help you and us get through this together, so when you’re ready, just let me know if you need a shoulder or an ear or something else”.

You state, “…well.. he isn't doing that. he is actually extremely cautious. but, he wants to move to CA, which he has always wanted. I'm not against it, I just want it to be something that he decides in the right frame of mind, so that he doesn't regret it and can't say it was another stupid decision on his part.. or mine. I've tried to say to him that I don't think we should be making major decisions now, but he doesn't like to hear that. He thinks its me trying to get out of going.” Of course no-one likes to hear that their ideas aren’t ‘good’ or that it’s ‘not good timing’. Your husband probably already knows this deep-down. If he brings up this topic, it’s clearly on his mind. You may try something like, “I think CA is a great idea! I think we should put a plan in place and work towards that goal”, and then break this goal down into steps, like cleaning up personal, financial, house, and career issues first. Support the CA move, only let him know that you would like to make sure that everything is in place first, and let him know that sorting things out and getting ready for such an impacting change takes time and a good thought out plan. This way, you’re not discouraging him, but you are slowing things down.

You state, “Is it worth it even if he refuses to go with the Dr's suggestion for help, or for medication? Is it worth him probably being embarrassed by the situation? In other words, I don't want to make things worse for him. (In general, I do all of the administrative type life things for us - make appointments, balance the check books etc. but that's only because of the business he is in. he is unable to be on the phone during office hours etc. so i do it all.)”. YES, it’s VERY worth it. Again, your husband may not be up to even thinking about making decisions, let alone appointments to take care of himself. So, be the enabler in this situation and make that first move. Again, I wouldn’t put much emphasis on it – make the appointment, inform the doctor what’s going on at home (YES – demand to talk directly to your husband’s doctor, NOT the nurse or the receptionist), and then provide your husband with the appointment date and time. That’s all you can do, but deep down your husband will appreciate it and if he goes to the doctor, will probably benefit from it.

You state, “…I was concerned that he would take it in a bad way if i went <to counseling> for myself, and without him. any thoughts?”. Maybe your husband will take this as a way of you getting better before him and moving on – or maybe he would be angry that you are able to do something for yourself when he isn’t in a position to do that for HIMself. You could try something like, “I think a little objective grounding and guidance would be good for both of us. I understand that right now counseling may not be an option for you, but I think I will check it out for myself – this would be a good way for us both to maintain healthy emotional habits, especially during this rough time at home”.

You mention that you are “trying” to get him to go to the gym and resume a more active routine. Stop TRYING. Gently encourage him on occasion – “hey honey, how about a walk?”. I wouldn’t even mention the gym. He knows it’s there, and will resume that kind of activity when he feels ready.

Try some fun, low things: for example: you mention that his work hours are screwy right now. So, pack him a lunch with a cute silly note written on a napkin. Or, when he comes home from work, set the dinner table with a fresh flower or two. If his work days are horrible, go rent a movie that he likes, pop it in, and eat dinner picnic-style in the living room. Meaning, that you can’t “silly” a person out of depression, but the little touches can mean a lot to someone feeling out of control with their feelings. Little things can mean so much. Holding hands in the movie theater or at the store, getting up early to fix breakfast, a foot rub when you’re both watching tv. A hot shower together before work or when you wake up…you get the idea.

You say you also have experienced depression. You know how difficult days and night, and even moments can be then. You know the importance of staying grounding and not taking on someone else’s depressive habits. It probably is a bit draining for you to put a bit more effort in the little things, especially if your husband is taking his frustration out on you on some level. But once you’ve been there, it’s easier to put yourself in his shoes, because you’ve walked in them too.

Take good care.

 
Old 04-14-2004, 10:27 AM   #14
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Re: Help with Husband

I was in a very similar situation with my boyfriend of several years. As you know, when there are two committed people, the deppression of one partner becomes an issue for both. I found myself so affected by my boyfriend's struggle, that I sought counseling for myself, to deal with my helpless feelings and worries about him. This really helped me to understand his position and better talk with him about his feelings. I did not hide the fact that I was talking to a counselor. I shared my experiences with him and things that I learned. Eventually, he became curious and less defensive about going to a counselor. He eventually agreed to go with me to a session to check it out and he even began going on his own.

I think it is true that in order for people to get help they have to want to. So, my main suggestion is to give yourself some help in dealing with your response to your husband. It could end up helping you both.

Good Luck,
kwjb

 
Old 04-14-2004, 10:46 AM   #15
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Re: Help with Husband

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxbluff
Maybe a friend suggested that the wife get a copy of a remarkable new book that will help how she views things. Maybe the wife trots off to the library and gets a copy to try and help herself. (under no circumstances does she even hint that the book might help him, too) Hopefully, he won't throw out a library book that his wife checked out to help herself! He sees her reading it for several days. With huge luck, he might ask her if it's helping or what it's abt? Or maybe after several days of seeing you reading it just for yourself, you might be away while he's home alone w/the mystery book & he might take a gander at it. Not likely, I know, but then flights of fantasy never are...
Fox-
This was exactly what I was going to say/suggest! Some people take the offer of help as an affront but as soon as they are alone they are desperately looking for something to help them but do not know where to look and feel they have to keep their search for help hidden from others as admitting a problem is tantamount to being a failure in their eyes. Now if they see someone they love reading something that seems to be helping them it is human nature to take a peek, in the same way that when someone leaves their diary out most people cannot resist at least a peek at it
Babynoek-
CBT is the way to go in my opinion and the Obitz book is a great intro to CBT and only takes two hours to read the entire book. Go to the library and check it out and then make sure he sees you reading it and leave it all around the house, in the kitchen, by your bed, in the living room and especially the bathroom so he has the option of locking the door and taking a look at it without fear of being "caught."

Good luck!

Billy
__________________
Don't expect anyone to help you, if you won't help yourself!

 
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