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Old 10-12-2006, 02:24 AM   #1
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partner HB User
My Wife is Depressed

Hi,

Not sure what I'm doing here, but I really feel the need to talk to someone, so I hope you dont mind if this comes across as a bit selfish.

My Wife has been suffering from depression for about twenty years (we've been together for over 15 years), although it was only diagnosed within the last five years.

There doesn't seem to have been any specific trigger, but she came out of her teens with very poor self-confidence and a tendency towards periods of sadness. It's difficult to say whether much has changed, as it has always been difficult to get her to talk about it at all, but it appears to have got worse in recent years. She spends most of her time in complete denial that there is anything wrong, although even when she is not depressed, we have no sex life to speak of and she spends most of her time on the outside looking in at life rushing past her.

She doesn't get dperessed very often, but when she does, she doesn't realise what is happening and if I can get her to talk about it when she's down, she's pretty much incapable of doing anything at all about it.

In a nutshell, that makes life pretty tough for us both, as when she's depressed she's too depressed to do anything about it, and when she's not, she's in denial that there's anything wrong.

The lack of love in our relationship (and I do mean love and not sex) makes me so sad at times that I really just want to find a way out. Before she was diagnosed with depression I got terribly down myself as I couldn't understand what was happening, and came close to suicide at one point, which scared me mainly as it seemed to be a rational, sensible way out of my situation, but I'm well past that now.

I've considered leaving her, but we have a beautiful 8 year old daughter who I adore and I simply couldn't bring myself to leave her - my Father left home when I was 10 and I have no desire to put myself or my daughter through that experience. To be honest I also feel that I'm not going to let my wife force me to miss out on my daughter growing up. That makes me wonder if leaving her might be the one thing that would force her to deal with her illness - am I actually being selfish by not leaving her.

I hate myself for even considering leaving her, as I know that she's ill. I woudln't leave her if she had Cancer - only a real ******* would leave someone because they were ill. There's also the fear that she may do something stupid if I did leave, although she's never given any indication that she feels that way.

She has no joy in her world.

There's very little that I can do to help her. Over the years I've learnt that she will react against any suggestion that I make and make it even less likely that she'll take steps to help herself.

All I can do is hug her when she's down, try to help her distinguish between the genuine worries and the fears fueled by the depression and hope that one day she manages to find the strength to deal with her illness herself.

A few years ago, after I almost dragged her to the doctors, she started a course of Prozac and the change was remarkable. After a month or so, I had the woman I married back. She was warm, and kind and loving and caring and I was happier than I can remember being. After a year or so, she decided to come off the tablets, partly because she felt that she didn't need them, partly because they gave her terrible night sweats and partly because she never felt 'herself' on them.

The downside of being on Prozac was that it allowed her to completely pretend that everything was OK, so she didnt' spend any time developing coping strategies while she was up and clear, but just reduced and then stopped taking the prozac, even though her doctor had advised against stopping.

The end result is we're back where we were. In some ways we're better, as she is more aware of what's happening when she's down, but she's still pretending that everything's ok when she's not down, so nothing seems likely to change.

She's very down at the moment - she was watching a TV programme about a celebrity with Manic depression and genuinely resented him for having the 'ups' that he has.

Sorry for going on about this - just needed to get that out. Is there an organisation called Depressed Partners Anonymous anywhere out there?

 
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Old 10-12-2006, 03:12 AM   #2
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dead_5tar HB User
Re: My Wife is Depressed

I don't think there is much help for her untill she comes to terms with it herself. denial is very common, and in a way i guess she doesn't really understand what is going on with her. All i can suggest is that you talk to her about it and try and get her to understand that she has an illness and it needs to be treated otherwise it will only progress into something worse.
I also think that you should be a bit wary about your daughter. My mother has been depressed since i was about 11-12 years old and still suffers from it now. I think where i was so close to her it effected me also and now i battle from spouts of depression.
I don't know of any support groups for people whose partner is depressed, but i'm sure if you take a look on the internet you may be able to find some sort of support.

Please don't feel as if leaving her will be the way out for you, or infact her. It will only make matters worse. Whether she shows it or not, i am almost certain she needs you around and she needs needs your love, care and support. Make sure she knows you are there for her.

 
Old 10-12-2006, 05:14 AM   #3
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Sannah HB UserSannah HB User
Re: My Wife is Depressed

Partner, you really understand what is going on, you sound like a wonderful husband. Dead5tar is right, your wife's depression is going to affect your daughter. Maybe if you discuss this aspect with your wife it will encourage her to get counseling so that she can change. There are people posting all over this web site whose mothers have depression and they are suffering now too. Children learn so much from their parents from problem solving, social skills, outlook on life, etc. Does your wife want your daughter to be someone who takes problems head on and solves them or someone who falls victim to whatever comes along. This relationship isn't fair to you either. You are not being selfish. You have thought long and hard about this situation and you are considering all affected. Your wife needs to step up to the plate and help herself, though. Keep us posted and good luck.

 
Old 10-12-2006, 09:33 AM   #4
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missedthemark HB User
Re: My Wife is Depressed

Partner,
I know what you're going through. I'm not depressed myself, but I have a girlfriend who I love with all my heart that is severkly depressed. All you can do is be there for her and when she is willing to listen, encourage her to go to the doctor. It has to seem like it's her idea, otherwise she will dig in her heels.

I know it's tough. The things we do for love. Hang in there, things will get better.

 
Old 10-14-2006, 03:19 PM   #5
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Stroma HB User
Unhappy Re: My Wife is Depressed

Hi,
I think your wife may have a condition called dysthymia,this is also called chronic depression.It is called a low grade depression but the effects on personal relationships can be devastating.It causes emotional numbness and if left untreated is as serious as major depression.
Has anyone else come across this illness?
My husband of thirty years felt so unwell that he left home three months ago and has just been diagnosed ,but he is unsure as to whether this is an accurate diagnosis.His sceptical reaction is typical of depression, although he acknowledges that his behaviour is odd.He in fact has completely changed, is now totally self focussed and is unable to see the 'big picture', regards his life.He just lives from one day to the next.

I just pray that his treatment starts to kick in soon but it seems to be taking forever.

 
Old 10-15-2006, 06:37 PM   #6
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sistermama HB User
Re: My Wife is Depressed

It is difficult to be the partner of someone who is depressed. I'm in this situation myself and not quite sure how to deal. The worst part may be the horrible guilt and selfishness you feel for struggling through it, when you know your partner has it so much worse. Depression is difficult on everyone.

My boyfriend is having a really difficult time these days and I just dont know how to fix it. Or make it a little less painful at least. He won't take meds or go to therapy, and I worry about him being safe with himself sometimes. I hate to see him hurting and I just feel so helpless.

This is all a little foreign to me and right now I'm just trying to understand what he's going through and what I can be doing to be supportive.

 
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