My husband has what I'd call a "depressive personality." When he was younger, he saw psychiatrist after psychiatrist after psychiatrist and tried every depression and anxiety medication out there. Nothing helped, and he actually felt a lot better when he wasn't taking anything for it. So I don't think he has clinically depression -- he just has a down-in-the-dumps personality. He frequently complains of being exhausted, never feels rested after sleeping, and claims to never enjoy himself no matter what activity he does. I've always tried to help him by encouraging him to look at the positive side of things and stop negative self-talk, and he's recently started complaining that he feels exhausted by trying to constantly improve himself in this way. I also think that he sabotages himself to an extent. For instance, when he complains that he never learns anything new or does new things, I encourage him to think of something new he'd like to try. Then he says that he can't do anything because we're saving for a house. He also says things like "it's amazing I'm not an alcoholic" and "it's amazing I'm not using drugs."
I have two major areas that I'd like some advice in. First, what can I do to help him? He does not want to try medication or see a therapist. Second, how much of his troubles are my responsibility? I admit that I have a controlling personality, so he feels like everything is "my rules." Of course, from my side, I see it as me trying to help us save money, have a more organized house, etc. I'm frustrated from worrying about him and trying to find a way to help him be happier. I'm also a little sick of the fact that he's wrapped up in his own problems and never seems to think about my needs or appreciate me. When I ask him to do things that make me feel valued like asking about my day, he gets flustered and anxious about not being good enough for me and then we end up talking for an hour about his emotions and I end up feeling resentful because again he's turned things around to focus on his problems. What should I do? Thanks.
my first thought was the "debbie downer" character on SNL....
i understand that gets old fast, I have a friend like that and I limit my time with her.... I just don't need to be brought down like that.....
at 2nd glance, I'd like to suggest that your husband is self-centered.
one other thing.....has he ever had a sleep study done? I'm wondering if he has sleep apnea. That will cause someone to not feel rested after sleeping, be tired all the time, etc, because the brain isn't getting enough oxygen....something to think about.
There is an old saying which goes like this: "Nobody can be a prophet in his own land". Perhaps no amount of your talking will make him change or at least encourage him to do something. I really don't mean to sound pessimistic, but it's also true that you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped or would rather stay stuck. So not even a therapist would be able to help him.
Nevertheless, not all is lost. When I read the word "melancholy," which is not an everyday word, I was reminded of the four classical temperaments, as devised by Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. One of them was the melancholic. You can find information about this on the net. However, in our current times, this kind of typology lost most of its credit, and very few professionals still work with or believe in them.
However, some time ago I was talking to a man (from the Old School) who still used this ancient typology to help people to cope with disease and emotional issues. He associates the four temperaments to a few concepts from Traditional Chinese Medicine, and his approach is therefore a very original one.
To make a long story short, he believes that if a person eats and drinks and lives and works according to the needs of their temperament, they will lead a very balanced life. For instance, a melancholic (if your husband is really one) can afford to eat sugar and drink coffee, but should avoid wine, bananas and potatoes. The list goes on and on. His best activity (job) is one that allows him time to think and meditate about the future. He hardly lives in the present, but mainly daydreaming and in the future.
I would recommend your looking into these subjects (the four temperaments and Traditional Chinese Medicine - TMC) to see if you can find ways of coping with this kind of personality (your husband's) and to see if you can get him interested in these things too. Maybe he will find in one of these fields some hope and ways to live a better life, without medication and therapy. In otherwords, he would be his own therapist.
I think you are doing a lot to get him going, but he is still reluctant. You admit having a controlling personality. Maybe you, too, have an imbalance in your life and are not following the path of your own temperament. Try to find some balance in your own life and maybe this will be perceived by him as a positive thing and encourage him to do the same.
In other words, "help yourself and let your example inspire him rather than your words which he hears as a sermon."
If nothing works, maybe it is a real case of incompatibility.
Thank you both for the advice. I think working on myself is really good advice -- people do tend to get stuck in patterns where one feeds off the other, so perhaps my achieving more peace will help him as well. A sleep study is something I've definitely considered, and I would like to do it as soon as we have the money to pay for it. Thanks again.