I have clinical depression, always have on and off.
With all the stress going on, it has gotten really REALLY bad. No need to worry, I am not going to haul off and kill myself, and I am getting help. I do have a lot of stressful things going on in my life right now, but absolutely nothing to merit this despair and angst. That’s what makes it so embarrassing- on a rational level, I know it doesn’t make sense. I’ve got a great family, great husband, great friends, great parish; we own a house and we’re making ends meet despite my lack of a job. I just can’t seem to feel good. The only thing keeping my from laying in bed all day is going to daily Mass each morning.
How can I help my husband cope with my condition? He is worried and angry and resentful. He walks around all evening with his lips pursed, and seems less mad at me when I am acting depressed, and calls me bipolar when I try to be positive or think of something fun for us to do.
I’m terribly sorry to read this…I will have you in my prayers.
My mother had clinical depression. My parents passed away when I was a kid…I recall my dad feeling a sense of loneliness…looking back at it now. He and my mom tried to be happy together, but her depression definitely stood between them. Of course, though, he did not blame her for her illness. He was there for her, and I’m sure there were times when he would have wanted to give up the marriage, but he didn’t. I do remember them arguing…because what he probably felt was a form of grief over losing the wife he once had…your husband might be feeling this. Of course, I’m no doctor, but I remember my sister, who is 13 yrs my senior, remembering their conversations…and how he longed for his ‘old wife’ back. Perhaps, that is what your husband is feeling…a sense of grief, missing the ‘old’ you…but the thing is…clinical depression is not anyone’s ‘fault.’ No one asks to be depressed…Perhaps, talking with your husband and sharing what I’m telling you might open the conversation doors for him to understand where you are coming from–and will show him that you are wanting to help him cope, too.
When a spouse is depressed, sometimes, a marriage can become literally depressed…but, through talking…taking walks together…maybe taking some small steps to relax together…you and he can maintain a connection. My mom and dad did this…my mom had some bad days, too…and he just let her be. He was there for her–but without his faith, he wouldn’t have been so strong.
On another note…do you exercise? I have read that people who are clinically depressed, can truly benefit from weight training, and just 30 minutes of brisk walking, daily. I believe it’s the seratonin levels in our brains that are lacking when we are depressed…clinically or otherwise. Just curious. I don’t mean to pry…just asking, and trying to help.
Does your hubby understand depression? Has he ever seen anyone to help him cope w/ your issues?
My husband is being evaluated for a variety of things and it has helped me greatly to talk to my own therapist. She’s good at suggesting ways to deal with his behavior. Also at reminding me that how he reacts and behaves is not my fault. —KCT
Men are, by nature, “fixers”. So, when they come across a problem that has no easy solution, they get frustrated. Often that frustration comes out in the wrong ways and they themselves don’t know how to handle it.
Having a chronic illness that affects my life in every area is VERY hard on my husband. I have had many years to come to terms with my limitations and to accept them and not keep searching for the “why” of it. But my hubby has had no experience with chronic, longterm illness and is still learning how to deal with it/me.
It would really help if he would seek out support for “caregivers” and talk to other people in the same situation…but, maybe one day he will. Do you think your hubby would get help in dealing with your depression? You already mentioned that you are “getting help”. Well, if he believes that you two are truly “one body” then hopefully he’ll see that it is only rational for him to get help too.
I am so sorry about this. I wish i had some answers to help your DH cope with all of this, but I dont. here’s a few more things that may help you though. get a hobby or volunteer. I know, I know, you dont feel like it, but do it anyway. it will help you feel worthy and productive. this is especially important while you are not working. force yourself to look at the positive things going on around you. its spring! take advantage of all the newness outside. make a list (seriously, write it down) of the beautiful things going on. keep it with you and refer to it often. pray, pray, pray. I will pray for you also, and Im sure others here will also. Please keep us posted.
I could come up with many excuses as to why I don’t exercise- they’re all pretty pathetic:rolleyes: . Asthma, arthritis, shin splints- but they never stop me when I actually want to do something. DH guilts me into skating with him once a week, but the price went up and our funds are down, so I feel guilty either way. Now, if I had a boat and could go water skiing every single day… there’s a way to get me exercising!
Seriously though, even if you could just go for a walk. I honestly think it would do you wonders. Getting out in the fresh air and hopefully in the sunshine… it certainly couldn’t hurt, could it?
One thing you said though … you have a great family, nice friends, husband… house etc… almost as if you have no right to feel depressed? I think depression is like any other illness… you have no real control over it - other than to do what you can to make yourself feel a bit better (medication, excercise, prayer etc.) but even if you do everything right, you might still suffer with depression. It may just be your cross to bear and IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT - please don’t think for a second it is.
I had a nervous breakdown three years ago, so I know what you’re going through. Make sure to take your meds and go to counseling. My husband, too, was confused about how to handle the situation but eventually came to understand that I could not help it and could not hardly help myself.
The main thing to do is to take your meds, counseling, pray, and remember that there WILL eventually be deliverance as long as we try to pray our way out. Jesus is there for you.
I’ll pray for you!
I have had depression for the past 2 1/2 years. I know how awful you feel. It sucks! My family didn’t know how to handle it. I don’t think people understand that you aren’t this way because you want to be. You can have everything and still feel depressed. You need to make sure you are staying on your meds…they take a few weeks to work…and just talk about it. No one understands what it feels like unless they have actually gone throught it. If you ever need to vent or get something out pm me. I know what you are going through…I’ll keep you in my paryers.
I suffer on and off with depression. The funny thing is when I should be exercising and eating well and trying to sleep well, I just can’t. Depression makes it very hard to do the things you *should *to get over it, it can be a never-ending cycle. The only person who can get me out of it is me-yet I am the least motivated person to help. I know that the prayers of others are very important-I find it hard to even pray in this state- I will pray for you.:gopray2:
My husband and I have both suffered from forms of anxiety and depression… so in that way we’ve been able to really understand what it’s like for the other. With that said, there were still many moments of not fully “getting” what the other was going through… so even with experience, each case of depression/anxiety is unique.
I think the biggest thing is recognizing when you’re having a good or bad day… and communicating that. It may be due to a stressful situation coming up or a poor night’s sleep… or you may be feeling pretty good after a stressful situation has been relieved or after a decent workout (as others have mentioned, exercise is a great relief!)… it can vary from day to day.
Try to keep a journal of your experiences… what leads up to a “good” day… and what can cause you to spiral down to a “bad” day… and communicate that. Sometimes having that basic understanding can help…
You’ll be in my prayers. I do understand your pain…
I must admit you are the last person I would have guessed would be afflicted with depression! I know it isn’t the same, but several years back I went through post partum depression and I learned a few warning signs for when things were going to go from bad to worse quick. If you can avoid those, it does make coping alot easier. First, never let yourself get too hungry!(keep snacks around if you need to) Try to come up with excuses to walk places rather than drive… for me it was gas money because telling myself exercising would be good didn’t work. Never let yourself get too lonely. I used to arrange to grocery shop with a friend just to have contact with someone other than my husband or kids. Not only did arranging a weekly trip with someone force me to be around people but it also forced me to shower, change into fresh clothes, put on my face and when you feel like you look better, you feel better about yourself. Definitely take any meds you are prescribed… that might be just enough to get you over the hump enough to start things like exercise (endorphins are good!). I also signed up for ceramics classes. It feels good to have something to look forward to.
Thanks for the idea about the journal, Em, and BlestOne for the advice about hunger and camaraderie.
Part of the good day/bad day issue is that my husband grew up in a volatile household. His mom was addicted to prescription meds, and on “good days” when she hadn’t taken anything, his parents would insist everything was fine, only to have the situation spiral downward again within a matter of days. When I have a good day, he thinks it is all make believe and becomes very angst-filled that I am pretending to be OK.
I like the walking idea, but unfortunately DH thinks it is dangerous. Once I was super mad at him, got out of the car, and started walking home. He was almost in tears when he caught back up to me and picked me up. (He got us cornered by a pushy salesman at Best Buy, left me there by myself while this guy said his piece, and then was mad at me for looking at appliances we actually needed.) He’d never tolerate me walking or biking to any of the shopping areas within a mile or two of the house. I would totally do it to save gas money otherwise.
Maybe since the weather is getting better he will take a walk with me this afternoon.
**vluvski… **As someone who has had depression since age 10-11 (am now 34…so that is 23/24 yrs living with it) I can say that as others have stated it would be good for your husband to learn how to cope with your depression. That way he won’t feel so helpless and angry towards you.
Unfortunately, those closest to us have a harder time dealing with how depression is affecting us and them… I will be praying that you and your husband both get the support you need on how to handle things from both ends.
Depression is a “lonely man’s disease” that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy…
For me when I get people arounding me telling me to be positive or why can’t I be happy as if these are some “magical words” that will cure me… I tend to get very frustrated and upset. Even at CAF in past threads I have gotten alot of the same responses… oh well…
Anyways, I find that when the depression is doing a real number on me the best thing for me to do is take a nap (or a “Siesta” as us Latino’s call it)… Read the most boring book you can find til’ you drift off to sleep and you will awaken more revived and fresh.
Never ever make any decisions when the depression has got your nerves all worked up… just sleep it off. Trust me… it works.
If things don’t improve with your husband then maybe both of you can do a retreat… Isn’t there a couples retreat called Cursillo?
Maryam, thanks for the suggestions. I think the opposite is true for me. When I’m depressed, I could sleep all day just to avoid having to face my bad feelings. The feelings are still there when I wake up, plus I feel guilty for not having accomplished anything.
It really complicates treatment since the same symptoms (ie depression) can have such different causes and cures in different people.
Yes, we’ve made an appointment for two weeks from now. He’ll be on vacation next week.
I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but I’m mortified at telling our priest. I thought I was going to throw up after I called to make the appt. It’s pride, I know, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of an illness, but still.
I’ve had clinical depression off and on for at least 10 years. My first episode was in college. The most recent was when I lived in one of the biggest and nicest houses on my street and had everything I wanted. Clinical depression has nothing to do with how “happy” your life is/appears or how successful your career and family is. It’s a chemical issue, and stuff won’t help you avoid it or get over it.
People may tell you to “snap out of it” or “pull yourself together”. They don’t understand. Those people may have felt depressed for a short time, like after the death of a spouse. It’s not the same thing as clinical, chemical depression.
Please don’t feel the least bit embarassed! Depression is so common.