For people who have struggled with a spouse who has mental or emotional problems that have hurt the family - can you help me figure out how to deal with behaviors that look like back sliding?
My husband seems to have dysthymia (chronic, mild depression), and has an appointment tomorrow to be evaluated for this. He also seemed to have double-depression (more severe depression on top of his normally depressed state) last spring and summer, but by the time I was able to convince him to go see a therapist, it was already starting to clear up and no diagnosis of major depression was made.
Anyways, he went through a really bad period last summer. REALLY bad. I don’t really want to get into it, except to say that if he’d continued in his behavior I would have needed to pursue permanent seperation or civil divorce, at least until the kids were older, as it was already affecting the children quite a lot in a mere matter of months (he is a stay-at-home dad, which is why it had such a large effect - he is the main parent in their lives). It was an anomoly, and not at all normal behavior. He is normally kind, humble, patient, and loving, and truly a joy to be a friend and wife to. We got couples counseling, and it jolted him enough to get him to take responsibility for what was happening before I had to take severe actions, and he returned to being a good husband and father. Obviously, this is the short version
Anyways, for those who have been through something similar - how do you help your spouses keep it together? I’m seeing signs of him heading that direction again - really, really early signs, but I’d rather be pro-active on something this important. I want to say something, but am worried that saying something too soon could be discouraging. What I’m seeing is mainly increased frustration with the children and less control of his temper with them and especially with me, but mainly in isolated incidents. The rest of the time he is very well behaved and really trying hard, and he usually seems subtly contrite afterwards (he’s not the type to apologize). He’s also doing less around the house without prompting again, although he’s very helpful when asked. I feel like a direct confrontation right now could be overkill, especially since he’s going to be seeing a professional tomorrow (finally!).