How Not to Deal With A Depressed Wife
My husband has a set way of dealing with the bumps in the road of life:
1. Ignore it. It will go away.
2. Get angry with it.
3. Make a joke about it.
4. Repeat as necessary.
These techniques do not work when dealing with the bump that is depression. They especially do not work when the depressed bump is me.
I’ve had episodes of depression since 1977. I suffered with post-partum depression after my daughter was born. At that time it was just “baby-blues” and not much was thought about it. Difficult financial situations, the rigors of working full-time, caring for home and child and that my husband had to travel for his job, all took their toll.
During the years between my daughter’s birth and 2004, his techniques for dealing with life were accepted and somewhat dealt with by me. After all, I was busy! Since my depression came and went and wasn’t really interfering with my own life, his attitude, his inability to communicate on any quality level didn’t really cause me much concern. You can get used to anything after awhile, I think.
During the intervening years, as our 401K’s, retirement funds, home equity, credit, and quality of life were decimated; my depression became deeper and permanent. His way of dealing with me and life never wavered. Numbers 1 through 3 are in constant rotation. Getting angry with a depressed person will only cause the person to become more withdrawn, more hopeless and increasingly angry. My anger is ever present and many times irrational. Living with a depressed person can be trying for the most
compassionate, understanding human being. But if you lack empathy and you cannot/will not try to understand what the sick person is trying to cope with, getting angry or dismissing the person’s condition will only produce more resentment and anger.
If you joke about depression to someone who is sitting at the bottom of the abyss, they don’t really get it. I can’t tell you how many times his silliness has made me consider punching him right in the nos. After trying to get across the seriousness of any random situation I might encounter, his attempts to lighten the atmosphere isn’t well received – ever!
Before you think that I am just sitting around wallowing in my misery, let me assure you, I have sought help. I’m on medication. Being on anti-depressants helps in many ways but has side-effects. One of the side-effects I have is that I’ve lost all sexual desire. Decreased libido is a common complaint from people on anti-depressant medication. I cannot say if it’s because of the medication or because of my loss of respect (love?) for my husband. I’m thinking it may be a combination of both. This also causes anger.
His anger because I’m not interested in sex and my anger because this pleasure has been taken away from me.
My husband’s ability to ignore things and act as though life is fine is probably the most irritating trait he has. Part of that attitude, I believe, is that if you don’t do anything, you don’t have to accept responsibility. This means, that I must make the decisions. Therefore, if a decision isn’t correct, I take the blame. Adding guilt and a sense of failure to an already depressed, ill-coping psyche can only exacerbate my dread and hopelessness.
Because of my husband’s inability and/or unwillingness to understand my problem, his #1 Dealing with Life Rule is going to prove true. I will go away.
*Image was taken from this site.
1 year ago