Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How NOT to deal with a Depressed WIFE!

How Not to Deal With A Depressed Wife

~ Anonymous

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.

It wasn’t until 2004 that I started to become clinically depressed. It was this year that my husband quit his job of 18 years, started his own business, against my very adamant objections, my pleadings and my well thought out 2 year plan. I began to realize that his less than adequate communication skills extended to listening and/or reasoning skills as well. In 2006, I was diagnosed with clinical depression by the psychologist I started to see in desperate need of someone to talk to and who would talk to me.

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 Getting angry with a depressed person will only cause the person to become more withdrawn, more hopeless and increasingly angry.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.


UP said...

Very good advice! Never ignore it, joking about it makes it worse, but there is a fine line and keeping it light helps. And anger is just self debilitating and may even cause you to be depressed! I deal with mine through activity. TLW gives me space and reigns me in when it's toooooo craaaaaaaaaaaaaazy! See my post for last week on this here wonderful blog! What a Cluster!!

Kimi said...

I really have nothing of worth to say but I just wanted to let you know that someone was here and listening and you have been heard! Be well! :) HUGS

Gucci Mama said...

I don't suffer from depression, but I definitely suffer from this husband. I get that part, for sure. I hate that for you; I hope it gets better. I hope you find a way to make it better. Best wishes.

heelsnstocking said...

big (((((hug)))) your husband sounds so like mine, he treats all problems like they are invisible, me included. Sounds like you know what you need to do though xx

Anonymous said...

Depression does seem to be caused by our circumstances, situations, and/or difficulties, as well as a chemical imbalance, and our attitude and how we approach or deal with these triggers that set us up for depression episodes itself can be effected by so many things.

NON support is the hardest one to accept. Finding the support you need would be ideal if you did not have to turn any further then to the pillow next to yours, but since it is not there, know you can find it with others who understand.

Perhaps a blog experience to vent and work through some of your issues with others who have some of the same experiences as you and who will listen. Today, you were heard, no advice from me other then maybe you can find an avenue to break the'ignor, anger, joking' cycle with expression of how you feel, as you did today.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Depression isn't bias either. I think it is harder for one to accept that it is actually real and not just an excuse when they have never or do not have the tendencies for depression.

To them it's a myth... or something that can be ignored because it's not REAL.

It's hard to understand someone's emotions or feelings or what is going on in their brains. It's something that almost has to be experienced to be understood.

Some people by nature are just empathetic and loving people, so even though they don't understand it, they will stick with their loved one and try and give them the support they need... as in UP's case and Chris' case.

But for some... if they don't pay attention to it, then it WILL go away... they figure you will just get OVER it if that is what you have been practicing (even if you were faking it) in the relationship.

That is not an excuse however. And laughing or ignoring it is NOT okay. But how do you convince him that HE needs help in supporting you?

You have been heard and I really hope that your husband has a change of heart and realizes, before it is too late, that it isn't going away and that you really need him.

Thanks for writing this for us. I hope this helps those who needed to hear it, and helps understand that they are going through the same thing.

But how do you help someone, help you, when they don't get or understand feelings? You know what I mean?

Anonymous said...

Men want to solve things - they are fixers by nature. When something like emotional or in this case - depression issues come up and they can not fix it they do not know what to do.

I think an easy escape is to ignore..... or push what they see as the answer. It definitely is a quick was to building a divide between a couple. As the depressed one sinks further the other one feels as though they are losing more control and it goes in a vicious cycle.

I feel for you..... falling deep into my own depression- I feel it and I can't breathe

Welcome to the Garden of Egan said...

Very insightful post. Thank you so much for being open and raw.

My heart hurts for you. I hope that your husband will seek help as well.

Medications do kill libido. The other associated emotional factors probably make it all worse.

Hugs to you!

TisforTonya said...

I have been amazed on a daily basis by my childhood friend who has been married to a man for the past 17 years... and has been a rock of support through his many episodes and hospitalizations.

Wonderful post - and a beautifully appropriate image!

wendy said...

I felt so sad for you when reading this. Sounds like a vicious rollercoaster. Depression, I am finding, seems to be a plague these days among many people.
I have a trillion things to be happy about....and find myself in such a depressed mode somedays it is hard to even breathe. I do not know why.
I know from my first divorce I was on some anti-depressent pills and they knocked the crap out of my libido....I found something else that was better. I know NOTHING about meds, but maybe talk to the doc about something that might help there.

Judi said...

I am so sorry for your situation.
I can not fathom dealing with clinical depression w/out a supportive husband. I suffer with depression. I am on meds. I have been through therapy many times. It is still a DAILY struggle for me. You are a strong amazing woman to trudge forward on your own. You truely have more strength than you think because there is no way I could do this without my husbands support.
Thank you for sharing and know that your story brings strentgh to others.
Thank you again for sharing and God bless you!

Judi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

Dear Lord, I could have written this exact same post myself.

And... I'm divorced now.

Much happier too.

GIANT hugs to you.

Becky Andrews said...

I lead a women's depression group in my office -- finding hope and our evening educating their significant others on what IS actually helpful is so important. I am so sorry you do not have the support of your spouse.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement. I know that I'm not alone in this struggle. Your voices give me strength.

Anonymous said...

Damn. Damn. Damn. Incredible post. I've dealt with depression too and the real big thing that has made it bearable is the fact that my wife helped me through it and was there for me. I'm sorry your husband has to be such a douche! Some dudes think that being "sensitive" to their spouse isn't "manly"... yet I think it's quite the opposite. Hope things get better for you!

Anonymous said...

I suffer from depression. Due to the side effects (decreased sex drive and weight gain), I stopped my meds. I use cognitive therapy, a very strict no-carb diet with increased omega-3's, strict sleep every night and daily exercise as my anti-depressants. Honestly, these things work better than the meds ever did. And I feel better than I've ever felt before.

Although my way of life sounds crazy to an outsider, I think of it like this: People with life-threatening illnesses adjust their eating, sleeping, and exercise habits to allow their body to recharge to fight the illness. Its the same with me. I need to adjust my routine to allow my brain to cope with everyday stresses. (I also have General Anxiety Disorder)

I can't image making all these changes without a spouse who is incredibly supportive of me and who also suffers from depression and therefore understands my symptoms. I would encourage you to focus on taking care of your own mind and body first and foremost. Use all your energy to help yourself rather than focusing on the negative traits of your husband.

We only have a short time on the earth and its a shame to spend it seeking help where you are not finding it.