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Helping husband with depression

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by msmog7, May 21, 2018.

  1. msmog7

    msmog7 New commenter

    I am currently really struggling with supporting my husband. He has recently been diagnosed with depression having struggled with 'Low moods' all his life. Recently he has been made redundant and is now unemployed and job seeking. He is also mourning his dad who dies a year ago and feeling worthless.

    He has signed up to the NHS 'Time to Talk' programme but struggles with speaking about his feelings over the phone. This means I am his counsellor really and every evening after a day at school with everything that entails I listen and guide and soothe and care.

    The problem is it's really getting me down. I cry on my way home as I can't bear more negativity after the stresses of a day at work. I don't want to go home at the end of the day. It's not restful. It's not home at the moment. I can't tell him this, he feels bad enough already about the effect his depression is having on me. I don't sleep as I'm so worried about paying the mortgage on my own. I'm worried it's going to make me ill too.

    Anyone got any advice about how to look after my husband and myself as well?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. valencia

    valencia Occasional commenter

    Hi, I am currently support my adult daughter through this, feel free to PM me if you wish
  3. AnotherDayTowardsRetirement

    AnotherDayTowardsRetirement Occasional commenter

    I have been in your husband’s position so understand what your husband may be going through. I was ‘out of action’ for a year but, with support, battled back.
    Feel free to PM if you wish to hear a few tips that worked for me and may work for your husband.
  4. mattdechaine

    mattdechaine New commenter

    Sorry to hear that you're going through such a tough time. I can completely relate to you having gone through this myself. My partner had a breakdown 4 years ago and had nearly a year off work. I was working as a HT at the time so was juggling both aspects of my life. We got through it and have come out the other side. It does get better.
    If you need any support or advice, please message me.
    Good luck to you.
  5. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Senior commenter

    My partner tried to get the take time to talk therapy for depression and anxiety but he was only offered group sessions which he didn’t want. He turned it down. I’ve urged him to go back to his Gp and self refer too. I don’t understand why they would say that a group session was the only option. Surely it’s a 1-1 session for depression and anxiety...
  6. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Hi msmog7, so sorry you are caught in this horrible situation. I've been there - my OH got very depressed 18 months after a stroke, during which time he also lost his dad. Apparently this is quite common at this point during stroke recovery - people suddenly realise that the point they're at physically is probably 'as good as it's going to get'. From where he was when he first had the stroke (his second), he's made an amazing recovery - but he's not the same person, physically or mentally. Luckily, his firm have been incredibly supportive and he now works part-time, in a very different capacity.

    I hope you have a supportive GP - use them. Ours was so supportive to both of us. Harry was also referred to Time to Talk, but he was able to have face-to-face meetings. He struggled at first, but quickly found it very helpful; he was able to use the coping strategies the counsellor taught him successfully when he felt really low - it gave him something positive to focus on. He initially had 10 sessions, but was able to extend it with four more and can be re-referred to the same counsellor if needed. Talk to your GP and see if this would be possible for your husband.

    He also - reluctantly at first - took the medication the GP recommended. He's still taking it a year down the line and I know it has helped his anxiety levels - but I'm still listening and soothing most evenings and I know how hard it is.

    Do take care of yourself - at the worst times, I found school a lifeline. It was my 'normality'. I hope you have good friends and family around you. Talk to your mortgage people, maybe you can reduce payments. Sending a hug - keep posting on here.
  7. msmog7

    msmog7 New commenter

    Thanks so much for all your replies. Sorry I've been away a while - I decided to take half term away from social media and included TES in that as I often lose myself in other people's problems and wanted time to focus on my own.

    Things are looking up job-wise which I really hope will have a positive impact on his mental health. Once he has a job and has a routine I feel he will spend a lot less time dwelling on misfortunes etc and this will be a help in the long run. It will also help both of us stop worrying about finances and the mortgage.

    The time-to-talk programme still hasn't got in touch though. I've always been aware in the background that there are real problems in mental health care but now its really come home to me how damaging this can be. Hopefully he can soon get help in place with someone who can listen and advise.

    Thanks for all your help and support. Means so much to know I'm not alone.

    Mog x
  8. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Good to hear from you Mog.
    I'm sure you're right, having a job will have a positive impact. We were really lucky there; My OH's firm were very supportive. He initially had 6 months off when he had the stroke, then a phased return to full-time work - but in a very different capacity. Physical and cognitive skills are much reduced, and full-time was too much. When the stress and anxiety really took hold, he had to have a further month off, but again the company were understanding. He is now much happier in his 'much reduced responsibilities' role and works part-time - he found late afternoons very difficult to cope with and now leaves work around 2.30.
    Having a job gives him a reason to get up every morning and gives him a purpose - it keeps him feeling that he's still part of the real world. He also enjoys the time with colleagues and I know it's good for him to focus on something other than his own health and problems. He reaches retirement age this year, but we're planning for him to stay at work for a while longer - it's definitely been a lifeline for us.
    I hope you have the same success when your husband gets a job - I think you will. Also hope it's not too much longer before Time to Talk have time to talk!
  9. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    Some lovely, supportive and wise comments already from people who understand what you are going through.

    By acknowledging that you are being affected too and that your needs are important as well, you have already taken a significant step in protecting your own mental health, which is vital if you are to continue to support your husband.

    I found school to be a lifeline too - it was normality in a time of chaos. The mortgage people agreed to let me go to interest only for 6 months, which really helped: and I posted on here constantly, until people must have been fed up with reading about it!

    Yes - things are improving but mental health is still the poor relation.

    This is so important - my now grown-up children still tease me about my 'TES friends' but even they now understand how important the support I received at the time from people on here was.
    valencia likes this.
  10. BigHeaded

    BigHeaded New commenter

    Depression is a horrible thing to combat. Everyone reacts differently to different stimuli and everyone has their unique signature chemistry so every treatment is different.

    I was severely depressed when my brother suddenly passed away 8 years ago. We were best friends so it was very hard for me to cope with the situation. I was prescribed Lexapro and it took the edge off. It was the hardest time in my life and I'm sure I made everyone miserable around me. Here is a little bit of advise- try to remedy the issue with as little meds as possible. You may not be able to avoid them completely but I became a different person over the years of taking meds. The doctors tried to keep me on the meds as long as possible and I weaned myself off of them myself and started more natural remedies. I don't recommend self medicating but I can't completely trust the pharmaceutical companies stranglehold on the American health care system.

    I started working out very often, surrounded myself with positive people, got heavily involved with riding motorcycles (this became my passion and got me through it), find a deeply involved hobby and try "light therapy". I just saw a great post on light therapy as I was on another site the other day. I will post it up when I find it.

    Good luck!!
  11. BigHeaded

    BigHeaded New commenter

    [QUOTE="I started working out very often, surrounded myself with positive people, got heavily involved with riding motorcycles (this became my passion and got me through it), find a deeply involved hobby and try "light therapy". I just saw a great post on light therapy as I was on another site the other day. I will post it up when I find it.

    Good luck!![/QUOTE]

    I found that page about light therapy! It breaks down every possible condition it can help. Some of these seem a bit far fetched but hey it can't hurt. The other link is from Mayo Clinic I hope this helps you
    [This comment/section/image has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines/Terms and conditions]
  12. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Sometimes, getting involved in a new project which needs a lot of attention, and which you enjoy doing, can lift your mind from things which get you down. Without even knowing it, your energy levels go up and you start to feel human again. I think most people have gone through periods of this horrible depression. This is what helped me a great deal - -- it took me into a new world right away from the cause of depression.
  13. argancht

    argancht New commenter

    use some medical drugs like fluoxetine this drug can treat your depression. reah that article to knos how that work
  14. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I don't think it wise to buy and take drugs without a prescription from a doctor. I still think that to throw yourself into something that you will thoroughly enjoy helps a great deal - well it helped me.
    sunshineneeded likes this.
  15. PaulShipmanSmith

    PaulShipmanSmith New commenter

    When someone close to you - such as a family member or partner - suffers from depression, the condition can certainly take its toll on other members of the family. This is especially so if you are all 'under one roof'. When it is a partner who suffers from depressioin, the effects of the condition will eventually place a strain on the other.
    It is hard enough for a couple to run the affairs of a household - and certainly if there is a dependent family - together as a team. When one member of that team falls ill, you find yourself struggling as the single breadwinner and organiser of everything.
    You husband has struggled with his low moods throughout his life - but this time, events have compounded - leaving him unable to just 'snap out of it'.
    The death of his father seems to have had a deep impact on him as he is still in a state of mourning. It can sometimes be hard for people to deal with the loss of loved ones when their relationship was perhaps extremely close.
    It may also be very hard when someone dies to 'move on' from the period of mourning (everyone's different when comes to this issue) because there may have been unresolved issues such as 'the things that were never said or done when he/she was alive'. This can occur when there have been 'family fallouts'.
    It can also happen when we dive into the deceased's history of their life - such as their administrative affairs/paperwork - and realise that they were dealing with issues themselves. There can be that feeling of wishing that we could have helped in some way.
    Being made redundant - and now being unemployed - will increase his depressive state of mind because he will have more time on his hands to 'dwell' on various issues in his life. Although he is 'job seeking', there is this issue of constant rejection to deal with because - as we all know too well - there are so many candidates applying for each 'post'.
    As we all know again......Employers want 20 year olds with 30 years experience and a university degree to sweep the floors!!!.....Oh!....For minimum wage of course!!!....
    Sadly. The situation that your husband is in at this moment in time will provide a negative form of encouragement to feel worthless. This can be a rather 'vicious circle' for him.
    There is always a feeling of 'worthlessness' when someone is made redundant or retired. It is often a sad 'side effect' of redundancy, long-term sickness/disability or retirement that can lead a formally active/skilled worker to feel that he/she cannot contribute to life/society in general.
    For all of a person's working life, they have -at least to a degree- felt themselves being 'valued'. All of a sudden, there is this 'hole' in that person's life when that is taken away. Your husband will be experiencing this situation.
    As with many of us - and this is particularly in men - there is difficulty in talking about how we feel. This can be even more difficult for some over a telephone. However, some people may prefer that anonymous phone/internet/post medium of communicating these feelings to someone.
    There can also be the issue - unfortunately - with a service such as the NHS 'Time To Talk' programme - like other aspects of the NHS - regarding the 'overstretching' issue and the 'underfunding' issue.
    He may not necessarily be talking with a counsellor who is fully in a compatible 'two-way interaction' with him. Sometimes, two people will 'click' instantly and 'get on'. Other times, two people will not 'click' and therefore will not 'get on'.
    We can find that it takes several attempts to find a counsellor who is fully compatible with us when we need to express our deepest, inner thoughts and feelings.
    You are taking on a very demanding role by being your husband's counsellor and this can have a deep effect on your own mental health. You are trying to 'juggle' your job and run the house as well as look after him.
    For a start. You say that it's really 'getting you down'. When you are in constant contact with someone who suffers from depression, their negativity will eventually 'rub off' onto you. We all have that experience when we meet someone we know and they 'offload' their problems when conversing with us. After the conversation, we can end up feeling depressed and overburdened ourselves.
    People who work in 'helping roles' can have this same issue as well. However, this can go much deeper because they are dealing with people who have some serious, dark issues all of the time.
    You say you work in a school. In today's school life, you will have 'enough on your plate' dealing with the various issues of your day. As you will be aware, today's children are experiencing more psychological issues than ever before. With their issues, your colleague's own issues with dealing the school day, then your own problems at home as well......Yes, you will 'absorb' some negativity as well.
    Teachers/school workers, social workers, counsellors, nurses and many more 'helping' professions can experience a negative, psychological effect on its workers because of the various problems/issues people have.
    The professionals 'absorb' the negativity/problems their students/clients/patients experience. This negativity can also be 'passed on' to any other member of the work force.
    Professions such as support workers/maintenance workers/caterers/cleaners/porters etc......These 'behind the scenes' workers will still - at times - 'witness' traumatic situations such a school bullying or distressed/injured/traumatised patients in a hospital department.
    The negativity in your home is exacerbated after the stresses of your working day. You may find yourself often 'taking the work home with you' which is more than enough for you to deal with. Combine this with your husbands depression and you'll quickly become overwhelmed by it all. It is no wonder you are crying on your way home from work.
    Worrying about the finances - especially the mortgage - will definitely make your situation even more uncomfortable for you both. This is a prime time to seek financial advice from your bank/lenders.
    As hard as it may seem for your husband, it would be helpful if you can encourage him to continue with the 'Time To Talk' programme. He could also consider other forms of counselling/therapy and his own doctor/health centre could make recommendations.
    Being unemployed will mean he could get help with costs. You could both make further enquiries into this.
    There is certainly an issue here regarding you feeling guilty and your husband feeling guilty about both expressing how you feel because there appears to be the fear of upsetting each other further. Obviously this is something you do not both need.
    The worrying about the mortgage/finances will eventually take it's biggest toll on you both because 'money worries' can consume even the most 'financially astute' among us. Speaking to your bank/building society and/or taking financial advice is a priority in a situation such as yours.
    Your mortgage provider will have procedures in place for when clients such as yourselves encounter payment issues. They should be able to help and the sooner you speak to them, the easier it will be for them to help.
    Is there anyone you can confide in at work regarding your work responsibilities? Will your employers allow some leniency regarding your husband's situation?
    You do need to look after yourself here. Maybe you could go to some counselling sessions together. You may find that you could benefit from some counselling/therapy yourself due to the stressful situation.
    Your husband will find it difficult to adjust to full-time work after a period of being at home and suffering his bout of depression. This time it does seem to be more deeper and he will not simply 'shake it off' ready for a new working day. The first day at a new job will be difficult so there will be some 'adjustment' for him to deal with.
    If he does find it a struggle finding full-time work that suits his skills/qualifications then it may be hard for him to simply just 'throw himself in' to any job and simply 'get on with it'. He could build himself back into it by working just part-time and finding a job that is less demanding. Yes. It will mean less money but it will give him more time to receive help for his depression - which does seem to be getting deeper.
    There is unfortunately the risk of accepting a more demanding work position, resulting in him struggling to cope with the demands of the job and - in turn - encouraging that 'worthless' feeling.
    He will need to address the 'worthless' feeling in therapy or he'll harbour that deep negativity 'inside' when he applies for jobs or takes on any form of projects.
    This can be very hard for someone who is in your husband's situation. He does need to address the fact that he feels worthless and this is where the counselling/therapy will help him.
    Sometimes....When someone is feeling negative about their self-worth, they will become very sensitive to the slightest of negative/derogatory comments. Even comments made 'jokingly' will have a deep, negative effect....Such as a slight comment about forgetting or dropping something will cause upset at times.
    Unfortunately - when in one of these 'low self-esteem' moods - any small criticism (however small and sometimes may appear 'silly') will have a profound effect on him. This is an area that will need to be checked regularly by encouraging him to talk about after a working day.
    The workplace can unfortunately cause low self-esteem in people. However, people are nowadays learning the importance of understanding these kinds of issues and your local job centre/careers advisers are training in these areas. If your husband is OK with it and you have the time, you could perhaps go to the job centre with him. You could also encourage him to go at a set time each day as well.
    There is also the issue regarding his dad dying. Everyone can grieve differently and this may be the underlying cause for him becoming more seriously depressed. He may have 'put on a brave face' while he was employed. However, upon losing his job he will have had more time to 'dwell' on his dad's passing and succumb to the depression.
    He has had 'low moods' all through his life. Could there have been a trigger here from many years ago that has brought this depression to a more deeper state? He may certainly benefit from some counselling regarding his bereavement as this is an area that has affected him very deeply.
    His 'low moods' may have - over the years - culminated to his current depressive state and he could benefit from finding out what triggered his condition in the first place. However, that is something he would need to explore further in counselling/therapy.
    Both of you could make time to spend together and go out for long walks. This would allow both of you to get out of the house, have some 'together time' to discuss each others feelings, and exercise as well in the fresh air. This may help fight the negative moods that you are both experiencing.
    Your husband could also look into doing some voluntary work at a charity shop/community cafe or look into taking on some college classes/training. This may have benefits because depression does 'thrive' on sitting at home, looking at 'the four walls' all day.
    Exercise and gardening can also help.
    It may not 'come over' as very pleasant, but don't be afraid to be honest and tell him that he does need to do the above and help himself. He is the only one that can do that.
    Although he does feel bad about the effect of his depression on your own physical/mental health it may be encouraging for him if you tell him this. It's difficult, but you are being honest and considering yourself as well as him.
    You can again follow on this conversion by saying...."OK. Let's now go for a walk"........Or....."Let's get to work in the garden".......Or....."Let's clear the shed/spare room"...................Etc............This can be a way of telling him how you feel, following on the conversation by saying - in a way - that you both can work together on this. It may be a compromise rather than just either 'telling him off' or you coming over as 'just complaining'.
    Depending on how close he was to his father may have a long-term effect on your husbands mental health regarding his depression. Did he used to confide in his father regarding how he felt when he was having a 'down day' or 'low mood'? The death of his father may have had a much deeper effect than anyone - even himself - could have imagined.
    At the end of the day, you must make time to consider yourself in all of this because it is your own mental/physical health/well being that will need to take priority here. This is because your husband does appear rather dependent upon you to help him.
    However, he must be encouraged to help himself by involving himself in extra activities that are available. This should hopefully overcome his negative feeling about being 'worthless'.
    A positive frame of mind is needed in order for him continue with his job search. He will need to keep reminding himself - or you remind him - about the things in his/both your lives that you can do and have achieved so far.

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