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Supporting husbands M/H issues ?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by coffeeblack1sugar, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. Hi, I haven't posted on H&W before, but on personal, and lately, pregnancy. My husband has been suffering from depression for the last few years, and despite being on medication (Sertraline) still has huge swings up and down. I feel that I need some support to support him, and the rest of our family - 3 children, aged 11, 9 and 3 weeks. I have read some of the m/h recovery spa thread, and it seems that everyone on there does a great job of supporting one another, but do your friends/ partners have anyone to talk to?
     
  2. Chris4

    Chris4 New commenter

    Hi there - I'm so sorry to hear that you are having to struggle with this as I know from personal experience how it can be so destructive of family life and normality. I'd like to recommend you to a couple of other forums that you might find supportive www.netdoctor.co.uk (go to the discussion forum for depression and there are some on there discussing this in detail under 'black dog') or www.depressionfallout.com on the message board there are plenty of discussions about depressed other halves. I hope it might help you to see the massive amount of people also dealing with the same thing from time to time, or constantly. Being a 'carer' or having a depressed other half is so difficult and there is little recognition of what it does to you as a person yourself, so take care and go easy on yourself. Big hugs x
     
  3. Thanks Chris, I'll check those out - I sometimes feel a bit disloyal discussing his issues, but as I'm on maternity leave at the moment, I have time to look on forums when baby is sleeping!
     
  4. Do it. Take whatever you can get. Wehn my husband suffered a (thankfully thus far one-off) period of depression, I wasn't aware there was anywhere or anyone you could talk to about it. It was extremely difficult to deal with, especially having to consider the impact on the kids, and I seriously considered just leaving.
    He got over it and it would have been a huge mistake to leave, but to know that at the time when you have no-one else to contribute their strategies and experiences is impossible.
    Join the support groups. It isn't disloyal. It's sensible.
     
  5. Thanks Lily, I read much more than I post on here, and I know you give good (and sometimes blunt!) advice. He has been on an up for the past few weeks, and going back to work after his paternity leave seems to have brought him crashing down again. However, he is working harder than normal to put on a good show for the kids - all 3 of them - so I'm able to concentrate on the baby feeding/changing/ etc etc without having to referee and keep the older boys away from him so they don't wind him up.
     
  6. Do his meds or counselling need reviewing in view of the recent (happy!) upheaval? Or does he tend to just to rebalance in time? It was the older boys who took the brunt of my husband's snappy, sniping grumpiness when he was illl too, now you mention it. Are they aware of his condition? I think a sense of burning injustice and persecution does nothing to make life smooth.
     
  7. He has not had counselling up to now - always flatly refused, but we have now registered with a new dr, so he has an appt this week to review his meds, and has said he will ask about counselling, so that is a step forward. The boys know dad gets grumpy because he is poorly/sad and do try to modify their behaviour but usually forget within about 10 mins!
     
  8. thanks lalad, i know you have had to cope with worse - i read your learner single parent thread from beginning to end, and i am glad things are going ok for you now. the new dr has doubled his medication, and he has been able to tell his boss how much pressure he has been feeling at work, so they are both positive steps. we are going to stay with his brother for a few days at half term, i don't know if this will be good to see them, or bad that he won't want to come back to real life again. sorry for no caps etc, but typing one handed with sleeping baby in my arms.
     
  9. Lalad

    Lalad Senior commenter

    That brings back memories!
    My OH was on Prozac, not Sertraline, but when they doubled his medication and then tripled it within a short period (I think it was 3 days), he became even more depressed, to the point of being suicidal, very quickly. I'm not trying to worry you, as obviously everyone is different, but it is worth just keeping an eye on him over the next few days for any signs that his depression is deepening. Did they tell you it would take a while for the increase to take effect anyway?
    I hope you are ok and finding time for yourself - I wasn't very good at that.
    Lalad x
     
  10. I really feel for you OP

    My OH has had depression on and off for the last 8 years, various medication did not help and he hasn't seen a dr for at least 4 years now preferring to stay at home and try to cope. This means that everything else, and I mean EVERYTHING falls to me.

    It's hard work

    I love him to bits but he drives me MAD at times

    He has good days and bad days but thankfully less really bad days now but the biggest step for me in being able to hold on to my sanity was when I realised that he was the only person who could actually change how he felt, reacted, behaved and that what ever I did I owed it to myself to have a life!!!

    You have to look after yourself and asking for help, sharing thoughts online or with a Dr or friend are good ways to get support.

    Good luck
     
  11. Chris4

    Chris4 New commenter

    Make sure you say no or stall on that one as much as you can - sometimes people who are depressed can start to obsess about the one thing that they think will help them and this sounds like it. Quite clearly it would be no help at all, imo. It's also tempting for depressed people to want some sort of drastic change and the general rule has to be to make no big decisions while in the grip of depression, just wait it out and see how things look once the worst of the depression has lifted. I'm so glad for you that you have your mum to confide in and a good doctor. Best of luck x.
     
  12. He seems to be a bit better when he has something to plan for and look ahead to, eg this time last year we were househunting, and planning which houses to see, working out the pros and cons and getting in to bidding wars etc seemed to really keep him 'up' even the really stressful last couple of weeks when it was nearly all off cos of our buyers sofa (long story!) didn't seem to stress him out in this way, and I guess since then we have been planning renovations and decoration. Then, although finding out I was pregnant unexpectedly shocked him, we had the baby to look forward to, and just working out how we would afford it, and planning ways to do things as cheaply as possible. Now baby is here, I am at home on mat leave and he is really struggling at work. Last night he said he was going to tell his boss today that he wanted to take a step down, reduce his hours and money - I don't know if he has done it, but I am struggling to get my head round the fact he would do that when he says money worries are depressing him. I would rather he earned less and was happy, but then we may have to sell the house as my income would just about pay the mortgage, but with nothing left for anything else.
     
  13. Chris4

    Chris4 New commenter

    Hiya coffee - yes, you can look for patterns and things that act as catalysts - but I think some types of depression are entirely random, they aren't especially linked to life events or stress. Your OH is maybe just that type of personality that will sometimes get depressed and you will go crazy trying to make sense of it. There is no logic to it, there are no rules - and that is very hard to take, I know, because you can't help unless you know what the cause is and you can't make it better unless you know where it went wrong. The temptation then is to blame yourself and it's very easy to do that, so be careful you don't fall into that trap as it's very convenient all round to believe that the person is depressed because of something their partner has done. I hope that doesn't come up for you two. Also, be very aware to feelings of depression yourself as that is also a very big danger, especially following your recent pregnancy - it would be glib to say depression is catching, but it is basically very life-sapping to live with someone who is depressed when you are holding so much together yourself. You need some support from him at this moment and he is not giving it because he is ill, but you are looking for some sense in it all and there is none. I don't even know if that makes sense to you. I don't want to launch into telling you my story in this respect as you will probably have read it already on one of the other forums, but I wish I could help more, I really do. Take care of yourself really well and stay strong, x
     
  14. Thanks for your support Chris. Well, we had our week with his brother and family, which was mostly lovely, but very tiring - mainly because we were sleeping on the sofa bed in the lounge, so I didn't have the opportunity to go to bed early although i knew i would hve to be up feeding the baby 2 or 3 times in the night. (They have a baby too who they have to get up to, but value their adult socialising time more than sleep!) He has come back still saying that he would love to live near them, but understands that i want to stay near my family, so is not threatening to sell the house and just go! He has made an effort to start applying for other jobs, which is fantastic, as he has felt too low to do anything about it for a while, even though he thinks that the job is a huge factor in his depression. I do realise that a new job may not be the cure all, but it has to be a step in the right direction. Yes, I do worry that i have done something to 'set him off' but when he can talk to me about how he feels, he has always said that it is not me or the kids, although we all drive him mad sometimes!, I am having to learn when to back off and when to do things for him. I have also realised that he has felt this bad before but when i have been working full time I have been less aware of how he feels as i have been snowed under myself - now i am on mat leave i do have time to notice what is going on.
     
  15. Chris4

    Chris4 New commenter

    Hi Coffee, I'm pleased to hear things are a little better, or at least he is listening to what you are saying. He's applying for jobs - that is really good news. Sometimes all you need is a little bit of luck to set you back on the recovery and the boost you get when someone offers you a job is tremendous, although stressful of course. It's an indicator that he feels a little better though, so that's really good. In the depths of depression all motivation for anything goes totally I think. I know just what you mean about not really having noticed the depression before properly as I've had a similar experience to that. I know this sounds awful, but when you are both working full time and you have kids you can go for weeks without properly talking to each other anyway - not because you are avoiding each other, but just are too tired to do anything other than the minimum of communication! I'm glad he says it isn't you to blame in any way for his state of mind as that is something you need to know. Depression can set off all sorts of irrational thoughts though, and he might not be over the worst of it yet.


    I hope you get some good sleep this week as that weekend with your brother in law and family sounds hellish to me, with lack of sleep, sofa bed, etc! I remember being totally obsessed with getting some sleep when my kids were babies and that would have driven me totally berserk. You clearly have a lot of patience with everyone, which funnily enough is often what happens when you are with someone who is depressed as it is no longer any use getting angry or having arguments - all the usual rules are out of the window and it all has to focus on them and their current state of mind. I get very angry but vent it all outside the home, by myself in the car or walking the dog. I hope he was able to talk to his brother about his depression?


    Anyway, take care of yourself and stay strong. You are doing a brilliant job at staying calm and only someone who has been in a similar position can appreciate the incredibly hard work that it takes, day after day. So, I think you are doing really well, you are so strong and calm - big hugs. x
     
  16. lrw22

    lrw22 Occasional commenter

    Thinking of you and hope that things get a little better soon.
     
  17. Chris4

    Chris4 New commenter

    Hi coffee, this all sounds as if it's time for the GP to reassess him - he's still on his medication I take it? He's not very stable though and it sounds as if he needs some further help whether that is counselling, being signed off work for a while or a change of meds. I'm glad the doctor is coming over as that shows how urgent it is. You can't cope with this by yourself, you poor thing - it's just awful you are carrying all this. It's good you have your mum to support you, but basically you have the kids and the house and him to cope with by yourself most of the time, so it's a big thing for you. I so hope you get this sorted out a little as this sounds really so sad you need to be able to see some light at the end of the tunnel.


    I think you are doing so well coping with this (and yes, I know that's all you can do but you'd be surprised how some people would fall apart in your position) and you have all my sympathy. I've been there, or at least somewhere very close, and it's a really bad place to be. Please let me know how things are going when you get a chance to. x
     
  18. thanks for your support. one of the doctors from the surgery came on monday morning, told my husband to take this week off work and gave him a prescription for sleeping pills just for this week. He has an appointment with his normal GP on friday, which I will be going to as well. I spoke to one of his colleagues on monday to explain he wouldn't be in and his boss yesterday, i think my husband has been puting aa brave face on at work, even though it is work that seems to be the biggest problem, so I told his boss what he has been like at home, and what he has been saying about work etc. Boss said all the right things and says will be getting advice on how to help him (is a v small business) and asked him to call if he feels up to it or for me to update after dr's on friday. Sleeping pill seemed to totally knock him out mon night, he was saying some v odd things tuesday morning, has been awake briefly this morn but gone back to sleep now. Got to take no 2 son to school now, so got to go.
     
  19. Chris4

    Chris4 New commenter

    What a rollercoaster you have been on in the last few days, Coffee! I'm so glad you have been able to just be completely straight with your husband's boss and got a reasonable response, because not everyone understands depression at all, or even wants to. It's good for him to sleep I would have thought, as tiredness doesn't help, and it sounds as if the doctors are working well. Take care of yourself, though, and don't try and do too much in the midst of all of this. x
     
  20. Went to the GP appointment on friday, she has signed him off till xmas then he has work shutdown, so will not be back at work again till early Jan. He is worried about money as doesn't get sick pay, but i think we can cope if we don't go mad at christmas. She has also changed his medication from sertraline to citalopram, as it is supposed to have more of a calming effect and reduce the anxiety. He is trying really hard not to let the older boys see but does get stressed at their messy bedrooms and inability to be quiet and calm for more than five minutes at a time. Could plonk them in from of the x-box for hours i suppose, but I'm still wanting to stick to my normal parenting rules. At least it has warmed up slightly so I can turf thm out to the park for a bit!
     

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