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Depression And Decision-Making


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#1 Lori123

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 10:59 AM

I have a hard time making decisions -- even about simple things.

But it seems that, when I'm faced with a life-changing decision -- at least one involving my primary relationship -- I am coincidentally in the midst of a major depressive episode.

This one began in the late summer of 2008 and is still going on. I hit bottom, and have been climbing up. I'm FINALLY beginning to understand what the major life questions have been that have had me struggling, and am getting close to an answer.

At the moment, I am really, really angry at someone important in my life who doesn't seem to appreciate the gravity of what I'm dealing with, but that's completely beside the point.

What I am here to ask everyone is: Is this part of depression? This complete inability to face things and/or to make major decisions that will change one's life? Or is it a catalyst for the depression, like adding the ammonia to the spilled bleach that's already there?

How much of this is really ME, and how much of it is the depression? And at what point do I get to just have a happy, decent life??!?!?!?

Edited by Lori123, 25 July 2011 - 11:00 AM.


#2 nickyc

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 11:25 AM

I have a hard time making decisions -- even about simple things.

But it seems that, when I'm faced with a life-changing decision -- at least one involving my primary relationship -- I am coincidentally in the midst of a major depressive episode.

This one began in the late summer of 2008 and is still going on. I hit bottom, and have been climbing up. I'm FINALLY beginning to understand what the major life questions have been that have had me struggling, and am getting close to an answer.

At the moment, I am really, really angry at someone important in my life who doesn't seem to appreciate the gravity of what I'm dealing with, but that's completely beside the point.

What I am here to ask everyone is: Is this part of depression? This complete inability to face things and/or to make major decisions that will change one's life? Or is it a catalyst for the depression, like adding the ammonia to the spilled bleach that's already there?

How much of this is really ME, and how much of it is the depression? And at what point do I get to just have a happy, decent life??!?!?!?


It's a fine line but the way I see depression is basically the incapacity to do anything. People have good days and bad days and what you still have is your personality. I try not to make big decisions when I am feeling anxiety. All I can say is try not to expect too much from others (high expectations) and take things slowly, without making big changes (which can cause stress).

#3 Spiritual_Wanderer

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 11:31 AM

Indecision can definitely be a symptom of depression or other personality disorders. Sometimes I am indecisive and the pressure of having to make a sudden decision can be really stressful and aggravating. I have depression and anxiety. Have you talked to a doctor and been evaluated? It's hard to say if your case is depression or if it's related to other things, but it definitely COULD be depression. I can't say when exactly you get to live a happy, decent life, but I truly hope it is very soon!

:hugs:
Many Blessings,
SW
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#4 Rypdx27

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 11:43 PM

I also have that frustrating problem, which has been part of my depression all along. I also had to make a very big decision about 6 months ago, in the midst of a family crisis, and it was agonizing. But, I avoided thinking about it (if possible) when I was having a particularly moody or low day, because I knew that my thought process wouldn't be clear. I know there are times when a decision can't be mulled over for too long, but in those cases I usually think to myself, "Ok, at this point in time, the best decision is..." and tell myself that if something goes wrong later because of it, I did the best I could at the time to make the right choice. That way I don't get anxious and stressed over it so much. Of course, with those major ones that could be life-changing, that can be very hard to do, but it is doable. I hope this helps in some way :smile:

#5 oliveira

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 04:40 AM

I'd say depression/anxiety and decision-making are very much related. Also because depression skews your ability to perceive reality for what it is. When I was feeling low, I found it impossible to make any important decisions, especially as it seemed that ending my life was the only option I really had. Now that I feel better ending my life seems to be the stupidest thing I could possibly do -- and it's not as if my living situation or circumstances surrounding have changed. So now if/when I make decisions, they're very different from the ones I would have made three weeks ago.

#6 Lori123

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:34 AM

Thanks, everyone, for your replies.

Here's my problem (and this may require that my post get bumped over to the Relationships section, I don't know): I have spent much of my therapy over the past 15+ years trying to figure out my husband, his issues, why I can't make him happy, and what I need to do to make him happy. This latest depressive episode was triggered by a "perfect storm" of ingredients": 1)medication change; 2)inability to find a job, followed by finding one and being laid off a month later, and having my husband not supportive of my entire career direction, even though the change in career direction was something I wanted so that I could be happy; 3)finding what I thought would be the perfect job because it combined what I wanted to do with the amount of money he wanted me to make, and me failing at it horribly and being terrified to walk into that building every day. His utter lack of support, lack of interaction with me, lack of affection, all made me feel alone and unloved in addition to feeling like a failure. This led to an emotional breakdown and suicide attempt.

Since then, things have been up and down with us. I'm beyond lucky that I found a really, really good job working for wonderful people and making good money and getting great benefits. But my husband -- due to his own personal issues -- tends to be withdrawn and unaffectionate. I NEED affection in order to survive, feel loved and safe, feel appreciated. He also became highly critical of me, to the point where I was constantly uncomfortable in my home. Always wondering what he was going to notice that I had done "wrong": Had I put a dish in the wrong place, left a light on somewhere, left a book sitting somewhere he decided it shouldn't be. I was being held to a set of rules that were being made up as he went along, so I couldn't win. If I tried to anticipate, I guessed wrong.

Recently, I have struggled to try to make the decision of whether or not to leave. I had hit the point where I decided to move out; live close by him so that we could work on things, but have our own space. It was then (just like with my suicide attempt) that he realized I was serious, and that he needed to make some changes.

I hate that it takes a dramatic act on my part to get him to take me seriously.

So he has asked that we give it six months, and both try to give each other what we need (we've identified those things) and see how it feels. For both of us, it will be a matter of 1) does having those things make us truly happy, and 2) are we comfortable giving at the level the other is asking for. He is being extremely sweet and wonderful, thoughtful, and trying his best to welcome my affection and reciprocate. He's doing all he can. I appreciate him trying so hard, and love him for it. But is it just going to deteriorate again? Is it going to take me being hurt, or perhaps suicidal again, to get him to give me what I need?

I'm 44. I don't have time to play around. There is someone I've known for years who loves me deeply, and has told me he wants to spend his life with me. He has shown me just through conversation that he adores my personality. And he understands my depression. Over the years, we've each helped the other through rough patches. In him, I see a chance for the kind of love I have been craving.

SO: How much of a factor is my husband's behavior in triggering my depression? Can I really leave him? How will I live without him, when we've been together for so long? Will I regret it? If I don't leave, will I regret that? What about my dream of being loved deeply and affectionately by someone? It's right there waiting for me -- can I pass it by? Can I live without that?

These are difficult decisions. I don't know how to make them. I change my mind WEEKLY. I can't spend years of my life trying to figure this out, but I've already spent almost two years on it, and I'm no closer to an answer. I could end up trying to make this damned decision for the rest of my life, instead of choosing something and being happy.

SO -- what do I do? My husband has deep issues, WILL NOT go to counseling, so that isn't an option. I go by myself. My therapist says he really needs counseling. But right now, I see him trying, and it tells me one thing for sure: He loves me.

I am an anxious, freaked-out, depressed mess.

#7 Lori123

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 06:14 AM

Let's try this again: I'm not asking anyone here for the answers to my questions. What I am hoping for is that someone can tell me whether my mess is aggravating my depression, or if my depression created the mess. It's a chicken/egg question.

#8 kermit1966

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 09:24 PM

I think your answer is yes on both directions. The depression increases the mess which touches the depression and the depression makes it harder to deal with the mess, which increases anxiety. I am a husband and my pride kept me from therapy until I used the death of a friend as an excuse. No matter what my wife said, I couldn't go until I was ready. Sometimes we can't see the forest through the trees, but sometimes we can.



#9 LaurynJcat

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 01:51 AM

Hi Lori.

One of the things that makes facing this kind of decision so tough is -- whichever you chose, you're not going to know how things would've turned out if you made the other choice. You've given it six months which is reasonable, but you're not going to know until after that if his behavior will deteriorate again.

It seems to me that people do not change much without a major effort -- and usually that takes support groups or therapy or medication, or all three. If your husband has established a pattern over many years of being withdrawn, cold and unsupportive, it's hard for me to believe that will all change unless he's willing to put in a lot of work. Would he see a therapist on his own?
Just thoughts. You know him best.

Good luck. Keep us updated.
Lauryn
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#10 Lori123

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 10:50 PM

My husband says he WILL NOT see a therapist.

We split up for a year in 2002. At that time, I had been asking him to go to counseling with me, and he refused. He did go on his own AFTER I left -- I don't know if he went once, or more. But it took me leaving for him to even try it. And it took him almost the whole year to realize that he was going to need to make some real changes in order for me to come back.

He did make those changes. He started saying, "I love you" -- something that had been almost impossible for him before, and which he hadn't said to me in years. He agreed to once in a while spend time with my parents (I'm talking about dinner once a year, sometimes twice, and going to their house with me at Christmas or Thanksgiving -- he doesn't have to do both; and his parents are dead so that's not the issue).

But what started in 2008 was that he began to withdraw and a pattern of mild verbal abuse began. And with my depression kicking off, the jabs really hurt. I've spent the last two years feeling like I live with a demanding parent.

The decision to move out was difficult for me to reach, obviously. But once I said that, suddenly, he has the power to be nice. And although he's doing a lot of the things I have been begging him for, I'm actually angry with him because he made me once again doubt my decision. Plus, the man I spoke about, who has been patiently waiting for me on the sidelines, has had it with me at this point. I could very well alienate him for good. That will further pi** me off where my husband is concerned.

I love him, and I've loved him so thoroughly and completely for a long time. For 16 years, I loved him and accepted him for who he was and what he could give (minus that one year where we did some negotiating). When we got back together, it was our ninth year, and I had told him one of the things I really wanted if we did get back together was for us to get married. In fact, I wanted us to get married for our 10th anniversary. He agreed, and we went ring shopping. Then after I moved back in, he said, "Let's wait until you find a job and get settled (I was laid off then). After I got a job, the excuse was that I didn't seem to like the job, and we needed to wait to see how it went. So then I quit to start my own business, and while I worked on that, he didn't feel the time was right. Finally, at year 14, he was "ready" to get engaged. So we got married for our 15th anniversary instead of our 10th. How many women would be that patient?

And, because he has such deep trust issues, I signed a prenup. I did that to make him feel okay about everything. I don't regret that; even if we didn't have one, I'd never take anything from him. I don't believe in that. What he has, he's worked hard for. So for me, it was a gesture to make him comfortable.

I had enough of the medication that was working for me to get me past the wedding and honeymoon, and then I was out, and I had to switch. That's when I started to go downhill. That's also when he became exasperated with my low-paying job (as though I was thrilled about it). But when you're doing all you can, applying for every job under the sun, dealing with depression and constant rejection, the last thing you need is your spouse telling you that you're a disappointment because he thinks you're not trying, and that you're selfish.

Like I said before, I thought that now that I had a stable job that I love with really good, really big company, he would relax and maybe start seeing me as an equal. But then the complaints became that I don't do enough around the house. So now I"m trying to clean the crap out of this place and do more yardwork to keep him happy.

I know that I can't spend the rest of my life like this. I love him, but I don't think we're good for each other right now. I think I need some time on my own, so that I can rebuild a decent self image, prove again to myself that I can take care of myself. And honestly, I don't think my husband will do any of the hard work he needs to do on himself as long as I'm around, accepting him the way he is, and letting him continue to be dysfunctional. A friend of mine told me that my leaving might actually be the kindest thing I could do for him.

So I'm beginning to get things set up -- I finally got up the motivation today to start clearing out old files. When that's done, I will start on my clothes and the rest of the stuff in my closet. I know I won't be able to deal with packing and moving with everything in the huge mess that it's in right now. At the same time, I'm trying to be as responsive as I can to my husband; showing him that I appreciate his efforts, and continuing to do the things he's asked of me. I am hoping I can leave with him knowing that I'm not leaving because I don't love him, but rather because I have to take care of myself, and it's just something my gut keeps gnawing at me to do.

I'm still so terrified of it. I don't think it's the wrong thing to do for me, I just don't know how he will take it. I don't want to lose him completely. I don't want him to turn on me and be angry and hate me. That will hurt so badly. I don't know if I'm strong enough to handle that.




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