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Hi everyone,

 

I've been searching the internet for a bit of help... and found this website.  A brief history about myself.

 

I have a spouse (my wife) who has been suffering depression on and off for many years.  We have been together for about 14 years (5 years married and going out before then) and about the time we go together she had signs of depression.  Life experiences and changes had made her feel better and after we got married it seemed to be OK for a while.  It seems that it is just a rollercoaster for her, ups and downs.  She was on medication previously but didn't feel herself although it had helped.  She got off the meds so we could have a child and now we have a beautfiul 2 year old daughter.  Unfortunately as I've read about relapses, it has happened to her again. She is very sad and upset and can be very angry. We have been talking a lot, and she has been talking to her mom too so I think she has a good support system along with going to a social worker to discuss ways to make her feel better or in her words "to get a foothold out of the state she is in".  

However, I feel it has taken a toll on our relationship. I try to do whatever I can to help her feel better, but it has been on going for years.  I am constantly walking on egg shells and can't really speak to her about how I feel. I have tried on many occasions to do so but she just breaks down.  I can't imagine the type of hurt she is feeling and I feel helpless to help it.  I try my best, sometimes its just not enough.  Is it wrong to feel tired? I feel very guilty even thinking that.  

 

Anyways, just a tip of the iceberg.  Sorry my post may be all over the place, just feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything.  I am hoping this forum will help me help her more.

 

Thanks for listening, I haven't opened up to anyone about this till now!

 

Take care.

 

 

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Hi liverpool9,

 

First off, welcome to DF!  I am sure you will find the support you are seeking.  I am very sorry to hear that you're feeling overwhelmed - it sounds very frustrating.  It is extremely difficult to watch someone you care for so deeply suffer, and to not be able to help her in the way you would like.  It makes it worse when you've seen her at her best, when depression didn't have a strong hold on her.  It is also not wrong to feel tired, or guilty for feeling tired.  Depression affects everyone involved as well.

 

Even if it seems as though you are not much help, you are a consistent and reliable social support for her - that makes a huge difference.  The best you can do is to be present in her difficult moments, and to suggest starting treatment again.  It is great that she is seeing an MSW for psychosocial intervention, but seeing that she has had success with medication in the past, it might be worth a try.  At least discuss the possibility with a doctor.  It is not uncommon to have a relapse after discontinuing medication, even years later as stressors pile up and the symptoms have time to develop.  It was probably a wise choice when having your child, but may be worth revisiting now.

 

It is certainly a struggle, and you are in the midst of it.  I hope that you have your own support network to get you through these difficult moments, and now you have this community as well.  As for your wife, just be present and do what you can do ensure that she takes the necessary steps to afford herself the best opportunity for recovery. I wish you both the very best of luck.  Be sure to keep us posted.

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Hi Liverpool9 and welcome to DF,

 

Your wife is lucky to have somebody so supportive in her life, you are trying your best and you shouldn't feel guilty about that! You have joined a wonderful community here at DF, have a look through our sub forums, particularly the Relationship and Depression forum - in your case. There you can post in further detail any questions you might have or just let us know how everything is going, because we do care :nod: 

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Thank you both for your kind words.  I unfortunately don't have anyone I can really talk to about this, as family around me form their own opinion quickly and is not really fair to anyone.

 

I will take a look at the sub forums proivided (Thanks Waffles).

 

Take care and have a nice day.

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I'm new here, too.  It's helpful for me to read things from a lot of different viewpoints.  If it's of any use to you, I can try to speak to the other side - the depressed spouse.

 

For me unrecognized depression has been a defining characteristic of my life for over 30 years.  I am married.  I have three beautiful, young kids.  

 

I see what my wife puts up with.  Irritable, unpredictable moods.  She doesn't know what to expect when I walk in the door.  She doesn't know how to find the balance of what's healthy for her to put up with versus how to provide loving support to a spouse that doesn't react to it.  I see and recognize the heroic efforts she goes through to live with me.

 

But.  I'm numb to it.  It feels like I'm a sideline observer to my life, not actually in charge of my life.  I feel powerless and ineffective.  I know very well that I'm smart, capable, confident, and reliable.  I am a loving father.  I am sensitive and analytical.  But more days than not that I allow everything else - from physical symptoms to negative voices to hopeless perceptions - take over all decisions and emotions.  

 

Numb.  I will watch the kids do something amazing - something I know I should be thrilled and proud to see and experience - but my entire being can't get there.  I will see and hear the pain in my wife's life as she tries to deal with me; I will watch her cry in desperation.  But I can't reciprocate the emotion.  

 

I do understand the pain of watching someone close to you go through this.  They're distant.  Like they're not in the room or like they're permanently distracted.  And that's true.  For me, there are times when the negative, painful, hopeless, self-hating thoughts in my head literally incapacitate me.  I can't hear what people are saying to me.  I can't remember conversations.  I can't engage or relate to emotions.  My own head is swirling so violently there simply isn't a way to be aware of the rest of the world.  Yes, it comes off as irritable, selfish, self-wallowing, and insensitive.  I plead with you to understand those things are strong, but they're not what we want to have dominate our expression to the outside world.  For me, I long to show the world my true self - a warm, funny, carefree, compassionate person I know is there - but I just can't break through the fortress of insecurity, negativity, and mistrust of my own thoughts to show the world the real me.

 

It will take a toll on your relationship.  I think as long as you have inroads to be able to keep talking and be open about what's going on, that is an amazing resource for her.  For me, I'm looking at leaving my marriage because our relationship deteriorated and I only associate my life with the effects of depression.  I know no other life.  We didn't talk.  We didn't address it when we had a chance.  Now seems too late, and I have more optimism in starting something new than I do returning to a life I wasn't ever myself in.  These are painful realizations.  

 

She does appreciate what you're doing to support her, I guarantee it.   It's nearly impossible for her to put it into words.  If she's anything like me, she doesn't trust that those who love her are right to love her.  It may feel thankless sometimes - I immediately resent myself when I know people who love me are reaching out and I can't accept it with open arms.  That's an internal problem - not motivated by anything but self hatred.  

 

On the other hand, you owe it to yourself not to walk on eggshells.  One reason things got so bad for me was that no one stood up to my own blockades.  They accepted them and waited for them to go away.  I wish someone had called me out earlier.  Instead I've been allowed to live in this shell of depression because those close to me were afraid to face it head on while I wasn't able to recognize the problem.  Years of that may have ruined my marriage.  I'd urge you to be assertive with fulfilling your own needs - in the end it may just help her to see how her life impacts you.  For me, that would have motivated me to get better.  

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