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can someone please help me with these questions?

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briefly, my husband has been with severe depression and we have finally found a combination of medications that is giving us more hope. he's still very withdrawn and negative and has completely abandoned his responsibilities as a father and husband (prior to this, he was a loving, generous, considerate, and very thoughtful family man). I'm hanging on as I know that he will stop all medications if I leave (and his psychiatrist requested that I stay with my husband longer for the same reason). I don't know how much longer I can continue to help him because he treats me so awfully. we have tried therapy, but he was too ill for it and if anything, the therapy sessions made him worse (could be because the therapist was not good). his psychiatrist and I are waiting until he improves from severe depression to moderate depression before restarting CBT or IPT.

1) I have been trying to get his family involved in his care and have limited the number of family members I tell because he's ashamed of his illness. there is one family member who I want to share as I feel that she's the only one who is willing to be proactive to help him, but she also likes to gossip. she's the one person none of the other 3 family members want to reveal the information to. but none of those 3 family members are doing anything to help him except to tell me to suck it up for now. should I tell her if she's my only hope for real support (for him and for me)? if i can no longer handle the emotional abuse/neglect from my husband, she will be the person i need to tell so that she can take over for me.

2) is there anything any of his family member can say that will help him see how poorly he's treating his children and me? anything they can say to help him see how his anhedonia is destroying our family? he is seriously the worst husband and worst father I know among my close circle of friends/contacts. in a way, some of the things he's done more recently is downright mean.

3) if he ever gets well, is there any chance he'll regret and fully remember how poorly he treated me and the kids this past year? or do you think that it'll be too painful for him to think about his actions and chances are, he'll run away from the situation? I know separation is in our near future as he's been so terrible to me and I've done all I could on my own to help support him...it hurts to know that he will not recognize that he's destroyed this marriage and family.

4) was his severe depression even preventable (this is his first episode ever...it's almost two years long and he is 44 years old)? because if it was preventable, it makes me angry at myself as i can see how i had a role in his illness too.

please note before sending hurtful comments that I have tried my hardest to help him. I have not told him to snap out of it. I have tried to set boundaries with him to prevent this marriage from collapsing further. I have been the one to set appointments for his psychiatrist visits, taken him there, paid for his visits, and picked up his medications. I have given him plenty of space. I'm not trying to be insensitive to how terrible he feels, but I'm trying to find a source of comfort and sanity for myself by asking these questions. thanks.

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Hi Ilovepuppies -- I'm sorry to hear of your husband. You sound like a wonderful wife and a great mother.

In answer to your questions, someone who is suffering from depression may well be negative about things and/or life because that is all they can see. It doesn't mean that they are like that normally but due to depression distorting their perspective, they may become neglectful of their responsibilities. Not with the intent of harming or being hurtful, but more, that mental illness is making them numb to emotions which in turn could cause them to either not care about things or cause them to make poor decisions which could then have a knock on affect on wider family.

With mental health, there’s two key aspects you should know about. When people say “Mental Health” they assume it only means mental ill health. In fact, “Mental Health” is an umbrella term and refers to mental ill health and mental well being. Recovery is person specific and the right meds or combo of meds plus talking therapy and social aspects all make up mental health recovery. If you struggle with recovery and well being, try shifting your focus on well being rather than illness.

There's a few things you can do to help your understanding of his depression and behaviour. I would highly recommend that you look at the YouTube video "RSA Replay -- The Power of Vulnerability by Dr. Brené Brown and read the self-help book "Manage Your Mind" by Gilian Butler & Tony Hope. These are useful tools not only for wider family but also for the person who is suffering from mental illness. As your husband is willing to even consider therapy, maybe show them to him when the time seems right.


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1) Depression is particularly embarrassing for men, every feature of this terrible affliction is "unmanly" so we will often go to great lengths to hide it. I don't think you should tell that gossipy family member, it would unnecessarily embarrass him in front of others and make things worse. Besides, what makes you think she could help? What do you expect her to do for him? He's in therapy and you have been very supportive of him, there isn't that much more that can be done. 

2) Anger is not unusual, just like an animal that is suffering people too will lash out at others when they're in pain. Unfortunately depression can also give serious tunnel vision so I don't think that other family members telling him that he treats you and the children poorly will do much as all he can see is himself. It could even make him feel more angry and/or guilty. All you can really do is set boundaries and enforce them. Boundaries that are not enforced are worthless, let him know that there are consequences. What about temporary separation? Separate for a couple of weeks to make him realize you won't put up with his abuse.  Sometimes it takes a kick in the rear... I know I've needed one at times! Dealing with depression is terrible but it's not a carte-blanche to treat others poorly. 

3) He'll probably regret it and feel guilty for the things he did and said if he ever gets well. Why does that matter though? Regret can't change the past. 

4) I don't think there's anything you could have done to prevent his depression. You stood by him for 2 years and put up with his abusive behavior, what else could any man ask for? Not a lot of partners are as patient and supportive as you have been, he's lucky to have you. 

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If it's embarrassing for your husband, then I would respectfully suggest that is a case of awful bad luck. Call it the price of him being unable to care for the single greatest imperative there is - your children. 

I can imagine why the psychiatrist would want you to stay. I cannot imagine though why your kids should suffer if he is more worried about how it looks than how it is.

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  • 1 month later...

hi everyone. I hope you are all doing better these days and at the very least, have people who can support you.

I'm sorry for not responding to your replies as it also takes a lot of energy and effort to absorb what you tell me and for me to face my own reality with my depressed husband.

his official diagnosis has been confirmed to be depression with psychosis, and the psychiatrist tried to so hard to help him. my husband barely improved so I do wonder if there is underlying bipolar disorder as he's always so irritable. anyhow, that's no longer important as my husband has stopped seeing the psychiatrist altogether. he gave me no good reason other then "it's just too many visits" when in reality it's been over one month since he last saw the psychiatrist.

I finally told him that I was tired and unhappy with our marriage...I was tired of pushing him to see the doctor and I cannot do it anymore.  I then shared with him many of my thoughts about how I felt he was emotionally abusing me and broke so many of his promises to me and how he's been absent as a father to the children. that I don't want the kids to think that it's ever okay for husbands and wives to an emotionally and physically absent relationship as ours. I'm less than a stranger to my husband. he tells me that he had always loved me, but he doesn't see how his behavior tells me otherwise.

anyhow, I should have kept my mouth shut as all he took away from my many conversations with him were two points:

1) I don't care about the relationship so why should he
2) I don't want him involve in the kids life.

neither of those points are true and I never said them.
fortunately, we had about 6 weeks of medicine for him but he has no plans for what to do after he runs out.

I told him I wanted a separation as I can no longer fight for us, especially if he doesn't do his part and continue to work with the psychiatrist.

I have already looked into a divorce mediation lawyer as my husband is willing to give me everything I request from him. I'm just very disappointed in all of this. I'm angry that he's so slow to get better (and he has been getting better) yet he doesn't want to complete the journey to be fully treated. I'm terribly sad that the beautiful years I shared with him have been overshadowed by the abuse I endured because of his illness this past year. and I hurt knowing that my kids will not have a father to protect them and guide them in the future. instead, they have this person who comes and goes as he pleases in their lives with little thought to his behavior and treatment of them.

finally, I want to thank all of you for taking your time and patience to help me. I understand that you're struggling with your own illness and having to answer my questions and dissect my complaints can take an emotional toll on you as you might be able to identify with some of my husband's behaviors. i am grateful for the insight you gave me as it lessened some of my anger towards him.

I just wish my husband had the strength and insight to deal with his illness such as you have been able to. once again, thank you for your kindness and help.

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First of all, know that it is not your fault that he is depressed.  Secondly, know that depression is an illness and not a choice.  So it isn't his fault either that he is depressed.  Like with any illness, they often just happen due to genetics, years of choices with unintended consequences, etc.  So you have no reason to be upset that he is depressed and can't be a good father or husband.  If he had become paralyzed instead of depressed, would you still be upset with him for no longer being a good father or husband?

However, you should not have to put up with emotional abuse.  If he is harming you or the kids through intentional behavior (like verbally abusing, threatening physical harm, etc), then I would agree that you have a good reason to leave.

When I was delusional and angry with my wife, she accused me of being emotionally abusive.  I was angry with her and said some mean things, but so did she.  That doesn't make it right what I did, but it still hurt when she would turn on me for some of the same reasons you have mentioned for separating from your husband.  She kicked me out three times in about 4 years by the way.  When I realized that my anger was due to hallucinations and not reality, I lost my anger and I still feel very remorseful for what I did.

Do you know if he is angry with you and why?  Solving those questions could possibly change things.

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hi dude333, I agree that his illness is not his choice. if he had become paralyzed and refused proven and effective treatments and physical therapy then yes, I would be angry with him as well.

people around can see some improvement with the meds yet he suddenly wants to stop seeing the psychiatrist without any intentions to follow up and will allow himself to relapse when he runs out of meds (he was much more apathetic towards the family prior to the meds). I have two very young girls that I've been fully responsible for in every way while working full time and I'm very angry at him for that. it has been rough trying to raise them aloneand dealing with him snapping at me and twisting my words and complaining about anything and everything good that I've tried to do for him. it's been hard watching him ignore the kids when they cry or yell at them when they are loud (they are only kids, of course they will play loudly). he has never physically hurt me but he has no qualms with keeping his business a secret from me when he used to share everything with me. he's now secretive about his whereabouts and money and thinks it's funny (one of the few times that I see him smile) when I know nothing about him. I have been so patient and did his share of parenting but I cannot do it anymore without resenting him. he comes home and keeps to himself. anything I request from him (as in asking him to help feed the kids) he uses his work as an excuse to not do it. then two minutes later, he announces that he needs to go work out. he comes home late after running whatever errands he needs to do while I'm stuck at home because I'm the responsible parent.

I'm separating because I don't want to witness how he chooses to live his life while ignoring us. I find that it's easier to not be around him as I'm constantly walking on eggshells...afraid of him snapping at me for any question. even something simple as, "are you hungry? dinner is ready," he will snap back, "I'm working" in a leave him alone tune. it's hard not to be jealous of him when I would also like to work out and stay up late to finish my work but I need to be at home to care for the kids.

I put up with it for this long because I felt that as long as he's working with the psychiatrist to get the medications adjusted, he will soon be able to recognize his behavior.

I don't know why he's angry at me. he tells me he doesn't blame me for his depression, yet because I'm the only close person around, I have to deal with it.

I've tried to recruit his family to help me and the smartest member lectured me about the importance of prayer and he felt he was doing plenty by praying for us. then he lectured me for calling my husband an a$$hole (he used to be a great and nice guy but truly, he's more of a selfish a****** these days).

 I told him I just cannot do this anymore if he does nothing about his illness. him working out and taking meds is not enough. he has to work with his psychiatrist to continue to get the medications adjusted . even his pmd is baffled by his sudden desire to stop treatment.

it's hard for me not to want to leave. he acts like he hates me; he doesn't trust me.  he twists everything i say despite me correcting him numerous times. at this point, I cannot reason with him and he already thinks of me as the bad guy when I haven't done him any harm. i don't deserve to be treated like this after all that i've done for him and the family so i need to get out to manage my sanity. i'm so unhappy with him and so hurt by him. and I don't want to be around him anymore...he makes me so sad and scared (of being snapped at).

In a way it gives me hope learning about your remorse. he has none right now and could care less if I die...truly.

Edited by ilovepuppies
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