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Florida_Dave

My wife has clinical depression

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Hello to all in this helpful community,

My wife has fallen in a clinical depression.  She is a Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, she was an army nurse.  She worked hard and got her grad degree in 2017, but sadly, the depression made her have to quit her new career as a Nurse Practitioner. The depression got bad near the end of 2018 and 2019 has been just awful.  A dozen emergency room visits, 2 psyche unit stays, endless testing, strife with the step-kids.  The medicines seem to make her sicker.  Currently she is at home, most of the time in bed.  I'm suffering real pressure just getting her to eat a few bites and it's an all day struggle to keep her eating.  Most of the food I make for her ends up being thrown away.   She's lost so much weight and can't afford to lose any more and that keeps me in a constant state worry. She doesn't like me to leave the house because she gets afraid.  Because of the depression, nobody want's to come and help so I am mostly single handed.   We sleep in different beds, she does not want affection but we tell each other we love each other.  I strive for 100% kindness and am mostly successful, but I am resentful for all the difficulties this disease has caused us in the past, especially now that I don't get to live a life.  I care deeply for her, and it cuts to my heart that she is suffering.  I am in my late 50s and athletic, being stuck at the house is making me lethargic and depressed.   I am retired so can stay home with her but this isn't what I had planned to do with my retirement and I feel like a looser.  I'm afraid to leave her too long but can make it out to the grocery store which is all the fun I get to have.  Medical bills are neck deep.  We are going to have to pull a good chunk of our savings just to get back to zero balance.  I'm mostly looking to connect with other caretakers for support.  

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Hi Florida_Dave,

     I am so sorry that you are in the situation you describe.  Depression can be so brutal and not just on the person who is afflicted with it.  I hope you will get many responses to your post from other caretakers.  Since I am not a caretaker myself I am really unqualified to say anything.  It is really heartbreaking not only what your wife is going through but also what you are going through.  I can't even imagine how demoralizing the whole situation is.  My heart goes out to you!   - epictetus

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Not a caretaker, but I was where your wife is at.  It won't last forever.  She will get better.  It's a lot of trial and error with the medications and finding one or two that works for her.   

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So sorry to hear about your wife. I applaud you for sticking by her. As one who suffers from severe depression (and is 2x divorced because of it), I know how difficult we depressives can be and the strain and stress we can put on non-depressed spouses.

I wish I had good advice to offer.

Is your wife seeing a psychiatrist and/or taking medication?

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Hi and welcome to the forums. I'm sorry to hear your wife is struggling with severe symptoms of depression. She's welcome here and we would be glad of the opportunity to connect with her. As you're aware, depression is such an isolating illness. 

I was an end of life caregiver for a parent, I have some idea of what's going on with you and I want to address the problems you mentioned.

Caregiver syndrome is a real condition. Search terms: caregiver fatigue | caregiver burnout | caregiver stress. Learn about the condition - and continue reading until you're no longer convinced that your health and wellness isn't a priority. 

You mentioned that you're suffering real pressure, feelings of resentment, not having a life to live, lethargic and depressed and feeling like a loser. My heart goes out to you, I understand how frustrating and demoralizing it can be when best efforts don't appear to improve the comdition of the loved one in our charge. And realizing that love is not enough. 

These feelings you mentioned are all early warning signs of caregiver fatigue which is very common when one's essential needs are deprived- but it's also reversible. Tackling it requires making your mental, physical health and spiritual a priority again. You said you're the sole carer, so what happens should you break down?

So maybe there are lots of "yeah, but..." retorts to the idea that you matter, the "how" questions of maintaining balance and the "I'm fine I just need to..." posturing knocking around in your head. Doesn't matter right now. First, come to understand that your needs aren't being met and that everyone one of us breaks down before long when we're deprived of essential needs. Everyone.

And because you mentioned connecting with other caregivers, I recommend the Caregivers Action Network they have resources for carers of spouses with depression.

I'm wishing you some peace and luck as you begin a journey to help yourself so that you can continue to help your wife. 

 

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8 hours ago, Laura123 said:

Not a caretaker, but I was where your wife is at.  It won't last forever.  She will get better.  It's a lot of trial and error with the medications and finding one or two that works for her.   

Thank you Laura, That's what it has been trial and error but have yet to find a real remedy.  

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8 hours ago, LonelyHiker said:

Is your wife seeing a psychiatrist and/or taking medication?

Hi LonelyHiker,

Currently we have a VA ARNP for her psychiatrist.  The current meds is Lexapro and Abilify.  

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Atra said:

I'm wishing you some peace and luck as you begin a journey to help yourself so that you can continue to help your wife. 

Thank you for the well wishes Atra,

Those are easy concepts for me to understand.  And I'm all for getting out there to have some fun.  The gym is right at the top of the hill and just that would be so helpful.  As soon as I can, I'm going to get there.  And thank you for the Caregivers Action Network too.  I'm going to look that up.  Things seem to be getting worse with the weight loss.  There is an appointment Thursday with her VA Psych ARNP, but she is not going to know what to do.    We have been to many hospitals and talked to many doctors but no turn around yet.  I think that maybe some of the meds might have kept her from sinking deeper faster.  

Edited by Florida_Dave

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