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Jabe13

Accept husband's depression or fight it?

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My husband hasn't been himself in a couple years. Our therapist has diagnosed him with dysthymia. 

Over the years I've had family and friends give me conflicting advice: some say I need to accept him for who he is now (without him doing all the things that made me feel loved and cherished), others say I NEED to urge him to treat his depression for BOTH our sakes.

For those of you with more experience, which direction do you recommend? 

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I think the answer is a little of both. You should urge him to get treatment, and also be understanding of the fact that he may not be able to meet all of your emotional needs right now. 

I am in a bit of the opposite situation. I am the one in my relationship who suffers from depression and I have always appreciated his encouragement of getting treatment - and I appreciate his willingness to pickup the pieces sometimes when I fall apart. 

 

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Hi Jabe13, and welcome. 

 I can give you some insight from my perspective, which doesn't necessarily mean it will be the "right" thing for you. Maybe it will help you through the process of trying to figure out what you should do. 

Firstly, remember that no matter how much you care for your husband and want to help him, you shouldn't do it at the cost of your own happiness and well being. I'm not saying that you should give up when things are rough, but in the long run you need to come first. 

It would be unfair to both of you to just ignore his problem. You didn't mention if or how much you have talked about his depression but I think it's important to start communicating about it slowly and see how he responds. Let him know that you see he is hurting, you care and that you are there for him. Remind him of these things without pressuring him. Ask him if he will talk to you about what he is going through. Let him know how it affects you and makes you feel. Hopefully he will open up and will be willing to figure out what he needs to do to get better. 

I'm sorry if this seems to jump around, one of the effects my depression has on me is that I have ideas of what I want to say but it's all jumbled up in my head and I have a difficult time writing it down. 

Best of luck to you and your husband. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to DF.  I come from the same side of the situation as @JessiesMom, however have also in my history had to deal with my elderly mother's resistance to seeking professional help.  (For her, eventually it was further complicated with the onset of dementia.)  That said, I'm glad to hear you both have access to professional help.

I'd caution you on the family and friends route.  Again, speaking from my own experience, their "advice" may often be a more aggressive "snap out of it" approach which simply is not useful and, in fact, may be harmful to your spouse.  Depression is  a biochemical issue, not an issue of willpower.  Yes, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is quite useful for many of us.  But, again, that's in the realm of guidance under a professional's care.

I hope you'll take some time to read some of our stories to gain some perspective.

Finally, I fully concur with @Lorax on tending to your own needs.  I'm gonna be a li'l presumptuous, but that may be an area to explore with your therapist.

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On 12/22/2019 at 7:08 PM, Jabe13 said:

For those of you with more experience, which direction do you recommend? 

Both. He's worthy just as he is and he can improve. What never seems to succeed in terms of caring for a loved one with depression is working harder than they are to treat the illness. 

The dysthymia isn't your fault and it's not his either, it simply is. How long until a treatment works takes however long it takes and a crucial element in making that journey is fostering hope. 

Wishing you and him some peace of mind, hope for change and acceptance of what is. 

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