Talking to Family About My Depression

Ask the Expert Patient Health Guide
  • Question:


    notreal asked...


    I have reached the point in my depression where I feel so worthless that I can't even seem to bring myself to go get the help I know I need. It's as if I don't deserve to get better. What I need first is something short and quick for my family to read so they'll understand what's happening to me. My husband of 22 years is a wonderful loving partner but when I just barely broached the idea that I had a problem his response was "snap out of it." I thought that remark would kill me but I survived only to hear it again. Now I'm worried that if he finds out just how far gone I am he'll decide I'm just not worth the trouble. But I'm sliding to the point of not caring about that either. What can you say to make him understand?

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    Dear notreal,


    I'm sorry you find yourself in such a situation. Too many of us have been or are there. There are some good resources here. I suggest starting with these:

    • How To Explain Depression To Someone Who Has No Idea
      by Kimberly Tyler
      "Very often, folks who experience clinical depression are told that they simply need to have a more positive outlook, count their blessings, or to just take a look and see how good they have it (a home, children, husband, career, money in the bank, good looks, fame, athletic skills, etc.). And holy cow, if I am in the depths of a depression or in a horrible surge of PTSD and one more person tells me if I wanted to feel better all I have to do is just try harder to get over it, I may just begin to scream and scream until they walk away or hang the phone up..."
    • Introduction
      This is a good section that explains the difference between unhappiness and depression. A good starter piece.

    As hard as it is, you must put aside your husband's comments for now and seek help. Part of that help can be working with you on how to talk to your husband. Whether you need counseling / therapy, medications, or both, your doctor can help you with that. Sometimes, taking family members to an appointment with us can be helpful, especially if you alert the doctor to the issues in advance.


    I don't know you or your husband, but I hope you can have enough faith in his love and your 22-year marriage to take steps both to get help for yourself and help for him to understand. You deserve this and, really, owe it to both you and your husband. I suspect you're stronger than you think. Most of us really are.


    Best wishes for your success and health,


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    Please keep in mind that I am not a physician. I cannot diagnose or give medical advice. This section is for sharing information and offering support as a nonphysician “Expert Patient.”


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    I hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full disclaimer.

Published On: September 23, 2007