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Saturday, June 14, 2008 sephora, Community Member, asks

Q: Spouse depressed; is this normal?...

Hi all,


I know that many of you are the ones going through depression, and I wish you all the luck in the world. I never realized how horrible it could be until I witnessed a loved one going through it, and saw how it affects our relationship. Blessings to you all.


On to my question --


I know that every person can have different additional symptoms other than the "typical" ones, but I was wondering if any of you experienced what my hubby is doing:


Even if we leave off on a perfect note and he seems to be happy for a day, afterwards, he won't talk to me for days, sometimes weeks, cancelling our plans. I don't know if it's the truth, but he says it's because he's so down and irritable that he knows he'll say something terrible to me and hurt me...which does happen. I guess this is the part I don't understand and need explained to me...how does depression make you say things you supposedly don't mean? Do any of you do this? Do you need to first have negative feelings towards a person to snap at them, be insensitive towards them, even cruel at times?


Sometimes when he does this, I'll start to cry, and he won't care. It's like he's lost his sensitivity...and he used to be just the most sensitive guy. Is this common as well?


Also, as I've sort of mentioned before, is it normal of a depressed person to become a hermit, and shut out the person in his life who supposedly makes him very happy? Why does he do this?


As someone who never went through depression, I just don't understand this behavior and I am hoping some of you can help me understand it...I don't want to end the relationship when he needs the most love.


Aaannndd if anyone can tell me some things about how I can help him stop ignoring me so that I can help him get better...maybe some things I can say to make him feel less scared and more comfortable...please let me know.



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Answers (44)
carebear, Community Member
9/ 9/08 1:44pm

Hi everyone. I have been married for 23 years and my husband has suffered from depression our entire marriage. He has been on medication for the depression for years. The last few years have been exceptionally hard for him so they have had to increase his medication. The mood swings, being down right mean at times and the start of anxiety attacks in late 2007. In early 2007 the writing was on the wall for his contract not to be renewed at the end of the year and it wasn't. He has been unemployed since January 2008. My 19 year old daughter became pregnant in 2007 and we had our first grandchild born January 2008. My daughter was on bedrest for the last 2 months of her pregnancy. My 22 year old son had his 2nd bout of cancer in August 2007. With all that said, his employer allowed him to work from home not only because of these issues but also the lack of work. With gas prices soaring at the time, they allowed him to work from home. In December of 2007, the stress of losing his job, our daughter, the holidays just built up that one night I had to call 911. I thought he was having a heart attack. It ended up being a really bad anxiety attack. He has since received medication that he has on hand at all times in case he feels another attack coming on. They happen often. My husband is lucky in that he gets to watch our grandson everyday but that is also the only thing right now that keeps him going. I have been more than supportive for 23 years. I pick up any slack that happens when he is extremely down. I give him his space. When I know it is really bad I just sit with him. I don't pry a conversation out of him because that is not what he needs.  The depression is also not something that you can say, it will be ok honey, things will turn around. It is not that simple. Ever since the beginning of the year, is alcohol consumption has increased tremendously. His mom has been treated for alcoholism and I remind him that he needs to be really careful with that. He says that once he gets a job that all his drinking habits will change. Since the weather has become warmer here, he spends a lot of time out with the neighbor guys. They have fires at the fire pit every Friday and Saturday night. There has been many weekends where I have had to go get him at 2:30 to 4:30am because he is so tanked he has a hard time walking home. Also, we have no sex life anymore. The medications that he is on does not always allow sex to happen so his solution is to just not even try. I have suffered from depression in the past and have been lucky enough to get off the medications and stay out of depression. It has not been easy.


Right now I am feeling really guilty because I am tired of trying to pick him up all the time. He has no problem socializing with the neighbors but it is like it is ok for him to only be depressed around me. This is the worst his depression has every been and I don't know how much longer I can handle being the supportive wife. I love him to death but he really starting to drag me back into the depression I worked so hard to stay out of. I have recently started a new job and I can't even get him to ask me how my day was because he is not working and doesn't want to hear it.


I know depression is a disease and my husband is taking medication; which is a good thing,  but refuses to go to counseling. Sometimes just medication does not help.


Is this normal? I have read all of the answers but I am wondering if I am the only going thru some of my husbands symptoms of depression.




Dee, Community Member
1/10/10 3:48pm

Well, this is my first post, and my first public admission to my husband's depressions and anxiety.  He has been depressed for years, and had serious problems on his jobs.  I was a professional working 2 and 3 jobs sometimes so I never really spent that much time with him.  We'd have dinner together once or twice a week at home and then several times a week out for dinner.  I always thought the people at work just lost their minds on a regular basis and took it out on him.


Well he retired 7 years ago, and we have a little girl who is now 6, and I've probably seen more of him these last 7 years than I have in our whole marriage.  Like so many others have written, I didn't realize it was depression.  It was always me.  We couldn't have sex because I talke about the wrong things, he couldn't have an orgasm because he had to wear a rubber because I didn't want the side affects from birth control.  Now that he is impotent we don't discuss sex anymore!! Even though I am 8 years younger and still want a physical relationship.


I guess I'm writing today because finally after 25 years, I have gotten that this is not going to get better.  EVen after all this time, I was still trying to be the perfect spouse, and thought I was doing a grand job of it.  Except on Christmas Day he absolutely lost it in the kitchen because some of my family didn't want coconut cake.  He told me it was my fault that I didn't tell him they wanted something different.  My first reaction was to laugh, I couldn't believe he was serious and so obviously enraged.  So I went over to tell him that it was okay if he had cut an extra piece of cake at which point he turned the force of his anger at me.  This in front of our 6 year old and my family.  Needless to say I was embarasses beyond words.  I left the kitchen and sat down in the dining room.  He came out of the kitchen as if nothing had happened and asked a question that even as I write this still makes me won't to burst out laughing.  Are you ready for this... his question was..."Would anyone like icecream?" 


It FINALLY occured to me that it was him.  Intelligent, competent woman that I am it has taken me this long.  The down side of it is that we have been in counseling almost throughout our whole 25 years.  He is now on Cymbalta, and he has just seen the prescribing doctor who says he doesn't feel comfortable going any higher on his dose.  So I feel like I'm stuck.  Stuck in an unhappy marriage that I have done all I can to save.  And so my choice is to get him to leave, risk having in have our daughter alone and unsupervised at times when his depression may not allow him to do what is in her best interest, and of course take a very big cut in lifestyle for my little girl and me.


It is incredibly hard to decide, and I'm usually really good at making decisions.  Last night we tried to go out for dinner, and he brought up the coconut cake incident as he calls it.  Silly me, I still haven't learned to sidestep his questions.  So when he heard something he didn't like he said let's go.  Luckily, I was driving.  I went out to the car immediately and got in.  Then he asked, so you aren't willing to listen to what I have to say.  I told him I would listen all night, he said no you won't.


If I had to put my finger on the most frustrating aspect of all of this, it is the inability to talk with someone who is rational.  He has almost no friends, and complains bitterly that they don't call.  He goes out with a guy who is 20 years younger than him, and a woman who use to be a student in his high school choir 30 years ago.


And I have gone to see counselors for coping strategies which sound great when you're away from it, but when you're in the trenches every day, it all gets to be too much.


In addition to all of this he is a slob.  He cleans himself up when he's going out with someone else, but often he doesn't shower if it's just me, and he does not pick up after himself at all.


I, however, am not the ugly wife.  I am 54, still a size 8, and turn every body's else's head except my husband's who spends long hours late at night looking at porn on his computer.  Many times when we are out together, he is always watching other women's behinds!


So I know you're asking yourself, why I stay.  That's a good question.  I would appreciate a response from any one.  I'm really low today.  Thanks!

kate, Community Member
2/17/10 3:37am


I am so, so sad and overwhelmed after reading your story. I couldn't sleep tonight and like the countless other sleepless nites I am surfing the internet, desperate to find a happy ending to a story like yours-because I have the same story. I've never wanted to write on a blog about what I'm going through or respond to anyone that felt like I did, because then I might not have a happy ending. Then I couldn't be in denial. And then there's the fear, what if my husband finds out that I wrote this? His temper and rage knows no bounds. Once he lets loose, there isn't any low he won't sink to let me know just how he feels. He's not physical with me, but he is the most verbally abusive individual I have ever come across in my entire lifetime.


My husband was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and an anxiety disorder. He received this diagnosis after we bruned through four therapists in three months and at my wits end, I had to drag him to a psychiatrist. He's on meds now and his condition has improved, but he still cycles and it's unbearable.


When I make a mistake, which spouses will inevitably do, I am punished for the mistake and for his hatred of even being born. My punishment hardly fits the crime. Then there's the silent treatment. He will ignore me for weeks at a time, I am always the one who has to beg for it to stop and ask "can't you please talk to me in a mature manner and stop ignoring me?" But guess whose fault it was that he ignored me? Yes, that's right, it's always my fault because I started the fight. Never mind whenever I try to break the silence and talk to him, he winds himslef up so tight, he explodes and calls me the most disgusting, defiling names you have ever heard. What's so interesting about him, and I'm sure you can relate, is that he's super funny guy at work and around friends. He's Mr. Make me laugh guy and Mr. Amazing because of his field of work and the years of education it took for him to get there. But at home, not even close.


The sex thing you mentioned really hit home too. My husband has lost interest in sex, well, with me. I am in fantastic shape and have a massive sex drive- I don't have the "don't touch me" housewife syndrome. I beg him for sex, I dress up, I make sure the house is in order and the kids are happy so he will be relaxed but he just pity f***s me once a week, if that. We recently went out of town with some friends and I was very excited at the thought of haveing sex with him-no kids, no work, no stressors that usually get in the way. Just us. Well, per his usual routine, he falls asleep early on in the night and I am left frustrated. I'm wondering to myself if he's having an affair, it would make so much sense since he has no interest in me anymore and he's so mean to me sometimes. So I searched his phone and found a plethora of porn. Videos, pictures of girls in bikinis, you name it. So I decide to wake him and confront him and ask him if his phone porn jerking off is getting in the way of our sex life and boy did I get it. He blew up at me so severly that I had to leave the room we were sleeping in and try and find shelter from the verbal bashing in another empty room. Do you think that having our friends within ear shot stopped his explative filled tirade? Nope. He followed me around from room to room calling me a F***ing c*nt and a F***ing b*tch so loudly, it woke our friends up. He was so crazied out that his friend had to physically hold him back so I could scramble to another room and lock the door. And guess who got up all bright and cheery eyed, ready to start the day the next morning? My husband. Like nothing happened. This fight was then followed by the regularly scheduled silent treatment and when we finally talked, this was all my fault. Because I went through his phone. It's my fault that he screamed at me in front of our friends, it's my fault that he ignored me after his fit of rage. It's my fault for having un-reasonable expectations for sex. And the porn on his phone, his friend made him download it. Yeah, right. I can't reason with him, he won't listen. And I too have the coconut incident you speak of. The fight that gets brought up over and over and over again even though apologies were offered and plenty of time has passed. I have to ask my husband sometimes which fight we are fighting, is it the one that's today or that one and the ten other from this last year?


I don't know what to do. It makes my heart stop beating when I read blogs of happily married people for 20+ years. "All it takes is a little work and a lot of love". Clearly their spouse doesn't have a psychological disorder. My husband does try and he does nice things from time to time. He knows he has issues and feels guilt for them. He feels like he's trapped in hell and doesn't know how to get out. I feel sorry for him. Perhaps one day I'll feel more sorry for myslef and leave. So for now, I will just vent online and hope I retain anonimity. I hope, Dee, that my story relieves any feeling of lonliness you might be consumed with. I hope I don't feed any negativity by being honest. I'm a hopeless romantic, I have faith in humanity and my marriage. I just don't know how long that will last.



Dee, Community Member
2/17/10 7:41am

Dear Kate,


Thank you so much for responding to my email.  I still find it amazing that your story reads like mine.  For years and years and I mean years my husband has blamed me for every sort of thing.  And so to hear you say things like....and guess whose fault it was rings a bell in my head that is deafening!!!


Yesterday was particularly nasty.  I run a pretty successful business from my home and can work anywhere in my home.  I have moved away from the room where my husband uses his computer just to avoid contact (and by the way, he won't let our little girl use his computer--and that's a good thing--because there is so much porn on it.)  Believe me, there are worse things than being ignored.  It's no better when the person just feels the need to argue.  As soon as I would walk through a room there was some issue.  And so the whole day was spent talking about stuff that has no solution, and as you know it was my fault.  It waste my time, drains my creativity.


Unlike your husband, my husband spent his entire career pissing people off.  And I didn't realize it was anything other than people not being nice to him.  He would say "so and so" isn't speaking to me this week, and boy can I understand why now.  It is better to minimize ANY contact with him---everywhere...anytime.


We use to go to the Melting Pot often until he went on a rant with both managers about his credit card.  He is diabetic on top of all of this and addicted to sweets, and boy does his move get aggressive (verbally) after a meal.  I have stopped having a glass of wine, we rarely go out to dinner to avoid the aftermath, and when we eat at home I can leave the kitchen before he gets started.  He's fine with our little girl, but seeing me just triggers something that makes him want to argue.


Luckily, I am still an upbeat person with lots of friends and a business that won't let me quit.  My mom and dad gave me lots of love and support, and even when he tries to tell me that I'm doing things wrong with our little girl, I just see it as tit for tat.  He didn't even GET UP to see her off on the first day of school.  He is rarely awake to say good bye to her as I get her off to school in the mornings so she usually goes in to say goodbye to him.


He is impotent now--8 years older than me--and I am just not ready to never have sex again, but I really don't want another relationship with anyone.  I really just want peace.  He goes to a rehearsal one night a week, and it is wonderful being in the house without him--very relaxing.  No disruption or interuption of my 6 year old's routine because he wants to read just one more story, finish this tv show or play one more game.


I know that I stay to save face in the community, I don't want my little girl to come from a broken home and he's pretty ok with her, and I like our financial lifestyle.  I have talked to a number of counselors who have all advised me that life would not come to an end for any of us, and would probably be better if I just left.  He has drawn up a property settlement and says if I sign he will go, but the settlement doesn't make it possible for me to live as easily as we do now.


So that's why I stay.  Why do you stay even though there is no end to this?  Please write to me again.  Thanks so much.  Dee

kate, Community Member
2/18/10 1:58am

Dee, It was very nice hearing from you! I used to think that life would be so black and white, that lines would be drawn and if crossed, I would take action. Life isn't really that way, I feel that I have made so many concessions now that I'm married. So why do I stay? Great question. It saddens me that I don't have a resounding, definite answer. That I can't say I stay because of a great love I am experiencing or that he's my best friend. Don't you have to trust someone to be their closest confidant? We do still have some good times, but it's cyclical. It's really good for a bit and then it gets so ugly so fast. There is no middle ground.


I stay because of money, principle and I made a commitment. I stay because I want my children to live in a nice neighborhood, to go to a great college. I want all the magic and wonder of the world to be theirs as long as possible, before the trappings of adulthood take hold. I don't want them to have to grow up too fast-like I did. I can't give them those things by myself. I have a great job but one income is not enough and do I risk getting back into the dreaded dating pool?  Also, I don't have as many marital years under my belt as you do, I think that plays a part. I admire your dedication and perseverance, I don't know if I have it in me. I stay because I still think that maybe, just maybe I can get a handle on things, that he will get a handle on things. Have you been here before? Did you think the same things? I either sound like an eternal optimist or an eternal denial-ist. You should ask yourself what you would really lose if you left? What would you gain? How hard would your life be, in all aspects, if you were to walk away? Good luck, you're amazing. Anyone dealing with this nightmare should get a medal.


Dee, Community Member
2/18/10 1:30pm

Thanks again for listening to me.  One of the hardest parts about this is I have hesitated to involve my friends, and I am fortunate to have lots of caring people in my life.  I have not wanted them to take sides, or even question my sanity about staying in a relationship like this.  Unless you have lived through this, it just sounds like you're moaing and groaning about your husband all the time.


I guess the reality of this situation has set in.  I'm up against a disease that, like many diseases, is out of the hands of those who suffer and those who watch.  Funny that you should write again today..it's just a tearful day.


I went to a counselor who said, it's a mental illness that he cannot control.  So I just wonder, all his life he's blamed his unhappiness on those around him--his mom and dad, his brother, and now I'm the one who is around the most....so it follows doesn't it that I'm to blame?


I am trying to make enough money to give me the most options.  I'm just tired today and discouraged.  Usually I have a lot to say, and as I write this I feel like I've said it all so many times before...and it doesn't change one single thing.








kate, Community Member
2/19/10 1:44pm

Dee, I'm very sorry you are so down. I've often questioned my sanity during this process because it seems that if you're married to someone with depression, it becomes a virus that you're exposed to and you catch it, much like you would catch a cold. I always argue with my husband that I'm a happy person and his defense is that I'm not happy around him so I must be an un-happy person in general. Well of course I'm un-happy around him. Anyone who is constantly exposed to a storm cloud is going to get drenched. It's hard to be happy around someone that hates everything and everyone and there's always something wrong with the world. The incessant complaining and nagging that never ends is mind numbing and soul stealing.


I know how you feel, wanting to avoid your husband. It's like they have a bat and anytime you get within their eye sight they start swinging and yet some how it's your fault for getting hit. Because you had the audacity to come near them. How dare you. I feel as though my husband's job is a great buffer for us. I noticed in your post you mentioned your husband retired and now you have to be around him all of the time. I at least get a break. I'm worried about your mental health, it's a travesty that their mental illness causes your mental health to decline. Have you thought about a trial separation? It's not as definitive as divorce but might offer some peace. I'm going back to see my therapist next week hoping she will offer me some insight. I'll let you know if I get anything out of it. In the meantime, try and find joy in your life outside of your marriage. Take your husband out of the equation and focus on you. Get some girl time in with your friends, don't let your pride get in the way of allowing your friends to support you through this. You can't do this alone. Good luck girl.

Dee, Community Member
3/20/10 12:56am

How are you?  Tell me what's going on with you lately.  I lost this strain for a while but found it on my computer tonight.


Well a lot has happened on this end.  I paid to take the 3 of us to a really nice resort at the end of February.  It is one of my favorite places to be in all the world.  I figured it would set us up for a least a couple of good months.  wrong....The night before we left, my husband's cough got worse and worse.  I asked him to go to a walk in clinic to get an antibiotic.  He said he didn't need it.  Of course it got worse throughout the weekend.  The final night he drank bourbon to help, and of course he wasn't able to get up and eat with us in the beautiful dining room the next morning.  He just laid around until we left.  Driving home I thought it's pretty sad if you can't be happy where we just came from.


Sooooo, I have spoken with one attorney about the property settlement that he has proposed.  The attorney said I am entitled way more than he's attorney is saying.  I have a realtor coming Monday to tell us what the house is worth.  I have a meeting with a second attorney to take a look at the finances to see if my little girl and I can stay in the house and make it work.


In addition to all of this, he is doing a room in our house and the work has gone on for 4 years.  This week he has not worked on it at all.  But he's talking about making a hole in the wall so that you would no longer be able to close off the room when people come over to visit.  He insists it's his room, his project, his hobby.....I am so sick of this !@#$$!T


We had a really nice general discussion this morning and he cried and invited me to go to a concert with him tonight.  We had a more specific conversation about the direction we should go with the room, and it was back to the same old stuff.


So since we couldn't find a baby sitter in the 3 hours of notice on a Friday night, he went to the concert!  So here I am by myself at 12:47 with my little girl asleep in the next room.  He did offer (after I suggested it) that I could go and he would stay.  I didn't really want to go by myself.  But I guess I should get use to it right?


I've had a ton of success and support in my life, and so maybe it's my turn.  But I gotta tell you this is pretty miserable.  But I've found support in wonderful, lovely places from people that I never would have thought would be there.


Anyway, this email came today and I hope it gives you hope like it did for me...


'To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.' When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. Concentrate on this sentence... 'The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.'


Let me hear from you!



kate, Community Member
3/20/10 2:36pm

Hi Dee, it's so nice to hear from you. I'm glad you have talked to an attorney, you sound much better. I hope you can leave. Please let me know how things progress. As for me, things were good for awhile, then they went to hell. We are separating. He took a bottle of pills and blamed me for it. I wept and wept and all he could say was that I didn't love him so who cares? Needless to say he did it to get a reaction out of me. He refused to go to the hospital and won't get help. I asked him to leave. Hopefully this one will stick. We'll see. I'm despondant. I'll write more later, I don't have it in me right now to do more.

Dee, Community Member
3/21/10 2:12pm

I am so very sorry for the pain that this whole ordeal has caused and continues to cause.  But sometimes in not deciding, the decision becomes so painfully clear that it almost seems to be taken out of our hands. 


I can't speak for you, but having mostly made the decision, I feel relief.  I had forgotten how it feels to go through a day without the dread or fear of what kind of mood he's going to be in when he gets home, what's going to set him off, the kinds of hurful things he will say and be amazed at my reaction, or his charming ways on the phone or with others and his curtness with me.


I know for both of us that there are going to be hard days ahead.  But looking back, that road wasn't exactly a picnic either.  So I will tell you what you told me that helped me so much when I was down in the dumps.


Take him out of the equation and take care of you.  Your health is precious and irreplacable.  If you have children, they need someone they can hold on to through all of this, and now is no time to weaken.


Treat yourself to a massage, lunch out in a beautiful place, and yes, maybe even a new dress to celebrate spring.  Go have your hair done and then look around at all you still have to be thankful for.


Yeah, this is a God awful mess, but there is still a lot right in both our worlds.  Hold on to that, and keep writing to me.


Take care of you,


Dee, Community Member
5/ 3/10 10:38pm

Hi Kate,


You've been on my mind a lot, and I'm hoping you are well.  What is happening with you?


My husband and I were on the way to divorce, and some how we have managed to stop and think about things.  They are better, but it is still hard to trust once you've started down the road to separation.


I know that he was making plans with someone else, but he won't admit to it.  It's still quite a mess.  It's way more drama than I had conted on in a marriage.  A month ago I would have been able to tell you how this would all end, and now I'm not sure.  Some days I'm sure it will end one way, and other days I am equally sure it will end another way.


I don't know whether the calm is because he is not depressed, but I am telling him how I feel about things as we go along, and at least I feel better.


Please let me know how you are and how your situation is.  I have stopped talking with friends.  It gets to be too much.  So I have started to keep a journal and it really helps me hear myself think without burdening those I'm close to.


I really do hope you'll write.



GINETTE, Community Member
6/26/10 10:19am

I also been living wi,th a husband with depression,we been married for 17 years,he has been depressed that whole time.At the beginning I thought he did not love anymore,I brought two kids into the marriage 7 and 14, he used to get mean, especially at the older boy, he decided to go live with his dad at 15,that was a mistake,as we driving him to the airport we stop to get him some nuggets at mcdonalds, he is also a diabetic,is taking a while for himto return he tells me to get his ass out of there.I was always the mediator,now the kids are grown I don't have to deal with that anymore. We haven't had sex for many years,we don't even kiss anymore,he is taking Paxil he blames it on his libido from the Paxil.He say's mean things like go find someone else if I am not good enough. I use to argue back with him but I don't have the energy anymore.What hurts the most the day he told me it was all my older son's fault that we use to argue so much. THANK YOU FOR LISTENING                                                                                                     

living@42, Community Member
6/17/08 8:59pm

Hi, I just happened to stumble across you post when I goggled "depression spouse."  Yours was at the top of the Google list!  I have been married for almost 25 years.  My husband has been depressed off and on, now mostly on, during all these years.  He has been seeing a psychatrist for 18 months, with little improvement and he is currently on a low dose of Lexapro and has been on Effexor in the past.


That said:  yes, becoming a hermit is normal.  Getting ready for work, going to work, and being at work and trying to appear as normal as possible, trying to do the best they can so they don't get fired....all of this takes a tremendous amount of emotional energy.  When he gets home from work, he disappears inside of himself.  The depressed are so emotionally spent, they have no reserves, nothing left to give.  


My husband sits in one of his two "chairs" and reads while watching TV.  He watches two shows at a time so there is never a good time to talk to him.  His chair is in the corner of the room so no one can approach him, touch him as they pass, and he can't hear you unless you come to him to talk.  


As for socializing, one a month is tops for us.  We used to entertain friends for dinner at our home once a month.  Now, never.  We see the same group of friends (3 other couples) once a month for dinner.  He knows when this is scheduled and is "on" when he walks in the door.  He is "off" as soon as we walk out of the door.


What you are experiencing with your husband is normal behavior for depression.  How long has it been going on?  When was his last episode?  Has he recently gone on/off any meds?  Has he even seen a doctor about this?  


I would recommend you read the book "How You Can Survive When They Are Depressed."  


Remember, it's not you.  And, it might not ever be better than it is today.  I am trying to decide if I want to spend the rest of my life like this.



WM louison, Community Member
5/22/09 8:40am

Hi, I was just searching the web to maybe find some insight on a depressed spouse so maybe i can approach it with a little more understanding and less self blame. I read bot articles and realize that it is in them and not because of you.

Here is my story:

I and my spouse of 11 years have split because of the reactions she has to her depression. She put the blame on our relationship for her unhappiness and figured looking in the arms of another would make her happy. Well sorry to say that, like anything else that she would have thought would make her happy, was short lived and only added to the depression. When there is happiness it is from the outside such as material gains and compliments. She is sad and crys alot. Our realionship ws well fed and was growing, but she seemed to focus on the negative and magnify everything to the extent that it was the end all to a happy life. I pulled  my hair out trying to understand what was happening to her and us. Finally we sat and had somewhat of a acuall conversation and realized that there was never any real happiness in this womans life. She only knew what the dictionary told her.  I still have a life with her the only difference is i have a safe place to recharge when she drains me.  I try my best to be there for her but some days it is to difficaut to see her self destruct...i too have started to look for love in anothers arms becauase of what lacks in hers.

RCH, Community Member
5/25/09 5:54pm

Wow! I read your message and it was like everything I was feeling, you had written down. Even the years of marriage almost match. I have empathy for my husband's situation but am frustrated by his lack of follow through with meds and counseling. I have tried to tell him that the side effects of the meds are NOTHING in compared to how awful he feels when he hits "rock bottom". I guess it is like child birth and you forget the magnitude of the pain. This most recent episode was triggered by an unexpected job change and cutting a pill that was time released and should not have been cut.

You wrote your message a while back. I am curious to know if your situation got better and if you are still with your husband.

Lonely, Community Member
6/ 7/09 4:56pm

I wish I had an answer for you...I am going through the same thing with my spouse.  This is one of the most difficult things I have ever experienced.  As the previous response said - my husband is on for work and sports.  But, the minute he enters the house he withdraws into his shell.  I have tried to do everything to get him to go get serious help but to no avail.  This is truly affecting our sons. 


My biggest problem with my husband is that EVERTHING is my fault.  He takes responsibility for nothing.  I am so tired and at this point I do not know how much more of this I can take.  I love him dearly but this draining my emotional health.  What do you do??

suzy, Community Member
9/18/10 4:08pm

I am too going through same thing.  He is up and down and cries all the time and is on Lexapro and pain meds.  He lost his self esteem when he lost his job due to medical conditions and on SSI..  He sleeps all day and wakes at night.  I am unemployed and a recovering alcoholic 90 days and go to aa every day and have new friends and found religion and he won't have any of this.  When he is lonely and has bad feelings no matter what I say is wrong.  I am not on his side, I don't help him, bla bla.  "Go be with your drunk friends.  I recently applied to volunteer at a sr center 2 x a week and he is mad cause I should be here, but we live in two worlds.  His in the bedroom and mine in livingroom with our two dogs.  He does nothing but sleep and be miserable when awake.  How much can a person take?  He REFUSES to get any help.  IT IS ALL MY FAULT

suzy, Community Member
9/18/10 4:09pm

I am too going through same thing.  He is up and down and cries all the time and is on Lexapro and pain meds.  He lost his self esteem when he lost his job due to medical conditions and on SSI..  He sleeps all day and wakes at night.  I am unemployed and a recovering alcoholic 90 days and go to aa every day and have new friends and found religion and he won't have any of this.  When he is lonely and has bad feelings no matter what I say is wrong.  I am not on his side, I don't help him, bla bla.  "Go be with your drunk friends.  I recently applied to volunteer at a sr center 2 x a week and he is mad cause I should be here, but we live in two worlds.  His in the bedroom and mine in livingroom with our two dogs.  He does nothing but sleep and be miserable when awake.  How much can a person take?  He REFUSES to get any help.  IT IS ALL MY FAULT

Tammi, Community Member
6/15/09 12:38pm

I just came across this string of discussion and it brought me to tears. My husband of only a year became depressed out of the blue a few months back. We have been to joint and individual therapy for a few months but it is extremely hard to deal with. He has always been sensitive, vibrant, affectionate, and funny. He is now isolating himself, refuses to tell me he loves me, drinks excessively, and if I get upset looks at me with deadpan eyes. He refuses medication but does not entirely follow through with the self help route which leads to a roller coaster in our life. It is making me depressed as I worry all the time, am hurt, and have extreme anxiety about his feelsing about me and his mood. Just reading these few posts has made me feel not so alone and I feel badly for you all as I understand completely what you are going through.

sad in seattle, Community Member
12/21/09 11:19pm

my husband and i have only been married for 2 years but have been together for 12. he has had depression since we met and probably before. Just recently, of course after we are married he tells me that he thinks that his unhappiness is due to me since we have been together for most of our lives. he thinks that if he leaves and seeks out another person he may be happy. he agreed to counseling and we are going to go to couples counseling. i know exactly how you feel. i feel like its my fault but reading everyone else on here gives me hope that his love-lost feeling is just the depression. My mother also suffers depression and she has said she felt that way about my dad for a while and after receiving help their marriage improved immensly and they have been together for 33 years now.

do you feel like you don't matter in the equation of his life? do you feel that all you want is for him to tell you that heloves you and to kiss you in a loving way again? I do!! It hurts so bad doesn't it? I just like someone to talk to about this. I feel not alone. Its even hard to talk to friends to about this because at this point do you feel that all your friends are joint friends?  

Annie, Community Member
3/ 3/12 5:39pm

I feel very much the same, we have been married 24 years to a loving husband, 5 years ago he lost his business and from then on it was down hill depressed, verbally aggressive, manic anger outbursts in and out of work.  Near seems happy and withdraws into this world,  if I get upset he goes for a run and cannot understand  his three words I hear all the time are " I am trying" yes he his but it is the other things we have to deal with. I lost my mother last year through all of this she die within 13 days of being diagnosed with cancer and he could not help me through it my 17 year old daughter did. Does pain stay or do we forgive and move on.  He wants a quick fix we have been to consuling it help but he does follow through, the alcohol was a big issue now that he went to AA he very rather drinks but he makes sure I know it every every week.  He feels cut off from his mates due to the fact he doesn't want to place him self in a situation he may not be strong enough to say no.   So he doesn't socialise.  I suffer from anxiety and walk up 4 am every morning wondering do I sit it out or support .............I still do not know.l

Me, Community Member
9/ 2/12 8:52am
This sounds like Im reading back something i wrote, I have been with my husband for 9 years and married for 2, I only found out about his depression because I wanted to start a family. Since finding out though things have gone downhill and fast. He refuses medication and says talking will not help. I'm scared, lonely, hurt and by all means have no idea how to help him. Everyone at work is starting to notice his change in behaviour and so are our families there is only so long that we can both pretend he's just not feeling well. I really would appreciate any help or advice, I love my husband and want more than anything to start a family with him, unfortunately at this point in time the future looks bleak, I would do anything to have my funny, caring, crazy, life of the party partner back. Reply
fran, Community Member
12/17/09 10:07pm

hello i know exactly what u going through or though i am the 1 with depression and my spouse is very caring he does try to understand and help I have deep depression and I now take Cymbolta 60 miligrams and 60 milagrams of paxil see a therapist 1 time a week and get my meds from scicitrist 1 a month they watch me because they care so far so good.i am also disabled and can;t work I have fibromyalgia toand also take very strong pain meds.I have stayed in my bed or in my comfy chair and also refuse sometimes to talk or see my friends or family,i know how it feels not wanting to go or do anything. If theres anything i can help u with like info or just to talk feel free to e-mail me any time ok.I am there for you and hubby. my name is spicey2_99@yahoo.com and my name is fran.God Bless u and family and it does get better i know.my spouse and I have been together for 28 years.

Nannie, Community Member
6/19/08 8:37am

If anyone can answer these questions about a Spouse being depressed and what we go through as they are depressed, please help.  I have been looking and looking for the answers, as I don't know how much more I can take.  I thought I must be the only one going through verbal abuse, and I also give it back, when I don't mean too.  He'll yell at me about money saying how we lost some at the casino and how bad that is, than two hours later say, "Want to each take $100 and go to the casino", as an example.  I finally told him, I cannot go to the casino and than come home and be yelled at for losing money, as it makes me cry.  There are so many things I don't understand.  He blames me for everything, our marriage going bad, sex, just everything, and I don't know how much more I can take.  He even has talked to our grown children and makes it look like I am the bad guy.  He tells me I have depression, and I have been to five doctors because of what he says, and everyone says "I am not depressed".  My husband is going to a doctor and is on Effexor XR.  He is to the point of taking 1/2 of the dose as he has been going to this doctor for two years.  The doctor has told me he cannot do a lot for him as he (my husband) insists on drinking along with the med.  My daugter, a teacher, said that she would rather see her dad like he is now, drinking and all, than he was before when he was just taking the med.  They don't know what I go through, except I told them they will eventually know what is going on.  Like his drinking and verbal abuse.  I even went to AA to try to understand, and the mental health doctor told me I might find someone else there with the same problem.  My husband and I went to the mental health doctor, first me alone, than the two of us, the first thing my husband said to the doctor, "she needs to be put on some med for her depression".  The doctor said, "I don't think so, not at this time".  We quit going as my husband didn't feel we were getting anything from this doctor.  Marriage help.

I guess I'm begging for help on how to understand this situtation and be a better wife and be able to help my husband.  If anyone out there has any advise, I will gladly accept it.  Thank you.

Amy S., Community Member
6/19/08 12:07pm

Hi. Sorry you have to go through this.  As a person living with it i can tell you it is no picnic. When someone (and I am generalizing here, i am not a professional. just going off of my experience) is depressed, they feel unworthy. I have a fantastic group of genuine friends who care for me, but when I am depressed I cut myself off.  I feel paranoid, as if they no longer like me. I stop calling and talking to them. I go into complete isolation.  I am on medication but I do the stupid thing occassionally and stop taking it when I feel good sometimes.   He may really feel like something will happen.  You don't think rational thoughts when you are depressed.  It affects every part of your life.  You feel like you don't care about anything or anyone, because no one cares about you. I have a husband and 2 kids and sometimes life is hard. 


Maybe go to the Dr. with him and help him make a decision.  Even if he feels like he doesn't need medicine, he does.  Offer to go to the Dr. with him and tell him you are there.  He may still resist, but please don't get angry with him.  I know when my husband asks if I took my pill, it just sets me off. 


It's not easy by any means.  You are going through so much and I feel for you.  Maybe you can find an online support group that you can vent so you don't feel so alone.


Good luck.

dflat, Community Member
6/19/08 12:58pm

Sephora:: I am seriously, chronically bi-polar, and your descriptions of your husband's life are chillingly parallel; I've been living this for 40 years, although diagnosed & treatment for only 20....I love my wife dearly, and was completely honest with her about my disease upfront...it would seem that we have needs which the other fills, so we are together 8 yrs & counting.....Yes, all of the above are true...but we have built signals into our lives that allow for understanding, & coping. For instance, she knows that I cannot do public things but once in a great while, so a wedding for a friend next month  will be attended by her & our son, while I play chauffeur & wait for a call when they are ready to come home...Yes, I can rail mightily,for no reason, but for the sake of my son, I hide myself as best I can before exploding...&, no, I don't have to feel angry at someone before the fire comes...the fire is always there with me.. Happy is a funny word; maybe safety, contentment, or just a bit of understanding that the world doesn't afford us is a better description... To end.....there is nothing  you can do to help him get better....except to love the good things about him & understand that every day he lives, whether he says so or not....he owes to you.....Peace!!  dflat


PS ( dflats wife here)

Always remember that no matter what he says in a depressed time it has nothing to do with you and his true feelings for you. You must find it in your heart and mind to wipe the slate clean after each and every time. It will happen and you will hurt but know that deep down he lashes out at the disease not at you. 



pelebast, Community Member
10/15/10 8:19pm

I think your PS is the most helpful thing i have read - ever.

I grew up with a perfectionist mother who demanded we meet her needs (not exactly full blown narcissist, but close) and I was the healthiest one in the family, the only one who would dare to say the treatment of us kids was unfair, so of course i got all of the blame.  No one else felt that way - why was i trying to hurt her?  Of course my sisters DID feel that way, but they were so involved in self protection and their own pain that i was the only one trying to DO anything about the situation. 

I still to this day am incredibly sensitive to people railing against me - which seriously depressed husband does a lot, unless he is ignoring me.

Although I have a good tool bag of coping skills, and can self heal and keep moving forward, it is always sssooooooooooooo hard!  The words never seem to leave my head.

I'm going to make your last thought my new mantra and see if it helps.



Mattie, Community Member
9/16/11 12:53pm

The PS helped me as well. My husband and I just celebrated our 1st anniversary and everything seemed fine up until then. He hurt his back at work about two weeks ago and had a few other issues there. He was depressed as a child and has been through a tour in Iraq. Last week, he sort of snapped...told me he didn't think he loved me, and that he wanted to separate...that he knew for a fact if we separated, he'd never be in another committed realtionship again. He has had some of the same symptoms as other spouses mentioned. He isn't affectionate, doesn't want to say I love you or be intimate. He won't go out and do things that just two weeks ago we were doing. All he wants to do is stay up late and watch movies. His work is suffering...whether its from pain of his back or depression I don't know. The hardest part for me is that he acts happy around other people, but around me he doesn't, he doesn't want much to do with me. He hasn't been to a doctor, but his mom is trying to convince him to go. He told me he doesn't want to hurt me anymore, and I feel like If I cry or complain he will take that as a sign he's hurting me and leave. I am having a hard time accepting (even though his mother tells me daily) that deep down inside he does love me and that if we get through this we will be stronger. I'm trying to focus on him, but I feel unloved and lost. I get scared that maybe his depression isn't really depression, that I'm just making him unhappy. Our marriage is so new, and we are so young (20 and 21), I feel as though it is way to early to give up. I just wonder if other spouses feel the same as me, and if there is anything they do to help themselves get through it.

Sally, Community Member
6/21/08 10:57pm

I am actually in a unique situation I think, but then again maybe not.  I have not only been through having a spouse struggle through some things that are close to what you are describing, but I have been through depression myself.  I can therefore see both sides.  I read your post to my husband who agreed that it is in fact normal to isolate yourself and become a hermit when depressed, and that was my experience too.  It's actually kind of ironic, because when you're depressed you need others the most, but you don't want to feel the way you do around other people.  You just want to hide away, and wait for it to pass, but the more you isolate yourself the more it gets worse. 


For me the situation with my husband was even worse, because we were newlyweds when I realized what he was going through, and we had had a very short courtship before we got married, so I didn't know him as well to begin with.  I had always turned to journals to express my feelings when I was unhappy (and happy too).  So when I saw him turning inward and he wouldn't talk I would write my feelings in my journal, and then leave it open for him to find and read when I wasn't right there.  That seemed to help, not only for me to express my feelings and hurts calmly to him, but for the door to open for him to express his feelings to me on his terms when he felt up to it.  Just remember that the "reality" of a situation when you're depressed is affected by the depression, and that no matter what hurtful things he thinks he means at the time, it is affected by what he is going through.  Please don't give up on him, instead learn from what he is going through, and find a way toward working on him "getting better". 

My husband would also like me to add that sometimes medication is needed to help the situation, maybe not forever, but at least in the beginning.  But that would be something to discuss with a doctor, as far as which medication, and how long that it is needed.  And it is NEVER ok to just take yourself off antidepressants cold turkey, and without talking to a doctor.  My husband learned why the hard way, and it wasn't good.


I hope this helps, as I wish someone had told me this almost 9 years ago when I went through it with my husband, who by the way is still my best friend and soulmate.  It has taken a long time, and we still struggle at times, but we are in a much better place now then we were then.  God Bless all who read this!

sometimessad, Community Member
6/27/08 6:58pm


I am the 'depressed' person and my husband (i guess) is the depressee.

He complains that I shut him off and ignore him as well. But i've tried to

get through to him to just leave me alone for awhile and I will come out of it

when I am ready. I know that sounds selfish but it's better than him forcing me

out of something when I'm not ready to and it all ending in a fight because I

don't have anything to give. I am a full time mom and I give all day to my child. Id on't have alot left over at the end of the day. Also, I also have been battleing

depression for a number of years all which started when I lost my dad. Then the losses

in my life started to increase...best friend, close friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles,

brothers...etc. i don't deal well with loss. I need to heal and I need space to heal.

I also get into isolated times when I feel I am trapped and I don't have any freedom.

i need to have some free time to myself to get a grip back. but what doesn't help

is that my spouse takes it personally and tries to force things between us when i am not ready. I just want to make a point to be patient. The depressed person will come around when you're not constantly trying to bring him around. Just my opinion from by own experience. Also, I have tried to talk to my husband and explain what would make things better however I always get an argument in return on the lines of..."I don't see why you would need that you have this"...so I have given up trying to talk because he doesn't want to hear me anyway. So I've become dismissive and that also makes things worse.

TLR, Community Member
7/31/08 12:46am

I have been dealing with a depressed spouse for eleven years and what you are going through is the same thing I experience. From all I have read, this is totally normal. It has to be one of the hardest things I have experienced. We just went through a suicidal bout and it is incredibly exhausting. We are seperated now and he is living with a friend and even though it hurts it is nice to have peace restored in the house. I plan to wait awhile before I make a definite decision but I can understand why spouses question whether to stay or not. I think the best thing is to recognize when the depression is causing your health to take a hit. You have to be important as well. If you take good care of yourself you will be able to help him and not react to the hurtful things that come from this terrible disease. If it becomes too much you have to think about yourself first. Finding support in family, friends, therapy, online or local support groups will help you get through this and help you with any decisions you make. Unfortunately, support groups for people with spouses suffering from depression are not as common as I personally think they should be. As more of us talk about it, I think that will change. I am in the process of trying to start a support group here in Edmonton, AB. I think we can all benefit from meeting people who are going through the same things we are. Wish you all the best! You are far from alone.

mel, Community Member
8/ 4/08 12:37pm

Deppression is a horrible illness and it isn't about him not loving you, moodiness, irritablity, detachement, distancing yourself is all about the way you feel or should I say the lack of what you feel, you lose your emotions can start to become very withdrawn and burnt out, I have suffered with manic deppression all my life, they call it the Black dog, the reason for that is because all you can see in you head is a void, there is nothing else in there but a void and a very horrible isolated feeling, sometimes when I was in crowds, I couldn't even hear what people were saying to me, I could see their mouths moving but what they were saying I didn't have a clue, I could hear them sometimes saying to me, you don't care etc, I didn't know what they meant by that, I couldn't full stop I couldnt cry and all i wanted to do was to die. So this is what deppression feels like and without support from a mental health unit you can end up with so many complexes about everything which is not right, people can't help getting deppression it happens and it is a brain illness with symptoms that seem to really affect your emotional state. I think you need to be very strong and realise that the illness makes people seem like they don't really care, but they do care they just can't express it and it is very confusing for people, I also found it hard to recognise faces, I can assure you it is a very complicated feeling. Seek help and don't let your marriage fail for the wrong reasons, I know it may be hard being with this person you don't recognize but I hope what I have written here will help you to understand how your partner is feeling inside right now and all I can say is try to maintain your own activities and still see friends and just respect his space right now, but as a rule I would call a mental health specialist and see if you can get him to consider some therapy to give him as much support as he needs, you will not be able to do it. Also, it can happen to anyone, it is not you that is at fault, so the best I can say is don't be too  hard on yourself or think he does't love you anymore. When he gets better maybe you can pick up where you left off, in the meantime try to be strong and get some people on side. good luck love


Alison, Community Member
8/ 7/08 10:47am

Hi Everyone,

I, too, am living with a partner battling long term depression and anxiety.  It is so hard to see the person you love feeling the way they do. It is so emotionally draining. He also lashes out at me and at time our children. It does get exhausting trying to help understand that it is the disease that is talking and not him. I have also had the added difficulty of getting over infidelity on his part. With his depression, he feels so unworthy, that he is convinced that I will never stay with him. As well, he always thinks the grass will be greener elsewhere. So, last year I found out he had been cheating on me for over a year. Added on top of everything else it was almost impossible to bear. But, we have stayed together muddling through. I 'think' the affair is now over, but I also have major trust issues to deal with. Nothing has really changed for him with his depression issues and feelings about himself so it is hard for me to believe the affair isnt continuing or that it may not start up again. On a positive note, he did just start a 8 week inpatient treatment program for depression and anxiety. I am hopeful that this will be beneficial to both of us. I love this man so much, but also too, struggle with how much I can take.

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone dealing with depression.

Bron, Community Member
8/ 7/08 10:57am

I have read each one of the entries above and something that each of you have said i can relate to.  i have suffered from depression for about a year and a half now.   not a long time i know but it has felt like forever.  i am very lucky to have the love and support of my boyfriend and my mom.  they have never left my side once.  I cant tell yo what depression is like, i can never seems to find the right words to describe it.  one day is never the same as the next and you have to take it one moment at a time.  i have experienced so many different, confusing, and terrifying emotions.  sometimes i feel like im trapped in a grey tinted glass box.  i can see out but no one can see in.  i can scream and shout and bash on the glass until im utterly emotionally exhausted but no one comes to rescue me.  sometimes i get so anxiousi it feels as though im being suffocated and i just cant get free.  it has effected my life in every single aspect of my life.  i have kept this a secret from my family except my mom and my boyfriend.  getting up, going to work and working a full day is incredibly hard.  i dont know what your husband does, but i have a very stressful job and sometimes i just cant do the simpliest thing nevermind having a loving relationship, that just expects too much from me.  i just cant do it and i shut off, i isolate myself, i become incredibly tired and grumpy and i snap and lash out.  it upsets me when i do, well i know i should be upset but i have this lack of feeling going on and its so hard to be affectionate and to show your partner the love they deserve.  he does love you and i promise you this is is tearing him up as much as it is you.  depression is a contridiction....you say you love someone and you do but you can feel it, cant express it and you cant behave the way someone who loves somebody does and that confuses you and it hurts you and no matter how much you try you cant change.  i found it easier to let go and just go with the flow, tomorrow might be better or it might be worse but the coin will flip even for a moment and you can feel what you should even just briefly and you have to hang on to that and you just cant let go.  sometimes i hate people telling me they love and value me.....i hate them saying that but thats what i want to hear, thats what the normal me loves to hear. 


all i can say is give him space, i know that is hard as you have needs as well but just try.  let me know you love and support him and no matter what you are there.  i think read as much as you can and learn more about this dreaded disease that rippes your life apart.  understand that this is not him and he reacts in ways he doesnt want to.  he does see that it hurts you but he doesnt have the energy to make it right.  emotion and experiencing emotion is hard and sometimes its just not there and you cant change that.  i hope what i have said has helped you.  i can only share my experience with you....its hard, the hardest thing i have had to do and there are days when i just want to shout out i dont love you and leave me alone but that is a lie.  im am incredibly lucky to have the support and love i do, the most understanding, sensitive man by my side that does not expect me to do or be anything and i can not give up on that because that would mean giving up on me and my life and my dreams and i just have to hang on to the little good things that happen and they do, not as often as i would like but we are getting there.  you need to understand that your relationship is demanding and sometimes you cant meet that demand as much as you want to, when you cant you get frustrated, which makes you angry and you isolate yourself as you dont have the emotional capacity to deal with it.  regarding the social issue that someone mentioned.  the last thing you want to do when you can not do yourself or your life is to do a dinner party, try and keep that in mind, it is also good to try and be social it does help, there is that contridiction again!!  ry and do it with as little pressure as possible.  with me know one knows so i have the pressure of hiding it and being "normal" and "happy"  and with the people that do know you feel like you are constantly being watched. 


i hope this has helped you, it has really helped me to read what you have all written.  its comforting to know that what im going through is normal for this illness and when its bad will be something to hang on to.


dont give up!!!hang in there.


carebear, Community Member
9/ 9/08 1:21pm

Hi everyone. I have been for 23 years. My husband has suffered from depression thru our entire marriage but the last few years have been very hard. He has now been unemployed for almost 9 months. The last year he worked they allowed him to work from home but it was more because there wasn't any work and they knew that they were going to be letting him go at the end of the year. My husband could sense that he was going to be losing his job so the depression and anxiety attacks came strong and fast. I had to call 911 in December because I thought he was having a heart attack. There are a lot of things going on in our family life, my 19 year old daughter had a baby in January and my 22 year old son had cancer for the 2nd time last August. Our beautiful grandson has really helped save my husbands life. Since he is unemployed he gets the privelage of being able to watch his grandson while my daughter works fulltime.  

serenity now, Community Member
9/11/08 3:55pm

Sephora and others,

I, too, am a spouse, and can read my life through everyone's messages posted here.  I have recently been looking online for support as it is difficult for friends and family members to truly understand if they have never lived with this personally.  I have been a counselor in the past, so I thought I was better equipped to stay happily married to a depressed spouse with just the "normal" roadbumps of life.  I recently realized that although I may have a fuller understanding of the disease itself, it didn't and can't prepare you for the emotional toll that the disease takes on the spouse and the family.  


My husband and I haves been together about 18 years and things have progressively worsened for our marriage over the last 4 years.  He has been treated with anti-depressants for quite a few years (10 perhaps), and the depression has been "managed" to a certain degree.  I have recently accepted that dealing with his depression has quite likely triggered my own depression.   I just can't seem to "shake it off" like I once did when he made a nasty comment or got irritated with something minor. 


Now, here I sit, feeling hurt and alone and hopeless that our marriage will last if his behavior doesn't change.  And in the mix of all the normal life difficulties people have, his drinking has worsened.  But of course, as a person in denial would think, since I'm the 'counselor' , he thinks it's all me being too sensitive and just looking for alcoholism where there isn't any, and that his drinking isn't actually that bad.  His dad was an untreated but functioning alcoholic with the entire family in denial about for years.  Who also had undiagnosed and untreated depression.  So, genetically, we have an uphill battle in front of us for both diseases.  


There are times, days even, that I think I don't know if I can take it much longer, but I also have strong convictions about our 4 children needing both parents together, and as long as the verbal "abuse"  doesn't impact them so much,(often its during our 'conversations')  it's better to stay for their sake and give up my happiness and dream for a fullfilling marriage.  Isn't that what a good mommy would do?  Plus, the reality is, I still want it all work out--I do love him, but it can hurt sooo much. 


I wish I were stronger, being able to continue to set the behavior aside, and not let it impact me.  Someone earlier said to see the behavior as part of the disease and not the person.  And I was able to do that for many years, but, I am no longer able to do so.  Someone gave me the example, that it's like getting pricked with small needles.  At first it isn't so bad and it heals quickly.  And after awhile, after you've been pricked so much, even if it's always been small pricks, the pinholes become one big hole all together, and it can't heal until it's been treated.  I hope that with some counseling we can work towards the path of recovery for our marriage, and that his disease will cease to be such a detriment to our lives.


I just wanted to agree with everyone that the isolation, the behavior that seems to be so selfish and inconsiderate, the anger and irritation, the taking it out on the ones they are closest to them as their family members are "safe" and forgiving, are all part of the disease.  But, it still hurts, doesn't it?  I sometime wonder, why do I have to do this?  Put up with this?  And I keep coming back to, that God has a plan, and I don't understand it right now, but someday, for someone, it will have all been meant to be, and used for a greater good.  


I want to thank you all for 'listening".  How powerful it is in my healing to put these words "out there" knowing that someone may read it.  I hope we can all take care of ourselves, so we can take care of /be there for our spouses.  I try to hang on to the idea that if he had diabetes, I wouldn't give up because I had to cook a certain way.  I don't want to give up because of this disease. 


So if anyone has any good ideas on how NOT to give up, some practical ideas that works for them, I would LOVE it.  I want to be a survivor of this...not let it beat me and my marriage!!  Hang on to the glimmer of the person you fell in love with!!!  I pray that they are all still in there somewhere, still loving us, and that someday medical and pyschological therapies will be identified to help us all!!  Until then, I am thankful for sites like this that bring people together so we know we aren't 'crazy' and alone!! 

wife/mom, Community Member
7/26/09 3:52am

I really would like to thank everyone for their posts - it makes it so much easier just knowing that there are other people out there who know what i'm going through. i am commited to seeing my husband through this but on the bad days I wonder if it is in my childrens' best interest. my kids are still young but i was wondering if anyone had any tips for protecting my kid from my husband's depression? Any advice would be appreciated!

pelebast, Community Member
10/15/10 9:43pm

I know there isn't one right answer, but suggested this, because i fear no one else will say it, and it WILL be right for some...


This answer will probably get me a lot of flack from people who don't think the same way, and it requires constant (!) committment.  That said, here it is:

tell them the truth!


Kids will blame themselves for EVERYTHING and will often not talk about it, particularly if they can sense (and they CAN) that we, the adults, want the "should be"s to rule our outward appearance.  they will toil in silence, acting out in other ways, or trying to be perfect so things will get better (sound familiar)

YOU as the healthy parent, absolutely MUST committ to never just allowing his bad behavior toward them.  They have to KNOW you will stand up for them - not by responding in kind, but by calmly and firmly insisting he treat them better.  He won't.  That isn't the important thing for you.  The important thing is that they see, hear, and internalize what good behavior looks like, and that they KNOW that THEY are your most important priority.  Also helps if you can insist on the same for yourself.  Then they can see first hand how to set boundaries.  And it categorically does NOT work to allow his behavior toward them, and then tell them in secret later that it wasn't right.  Kids are experts at finding hypocrisy, and getting the real meaning, even when we deny it.  If you don't speak out against it IN ITS PRESENCE then you are speaking out for it, no matter what you say later.  Kids know we just say things to try to make meaning that wasn't there. 

Of course, none of this works if he will be violent.  If that is true, you MUST, for your children's sake, get out now!

Then you must, if you are going to stay, committ to telling them, sincerely and often, that you never give up on someone you love, as long as they are trying too.  Then that is what you do.  You let them see your frustrations with the situation - not out of control ranting, but letting them see nonetheless.  This is because if they do not witness you being able to verbalize your frustration, they will never be able to find a healthy place to verbalize theirs.  They have to hear and then see, and then hear again, that it is okay to feel frustrated, angry, upset by daddy's behavior and by the situation.  But you ALWAYS also let them know that the real daddy is in there, somewhere, but this wasn't him.  This was behavior.  Not the real person.  Call their attention to times when he was his real self, and encourage them that this illness can be improved, but it isn't because of you or them, or in fact because of him.  And don't let them rail unfairly either.  It isn't okay to do that just because they are kids.  Let them know that it would hurt if someone talked about THEM that way, and show them a better way to do it.  ABSOLUTELY NOT like this "you should be ashamed for thinking that about your father"  NEVER that!!!  OF COURSE they will think and feel unkind things.  Don't you?  They have to have a healthy outlet, but taught boundaries so they don't learn the lashing out that he is displaying, but instead learn how to say no (or feel no, while you say it for them), still love, and love themselves.

The added benefit to that is that when they behave badly (as we all sometimes do) they will be more ready to understand that bad behavior doesn't make you a bad person, unless you won't try to change it.

Finally, encourage him to let them see how much he is trying.  If he can do that, then they can learn a LOT from his negative examples.  But it's probably going to be one of the hardest things in the world to get him to do that - if it is possible at all.


Great advice, eh?

Too bad it is so hard!

Constantly draining and sincerely difficult to actually do!

But worth it i think.  At least i hope so.  I know it is worth it for the kids!

We'll see how it goes with the marriage...

This is the tactic I took with my kids despite constant nagging from my mother that I was failing my kids, total lack of understanding from anyone else.  I let them see that too, and i tell them why I make the choices i do.  Not angry -  just "everyone is entitled to their opinion, and they mean the best for you, but this is how i feel, and this is why"

This all flies in the face of common "wisdom" of childrearing.

But here is what might make you want to try, if it sounds right to you - my two oldest kids have a complete narcissist for a father.  He even went so far as to tell our 16 year old recently that he was going to call the cops and have her arrested because she is a theif.  Her crime was taking home her own clothes - clothes he had previously told her she could take home, even though usually anything he buys them (even birthday and christmas presents) are known to actually be his.  I have to mention that she is a beautiful, talented, active, funny, wonderful kid.  Straight A's without even trying.  In AP classes.  Acts, sings, dances.  And so mature!  Couldn't ask for a better kid.  She isn't perfect, but she is terrific!  Certainly not a criminal!  He compares her unfavorably to Taylor Swift, knowing she wants to sing/dance/act for her career, and says things like he wishes she was his daughter instead.  That is just a snapshot.  The reason i left is because he brutally shoved her down when she was 3 for hugging him too hard.  He spent 4 days trying to convince me why it was her fault, and eventually why it was mine.  That's when i realized there was no hope, and we left.  I left him when the kids were 1 and 3.  Now they are 16 and 14.  He is passably decent to them only as long as they will pretend that he is the perfect father, endure his constant bashing of me, endure that he never knows the anything substantial about them, and doesn't seem to want to know and lies constantly.  If they don't do that, and perfectly, then out come the vicious assaults.  I could fill volumes with the crap he has done to them.  But he is a narcissist, and lies convincingly to everyone, and presents beautifully to all others, as all narcissists do.  So no help from anyone.  And i'm not willing to turn it into a battle.  No point.  He is who he is, and has no concern for the impact on others nor any desire to be any different. 

My current husband has put us through the paces with his depression - about 12 years together, with the depression ruling about 9 or 10 of them.

My poor kids have endured a lifetime of challenge due to my poor partner choices.  But you can't blame yourself.  I clearly needed something(s) from this.  I certainly have learned a lot!

And all three of my kids are the best!  That's not proud mom talk.  People regularly comment on how great they are.  My son isn't the best student in the world, but he has a great innate artistic talent, and all of his teachers love him!  Usually teachers don't like a kid who avoids homework too much, but you just can't help recognizing how sincere and kind he is.  He is a truly gentle soul.  People just gravitate to him.  Neither of the older two has ever acted out in the ways you would expect with kids of a personality disordered parent.  Not even a little. I believe it is because I didn't wait to teach them the skills therapy would try to give them as an adult - i RAISED them on those skills!

For what it is worth, I have always been honest with them.  That doesn't mean i tell them everything, but i don't say what i don't mean, and I try not to mean anything unfairly unkind. 

I love my husband.  A lifetime of depression has left him in an emotional prison we are trying to work him out of.  Unlike their father, who is completely unlovable to me, my husband is worth sticking it out with - for both me and the kids.  When he is in an up side of his cycle, he is a great dad, and my best friend.  When he is in the down side, he is a nightmare, or he withdraws completely.  I hope that he will learn somehow to live on the up side mostly.

I hope that I have shown the kids to set boundaries, that it is okay to take care of yourself, and that it is okay to endure sometimes when you have a purpose.


But i have no credentials to back any of this up.  I'm a high school counselor, but that hardly makes me an expert.

it isn't research based (formally anyway) or any of the things that people rely on to get thier truth.

It is what seemed/felt right to me.  It resonates with me.

It makes sense based on what i've observed of people and their pain, over my lifetime.


I hope it also proves to be right!

I pray for your finding your way!  Every one of you!

Depression is awful! and like watching someone you love die, yes it is awful for the depressed person and i'm not minimizing that, but the dimension of knowing that NOTHING you can do will make it better, but LOTS of things you can do will make it worse... yike!

I only hope that I never have to know it firsthand from the inside.

This has been quite enough for one lifetime!


wife/mom, Community Member
7/26/09 3:53am

I really would like to thank everyone for their posts - it makes it so much easier just knowing that there are other people out there who know what i'm going through. i am commited to seeing my husband through this but on the bad days I wonder if it is in my childrens' best interest. my kids are still young but i was wondering if anyone had any tips for protecting my kid from my husband's depression? Any advice would be appreciated!

Olivity, Community Member
12/12/09 10:16pm

I tend to wonder if when alchohol gets involved the depression might have a partner that needs to be addressed by the name of alcoholism.  I don't know how you confront that.  I'm still trying to figure that one out.

bstgirlfriend, Community Member
9/12/08 1:13pm

Depression of my boyfriend has hit me like a brick wall. It was a three week progression into his depression. First really tired and crabby, than just very mean and short, and finally the man I loved just faded. It was 1, 2, 3...I finally got him to admit his issue after 3 weeks of him saying he was fine.  Early on he said he would see his previous counselor, now he is trying holistic rememdies. He needs couseling but I think he is afraid of being medicated.


I am now feeling the affects of being the supporting girlfriend. I have awful chest pains which my doc confirmed are not health related but stress. Supporting a loved one who is depressed is a thankless job HOWEVER I cannot leave him alone. He has no friends...I have been his best friend for the last two years. The whole process is devasting for me because he used to come to me for everything, now he doesnt even think to call me.  Today I asked him if he missed and he said he didnt know. We used to spend every weekend together....we did everything together...now he just wants to be a loner at home and play online games. 


Because my own health is declining due to this I have decided to really back off and let him deal with this in his own way. I will check in with him maybe once or twice or week but I cant handle any more than that. I will do the best I can for now and invite him to do things but I have to think about my own health and needs.


I plan to be there for him if he comes out of this but if I have to will remove on because only he can change how he feels.


It is the saddest thing I have ever been threw. We had a perfect relationship and around this time we talked about getting engaged. Now that may never happen. He is the best boyfriend I ever had.... I told him this often. Now can only remind him.

lady jones, Community Member
2/21/10 4:36pm


I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years, and we have been friends for 9. we are both 23, he is in the military and has suffered with 'the weight of the world' for as long as i've known him.

he was adopted, has gone in and out of therapy for years, and iknow was diagnosed with depression right around the time we first became friends in middle school. 

He goes off and on as well, when he is good- everything is wonderful. he is a passionate happy silly person, and it seems like there is a ever-shining light at the end of his tunnel when he talks about his contract ending and finally getting out of the military [2 yrs from now].

But, then when he is off, its like there is no point. Everything is ugly and horrible. Recently I brought up how nice it will be to have our own time to be together once he is out, and he said 'well all couples hate eachother eventually anyway..' 

i broke down. This comment turned into a fight about how i love him and he kept saying there is no point to loving a person like him, he described himself as selfish, angry, irritable and not a 'people person'. I know he is depressed, has hurt himself before, and though im not afraid that he will do something... drastic, i still don't like seeing him this way. He was adopted, and has always had issues stemming from that. I went with him about 2 years ago to meet his Birth Mom, and she and her hubby were drunk the entire time. Granted, we were in vegas where she lives, but regaurdless. It was horrible, he put on a happy face but it threw him into a major down state again.

he looses himself in video games, the gym, anything. He takes on the weight of the world. He still trys to be there for me and listen, but it seems like everything is myfault. 

i try and point out how he is seeing the pessimistic glass-half-empty side and he tells me im a hypocrite [recently my parents decided to get a divorce so i've been having my own problems] 

it seems like the good times are amazing, and are lasting less and less time. 

he has to ship out in 6 months. i don't want him to leave like this again, especially that the middle east makes this even worse, its like a full 9 month bought of depression..


anyways well, I, more then anything, want to be the catalyst of happiness in his life. i want to be someone he can look to to open up about whats going thru his head, relax and love. 

he lets me in some times. i don't know how to deal quite yet. I am in love with a beautiful man who hates himself and doesn't understand how I could love him.


i dont know why i wrote this, it just felt better to get it out.

Megan, Community Member
9/15/08 4:24pm

My husband and I have been married for 13 years.  We had the kind of relationship that everyone said they wished they had.  We did everything together.  We tried to have children for 11 years and were finally blessed with twin girls.  I was so thrilled and felt they were going to have a great beginning in life with parents who loved them and had a great marriage.  Then, about 18 months ago, my husband became really depressed.  We went to the doctor and got him on anti-depressants.  He tried different ones for about 7 months and nothing was working and he was getting even more depressed, severely depressed.  He finally came to me and said that he was not in love with me anymore.  He left me at home with 16 month old twins.  He felt very confused because he was not sure if he felt like that because of the depression.  He decided that before the depression, he did feel love for me and decided to come home.  He has been home for 6 months and he is still very depressed.  The medication he was on numbed his feelings so much that he did not feel anything.  So, he stopped taking it.  The psychiatrist gave him a new medication and we found a new counselor.  He is now saying he is not sure he is in love with me again.  I am going through this all over again and am just waiting for him to leave again.  It is so hard to deal with.  He has barely even connected with his children.  He does not want to do anything except go to work (which is confusing to me).  He says that his home life stresses him out.  I am not sure why, I do everything around the house, cook, clean, take care of the girls, pay the bills.  All he has to do is cut the grass every other week.  The girls are loud and chaotic, but, they are 2.  I am so confused!!  I do not know if the depression is causing his feelings of unlove toward me or if he just doesn't love me anymore and that is why he is depressed?  I keep reading that when you are depressed, you have no feelings toward anyone, but, I just do not know what is going on.  The thought of our family being torn apart kills me.  Everyone is shocked by this, no one could ever imagine that we could be headed for divorce, not us.  We were so close.........

tryingtostaystrong, Community Member
5/12/10 3:32pm

I am so sorry to hear this. I hope things are going better for you.


My husband and I have been together for twelve years. Reading your post brings tears to my eyes, because I see so much of us here. I used to think we were soulmates, and our friends always said they were jealous of how well we got along, how perfect we seemed for eachother. I remember years when it seemed that all we did was laugh.


He has been depressed for more than a year, I think, but in the last nine months it has become very bad. He almost left me... but both of us were too shocked, I think, to let it happen. Things got better for awhile, but now I can feel him slipping away again. He is physically and emotionally withdraen, and seems most miserable at home. I am scared. I feel that I am losing my soulmate and best friend, and I don't know how to stop it -- so far, he won't seek help.


We do not have children - I have always wanted them, and he wanted them too -- but now he says he isn't sure anymore. He's not sure he wants to be a father, or can be. In my mind I've been trying to think of ways to convince him that he'd be an excellent father, and has always wanted children -- becuase I want that family experience for us, so badly!  But your post chills me. There is also a part of me that worries that small children will only make things worse for him -- and in truth, for us. I wonder if perhaps it is better to learn that a person is depressive before children?


Your situation sounds so much like mine. I wonder all the time if he is just falling out of love with me. But I think: on his good days, the connection is absolutely there. So it must be the depression that causes this lack of love.  It must be...?  I assume this is the case for you, too, but I suppose it is hard to know.


This is so hard. I wish there were easy answers for life.  But it is definitely nice to know (and I didnt really know until I came to this site) that there are other families going through this. Best wishes to you.





Megan, Community Member
5/17/10 5:57pm

Thanks for your email.  I am so sorry that this is happening to you.  My husband (now ex husband) finally just told me that he no longer loved me and divorced me.  That was about 6 months ago.  We went through the roller coaster of depression for 2 1/2 years - tried every medication.  But, he would never go to a counselor or a marriage counselor. 


I don't want to discourage you by saying we are divorced - all situations are different.  Just know that he did divorce me and he still is not happy.  I am also thinking after 6 months of being separated/divorce  - he is regretting his decision.  It is very hard for a depressed person to know what they really feel and tend to take it out on the person they are closest to.  Or they try to find a reason for why the way they are feeling and it falls on the spouse they are closest to.  I really feel like he still loves me - but never could or wanted to get the right help and finally decided that I was the reason he was depressed - which did not turn out to be the case and now he is miserable and I am moving on with my life. 


I hope things turn around for you and your husband!  I am so sorry this is happening to you- it is so hard.


Susie, Community Member
11/ 8/08 10:03pm

I reallly don't know where to begin.  I didn't want to read the other replies and I will, as I've gone through this same type of error in my life.  My first husband got so bad that I had to divorce him.  Found out why his dr wouldn't treat him any more is because he said he wanted to hurt me and he did.  The kids couldn't understand it and took it out on me.  It drove me into a nervous breakdown and eventually I tried to take my own life.


Now, I am living with it again.  My new husband of 8 years has such bad mood swings.  He used to throw childish fits then one day, I took all I could and just exploded.  He was good for about a year and now though, it's getting bad with the mood swings that he literally makes me want to walk out in traffic.  End it all.  Depression effects the person loving you.  There is no doubt. 


We're partners in a business and I believe you take one day at a time.  As long as you are trying, put a smile on your face and help others.


Not him, he doesn't like it when I am happy, smarts off to me if I make a joke.. says "Real funny, Alice"  Really sarcastic all the time.  Belittles me as he is smarter than me.  Has me to repeat my self like he didn't understand a question.Complains all the time like he's dying. 


The other day, he got so bad on the phone about an order I placed that I hung up on him and I telephoned the main man and said I want the .... order by Jan 1.  We didn't talk much when he returned to the office but I knew he was way out of line. 


When I hung up, I was by myself in the office and I stomped, I screamed, I yelled.  (no one can hear from outside and I have a door bell in case someone would open the door).  Then I got a call from  my supplier which is a good friend and told him how I felt.  He has noticed my husbands mood swings too.  He too has been frustrated with his outburst and judgment.


We stopped doing nothing as far as enjoying life; bowling, etc. We used to play Scrabble until I started beating him and now he won't play.   If he has to be in the office with me, I grab my purse and leave.  He drives me crazy to the point of killing myself.  I know that when I do good in sales, he is sooo happy.  I tell him how important it is to get our letters out but he keeps interrupting me while I am working so if he does this all I know to do is leave.  This week I am taking off with the sister cause I know he's going to make me miserable.


He's always right.  I'm always wrong according to him and when he  find he is wrong, by that time he's already hurt my feelings.  There's no end to his attitude.  Of course, I keep taking and taking until I explode, hang up on him but it has gotten to the point I making payments on a grave plot and want to get my Will done.  And of course I am leaving all the life insurance to him sooo he can find happiness at least for one year if something happens to me.  I am exhausted.


I don't have any solution for you but I just hope you can get through it and if not, I hope you are young enough to find someone that can be a sole mate.  I have friends that have sole mates.  It's sooo wonderful to see cheerful people!  Sure, I have a whole lot more to say.  I don't leave here because we agreed to open up a business and I am 49.  Just where am I going to go?  I faithfully open every morning and close or stay open if someone comes in.  He wanted me to come in earlier and I said NO.  I work through lunch.  When we close... nothing happens.  Absolutely nothing. 


I do know that when I blew up, he thought stwice but I am tired of that.  Why should I have to do that.  I like being happy.  I like being around people that laugh!  But because we are one, it has it effects on me.  I tried with my first husband, begging him to help out etc.  I went to work; he stayed home; the kids would tell on him.  "Daddy stayed in bed all day or run around the neighbor hood talking with women."  The kids asked me one day "Mom, if daddy went out on you what would you do"?  I said, "I'd tell the woman, lol, to KEEP him"!  It just got to that point.



cm, Community Member
11/12/08 3:29pm

I have just read through all of the responses and it has helped me to realize that I am not alone in what my husband and I have recently been going through. It also helps to confirm my suspicions that my husband is depressed.


Over the past month my husband has gone from withdrawn and moody and giving me the "silent treatment" to lashing out at me and blaming me for everything he perceives as wrong with our relationship, to telling me he feels "empty" and has no feelings for me anymore. He tells me that he feels like he has lost himself and that he needs some time away from me to find out who he is and forge a life for himself. He also indicated that he can't promise that once he finds out who he is that he will want to continue to be married to me. We have only been married 8 months and now he is telling me he thinks that we rushed into it. This has all been very difficult to hear as you may imagine. Even though in my head I realize that it is the depression talking I can't help but respond emotionally to the things he is saying. As well, the degree to which he is pushing me away makes it hard for me to know how to help him. I know that he needs me more than ever right now but I don't know how to reach out to him when my very presence in our house is making him feel "pressured" and "confined". I am torn between giving him the space he says he needs and trying to be a loving supportive wife.


He has not acknowledged that he is depressed and has become quite upset when I tried to suggest it. He has also refused to come with me to counselling and has a history of refusing to go to any type of doctor or take any medication. I am not sure how to help him realize that he is indeed depressed and worry that even if he does come to that realization that he will not want to seek treatment.



lespaul, Community Member
1/ 3/09 6:05am

Wow....I thought I was the only one going out of my mind, but what you are describing is what I've been going through with my wife.  We have been married for over 11 years. 3 years ago she developed aseptic meningitis and after being hospitalized woke up paralyzed from the waist down. She was diagnosed with transverse myelitis which stemmed from Lupus. After Chemo, lots of steroids and rehab she made a full recovery with only slight back pain every now and then. Her illness really helped our marriage grow stronger. She went on to complete nursing school and landed her dream job as a new grad in an intense ICU program. The long hours and stress of the program wore her down and 1 month into it she decided to quit after an instructor told her that "maybe the ICU wasn't the place for her", but "don't worry we'll find a nursing position for you somewhere else in the hospital." She didn't tell the instructor she had Lupus until she had resigned. From that night until now my loving wife has become a totally different person to me. In the past she was the one who did most of the talking, but now she only talks to me when I ask her a question... if she even hears me ask.  She responds negativly to me and answers my questions like I was a child. If I say I love you she will say "love you too", but she sounds so distant. When she's home she watches TV and seems irritated if I interrupt her program. She told me that we got married too fast(we dated for five years!) That we never really knew each other...we don't communicate....she says we never really did.  She told me that something happened to her at that job and now she sees things differently. She told me she is not physically attracted to me anymore. All this said, when we go see her family or I see her with her friends she is her old self...laughing,talking,happy.  When I asked her about that she told me "you act different to other people too"  We have been seeing a marriage counselor for about two months, the counselor told her that she had severe depression. but my refused to talk about anti-depressants. " I don't want to take those." I love my wife and I promised to be with her forever, but the acting so regular and happy with other people and then being so distant with me is really breaking my heart. I gave her flowers the other evening and you would of thought I gave her a bag of rocks the way she looked at me. This is not my wife, she used to grab me and kiss me and hug me in the grocery store. That was only 5 months ago. Thank you for sharing because now at least I Know that I,m not alone.

ALCG, Community Member
1/ 4/09 12:56pm

I am so glad I found this site! My husband and I have been married for almost two years, and he went through a major depressive episode right before our wedding.  I told him that I wouldn't marry him if he didn't start therapy and taking anti-depressants.  He did, and things were okay for a little while.  He's on Lexapro, and I was hoping that we were going to have a good holiday season, but of course, the holidays tend to make depression worse and remind him of all the bad family memories he had growing up. About a week ago, he was disciplining our dog excessively, and when I tried to stop him, he started yelling at me.  He had the dog chained up outside, sprayed him with water, and wanted to keep him out there all night.  I told him it was excessive and abusive and he accused me of trying to undermine his authority if I let the dog out.  This led to a huge fight which prompted me to leave the house and stay with a mutual friend for the night--a friend who is male, but a completely innocent friend of BOTH of ours, and when I came home, he raged at me for running to another man to discuss our marriage problems, which I admit probably wasn't the best idea, but it is was totally innocent.  I stayed gone because I was trying to honor his wishes in dealing with the dog and wouldn't be able to sleep in the house, knowing that our pet was suffering outside.  I took the dog to stay with friends for a few nights, and things seemed to calm down, but as soon as I brought the dog back home, my husband stopped speaking to me, saying that I chose the dog over him.  Now he wants to get rid of the dog and is being completely irrational.  He's turned into this other person, a man that I don't recognize and am finding impossible to love.  He's also been drinking too much, which makes the Lexapro ineffective.  I recently got off Birth Control pills because we wanted to start a family, but I don't want to bring children into a marriage that seems to be ruled by my husband's depression.  I love him so much, but I don't know how much longer I can take his rage and I don't think children deserve to have a father in this state.  I'm hoping that his therapist, who has been out of town for the holidays, will see him next week and help because I feel so helpless and so alone and like I have to keep this dirty little secret so we seem like the perfect couple everyone thinks we are.  I am so angry because we have a wonderful life and he doesn't seem to appreciate it.  I know that problems are normal in marriage, but his depression is our biggest issue, and frankly, I'm sick of it.  I want my husband back, but I don't know how long it will take and if it ever will happen.  And I really don't want to have children with a man who can't get better.

kaje, Community Member
1/22/09 3:43pm

Thank you to all who have participated in this discussion!  I have had my suspiscions that what my husbands was experience was depression but now, after reading all of this, I am convinced.


We have only been married 1 1/2 years and I love him with my whole heart.  I will do anything to help him and hopefully get back some of our "old" life.  But it is so nice to know that I - as the spouse - am not alone and that in fact, what I'm experiencing is very "normal". 



Jenn, Community Member
1/26/09 1:12am

I, too, have just recently discovered this website and I am so very grateful to everyone for sharing their experiences with depression.  It has been overwhelming to learn that so many partners & spouses have experienced the same kind of isolation / withdrawal / shut-down that I have now experienced several times with my partner of 9 years.  I honestly thought it was behavior peculiar to my partner's ineffective ways of trying to cope with life's stresses, disappointments, and traumas -- until recently I didn't even realize that his behavior is in fact symptomatic of depression.  It is still so hard for me to wrap my mind around -- how quickly and often inexplicably (at least to me) my partner will distance himself from me, resist my attempts at communication, meet my questions with irritated, frustrated responses, and allow weeks to go by without any contact at all if I don't initiate it (and even if I do initiate it, the contact does not usually go well).  Even though after 9 years I can see a pattern in his behavior, I still struggle to accept that his behavior has nothing to do with me and I do not cause it.  This latest depressive episode (which began about 5 weeks ago) has finally caused the light bulb to go on for me, as I recognize that my partner has a real illness he cannot control (even though in non-depressive periods, like last year, he has said it won't happen again).  But I'm once again in that nether-world, waiting (hoping) for him to come out of the fog and return to me.  I can't suggest to him right now that he see a doctor -- he won't even talk to me right now.  I can only wait and hope that he will return, and plan how I will lovingly encourage him to get help.  Thanks to everyone who has posted here for sharing your stories...I cannot state enough how much strength they have given me.  I finally realize that I and my partner are not alone in what we are going through.

Kat, Community Member
3/20/09 5:01pm

Wow, it's like reading my own story. My husband has been depressed off and on for years I believe, but until last year we did not know it was Depression. He finally is going to the Doctor and taking meds but we are still waiting for them to work. Everyday it's like a roller coaster. I never know what he will be like when he comes home. he goes to work and will work extra hours too cause he says he hates coming home. I pray the meds work cause like most of these spouses I am holding on by the skin of my teeth. He thinks leaving will make him happy, but I informed him that would be stupid after 20 years of marriage, and I won't be there to clean up the mess once he changes his mind. He has nothing to do with our daughter (16) and she also feels the pain of this. All you can do is hold on get him to take meds and see what happens. Believe me I want my husband back cause I have no idea who this person who looks like is anymore.

82hello, Community Member
4/ 3/09 5:42pm

I'm 26 and my partner (well kind of ex is 23) has a lot of family issues which i think have got to him over the last 6 months. I think he has been depressed for about a year but it's only come out since around xmas. We had an amazing relationship for four year but out of the blue he ended it with no clear reason. The last few months have been horrid for me. Since ending it he's text me many mixed messages - I'm on the emotional roller coaster he is on, up and down when he is because I love him so much. I'm down when he can't text and up when he can't get enough of me, I want it to work out. I just don't know what his head is telling him from one day to the next and I'm on the ride with him. He tells me he loves me but that it is 'different' and that he doesn't feel 'in love'! yet he still loves me, fancies me and wants me but feel emoty inside! I can tell when he texts me when the depression has hit  -it's like a robot or a different person texting me - no feeing or emotion in the words!! I deserve better, should I move on o let him know i'm here and feel I am being made a fool out of of??? God bless you all that have to g through this!!!!!

wanting-my-man-back, Community Member
4/20/09 11:01am

Hiay Sephora, i could have written your post myself Cry

I have been with my partner for almost 6yrs and he has always been a bit down, but since the birth of our child, if not before things have gotten much much worse!

i take everything he says to heart and cry myserlf to sleep everysingle night. i just feel so helpless.


he is on prozac, but they are not doing anything and we are waiting for a referall to a specialist centre but that seems to be taking for ever!


i get what most of you discbire here, he talks of killing himself and wanting time alone, not wanting to work or be around anyone....but he too has like a light switch that he can flick on and for a short time be my man again....trouble is once its just us again hes back to the normal doom and gloom....which makes me blame myself even more!


i left him a couple of months ago when things got sooo bad, but came back cos i was so worried about him, for a short time 2-3days he was back, loving attentive and caring, but he is worse than eva now.


like many of you i really love my man, but i am sooo tired and i know now that i have to do something for myself because i too am giong insain! so i wrote him a long letter today explainign his behaviour how affects me and the children. I have also asked him to seek more help and told him that i really do love him and that i worry all the time abot him, but i need to make myself happy if not for me but for the children.


thank you to everyone on here, your posts have helped me realised i'm not so alone, because i am guessing like me, we all feel like we are totally alone and lost!


Good luck to everyone xxxx

amberain, Community Member
5/ 6/09 4:09pm

Hi there,

I am going through something similar to you...I was wondering, how are you doing? how are things working out?

stressedanddepressed, Community Member
4/20/09 5:42pm

hi, my name's emma,im 17, and im goin through the same thing right now, i shout and say hurtful things to my family and friends when and if i see them, because they are the closest thing i've got, so your hubby would rather lash out at you because he is scared of getting hurt and knows you love him back and hope's you will understand, i know its hard my mum tell's me all the time im being mean that im not the emma i used 2 be iv changed and not for the good, which hurts to hear that from the people you love and care for, but you have to put on a brave face like you can handle all this and he will start to feel ore secure and hopefully talk to you a little bit at a time and together you can can get to the bottom of what is making him depressed? even if he or you already know their are some questions he needs and wants answering but cant explain what they are because know matter how much he thinks about these questions he cant solve them on his own.. i hope this has been a little useful for you if not my appoligies x

Chuck, Community Member
5/15/09 12:16am

These responses really have helped.  Since last summer, my wife essentially has crashed.  There are obvious possible reasons--we have had infertility issues, and medical interventions have either failed or resulted in miscarriages.  My wife also has been taking college courses that have worn her down terribly over the last few years, and with the economy, it looks as if she will have difficulty finding work in the field for which she has studied.  Ironically, several of her courses were in the field of psychology.  I have consulted her textbooks, and her behavior, over the past several months in particular, fits the DSM-IV definition of major depression perfectly.


The hard part is that we've known each other for seven years, and I barely recognize her.  The way she acts toward me and looks at me and speaks to me is devoid of affection, which is not her normal personality, and she is full of anger at everything in her life, which is also not her normal personality.  We have had almost no physical intimacy since the miscarriages, and it has been awhile since I have felt emotionally supported:  I feel like it has taken everything both of us have just to keep her going, and there's nothing left for me.   Sadly, my wife's response to all of this has been to blame ... me.  I have sacrificed considerably for my wife, to include spending hundreds of hours patiently helping her with her college courses.  I have been with her through the fertility processes every step of the way--she even commented that none of the husbands of the other patients ever was in the doctor's office.  I have supported her and believed in her when her own family did not, and love her very much, and have said so often, so I am left to sit in a hurt, confused anger.


I've told her that I think she is depressed, that this isn't her fault, and that medicine might be helpful (she already sees a therapist).  That didn't go over too well.  She wants to know how long I can tolerate this, and I told her that, as long as she's trying to get better, I will be by her side.  That didn't go over too well either.  I don't know what I can say, since everything I say seems to be unacceptable.  I am trying to decide whether couples counseling will help.

vivian, Community Member
6/12/09 1:07pm
I have in the past expeerienced depression and anxiety at this point i am fine. My husband on the other hand is not. I am sitting in the same position you are. Unfortunatly it appears to me that people with depression think mostly of themselves. My husband is distant and sometimes rude. In a short time he has gone from saying I`m his rock to thinking he should leave the marraige. That hurts. I`ve decided it`s not about me. We are going to get him help. If he leaves I can`t stop him. But since I've also treaded through some tough times I undrerstand how it can seem hopless. It doesn't seem fair, but just like you I'm om this sight looking for support. Take time for your self Reply
lady lou, Community Member
7/20/09 6:13am

Hi all, Im new to this site and i would like to say thank you for all your posts i think u have saved my life. My story is much like yours, my husband has had major stress over the last year and he slowly withdrew from family life and social activities before unexpectedly leaving home and staying with someone he hardly knew. He says all his previous friends are against him and checking up on him and wont talk to them or visit them. He says the classic he loves me but is not in love with me and he needs to find happiness. He has been depressed in the past and has had a breakdown about 7 years ago and i see the same pattern only this time is worse. He now wants a divorce which to me is unbelievable as we were what everyone callede the "Golden couple". He wont believe anything is wrong and the most frustrating thing and upsetting thing is that everything u read says get the person help but i have tried everything with him and the doctors but its always a dead end, im so worried for him and our kids.

Has anyone come through this and got there wonderful husband/wife/partner back to there happy self co i cant see the end this time and i love him so much


Lady Lou

Maria, Community Member
8/ 7/09 3:09am

I could have written many of the above posts.  My husband of 30 years started drinking about 4 years ago and was diagnosed as bipolar by a GP after he answered a questionnaire.  His depression got worse after he started on the pills.  We moved to a new city 2 years ago for a great new job that he got.  But he was fired after working there 3 months.  Then he was demoted on the next job and on the 3rd job, he was fired after a few weeks.  None of this surprised me and the anxiety of expecting this to happen was worse than his not working.  In the past 8 months, he hasn't been able to even get an interview although he's sent out so many resumes.  He is so smart, with several professional degrees, but the depression has completely taken over.


My husband is like the grandparents in Willie Wonka.  He has literally lived in our bed for the past 8 months, eating there as well.  I got a job but my pay isn't great and his unemployment is running out shortly.  We won't have enough money to continue.  He is so mean to me even though he says I am his only support which is true because he has no friends or family.  At least he is seeing a psychiatrist now who says he wasn't bipolar and diagnosed him for depression.  He's on so many different pills and I think he abuses them.  His drinking has stopped (for now).  My threatening to leave finally sunk in when he drank the last time about a month ago.  He's a mean drunk.  We had a big fight the other day and I stopped trying to even talk to him so he went to see his doctor today who, according to my husband, blamed me for everything.  Should I make an appointment to see his doctor?  He met me once a few months ago and I don't want to go there trying to defend myself.  I think my husband should be committed and I thought of telling the doctor this.


I have a daughter who lives very far who has major mental issues as well.  She has basically cut herself off from the family.  


Besides all this, another adult daughter is very sick and lives with us.  She is in and out of the hospital and I am her only lifeline.  Her father refuses to go visit her in the hospital.  So, I am taking care of 2 sick people plus working a full time job (and being menopausal on top of that).  I am so worn out.  I just can't take much more of this.  My children (all adults) tell me to leave him.  But without me, I'm sure he'd do himself in.  I could very barely make it on my own and think about it constantly.  I would love to have the companionship of someone who could make me laugh and feel good about myself.  I feel like I'm a prisoner here with no end in sight.


How does a depressed spouse survive without support?



Donna, Community Member
9/ 6/09 9:49pm

Hi all, i am glad I found this space it is so comforting to me that I am not losing my mind.  My husband was diagnosed with depression a couple of years ago - he is a recovering alcoholic so when he finally got sober the depression showed up a few years later.  He was on effexor and bebuprion and it didnt help much.  I went to one meeting with his psychiatrist because he was not getting any better and I felt he was going deeper and deeper into himself.  We at this stage were not having sex and this  was very unusual for my husband who was so sexually active.  At the meeting with his psychiatrist he was distant and said there was nothing wrong.  I was baffled how could he not see that he is not the same person.  He was always fun and tried his best to be funny.  I do everything in the house, take care of the bills the kids etc. I rarely ask him to do anything because he gets mad if I do.  Now yesterday I was worried about him and sat on the sofa rubbing his feet and I asked him what was wrong and he just said I dont love you anymore.  My heart is broken - we have been together 20 years and I cannot believe he said this to me.  He didnt care that the tears were rolling down my face and told me to stop crying.  He just went off his meds abruptly about 8 months ago because he said they werent working for him. But I am all he has and I do not understand how he can treat me this way.  He says the house is never clean, I am always shouting at the kids, that everything has to be my way, that I should know why he doesnt love me anymore.  My house is clean 99 percent of the time, I do all the running with the kids and the shouting too because he does nothing for them.  He comes in from work and sits on the sofa eats his dinner goes to his aa meeting and that is that.  I rarely bother him about anything.  Now when I have put all my career plans on hold to help him with his business everything is now my fault.  I know I have faults and I am not saying that I dont but out of the blue saying he doesnt love me anymore. I do everything for our family and rarely put myself first.  Has anyone else had this experience with their spouse and is their light at the end of the tunnel???? I myself am suffering with depression and I take lexapro to help with it and my husband said he will go on Tuesday with me to talk to a doctor.  I am just wretched with sadness right now - the man that I love so much is so distant and I dont know what else to do.  Has anyone else gone through this?


Colleen, Community Member
10/ 2/09 12:36pm

I am new to this depression thing, but am going through it right now - BAD. I met with my doc yesterday and am now going to a counselor today. I can't explain the feelings, but it's almost as if there aren't any feelings. My friends have gone through this and say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, (but it's hard to see that dim light). I have been married for 8 years and just want my life to be back the way it was when we were first married. I don't want it to affect our 3 year old son either. This is for sure the hardest thing I've dealt with. It does help to read other posts and know that this is a disease that a lot of people go through. I'm trying to keep my head up - you can do so too.

SadandTired, Community Member
10/11/09 11:01pm

Sadly, I'm the depressed spouse in my marriage of 18 years.  I have been on and off for as long as I can remember.  I always thought I could snap out of it and have done a pretty good job of hiding it.  When someone has never experienced depression, they don't know how to deal with it.  Over the years, I would try to " reach out" and try to tell him how I was feeling.  It's very difficult to understand and help someone, when you don't know why they are hurting.  I've always held it back and suffered in the process.  It only makes it worse to pretend it doesn't exsist.  We are at the point where I don't know if I want to be married anymore, I'm finally in therapy, and alot of things are coming out from my past that are contributory to why I feel this way.  This is the worst bout I've dealt with in my life so far.  I'm afraid of the stigma attached with what's happening to me, I've been forbidden to tell anyone of the battle I'm faced with.  I have no desire to do the things I used to enjoy.  I don't want anyone to know I've felt suicidal, I don't want to be labled as " crazy".  We haven't really been speaking for the last week, and he's telling me that I'm pushing him away.  I almost don't care.  He wants to deal with what is going on with him.  Because of my depression, he's had to take on alot more responsibilty.  We have four children, why would I chose to "check" out?  There are alot of guilt feelings and resentment on both parts, I've asked if he wants to come with me to the therapist and he said it's not his problem, why should he go?  Yet in the same breath, he tells me we should be a team.  I'm tired of trying to explain why I'm the way I am, I don't know myself..  Sometimes, I feel like running away, but I don't want to hurt my children, they re my life.

lizzyg, Community Member
10/31/09 11:05am

Thank you all for sharing your stories -- some of them are like a mirror, and while I'm sad that others feel this way too, it's comforting as well.


We've been married for 6 years, but have known each other for almost 15, so my eyes were wide open when we got married. He's bright, creative, very loving, supportive,  affectionate, and the funniest person I've ever known. But when the blackness takes over, that person goes away, and the bitterness descends. Any little thing will send him into a rant, and he'll criticize me for the old litany of things about me that annoy him.


He knows all the buttons to push -- I have to be really careful to not be convinced by his tirades, to believe the things he says to me when he's deep in it. The articles I've read do help a bit -- that it's the disease, not him speaking, but it's really tough to keep that in mind when its coming directly from the mouth of the person dearest to you, the one whose words you rely on at all other times. It's like Invasion of the Body Snatchers....


During these times, I'll cry into my pillow and vow to do something, get him to talk to someone, do something to fix this, but then he shakes it off and things are fine. And I think, "maybe it won't come back this time." And I'll put off getting him help, partly because I have the foolish (and incorrect) hope that it's all over, and partly because I don't want to stir up the bad stuff during those delicious stretches of smooth sailing. Such a dangerous pattern, because the wave hits again, and it starts all over.


So I guess this post didn't add anything very useful...just needed to vent. Thank you all for sharing your stories.



Olivity, Community Member
12/12/09 10:06pm


There have been a lot of replies to this.  I think we spouses need more support groups.  My husband is depressed too.  He and I have been together 5 and a half years.  He's been depressed off and on for probably 9.  It started when he was an adolescent and so he doesn't really remember much else.  This can make it hard for a person to see him/herself any differently than depressed.  I think it is normal for the depressed spouse to dish out verbal abuse and be distant and secluded.  It seems like the healthier ones can admit they are depressed and keep looking for help.  But I will tell you, just because they seek help doesn't mean everything gets better.  Sometimes it gets worse for a while at least because seeking help didn't help (so then what do they do?).  That's were my husband and I are at.  I notice a lot of you mention that your husbands are the way they are after work.  My husband just cannot handle working at this time.  I don't know if that makes it better or worse for us.  I find it really helps things between the two of us if I keep reminding my self.  He is sick, this is the sickness talking, not him, in a short while he will appologize when he comes to his senses.  It probably helps in my situation that my mom was the same way and would verbally abuse me and come back and say she was sorry and didn't mean it.  I really do believe they don't mean to treat us this way, it's just their way of crying out in pain to try to find release (unfortunately it ususally just makes things worse).  Although I've gotten better at ignoring the hurtfull things that come my way, and I have been more supportive to him, I have not been able to cure his disease.  I finally and ready to accept that I cannot and that he and we are going to have to pool all the resources we have together to beat this.  This will only be beat if he will give the right solution his willing attention and see it through and I will be supportive all the way. 


God be with you all in all your miserable fights.

fran, Community Member
12/17/09 9:56pm

i have had depression for a long time and its not easy for a spouse to help i know what hes going through my spouse  just leaves me alone sometimes until i am ready to talk.I have found that talking to a therapist  helps me alot and being on antidipresents help quite a bit.just be there for him he will open up after awhile when hes ready I found that being on Cymbolta 60 milagrams and paxil does help I was just diagnosed recently with deep depression.because of my oldest one and his girlwho is a control freak won;t let me see my new baby granddaughter.boy does that her.all i do is fight with my son.If you want to e-mail me any time i will try and help you through this.Its very hard and diturbing not knowing how to help your spouse.Here is my address spicey2_99@yahoo.com and my name is franSmile  God Bless you and family it does get better.

lady jones, Community Member
2/21/10 4:27pm


I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years, and we have been friends for 9. we are both 23, he is in the military and has suffered with 'the weight of the world' for as long as i've known him.

he was adopted, has gone in and out of therapy for years, and iknow was diagnosed with depression right around the time we first became friends in middle school. 

He goes off and on as well, when he is good- everything is wonderful. he is a passionate happy silly person, and it seems like there is a ever-shining light at the end of his tunnel when he talks about his contract ending and finally getting out of the military [2 yrs from now].

But, then when he is off, its like there is no point. Everything is ugly and horrible. Recently I brought up how nice it will be to have our own time to be together once he is out, and he said 'well all couples hate eachother eventually anyway..' 

i broke down. This comment turned into a fight about how i love him and he kept saying there is no point to loving a person like him, he described himself as selfish, angry, irritable and not a 'people person'. I know he is depressed, has hurt himself before, and though im not afraid that he will do something... drastic, i still don't like seeing him this way. He was adopted, and has always had issues stemming from that. I went with him about 2 years ago to meet his Birth Mom, and she and her hubby were drunk the entire time. Granted, we were in vegas where she lives, but regaurdless. It was horrible, he put on a happy face but it threw him into a major down state again.

he looses himself in video games, the gym, anything. He takes on the weight of the world. He still trys to be there for me and listen, but it seems like everything is myfault. 

i try and point out how he is seeing the pessimistic glass-half-empty side and he tells me im a hypocrite [recently my parents decided to get a divorce so i've been having my own problems] 

it seems like the good times are amazing, and are lasting less and less time. 

he has to ship out in 6 months. i don't want him to leave like this again, especially that the middle east makes this even worse, its like a full 9 month bought of depression..


anyways well, I, more then anything, want to be the catalyst of happiness in his life. i want to be someone he can look to to open up about whats going thru his head, relax and love. 

he lets me in some times. i don't know how to deal quite yet. I am in love with a beautiful man who hates himself and doesn't understand how I could love him.


i dont know why i wrote this, it just felt better to get it out.

Shadowfire, Community Member
6/ 3/10 11:17pm

Hi there, I stumbled across this article and thought I'd add whatever insight I may be able to offer. I fit the category of depressed spouse, and I've been depressed off and on for roughly half of my life (10 years, don't laugh). I've found that what I feel like doing is often different from what I truly want. You want to talk? I want to "Veg" out and forget my pain. You want to go into public for, let's say, date night? I want to curl into a ball and sob, rock back and forth until I fall asleep, and hope only that the nightmares don't come (For me, at least, depression affects even the way I feel when asleep, and often affects not only the quality of my sleep, but the dreams I have.) You want to go to the gym? I'd rather watch a blade dance across my skin. In fact, I can't stop thinking about it anyway (I don't know about others, but think of this - one torture management technique is to cause yourself more pain and focus on it, but YOU are in control. It's very much that way). Truth be told, if I look into my heart of hearts, I WANT to talk to you, I WANT to do "date night", I even WANT to get into shape. The fact of the matter is, the pain of depression is nigh crippling, and drains us emotionally SO much that we don't feel we CAN do anything (This is where I insert the disclaimer - you can try to get us to break down and talk if you want, it may even work. On the other hand, you might really piss us off, like poking a wounded animal with a stick. Read the situation, and try to be smart about it). We may not even feel we deserve to do what we want. I personally still suffer from depression on a daily basis, but I have learned to look within myself and MAKE MYSELF DO IT. My wife cannot - let me emphasize - CAN NOT "make" me get better, or to do any of those things. For all of you looking for a "fix-it", well there isn't one. You can encourage counseling, you can try to monitor meds if you find something that works, and by all means, be there if we want to talk! If you can't handle living with a depressed person, you're not a bad person for finding love elsewhere. I wish you all the best of luck, and I wish happiness all around, regardless of how distant or impossible it seems to you...

Spouse2010, Community Member
6/12/10 12:35pm

Hi, I have been surprised at how hard my husband's depression has been on me.  I feel like a single parent when we are both home.  He dissappears up to our bedroom pretty much soon as I get home.  We are on the brink of financial ruin since he is only able to work part time. I work a full time and two part time jobs so I am often not at home. He is short tempered with the kids and sets a really bad example for them with his sedentary lifestyle.  I read an article today on how depression can be learned and can spread through a family. I also read an article about how the husband and wife have to look at recovery as a team effort.  I guess that kinda pissed me off in some respect.  I can not take responsibility for my husband's depression. I can't make him better--believe me I've tried.  He's on meds and sees a therapist.  I really do not see any improvement and I am scared that he's not going to get better.  I try to stay positive but its hard.  His mom and sister suffer from depression and being depressed is "normal" to them. I feel like that somehow feeds into his illness and makes him feel powerless (even more than he already does) to change.

Tina33, Community Member
6/18/10 3:13pm

Your email really hit home, Spouse2010. My husband went through a severe episode of depression 2 years ago and sometimes I feel that "it" is coming back. It does make life so so so hard (especially when you also have young kids to care for as we do). The hardest thing for me is finding support for myself. We can't therapy for me so I just have to bottle it all up and be as strong as possible. It stinks.

kmr3, Community Member
7/ 5/10 12:01pm

This is the only place I have found where there are spouses with depression and anxiety.  My husband has had problems for years with both. We have 3 girls and I want them to have a normal life.  I need support to though. My husband recently lost his job and we have no income. I can't find a job.  Almost 3 years ago my husbands depression got worse and he got out a gun one morning and like i always do i went to him to tell him that he needed to put it away and that we need him.  he went to pick it up and it went off and hit me in the arm. now i have limited movement in my right arm. now ontop of the depression he has anxiety. when hes not sleeping hes anxious. i dont know what to do anymore. he gets mad and then i cry because he yells at me then he gets worse. i dont know what to do anymore i dont want my kids to think that any of this is normal. my family has no idea what my life is like. my mom acts like hes acting she doesnt understand.  i make up excuses why we dont do family activities so that no one knows what i'm dealing with. i'm lost and not sure what to do from here. i feel like no one understands it really

ThatOneGrl, Community Member
10/19/10 3:11pm
  I understand all too well exactly what you are going through. I am a bit surprised at the lack of support groups out there for people in our position, spouses of the depressed. I started a small Chat group only two days ago at experienceproject.com, it is a free website and totally anonymous. Make your own log in name and password and you have started. The group I have started is called 'I have a depressed spouse who I love dearly', and i would love to get some people of like circumstances to join. We all need the encouragement and most important, not to feel alone. My sign in name at that web site is the same that I have used on here, ThatOneGrl. Please let others know who are in our situation as well, so we can all support each other through this. I hope to meet you there.




Facegirl, Community Member
7/ 7/10 1:40pm

Hello all, I am a depressed wife and it was so enlightening to read all of your comments as it really gives me empathy and a deeper understanding of what my husband must be going through.

My depression manifests in a different way in my marriage than is mostly recorded here.

I don't like to drag everyone down with me so I put on a smile and a positive attitude. The outcome of this is I turn into a Stepford wife and I end up isolating myself from my husband anyway!

Just thought that my story might be helpful for people whose spouses are behaving in a similar way. You are not alone!

We are now in counseling and I am taking my medication and going to a depression support group. I am very excited to build up closeness in my marriage again.

Anyway, that is all from me as this is a forum for the spouses not me!

Shimmer, Community Member
7/15/10 6:31am

I was at my wits end until I stumbled onto this site. Since then I have cried many times for everybody in a similar situation to myself. My husband was told he was 'on the verge' of depression a few years ago and had councelling and tablets for about a year, he stopped taking the tablets (long story, but it was work related) even though he knew he still needed them and got on with life. Everything got better for a while or so I thought. Then his mum died unexpectedly. I got home from work one day and got the speech 'no love for me anymore,thinks of me as a sister not a wife and thinks our marriage (28 years and 3 grown up kids) has run its course, doesn't want responsibilities, doesn't want to be a grandad (too late) or grow old (50 this year)  and wants a life to do the things he feels hes missed out on - things I don't like or 'can't' do!

After the pain and shock subsided I found that he had been trying to 'pretend' at playing happy familys (since the last bout) so as not to hurt anyone. I knew things weren't as they should have been as the sex part of our relationship had ceased a while back (he told me it was the tablets) and he had taken to sleeping on the couch.

 He wanted to seperate 'run away' and I told him if he left he was not coming back. He stayed. He talked. I listened, although I didn't like some of what I was hearing. It was very painful. He didn't understand why he felt numb, had no enjoyment from things he once loved etc and didn't know why, when, where or how he had lost his feelings for me. I suggested councelling again, he agreed. He has had about 3 sessions so far and has talked about his mums death and childhood issues, our marriage is last on the list. I have been fretting for weeks trying to make sense, find answers etc and have come up with only this... it has nothing to do with me or anything I have done, it is him and his problem and only he can do something about it. It took a long while to work that one out and I am fearful that at the end of it he will still walk away. He knows I will stand by him as 'painful as it can and will be' and he has said he will fight for our relationship if there is still something there to save however little and as for me, well, I am trying to get on with my own life as best I can. I still get days when I feel 'suicidal' the thought of living without my soulmate, of being single, lonely and over 50 are not nice when I had visions of happy familys and growing old together. All I can do though is hope....... and keep you updated.

sherry, Community Member
7/26/10 4:39pm


suzy, Community Member
9/18/10 6:03pm

I live with depressed man 20 years.  Started 7 yrs ago when he lost his job due to many situations including arthritus.  Got disability SSI and has pain meds and addicition.  He is a very sick man, takes lexipro, his PCP suggested another psyc but he said it would not work he needs me to understand.  I am too depressed and drank alcohol lost my 18 yr job in 1999 and have not had a good one yet.  Went to aa and found new friends and faith which he does not like at all. He is up all night till 6 am and sleeps till 8 pm.  As soon as he gets up he throws up for an hour (disease) and miserable, crying crying, always so mean and yells and blames me I ruined his life cause of  no sex. I am now 90 days clean and sober, and want to volunteer and going to school and he says no fair I will never be home w/him.  He expects me to stay up late with him.  I cannot take the crying, everything I say is wrong, I am never on his side he says.  Has only 1 friend and cries when he don't invite him to his house.  He DOES NOTHING around here.  I take care of a diabetic, blind, old dog let him in and out and other dog. NO KIDS thank GOD.  I am wanting to drink because of this but I cannot let him do that to me.  I am in no financial situation to leave or have him leave, could loose everything I worked all my life for.  I am 56 and he will be 49, I just don't know what to do.

ThatOneGrl, Community Member
10/19/10 3:05pm

Hello Sephora,

And to the rest of the commenters on this blog. I understand all too well exactly what you are going through. I am a bit surprised at the lack of support groups out there for people in our position, spouses of the depressed. I started a small Chat group only two days ago at experienceproject.com, it is a free website and totally anonymous. Make your own log in name and password and you have started. The group I have started is called 'I have a depressed spouse who I love dearly', and i would love to get some people of like circumstances to join. We all need the encouragement and most important, not to feel alone. My sign in name at that web site is the same that I have used on here, ThatOneGrl. Please let others know who are in our situation as well, so we can all support each other through this. I hope to meet some of you there.




Hilda75, Community Member
8/25/11 4:34pm

I'm 35 and have suffered with both anxiety and depression for many years.  I have been married for 4 years to the most kind, caring, loving and understanding man that you could hope for, which has been a breath of fresh air considering that until now, no one else would "put up with" me.  One of the major issues of my condition is anger and irritability, and sadly, these tend to be aimed at my poor husband, and I can't seem to control my outbursts and can be extremely irrational and cruel.  

What has made this a thousand times worse for me though, is that in late February, my husband's beloved Mother (he was a Mommy's boy) passed away after a long illness, and ever since then, he has been depressed. 

How selfish is it of me to say that I can't cope with him being so sad and down all the time?  He has had the greatest amount of patience with me and my mood swings, yet now that he is experiencing the same thing (except for anger), I have no patience with him.


I can only assume that whilst fighting my own battle with depression and anxiety, I don't have anything left in me to empathise with him, and while I feel absolutely hateful for being that way, I don't know how to change.

I tried Citalopram (40mg) for about a year and didn't feel they helped me, and I don't want to be on antidepressants simply because we're desperate for a family and time is not on our side (he's 46, I'm 35), and I don't want to risk any potential harm to a baby. 

I AM taking Buspirone for the anxiety, and I honestly can't tell if it works or not.

My main issue though is this constant anger that is always bubbling under the surface.  WHY am I able to hide it from friends/in laws (who we unfortunately live with!), but not my husband?  I snap at him for the slightest thing, I yell at him, tell him he's weak and pathetic, constantly rant and rave about his family (to be fair, they've caused us both a LOT of hurt and worry over the last 2 years, and now I'm forced to live with his sister and her husband due to financial reasons), but he just sits there looking all picked on and sad, which then makes me even angrier.


I love him so much it hurts, and I know how deeply he loves me and worries about me, to the point that he will fake happiness just to make ME happy.  Why am I so selfish?  Why am I so angry all the time?  Am I wrong to blame and resent him for putting me in the situation where I have to live with his family that I don't even LIKE and certainly don't trust (his sister has stolen money and prescription pain meds from our room).. I feel as though it's his fault that I'm stuck living like this.  

Why can't I feel sympathy or empathy over the loss of his Mother?  Why can't I find it in me to put my arms around him and tell him that things will get better?  Instead, I catch him looking at a photo of his Mom with tears in his eyes, and I feel immediate irritation.


I love him desperately, but feel like we're going stale.  I have so much resentment built up in me because of the living arrangements (amongst other things) and no amount of trying to talk to him will make him do anything about it.  He supports me, he loves me, he tries to make me happy, but all of the things that are affecting me the most are things he won't address (such as his 50+ yr old sister stealing from us and rifling through our private things when we're both out at work, or how this same sister has pretty much claimed the house as her own since their mother died, even though their father still lives in the house (albeit tucked away in his own little room downstairs).  I have so many things I want/need to scream and shout about and address properly and finally, but I can't do it because hubby just sits looking like he's about to cry, then asks me what he's supposed to do about it.  


I wish so much that we could afford counselling because I need to talk, desperately, to someone who can offer advice.  We have no health insurance, so we're out of options.  Depression sucks.  Especially when you're both dealing with your own demons.

cityslicker, Community Member
9/29/11 11:17pm

anyone still posting on this topic? I, too, have a sucky life with a majorily depressed spouse. he is verbally abusive and just took a nock at me with lots of critisms and put downs. i want to divorce him but always chicken out. i do feel sorry for him but dont this guys have to be personally responsibel?

illak, Community Member
1/12/12 9:00pm

I have been married for 16 years to a man who experiences severe episodes of depression.  He refuses to take meds.  He used to go into dark depressive moods every month or so; these episodes would last for a few days to a week, during which time he either wouldn't look at or talk to me (which sounds relatively harmless, but its hard to explain how painful it is to be coldly shunned by your spouse when you haven't done anything), or conversely he was verbally abusive.  Over the years he has done a lot of work on himself and his moods. Gave up alcohol, meditates, other things.  He now gets depressed less often, perhaps only every few months. And yet, despite the less frequent episodes and 16 years experience dealing with them, they are still tremendously painful for me.  I know he loves me very much (he is very loving when not depressed) but I so hate these episodes, they are so suffocating and deadening and cruel.  I still love him but not as deeply as I used to, and I am angry at him.  There are times I despise him for being such a difficult person.  I realize he "can't help it", he's sick, depression is an illness - but still I have lost respect for him, I confess, I feel so beat upon by his disease.  I think often of leaving him, but we are otherwise very compatible and have built a life together that I don't want to destroy - but lordy how I hate his depression! I do not talk about it with anyone because it turns friends and family against him. He is having an episode tonight, his second in a week, and its been helpful to read of others experiences.  I pray for patience and strength.  Marriage to a depressed person is very hard.

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By sephora, Community Member— Last Modified: 04/06/14, First Published: 06/14/08