How Do I Help My Depressed Husband When He Doesn't Want To Be Around Me?

Question

Asked by darcymcgee

How Do I Help My Depressed Husband When He Doesn't Want To Be Around Me?

In the past year my husband has been emotionally withdrawing from me and not participating in household affairs. he works for a volatile company, and I just assumed that his becoming a workaholic and mood were part of the instability of the company. I tried to stand back and do all I could for our family to not get in his way. I think I didn't recognize the symptoms of depression and wish I could go back. Two months ago he started displaying the tell-tale depression signs....sleeping for long hours, withdrawing more, drinking/smoking, etc. He went to his Dr. and got an anti-depressant and started counseling, after which he decided that his depression was caused by me. He claims I am controlling, I make him feel guilty about having friends, that he has no "say" in our household purchases, and that he doesn't like anything in our house. The situations that he relays are very juvenile, but I guess for him, they're big. He moved out immediately, saying he needed to feel relief from me. He lives on his own with only the bare essentials. When we speak he is very angry with me, and acts out almost like he wants to punish me. He say's repeatedly that he doesn't love me, and for me to move on. His anger and frustration prevents him from listening or talking to me. He seems very agitated with the kids as well...little patience. He sees the kids and has them for two nights. He really loves them. The fact that he just cannot stand to be around me has me reeling. I just can't understand how someone can go from an amazingly beautiful, intelligent, caring husband, to someone of no care or commitment? I love him with all my heart and soul...but it's so hard to help someone who is turning you away....how can I show him how much I care when he doesn't want my love? I want to help him through this.

Answer

Hi, Darcy. I can imagine that this must be very shocking and I hope I can help a little. I went through something like this when my depression escalated more than 20 years ago and I blamed my husband for everything. But I was the one who was afraid to express my opinion or have an argument, so everything just kept building up until something snapped. I suspect this may have happened with your husband and men are even less likely than women to admit to depression. At least he's getting help, but he may feel some shame about that, too. This isn't your fault, no matter what he says.

I'd like to recommend you go visit a blog called Storied Mind, written by John Folk-Williams. He has been through it and nearly lost his family because of it, but has worked very hard at getting a handle on it and learning how to manage it. You are definitely not alone in this situation and I hope you can get some comfort in reading John's posts as well as the responses from readers.

It's important to take care of yourself. Right now, there's probably not much that you can do to change him. He's determined to put the blame on you and that is so unfortunate. You might find it helpful to get a therapist of your own to help get through this. Please let us know if we can be of more help. I wish you all the best.