Berkeley Parents Network >
Family Relations >
My normally sweet happy husband has not been feeling or acting like himself lately.
He's constantly tired, even if he's had a full night of sleep, complains that his
body hurts (although today he told me it doesn't anymore) and is saying he doesn't
want to be around anyone. He's also not talking to anyone in the house, sits and
watches tv a lot and seems to be in a general sad mood. I have no idea if these are
signs of depression, if he's in some way getting sick (not so much a flu but maybe
something with his thyroid?), something happening at work (he says no) or just your
average mid-life crises. He doesnt seem to know what's wrong either and our life is
fairly steady (both have good jobs, pretty low stress lives). As you can see I have
no idea what to think or where to start but I want him to be his old happy self
again, and he does too.
Is there a doctor you can recommend (ideally near rockridge) that he can talk to for
next steps or to rule out what is definately not the issue. Maybe someone who runs
tests (to rule out medical issues) and doesn't assume it's depression or tries to put
him on medication until other options are ruled out. Even someone who knows he's in a
rut and it will pass? What's the best type of doctor for this? Are there any great
ones who are good with men who have trouble talking about their issues?
Your husband's symptoms sound a lot like mine a year ago, when I was finally
diagnosed (after several months) with polymyalgia rheumatica, apparently
triggered by a virus infection. The blood markers I had were for high
sedimentation rate, anemia, and high C-reactive protein, in the absence of
diagnoses (e.g. cancer, leukemia, rheumatism) for conditions that also have
these inflammation markers. I was referred to a rheumatologist, who recommended
prednisone, but I elected to avoid that and instead took turmeric root daily
the inflammation cleared up by the end of last year.
I still have lingering pain and tiredness, though not so severe, for which I am
taking Cymbalta (for ''central sensitivity syndrome'') which may be doing some
good (it's too early for me to tell).
My experience my have no relevance, but after eliminating cancer, rheumatism,
and other more serious physical ailments, it would be important to also rule
polymalgia rheumatica or other auto-immune disorders, given how familiar your
husband's symptoms sound to me.
I live with a severely depressed man who won't help himself.
I want to know if anyone has turned around a relationship
like this? We have done counseling. I've read a zillion
books about how to change myself, my words, be gentler,
listen better, appreciate love languages, get out of drama
triangles, & so on. He's gained 60 pounds, so I cook healthy
meals & make time every day for family exercise (he no-shows).
So I 1) haven't wanted to give up on a person that, although
I am not ''feeling in love'' with him right now, I do care for
him & remember the man I fell in love with 2) wanted to be
sure I'd exhausted -every- possible idea 3) splitting.
Because he's so checked out, I end up doing everything, all
of the care & enrichment of our 4.5 YO daughter (in addition
to working FT), housework, dinner every night. He's on the
computer. Interrupted, he snips and snipes. He is judgmental
and, despite not putting energy into the family unit, judges
what I do and skulk around the house if I ''make a mistake.''
We have had sex 4 times in 5 years. He asks about my day (I
have a very cool job) maybe once every 2 months. I've set up
dates, he manages to wreck them over a perceived slight of
some kind... I ask for dates, they don't materialize. He
doesn't pay bills on time. I haven't had a ''Hi, honey, I'm
home'' kiss on the cheek ever. Heck, he will wake up and
proceed to just wreck the good times that everyone was
having with his terrible mood. He's gained probably 60
pounds, can't go to the park with us, he doesn't get out of
bed until 1030 and then slumps off to coffee alone, spends
day and night on the computer downloading album cover art
for his itunes library. How can I wake him up? He says he
hears me but then the changes don't materialize...
My job, friends, daughter, fitness, looks--all are the best
of my life. But I come home and there's just nothing there.
No conversation. No connection. Almost nobody.
He confirms that he can clearly hear me without feeling
nagged, bothered, berated, and that he hears me coming from
a place of love, wanting our relationship to work out, and
from a place of utter frustration and not being able to
tolerate the way things are... And then, after a week of
''good-ish times'' where we maybe go to dinner and watch a
movie, he is back to the lonely place. And so on.
Thoughts? Otherwise, short of a miracle, I think it's time
for me to go... I am out of ideas.
And you are still with this guy, why? Do you know what a codependent
is? How to set limits? Have issues with self esteem and self worth?
Do you come from a dysfunctional family with a parent like him? He is
not going to change. He will use your life up until you reach your
40s - 50s and you will wake up one day and realize you threw away your
life on him. But get a really good divorce lawyer, as I've heard
horror stories of women like you ordered by judges to pay ALIMONY to
losers and users like him. In fact maybe your husband is betting on
getting a settlement or alimony from you when you do finally find
enough self- respect to dump him. You have done everything possible,
you are not responsible for his behavior. Dan Savage has a colorful
phrase for what you should do .... Please leave him and find a good
therapist and get a normal life, with healthy relationships, before
your child thinks THIS is normal and what she should expect to have in
her own life!
First off, been there. Not exactly the same situation, but
I can relate.
Second, I think you know the answer to your question. Even
if he did ''change'' (IE motivated himself to find a
therapist, start medication, actually do some of the things
you'd like him to - which seems incredibly UNlikely) I can't
imagine that you could get over the resentment of the
disproportionate burden that you have carried (I know I
Third, I don't know how old you are but LIFE IS TOO SHORT.
I know yours is just one side of the story but you are
clearly unhappy and you have clearly tried.
FINALLY, to some degree your dynamic is enabling him. He
doesn't have to motivate to change and/or take care of
himself because you are doing everything (you didn't mention
if he works?).
Obviously I don't know all the details but it sounds
horrible and personally since I split from my ex (5 mo ago)
I am so much happier not to have to deal with the
frustration, anger, resentment and disappointment on a daily
Alone, free and happy
I have had amazing results with neurofeedback for
depression. I have been able to go off medication and I wake
up looking forward to my day. The therapist I work with has
added this recently to her practice after years of working
with trauma survivors and feeling frustrated with how much
time it was taking for her clients to improve. I've also
benefited from EMDR for the PTSD symptoms. Ruth Cohn, MFT,
510 653-6256. She has also done amazing couple's and family
work for our family of 3 (daughter now 18). No talking or
effort is required for the neurofeedback other than showing
up twice a week for 40 minutes.
time to go. if for no other reason, so your daughter isn't damaged for
life by his depressive behavior. Living w/ a depressed parent
increases the possibility of becoming depressed in the future, bc the
child learns depressive behaviors. and of course for you, you deserve
better. also leaving him might actually improve his life, wake him
up. and if it doesn't, well, that's his responsibility
Wow, reading your post was like opening up one of my
journals from the three years I was married to a very
depressed (and agoraphobia, high-anxiety, 10-years-sober
alcoholic) husband. I too stayed because I wanted to be sure
I'd exhausted every option, and while that has given me
peace of mind since, at the time I only exhausted myself to
no avail. We tried about 10 different meds, acupuncture with
a specialist, individual/joint counseling, CBT group
sessions for him (so helpful but then he'd stop practicing
what he'd learned), multiple psychiatrists for
meds/diagnosis, NAMI peer group training for me...I'm sure
I'm forgetting something. My husband did not go back to
being the wonderful man I'd met, and in retrospect, it
appears to me that I met him during a very short, rare
period of stability. I've seen his Social Security statement
since and he was only earning money in the two years before
we met. That told me a lot. That man I fell in love with,
who had a job and was reliable, was an illusion. I'm not
sure who the real man was, and I don't think he knows either.
Oh, I remember the sniping and snapping (would go on for
weeks), and then the occasional good hours, days or a week,
and then the awfulness when he went back to his depressed,
angry self. It's like being in an abusive relationship,
where the good times (rare as they are) make you think it
might be okay. After all the years you've tried, you can see
it's not going to be.
I found leaving to be incredibly difficult, and I didn't
even have a child with my husband. In the end, he was the
one who left, and I am grateful to him for it. I think it's
time to say it's over. Your life will improve massively, and
so will your child's (my own father had similar problems and
I used to wish he wouldn't come home at night because our
home was so much nicer without him). You cannot save him;
you've tried, and it hasn't worked. Perhaps your leaving
will be a wake-up call for him, although it probably won't.
I wrote an essay about my experience once, and compared it
to watching someone drown and being unable to help. It's
awful. But you owe it to your daughter to move on. My mother
stayed married to my mentally ill father until he died, and
I was angry with her for years over it--until I married
someone similar, and saw what it's really like. You can
contact me directly if you want. email@example.com
Thank god I got out
Does he have this attitude toward you only or toward life
and others as well? If it is toward you only, it means you
are the cause of his triggers and he is minimizing his
contacts with you. If he is in general lost interest or
motivation toward life then, he needs to seek professional
help from a specialist of the area. I strongly believe
spirituality and selfless activities plays a big role in
people's inner happiness and increases motivation in life.
I know it is not easy to be on your shoes, and I admire
your attitude toward your marriage to solve rather than
take the easy road. Also remember we all have our share of
challenges and suffering in life more or less which make us
more polished at the end.
God bless you & your family
Your husbands behavior sounds familiar. I have no idea if this is
your husbands situation but I will throw it out there. I think it is
fairly common for men who want out of relationships, to continually
treat their partners poorly in hopes that they will leave them. It's
the ''nice guy'' syndrome. He doesn't want to be the bad guy or maybe
just isn't assertive or self-aware enough to know that he wants
out. Slowly and eventually it gets so bad that the woman leaves him.
You leaving him may be what he needs to move into a better life, he's
just too depressed to see that.
May I also say, yeah for you, super wife! I am so impressed with all
you have done to keep you, your marriage, your child, your job on
track. I am sorry your husband does not see what a fabulous person
you are, but there are others (even strangers like me) who can see how
awesome you are!
Wow, you doing it all and you have tried to help him and
he's still not trying. If I were you, I will stop with
whatever I'm doing for him, like all the cooking. Looks
like he is spoiled by you and that is why he's so
comfortable doing what he's doing. And if communicating and
no progress is shown from him, then it's time to move on
cause you deserve better.
It sounds to me like you have been the best partner you
could be. Now time to take care of yourself. Perhaps the
best thing you could do for your husband is to give him the
wakeup call of quitting all your ''helping'' and focusing on
your own needs. Doing without your constant support might
induce him to get help on his own. In any case, it will
improve your own life to stop focusing on his needs and
turn to your own. It will free energy for your child as
I feel for you! Your post says you are trying to connect, be 'good'
and do The right things. Yet there is some resentment in your post and
a tally of What you have done. When you keep a mental tally of what
you're doing, it Often doesn't motivate the other partner and can have
the opposite Effect. Be honest about expectations, pressure and the
need to be right. Stop doing all these things however wonderful and
ask yourself if you want to Work it out or just want to have
permission to go. You sound checked out when you talk about your
feelings. Looking back in your relationship what was your courtship
like? Did he listen way back when or did he just have it together?
Review events And look back at when he started to get down. Is there a
pattern to his ups and Downs? He may be numb because of depression and
media. My advisor always said that Depression is conserving
energy. And as his wife (and mother of your child) you Want his time
energy and focus, but he made need help to have anything to give. Try
stating your needs first to yourself on paper (and your history how
you felt, what you loved most About him and when your feelings
changed). My guess is you are both lonely, And maybe he is having
trouble with highs and lows or Grief/loss, whatever it is. Then start
stating your needs straight out if you want Companionship and you miss
him, if there is an interest that you shared and no Longer do then ask
to do it again. Set some limits and say I will do this and this But
you need to pick some responsibilities too and give him some options.
What Household stuff did he used to do? Is there a father daughter
activity he can Do with her once a week? I send my other half with
child to ballet and he loves W/her and she loves it. Ask open ended
questions like what you can do to help, what he needs to be happy, and
what he would be doing if He only had one year left to live. Have him
read alicia's story on sfgate. Consider Finding a counselor who is a
better fit. If he's unhappy in his career maybe he can make a change.
Decide if you want to work it through, and if you decide that you are
truly at the end of your rope give a Time limit (to leave, go to the
doctor as he may need medical help) and stick to it. Take care of
yourself and your resentment so that you Can do your part to set the
stage for change. I do not mean to belittle your efforts Or to
minimize how hard this is. In short, yes I believe there's hope; by
the way Read John Gottman too. You can write me if you like.
born in the year of the dog
Sounds like Hope was gone years ago. Sounds like you have
tried everything you can for him and your family. If you
feel that is true, then end the relationship.
I applaud your efforts, perseverance and love but when I
read your words what I picture is the 2 of you adrift at sea
and he is clinging to you. The problem is that if this
persists you will both drown. Let him go. He needs to find
his own way. And yes something could spark and awaken in
him in any moment but that is not something that you can do
Sit down with him at a time when there will be no
distractions and invite him to look deeply within himself
and ask the question, ''What do I want this life to be?'' It
is possible for him to connect with the part of him that is
capable of living an inspired life. Perhaps the shock of
your leaving will be significant enough to wake this up but
it won't come from you asking for it (as you have seen it
doesn't last). I know leaving is painful for all involved
but the status quo sounds like something worse.
I wish you well. As part of the global community I want you
to step out and fly. I wish that for him as well once he
has his wings but you may not be able to do it together.
I've been there, and I recognize so much in your situation, and I
believe you need to leave your husband in order to save yourself and
protect your child.
I have slogged through 8 years of my husband's depression; I stay
because he has been in therapy for the last 6 years, going 2-3 times a
week, and I am finally starting to see glimmers of the man I remember
from 25 years ago. He is on the mend. But those years are lost and
wasted and were a joyless bleak existence that slowly chipped away at
my self-confidence and finally managed to drain my innate optimism and
spirit. I am a changed person, and not for the better.
If your husband isn't even at the point of seeking professional help
and making the intensive and expensive commitment to trying to get
better, you don't have a chance. There isn't a thing you can do to
help him yourself -- stop trying. Depression of that magnitude isn't a
Leaving him may in fact be the shock that pushes him to seek help, but
don't do it for that reason. Leave him because you owe it to yourself,
but most importantly you owe it to your child. I grew up with a
depressed mother and a father walking on eggshells and I have few
You've given it a valiant effort, now go and don't feel bad about
it. He is the only one who can help himself. In the meantime, his
misery is a danger to you and your child. Be brave and walk out into
You should go. Now! I can't believe you catered to him
this long. Why? Because you can? Because you feel sorry
for him or because you or your parents think you are
supposed to stay with a man you once chose? Why should he
makes changes when you cover everything for him? He's got
it made. Detach or he will never leave his comfort zone.
We learn and grow when we are outside our comfort zones.
Unburden yourself and your child. You are being used and
abused. You are already a single parent, so you cannot be
worse off. You have tried to bring him back into the
relationship. He has to make the effort to change, go on
an antidepressant, help out, seek help, at least to make
you happier. I've been him. An antidepressant got me out
of the pit so that I could make other changes. But my
partner finally gave me sort of an ultimatum to do that or
split up. I'm grateful. See an attorney before you
discuss with him breaking up, because if he is just using
you, he will continue attempt to get you to support him
after the break-up, too.
(Been there, too.)
Unless he is willing to treat (therapy, medication, or a
combination), then no, there is no hope. It is out of
your hands. You are behaving with him (modifying your
behavior) the same as the spouse of an alcoholic. It is
NOT up to you to behave in a way that impacts him to
change his behavior. He behaves that way because he has a
chronic illness (depression), and nothing you can do--I
repeat, nothing--will change him. He can only change
The difficult part is that I am sure you love him--but
don't be confused: you can love him but not the way he
behaves, and not the part with the illness. There is
research on the long-term, extremely negative effects of
living with a depressed parent on children. Leave him,
for your sake and for your daughter's.
It sounds like you have done way more than most people
would, and gotten very little response -- I would definitely
strongly consider splitting up. You have your whole life
ahead of you -- you deserve better! And your daughter will
survive it (and would probably develop a healthier sense of
what relationships can be if she witnesses a different one
Best of luck to you.
Sounds to me like anti-depressants may help him. Has he ever tried
them? I don't know if you can get him to try them, but they may
help. People usually have to experiment with different kinds before
they find the one that works best for them though.
Does he work? Is he a stay-at-home dad? Maybe his psyche can't take
the SAHD scene. (You'll note how the acronym reads.)
Sounds to me like he needs a chemical uplift and work outside the home.
You haven't posted even one good quality about this
person, not even something from the past. The man you fell
in love with back in the day, whoever he was, doesn't seem
to be the same man you are currently having a non-
relationship with. All around, he seems to be a total non-
participant in your life, which aside from coming home to
him sounds rather fulfilling. I'd say, based upon your
posting, that your relationship with him is over and has
been for a long time and you would be much better off
letting him go.
I really feel for you. I've spent 7 years in a relationship that is somewhat
similar but to a greatly reduced degree. The difference is that my partner's
working hard to get out of his depressive behaviors. His past led him to
the point where he is today: a history of at least 15 miserable years spent
trying to believe nothing was wrong, a wrecked family, an ultimately
unsatisfying affair (as not feeling good became a rejection of wife/home),
failed psychotherapy and marriage counseling. I believe the only thing that
made my partner change was the shock of the collapse of his 1st
marriage, which allowed him to see the damage he'd wrought on his kids,
and to realize that he didn't want to be miserable all the time. He's not
''cured'' but has learned to work hard and constantly on relationship stuff:
communication, working not to be negative and condemning of everything
all the time. Sadly, It sounds like your husband's not there yet.
With this background (and my own past history of depression), I suggest
you reach your decision after considering the behavioral example he (and
you) are modeling for your daughter, as it sounds like it may be unhealthy
for her. And check your own vitals: Is his behavior destructive to you? I
respectfully suggest that until he's able to receive/benefit from help or to
stand up and fight through his struggles, he may harm those closest to
him. You can't ''make him better'' by suffering with him. I hope you'll honor
your and your daughter's right to live happily, without supporting your
husband's burden. This may sound uncaring, but know that I offer my
thoughts as a mother who saw how my major depressive episode hurt my
now-grown son (YEARS of work to recover our relationship after that), I
wish you all the best.
Wishing you much happiness
This situation surely has gone on long enough! I'm sorry
that the therapist wasn't able to help.
You need an end-run around your husband's un-sustained
attempts to change. I suggest that you challenge him and
set a limit indicating you will end the relationship in ?
# of weeks (be specific) if he hasn't found a therapy that
he can commit to. -Your child deserves a healthy father
role model, and you deserve the partner you long for.
Leaving is an option for you, but what really needs to
happen most is the solution of the problem, if your child
is to ever really have this father.
Both shame-related depression and trauma-related
depression can be resistent to more typical treatments.
My husband has suffered from depression for years and I'm running
out of patience with the situation. I'm tired of having a
partner who focuses on gloom and doom all the time. He's taking
medication and has good doctors, but he's still depressed.
Because we have two young kids, I don't to divorce him. Rather,
I'm looking for encouragement or practical tips on how to get
through this. Thanks.
This is a serious situation. You said you don't want to divorce him because you have
two kids. I would be more concerned about the effects of growing up with a
depressed Dad. I understand that depression is a continual condition that can last a
lifetime but can be controlled somewhat with drugs and therapy. I presume you are
in therapy yourself. I am not sure this is a situation that you can ''get through''. You
asked for ''practical tips'' and I'm afraid the only word that comes to mind is
perseverance. What are YOU getting out of the relationship? Are you staying in a
known situation even though it is bad because you are scared to move on to an
unknown future? These are questions only you can answer. I am sorry these may not
be words you want to hear and they may be hard to digest.
anonymous member of BPN
I have severe & cronic depression - most of my life. Once I was
diagnosed correctly, it took months of trying different meds to
get it right for me to finally be ok. (And it was WORTH IT!)
You husband needs to continue working with his doctor,
agressively, using trial and error until he truly no longer has
the 'doom and gloom' feelings. Therapy along with meds is best.
No one need live their lives like that (and also impact
everyone around them).
Fellow BPN subscriber
Did you know that a gluten allergy can cause severe depression?
I wonder if your husband could have a gluten allergy or at
least a sensitivity (a sensitivity would not show positive in a
blood test). I know many people (including myself) who have had
serious symptoms, including depression, diminish when they
have gone off of gluten.
I say this because you said that even on medication your
husband is full of gloom and doom.
My 13 yo son went off of gluten about 8 months ago and is a
different person mood wise, anxiety, focus.
I have been gluten free for the same time and I find that when
I do eat glutn products occasionally, without fail, the next
day I have low grade depression, headache and serious brain fog.
Checkout celiac.com (you can have a serious gluten allergy
called Celiac Disease, but also serious sensitivity that will
not test as an allergy).
depressed no more
I am very sorry to hear about your husband's depression. Glad to
hear he has good doctors. It might help to try separating
yourself from his ''gloom and doom'' by gently saying, ''I'm sorry
that's how you see it, but I can't think like that.'' You're not
denying his reality but you are also not participating in it.
Also remember that his depression is not him, per se. He has an
illness that is distorting his thinking and skewing everything in
a negative way.
That being said, he is still responsible for his own actions and
words, and for participating actively in his treatment. Many
partners of people with mental illness and/or substance abuse
fall into traps of taking on the other person's pain/struggles,
and doing for the other person what they are unwilling to do. For
instance, for a person with low motivation and energy, you might
find yourself doing the housework for both you and him. This can
create resentment and exhaustion on your part. If he has a
therapist, perhaps you can meet with him and his therapist just a
few times to discuss how to manage responsibilities that both of
you share so that it feels equitable and fair to both of you, and
how to handle time spent together without getting ''infected'' by
the other person's foul mood.
I hope you can take care of yourself mentally and physically
during this difficult time. Try to get as much support from
friends, family, and perhaps professionals as you can. For more
information, please see the website for National Caregivers
I am getting frustrated with my spouse. I've been out of work
for about 4out of the last 6 months. She is staying up until
4am in internet chat rooms and sleeps til 10/11am.
I get up with our two year old at 5-6am. We eat, play and
I'm getting frustrated that she keeps sleeping in even when i
go to work.
I get up because I don't want the baby to stay in bed til 8.
She has some books & toys in her crib to play with but...
Am I being too leanient getting up early? or should i let the
baby cry then play with her toys til 7 or so?
Your situation does not sound fun and I am sorry I did not see
any responses. My two cents is that your frustration is not
going to help the problem at all. And, I don't think that your
wife would appreciate you considering whether or not you
are ''being too lenient.'' You are supposed to be her partner,
not her parent.
It does indeed sound like she is depressed or checked out of
life in some way. It would help your wife if you could re-
channel or re-express your frustration into concern. You and
your wife need to start communicating openly and non-
agressively. You need to non-judgementally find out why she is
prioritizing computer-time over you and your child. I am sure
that there are many difficult issues here to work out. You
might seriously consider counseling to help you and your wife
communicate positively with each other about all of the issues
in your lives. It is so easy to degenerate into negativity.
Wishing You the Best of Luck
My husband has suffered from low-grade depression since he was a teen
(his dad died suddenly when my husband was 7). His depression has
gotten worse in the past year. He took Prozac for a few months, but
stopped because it made him agitated and beligerent (though he was
not depressed while on Prozac.)
He's seeing a therapist, but he doesn't see how hard it is for me to live
with a depressed partner.
In addition to doing more of the work with our young son, and I am
losing patience for my husband and becoming unsympathetic to his
constant (and baseless) anxieties about money and work.
I need a support group of parents whose partners suffer from
I fantasize that my husband will find the right drug to alleviate his
depression, that he will overcome the stigma of taking medication long
term, and that years from now he will look back and realize what a
debilitating fog he has been in.
Most importantly, I worry about the effect this is having on our year-old
I'm terrified that he too will develop depression.
Do you have advice on other anti-depressants, on how to support him
during this low period, and how to make our son understand that
Daddy's bad moods have nothing to do with him?
I am a very optimistic, buoyant and nurturing person by nature, but
this prolonged sadness in my house is making me crazy and resentful.
I have had success with (very) low-grade depression using 5-HTP, an
over-the-counter medication based on tryptophane. You can find this
anywhere (Longs, for example). However, many bottles come in only
50-unit capsules, and you need to take at least 300 units per day (up
to 500) to make a difference. I have experienced no side effects,
just an overall better mood.
I have also heard good things about another over-the-counter
preparation called SAM-E, but have not taken it myself.
My friend's husband does very well on Wellbutrin. You can also try to see if
your husband will start some sort of exercise routine. Now that the
weather's perking up there are more opportunities for outdoors activities,
which might be a good option. Unfortunately it's pretty much up to him so I
don't know how much your wishes will influence him. I don't have any advice
for YOU, other than to seek counseling. Best of luck to you.
My heart goes out to you. I, too, lived with a depressed husband. The only
thing I ever said that convinced him to get help was, ''What would it mean
to you/about you if you were, in fact, depressed?'' That got him to
recognize that his own self-stigmatizing was limiting his options. The
other perspective I have to offer is that depression is an illness, just as
alcoholism is. Would he be willing to hold you and your family hostage to
Treatment: if I remember correctly, a combination of ''cognitive therapy''
and medication is the most effective treatment. Prozac doesn't work for
everyone -- there are other anti-depressants: Serzone (watch for very small
chance of liver problems), Celexa, etc.
Finally, depression in one family member can have a spiralling effect on
others. You may be responding -- subtly or not, consciously or not -- to
his depression, which may affect his depression, which may affect your
response, and so on. Also, be on the lookout for depression in yourself,
and take care of yourself. And don't overlook the benefits of exercise for
both of you.
After reading your post I knew that I had to respond because it struck an
emotional chord in me. Your situation sounds almost exactly like mine had
been. Though I am no expert on depression, I lived for many years with a
depresssed husband. I would be happy to share my experiences on this
sensitive subject with you and share some suggestions that might be helpful
This is for the woman whose husband is depressed. As a physician, I see
lots of people who are depressed and do remarkedly well on the correct
medicine. First she should look at things the husband may be taking that
could make his depression and anxiety worse. My therapist told me to cut
way back on coffee, this really helped a lot. Also, at one point I tried St
John's wort and it not only made my depression worse, it made me almost
suicidal. A good physician would try another antidepression medicine until
your husband gets the desired response. Paxil worked great for me and helps
with depression and overwelming anxiety about job and money. It took three
to four weeks after starting the medicine before I felt better. Initially
you may feel more sleepy and a little more depressed. I'm going to be on
for about a year before we try off of it.
As the (formerly) depressed partner in a marriage, I really responded to
your statement about your partner coming out of his ''debilitating fog'' ...
because that is just what happened to me. The great thing is that I am
getting treated for it, the problem is that the damage to my marriage is
there too, from all the years of irritability, anxiety, and withdrawal.
Would your husband try St. John's Wort? It's not a pharmaceutical, so it may
have slightly less stigma associated with it. It's easy to obtain (Trader's
Joe is a good brand, and the best price I've seen), and the side effects (in
my experience) are MUCH less than conventional anti-depressants (I've tried
3 and had bad experiences with each one). I think couples counseling would
also be good, because there are the issues to work through even if your
husband does come out of his fog. After some time in counseling with my
husband, my marriage is really coming back strong (thankfully).
There's a good book on SJW by Norman Rosenthal, with guides to self-dosing.
3 pills (300 mg each) per day is the usual starting dosage, although it can
go up to 6. It usually kicks in after 2 weeks...and it can kick in with a
Depression is something you need to manage...even with the most effective
drugs. There are other ways of helping depression, like good exercise and
diet. You might want to pick up some books on depression. ''Beyond Prozac''
was a good one, as was Norm Rosenthals ''Seasons of the Mind'' (specifically
about Seasonal Affective Disorder). For me, it took repeated exposure to the
idea of depression (from family members, a therapist, and reading) before I
was ready to admit it to myself and begin seeking treatment.
Good luck, my thoughts and wishes are with you.
Just a quick comment on the medication problem. There are medications
related to Prozac that are more sedating (Zoloft is one, and there are at
least two others that more calming). Perhaps he could check with his doctor
on those alternatives.
There is a group based in San Francisco called the Depressive-Manic
Depressive Association (DMDA) that usually meets at St. Francis Memorial
Hospital. I don't have the number but know they are listed. There are
educational and support sessions for family/friends as well as people who
suffer from these illnesses. Many of my clients have used this group as a
major source of support over the years. They may be able to refer you to a
group in the East Bay.
this page was last updated: Oct 25, 2012
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network