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How do I handle my wife's depression

 
 
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2009 09:15 am
My wife and I have been married for 5 years and have 3 year old daughter together. Even prior to our marriage I knew that my wife suffered from some forms of depression, mainly due to her family history of depression and multiple health issues that her mother and father continue to deal with.

Over the month or two her depression has escalated to her most extreme low this past weekend. Something from her previous employer trigured a depression spike on Friday. She wouldn't discuss it with me in any form. From that point through Monday morning she had been staying in bed and when she did get up she continued to talk about killing her self. Without my knowledge she took handfulls of prescription pills and the next morning was upset with herself that she couldn't even kill herself. When she was awake she wanted a drink and ending up making a drink or had a glass of wine.

We have a wonderful family and every time i wanted to discuss our life together all she would tell me is that she doesn't want a "pep talk". For the past few weeks she has seen a psychiatrist, mainly because i had asked her to go and she needs a refill on her depression meds. After giving birth to our daughter she did suffer from a form of post partum and her OB/GYN prescribed 20mg prozac, which i believe has not helped in any way. She had made regular monday appointments to see her psychiatrist, but cancelled yesterday and now doesn't want to go back because she says it doesn't help. When she told me on sunday night that she wasn;t going to her appointment I said that she should and that I wanted to go with her. She got extremely irritated with me when I said that and she was saying how it is none of my business and i'm not allowed there, etc. I continue to just show her my concern, love and support but don't know what to do. I honestly don't think her psychiatrist is being strong enough with her & maybe because she has only gone a few times. I don't think the prozac she is on is doing anything because she has some real personality swings. I don't know if I should call her dr and give him information, but i do know that my wife will become very upset with me for pushing an issue. Whenever i suggest or try to have her do something she says i am controlling and need to back off and that it is not my problem.

she told me yesterday morning that she wants to be a better wife and a better mother to our daughter and she won't do anything that will scare me like she did this past weekend. She said that she loves me and our daughter and wants to make it right. I want to believe her and i do, but i think she may have said these things just so I back off a bit and not pressure her with what she is dealing with. She never wants to talk about it and only says that I deserve better.

What do I do????
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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 14,648 • Replies: 18
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JPB
 
  2  
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2009 11:56 am
@concerned husband,
Hello, concerned husband, welcome to A2K.

There are all kinds of different signals coming through your post, most of which sound very supportive, but it's obvious that she considers her emotional well-being to be "her" problem and doesn't want you involved.

However, she's the chronically depressed mother of a 3 year old daughter who has recently attempted suicide. It's clear that she doesn't want you to give her "pep talks", that she didn't connect with this particular psychiatrist, that she most definitely doesn't want you involved in her treatment, but also that she needs some significant therapy.

You can't force her to stay in therapy unless she goes into an in-patient program (not a bad idea if she's truly suicidal), but you can suggest that if she doesn't like this psychiatrist she should keep searching until she finds one she's willing to work with.
fbaezer
 
  2  
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2009 12:58 pm
Prozac is often not enough when we're talking about serious depressions.
Pep talks won't help. They almost never do.
If she tried to kill herself, and she knows depression runs in her family, she must be aware that she may need another doctor to see her.
Check also about an eventual tyroid problem. Sometimes depressions are related to it.
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concerned husband
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2009 01:28 pm
JPB & fbaezer, Thank you for your comments.

I’m not even sure if she is or isn’t connecting with this psychiatrist. She has only seen him for 4 sessions and has told me that she feels quite comfortable with him. I just don’t know if she is giving it a chance. She sometimes expects results with things immediately and if she doesn’t get them she figures what’s the point, why continue.

Do you think that I should contact her psychiatrist to give him this information? After my wife cancelled her appointment yesterday the dr. did call her back later in the day, but my wife told me she hasn’t returned his call. I suggested she call him back, but I don't want to pressure the issue and have her push back more.

I suggested to her that since she already took the biggest step in seeing a psychiatrist to continue, especially until he can get a hold of her medication, because her current is obviously not the correct one.

Both her mother and father see psychiatrists regularly to deal with their own health issues and my wife knows she needs to go as well, as of today she simply doesn’t want to.

My wife’s mother also had thyroid cancer and had it removed. Depression is sometimes related to this?
fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2009 02:18 pm
@concerned husband,
concerned husband wrote:


My wife’s mother also had thyroid cancer and had it removed. Depression is sometimes related to this?



Yes, sometimes. And if thyroid decease runs in your wife's family, there is a bigger chance.
Perhaps a pill to control the thyroid active hormones may do wonders. But then she must see a specialist when she feels better.
0 Replies
 
Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2009 12:53 am
You will need to sort out whether you are dealing with unipolar depression or bi-polar (formerly manic-depressive). This is going to make a huge difference in how you tackle it - and you also need to get yourself to the couch. You may also find that you are exhibiting the symptoms of depression - only masked by the need to care for your partner (and child).

And no. You are not a basketcase if you are depressed. Everyone has times in their lives where they have low, flat moods. How long it lasts and how you respond to it is the really important thing.
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concerned husband
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2009 07:38 am
My wife has been told that she exhibits bi-polor depression syptoms. This is clear for me to see as she can really change her moods quickly.

I'm sure that I am also hiding some form of depression, but I don't have time to worry about myself as my wife is in need of the most help.

She continues to not call her psychiatrist and I don't want to continue to push the issue as she then will never go. I suggested last night that if she is not comfortable with her current doctor than we should look for one she is comfortable with. She said it has nothing to do with him and she is comfortable, but that it is not helping and there is no point to continue. I know she is not on the right medication and continue to suggest that she since she has already started seeing her doctor that she continue until he can get a hold of her medication and prescribe something that is going to help.

I feel lost at times and think that my whole family is going to fall apart if she doesn't help herself. I would do anything to help her, but when she is depressed she just pushes me back and wants no help whatsoever.

I don't know what to do? I layed in bed last night thinking that I should admit her to an in-patient facility & force her to get the help she needs, but i'm sure it will make it worse for her.
tarakesh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2009 07:01 pm
@concerned husband,
Just wanted to let you know that it's worth getting her thyroid checked. I have a hypothyroid problem and related depression (I was suicidal at times). Actually learning that I have a thyroid problem and taking medication for it helped, as did realizing the extent of the impact my depression was having on my husband.
Maybe the best time to talk to her about getting help, and about how the depression is affecting you and your child, would be when she's not depressed-- but I'm sure you've tried talking to her extensively...
All the best to you both!
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Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2009 01:56 am
Exhibiting bi-polar symptoms.

You need a firmer diagnosis. There are behaviours that overlap other conditions or could be schizoid-related. This can make a world of difference with the medication regime - anti-depressants alone can trigger mood swings, but a combination of lithium and a mood-stabilizer can bring relief.

You really need to get some info from her family about the existence of disorders - part of it is genetic, but how she/they responded to issues and events during her childhood will be just as vital.


Either way, what you need are VERY STRONG BOUNDARIES. It is not all just your partner, you have a commitment to maintain your own mental health and that of your children. Your partner needs to have it explained to her that there are behaviours and activities that are unacceptable (refusing medication or treatment, acting out behaviour that involves poor decision making, making threats of suicide, impulsive spending, infidelity, and lying - especially lying to family, friends and workmates about their illness, and life at home) - set boundaries, and follow up.
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sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 05:53 pm
Ye Gads!

Call her Dr. immediately!!

Your wife had a suicide "gesture" i.e. tried to kill herself!

She needs to be hospitalized and have a complete physical, from the neck up and the neck down.

When someone talks about killing themselve, that is a REAL indicator. Do not hesitate. Insist she get help now. Your child could be in danger when she decides to act out her threats.
0 Replies
 
arty
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Feb, 2009 09:50 am
@concerned husband,
my wife of 8 yrs is starting to threaten to slit her wrist we have 3 kids all under 3 which she is a very good mother to i work away on a 2week on 2 week off roster do i have to quit my job or is this a cry for help am willing to help but not surehow is best to go about it with her self esteem
0 Replies
 
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Feb, 2009 05:56 pm
Something I found by reading many, many books written by psychologists is that not all psychologists are equal....some a very, very good, and I would say others are just average. The same no doubt goes for psychiatrists.

From what I can work out, depression has only one long term treatment (apart from chemical treatment, which usually only masks the cause), and that is activity...regularly doing things you enjoy. The problem with severely depressed people of course, is that they don't feel like doing anything.


If you are to help her through this, you need advice (otherwise known as seeing a counsellor / psychologist yourself) on how to help her.
sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Feb, 2009 06:01 pm
Arty - 3 kids under 3??
No wonder she's threatening. She probably has not slept in three years.

Get some household help for her ASAP.Hire someone to come in and help her, so she can take a bath or just go for a walk by herself.

Why is it that you can not see she is under immense pressure with these kids - and no other adult around to help. ???
0 Replies
 
moosie822
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2009 10:52 am
@concerned husband,
Hello. I came across your post because I was looking for ways to help my husband deal with my depression. I was hospitalized last May for suicidal thoughts. I did not attempt suicide, but I was scared that I would. Ever since I have been home from the hospital my husband treats me like I am made out of glass. He doesn't know what to do either. I am not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, but I can tell you from my perspective of being the patient what I think. First of all, you are not responsible for her depression. You are obviously supportive of her, and that is really all you can do. Ultimately, those of us who have mental illness are the only ones who can really do anything to improve our situation. Let her know that you are there to listen, but know that there are some things that she may not want to discuss with you, and that is her right. She may feel that you already have a low opinion of her and she doesn't want to make that worse. From my own experience, I know that when I was really thinking about suicide I did not announce it to people. She may be trying to gain your attention or sympathy. But ALL SUICIDAL THREATS OR GESTURES MUST BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. There are many reasons she may be talking that way. Perhaps she needs to hear that if she killed herself she would be greatly missed by her family. I know that I have had times where I really believed that everyone would be better off without me. The most important thing is that your wife needs professional help. If she is making suicidal threats and gestures, she most likely needs to be hospitalized for at least a few days. In the hospital, they can observer her, give her a correct diagnosis, help you with strategies on how to deal with her behavior, and adjust her medication. I take prozac for depression, and I take 80 mg a day along with several other medications. That does seem like a very low does to me. You can do what you feel is right, and be supportive of her as much as possible, but the main thing you need to remember is that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. I am very worried that my husband blames himself for my illness. However, if your wife had a "medical illness", you would never blame yourself. Depression is a serious physical and mental illness and needs to be taken seriously.

I hope this was helpful to you.
0 Replies
 
moosie822
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2009 11:01 am
@concerned husband,
I have recently been diagnosed with a condition called borderline personality disorder. It is similar to bipolar disorder, except that my moods change much more quickly. Bipolar moods usual last for days or weeks, while borderline moods can last for an hour our two. I had the wrong diagnosis for years. Being in an inpatient facility may be the only way for her to get a proper diagnosis. I also participated in what is called "partial hospitilization" I went to a mental health facility all day, but I went home to my own house at night. This may be a good compromise. The bottom line is that if you think that she is a danger to herself she needs to be in the hospital. Being in the hospital for mental illness is no different from being in the hospital for physical illness. If you thought that your wife's appendix had burst, would you hesitate to take her to the hospital? Rules differ in every state as far as forcing her to stay in the hospital. However, if she is evaluated and a doctor also thinks that she is a danger to herself or others, it is usually pretty straightforward. Yes, she is going to be furious with you at first. However, some people will never be willing to check themselves in for treatment. It is worth making her angry if it will finally get her the right help and possibly even save her life.
0 Replies
 
moosie822
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2009 11:05 am
@vikorr,
I am sorry, but I strongly disagree with you about medication. Depression is caused by an imbalance of various chemicals in the brain. No amount of fun activities will fix this. This misconception about depression not having real physical causes is very dangerous. It keeps people from getting the help they need and stigmatizes depressed people as not having a "real" illness. There are many factors in healing depression and other forms of mental illness, but medication is an essential part of treatment for many illnesses. Until my brain chemistry was straightenend out, no amount of therapy would do any good. Please re-think your attitude about medication for depression.
0 Replies
 
concerned husband
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Mar, 2009 08:47 am
A little time has past since I have read this thread that I began in Mid January. Since my last post my wife further acted on her suicidal thoughts by taking it steps further by taking a bottle of over the counter sleeping pills. During the early morning hours I new something was off as she was completely incoherant. I took her to the ER where it was too late to really counter the affects of the sleeping pills. From the Hospital I checked her into an inpatient facility where she spent the next 6 days. Her medication was adjusted and continues to be tweaked a bit. Currently she is on 60mg Prozac in addition to Topamax which in combination helps another medical issue.

For the past month she has been doing pretty well. She sees her therapist weekly, sometimes a couple times a week. She also sees a pharmapsychologist who handles her medication in addition with her drug therapy. Although she makes the effort and attends each appointment she hates to go.

Over the past week or two her mood has begun to get worse. Mentioning things like she wants to stop taking everything. She says she doesnt' feel like herself. Unfortunately she was recently laid off and she obviously becomes incredibly frustrated looking for a new job, as minimal are available. Without her being to work absolutely is compounding her feelings of depression. She has been having bad days these past two and it's scaring me again.

I try to be there for her and I've realized that our communication needed to improve, especially with the thoughts and feelings she has towards depression. I have read a few books over the past weeks in how to handle a loved ones depression. I'm trying to take the ideas and studies that fit our behavior and follow the best i can. I just don't know what else to do.


fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Mar, 2009 12:06 pm
@concerned husband,
Be selective on what you read. Don't overdo it, for then it'll be of no help and end up depressing you.

The key now seems to be the "I'm not myself" feeling she has. Depressives and bipolars, when on medication, tend to feel some "lack of passion" in their lives (even if the passion is anger and gloom and even if it came from a chemical unbalance). You got to assure that she is herself (and indeed she is) as a way to keep her taking her medications.

Good luck.
0 Replies
 
snapdragon33
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jan, 2013 04:37 pm
@JPB,
Psychiatrists listen to you just long enough to decide what drug(s) to prescribe. every month they may / will change your meds until you say you're fine. In my experience Psychiatrists don't listen very long or well. Psychologists will talk with you and offer advice and help you analyze your problems. Very helpful, but they can't prescribe drugs. My psychologist sent me also to a psychiatric nurse practitioner...who can prescribe drugs and also listens to you and offers practical suggesstion. Psychiatrists don't listen very long or well.
0 Replies
 
 

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