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help: what to do with depressed wife?

 
 
samo
 
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 03:07 pm
Hello, I've been married with my wife for 9 months now and the situation's growing worse. she was just fine and happy up to the minute when we came back from our honeymoon. she's drown in depression not wanting to do anything. she never went back to her part time job (she another part time job though), she gets up everyday at 2pm, not interest on anything whatsoever, she doesnt want to have any intimacy with me, yes no sex since we came back from our honeymoon 9 months ago. she barely makes enough money to pay her bills and stressed because of money, her job pays really bad and she works 20 hrs/week and wont look for a better job even when she's had tons of chances. we've been to counseling and she's made compromises in the past but she's failed to every single of them, all she says to me is to leave her alone that's her bussiness. on my point of view I think she doesnt want to deal with marriage and life in general and responsabilities, she acts like if she were living with her dad. I'm still trying to figure out what to do to help her, so far I've tried all I can, even when I'm keeping my real feelings about the situation, I just try to be the best for her and support her no matter what, but there's so much a human being can take. I love her with all my heart but it breaks my heart she's leaving her marriage sink down the drain.

any ideas of how to deal with a situation like this?

Thanks
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 16,608 • Replies: 55
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Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 03:38 pm
A depressed person isn't capable of keeping promises if left to her own devices. She might promise to do things to "get back into the swing of things," but she can't force herself. It takes all her energy simply to hold down her part-time job. The longer this continues, the easier it becomes for her to stay where she is -- in a slump. It requires too much effort to change and depressed people don't have the energy to put forth the effort--not unless their choice to remain depressed is taken away from them.

Her depression is not just her business, because it affects YOU. And, because you LOVE her so much, you ENABLE her to remain in her slump. If you weren't picking up the slack and making it easy for her to remain in her depression, then she would have to get off her ass and start taking some constructive steps to get help and to get back into the upbeat swing of life.

The situation might call for "tough love." You might have to remove the "material comforts" from your home--the things that make it so easy for her to vegetate in the house. Remove the television and remove the computer from the house. Make three essential demands:

1. Demand that she find a counselor that will actually help her and that she go to counseling sessions on a regular basis.

2. Demand that she get on a regular schedule (no more sleeping until 2:00 in the afternoon). The regular schedule includes going to bed at a reasonable hour, getting up at a reasonable hour, and getting showered and dressed right away in the morning. (No languishing around the house in pajamas.)

3. Demand that she get a full-time job.

Let her know that you're not going to enable her depression anymore and that she has three months to fullfill your demands OR you will be seeking a divorce.

Essentially, she isn't going to get better if you enable her to continue on in this depression. This is your life too, and you're entitled to demand that your spouse take the steps necessary to become a healthy person.
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samo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 05:33 pm
thanks for your words
thanks for your reply and words.

I thing I've learned is not to put pressure on her, the more I demand things like the ones you've said the more she walks away and get more depressed. she tell me things like.. you are trying to control me or you are telling me what to do all the time. so demanding things trust me wont help the situation. Also I know that do nothing about and let her drown even more in inactivity by doing all for her or just letting her do nothing about her depression.
she went once to a therapist for her depression and that was it, never went back. I asked her if she was going to go back and told me to leave her alone that that was her problem. it kills me when she makes me feel guily for wanting to have a normal relation ship. example, she thinks it's normal for us to not have sex. there you go...

I don't want to mention the word divorce or use it as a device to force her to do things because right now I really woudln't mean it, and I think is not fair and not good to force her to do things using the word divorce.

This month Im going to what is going to be my second try with another marriage counselor. I'll go first by myself so I can have somebody help me with my feelings first, last couselor was a mess with the two of there, we didnt get anywhere.

I really need to talk out my feelings, I dont have any family in the US and when I call them the last thing I want to talk about is my marriage problems, I dont want make them worried about me. not that many good friends that I can talk about the situation so... it's really hard for me to deal with it everyday, so I decided to set an appoiment and talk to another counselor and go from there.

I really need help since this situation is starting to depress me and affecting me in every sense you can think of.

I would like to know if any of you guys have dealt with a depressed spouses.

thanks
dragon49
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 05:53 pm
i dealt with my own battle depression a long time ago and when it is as bad as you say it is, demanding things of her will only push her further. people used to say to me, pull yourself up with your boot straps or just get over it, but it doesn't work. i will bet she feels so far gone, that nothing anyone says to her will help her.

i suggest being overly supportive. show her how much you love her, show her how much you need her. maybe if you can show her those things and allow her to see what she means to you and this marriage, it may give her the tiny bit of light she needs. i don't mean telling her how much you love her everyday, i mean showing her. make her feel needed in your life, the most important thing to you.

getting her to a psychiatrist is probably step one. most people who are that far gone need some drug therapy. what she must understand is that taking antidepressants doesn't make her crazy, it is a medical condition. just like high blood pressure sometimes doesn't go down with diet and exercise, you have to take prescriptions. some people are predisposed to depression and it is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. she needs to understand that being depressed is "ok" and she needs to start therapy to discover the underlying cause so that she can stop taking antidepressants eventually.

she also needs to realize that this is your problem because you are her husband and you all are a family now so what affects her, affects you and vice versa. this is a tough one and i feel for you. we are here you for you.

welcome to a2k!
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 06:01 pm
You know the situation is not improving. You know she won't take steps to help herself. Yet, you won't make any demands that she take constructive steps to get better. You won't establish any meaningful consequences if she continues to refuse to help herself. You won't give her an ultimatum; you won't establish a time limit.

I guess you both won't do anything to improve the situation, so you must both live with the dire, depressive lifestyle that you've adopted.

Unless ONE of you takes action, your situation is hopeless.
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Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 06:26 pm
dragon49 wrote:
i dealt with my own battle depression a long time ago and when it is as bad as you say it is, demanding things of her will only push her further. people used to say to me, pull yourself up with your boot straps or just get over it, but it doesn't work. i will bet she feels so far gone, that nothing anyone says to her will help her.


I doesn't help for anyone to say "get over it" or "pull yourself up by your bootstraps." It doesn't work. If it were that easy, a depressed person could do that much for him or herself. But, a depressed person cannot continue indefinitely in the state of depression without ENABLERS.

It becomes easier and easier to vegetate on the couch, to watch television, and to nap on the couch when the person who loves you is bringing home the paycheck, paying the bills, doing the laundry, and bringing you your meals and praying for the day that you "snap out of it."

She isn't EVER going to engage in the hard work necessary to recover from depression unless she is compelled to do so if for no other reason than the real and substantial threat of losing her beloved enabler.
samo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 06:43 pm
Thanks for your kind words
Thanks for your kind words dragon49

After reading several books and sites on the internet I realized as you said to not force things and instead just give all the support you can. It's been 9 months since we got married and for the past 5 months since we finished our counseling all I've done is support her and understand her, all the way from doing all the household errands/bills, up to cleaning, cooking, I tell her I love her everyday, I hug her, cuddle with her all the time, let her know I need her and all that.

she has not desire at all to go to a shrink so that makes things even more difficult. I think part of her depression if because of her parent's divorce, but that was 15 years ago, so I dont know if that is still affecting her even though it's so long ago. on the other hand I don't know if she realizes the damage she's doing to our marriage and the concecuences it may have, also the damage although I don't show it to her that she's causing me. most of the times she's tell me things I want to hear so I don't ask her about it anymore, she would say things like, I will set an appoinment to the psychiatrist when she knows she won't but I will take it anyways, samething with going to gyco, in our last counseling she compromised to get on birth control the next month, that was back in Feb. so as you can see she didnt go and I dont think will go. I dont want to ask her about it neither.

Im just scared, I've never dealt with a depressed person, she never showed that to me when we were dating and I think most of the time she just told me what I wanted to hear. I'm just so down thinking what to do to help my marriage and not feel guilty for feelings like if this doesnt work I'll just get a divorce, it just breaks my heart of thinking about it, but also it breaks my this situation right now.

I just hope she wakes up before it's to late. I don't how long I will be able to hold without breaking apart. Sad
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samo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 06:52 pm
running away
she watches tv all the time, shows like judge judy, judge joe brown, oprah, etc... shows which I don't like, it doesn't show anything inspiring or good. but she says they make her feel good because listening to other people's problem makes her forget about hers. which is funny because if she doesnt take or her problems she'll just bigger ones. one thing the counselor told her is that she can take care of a small problem right now or just sit and do nothing and wait and then deal with a bigger problem. If she just don't have the enough desire of taking steps to save the marriage I don't know what else to expect for.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 07:09 pm
You're getting some very good advice from both sides of the issue here, samo. I think Debra and dragon have done a very nice job explaining the different sides.

I too suffer from serious bouts of depression and from that side I know that it is hard enough to drag yourself out of bed and begin to make the smallest decision and that I am typically the last person to recognize that it's happening.

I also know that without my husband's urging that I would have probably never sought help.

At first he didn't understand it and it scared him very much. He would issue ultimatums and I just couldn't care, I couldn't make myself care.

I think the conversation that finally wised me up started something like this:

Him: We can't live like this anymore. I can't live like this anymore. I love you and I want to be with you but I can't live like this anymore.

He offered to call for me. He offered to go with me. He offered everything and I just couldn't make myself accept his help -- because I couldn't make a decision.

But a few weeks later I realized that I couldn't live like this anymore - with or without him - and I called and made an appointment and my life completely changed. For the first time ever, I felt "normal".

Now he's the first one to recognize when I'm slipping back down that slope and he starts asking "are you okay?".

Sometimes I'm just pissed but other times I'm not okay. When I'm not okay I pick up the phone and make the call. It is never easy but it is always a relief.

For me, it helped that I also had an "excuse". My first appointment came during the time when my father was dieing. That WAS part of the problem but not the entirity of it.

Could your wife be homesick? Could there be some physical problem that makes sex uncomfortable or painful for her? (Ruling out actual physical health problems is VERY important in regards to depression.) Could her parents be pulling some weird stuff about "how it never works out" or making her feel guilty for leaving home? Could she be wanting to have a baby and know how you feel about her getting on birth control?

There are a million triggers but most of the time there is no trigger at all - your brain just gets out of whack, chemically speaking.

Debra's right in that ignoring it will never make things better.

dragon's right in that issuing ultimatums will not make things get better.

I can tell that you love her and I hope everything gets better. Because you can't live like that anymore.
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samo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 07:51 pm
part of it
She's was way homesick mostly because her dad would let her do anything from sleeping all day long, dont work, eat two sacks of potato chips, I dont think she isn't homesick anymore though now.

as far as I know there's no physical problem that makes sex uncomfortable or painful for her. both parents are happy she got married and that left home and that she's "moving on life"

she definitely doesn't want to have a baby anytime soon, she has expressed that to me in several occasions, she says she hates all the pregnancy thing. so I dont think that's the reason she doesnt want to go on birth control, what I think the reson is that not being on birth control that is a good excuse for her to not have sex.

I've been suspecting that something happened with her first boyfriend and the first time that she had sex with him, according to her it wasnt pleasant and she said that he tricked her. but that's about it. she never told me anymore than that and I didnt want to ask since it was her private thing. but I feel is that something else happened, some abuse to be more specific. I noticed she's sensitive to movies where women are abused, she has made to stop movies where things like that happen. so I kind of suspect that something happened, but I could be wrong too. on the other hand she said she had "normal sex" with her boyfriends, so nothing was wrong back then. what it kills me is to think that she was ok having intimacy with her ex boyfriends but dont want anything with me, her husband, the one that devotes to her everyday. I know is bad to think that way, but you know how men are.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2005 10:13 pm
I suspect that you should have a plan B, which includes actually moving out. (If you threaten and dont carry out your threat, you are the one being manipulated by a depressed manipulator).

You need to start thinking about yourself if she wont take the hints. Id start by telling her that you want she and you to be married forever , BUT, give her some ultimata. If you dont, you will wake up one day 70 years old and still being manipulated.

I feel sorry for you man, but, the way I see it, lets not get 2 people sick here. The "tough love" suggestion is the best IMHO.
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aidan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Jun, 2005 01:19 am
Samo - just reading through your concerns I thought of a couple of things. I've never been clinically depressed, but I do remember right after I got married, going through an emotional slump. It was very hard for me to commit to marriage, not because I didn't love my husband, but because I was unsure of my ability to live with one person for the rest of my life, and I took my committment so seriously, I knew there wouldn't be an easy way out for me. I still worked and took care of the house and homework (I was in graduate school) but I'd come home everyday and just collapse on the couch and listen to Janis Ian (which, as my husband said, is enough to make anyone feel like slitting his/her wrists). He always tried to insert humor- and it did help me to put things in perspective. He had listened to me before we were married when I expressed doubts about limiting the possibilities in my life by marrying and said he wanted to try it with me anyway, and he listened to the sadness I expressed afterwards without making me feel guilty. I explained it wasn't about him, it was about me - knowing that all sorts of doors had been closed by choosing marriage- and that I was kind of mourning my freedom and all the possibilities I was leaving behind (not other guys, just other life situations that also appealed to me). I had been afraid to hurt him by vocalizing these things, but in the end it helped me to be able to express it, and that he said he understood how I felt, and he wasn't upset or offended by it, and that we could try to work through it by making our marriage about an opportunity and not a life sentence. Maybe she's going through something similar - although I can't comment on the absence of sex- that was never an issue.
But here are some facts I know about depression:
1) A doctor who spoke at a workshop I went to said most depressions will deplete themselves after a year or so with or without treatment. It's just kind of a cycle they take. The danger in not getting treatment is that in some people the depression is so bad that they can no longer function and/or attempt suicide. But if you can live through it, it passes in about a year. But once someone has had an episode of diagnosed depression, the odds are greatly increased that it will recur and subsequent episodes are usually more severe, especially if the first episode was never diagnosed and treated.
2) Living with someone who is depressed (especially in a marriage) is extremely difficult for someone who is not depressed. You need to be aware of and educated about all of the issues you and your wife will face together if she is prone to depression.
3) Having said all that, I agree with Farmerman. You've been really patient dealing with her mood and lack of intimacy for nine months. She might be depressed, but she also might just be lazy and manipulative. If she's not willing to address her problems herself for her own sake and for yours, I would let her know that it's not a situation you want to live with for very much longer, and that you will need to take the action you feel will be most helpful for both of you. Like my husband told me, listening to Janis Ian wasn't helping either of us, it was just allowing me to sink deeper into my swamp of despair, just as you continuing to watch her watch Judge Judy isn't helping either one of you.

It sounds like a hard situation. I wish you good luck.
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samo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 11:55 am
manipulative
thanks for your words aidan, they give me comfort and at the same time makes me think about what I maybe denying to myself which is her manipulating me. I've thought about it in the past and kills me to think she's doing it on purpose because she knows I would do anything for her. Sometimes I just find myself doing things for her or if she does something wrong or that hurts me I would just not tell her so I don't get her depressed since anything comment or thing I would say to her would make her feel bad. Most of the times she gets mad at me even it was her fault... for instance a couples of days ago she took off around 2pm and told me she was going to spend the day over her dad's, so it was about 9pm and I called her over her dad's and he told me she hasn't been there, so it was almost midnight and she isn't back home yet and I'm worried and start calling everyone when she finally showed up, of course I was upset and asked her where she was and she told me that she changed her mind and decided to go over her mom's which is about 1 hr drive away from home, I asked her for next time please to let me know or at least someone know where she's just in case something happens, well she got mad at me, she said she just didnt want to let me know where she was. I wasn't even mad at her just worried and she gets mad at me. I decided to just walk away of the arguing.

it just gets harder and harder everyday to swallow my feellings, I'm pretty much acting everyday, but I feel the day is coming that the show will be over.

I thank you all for your words, it makes me feel so much better to see I'm not the only one in this kind of situation
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ultrahealingcarol
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 04:12 pm
u
Cool
0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 05:03 pm
UH Carol:

Never once did Samo claim that he was going to bail out on his marriage. He loves her and supports her. I guess you didn't read everything that he wrote.

On the other hand, his wife controls and manipulates him. He's not allowed to say anything about her sitting around all day long watching television. He does the cleaning and cooking while she wallows in laziness and apathy. She doesn't lift a finger to make the marriage better for both of them--she expects him to accept that this is as good as it gets because, if he says anything about fixing things, she accuses him of trying to "control" her.

Who's the one controlling the situation? It's not him. How long is he supposed to kiss her lazy, won't-do-anything-to-help-herself ass? How about a year? ten years? twenty years?
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ultrahealingcarol
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 05:32 pm
u
Cool
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 07:39 pm
I don't usually disagree with Debra_Law, but this time we're not on the same page. Sorry, Deb.

I've suffered from depression several times, and I know well how difficult it can be on a husband. Depressed people are living on the razor's edge of functionality...pressuring them can easily push them over the edge and make them do irrational things. Please, samo, don't do that. You will not be pleased with her reaction. It will only make a bad situation worse.

Instead, I strongly suggest that you get some counseling yourself in order to know how to deal with her. This has definitely helped in my case, and many others as well. Even if she refuses to seek help, YOU need help in dealing with this situation.

The good news is...there are medications out there that can really help her become normal again. Depression, regardless of its cause, is a chemical imbalance in the brain. This is an illness. I'm sure she realizes she's not 100%, but she may be too embarrassed to seek professional help. Perhaps you could talk to her regular doctor about this yourself and suggest that he/she call in your wife for a consultation. Often people will listen to their own doctor when they wouldn't consider calling up a mental health professional. If you have a good doctor, he/she will be able to refer you both to someone trustworthy and competent. If you don't have a regular doctor, call one of your local social services agencies that deals with families. They'll know where to send you.

This has been going on for nine months...I doubt seriously that it will resolve itself on its own. Depression puts an enormous strain on a marriage as well as the individuals in it. You both need some help, and I sincerely hope you will reach out for it. It's only a phone call away. You've already reached out to us. Now reach out to someone who can do more than sympathize. Reach out to someone who can help.
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ultrahealingcarol
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 09:21 pm
u
Cool
0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 10:19 pm
I see. You're unhappy and depressed. Your husband doesn't appreciate you, flatter you, or show you affection. If only he would do those things, then you would feel happy and sexy. But, he won't change, so you cry.

You're too depressed to hold down a job. If you eat an entire box of twinkies, it's your husband's fault . . . or the consequence of depression which is your husband's fault. You sit home all day, depressed because of him. The television and computer keep you company.

And, because you blame YOUR husband for YOUR depression, you blame samo for his wife's depression.

Your only answer is for your husband to get you help because you won't help yourself? Is that what you're saying? Your husband has to bring a psychiatrist into your home to treat you?

If you were paying attention, everyone has been telling samo to get his wife help. But the fact remains, that he can't force her to get help because every time he brings up the subject, she accuses him of trying to control her.

You can't help someone who doesn't want to help herself.

The best helping hand any person will ever have is the one at the end of their own wrist. And, maybe, when you stop blaming your husband for your unhappiness, you might take a little personal responsibility for your own mental health.
0 Replies
 
ultrahealingcarol
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2005 10:26 pm
u
Cool
0 Replies
 
 

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