Depression is ruining my marriage

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  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

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    For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

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I did not let depression destroy our marriage: how I helped my wife cope with stress and avoid divorce | Lifestyle

Relationships are not always easy. Even the most perfect couples have problems. Either both or one of them. At such moments (sometimes they drag on), you should not get angry and offended, but lend a helping hand.

My wife is depressed. Protracted and serious. At one time our marriage was threatened with divorce. Fortunately, we both managed - and I tried to help her as much as possible. Now everything is relatively stable with us, and I want to share my experience with you so that you are mentally prepared for such situations. nine0003

A little background

We have been together for 13 years. According to specialists from the field of family psychology, the time is decent. It is not surprising that we have faced many difficulties.

Our 13th anniversary was approaching, and we really wanted to celebrate it in a warm atmosphere, but everything was bad in our relationship. The wife was depressed.

A feeling that devours

In fairness, it must be admitted that she was in a stressful state most of her life. Someone could blame me, but my beloved was drowning in negativity long before meeting me. nine0003

Her episodes are very variable. You can never guess when and in connection with what a new one will happen. Depression comes and goes, impudently interfering with our peace and harmony.

My wife has been living quietly for half a year already - she is happy, smiling and cheerful. And suddenly it "covers". This condition can last from a couple of days to several weeks - and the scary thing is that it is unrealistic to determine the exact period.

Do not think that no one is helping her. Beloved takes medication, regularly undergoes examinations, and also receives moral support not only from me and relatives, but also from doctors. nine0003

It is a pity that there is no "switch"

I confess that such thoughts sometimes visited me. How great it would be to have a lever that could turn off depression. Even despite receiving moral and medical assistance, the wife sometimes broke down.

This first happened a few weeks after our first date. She came to my house late at night, swooping in suddenly - and for no reason began to cry such bitter tears that it seemed that in each of the droplets there was a piece of her soul. nine0003

I hugged her and sat silently beside her, not knowing what to do - she cried until she fell asleep.

Deterioration of the situation

I didn't know what depression was. I did not even imagine that this is a disease that can wreak havoc and control someone's mind. I was sure: if a person just wants to be happy, he will be. The main thing is desire!

But my beloved, having already become a wife later, continued to be sad. There were many episodes in marriage filled with tears. She spent the entire second year of our life together at home. That was her desire - her husband was not fired, and she could easily find a job for herself. nine0003

She just couldn't even leave the house. Some actions were too difficult for her mentally. All strength was spent in tears.

Suicide attempt

One day when I got home from work, I found my wife lying on the bed. Empty bottles of her medicines were scattered around her.

She tried to commit suicide. During pregnancy with our first child.

I took her to the hospital, my wife was brought to her senses, and she spent the next week there, recovering physically and mentally. nine0003

A ray of hope

Now I can't even remember the moment when I started to realize that depression is a real illness. But it is not important. The main thing is that I began to try to recognize the signs of its various stages. All by trial and error. As a result, I began to succeed in identifying actions that could help my beloved. Those that only aggravated the condition, I remembered and avoided them in every possible way.

Sincere conversations diversified our lives. We talked about depression, I gently and correctly tried to find out how she felt, struggling with it. And in the end, I began to realize what this state can do to a person. And that the things my wife did were not her fault at all. nine0003

Depression is not part of our marriage

Now I feel this way about the situation. Depression is a disease that controls my spouse and her brain. Because of this condition, a loved one is sometimes temporarily incapacitated.

Think about it: is the son of an elderly father suffering from Alzheimer's disease responsible for the fact that his father forgot who is in front of him? Of course not.

Therefore, a woman who sleeps all day and sobs into her pillow for no reason is not my wife. The wife is somewhere inside her, but the pain, struggle and suffering that affects both of us is not caused by her at all. nine0003

I am well aware that her inability to perform some simple tasks during such periods, or even just talk or hug me, is not her choice. My wife doesn't want to feel what she feels at all. After recovering, she is embarrassed that she allowed some action - although it was not at all her.

I have no right to accuse her of harming our marriage. This is unfair to both of us, and hurts even more.

Remember: it's long and hard

Long term depression takes years to heal. And to live, share life and raise children with a person suffering from it is very difficult.

It happens that the spouse does not leave the room for weeks. While she is in bed, I work, take care of the house and raise the children.

Sometimes I get stressed too - but I can't go to my wife with my pain, because she won't help me. And I can even worsen her condition with my negativity. I sometimes feel bad because of this, because I am a criminal lawyer, and stress actually accompanies my work. nine0003

Because of the cases I have to take on, I often have strong, emotional, dark feelings. They affect the quality of my life and mood. After some activities, I can wake up in the middle of the night, suffer from insomnia and anxiety.

I tried to get help from my wife in such situations. But it's too much for her. She even mentally could not cope with a tiny part of my problems. At such moments, I needed my wife more than ever, but she simply could not be with me. nine0003

But what's even worse is that during her internal struggle, all attachment seems to go away. There are no greetings, no good night wishes, much less the phrase “I love you” or gentle touches. Because depression sucks all the love out of her life. The hardest thing is to accept it.

Frankly speaking, even now I sometimes think: is it all because of depression, or has my wife just stopped loving me?

What saved our marriage?

Awareness of depression. Yes, it's not easy for me. Dealing with family, household and life without the help of a wife is very stressful and difficult. And it is sometimes difficult to look at her condition objectively. There were thoughts of divorce, resentment, unbearable pain and a desire to stop all this in order to feel like a living, positive, loved person again. nine0003

Understanding the illness helped. And I felt ashamed of my thoughts - what would happen to my wife if I did this to her? Everyone can live in joy, happiness and prosperity, and such situations test feelings and their sincerity for strength.

Together we were able to live and work through her difficult episodes, and then get out of them without significant damage to marriage and relationships. Persistent and long-term remissions have become a good sign. It is a great happiness to see a wife cheerful, energetic, smiling and full of strength.

We really feel better. Although it is discouraging and disturbing that our two young daughters sometimes wonder why their mother does not leave the room and lies on the bed, not wanting to see them.

So the next thing to do is to help children understand depression. They are kind and sensitive girls, and we will succeed. We'll get through it, as always.

Question to the expert: “Relationships in the family are destroying me, what should I do?”

“For the last year I have felt that I am losing myself, betraying my goals. Four years ago, I went through a difficult breakup with a loved one. After some time, I had a new relationship, more calm, balanced, but I did not experience the emotions that I found in the previous man. This relationship was interrupted by the return of the former partner, and lightning fast - he exhausted me with signs of attention and immediately made an offer. Now we have been married for two years, but I do not feel happy. I knew that my chosen one periodically used drugs. At my insistence, he quit, and in fact, throughout his family life, he undergoes therapy against the backdrop of depression, which suddenly appeared. His parents control everything, and they don’t even tell me the exact diagnosis, they said it was psychosis, but I don’t know how much this is. His parents fully provide for us, my husband has always had everything since childhood, and he has no incentives to strive for something. Our hobbies don't match. I work a lot, go in for sports, my life is active, and he stands still. He's cut off all his buddies to keep from snapping and accepting things, he's in therapy all the time, but when we're on vacation, he's always saying he's bored and doesn't see the point in anything. One day he drank cognac, and, apparently, in combination with neuroleptics, this gave a clouding of consciousness. He carried complete nonsense, whined and complained about his life, in which, in fact, there is everything. I couldn't resist and left. Now he asks to return, and I understand that I am exhausted, I do not have enough strength to entertain him, come up with activities and obey his parents, I'm tired of looking after him and babysitting. I don’t want to go back, but it’s a pity to lose the family that I wanted to build, I feel guilty that I’m betraying a person. At the same time, I do not want such a father for my children and I am afraid that he will return to his habits, that the promise may be broken. I am not looking for an easy path, but now it seems that this is not my path at all, which I unconsciously chose. There is no clarity, because I married for love and promised to be there. It turns out that the family is higher than personal happiness? nine0003

Eva, 24 years old

Natalya Demyankova, psychologist-consultant:

“Initiating a separation from a partner is always difficult, and it is especially difficult to do this in a situation where a spouse has health problems. It seems that leaving a sick person means betraying him, not fulfilling his obligations to be with him not only in health, but also in illness. In fact, no matter how much we want to help our loved ones, only they themselves can cope with some problems. This is exactly what is happening in your situation: your husband is struggling with drug addiction and depression, and your help to him could only be emotional and moral support - which you did. You cannot do the rest of the inner work for him - this is his task. According to your story, it seems that your husband has no desire to really overcome his illness. Treatment occurs not because of his strong-willed effort, but because of the insistence and constant control of his parents. But no therapy will help if a person is not really invested in the work. nine0003

Naturally, it is very difficult for you in such a relationship: you see that your husband does not change, you are exhausted from constant attempts to somehow pull him out of his constant depression. There is a limit of forces that a person can spend on helping another person. It seems to me that it is not worth separating the concepts of family and personal happiness, deciding which of them is more important. In fact, the family should not make a person unhappy and drive into unbearable conditions. Family is just one of the components of personal happiness. And the desire to save the family at any cost for reasons of duty very often does not lead to good results. For example, is the preservation of the family really more important than personal happiness in situations where the husband is rude to his wife or children? nine0003

You write that you are “sorry to lose the family” that you “wanted to build” – that is, you are afraid of losing what you and your husband do not really have yet, you are sorry to lose the opportunity to create a full-fledged family – but There are many opportunities in our world. It seems to me that you need to take your mind off debt and think about the real prospects of your marriage. Do you think your husband can really deal with his problems? Will he be able to leave his parents' custody? Are you ready to spend your time and energy on this? What do you end up getting in this relationship - or are you just giving? Whatever decision you make, I wish you perseverance and finding yourself.” nine0003

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