I think my husband is suffering from depression and I want to know how to help him

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My husband is just coming to terms with the fact that he might be depressed. He finally spoke to me a few weeks ago. I know it is hard for him to talk about this and that in turn is hard for me as I want to be able to help him but really don't want to push him. He went to the GP a couple of months ago and was advised to try online cognitive behaviour therapy. I am not sure if this has helped or not. Things seemed a little bit better for a while but have hit another low recently. I am desperate to know how to help him but I know it has to come from him - watching him suffer this way is so upsetting as he is my world. I think he has suffered on and off with it for some time now.

I really want to be able to help him but don't know what to do. He works away a lot so I worry about him and his state of mind (he has had suicidal thoughts). I just want him back to his happy self. I miss him and us being a proper family.

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  • Posted

    I suffered with depression for a few years & I am starting to suffer again. I think its really hard for the partner to deal wit & help. Has he been prescribed anti depressants? I held off going to the drs for help for too long & ended up really low & suicidal at times. The anti depressants took a while to work, but they did help.

    As a partner all you can do is be supportive. I know that my husband struggled to deal with me being so low all the time, it can be very wearing. You may need to talk to someone yourself as well so you have some support.

    Please feel free to ak me anything you want & I will try my best to help. Take care xx

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  • Posted

    I'm afraid I don't have the greatest answer for you. I suffer from depression myself and I can imagine how hard it must be for my friends to watch me go through this when I'm at my lowest, never mind a partner. The one thing I hope is that people can be patient with me, and understand that I'm trying my best to get through it, and that if I seem cold or distant, or if it seems like I'm pushing people away, it really isn't personal. I hate making it difficult for people. I can only assume that this is the same for most people. I mean, I guess he misses being his old self, too. I don't feel like myself anymore, and that's the hardest thing. I suppose maybe the best thing you could do is encourage him to go back to his GP and look into one-to-one counselling services and possibly medications. There are also support groups around if you look online, if you think that might work for him. I know it sounds a little cliched, but as long as you're there and he knows he can talk to you if he wants to, that's can be helpful. I hope this helped. I'm sorry if it didn't. Good luck.
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  • Posted

    You are probably aware that there are many types and manifestations of depression. Sadly, some are part of some peoples' makeup and others develop over time. The good thing is that your husband recognises that he has a problem and has saught help. I've never heard of on-line CBT before and have great reservations that it can help, as it's the inherant interaction between the person and a trained profesional that allows a true picture to emerge. On-line treatment doesn't allow for the 95% of communication that is audiovisual. That is; we make most of our judgenents based on what we see and hear (how it is said). Human interaction is essential to communicate effectively. There may be underlying reason for your usband's enduring low mood but it can only be addressed if he is prepared to do so. Unfortunatley, some depressive illnesses are an enduring feeling of living under an oppressive black cloud, with no nderstanding of how you mght feel so low. Others can be built around a core problem that is difficult to address. When working in Community Mental Health I always remembered the advice I got from a very experienced colleague:

    "If you have an appointment for a fixed period with a person to discuss their difficulties, very little will be achieved until you get to the last quarter of the meeting and until the person feels pressuried by tme to get to the nub of the problem. If the appointment is left open for time, the prevarication will last until the last segment. So, if the depression is situation/problem based the person has to get to the place where they can expose it to others."

    Relationships are often the basis of someone's problem, as they don't have the facility to address it and don't want to hurt the other person. It is quite usual for the person to feel that they do not deserve the devotion of their supportive partner. Your husband should go back to his GP and seek one-to-one treatment with a mental health professional. In my experience GP's have a prescriptive outlook and don't have the time to conduct mental health counselling. Take heart that although depression is prevalent, many people get through it.

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  • Posted

    Has your husband been seen by a physician? There are quite a lot of physical conditions that produce

    symptoms similar to depression. They include thyroid problems, some vitamin deficiencies (Careful with

    these supplements, many are not as benign as we would like to think), other endocrine issues, brain lesions of various kinds can influence behaviour, (and that is what depression is), and many others. If a doctor tells

    you that your husband has a `chemical imbalance in the brain', move on. This has been totally, and officially discredited. The best thing you can do for him at this stage is to look up the ongoing non-bio treatments. I will send you a list of possibilities from very several well respected and qualified therapists; and get him to gowith you for walks and gradually build up an exercise routine. This can be a real help with depression.

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  • Posted

    My partner is heavily depressed. In order to help him and me cope, I have had to become extremely resilient. For him as I can't just not be available to support him when he is in a low phase, and for me as the repercussions of his behaviour towards me can be very hurtful.

    I had to read about depression in order to understand what it is exactly and what is involved. This has helped me understand that his hurtful behaviour is nothing to do with me. It is tough to be told to pack up my stuff and leave because I am no use to him, but at least I know that it is the depression talking, not him. After a good night sleep, when he remembers what happened the day before, he is always truly sorry and hurt that he is unable to control that sort of mood.

    The best thing you can do is to make sure you look after yourself. Get some "me" time every day so that when the time come, you are better equiped emotionally to help your husband when he needs you to be strong, as well as help you cope yourself.

    It will be tough, but it will be a lot more easier to handle than the alternative which is to take it all personally and convince yourself that you cannot cope with supporting him.

    The NHS is full of good intentions, but our experience has shown a complete lack of consistency with the treatment, between seeing a different doctor at the surgery every time he goes and therefore being giving a completely different set of advice, and not being able to realise quickly enough that the help of the mental health team is needed when he has suicidal thought.

    Depressed people usually are unable to recognise when they need help. So we found it useful to go to the GP's appointments together because I am also affected by his depression, and I can sometimes give the doctor information that my partner may not even think of.

    Good luck.

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  • Posted

    Hi, It's me again. As the SSRI, SNRI and tricyclic (old ones-nasty side effects), anti-depressants are now classified as no better than a placebo, (sugar pill), and `shock treatment', despite what the bio-psychiatrists say, is widely known to cause permanent brain damage, for very few, if any, positive effects beyond a month, depression is going back to where it belongs, in the emotions rack. Fortunately the role of non-medical treatments for non-medical problems i.e. depression, is burgeoning even after the enthusiastic embrace by the psychiatric profession for `medical' respectability tilted the scales and effectively cut off treatment options thatWORK. Mind you there are many psychiatrist who deplore the sell-out to Big Pharma and bio-psychiatry and many of them are your countrymen.(see below) I was a psychotherapist a long time ago and, as depression is perhaps the most common source of psychic pain, I saw a lot of depressed people. My experience then and my belief still is that there is always a cause/a trigger if you like. I think you look for it, you find it, you ask, `why now', and with professional help, you trash it. You may find things like, having certain habits, ways of seeing the world, adaptive measures that have held itall together or most of your life have failed you. So, what changed? It might be, say, growing older. Somewhere underneath, you might be saying, or screaming, `but I haven't finished being young'-or; I don't/do want to be like my Dad, my Mum; or it could be a loss of direction; it could be anything. Often there are things people have hidden away, consciously or not that are unfinished business. My point is that there are ways to `bring him back'. However I do know how painful depression can be. I have been there and it can be a long hard road but it will get better. Your role is what you are doing, love him even when he doesn't believe he is loveable. You can sit down with him as you look for the right person/group for him. His involvement in his own `help' plans is, I believe, very important for him to believe he is worth it. Remind him that there is no evidence anywhere that shows depression is a `disease' of the brain. Sometimes life becomes hard to navigate for a time and can overwhelm you, you are NOT A DISEASED PERSON. If there are any kind of physical brain problems see a neurologist. I totally agree with `inquisitive' about on-line CBT. Sounds like a scam to me.

    CBT has its limitations anyway.

    Names - publications - books - programs Some of these names might lead to a suitable program for your husband.

    Peter Kinderman - Professor of Clinical Psychology, Uni Liverpool

    Phil Hickey - `An alternative perspective on mental disorder

    Lucy Johnstone- Professor Psychology UK

    Angela Gilchrist - Professor of Pychology UK

    Peter Lehmann - Alternatives beyond psychiatry US I think?

    Rufus May - `Emancipatory approaches to community building and wellbeing. UK

    Jay Haley - a US psychotherapist - www. haley-therapies - Problem solving Therapy US

    These are UK psychiatrists for the `New Psychiatry':

    Psychiatry beyond the current paradigm

    Pat Bracken, MD, MRCPsych, PhD, Centre for Mental Health Care and Recovery, Bantry General Hospital, Bantry, Ireland; Philip Thomas, MPhil, FRCPsych, MD, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK; Sami Timimi, FRCPsych, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Child and Family Services Horizons Centre, Lincoln, UK; Eia Asen, MD, FRCPsych, Marlborough Family Service, Central and North West London Foundation NHS Trust, London, UK; Graham Behr, MRCPsych, Central and North West London Foundation NHS Trust, London, UK; Carl Beuster, MRCPsych, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, UK; Seth Bhunnoo, MA, MPhil, MRCPsych, The Halliwick Centre, Haringey Complex Care Team, St Ann’s Hospital, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, London, UK; Ivor Browne, FRCPI, FRCPsych, MSc (Harv), DPM, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland; Navjyoat Chhina, MA (Oxon), MSc, MRCPsych, Early Intervention Team, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Penrith, UK; Duncan Double, MA, MRCPsych, Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Norwich, UK; Simon Downer, MRCPsych, Severn Deanery School of Psychiatry, Bristol, UK; Chris Evans, MRCPsych, MSc, MinstGA, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK; Suman Fernando, FRCPsych, Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities, London Metropolitan University, London, UK; Malcolm R. Garland, MD, MRCPI, MRCPsych, St Ita’s Hospital, Portrane, Ireland; William Hopkins, FRCpsych, Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, London, UK; Rhodri Huws, FRCPsych, Eastglade Community Health Centre, Sheffield, UK; Bob Johnson, MRCPsych, MRCGP, MA, PhD, Rivington House Clinic, UK; Brian Martindale, FRCP FRCPsych, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; Hugh Middleton, MD, MRCP, FRCPsych, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK; Daniel Moldavsky, Specialist Associate RCPsych, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK; Joanna Moncrieff, MRCPsych, Department of Mental Health Sciences, University College London, London, UK; Simon Mullins, MRCPych, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK; Julia Nelki, FRCPsych, Chester Eating Disorders Service, Chester, UK; Matteo Pizzo, PGDip, MRCPsych, St Ann’s Hospital, London, UK; James Rodger, MRCPsych, South Devon CAMHS, Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Exeter, UK; Marcellino Smyth, MRCPsych, MMedSci, MD, Centre for Mental Health Care and Recovery, Bantry, Ireland; Derek Summerfield, MRCPsych, CASCAID, Maudsley Hospital, London, UK; Jeremy Wallace, MSc, MRCPsych, HUS (Helsinki University Sairaala) Peijas, Vantaa, Finland; David Yeomans, MMedSc MRCPsych, Leeds & York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Leeds, UK

    Correspondence: Pat Bracken, MD, MRCPsych, PhD, Centre for Mental Health Care and Recovery, Bantry General Hospital, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland. Email: Pat.Bracken@hse.ie

    PS I don't know why my posts are having a format breakdown?

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  • Posted

    Under 'Any advice' I have posted a longish comment all about my experiences with depression and what I have done. As I do not want to repeat that here, Sue, may I suggest you take a look at those comments (and others) as they are all about depression.

    Emis Moderator comment: You can link directly to other discussions in this site and the post will not go for moderation. The discussion mentioned here is https://patient.info/forums/discuss/any-advice--83396

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  • Posted

    hi there i have suffered with anxiety and depression and i found a very good book i have recommened it to lots of people and they all say what a good book it is when i read it it was as if the book was all about me its called Claire Weeks self help for your nerves she does a few but this is the one to start with claire was a physciarist(spelt wrong) and she had a breakdown and wrote about it fantastic book brought me much peace when i read it hope this helps please purchase it you wont be dissapointed
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  • Posted

    Hello again

    Just thinking of something else that's important: Do surround yourself with a support network. It is very hard to help someone cope with depression if you don't have support of some sort. There was an advertising campaign on TV for a while which encouraged people to talk about mental illnesses, because very often, people feel ashamed and never talk about it..

    So don't keep it all in: talk about your situation with some trusted friends, some close family members, so they know you will need emotional support and help from time to time. (I have felt many times that I was being dragged down into a dark depressive vortex by my partner, and only support from my own therapist and my family have helped me stay grounded)

    I would also recommend professional help in the shape of a psychotherapist who will help you come to terms with your situation and give you advice on how to support your husband without loosing yourself at the same time.

    Don't think that a psychotherapist should only be used to help your depressed husband. You will need support too and a professional will help and guide you through your new journey.

    You may have also read that Depression is a treatable illness. Many people, with the right treatment, will get better. However, a minority stays depressed their whole lives (Winston Churchill was depressed his entire life) and in that case, it will be a matter to find ways to cope with the disease for both the depressed and their family.

    You will be absolutely fine once you have worked out a support network of some sort for both of you. Just don't be afraid to talk about it and ask for help.

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  • Posted

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me. I am so encouraged by your comments and feedback. I think one of the first things I need to do is find someone I can talk to - it is so lonely dealing with this. We no longer go out with friends and I find I have shut myself away from my friends and my close family - perhaps through fear that they will judge my husband, perhaps because talking about this has made me feel as if I am betraying his confidence. There is a lot of useful advice, thank you. I have never used an online chat forum before but this has really helped me.
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  • Posted

    Thanks Suec75, it's my pleasure. NOW - the very first thing you have to do is LOOK AFTER YOURSELF!

    The last thing you need is for YOU to get depressed too. We like to think that the `shame' of mental illness has mostly gone. NOT TRUE. But it should be. You can't help him if you go under too. It's very important that you go on with your life as norma as possiblel. See friends, you might be surprised how supportive they will be. When I `came out' I was terrified of being judged. But to my astonishment a wide ranging discussion started, (between tennis sets), with several people saying they had been there. They talked about difficult times, "It's great to talk about it, I never have before". Certainly find a counsellor but (a) keep active physically and try to remember that this too can and will pass and that the people who liked you before will still like you both and will be worried about you and you don't want that. All the best, Dee - help is coming!

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  • Posted

    Hi, Sue,

    You're dealing with several of SERIOUS issues: The fact your husband is suffering from depression, the fact that he's away a lot., and the fact that you are, apparently, dealing with all this on your own. Depression is a tough bugger to get to grips with. He should seek counseling -- and you should accompany him, when appropriate.

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  • Posted

    Hi Sue.

    I am so sorry to hear about your husband and your self you sound as you really do care and love him as you would be writing.I am going through a really bad time and all you need is what you are doing is caring try not to get angry in any way as it does throw you in to a spasm it make that person worse as I am getting it all the time I will have a good day then I'm back down on the floor any thing little throws it ,it's awful I know but that is depression.My husband gets me down and my boys ...... I tried to take my life after having breast cancer last year as everyone thought I was coping with the shock,stress and feeling just so bad ..I had mega blues with finances I was off sick for 5 month recovering .Please keep in touch and look after your self you doing a good job. Karen

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