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Ask Cathy Your Own Question

Cathy
Cathy, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1436
Experience:  Ms, MS.Ed., thirty years clinical practice
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My husband has been depressed for three years now - we have

Customer Question

My husband has been depressed for three years now - we have tried lots of things - he has been on various drugs, been to see counsellors , taken more exercise. Though he is 63 he cannot retire for a number of reasons. I am at my wits end - I am definitely feeling 'down' myself and I find that the strongest feeling I have for him now is anger and deep resentment - I cannot help but feel that his basic problem seems to be idleness and absolutley no self discipline. It is obviously a vicious cycle as the worse our marriage gets -the worse his depression gets and so on. He really needs to retire as he sees nothing but blackness ahead and is dragging down his employees - he is the chairman of his company and he has been a very good provider for his family but he cannot abandon his company. We have no financial problems , lovely children and grandchildren and lots of friends. I feel as if I am walking through mud dragging this weight behind me. Any ideas where to go from here?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Cathy replied 4 years ago.

Cathy :

Hi and thanks for writing ja

Cathy :

are you there?

Cathy :

hello?

Cathy :

hi there, are you there?

Customer :

Yes i am here.

Cathy :

Nice to see you

Cathy :

how are you holding up today?

Customer :

I am desperate to help my husband whose whole world is un ravelling .

Cathy :

yes I see

Cathy :

I have read your post and I see

Cathy :

I have just a few further questions for you, is that okay?

Customer :

yes.

Cathy :

First off I am confused about one thing you wrote and that is that there are several reasons your husband cannot retire but yet you also say that you do not have financial problems. Without disclosing very sensitive information can you tell me why he cannot retire? Does he wish to retire?

Customer :

He is too important to the company - he has been a very good networker and has so many clients and connections. the company would suffer enormously if he retired - and the economic situation means that it is not the time to walk away - there are too many employees dependent on the company - we are trying to phase him out - both my children are in the company - my daughter is excellent and has been in for 10 years . My son has only just joined - it will take him at least a year to have learnt enough to be seriously useful. So we are stuck for a couple of years at least.

Cathy :

ok yes that is what I thought when I read your post but I wanted to be clear, two more questions okay?

Customer :

yes

Cathy :

next one is, and I will know you have been to heck and back with this, so please understand that I totally get how much you have been frustrated and beside yourself, but you do understand that idleness and lack of self discipline are symptoms of a grave depression?

Customer :

yes. I feel he is just burnt out.

Cathy :

yes I can see that

Cathy :

my final question is did anything happen three years ago that might have stressed him? colleagues die? major life events like kids marrying? can be good or bad, but anything happen three years to trigger this? Is he the same age as when his father died and so on, just anything you think of?

Customer :

My father in law died four years ago - he was a lovely man and of course my husband had worked with him for about thirty years - though my husband was very much the money maker. We all miss him - but I have questioned him about this - and he denies that it is relevant. He was 86 and it was a very 'natural'death. He also had a court case with a disgruntled employee and that was what set him off I think. It is the third legal encounter he has had - He has always been shown to be right but each time it has taken its tol - It is rough out there in the business world!

Cathy :

Yes okay and that helps a lot

Cathy :

and yes it is brutal out there in the business world, I cannot agree more

Cathy :

okay a few things for you and I to discuss

Cathy :

some easy some hard

Cathy :

first off is how great he got help when things got rough

Cathy :

Medicine allays symptoms of depression but therapy solves problems that lead to depression

Cathy :

and I am sorry he was not able to benefit from either

Cathy :

that is unfortunate indeed

Cathy :

I would still very strongly recommend therapy and hopefully with better therapists but if not? so be it

Cathy :

next up

Cathy :

Men, much moreso than women, and men in their 60s have other stressors

Cathy :

all of their lives they have identified themselves by what they do rather than who they are

Cathy :

for example?

Cathy :

you and I am Moms and Daughters and Neighbors and I do not know if you had a job out side of the home as homemaker but I define myself also as a therapist. We women think of ourselves in many different roles, but men do not.

Cathy :

They see themselves through the lens of their occupations and the status they enjoy in the family as provider and protector, in the community as business men and in most cases honest businessmen. Many men who find themselves in their sixties go through a period of profound loss when they advance toward retirement or in fact retire.

Cathy :

It is no coincidence at all that the percentage of men who retire die much sooner after retirement than do women.

Cathy :

so his identity is so tied up in his work,much moreso that yours or mine.

Cathy :

still with me or am I just boring the heck out of you?

Customer :

Still here. he has no reason to be less than proud of the sucess he has had in business and there is no reason for him to retire completely - he ideally would continue to go in one day a week or act as a fire fighter - help with difficult cases becaue of all his experience. I want to help get our marriage better because at the moment i avoid his company because the minute we are alone he pours out every negative thought under the sun and it just gets me down and I don't think it helps him either.

Cathy :

because he has you, his best friend :)

Cathy :

so he does that because you are his best buddy

Cathy :

you live in the UK?

Cathy :

where in the UK? no personal address but where?

Customer :

We are in UK. North England. He has been saying the same things over and over again for the last three years - his close friend who also listens to him is beginning to dispair that he is just going round and round in circles. I can't let myself get too depressed - I have children parents etc dependent on me.

Cathy :

yes I know

Cathy :

what kind of business is your husband in?

Customer :

Insurance

Cathy :

oh yes I see

Cathy :

so your son is going in now to take over the mantle when his father retires is that so?

Cathy :

your son just joined the firm?

Cathy :

so he needs a year?

Cathy :

and I bet your husband has been businessman of the year so many times over?

Cathy :

I bet he has

Cathy :

hello

Customer :

Hoping our two children will eventually take over the mantle but not possible yet. he is so shy now he has to force himself to see people.

Cathy :

okay I see

Cathy :

I can give you a few ideas that may or may not help you.

Cathy :

First off, I understand if your husband has soured on therapy and medicine but his ruminating on the negative needs attention. So, I strongly recommend he see his GP if he is not willing to see a psychiatrist and find a medicine that may not fully stop the negativity and ruminations but at least reduce them. This is vital. Nothing can be done unless he is willing to cooperate with this.

Cathy :

Secondly, while the right therapist would help him a lot he is soured because previous therapy did not work for him.

Customer :

I have got him to agree to go back to GP. But what esle can Gp offer him - I feel he has to take charge himself

Cathy :

That does not stop you from seeing someone and I think you should. Not because you are crazy, not because there is a thing wrong with you in fact..............you are one amazing, terrific wife. but because you need some support on handling him before you whack him over the head with a skillet. You could well use a pressure release.

Cathy :

Finally, your husband has this immense vast reservoir of experience and talent and business knowledge? and he needs very much to engage in something meaningful. I know the UK has so much unemployment and unrest? I have to wonder why a successful guy like this is not teaching a class once a week to empower young men to go into business. I have to wonder why he is not sharing his talent with the next generation? Your husband is vastly successful when others fail, and his knowledge would be so appreciated by others and he would get back so much more? He has one more year in his position why isnt he mentoring other young men and women at his firm?

Cathy :

I dont think he can change himself so easily but he can change his choices and especially as to how he spends his time.

Cathy :

I am going to send you a book title that you can take out of your public library for free that might help you understand a bit more about what he is going through and why this is so so hard to treat.

Customer :

He does mentor the young a bit but he is not a good teacher - he is a bit of an excentric and I tease him that he is a bit aspergic! What I would like is advice on how to get him to help heal our marriage - but if I am all 'nice ' to him he takes it as a signal to talk again about all his negative thoughts.

Cathy :

hi there? are you there

Customer :

yes.

Cathy :

I think that you need some support here and that a therapist would be a very good idea for you. I can give you loads of ideas but frankly since I do not know you or him, it would not be specific enough to help you.

Cathy :

I think its so important that your marriage is solid and that he did not choose to go out and have an affair to validate

Cathy :

you mention nothing about drugs or alcohol

Cathy :

and frankly in over ninety percent of these cases, and I see thousands each year, that is what we find

Cathy :

so while I completely understand why you are at the end of your rope

Cathy :

what you need are day to day coping skills

Cathy :

living with someone with a mental illness who refuses help or is not able to access help is very challenging

Cathy :

you need someone you can speak with weekly face to face and with whom you can sort out daily problems

Cathy :

if you wish to stay with him and in this case I would say stay

Cathy :

you do not mention any other area in which your marriage is rocky

Cathy :

so I would think get a therapist for you so you can cope day to day and give it six months

Customer :

No drugs or alcohol - one of his problems is an inability to feel he should enjoy himself. You would never guess if you met us that we were wealthy. Please give me ideas on day to day coping skills to stop me getting so angry with him. No question of leaving him. I have been to see someone and though it helps me it doesn't help me to help him. If we went to couple therapy what would they advice us to do? No other areas in which marriage is rocky. We have been very lucky except for his depressions.

Cathy :

the other thing of course is that if your husband saw a physician for three years and each med he was given were properly dosed over three years that means he has been on only four meds in the three years which also means there are more to try which I know gives you little comfort but just thinking about it it means only four meds were tried at full dosage? for the time they should have been prescribed? so that also is something to be addressed

Cathy :

You know we are already more than forty minutes over our time here but if you wish I can switch us to email and you can surely tell me more. Give me five day to day problems you encounter and I am happy to give you five coping skills? Is that okay? and let me know about the meds.

Customer :

That si true - he has tried four different anti depressants - the only one he hasn't tried is the one that inhibits ADSH?? as well as serotonin - I am sorry I don't know the name - I must go now he has come home - can i talk again ?

Cathy :

If you wish we can switch to email and you a give me the problems and I will give you the coping skills but regrettably I cannot stay online much longer as I have other customers waiting. I am happy to help you in email further if you wish? let me know. Cathy

Cathy :

yes I will switch us to email. thanks Cathy

Customer :

Yes - How do I e-mail?

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