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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have reason to believe that my husband has been depressed

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I have reason to believe that my husband has been depressed his entire life: however he always blamed his feelings of unhappiness and " emotional pain " on me. I never quite understood but throughout our relationship when he would tell me this I would always try to evaluate myself so I could be a better wife to my husband. His feelings of inhappiness has become worse over the past few years many stessors that I feel he has been unable to cope with and eventually let him to what I feel is some type of emotional breakdown or severe depressive episode to which he felt he could no longer handle our family enviroment. He left last september, has become very withdrawn from me and our three children. Having the opportunity to be away from the situation I realize how bizare his behaviour is He has felt this emotional pain since his childhood. and always says he just feels life is to hard. Very resentful toward me, on one hand says theres something wrong with his head, but I have had alot to do with it? I feel that he is searching for relief of this emotional pain, and that he is running for himself. Started smoking pot in July, started on cipralex 20 mg in september, talks of ending his life, the pain is to much to bear, he is very down on himself, says he has always felt like he is standing on the edge of a cliff, ready to fall over and instead of being there to help him, he feels I am there to push him over the edge??? I do not see our life in the same view. We have everything to be thankful for . Healthy children jobs home. I am begining to realize that no matter how hard i try i cannot please him because he is living with such inner turmoil. It is a struggle for him to get through each day! I love him dearly and want to find him the best treatment. His Dr. increased his cipralex from 20 to 40 mg 2 days agoand has agreed to see a psychiatrist just to make me happy. I feel that he is very frightened to be diagnosed with something. I feel that he has blamed his unhappiness on me, so that he wouldn't have to admit that there is something not right. I feel his condition is worsening his thoughts are all over the place and he has become an empty shell. Going through the motions of daily life. I want to help him but dont know how. I fear for his saftey. Any suggestions Lori
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


It sounds like your husband may have been through something as a child that caused his depression. He is not coping with it, hence his desire to put the cause of his depression on you. By not taking responsibility for it, he does not have to face it head on and cope with it. It may be that he feels facing it would be too overwhelming or it could be that he is also angry underneath the depression (the two are often related) and feels better blaming you.


It does not make sense that you could be the cause of your husband's depression if it started when he was a child. If that were so, he would have been fine before he met you and he would recover as soon as he left you and the children. But since he has not recovered and is feeling even worse, then you could not be the cause.


When your husband went to the psychologist, he may have told him all about how he feels you are the cause of his depression. However, the psychologist should have picked up on the blaming and realized that this could not be the case for the reasons I stated above. Also, any therapist knows that when they see a patient in a relationship, they are hearing only one side of the story. They should not make assumptions based on hearing one person's version. Plus, your husband was seen for only one session. That is not long enough to understand the situation totally. So either the psychologist is not very good, or they did not say that and your husband wants you to believe that was what was said.


To deal with this situation, it would help you to see a therapist yourself. The stress of coping with your husband's illness and his treatment of you can cause you to second guess yourself and also develop stress related problems. The support alone would be very helpful in your attempt to help your husband. Also, the therapist can help you learn ways to respond to your husband and advise you how to deal with his need for help.


Also, do any of the professionals in your husband's treatment team know of your fear that your husband will hurt himself? It would be good to advise them of what your husband has told you. If you need to, write down what he says to you. Then you can contact the doctor or psychologist and let them know of your concerns. Also, ask them what your options are if he should say he wants to hurt himself. There is a mental health law in the US that says if someone threatens to hurt themselves or someone else, you can involuntarily commit them to the hospital for treatment. Canada may have a similar law. Ask your husband's doctor or contact your local ER or mental health facility to find out. This will help you have a tool on hand in case you feel your husband needs help right away.


Educating yourself on how to cope and respond to someone who has depression can help you as well. The more you know, the less you feel overwhelmed by the problem. Here are some resources to help you:


When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness by Rebecca Woolis


Helping Someone with Mental Illness: A Compassionate Guide for Family, Friends, and Caregivers by Rosalynn Carter and Susan Golant M.A.


The Burden of Sympathy: How Families Cope With Mental Illness by XXXXX XXXXX Karp


Talking to Depression: Simple Ways To Connect When Someone In Your Life Is Depressed by Claudia J. Strauss and Martha Manning


You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.

I hope this has helped you,

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

I haven't heard from you. Did you have more questions or want clarification?