Post # 1
Hive, I need your help and support. I think there is a strong possibility that my FI may be depressed. For the past year, he sometimes makes negative comments about his life and work. He regularly works late (until 7:30 or 8:00 pm) becuase he says it is “expected” of him at his company. He is a computer engineer and people regularly don’t leave the office before 6 at the absolute earliest. He freqently complains about having to do things like grocery shop or run errands because he feels it takes too much time out of his already busy life (but jeez, we need to eat here!). Sometimes I just see him sitting on the couch and staring off into space, and, well, he looks absolutely miserable! He also is a dual citizen (Canadian and American) and recently discovered he needs to file taxes in the US (despite never having lived or worked there), which has also been a big source of stress for him. That piled with all the wedding stress makes him an unhappy fellow at times. But then there are lots of other times where he doesn’t appear to be depressed at all.
Sometimes I find myself frustrated and angry when he is so down, because nothing I say or do can help him. My mother is also clincally depressed, and I spent a number of years when I lived at home trying to deal with her emotions, and now I feel like I have come full circle and am doing it with FI. I want to support him in any way I can (I know in cases of depression, people can’t help the way they feel), but sometimes it still sucks.
I have mentioned that I feel he may benefit from talking to someone, but he says he is not interested and doesn’t have time. I love FI and just want him to be happy.
Anybody else ever dealt with this before?
Post # 3
This is a tough situation and I’m sorry that you have to go through this, especially after you’ve dealt with this with your mother already.
Unfortunately, if your FI does not want to seek clinical help, there are two options for him:
1) it gets better with time if he decides to do something about it himself
2) it worsens and he finally decides to seek help.
Please do not try to be a therapist for him – it is not your role as a partner and only creates unhealthy habits in the couple. Be strong for you, continue to be the loving partner that you already are, offer him support. But you can’t do more than he is willing to do for himself, it will only drag you down.
He is probably exhausted from work, these are long hours he’s doing. If your schedule is easier, try to do a bit more than him in the house for a while so the chores left are less of a burden to him. Suggest relaxing activities that you can both do together.
If it doesn’t get better, ask him again to seek help.
Post # 4
This is a tough situation. Have you talked to him about it? Have you done any research on depression? Symptoms, etc? I agree with egb don’t try to be his therapist, but by being informed yourself, then you will know better what to look for in him. It’s tough when someone you love has a problem they won’t seek help for, but unfortunatley you can’t make him go see a therapist. Can you try to schedule a mini-vacation? Just to get him away from all the stress for a while? Is there something he really enjoys doing, and hasn’t done in a while that you can surprise him with on a Saturday? Hopefully things will get better soon. *hugs* you and your FH will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Post # 5
Thanks for your reply egb. I absolutely understand about not being a therapist for him, and definitely recognize that as an unheathy behavior. Usually I just try to give his hand a squeeze, give him a hug, let him know I am there for him, and leave it at that. It is completely his responsibility to seek help if he needs it.
I know he is exhausted from work. Right now my schedule is a bit easier than his, so I take on most of the household duties on my days off. I also cook all the meals so we can eat together when he does get home late, as I know we both enjoy eating dinner together.
I usually can’t grocery shop without him becuase he has our car with him at work. I take transit, but hauling all your groceries on transit is a complete drag, so really we still need to do that together.
Sigh. Here is hoping he decides to help himself in whatever way he can.
Post # 6
*hugs* Mr. KM is under a ton of stress as well… unfortunately, we’re not strong enough to carry others full burdens no matter how hard we try. Don’t force him to talk to a therapist, but maybe get the names and backgrounds of some people in the are and give it to him. Maybe you taking those first steps will help him realize that he needs to do something. Or schedule out a time for the two of you to do something simple and yet out of the house. Taking a walk always makes Mr. KM feel the tiniest bit better no matter what mood he’s in.
Post # 7
@otb – I completed a mental health rotation in nursing school, so I am familiar with the signs and symptoms of depression. I feel he could benefit from talking to someone, but that is his choice to make. I have spoken to him about it several times before, but right now he is not interested in making the time to speak to someone – he just feels it is another added “burden” in his busy life.
A mini-vacation would be an amazing blessing. I have brought this up before, but then he just complains that it would cost money when we are trying to save for the wedding. I have even suggested we just go somewhere for the day – take a drive into the country, ANYTHING! One of the hardest things to deal with with him sometimes is when he is really down, he shoots down every idea I suggest. I would say these are on his “off” days. I can tell when an “off” day will happen becuase the negativity usually starts in the morning. For example, this morning he was moping around becuase it is almost December, and instead of being excited to see his family for the holidays, he was moping about it being one month closer to tax season (see dual citizenship tax stress above)!!! I am not kidding here 🙁
Post # 8
I had a similar situation in a previous relationship and found this site very helpful:
Post # 9
If he’s depressed about concrete issues in his life (his job, dual tax situation, wedding planning stress, money), maybe you can work together to think of some solutions to those issues. I’m not saying you can fix everything, but maybe you can make it better.
For example, has he considered looking for a different job or going back to school? Even if it’s not an option now because of the economy, making plans for an eventual job or career change could give him something to look forward to.
If money is an issue, are you planning a bigger/more expensive wedding than he would like? Would it make him happier/less stressed to have a smaller and more simpler affair? Maybe he feels like he has to work hard at a job that’s not ideal so that you guys could save for the wedding, and it might not be worth it to him. Choose a time when he’s not in a bad mood to talk to him about it.
Post # 10
I have worked with depressed people before. I have found that when they shut every solution that you have to offer, it’s often because they do not want a solution right now; no matter what you suggest, it will be no. You can tell him how YOU feel about seeing him this way and see if he’ll talk with you and if he’s willing to make some changes for him to feel better. Is the job situation permanent or is it just a phase?
I think that when you feel that negativity around you, you should decide what you want to do that day, and tell him: “I feel like doing this, do you want to come with me?” and if he says no, go and do it. It will keep you energized and far from the negative energy that can potentially pull you down. It’ll give him time to think also. Eventually, he’ll want to join you especially if it’s stuff that he usually enjoys.
Post # 11
Thanks for the website sf carrie! It looks very helpful.
At least in my experience, when you ask people why they are depressed or what they are depressed about, they can’t usually give you a concrete answer. It’s usually “I don’t know, I just am”, or something along those lines. FI seems to be able to label his stressors specfically, as stated above by GirlWithARing.
@GirthWithARing – right now we are very financially stable. Despite working long hours, he actually really enjoys what he is doing at his job (computer engineering), and has not mentioned going back to school or switching careers. He says he couldn’t see himself doing anything else. I think he just feels tired because he works so much. In the computer engineering industry, aparantly this can become the norm. Think about Silicon Valley and the tech industry as a whole – I have seen this in more than just FI. One guy at his work hadn’t had a weekend off in three months. Luckily FI always takes the weekend off. Also, we are definitely having a low-key wedding, scrimping on many details, and we are both completely okay with this. FI hates spending money in general, so I attribute his wedding stressors to the fact that a wedding costs some amount of money, period, and we have to spend it. We are not accruing any debt for the wedding, and in fact, have all the money saved at this point to pay for the wedding and honeymoon in full. He just HATES spending money though!
Post # 12
@ Valhalla – that’s actually why I wasn’t sure whether your FI’s moods were depression. My FI has depression in his family, and it’s definitely more a general unhappiness than what you describe.
I can definitely relate to how much long hours can ruin quality of life – I am working in investment banking right now, and during the worst times it’s like 1AM-2AM nights several nights in a row. It puts me in horrible moods for days. With the added stress of the wedding, it can be a recipe for disaster.
Hopefully this is all just temporary and related to wedding and his tax issues. I hope everything works out for you guys!