(Closed) Anybody with a Depressed/mentally ill spouse?

posted 4 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
17 posts

I’m so sorry that you and him are having to go through this.  Depression can be a very scary thing. Seven years is a long time to stand by a person who is a constant pessimist.  Do you and him know where or what specifically the depression stems from? (trauma, hormones?)


For years I suffered from severe depression and social anxiety.  It took nearly 8 years of prescription and psychiatric therapy for me to be in a place where I am now.  I still have my up and down days here and there but I have been medication free for 2 years and therapy free for 1 and have never been happier. 


It takes a LOT of hard work and most importantly patience from not only his friends and family but from himself.  I know I could not be where I am without therapy.  Its helpful to have a loved one to confide in but you are NOT a therapist and it can be very stressful and damaging to have to listen to someone you love deeply tell you that they are depressed and struggling with thoughts of self-harm and suicide.  It is not fair for him or most importantly, for you to be the only one helping him bare this weight.


My boyfriend suffers from PTSD and Depression as well.  He served in the US Army over in Iraq from 2001-2004 and to this day receives therapy from the VA once a week and has medication to manage his anxiety.  We both support each other fully in our recovery and CONTINUED treatment.  A mental disorder of any kind will most likely not disappear but can certainly be managed 🙂 medication free even.


Have you asked him why he is so defensive about therapy?  The thought of seeking professional help in the form of verbal therapy can be frightening at first, but it can be a key stone in recovery.  Medication can help the person chemically, but therapy will help heal the soul.


Talk to him more about it perhaps.  You can maybe consider couples counseling?  Not that you and him have any issues like fighting or distrust, but maybe ask him if HE would go with YOU to a few counseling sessions.  This way he can be introduced to the idea and is going because you have asked him to support you and not necessarily asking him to seek help.  You can express your concern and worry about your future with him and how it is affecting you.  Maybe that will open a door for him he hasn’t found yet.


Best of luck!


Post # 4
1475 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@AbeeCee123 You are in a difficult situation as you well know.

He refuses all therapy and all treatments?

It stands to reason that he has not found the right meds or the right combination. He needs to see his doctor or get a new doctor and discuss in detail the areas that he is still struggling in.

Hopefully he does agree to get the type of help that he needs and this often includes therapy.

It is smart of you to be thinking about this now, you too will need a therapist/counsellor someone to talk to, if you marry him you have to be sure to take good care of yourself as well as him.  What he has is manageable but it takes committment and work from both of you.

Take your time about deciding, I hope you make the right decision for you. 

Post # 5
5889 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

@AbeeCee123:  I’ve suffered from dibilitating depression and DH has some issues too. But I would have never married him if he wasnt doing everything possible to be and stay healthy–therapy included? 

Is your DH seeing a psychiatrist or just a general doc? He needs to see someone who specializes in mental health and the brain. If he keeps getting lows, then the meds arent working. He might need to mix medications. I was on 3 different kinds just to get back to normal. (I’ve been med free for several years now).

Please do not marry this guy until he is doing everything to get better (different meds and CBT therapy). He will only bring you down. Your love wil not heal him. Imagine him going into a downward spiral right after you had a baby–so now you have 2 people to take care of. 


PS- Check out Dr. Daniel Amen’s depression and anxiety book for help on proper meds and natural/alternative things you can do to supplement the meds. 

Post # 6
2651 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@AbeeCee123:  I’m the one who suffers from depression in our relationship. Yes, it takes a huge toll on FI at time. However, he also knows I’m doing what I can to work on my issues and am constantly trying. I don’t blame your FI for his condition, but I admit that I am looking sideways at him in your situation. If the aversion to therapy is financially motivated, then I can sort of understand. I do NOT understand just being against therapy at all, especially when he’s going through a low episode. Maybe you can ask him to re-think his stance and remind him that it affects you, not just him.

As for handling this for life, I think you really need to think long and hard about that question before getting married. In a worst case scenario where he’s low for the rest of his life, do you think you could handle it if you had outside help like your own therapist and/or a support group? You shouldn’t sacrifice your own happiness and well-being. ((Hugs)) Good luck.

Post # 7
2073 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

@AbeeCee123:  I’m the one with the depression and anxiety in our relationship. I take a couple of different medications to keep me balanced. I go to therapy once a month when things are good and once a week when I feel myself starting to backslide. 

I highly recommend that your fiancé see a psychiatrist and get his medication adjusted. It doesn’t sound like he’s on the proper drug for him. Even when I start to backslide, in ever get to the point that he’s at and I firmly believe its because of the medications. 

You say he gets angry when you suggest therapy.  Have you asked him why that is?  What about suggesting premarital counseling?  Would he be more receptive if it wasn’t just about him?  Then in your sessions together, you could bring up how this makes you feel and the therapist can help you both work through it. It’s a shame he is closed off to therapy. It really is so beneficial. Medication can only do so much. 

If he is unwilling to go to therapy with you, I suggest going alone. You said you’ve been together for seven  years already but are worried about how this may affect you long term. A therapist can help you work through those feelings. Should you decide to not marry him, the therapist can help you work through that hurt as well. I don’t know you or your fiancé so I’m not going to tell you not to marry him, but please do think long and hard about it. Depression and anxiety are tough on spouses ( so says my husband). I’d imagine its even harder when your spouse isn’t willing to get the help he needs. 

Post # 8
1219 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

My FI has social anxiety and depression. I also have depression, so it’s something that I do understand, but FI’s presents itself differently than mine – I go from ‘normal’ to severe lows then back again, whereas FI spends a lot of time in this flat sort of state. He hasn’t attempted suicide but he does sometimes talk about walking into traffic ‘just to see what would happen’.

FI was on anti-depressants but they caused weight gain, and he’s already overweight, so he went off them. However, he has been on an eating and exercise problem that has helped him lose weight and had a great impact on his moods. He’s also addressed the bad coping mechanisms he used to deal with social anxiety like binge drinking or avoiding social interactions altogether. I can tell you with complete certainty that if FI had not done anything to address his problems we would not be getting married (and he’d probably say the same about me).

Depression is difficult to live with, I would suggest that you seek out some counselling to help you work through this. If your FI hears that you have had a positive experience with counselling it might help him with his attitudes towards therapy. He may also benefit from seeing his doctor because his anti-depressants may not be all that effective and he might need to try another brand.

Post # 9
2963 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I had one who was bipolar as well as chronically depressed. I tried to deal with it for years. Eventually it was just too much for me to bear – it was literally sucking all the happiness out of my life. It got to the point where I dreaded going home every day. I greatly admire people who can and do with mentally ill spouses. I simply am not one of those people.

Post # 10
482 posts
Helper bee

You’re enabling him. Stop with the sympathy and make it clear that he has to be proactive about his mental health. He can’t run to you looking for a bandaid and kiss for his boo boo whenever he gets like this. I say this as someone who is bipolar/social anxiety. You’re not doing him any favors. I wouldn’t marry your FI until he found a healthy regime. Right meds/therapy, or else you’re looking at a lifetime of inaction/self destructive behavior.

Post # 11
3402 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Such a difficult situation, and one that I can certainly relate to as a person who has suffered my entire life with depression to varying degrees.

I was pretty against therapy as well at a certain point because I had seen several therapists who were very poorly trained in cognitive behavioral methods. Most of the therapists I had were the “talk it out” type or the psychoanalytic ones who wanted to trace it all back to early childhood (not that I disagree entirely, but you can’t be helped by just figuring out why you are depressed, you have to deal with the actual symptom which is the sadness and how to reduce the symptom rather than trace the root of the symptom. many roots of depression occur in childhood, and you can’t exactly turn the clock back and change that).

I am actually a psychology student and my concentration is in behavioral psychology, and I firmly believe that you cannot get better just by finding the root(s) of your pain, you must alter your behavior in order to live a healthier and happier life. Please do some serious research on psychologists in your area who are highly trained in cognitive behavior therapy or another behavioral based therapy method. Steer clear of psychotherapy, as he will likely feel even more low after leaving a session.

It is too much of a burden to bear to marry somebody who is not entirely motivated to get better, but as someone who was depressed and can relate to his rationale, perhaps he is so in the grips of his depression that he completely void of hope that therapy will help. Or perhaps he is scared of going to therapy and making his depression worse (totally happed to me when I was seeing the wrong psychologists). I agree that chemically he must be regulated, but he must also be giving the tools to make changes in his own thinking patterns and behaviors in order to heal. 9 times out of 10 a psychiatrist will medicate, but not actually counsel. The counsel is so very important, which is why he must see a CBT psychologist. They will give him the tools to stay mentally healthy everyday.

Post # 12
1219 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@Kat:  I completely agree. CBT is the only thing I’ve found remotely helpful. I had one psychiatrist who kept saying I had OCD and depression because my dad must have abused me (absolutely not true). And I was referred to this guy by the hospital!

Post # 13
1385 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@AbeeCee123:  My FI has depression and anxiety and will take a Xanax or half of one when he knows that he has to face a stressful or draining situation. That’s for his anxiety, though. He doesn’t take any meds for depression and he doesn’t do well with taking “drugs”. His therapist/psychiatrist asked him once how he feels when he smokes weed (which he doesn’t) and he said he doesn’t like it so he said that prescription drug might not be his best option. He started seeing his therapist a couple of times a week and it really helped him. When he feels that dark cloud moving towards him, he see’s his therapist. We didn’t know what was wrong with him for a long time and it really took a toll on our relationship. He didn’t have the motivation to do anything and he would wake up feeling like he was worthless and didn’t want to go anywhere or see anyone. And I had no idea how to handle it so everything I said or did upset him. It took a few weeks of therapy to help him and he’s gone into short bouts of depression since, but therapy works for him.


I also have a family member who suffers from depression and has since she was in high school. She takes anti-depressants and that helps her. I think each person is affected differently and can improve differently. I think seeing a therapist/psychiatrist might be the answer for your SO since everything else hasn’t helped much and seeing one isn’t something he’s tried. I hope that he will have a change of heart and will see one. I hope things get better soon. 

Post # 14
9567 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2018

I have bipolar, with more depressive episodes than manic episodes. With some anxiety as well. I hid how I was feeling for years, my sleeping all the time was me being a ‘teenager’ or a ‘sloth’. My mood swings were because of sugar. Mum still tries to blame it on sugar. I avoided getting help because did was made to feel like I wasn’t sick. It was just me being lazy, eating too much sugar, etc. I finally asked for help when one day I found myself holding a large kitchen knife to my stomach. Please encourage the therapy and hopefully he won’t let it get that far before he realises he needs help. Therapy does help, I have been going to the psychiatrist for over a year, was originally diagnosed with major depression but a couple of months ago was diagnosed with bipolar. Therapy and medication has really helped me, and I am sure it could help your FI.

But you know what has really helped? Having my FI always there to support me, never doubting me, never giving up on me. He has not once given up on us, no matter how hard it gets. We have both committed to each other for life, in sickness and in health, for better or worse. We value and believe in that commitment. We do not take it lightly. So yes it is hard for you, but please don’t break that commitment to him just because he has an illness. But you need to look after you, so do things you enjoy, catch up with friends, find someone to talk to, or maybe get therapy for yourself if you are really struggling.

Post # 15
378 posts
Helper bee


My SO is the same, it is hard to deal with and it has nearly broken us at times but you just have to get up every morning and take each day as it comes. My SO won’t take meds, go to therapy or even talk to his family so it leaves me to pretty much deal with it all; I know what you mean about being tired.

On the other hand, I’ve had (and barely came through) depression of my own, so I know the other side of the coin.

Basically, it’s sh*t. It’s not easy on either side but if that love is there you just keep coming back fighting.

Massive hugs and a whole lot of understanding. If you ever feel really bad, drop me a pm and we’ll talk some of it through xxx

Post # 16
723 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@AbeeCee123:  I can’t say FI is suffering from depression, but I am. I have a lot of the same symptons as your FI. I am socially awkward, I have spouts of highs and very low lows. I’m on medication which has helped, but I also see a therapist which definitly helps. I fee like all I do is vent and complain to her, but that’s pretty much what she’s there for. She has given me a lot of advice and tips on what to do/how to handle things, which has actually made quite a difference. Maybe you can try going with him? FI is very supportive of everything I have going on, he’s offered to come as well as the therapist has suggested he can come, I’m just not ready for it yet. It’s very hard to “make” somebody go to therapy. I feel like depression is kind of like a drug, you have to want it to stop on your own, it’s like nobody can force you to do it. I would just remind him how supportive you are of him and that you’re here to help him get through this and you’ll do whatever he needs you to, even going to therapy with him. Sometimes it’s better if the spouse goes because they see things you do that you might not realize which can than help the doctor/therapist give you the correct treatment.

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