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How would you deal with a spouse suffering from depression and other problems

Discussion in 'Outreach Forum' started by Seeking Answers, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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    Guys,
    I've been married for 4 years to a beautiful woman that was severly hurt and rejected as a child by her parents and who has now developed ocassional depression, a bit of an eating disorder (not in the traditional sense, in a mental sense of obsessing about food but not throwing up or purging) and the manifestation of symptoms associated with a mood disorder which creates extreme black and white thinking.

    We got married very quickly as were crazy for each other and I didn't fully comprehend the extent of her problems. Yes I suspected things were a bit off, but I thought they would get better the longer we stayed together. Without writing and essay I feel pulled in two directions. As an eternal optimist I have helped her get treatment and believe that with the right course of therapy / healing that she will get better. The constant mood swings and abusive behavior is overwhelming, as is our inability to have a normal schedule and social life as I never know who I'm going to wake up with in the morning. I often feel draining and tried from the tit for tat arguments that in my mind are miniscule in comparison to the realities of every day life. Many of which involve food.

    I care deeply about my wife but I don't know if it means sacrafacing my future. Especially when kids are out of the equation. At first I wanted kids, but her poor self image and self esteem prevented her from even thinking about the possiblity... She doesn't even think she is worthy to be a mother. Which I can respect because I now realize that until she is healed she is bound to repeat the same abuse she felt as a child.

    I'm not looking for answers, just a bit of advice.. I'm confused and really don't know what to do.. Divorce is something I have been thinking about but I know that below the rage is a woman that is a great person that needs help.. But that help requires so much work and isn't a guarantee.. Assuming she can stick with it.. I fear that isolation from friends and family will continue, that I wll never have kids and that our life will be a continual struggle to get through normal days.. On the other hand I have hope that she can heal herself with my help and the help of professionals. Pills do not work, regular therapy does not work.. It is going to take years of intense therapy and training for her to accept and forgive the past.. And I'm torn between believing that is possible and accepting reality that I either have to live with it or move on.. Tough spot to be in.
     
  2. unluckyluciano

    unluckyluciano For My Hero JetsSuck

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    tough luck bro. you yourself should go to counseling as well thats the only advice I would say you should def take. Might help you figure out some things and at least learn to deal with this all mentally.............
    Good luck.
     
  3. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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    Yeah I have gone down that route.

    It invariably leads to a continuation of the discussion posted here.

    It is almost impossible to describe the type of mood shifts I witness on a nearly weekly basis..

    My gut tells me to move on, my heart tells me to stay.. For a long time my heart drove my actions but I don't think I can hold up much longer if things don't start changing fast.
     
  4. Sethdaddy8

    Sethdaddy8 Well-Known Member

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    I feel for you man. Marriage is hard enough for any couple.
    And it is VERY difficult for men to rationalize and communicate with women on a consistent basis. There is always misunderstanding, bickering, complaining, and in worst cases...fighting. Its a flawed system and the best we can do is understand the obstacles, identify them, and work around them.

    Id try couples therapy together, and search for a way to get your wife the help she needs, and keep searching until you feel its futile. The right Dr may be out there. But they may not be. Maybe try some positive reinforcement books/cds. (tony robbins). cd's with positive sublimenal messages. perhaps yoga or transcendental meditation classes would help her intrinsically. even deep breathing or diet changes could help. eat more naturally. the body does effect the mind.

    If you want children, you have a serious out, and reason to move on. give it your best, but do what you have to do. You seem like a very smart, self-aware person. I wish you the best.
     
  5. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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    Thanks Seth. We have done marriage counseling already with limited success. The issues continue to come back. The disorder almost guarantees that no quick fixes exist. When one operates in world that is scary and has difficulty facing normal obstacles, the very nature of the disorder prevents the individual from sticking with a course of action for an extended period of time. I initially called it self-sabotage but have grown to understand that she doesn't do it intentionally. That feelings of pain can get overwhelming and that rather than fixing the problems permanently and facing reality, it is easier to go back to anger.. So while small strides may come and go, the underlying problems are hard to resolve.

    The crazy part is that when she feels good we have the time of our lives.. but when its bad, trust me you almost have to remind yourself that you aren't in the twilight zone :lol:
     
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  6. anlgp

    anlgp ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A

    Oh man I don't know what to tell you. You've gone to therapy she's gone to therapy.. you both have gone to therapy..

    What's the difference in this "intense" therapy you've mentioned and "regular" therapy? maybe try that route? there's no guarantee like you said but you've gotta try. that's the whole 'better or for worse' thing.

    you yourself know that underneath there is a great person who (almost definitely) wants to get out from underneath all that rage. i know you said you've gone to therapy already but in my head there seems to be some form of it you guys haven't tried yet (let me know if i'm wrong). you gotta go down all routes, turn over all rocks, all stones, etc.

    my advice doesn't seem like much to me but that's what i'd do. if you really feel you need to divorce her i would only do it if i were you after i know i've tried everything to get her help. if you don't do everything you can you won't know for sure if there was something you could have done - and to me that's part of what marriage is all about.
     
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  7. Sethdaddy8

    Sethdaddy8 Well-Known Member

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    i have to agree here, as difficult as this will be.
     
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  8. Fin Fan In Cali

    Fin Fan In Cali Dolphin fan since 1970 Luxury Box

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    Brother can the doctor, specialist or a psychologist offer any medication to help balance the moods and the eating disorder? Any chance of hypnosis helping? Maybe your church pastor or priest could help as well. I really feel for you bro. Does she understand how her conditions have put a serious strain on the marriage? Like Brother Gap said I would try to exhaust all possible measures to work through this with your wife. Check into support groups in your area that could possibly help both you and your wife. Prayers, thoughts, and best wishes to you, and your wife. I hope this can be worked out with a happy ending.:wink2:
     
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  9. HolliFinFan

    HolliFinFan Not a Face Painter Luxury Box

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    You have the qualities of a person who values commitments, and that is such a positive ideal. However, your frustrations are understood--a rollercoaster is only fun if it's not your mature life. Since you referenced your heart, that leads me to believe that you truly love her. These are just comments from an unlicensed person, yet remember that her behavior is not under your control nor a reflection of you. There are countless stories of women who have overcome eating disorders and live productive, and happy, lives combating depression. I wouldn't dare guess her degree in either, yet I do know that help exists for her. Perhaps, since you've tried the therapy route, a support group might work, if for nothing else, a reference to a physician who can treat your wife in the manner which will benefit her. Note that I say her only because until she can stabilize herself, all else is secondary, IMO. Best wishes to you, and I admire your perseverance in this strife.
     
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  10. slickj101

    slickj101 Is Water

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    Bro,

    I would tell her that she needs to choose to help herself (ultimately both of you since it's your relationship), Or, tell her that you need to choose to walk away.

    In my experiences, people can only really change when they're 100% self-motivated to do so. You could be offering all the support and help in the world, but if she doesn't commit all the way to making a difference, it's not going to work.

    Good luck, man.
     
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  11. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    Bro, i've been in the same kind of relationship in the past, though we didn't get married we did buy a house together. She had it hard growing up with her parents. She ended up having 11 of the 12 indicators of clinical depression. We went through a two week cycle. Think of a circle, the top point being one day of happiness, which means the 13 other points in that circle were days spent being miserable, on her way to being miserable, or slowly getting out of miserable. I'll bet you have a similar one in your relationship.

    Like you, i searched for answers everywhere. I researched, went to counseling, etc, and what I learned was 2 things:

    1. That kind of depression, is an actual chemical imbalance in the brain. The synapses are firing incorrectly. This cannot be corrected with counseling, love, guilt, arguing, pleading, or threats of leaving. Only medication effects it.

    2. The depression is not her fault. She didn't ask for it. She didn't do anything to acquire it. It was the cards she was dealt, and for that deserves a little leeway. However, letting the problem continue is absolutely her fault. Depression is ugly, but it doesn't absolve anyone from responsibility. She must take meds.

    Now, if you haven't tried medication yet, there will be an excuse to not take it. From side-effects to feeling weak for needing them, can be thrown your way. You must remain steadfast. If she starts taking them, they will cut out the lows, but the extreme highs as well. That's when you'll hear the I don't like the way they make me feel plea. Again, remain solid and focused. (That is where I didn't.) Do not expect her to keep taking the pills. Bring her one every night around the same time, and make a big deal about her. Give her back rub after she takes it, or bring her dinner, whatever. Condition response works with people too. Eventually, the overall feeling of "gray" will subside and she'll learn to be her again.

    If you've already tried medication but stumbled along the way, try one more time, and if that doesn't work, you must move on. At that point, you'll have done all you can.
     
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  12. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    Wow! You have a terrible situation on your hands.

    Your wife will likely need theraputic assistance as well as medication for the rest of her life. It sounds very much like she has some organic issues as well as extreme trauma at an early age. Those things rarely get "fixed", at best you learn to live with them and discover ways of coping that allow life to be successful. Counseling that aims at healing in cases like this is maybe helpful but not lasting.

    As for you, you might look at why you walked into this situation? What needs do you have to "rescue"?

    You will never be her counselor, you are the husband. The roles can not be merged no matter how much you wish it to be so.

    Counseling for you, while you are with her also needs to be long term because the clues you will need to learn to read will change over time.

    I hope you will pursue all this. "In sickness and in health" means just that. I understand your need for self-differentiation and perhaps you will be pushed in that direction but imo, it should not be your next move.
     
  13. daphins

    daphins A-Style

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    I feel VERY badly for you. I pursued a girl heavily and missed warning signs like these. We dated and lived together for 3 years. In the beginning I was incredibly dedicated and "the rock". After we moved in together and she started showing mood swings and some depression I wrote it off as having a hard time in school. I dedicated my time to helping alleviate her stresses...which often time meant taking them upon myself.

    Over the next 3 years things go steadily worse....she'd slip deeper and deeper into depression. She went from internalizing her depression to taking it out on me. I got wore down and well...you can immagine how well that worked out.

    After being overly dedicated to someone for nearly 4 years I am now single. I'm not going to say that I love my life...but it's a lot less turbulent right now. If I wake up in a good mood there's no one to drag me out of it. The "little" things are amplified by someone over reacting, and I'm no longer being torn down on a daily basis.

    This is something you cannnot fix yourself. Quite honestly it's out of your hands and is something that will have to be corrected by her. You can only be there to support her through the process as long as you can. After which point......you've done your part....life is short and you deserve to be happy too.

    I wish you the best of luck and will keep you and your wife in my prayers.
     
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  14. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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    Thank you for all the answers guys.

    I've gone through all these scenarios countless times and have finally reached the conclusion that there is nothing more I can do than nudge her in the direction towards getting professional help. On paper we have an easy life. Good financial position, good friends and family, good quality of life.. But unfortunately the logical part of the scenario does not register.

    She has tried different routes. Medication can only help lower anxiety but is ineffective as the core problems revolve around the lack of personality development, not depression. Medication is not the answer. Enabling behaviors do not work either as there is bound to be something imperfect in the world to throw off the strong feelings of rejection.

    In terms of the eating disorder this was discovered recently and she spent 3 months going to a center for it. There is a huge overlap between eating disorders and other emotional problems and she made great progress. But as the treatment neared the end and it was time to face painful realities, she reverted back.. So I can assume that incremental changes are the only way things are going to get done.

    I've basically reached the point where there are two options, and I've began to make them clear. Do whatever it takes to get the right therapy (another HUGE obstacle as this type of therapy dealing with personality disorders is difficult to find and can be tricky, especially when the person is able to rationalize their feelings and on the surface can portray a portrait quite different from whats going on inside. If she is willing to face that then I will help. If in 6 months from now we are in the same boat, I am going to have no option but to seek counsel and move on.. I consider you guys a family and I feel so much shame about divorce and these problems and need to figure out why..
     
  15. cnc66

    cnc66 wiley veteran, bad spelur Luxury Box

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    I have no answers brother, I have a sister like that so I understand the feelings of helplessness. The strongest thing I can offer you are my thoughts and prayers, they are yours, give me a shout if you ever need to talk.
     
  16. Fin-Omenal

    Fin-Omenal Initiated

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    Best of luck with everything bro, you are truely doing everything you can to help her. No matter what happens you have to remember that you gave 100%.
     
  17. muscle979

    muscle979 Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Effexor. Should help with the depression and crazy mood swings. I know from experience. [My wife takes it]
     
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  18. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    A target date may be a good idea. It is fair and firm. You are correct that proper therapy is difficult to find, expensive, and has mixed results. It is her only chance for normalcy however so whatever you have to do to convince her of that even if it means saying "help yourself or I must go" is in the long term a loving act on her behalf.
     
  19. texanphinatic

    texanphinatic Senior Member

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    Use the great tool known as the internet. Go hunt for any kind of group that has members who also deal with this kind of thing. Talk to them and find out everything you can from them, anything that works, that doesnt work etc.
    Can any of them recommend any good medications, perhaps good local therapists or doctors etc.
    Information is your greatest ally in this of fight, get as much as you possibly can, research the hell out it, find other people who have gone through this and learn.

    Good luck man, this is an incredibly difficult situation for anyone to be in. I hope this works out well for the both of you, give it all youve got and make sure she does as well, its the only way.
     
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  20. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    Probably because of my age I don't first think "google" but Tex is absolutely correct! Give it a shot!
     
  21. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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    Thanks for all the kind words.

    After having a serious heart to heart that involved a lot of resistance she has agreed to see a specialist.

    Let's see how it plays out. I told her that as long as she was honest in therapy about her feelings that things will get better.. We shall see.. :up:
     
  22. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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    I have used the internet. There is much information out there. Forums with thousands of members dealing with nearly the exact same scenarios and behaviors. If anyone is facing similar things reply back to this thread and I'll update with some links.
     
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  23. unluckyluciano

    unluckyluciano For My Hero JetsSuck

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    congratulations. hope it works out.
     
  24. Disnardo

    Disnardo Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Don't forget, now that you have her seeing a therapist, you need one too...

    Believe it or not depression affects more than the one person, it affects those that deal with them in a daily fashion...

    Prayers are working and your wife finally taking your advice to see a psychiatrist is the right and only choice...

    Best of luck and my prayers are also on their way...
     
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  25. Agua

    Agua Reality: Try It!

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    Bro,
    I'm going to echo several others here. Get her to a doc that will find the right medication for her.

    My wife had the exact stuff (without the child abuse), I know what you're going through. It was hell man. I lived with it for 8 years. She didn't get better until she was directed by a physician who was treating her for hepatitis to see a psych before she started interferon.

    It was a BLESSING. Totally different person. She used to just get obsessed with stuff that doesn't amount to a hill of beans and provoke fights she would not let you walk away from - literally follow you around the house to yell at you while you're telling her to just leave you alone.

    We were lucky in that this psych hit the right anti-depressant first time. I think its pretty common for them to have to make several tries to find a medication that will work for the individual. I think also that it takes a while dosing them up so the patient can sometimes go through a period early on where bad side effects can discourage them from continuing with the treatment, but you never know if the thing will actually work until they get the stuff in their system for several weeks.

    On the downside, my stepson also suffers with depression, but he wasn't so lucky because the first couple of medications they tried for him either didn't work, or the side effects early on were so severe, he wouldn't continue treatment. His life is miserable, and he won't get help.

    So, you're going to have to be strong and support and encourage her to stick through the early portion of the treatment.


    But if you'll get her to a psych who will work to find the right medication for her, it will be wonderful.

    There's no reason for people to suffer when there's medication available out there.
     
  26. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    Any update "Seeking"? I hope things are moving in a good direction!
     
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  27. TokyoFishFan

    TokyoFishFan New Member

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    Tokyo!
    Hope things are going well for you. I do not know your situation at all, except for what's been posted. The following may not help you at all, but may help others.

    This may seem like too simple a solution, but one of the things that I've found is that a spouse at home by herself sitting in front of a TV all day and doing housework is a recipe for depression. Being alone gives a person too much time to think about all the things that are wrong with themselves and the world. Keeping one's mind active through work, volunteer efforts, or whatever it is she enjoys will help. It may not be an end-all solution, but the distraction of staying busy and talking with other adults on a day-to-day basis can help reduce the amount of time for negative thoughts to develop.

    Humans are social beings and need a lot of positive reinforcement. Getting that from people other than yourself will held build her self-esteem and help with a long-term recovery.

    Good luck.
     
  28. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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    Truer words never spoken. My wife has been much better with her depression since she resumed school and is out of the house 5 days a week. (No, I am not the thread starter, just someone who has gone down that road as well.)
     
  29. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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    Incremental changes guys.

    I've learned to accept that change, in this scenario is measured by small victories, not miraculous happiness.


    Thanks for asking.
     
  30. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    Amen. And it will likely be punctuated by the occasional backslide. Maintain an even strain and know that y'all remain in my prayers!
     
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  31. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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    Thanks for all the advice guys. I am really at my wits end as this disorder is getting worse with no end in site. The same cycle over and over again with the most incredible behavior and temper tantrums you could ever imagine. I swear you wouldn't believe the emotional reactions, even if I taped them. I give up guys. There is nothing more I can do for her, it is an endless pit with the pull of a black hole and the anger of someone that's been locked up in solitary for 30 years. I always thought people were either happy or sad.. In this case its happy in the morning, pissed in the afternoon, sad in the evening and then angry the next morning. A roller coaster from depths of hell :cursing:

    Even though my POFO buddies may not seem me as the most conservative guy, I truly value the vows that I took but I can not reconcile that with the fact that my wife is not capable of leading a normal life, let alone a normal week without some contrived drama or breakdown. I'm tired of living this way and despite all that I've witnessed still have faith in humanity :knucks:

    Well I guess its time to do what I knew I had to do 3 years ago and start the next chapter of my life. Thanks for all the support.


    BTW I'm Bum rush, just don't want this post searchable under my name :)
     
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  32. cnc66

    cnc66 wiley veteran, bad spelur Luxury Box

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    Keep your chin up BR. Sometimes no matter the love, concern or care we lose.
     
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  33. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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    This is true my friend.

    Sometimes people need to find there own way. After 4 therapists, a clinic, multiple medications and endless conversation nothing has truly changed. I spoke about incremental changes before but that is a mirage because the same cycle continues. It's almost hard to feel sorry at this point as I can't comprehend why anyone would choose to see the promised land in front of them but then refuse to take those final steps, rather than reverting back to the same destructive cycle. That is why I'm done with this. Every single time some progress is made there seems to be some sort of self punishment and I always find myself in the center of the storm.

    Our lives have been relatively stress free compared to a lot of the people I know, I have done well financially, we don't worry about bills, we have a fairly carefree life and I'm not the demanding type that talks about a clean house and a meal every night.. Even under those easy circumstances its like pulling teeth to get sh*t done. I'm pretty certain that this is all outside my control and I don't want to wake up one day at 40 with no family, a miserable marriage and the same BS routine..

    I really have to take some personal inventory as I share part of the blame for accepting this lifestyle. I was always a strong minded person but this proved to me that I could be a real sucker and wannabe savior. I guess when you get pulled in by a very intriguing and beautiful woman you allow yourself to fall prey. I had choices but I always wanted the full package, I guess it doesn't exist.
     
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  34. Fin Fan In Cali

    Fin Fan In Cali Dolphin fan since 1970 Luxury Box

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    Brother BR you know in your heart that you tired to work this out. Keep the faith, and soon you will have peace and happiness for yourself.:wink2:
     
  35. Fin Fan In Cali

    Fin Fan In Cali Dolphin fan since 1970 Luxury Box

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    Brother in going through the separation or divorce, please make sure you document everything, and have things witnessed, and notarized to protect yourself from any problems or issues down the road.
     
  36. dolphindebby

    dolphindebby Season Ticket Holder Luxury Box

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    My thoughts and prayers are with you as you go through this.
    The best of luck to you, stay strong.
    God bless you.
     
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  37. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    It will be very interesting to watch your lady's reaction when you actually leave. Be careful!

    The line I highlighted shows a lot of self-understanding. I urge you to get some counseling yourself to see what lessons you can learn about those issues in your life. I mean you have paid for the lessons, why not learn something?
     
  38. The Rev

    The Rev Totus Tuus Administrator Luxury Box Club Member

    Wish I could offer some advice or insight that has not been given. Lean onto what John (FFIC), Marty (cnc), Pastor Keith (ohio) and everyone else has said.
    Sometimes life doesn't make sense or is fair, even for the good guys.
    I will be praying for you, brother.
     
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  39. Seeking Answers

    Seeking Answers New Member

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    Well guys, a month later and I am slowly proceeding with what needs to get done.

    The situation has not changed and is in fact worse with her birthday approaching. Every year around a week before her birthday comes the worst meltdown you could imagine, straight out of a scifi film or a horror film depending on the day :lol:

    We have had discussions about the divorce and I've finally, after 4 years started to open up to everyone. It feels like a massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders as all my close friends and family members have some insight in to the situation. I've tried hard not to slander or stoop down to her level and feel great. I've also started the process of planning out my days once this is all said and done to avoid the boredom that is sure to come.. I guess after living someone for a while (with a lot of fun times and memories) the boredom of being stuck in a closed home can really get to me. I've started playing more sports and have gotten in contact with friends and family that are more than willing to share a few drinks or fun night out every once in a while to break out of the funk.

    Its funny, I lived in this facade of hope that everything was going to be alright eventually, and now that I have opened up to others they fully understand the hell I've lived through the past couple of years.. Without us ever talking about it they knew that something was a bit off...

    Well, I'm off for a few drinks and night out.. I need to remind myself that I have no other options but to move forward, but it can be very tough sometimes.

    I'll keep you all posted and thanks for the support. It means a lot.
     
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  40. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    My continued prayers and best wishes for you. The disclosure to family and friends is a great first step.
     

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