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Topic: I’m in Love with my depressed wife - need resources

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Shelter
    Shelter avatar
    2 posts
    25 September 2018


    my wife has been diagnosed with depression for 6 years and is probably depressed for 10+.

    she’s on voltarene at the moment, + thyroid meds, but her hormonal cycle has a massive impact on her moods. At her best (~8 weeks every year) she is the most amazing, smart, funny and adorable person I have ever met), at her worse (~12 weeks every year) she can’t talk, and operate. The rest of the time she goes in cycles between those 2 states with some terribly “angry” phases.

    we have 2 girls (8 and 10) who have started asking many question about mum’s moods, but she refuses to talk about it. I’ve been allowed to say that “mum is sick” but she doesn’t want to tell then the word depression or get into any details which means the kids are now confused and afraid of puberty: “when I get my periods will I become like mum?”

    i am seeing a fantastic shrink to deal with my self-worth issues and the guilt of never doing enough for her.

    what I was hoping to get from this community was:

    - resources on how to deal with respecting it is not my illness, but it affects my kids. My wife refuses to have the conversation and I am struggling with my love/loyalty to her and my instinct to have it all out in the open with the kids to help them deal with it.

    - tips to support her to see a shrink. She very much focus on the medication, and expects the ADs to do all the work. I managed to convince her to see a psychologist again but I’m afraid she’ll drop again when invited to talk. In one visit to a specialist where I was present I realised that she systematically understates how she is.

    She has lost her job and hasn’t worked for 11 months. She tries to keep the house going but I find hidden dirty clothes under the beds, opened letters and unpaid bills in drawers... I think she is struggling to accept she can’t cope and refuses to admit it.

  2. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
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    PamelaR avatar
    2681 posts
    25 September 2018 in reply to Shelter

    Hi Shelter and welcome to our community forums

    Life sounds very difficult for you at the moment. You sound very torn between the love and loyalty for your wife and the love and loyalty you have for your 2 girls. Such a very hard place to be in and my heart goes out to you.

    I am so pleased you are seeing someone for your own care. That is extremely well planned. Good on you and thank you for sharing your story and experience.

    From what you’ve written you seem to be doing ‘a lot for her’ and find it interesting that you have guilt about not doing enough. Though I’ll leave that for your psych to help you work through.

    To answer some of your questions:

    Resources to help you deal with respecting it is not your illness. I’m not sure where you live in Australia, I do know that some state’s have set up local family support groups for carers of people with a mental illness. Have you looked into this at all? Maybe give the Carer Gateway a try if you haven’t already - www.carergatewaygov.au . To be honest, I would be talking with the kids, it can’t be hidden for much longer. Though, I would tell my partner first that is what I was going to do. But first maybe see if there are any local groups in your area.

    Tips to support her seeing a health profession. Maybe talk with her before the appointment - suggest she writes down a list of things to talk about.

    Other ways to get some tips:

    Have you tried keyword search in the BB homepage for your specific topics - e.g. resources supporting / caring? It would be good to also include the mental illness to the keyword search.

    Feel free to join discussions in any of the threads that relevant to your queries.

    Kind regards

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Shelter
    Shelter avatar
    2 posts
    25 September 2018 in reply to PamelaR

    Thanks Pamela

    I live in Victoria.

    i’m struggling with watching her fail. For the last few months she has planned a trip to London to see friends. We travelled together in Europe but I had to go back to oz for work. I left her and the kids at my parents in paris and the plan was to let her take time off while my oldies look after the monkeys.

    for month she cced me on messenger chats with friends, and on emails, and I watched a slow motion car crash.

    today 24h before she’s due to go she had to cancel because and I quote “she can’t arrange accommodation”

    my guilt is that I saw it happening, and at the back of my mind I think that she knew too, that her social and organisation skills were going to let her down. And yet I did nothing.

    i wanted her to win this on her own, because I believe in her... I wanted to believe that she could do it.

    so I watched as she kept changing her plans, her friends urging her to respond. I saw the questions unanswered, the slow motion car crash, and eventually the resolution that she’s:

    1) missing out on time dedicated just for her, with no kids and hubbie

    2) not going to see friends she really love

    3) now has to stick with in-laws for another week, following all their plans.

    I wanted this to work to be her victory. Instead I have guilt that maybe if intervened and planned her trip she would have had a great break at her friends.

    i’ll look up the resources you sent. I’m looking for examples that work. How much do I need to do to intervene and how much do I need to let her try on her own. I think I’m more devastated than she is about this cancellation.

  4. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2681 posts
    26 September 2018 in reply to Shelter

    Hi Shelter

    Oh my you sound a very caring, supportive and loving partner. How lovely you are.

    I'm not sure what resources are out there that can help you to answer or give you the solutions you seek. What I can give you is my own experience -

    both my partner and I have varying degrees of PTSD, anxiety and depression. Thank goodness we don't always have it at the same time.

    my partner is the one who likes the plans and the organisation - i.e. when and what time we leave, where we will stay, how long we'll stay etc.

    me, I'm the exact opposite. Happy to pick up my bags on the day of leaving - go to the train station without knowing when a train was leaving, where we'd stay that night because I knew that hotels would be open to pop into, even in a country where we didn't speak the language.

    That's just setting the scene for us. My partner can't really plan and organise - I have to do that even though I hate it with a venegance. Turn him around in an airport on his own, he freaks. So I do have to help out and make the arrangements without making him feel like he is useless. I guess I do this by not making a big deal of it, by just giving him all the information and making sure he knows where all the info is, flight inventory, accommodation details, getting maps for areas where he'll land. Sometimes I get all this together then sit down with him to go through it all. At times he does get defensive, but with a little cajoling and loving we get there without him feeling to useless.

    Some people are good at planning and organising, others aren't. Some need a hand and I think it's okay to give a hand.

    It sounds like your partner may not have wanted to travel on her own. Maybe reassure her this is okay, because it is okay?

    Not sure if this has helped you or what you're looking for Shelter. You seem to be doing an awesome job of being a partner. Keep it up!!

    Kind regards


  5. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2781 posts
    28 September 2018 in reply to Shelter

    Hi Shelter,

    Welcome to the forums and thanks for reaching out.

    PamelaR has given you some great support and advice already so I won't add too much. I just saw your comment about the kids and there's a great resource that I can share with you.

    Here is a website called COPMI - Children of parents with a mental illness. They have a kids specific site as well as tips, ideas and guidelines about things to say.


    I feel like the big keys are finding words that your wife is comfortable with (maybe mood disorder, brain is different, brain is wired differently, unwell, mental illness) and then having that conversation. Having your kids know about what's going on with their mum and not to be afraid/cautious of it is important and will help.

    You may even find it helpful to mention it to their teacher or school counsellor (if they have one). You don't necessarily need to disclose what's happening with your wife but it gives them the opportunity to keep an extra eye on of your kids, how they might be coping and if this stuff at home is affecting them at school.

    Hope this helps,

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