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Topic: Please help!

6 posts, 0 answered
  1. johnt88
    johnt88 avatar
    7 posts
    15 March 2019

    Hi everyone. I'm sorry if this is long but hope someone can offer advice.

    My wife suffers from both depression & anxiety and takes medication. Lately she does not seem happy at all and she has told me she is struggling but doesn't know what she needs. Some nights she's happy and we'll watch funny movies and laugh and talk but some nights she wants time to herself and she's down about something.

    She seems to be down most of the time, spends most of the weekend in bed and takes offence to small things sometimes. I am a very positive person so I always try to help her fix a problem or see the bright side of something or point out good things in our life but this can make it worse sometimes as she feels i'm dismissing her feelings., which I'm not trying to do.

    We have recently had fertility issues and are saving for IVF, which has hurt us both, both emotionally and financially, but with her MH history it has been harder on her.

    We have also lost pretty much all intimacy. Haven't had sex in over a year and she shows no interest and I've stopped trying or bringing it up. I love her. If she's not feeling up to sex thats fine, it's her I want to help I'm not being selfish hope it doesn't sound that way. She swears she is still attracted to me and also mentioned her meds can decrease sex drive. Not sure if that's true but I trust her word.

    She doesn't often feel like doing anything social with family/ friends and I am quite often having to make excuses as to why we or she can't come.

    I think it's a combination of the fertility issues, her work and her mental scars from being sexually abused as a child that have all added up but HOW do I help?

    I am also starting to get quite down myself and frustrated a bit as I feel like she's always in a down mood ( I hope i'm not sounding selfish) but also, she doesn't do much around the house anymore so I'm basically doing all the housework, as well as working and trying to help her and I'm getting exhausted too. I feel like I can't bring this or any of my own feelings/ worries/ stresses up cause she will blame herself and that will make her depression worse. I have found myself upset and exhausted some nights about it but I always pull myself out of it with positive thoughts as I am a happy person overall.

    I love my wife and I want her to be happy and I will do anything I can to help but I guess I'm just wanting some advice as to how to help her, while also reducing my stress and for us to both be happy.

    Please help!

  2. Ben6774
    Ben6774 avatar
    1 posts
    15 March 2019

    Hi John,

    As I was reading your post I was thinking I was once in the exact state your wife is in. So i only just signed up to give you the little advice I have.

    My first thought is that she may need a look into the antidepressants. Sometimes they stop giving the benefits and need a change or up the dosage. It took me 5 different types before I found one that worked for me. (Also it is true is can lower your sex drive. We were having sex once every 2 or 3 months when I felt too guilty to not give her that)

    The next thing was speaking to a physiologist regularly, it’s expensive but it helped immensely. Hopefully she is talking to someone. Some things are easier to talk about with a third party than a spouse.

    I knew it was hard on my wife and bringing her down but I felt I needed time and space 24/7, I didn’t want to be around anybody, but I was told forcing myself to be in social gatherings are beneficial, and that helped also. I don’t know how you can go about getting her out I am sure that will help too. Maybe start with a walk to a restaurant for dinner one evening, don’t do a big gesture.

    Bring up positives like planning for the baby or a holiday. But I guess a holiday is out of the picture if you’re saving.

    I hope you and your wife find happiness.

    Please respond if you would like to know anything else.


  3. white knight
    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.
    white knight avatar
    8366 posts
    15 March 2019 in reply to johnt88

    Hi, welcome

    I can say that medication can sure have a negative effect on ones sex drive. Being a male it was a simple case of getting meds that helped me-problem fixed. Then I changed MH meds and the problem vanished within days proving some MH med can screw up your drive.

    So next time she attends her GP I'd ask her to discuss this.

    Here are a few threads you can google

    Beyondblue Topic the timing of motivation

    Beyondblue Topic who cares for the carer?


  4. grt123
    grt123 avatar
    56 posts
    16 March 2019 in reply to johnt88

    Dear John

    You sound like an amazing husband. Your thoughtfulness and patience is to be commended but it's clearly draining you. I realise that medication and depression are at work here but she still may be able to take some steps to improve the situation. I wonder if she knows how you feel? I think a frank conversation where you lay it on the table how this is impacting may help. Frame it like you have here in your post and deliver it with love.

    In the meantime, be careful that your happiness is not contingent on hers i.e. she's having a bad day so I am too. Being naturally optimistic and positive is a gift. Don't let it slip away.

  5. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    1493 posts
    16 March 2019 in reply to johnt88

    Hi johnt88

    You sound like such a beautiful compassionate amazing soul. Your wife is so very lucky to have you in her corner.

    My ultimate message: Keep in mind the truth as to who you are throughout this process. I know this may sound strange but when someone's experiencing depression there can be a battle between identities for them (one that's stuck and one that longs to evolve). It's important that one person in your relationship maintains a firm sense of self. For your wife, if she's more so identifying with the following, I imagine this is how she sees herself:

    • I am someone who cannot be happy/I fail at being happy
    • I am someone who cannot socialise/I fail at socialising
    • I am someone who cannot conceive a child naturally/I fail at naturally becoming a mother
    • I am someone who cannot be intimate with my husband/I fail at intimacy

    You get the gist. When 'I fail' becomes repeated enough times in our head, 'I am a failure' can become the mantra of someone in depression.

    There's a possibility she's associating all the little things with an already established negative sense of identity. For example: If you ask her why she hasn't done the washing, she may be thinking 'Yep, there you go, that's another thing I've failed at. I'll just add it to the list'. So, she's not necessarily focusing on the little thing that's upset her, she may be focusing on the list in her mind.

    Of course, mental processing and chemistry play a huge part in how we function. Has your wife considered trying different meds to tweak the chemistry? With the most effective ones having the ability to alter perception, perhaps it's worth considering this angle. Wondering if she's seeing an effective mental health professional. If not, you could perhaps discuss this idea with her. You could say 'This could be one way to prepare in handling the depression and anxiety if you have to come off the meds when IVF starts'.

    Johnt88, during my years in depression, I came to resent my husband to some degree. He was a capable, happy, social, energetic, loving human being. He was all the things I wished I could be. He reminded me, solely through his nature, of how 'defective' I was, what a 'failure' I was (by the way, these are simply words and not truth). I know this is incredibly unfair; it's almost like I was penalising him for not having depression. The truth is I could not have made it through without him and his nature. He was a gem and still is.

    Take care of yourself

  6. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    1493 posts
    16 March 2019 in reply to johnt88

    Something I meant to mention involves the idea of learning 'the language of depression'.

    When someone says 'I'm hopeless. I'm a failure' there's always the temptation to respond with 'No you're not' in an effort to change their mind. Understanding the language of depression means the response may change to 'What does hope mean to you? What does success mean to you?' The conversation goes from a dismissive nature to a more thoughtful and explorative nature. When someone says 'I'm hopeless and a failure' what they really may be saying is 'I don't know how to find a sense of hope and success in my life. Please help me'.

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