We're in the midst of looking for a better work situation for my DH. He struggles with anxiety and depression. When he has a particularly bad day, I'm not sure how to help him. I've asked him what I can do for him, and he doesn't know. What is the best thing I can do for my husband when he's experiencing a low period? Should I quit trying to be so upbeat when I know he's at a low or asking if I can do something for him? Is that helpful at all? Thank you very much!
Having just come through a big bout with anxiety/depression, this is what I would suggest:
Tell him that you love him. Give him a hug. Hold him. Remind him of his good qualities, but don't try to cheer him up.
Then, take him for a walk. Once a day. Make sure he gets out and moving.
Make sure his diet contains lots of protein and very few simple carbs. I couldn't eat sugar for 2 weeks.
Round up a support network for him and for you. Maybe friends or family can come over on a schedule and take him for a walk in the evening. Maybe someone can take him for a walk during his lunch time. He needs a lot of exercise, but it's probably hard for him to make himself move. Having someone come to be with him can really help. Our pastor rounded up 5 people to come walk with me -- I had a morning walking partner and 4 different evening partners. I can't tell you how much that helped.
Maybe someone can come babysit the kids so you get a break (because he's not much help when he's like that.) How do you need help? You need to care for yourself too, so you don't burn out.
Do you think this is situational (because of the job) or is this something he's always struggled with. If it's the former, then I recommend counseling first, and if that doesn't help, then talking to his doctor about meds. If it seems to be an on-going issue, then I'd reverse the two -- meds, then counseling. If he's in a really low spot (very depressed or very anxious), then I'd recommend seeing a psychiatrist soon. If it's moderate, then you can try counseling first. The data suggests that for severe depression/anxiety, meds work. It's not so clear for less severe cases. In my case, the meds absolutely helped.