I need advice on how to be a supportive spouse to my depressed, PTSD, anxious DH - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 09-13-2012, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DH suffers from Depression, childhood trauma and abandonment issues (PTSD probably) and Anxiety. I need advice on how to be supportive of him. I think I am driving him crazy because I ask him how he feels and then I ask why he feels so 'crappy'. He can never explain what's wrong and sometimes he just won't explain what is wrong and I don't find out until months later when he blows up. I ask him things like does he think it's a chemical imbalance or past issues or current circumstances or a combination. I explain to him that I am only asking because if he knows what it is then we could get him some help. Psychologist, psychiatrist, group therapy, whatever.

 

So what should I be doing or not doing???

 

Thanks!


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#2 of 5 Old 09-15-2012, 10:27 AM
 
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Hugs to you! It sounds like you are really trying to help and support your DH. Is he open to seeing a counselor? If so, maybe you could make an appointment and let him know that you've scheduled and if he's interested, he can go. If he decides not to go, you could talk with the counselor about how best to support him. Sending good thoughts to you and your DH. hug.gif
 


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#3 of 5 Old 09-16-2012, 04:48 PM
 
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I know this sounds counter-intuitive but don't ask why he's feeling sad or depressed.  Usually we don't know.  There's not always a trigger.  It just IS.  And we know even less before we start seeing a therapist and identifying triggers.  My question for you though is, does he want help?  Does he think he needs help?  You will only irritate him if you keep talking about this and he doesn't feel there's an issue.  Maybe instead of treating each instance of his "crappy" feelings(because that's perfect to describe them) separately and asking questions and addressing it separately, why not sit him down after the kids are in bed or at your next date night and tell him how worried you are and how much you want to help.  You love him and you know that he loves you and the kids but that you see him struggling and you think that maybe seeing a therapist to talk it out would help him.  Make sure to mention that you do know how much he is trying but that as someone who loves him, you don't want him to struggle.  For me at least, part of my depression and anxiety and OCD is rooted in my fear of letting people down and my need to be perfect and anticipate people's needs/wants before they notice them.  I would feel really "attacked" if my significant other told me that they thought I needed help and didn't soften the blow a little.  I'd read into it too much(hello anxiety!) and think, 'oh, so he/she thinks I can't handle life and my emotions and that I'm weak.'  So noticing the good things and him trying to deal with his mental health issues softens the blow of needing a professional to assist you.  I know it sounds like nit-picking but it's all in the delivery ya know?

 

And just so you know, I think it speaks volumes that you are asking for help in dealing with this from people who have been there.  My significant other is pretty supportive in dealing with my mental health issues though he doesn't understand a lot of the issues.  He recognizes a lot of triggers and he's understanding when there's things I just cannot handle and I need him to step up to the plate(like in crowded places dealing with our kids or just taking things at my pace) and it makes me care for him even more when I see that.  I think it makes us stronger as a couple that he's willing to walk this road with me.  I know it's not easy on him and I know I'm not an easy person to be in a relationship with.


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#4 of 5 Old 09-18-2012, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by justmama View Post

I know this sounds counter-intuitive but don't ask why he's feeling sad or depressed.  Usually we don't know.  There's not always a trigger.  It just IS. 

That is exactly what I was looking for. He knows he has issues. He has been to a bunch of different therapists in the past and he says that it doesn't help. I think maybe he just hasn't found the right fit. I know what the triggers are too but I can't always circumvent them. He hasn't had good experiences with psych meds either, he turns into a total zombie. He also suffers from addiction so he can't use a script that is easily misused. He's pretty mean when he is going through a low period and it's very hard to tolerate. He absolutely has that 'I don't want anyone to think I am weak thing'. I have rarely seen him cry but he will tell me about how he has spent all day for weeks at a time crying. I knew all this about him before we got romantically involved because we were friends for years first. I just really want to help. Feeling the way he often does is just no way to live.


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#5 of 5 Old 09-18-2012, 07:48 PM
 
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Sending support to you and your DH.
 

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