“How to Live with a Depressed Wife” : 101

You don’t.

Let me expand. You don’t LIVE with a depressed wife, you co-exist with a depressed wife. You know those commercials that play the dramatic bass piano sounds and show people sitting and staring out windows and rubbing their shoulders. You know  the ones with the dog bouncing around walking to play ball and the man is leaning against a wall with his eyes closed and they look back at the dog and the dogs all sad and depressed? Where the kids are moping around because the Mom is too tired to play with them. The woman at her job is rubbing her forehead and co-workers are looking at her strangely. Yeah those.

 Then they say “Depression Hurts. Everyone”

They’re right. On so many levels.  Depression affects everything we do, it affects our immune systems, as females it can affect our menstrual cycles and eating habits. Depression affects marriages, children, and jobs. But I’ll give you one guess as to which suffers the most. If you guessed marriage, pat yourself on the back right now.

With our spouses we tend to be more lax with what we do and say – as compared to work and kids (depending on the kind of person you are and assuming it really is depression what you are suffering from). We say things to our spouses we would never say to anyone else and we do things to spouses we would never intentionally do to other people. Intentionally.  When one or both partners are depressed, you begin to shut out important parts of your marriage, the kind that keep you from being estranged. The kinds of things that derail your sex life. The kind of things that keep discomfort from wedging itself between you and a person you said “I do” to. It’s real and it happens every day.. With the way our world is today, in a fast paced society with demands to our jobs and time schedules where the sky is the limit — we tend to let it overwhelm us completely and leave little time for “mental maintenance” and the first person we vent to when that happens is usually our spouse, there is a healthy vent that goes a little something like this:

Healthy Vent: “You know, I’m really under a lot of stuff right now, and X and Y and Z are causing serious issues with the way I feel right now and I just need to talk about it!”

Great, use your partner as a sounding board – but not if you’re going to point fingers. Unless you’re asking for your spouse to immediately shut down and withdraw themselves from being there for you little by little – or maybe all at once – then be my guest.

Unhealthy Vent: (any use of curse words is going to change the way the other person is viewing this conversation, they may immediately feel like this a Bitch Session instead of a mental health maintenance session.)  “I am depressed and upset and angry right now and you’re not doing a very good job at helping me or making me feel better – and you’re being a (insert explitive) for not seeing whats going on with me.”

Spouses are not mind-readers, in any way. You stand to  dramatically lose the ground you’re walking on.  Don’t talk yourself out onto the “plank” where you have pushed yourself and your spouse so far out of the conversatiion  to where they’ve shut down and they are bouncing on the edge of never being willing to be emotionally/mentally there for you..

Your job as a spouse to a depressed person is to get them help – you need to find a way- go out of your way- to help. And sometimes just one spouse stepping out and saying, I know this is going on and I’m going to go OUT OF MY WAY to help you seek help without passing judgement, can sometimes in itself, aid in the healing process of depression. When I say “without passing judgement” I mean the following…

“Bitch/Dickhead(desired explitive whatever), you’re depressed  and pissing me off so I’m going to call the men in white coats to come get your ass and get you some god damned help.”

…is offering help while angry – and passing judgement. I advise strongly against this… This is like putting all your money for the night into the penny slot machine and then betting the whole dollar amount of what you posess on the very first spin. Not a very good idea, because then you’re out of money…and it’s game the hell over.

There are thousands of organizations nation wide who provide free or close to free counseling services, some even psychiatric services with prescriptions if needed, for people with little to no insurance and who are down on their luck in the finances department.

If your spouse refuses counseling, then he or she is refusing to help themselves – and you cannot help somebody who will not help themselves. Yeah yeah yeah “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink.” Right. Very true. But depression can sometimes be more serious than that.If they refuse counseling or family therapy of some kind – after a waiting period and a few more attempts within reason, you may want to consider some more “drastic” options. Keep in mind – you may not understand this as the person on the outside of your partners depression, that depression can make you do and say the most idiotic things and though they should be held accountable for their actions, anger for what they do or don’t do or say or don’t say, should be relative to their depression.  

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143 thoughts on ““How to Live with a Depressed Wife” : 101

  1. I agree 100 percent…the hardest part of dealing with depression is how I feel about the way I treat My boyfriend when Im feeling depressed. I hate my self for the way I act sometimes…When I just want to be normal

  2. Didn’t they just clinically prove that less sleep and more exercise almost completely banishes depression…? Ok waking someone up every three hours is hardly a long term solution but all too often we are focused on fixing problems rather than getting on with enjoying life.

    Positivity breeds positivity. Try going five days without saying a negative word or having a negative thought. If the thought comes into your head, delete it and replace it with something else and if you can’t say something positive, then say nothing at all and smile instead.

    I guarantee you this works.. but its really hard to do as we all too easily complain before we compliment.

    I have done this once or twice and I can tell you its “life changing”.. because in the end when you elminate negativity, then all thats left is positivity and positivity breeds positivity.

    Right I will get off my soap box now.. 😉

    1. Paul, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Less sleep and exercise does not get rid of depression. It’s an illness…the same way diabetes is an illness. Negative thoughts need to be addressed, not pushed down.

      1. The illness can be treated with many medicines – exercise, and good eats can help – often not the only course of treatment but it helps. One way to help treat diabetes is with exercise and good eating along with medication.

      2. You should really read the research on this. It is totally a frame of mind issue. If you re-frame you mind you re-frame the issue. My wife said to me “Swype said im a loser”. Did Swype (a program on her phone) call her a loser? No. It said “please try again”. She re-framed what happened and called herself a loser. Calling it an illness is a way to give up control. Calling it an illness is a way to say I can’t fix this, there is nothing I can do. Calling it an illness is a the easy road (hopelessness) and the easy road will never get you where you’re meant to go (joy).

  3. Thanks for the post. You have some great observations. A part of the real challenge of depression is recognizing that the person is not in control. No one gets up and decides to be quasi-suicidal. And I’m all for more sleep and exercise, but I doubt very much if anything has been proven without a doubt there.


    1. The loss of control is a choice. It is a default action you perform every time you chose to follow the hopeless path. I was depressed for 8 or more years. Christ helped me come out of my depression but now that I have lived through it I understand it better. I can tell when I’m heading down a road to depression. When you repeat a negative phrase in your head your are choosing depression. When you say mean spirited things you are choosing depression. When you look at the world as a cynic you are choosing depression. We cannot always choose our thoughts, but we can choose which ones to focus on and which ones to reject. It is not hopeless and you or they do have the power to fix the situation.

      1. RockytheWinkle, I agree with you to some extent. There’s an element of choice in how people deal with their depression, and I suspect some choose defeat more easily than others. At the same time, I disagree with your comment up above that it is “totally a frame of mind issue” and that calling depression an illness “is a way to give up control.” For some, maybe, just like some handle cancer, MS, AIDS or diabetes better than others. Some battle, and some give up. The difficulty with depression is that the illness itself affects your ability to confront the illness. It’s a Catch 22. Anyway, I absolutely agree that if you hand this cross over to Christ and ask for his help carrying it, you’ll do much better than relying on drugs and therapy alone.

      2. To some extent, Rocky. Part of the illness is often losing the ability to recognize the depression and where the line is drawn. It truly can be immediate and overwhelming or it could be a LONG gradual process that a person literally just becomes and does not recognize. For my own depression, I recognize it but feel powerless to it. My husband is very supportive and extremely caring and concerned. However, before, about 6 years ago, it was like a train hit me and no frame of mind or thought process could have saved me… it was bad and terrible… 😦

  4. Often search for advise especially when my wife is in a depressed state of mind. A difficulty I wrestle with is that for the last 32yrs. I have offered my wife help in every way imaginable, from talking about her feelings to a walk, nap, sex, time out to rest, what ever she feels would fit, but when she is in the mood to be emotionally abusive to me or in the past our children, she seems to wollow in the single minded desire to just go at it as though she has some god given right to be as distructive as she pleases. She will invent scenarios or reconstruct events just so she has, in her opinion, something to start an arguement with, whether it is telling lies about myself or as I said in the past the children. I would agree with earlier comments that no one would deliderately behave in such a way but my wife has stated that on most occations she has wait for an opportune time to act to hurt so therefore I disagree that this type of attitude is not deliberate. When I ask my wife to be more carring and considedate she says she doesn’t care and that she has nothing to lose so why should she make an effort if she doesn’t feel like it. This is a difficult situation for me when only one of us is contributing to the relationship based on mutual care and respect on a constant basis. Thank you for you time, Chris

  5. Hi,

    I absolutaley agree what chris says as i lived the same things over 5 years with my wife and I know how difficult to live eith a depressed wife sometimes its very hard to take all that critisisms that you don’t deserve anyhow but you have to take it just to save your marrriage and your family at the moment as well I am strugling to keep my relitionship standing because my wife allways belame our marriage as a reason, to her sickness and she sees separtion is the only way that she can heal herself, but there more serious matters than that a 3 years old baby that needs a care as well, at the moment the conditions are not looking very good for me but I did all i can to get a help hopefully they will get us a marriage counselling and my be I can save our relationshiop and at the end all our life, this is the one thing that she doesn’t understand her sickness is affecting of all our life not just her.If she she realize this things can be different, I am wishing help from god for all the people who is living the same situation as me.

    1. I’m 25 yrs old and have a 4 and 2 year old daughter. It hurt me when I asked my wife if she wanted to be with me and she said no. She says she wishes at times she didnt have kids. She is hurting as bad as me I believe. I saw a councelor yesterday and it was good for me to break down and cry like a baby. She agreed to see him today. I’ll say this, I got down on my knees this morning and prayed to God while she held my hand. That felt better than anyone could imagine. I know your post is old, but I pray that you two are happy and everything worked out for the best. I’d love to hear from you. My email is chill3011.ch@gmail.com

  6. What I don’t seem to find any help for are people like me, Chris and whoever else out there who went into marriage expecting an equal partnership, but who find themselves instead in the role of a “care taker” of an angry “adolescent.” All the information dealing with depression is focused on the depressed person. Yet it is the nurturing spouse who is left with carrying the load for the “relationship” (if you can really call it that), and is left wondering after all of the loving, caring, tolerating, and dealing with the depressed spouse is spent out of our systems, who is going to love us? Healthy, loving spouses are not robots. We desperately need love and affection as well to keep us going. I think the reason there is not information out there to help us is that there is no hope of that coming to us if we stay in the relationship. I also disagree that it is not the depressed spouses fault that they usually treat their spouses so badly. Why? Because as bad as my wife may feel, she can always pull it together to treat other people nicely. I am convinced that depressed people use this disease as an excuse to not take accountability for their own actions. They also tend to treat their spouses as if only they are feeling stress in life, and they will not validate any communication from their spouses to the contrary. I have come to the conclusion, after 22 years of “marriage” to a depressed woman, and after living through two affairs she has committed (but “didn’t mean to”, it was the “depression” you understand) that chronically depressed people just simply have no business being in a marriage relationship. They have a rough plight, to be sure, but that does not give them the right to make life hell to another who deserves to be in a happy relationship. Any comments?

    1. For better or for worst….if you want to go back on that commitment to a promise you made then that is the choice you are making.

      The problem is when we get into a marriage we don’t realize that there are going to be more downs than ups. That is why being committed to staying married will many times mean that your happiness can not be dependant on your spouse but on God to get you to a place where happiness and peace will exist.

      If your not a Christian you will not understand this statment but God is the only one that can fill the void that your spouse can not fill. He will also Bless you for your faithfulness which might mean fixing what is broke..in your spouse and you.

  7. “AMEN” TO ALL OF THE ABOVE. It is obvious that all of the contributors want to remain with their spouses. and of course separation and divorce are always options..
    But when a couple are married for many years this is not an option in most cases. All those years to sacrifice is too sad to comprehend much less take action to dissolve them.
    But then again, we want to have a “happy ” relationship..and both be happy..so how can we do this when one person wants happiness and the other seems to want to make his or spouse miserable ALL THE TIME.
    We are only on this earth for a relatively few years and we need happiness and purpose not continually living in some of the examples above.
    So any more or new suggestions.????

  8. Having been thru the mill of working my guts out as my wife submits her career to retrain & bear our kids. I work in the arts and spent most of time during this period on the road a lot. It involved a lot of travel both local (AUSTRALIAN) and International. I always felt like shite.

    But anyhow after my last trip overseas I came home & picked up my son who puked all over me, an amount of vomit I have never seen. He was upset – I couldn’t give a shite – we climbed into the shower together wiping puke off each others clothes laughing as the lumps ran down the swally.

    I’ve been suicidally depressed about having kids due to my folks never letting me know about abuse until I was 24.

    I thought I would be like my grandad – who raped my mom.

    My parents never caressed me our gave me hugs – shit I didn’t realise until I was 22, they were afraid.

    Anyhow – It was myself dealing with the fact that I was never touched (nicely) & made sure that my kids can express & articulate: emotion, love, hate, dissapointment and sadness before the age of 4.

    You always remember how you were treated as a kid

  9. My wife won’t admit it, but she misses her ex lovers/friends with benefits.

    I’ve gone so far as to tell her that I love her enough to just let her go.

    Nothing is the same now, that I discovered she was discretely trying to make casual meetings with these chaps. Not one, but two of them. Has anything happened? Don’t think so. But the reality is, she still feels something, because she hasn’t seen these guys in 10-20 years.

    A shame. We’re such a fun couple, but wtf can you do, right?

    Life goes on. :-\

  10. Dear Paul B.: I used to think the same way you do…that if my wife would just mature, think positively, “snap out of it,” drink coffee in the morning, look forward to something….she’d get out of these “spells.”
    After 15 years of marriage with a depressed wife, after counselling, after hearing from depressed people, I can tell you, I’m sorry but an attitude adjustment is not the answer.
    I’ve heard two explanations that resonated for me:
    Being depressed is like being a drowning person who is told “Swim harder!”
    Being depressed is like being awakened at 3 a.m. by someone throwing a bucket of cold water on you, and then being expected to act normally.
    The only solution is to leave behind any ideas of marriage being a 50-50 proposition and turning it into a 100-0 proposition. For the sake of her, for the children, and the marriage. Counselling, medication, and prayer also work. God bless.

  11. I have been married for 10 years and have three beautiful little girls.

    My wife has been depressed for about 5 months now due to an emotinaly infedility I had committed but we have had some marriage problems in the past… I think my infidelity broke her completely.

    In fact that now she has asked me to leave the house (not sure temp or for good as she doesn’t know either) and by all means damitt I deserve it but our kids don’t.

    It is hard to understand depression and what someone is thinking, feels, or doesn’t feel. It is hard to be happy and stay happy after learning that it is me that she that makes her angry,sad, and every other emotion that she has every minute, every hour, everytime her heart beats. She is a beautiful, caring, and good hearted woman who has always helped anyone and everyone out.

    I feel very bad that she has gotten so bad that I have had to leave the house.. I miss my kids, our home, her, and our family. She has forgiven me, she doesn’t blame me for anything as we have both committed errors and it is important that we forgive ourselves. I have asked her to seek counselling with or without me, the meds are not working and I’m writing here because I needed to vent. I want to yell and wake up from this awful nightmare and all she wants to do is wake up.

    Because of all of what has happened lately, starting 2010 a new year living alone its not the way I planned it. I have decided to donate my time to a local charity and help others that are faced with the same issues that I am going thru, because depression is a sickness and we need to be aware of it and educated, we all need someone to talk to, we are all humans and we all bleed the same.

    I pray for everyone that is living with a loved one that is depressed to stay strong, love unconditionally and God Bless.

  12. I agree with Bob, there is little support out there for us spouses who are dealing with the stress of a depressed spouse day to day.
    For myself I knew about the depression before we got married 18months ago and most days I think I am supportive and strong for her. But every now and again I just want to SCREAM at her, at the world and just not go home. The feeling passes and I know that this cannot be done as it would be the end of our marriage and possibly the end of her. But all I find when searching the internet is advice or suggestions on how to help them in their depression or your marriage, but not on how to help ourselves.

    1. You know, all of you bring up very valid points…

      Ian you said “But all I find when searching the internet is advice or suggestions on how to help them with their depression or your marriage, but not on how to help ourselves.”

      Which is so true, but it’s a question I don’t have the answer to as I’ve been in my husbands shoes when he dealt with depression but nothing compared to the hell I probably put him through when I was suffering, literally, of post partum psychosis and depression and misdiagnosed PPD – medicating me for bi polar when I didn’t have bi polar, etc etc…

      It almost shoves you into your own hellish cycle of depression.

      The only advice I have, honestly, that helped me when I was desperately falling apart was/is to always see my spouse in a happy mood, always smiling and always motivated – this helps me to feel like things aren’t so bad when inside my head the depression made me want to fall completely to pieces – but this seemed to be the glue that held me together. I understand that this will not work for people who are suffering from a very serious psychosis.. Take care.

  13. Wow. Married for three years to a depressed wife who is under the care of a Psychiatrist and on meds. After reading these posts, and others elsewhere, it becomes painfully obvious that I too have turned into a care giver instead of an equal partner. We are seeing a Psychologist to try to patch things up because I too can only take so much of what I truly believe is abuse, and I say something I end up regretting. In the three years we have been married, I have suffered immensely, like never before. We are in our fifties. She’s once left me while in Rome, disappeared and I spent hours looking for her and found her in our hotel room in a small town forty five minutes from Rome. I was ready to leave her right there and then, but being a man of faith, I forgave her. I’ve seen her go through entire big bags of candy in one sitting and rebuking me for saying something. She’s placed lit candles on bookshelves and again, I get put down when I asked her if she wanted to burn down the house. I am a Fire Fighter / Paramedic and I cannot put up with such insanity as that. She doesn’t work because she sleeps daily until well past noon. She wakes up with angry dreams and at times yells out four letter words. She does not cook and when I come home from work I usually end up having to cook a meal if I want to eat. She does not care about my feeling but is quickly upset when hers get hurt. She cannot finish anything she starts, misplaces everything, forgets everything including having to charge her cell phone, take meds, etc… She is supposedly a Christian lady who right after marriage stopped going to church, probably because she can’t get out of bed in time. She is late for everything and makes me late for things as well – if I wait for her. I love her dearly BUT what she is doing to me is destroying our relationship. I am starting to question if there is something else going on, such as a permanent personality trait that is nasty and she blames her depression for being extremely nasty at times. She lies, makes up stories, calls my very close friends to tell them lies about me. I am the only bread winner here and she treats me like her slave. She was quick to wanting to get married and that’s where I went wrong. I wanted to be friends for longer but she was really nice to me and we got along excellently. We got married and things rapidly changed. I too now question what is depression and what is simply a nasty personality, someone who needed to be looked after the rest of their life and feel free to make your life miserable. I too hate to come home some days. I sleep in my own room because her huge master bedroom is a cluttered mess with dog hairs everywhere. I’ve done the councelling once already two years ago and ended up giving in so as to keep things relatively tolerable. Now the bottle is full again and I am about to loose my mind. She hides stuff, gets into my private mail, does everything a rational person would not dare do. And she does it with the belief she has the right to it all. She was obsessed with eBay until she spent all of her money on boxes and boxes of new clothes. She told me she was going to open her eBay store and resell them. You guessed it, she never finishes what she starts. She is completely undependable and unreliable. She has no idea she is killing me slowly and if I dare bring it up, all hell breaks loose and I need to leave the room. I swear this is true and there is so much more to say. Perhaps I should write a book about my three years with such a dead beat in my life. She does nothing to change anything about herself. Someone mentioned excercise here. My wife tried it, but gave up her membership after a short time. She lost interest. It was too hard to get there, change, excercise and come home. My God, I am glad I have no children with this woman. If anyone reading this is thinking of marrying a depressed person, PLEASE DO NOT DO IT! You will be better off single the rest of your days on a deserted island, I am serious! Really check out your friend before commiting to marriage and if there is any indication of depression, or any mental afflictions, walk away now! My faith in God is the only thing that keeps me together and my work and workmates keep me sane. Bob, I truly believe you are right on with your statements. I am living out this crazy, manipulative life myself and I hate it as the very next day brings more issues, problems, and a wish I had never ever met this person.

  14. The question here is one of love. If Love is the willingness to extend oneself for the spiritual or emotional growth of another (M Scott Peck), then how much do you love your depressed spouse? Love is not an easy endeavor. On the other hand, one must extend that same love to oneself. The hardest part for me is the feeling of abandonment that emerges when my wife is in a depressive cycle. It feels like she has left me. So at the time that she needs me the most, I feel the least amount of energy toward supporting her. A vicious cycle.

  15. What I haven’t found much info on is what to do when the depressed spouse admits they’re depressed, says they don’t like their life and want to change it, recognizes that they aren’t treating you well but absolutely refuses to go to counseling, take medications or even attempt any new behaviors?
    Everything I’m reading just says how it important it is to get them to treatment. But how do you do that?
    I’ve seen recommendations to make the appointment myself – but my husband would have absolutely no problem missing an appointment — he simply wouldn’t go.

  16. My wife has been depressed for a long time. When she is depressed which is on and off she does treat me very poorly. I cannot do anything that pleases her. The more I try to be perfect the more I am put down, made fun of our scolded like a child. With that being said I do love her very much, I know that she has thyroid problems that can cause depression and other strange moods. With 3 kids it seems this effects her more after having each baby. I understand what each of the above are going through, and want you to know that I believe each minute of marriage is worth the fight, worth digging in and serving even if we feel that we have no reward. Some days I feel she hates me, but I have to remember that no matter what my wife needs me and I love her and am committed to her and want to see her better. I have gotten her to go to counseling and pray for her daily. I have read up on depression and how to make people feel loved. Does it always work, NO but I have hope that one day God will deliver her from the depression and we will be the couple we are meant to be. Stay encouraged, serve your wife, trust God. I have given everything I have to my Lord Jesus Christ and my relationship with my wife is in His hands.

    1. Thanks Garrett, we both are going through similar stuff. And we both are committed to love. Love is painful, it is the willingness to endure pain for your beloved. I am in the same boat tonight. I have asked, well insisted, that my spouse stop certain abusive patterns. I have begun to note down what happens for my own sanity. By noting it I understand it, and I can simplify it and ask her to address it. But man, avoidance and procrastination is what i see, followed by a repetitive cycle of depression induced abuse. Garrett I will pray that you and all men can be loving husbands. Please do same for me god bless.

  17. i just got married Jan.15th. turns out my wife was abused in so many ways i can’t even fathom. she has been married before, once to a physically abusive idot and once to a narsacistic puke for 15years. this has sent her into a depression. she can now, in a “safe” environment let these demons out of the closet. how do you deal with someone else’s pain and suffering? i’m running short of breath just seeeing her in the morning, spending all my time reassuring her that i love her and wish us to be married until the end of time. she gets it for about 5 minutes then it starts over again. insecure, unhappy, angry, self conscience etc.. what do i do? help me please

  18. I can relate with many of the comments above. I’ve been married for 17 years to a woman who has rheumatoid arthritis, and now she has tested positive for lupus. I feel like I have carried her for 17 years. In addition to the physical condition, she has suffered with extreme anxiety and depression continuously. We have 4 kids (ages 15, 11, 7 and 4) and I know that had we not gotten pregnant after just 3 months of marriage I would have annulled. I am an idiot for not putting a stop to the children, but I was young and naïve, and just hoped that things would eventually change.

    17 years and 4 kids later we are both miserable, as always. She is miserable because she knows no other way to be, and I am miserable because I want something more out of life! I’ve threatened to leave her several times throughout our marriage, but my spiritual beliefs always win in the end and I re-commit to my life of service, patience and hope that one day she will get better and stay that way.

    I’m just so tired of not having a true partner; always having to carry her, and do so much of the work! I do the grocery shopping, prepare meals, get up in the morning and get the kids ready, taken them to school, and get myself ready and to work while my wife lays in bed staring at the ceiling. The laundry doesn’t get done, the house doesn’t get cleaned regularly, we never have clean towels, and I do my own laundry to make sure I have clean socks and underwear, otherwise I WON’T. I have to force feed her often and I feel guilty when I don’t bring her breakfast in bed. I wouldn’t expect her to do the majority of these things if she weren’t a stay at home mom.

    Still, she is a good person, very attractive, with a good heart. But the never-ending depression, lack of energy and enthusiasm, lack of structure and organization, low self-esteem, it’s taking its toll on me and our kids. I resent her so much because she drags me down every day. Everything depends on me, and the load gets heavy. The very infrequent times I get sick and need bed rest (maybe once every 2 years), she always becomes sicker than me and I have no one to care for me! All I can say is I AM SO TIRED, and more emotionally than physically.

    If you are married to a person who has a history of depression and emotional problems, and you are miserable, leaving him/her is not an easy decision. Here’s the bitter truth: It takes tremendous courage, something that I have not yet had the ability to muster up. I’ve been too afraid to take the leap, in fear of the unknown. I’ve restricted myself, not to mention the entire family, from greater happiness and freedom as a result of my lack of courage. Finally, I’ve refrained from leaving my wife with whom I know I’m not compatible, in fear that he/she will find another who can love her more and make her happier than I have. This is very selfish behavior on my part, and I understand it only because I’ve lived it for a very long time.

    I care about my wife very much, but it’s hard to live with and love a person who is addicted to depression. It’s also hard to leave that person when you’ve built a family together and are responsible for precious children for whom you want to provide a stable family environment and culture.

  19. So many of us can relate to what Baffled says. Since my last entry in November, I’ve come further toward understanding how to cope. I’ve tried to build acceptance into my life, and losing the animosity and resentment that was so often there in the first dozen years or so. My faith helps a great deal…in fact it’s the only way I know to do it. You have to love your wife and your children, more than anything else in your life. Then you just do what you have to do to get through it. Turn the resentment into something positive…work, prayer. Unless your children are being threatened in some way. And you know what, it takes more courage to stay than to leave. I’m praying for you and all those posting here.

  20. I’ve lived with a depressed wife for the past 15 years and I think I have an answer to some of you.

    Depression is cyclic. For some that cycle could be in the matter of hours (some more intense downs and other hours up) or it could be like my wife a matter of weeks, with one week of the month normal and the next week a trend downwards.

    Once you identify the cycle your own partner is in, you can try these tips to help you perhaps start to COPE FOR YOUR SELF AS WELL:

    1. NEVER try to explain, talk through or deal with depression in the midst of the depressive cycle, it is not only like banging your head against a wall of brick covered in titanium, it can actually intensify the negative feelings etc.

    2. WAIT and identify the slight/slow/mild upswings. THERE ARE ALWAYS some upward trends for most depressed people.

    3. ONCE YOU IDENTIFY UPWARD TREND, that’s when you can engage but primarily using techniques not words. For instance suggest excercising together (take a brisk walk, doesn’t have to be intense), suggest a health food store and buy some things that help her/you with depression like ST JOHNS WART, etc. These are all attempts to gently help her and YOU get some positive movement out of depression and are tangible:

    – excercise indeed helps offset some affects of depression
    – some medicinal herbs and healthy diet does help also (eating B6 vitamins AND fish oils helps I know as personal experience)
    – engaging positively with the spouse helps both feel less hurt and more hopeful
    – and it give you some thing to do other than negative

    4. EXPECT the downward cycle to occur again!
    This is vital, because even after some positive times, eating healthy, excercising together, she will STILL FALL into depression because this does not change over night.

    5. REPEAT but expect to see an anomoly
    I noticed that after a while her depression got WORSE before it actually improved! I don’t know why, perhaps because I noticed it more as I tried to help her with it. But after a few months the ENTIRE DEPRESSIVE downs reduced in frequency and length.

    6. EXPECT imprefection
    No, this is not a CURE. It is a way I have tried to personally deal with a spouse who drained me through her attitude caused by depression. So, it is not going to all of a sudden fix your problem, but I can say from my own life experience, after a while it MASSIVELY HELPS both of you reduce the symptoms and pain.

    I hope this helps someone, as it was based on my own experience and my sadness that no one actually says the truth, which is that IN DEPRESSION NO ONE CAN PROPERLY RESPOND EVEN TO TREATMENT! You first have to work using the up cycles where the depressive signs are limited or gone and use those times, however brief to make in roads against the depression.

    Depression is probably caused by a combination of :
    – gargage foods with high fats
    – poor self esteem that exacerbates and mood swings
    – emotional trauma or early life pains
    – and chemical/physiological issues that come from monthly cycle etc

    That’s why even counselors seemed to not really “fix” anything, but talked alot around the issue. The issue is HOLISTIC, not specific for most people who don’t have really deep depression issues.

    I hope this helps!

  21. Thank you to all the old codgers out there! You have just helped me make up my mind. I am 25 have been married for 3 years to a woman who is depressed, and have a beautiful 2 year old daughter… I’m going to file for divorce.

    The question is, how do I help my daughter? Once I leave I know she’s going to take brunt of it, and because my wife is unable to do whats best for her, out of spite, I am sure I will not get custody.

    Oh btw, I never took any of her shit, and all that did was give her the impression that I was cheating on her.

    And to all those who are reading this and are depressed… It sometimes is a lovely state of mind to be in, but you can’t take it out on anyone else. Remember Jealousy and Abuse are the same thing. If you can’t cope with the thought that the “love of your life” is with someone else… Don’t marry them, a. you obviously don’t trust them, and b. you are showing them what you are thinking about doing.

  22. Well I guess I am not the only one out there being a caretaker to a depressed person!

    That being said, I agree with most of the above comments from just not being able to take it anymore to not even getting involved with someone depressed. The million dollar question is how do you help someone who is chronically depressed? My wife is completely oblivious to depression, something I blame mostly on her lack of education, as she can’t see or doesn’t want to hear about how she could feel better and healthy. I am the main breadwinner, take care of our two boys who are two and three, cook, clean, manage everything in the household etc. It is actually to the point where I have to manage her depression by having every choice revolve around the “what if” scenarios. We can’t even purchase a house as I have to preserve our savings in case she decides to walk our or kill herself. During the four years we have been married, she has tried to kill herself four times from threatening with a knife to overdosing on pills. She lost a great job by literally going crazy and making the employer have no choice but to fire her after the episode when even the cops couldn’t calm her down. Now with our two boys it kills me to hear her yell at them, which I do record just in case she ever leaves and wants to try and get custody. To be honest, now when she threatens to leave or does leaves I just let her go, if she takes a whole bunch of pills, I just let her have the belly ache as I know it is just for attention. I don’t know how much more I can take and my only goal is just to survive and make sure my boys are taken care of as that is the only thing that matters, and I fear it is only a matter of time before I realize it is doing them more harm the good to be around such a toxic person.

  23. Wow, how very very sad to read all these stories. I am the person who suffers from depression, a difficult treatment-resistant type of depression. I have spent years researching this illness, working hard with my psychiatrists and therapists to achieve a sustained remission. Some medications work for a while, and then suddenly I get “breakthrough symptoms” and I start spiraling back down into a depression. For the past 3 years, the remissions have been shorter, and the relapses longer and more severe. I have hated the burden that this placed on my husband, and he knows it because I have said this to him many, many times. However, after reading all these posts, I guess I have seen myself through the eyes of others, and for the first time perhaps I’ve sadly realized just how hard this has been on my husband. I have wanted so badly to get “well” and get well “quickly” to take the pressure off my marriage. My husband is a psychiatrist himself, but that fact alone does not necessarily make it any easier to live with someone with depression on a daily basis. During my recent hospitalization (due to coming off one medication that didn’t work and starting another one), my husband came to see me during visiting hours and told me he wants a divorce. I was always fearful of this, but I wasn’t exactly expecting it. I was (am) devastated, and I feel like my entire life is in ruins. I love my husband, and would give anything to be well so I could take care of HIM…but it seems I’ve run out of time. We have been married 5 years, together for 8. I have two stepchildren, ages 15 and 17. I have not heard from my husband or the children since he came to the hospital to tell me he did not want me to come back home (I have been staying at my mother’s since leaving the hospital.) As devastated as I am, after reading all these comments here, I guess I understand how unbearable I must have been. That makes me so, so sad. I am so sorry. I did not choose to have this illness; it is the worst thing I have ever gone through. And I am so sorry that this illness hurts other people to such a degree. Anyway, it’s over now. I still have the depression; the new medication is not yet working, and I don’t know if it will work; and I have lost absolutely everything in the world that is important to me: my husband and stepchildren. But clearly, it is all my fault to begin with. God, I am so ashamed of what I must have put him through.
    Suzanne Kaplan ~ Maryland, USA

    1. Hi Suzanne: I greatly appreciated your entry, but your last two sentences disturbed me. This condition is not your fault. A person suffering from cancer or other illness is not responsible for the fact they have the illness. You are not responsible for what you’re suffering. You’re only responsible for how you tackle it.
      It is possible however for a person who is sick to indulge in the sickness rather than battling against it. I suspect, but don’t really know, that some people with depression allow it to control their lives to a greater degree than it needs to.
      It’s the same with any illness…there are those who battle heroically, there are those who crumble and submit, and there are the vast majority in between. I’m sure your husband and family would appreciate you telling them you want to be a hero. God bless you and them.

  24. Dear Paul,
    Thank you for your kind and compassionate comments. Unfortunately, it is too late for me to tell my husband and stepchildren that I want to be a “hero.” They no longer want to have anything to do with me.
    I will say that I do not think I have indulged the sickness…I have battled it again and again to the point of exhaustion. I have had days where I told myself I was giving up, but I’ve never really been able to. I am still fighting, still holding on, even though I am a bit lost right now. The people I love, the family that inspired me to keep going, is gone forever.
    When I have had long remissions, I have nothing to do with depression. I don’t go around identifying myself as a “depressive” when I am free of symptoms. I am just grateful to feel well, and I want to live life to the fullest and pretend that this illness will never visit me again. But it always finds me again, eventually.
    I have written more about my own experience with this on my own blog, if you ever want to look at it. It is “The Invisible Prison” on WordPress, and I started writing during this most recent severe episode so I would have something to hold on to, to keep me going.
    Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. I wish I had done things differently with my husband and family. I miss them terribly.
    Best wishes,
    Suzanne K.

  25. Interesting site.
    Wife depressed severely after birth of our child. I’ve been accused of things I would never have imagined. WIfe will be depressed, claim cannot sleep, all the symptoms discussed above. She was a decent, hard working honest woman before. Now there are messes everywhere, she accuses everyone of making messes, is all the above. When the accusations start, I simply leave and give space. Usually calm is restored. I don’t argue, don’t give in.

    Love my son dearly. Will give her some time to sort thru it, it is a little better than last year. She knows and was told by a doctor she needs to exercise. Needs to eat better, lose weight. Platitudes, lip service and excuses are all I see for this advice. Fun is largely out of our lives together at this point, sex is only after my suggestion, which is more of a chore..contrary to how things were before the child.

    I’m not naive, have read the posts here, done some research and understand this could be a lifelong ordeal. Personally, I cannot or will not live that way. I had big plans for our future, investments and fun business ideas to grow together. Now I find I must instead plan for a future apart and prep to battle for custody of the child if and when it is necessary.

    I never, ever thought this is how life and marriage were to be. I’ve had to wrestle with my own conscience about this idea of needing to hoard resources for a divorce hoping it doesn’t come instead of growth together. (Most resources were mine prior to marriage) What kind of marriage is it where you have to watch the other and not build? I’m a realist tho’ and have seen many marriages fail due to depression. .. and often the depressed spouse has an affair. Once divorced, they hit the gym, land the next guy .. .yada yada!

  26. No one understands the pain that depressed spouses inflict on their mates than someone who has experienced the brutality of it. Nothing hurts as much as being mocked, criticized, attacked harshly and cruelly, year after year, by someone you love. I have to remember that I promised on our wedding day I would love her till death do us part. And so I stay, and love her, because I choose to, not because I feel it. She needs me, and I hate to think of what would happen if I left her. And frankly, if the shoe was on the other foot, I’d like to think she’d stick by me in my illness…because that’s truly what this is, a savage illness.

  27. To Paul Z:

    Thank you so much for your comments. Your characterization of depression as a “savage illness” is spot on. But what I appreciate most about what you wrote is your dogged determination to keep your commitment to your wife, despite how difficult it can be (and I’m sure at times it feels impossible and you must have moments where you feel you can’t take it anymore.) Your compassion moved me to tears when I read your words. I have suffered terribly with depression for the past 3 years, and I was hospitalized for 9 days in September. While I was in the hospital, my husband came to see me, to tell me he was leaving me. I understand why he feels he can’t deal with this anymore. But, as you said yourself, if the shoe was on the other foot — if it were my husband that had this illness — I know I wouldn’t leave, even if I felt like it, because I made a promise to him when I married him. And something in me just wouldn’t allow me to live with myself if I abandoned someone at their most vulnerable. I couldn’t do it.
    Thank you for letting me know that there is at least someone out there — you — who has decided to stay. I hope and pray for you that your kindness, compassion, devotion, and integrity will pay off for you in eventual wellness for your wife. She does need you right now, and she indeed would decompensate if you left her. But I would really like to believe that the sacrifice you are making now will be rewarded at some point in the future. Your wife has a much better chance of getting well and staying well if she doesn’t have to go through the trauma of abandonment and divorce on top of her struggle with depression.
    I admire your strength and courage in choosing to stay, and I admire your ability to see the difference between the person and the illness…and sometimes it is incredibly difficult to make the distinction. Those of us with depression don’t make it easy on anyone…but you seem to understand that we are suffering, too, and not intentionally trying to hurt the ones we love.
    Thank you, Paul. You really helped me today.
    Suzanne Kaplan

  28. Well, I lived it…and going through the after effects of trying to stay together. First, I wish she wasn’t like the way she is because I wanted to keep the family together. However, she tricked me to believe she would follow me to another state for a new job but only once the kids were out of school. Soon as I left she filed for divorce. She tried to say I was having an affair and all that crap. She refused to let me see the kids until court made her. The first judge yelled at her for what she was trying to do (take kids to live with parents in another state). The judge would not allow it…and because I was granted the summer with my kids she moved to the same town as me. We went back to court…got a new judge and he didnt give a crap. Gave her everything. I live 1.5 miles away and still could not get 50/50. Her parents came to visit with them yelling at me saying they would get a restraining order on me. This is after I brought her food after the kids and I ate at a resturant. I stood there asking what for??? I do know she has been talking behind my back for years but still dont know what lies she told. We did try to go see someone but when they agreed with me that was over. Now I have to fight for my kids because she sits on the couch all day taking 60% my pay and ignores the kids. She was on and off meds the 8 years I was with her…she was on meds before I met her but she didnt tell me until a year later. She has said things to my face I know aren’t true and she knows but forgets what lies she has told. All I can say that I believe she is truly evil. Everytime I see her I dont know how she is going to be. one day ask how i am doing…the next beeping the horn saying she will not have to wait for the kids anymore to get in car. I really wish the court systems would be different. My kids would be better off with me but all they see is the womans wants. Bitter…I am!

    1. Kikuras,

      The feminist influence on our courts is denying many good men their rights, and hurting many children. There is such thing as a female abuser, however, she is emboldened by the state apparatus that gives her way too much power. There are many good women out there, who do note abuse, however our common laws are out of balance, and it hurts everyone.

      1. Regarding the bias toward mothers in the courts, I spent 8 years in family court trying to get custody. I later found out that in 1980 the statistic was that 3% of fathers were awarded custody. I was appealing to a Catholic judge that had his mind made up and didn’t want to be confused with the facts. Thirty years later, the courts have come around to a more balanced view.

      2. I know quite a few Dads who have custody and a few who had custody in 1987-1988, etc. It was definitely a tough fight. I know a lot of Moms who presently do not have custody of their kids for a multitude of reasons.

        My husband and I are separating, at the moment, and the only way we want to make this work is to be amicable and do what is absolutely best for our children… Because they are most important.

  29. Wow! Its a shame so many people have to go through the same thing I’m going through. I’m a bit ignorant to all of this. Yes I found this site tonight because I had nothing to turn to. I don’t know if I want to deal with my wife anymore. I love her dearly and will do anything for her but she is killing her own family. Tonight, she yelled at me and blamed my poor mother”who does nothing but help us” for her not being able to find some Christmas ornaments. She is crazy. She tells me to go “f” my own mother all the time. She also tells me she doesn’t mean it but continues to say it. Its not that she says it. it is how she says it, with pure evil and of the cruelest intent. We have been married for over 8 years and we have three lovely cute boys. I knew she was depressed when I met her. I should have run, but she was beautiful and I was desperate. I thought i could fix her. I don’t think I can take another day of abuse from her. I do all the yard work, cook 90% of the meals, work a full time job while taking care of the boys. She works nights 3 nights a week, 12 hrs each as an LPN. She tells me she works all the time and never gets a break. She sleeps all the time because she claims she works nights so that’s why I interact with the kids all the time and do all the cooking. Shes always accusing me of cheating. She cusses all the time at me and the boys. Shes constantly angry about everything. At me, the kids, her family, her job, herself. She hates my family “with a passion” she says. Why? I don’t know. All they do is love her. I have given in to her, submitted to her, for the best of my ability for her to abuse me, the kids, my family, for more than 8 years. She’s always telling me she is depressed because I made her that way. She never has enough clothes, money, time. Tonight after I found those darn ornaments that she misplaced, she took off to go get some alcohol. I was so distraught over all the commotion about who lost the ornaments that I broke down and cried right there in front of our 3 boys. Yes they all saw me and came over to me. We all hugged and cried together out loud. She saw this and said “whatever” and left. I always act happy around her in hopes that it would rub off on her but she only gets angry. Nothing goes right for her. She is so nice to her patients at work, then she comes home and treats us like poop. She tells me the reason is because she does not want to lose her job. I tell her she would rather lose her family? She has not answer that yet as long as i can remember. I cant take this any longer. I need to vent before I do something drastic and stupid. Sorry for boring everyone. Just pray for us. Our boys do not deserve this. Its either I go get help for her, or we are done. God, give me strength to go get some help.

  30. Ok, after ten hours of reading about others peoples lives and quick researching depression, i have concluded that depressed people are just evil. You can control your actions toward other people. especially the ones you are supposed to love. Ok so if i am depressed and go out and murder somebody, its not my fought? Thats bs, that its not controllable. Depression is just evil, and i think its a choice and an excuse for evil people to justify their actions. I may sound ignorant and naive, but have been up all nite thinking and reading. This is what I muster. I give credit for the ones who has stuck with it. I have to do something before I snap and end up hurting her.

  31. I’ve taken a hard line the past few months and have seen things change a bit for the better. I’m fully prepared for divorce as stated above. Having that conversation in October, posting about it in November, and meaning what I said seems to help. I’ve read the threads here and I can’t help but think much of this gets gotten away with because it can..

    1. I think it is awesome how you guys are coming back here to talk and support each other. I’ve been the depressed wife and it is definitely not an excuse for evil… I can assure you. I feel all of your pain that is for sure…however, murder is not the answer ha ha.

      1. Thanks.
        Found I could be part of the solution or out. I meant what I say about getting out, and I noticed the majority of people depressed are overweight. My wife got that way. I got her moving. We walk, exercise together, etc. I strongly believe based on research much brain chemistry changes when you are inactive and overweight severely. Movement and aerobic exercise releases endorphins leading to a better outlook… and self esteem.

  32. I’m so sorry to hear about all of your struggles with depressed partners. Like Alyssa, I am a wife who has suffered from depression for 20 years. I can assure you that it is an illness, it is not a form of “evil.” However, I have to say, after reading many of your stories, I can’t help but think that some of you guys have wives who suffer from borderline personality disorder, rather than depression…although it is not uncommon for these things to coexist. As far as my own experience goes, when I was severely depressed I was not walking around screaming, shouting, throwing things and abusing my stepchildren and husband. In fact, I couldn’t even WALK at all. I was usually confined to bed, feeling horribly ill and unbelievably fatigued. I did not have the energy to talk, much less scream at anyone.
    Another thing I’d like to point out is the fact that I have always sought treatment for my depression…using both psychotherapy and medication. I have a somewhat treatment-resistant form of depression, so meds tend to get me in remission for a while, and then cease being effective. This is very frustrating and disappointing, but it has never stopped me from working very hard to get myself well.
    In my case, my husband DID decide to leave me, and I am sure all you men out there reading this are shaking your heads and going, “yeah lady, I’m sure he’s leaving you because you’re a bitch on wheels, and are only telling YOUR side of the story.” I can’t keep you from thinking that, but I can say that depression manifests differently in different people.
    Does it take courage to stay married to someone who is depressed? Yes. But it would take courage to stay married to someone with ANY chronic, debilitating illness. It is a challenge for the whole family.

    If you are married to someone who refuses to get help for themselves, I urge you to get help for yourself and your children. There are support groups for spouses of depressed partners. Try to find out if you have a local NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) chapter near you. They usually offer a caregivers’ support group. There are also a number of books on this topic. One that immediately comes to mind is titled “How You Can Survive When They’re Depressed.” At the moment I cannot recall the author’s name — sorry.

    I will pray for all of you, in hopes that things will get better. But I also urge those of you with wives who display unpredictable, angry, abusive behavior to do some research on Borderline Personality Disorder. Again, I don’t mean to tell you that your spouses are NOT depressed; they may well suffer from depression, but often depression coexists with BPD. Another thing to consider is the possibility that your wives may suffer from Bipolar Disorder, rather than Unipolar Major Depression. The treatments for these two distinct illnesses can be quite different, and your spouse may be taking medication for depression that can worsen the symptoms of Bipolar.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. No matter WHAT your spouse does or doesn’t do as far as treatment, PLEASE take care of yourselves and avail yourselves of the resources that are out there for relatives of persons with depressive illness.

    1. Hi Suzanne- exactly what I was thinking; a lot of these accounts sound more like BPD than just plain depression. Of course a lot of BPD sufferers are also depressed as well!

  33. I just wanted to add one thing to this thread… I’ve dealt on and off with my wife being depressed after our 2nd child. I was of the opinion that she just had to change her mindset, think happy thoughts, I can why cant you?! We got her on some meds and that did the trick. Years later she was depressed again,

    bla bla bal… anyways we went to a naturopath, did some tests and found that her progesterone, thyroid, and vitamin D levels were WAY off. Got some meds for those and problem solved. This is just another option that might work for some to look into. Women have lots of chemicals that get out of wak, get her into a naturopath and check under the hood.

    I call her my expensive sports car, that just needs extra care and parts to keep healthy 🙂

  34. iv’e lived with my wife 10 years come september as a married couple.
    and in that time for 90% of it she has suffered deppression,it’s like living with doctor jeckle and mr hide. one day she’s a box of birds the next she’s
    satin. And now i’m becoming the same. i,m not sure on the best plan of attack to help both of us,

  35. i do have a girl friend and i expect to marry me but even though i make a joke to her she becomes very sad and she can remain without communication even two or three weeks so how can i live with her?

  36. My wife of 21 years has had mild depression forever. It manifests in compulsive eating (she was bulemic when we met), defensiveness, angry responses to discussion, and general lack of self esteem. It also seems to make her give up on things easily as if she expects to fail. Prozac killed her sex drive for many years. We have 2 kids. I strayed and have ended a 3 year affair with a woman I work with and love, I believe, because she has so many of the traits I wish my wife had, both physical and emotional. I am no saint and have pulled back over the years and been passive-aggressive and non-communicative I have many of the same symptoms of others that have posted on this site in that I have become numb to trying to help over the years and have lost respect for her inability to help herself. Over time I started seeng everything in the context of the depression, and even making love was hard because I felt her body was a manifestation of the eating caused by the depression. I smoked pot for many years which helped to make everything smoother, but stopped 4 years ago. I find my tolerance level for the depression and it’s symptoms is gone.

    We are in counseling but I have not admitted the true extent of the affair. I want to be happy with my wife and be content in our relationship. I am not sure how. I am very fearful however of the next 20 having the same issues as the last. Since I blew up and threatened to leave, we started counseling. She is working hard on weight and has switched meds. We are going out, trying to connect and making love. She is very angry and betrayed. I am afraid to commit until I see a track record of change, but that is pushing her away every day. I am not being passive aggressive, which means I have vomited 20 years of pent up hostility in 4 weeks, which is a lot for her to digest. I think I love her and am trying to remember the her I married. It seems as I try to heal and come back, she is pulling back and starting to check out. Not sure if she will ever be able to move on from the infidelity or some of the things I said, and I am not sure if I can let go of all the little bricks I have been carrying.

    I’m not really looking for advice, but reading here made me feel the need to share my situation. The depression isn’t as serious as some other posts, but it has been a slow erosion of my faith in her and my ability to keep encouraging to no avail.

    Anyway, good luck to everyone.

  37. What if the depression is because the spouse is unsatisfied with how her life has turned out with her partner?…and financially, there is no way out? Then what?

  38. In response to Alyssa’s question, I’d say the depression we’re talking about here is a clinical, almost pathological?, condition that goes far beyond dissatisfaction with life’s circumstances. From my experience, it wouldn’t matter if everything was perfect in the truly depressed person’s life; they’d still be suffering the severe effects of this illness.

  39. Well, its nice to know other men are going through what i am going through. I feel so hopeless and lost when she is off the deep end. 10 years of marriage and the last 2 or 3 has felt like hell. She’s been diagnosed with manic depressive psychosis. She’s getting treatments now. She has a therapist and psychologist. She is also taking the thyroid medication. She has been admitted to the psyche ward a few times already last year I try to understand her and try to understand her depression. But i can’t help but think I am wasting my life with her. I just wish she used to be what she was before the marriage. I have 4 kids with her but I don’t know if i can muster up the courage or strength to continue this any longer.

  40. Thank you all for sharing your stories and perspective. I wish you and yours (especially your children) healing and happiness.

    My wife is sleeping on the couch right now because she thinks I don’t care how she feels. I’m on the floor because she has a bad back and she needs to get in the bed (I told her this).

    We have two beautiful little girls (4.5 and 15mos) and though she was diagnosed bipolar II, she hasn’t been on meds since we’ve been married (5 yrs, yeah, do the math!), we’ve managed to work through it through talking and therapy.
    We also agree she may be more depressed than bipolar.

    After reading all these entries, it seems that all are affected differently. I also have a newfound respect and appreciation for how my wife (and I) handles her disorder. While she does get angry/bitter and abusive, she earnestly shows regret afterwards. She has a good heart and worries deeply how her behavior affects me and especially our girls.

    And she fights it. She stays in shape, eats right, and feeds us well.

    And despite battling a lifetime of insecurities, she still sometimes instigates sex, which always goes well. I usually don’t come on to her b/c I’m not very attracted to her anymore b/c of the regular verbal abuse. Also, I’ve never felt comfortable coming on to girls. Most of the romance in my life was instigated by the women (including my wife who was quite agressive with me while dating). Of course, this does NOT help her self-esteem.

    Anyway, I don’t have much advice for anyone except that if you were like me and were fortunate enough to have 30+ yrs of a stable life of family, friends and love, do the right thing for you wife and kids and stick it out and keep trying. The mere thought of how my leaving would affect my wife and daughters puts my stomach in knots.

    I am the healthy one and I love my family desperately. I hold out hope for treatment/happiness (we’re setting her 1st psychiatrist visit tomorrow.). I’m also realistic and know that change is hard.

    I will be there for my family.

  41. Tragically, everything I now know about this disease I learned after getting married to a depressed person. I knew about most of her behaviors and tendencies before we were married, but thought they were mostly caused by the pressures on her from being a single mom with very little in the way of a support system and in a crappy career field. I saw the attractive, smart, thoughtful person in there and thought the support of a loving relationship and stable home would take care of the rest. Of course that was naive. In our case she is not completely dysfunctional. She works, takes care of herself, and shares some of the administrative and chore load around the house. But as one of the earlier posters stated, it’s the cycle that wears you down. As caretaker it’s easy to make excuses and just take the criticism, second guessing, paranoia, and defensiveness and get numb to it. But sometimes it builds up, and it’s not so much what’s happening that hurts but the realization of all you are never going to have in a partner. In my case I think I could deal with that, but I have 2 kids from a previous marriage and now I am extremely torn because it feels like the only way to take care of her and myself is to neglect the kids. I just don’t feel like I have enough for all three of them, and of course cannot abandon the kids. I am holding out for a better answer, but right now it feels like the only choice before me is to cut her loose and focus on the kids.

  42. If there were no kids, I would be out of here. Missed lots of signs pre-marriage (false accusations of cheating, adapting to my interests, backing out of social plans at the last minute, crazy mother, no father figure, etc). I viewed some of her surviving many challenges as evidence of her strong character, but I was wrong and I just got damaged goods. The only question I have now is whether the kids will be worse off with her alone (or maybe someone else) or with me staying. P.S. she always spends money somewhat faster than I can make it, which sometimes resulting in large credit card bills that I have to pay, leaving little for savings. I may just get an easier job that pays less money as there is not much money left in the end anyway. Once I figure out the equation of kids better off with or without me here, I can at least have some peace of mind as to the path to take.

  43. My ridiculously annoying depressed wife is in therapy ALMOST EVERY DAY of the workweek and is on meds and still hasn’t been able to live something resembling a normal life. I’m constantly on guard about what I say to her for fear of triggering some crazy depressive episode based on NOTHING. Sometimes I really hate her and want nothing at all to do with her. Like today. For the past month or so I’ve been asking myself nearly every day why I married her. I truly regret it.

  44. Hi Steven: all those feelings you’re experiencing — anger, hatred, fear — are exactly what we’re all experiencing, so welcome to our club.

    Now, you have to get past those feelings and your wondering what life could be like without her.

    When you married her you told her you loved her. Do you stop loving her because she has changed? Would you want her to stop loving you if the situation were reversed? Would you stop loving your children if they changed?

    I know it’s hard to understand in a world where people fall in and out of love and movie actors just move on to the next relationship, but that isn’t love. Those are mere feelings, which can change every day.

    A real man stands by his decision to love her even more, even when it seems almost impossible.

    Get some help for yourself from someone who isn’t going to counsel you to leave her. You might be the only thing in her life she can count on. You’re the man! God bless you.

  45. Hi all,
    I lived with my wife for 4years and she is suffering from the symtoms I read here. 1 more thing I add she always call police as well. i m fed up now. i have 2 beeutiful sons. I cant trust my wife anymore.she hates with passion my family and did everything to destroy them.she is too jealous.she screms,shouts,panic and she has whole dictionery of abuses.she is shameless.and doesn’t understand in which she is lending all of us.she cries a lot.
    on top of that she has a family who doesnt want to cooperate with me.( fish rot from the top)
    anyways i have now separated from her. thx to the laws of aus she can do much in this of me though i m an indian. she is highly educated and intelligent too. but as seen here she is suffering from bpd and depression. and i have now decided to leave her. matter is in court and I m negotiating with her to get the best for my kids.

  46. I wonder if there is a website to talk to other people in this position. I reccomend a book, “Stop walking on eggshells”.

  47. I am married to a deeply depressed woman who is 11 years older than me, and makes weekends horrible. She used to be fun to be around and was funny. Now, she sleeps till noon and only washes on weekends when she has to go to the psychologist’s office. Otherwise, she is greasy, unwashed, and dresses poorly. She is now overweight from eating ice cream, cookies, candy, and perfecting the sedentary lifestyle that she now enjoys and says she lives for each and every weekend. We used to worship together and that has changed because she cannot get up and wash to go to church together. Go alone? I’m asked about where she is and if she is OK.

    Her PTSD and depression stem from a MVA in May 2009, in which we were struck from behind at 65+ mph. She has become a low-energy, low-esteemed witch who speaks to me as if I am a jackass, stupid and that her depression is really my problem not hers. She told me today that she blames me for her problems because I decided to make a left turn to get out of heavy rush hour traffic, and that is why we were struck. Bear in mind that she once credited me for saving her life, and have a 60% hearing loss, post-concussive syndrome, a TBI, tinnitus, neck, hand, abdominal and oral surgery to correct numerous problems from this rear-end collision.

    She is an ungrateful, nasty bitch now who promises me that divorce will result in my paying alimony, buying her a new car and losing all of my settlement from the MVA once it is paid out. I resent her and I hate her for being the bitch she has become.

  48. I have been married to a depressed spouse for 8 months now. I knew she had a condition before we got married but I didn’t realize how serious it was until we started to live together. When she feels depressed, there is a dark cloud over us which never seems to go away. I try to motivate her, but in doing so, it makes her state of mind even worse. She sleeps all day, has no energy, doesn’t want to do anything and our sex life has deteriorated and I feel we have been married for 8 years (not 8 months). She has seen psychiatrists in the past and is supposedly on the right medication. Before we got married, I had thoughts that our marriage was going to be very unstable due to her condition and I was right. It is extremely difficult dealing with a depressed spouse and when you can’t do anything to help her, the marriage feels like it’s heading for a divorce. She feels very sorry that I have to go through this and sometimes she has even offered for me to find another woman to make me happier (for marriage, not an affair). This scares me because no matter what i do to try and strengthen this relationship, it falls apart when she is depressed. I have had ideas to end it now before it gets any worse but I cannot make that decision because I still love her and know she is a good person but I also feel that this marriage will be an unhappy one. She also wants to have a family next year and i told her that she needs to cure her depression and strengthen our marriage before bringing a child into our unstable lives. Any advice would be appreciated from those who have gone through this type of situation. Thanks!

  49. NT
    Sux to tell you this but right now you don’t have much invested. You think you do, but if the woman is telling you to get another woman, she doesn’t have much interest in you anyhow. Usually I hear either the depressed spouse or other will have an affair and it will end. Your sex life will not get much better and it will come and go. I will tell you from my experience I was prepared to kick her to the curb and it helped being prepared emotionally, financially to do so. My situation is different than yours from what I understand. I had a fully functional wife before the birth of our 2 yr old. Doctors think the chemistry change was all too much and the arthritis that came after, depression, etc was pushed on by the pregnancy at an elder age. (39) Here’s what you will be in store for:
    -messy house. Even if you are the one to clean, she will leave things and forget and mess, then occasionally blame others for losing things
    -tired, moody, unforgiving mother of your child and will not be a joyful parent
    -occasional lies and accusations that destroy intimacy which YOU will have to suck up and try to rebuild.
    -you already witness the sex life diminishment
    -usually overweight or will soon be and that has health concerns as well. .
    -many will stop working or slow down.

    Had I known what I was in for I would NEVER have signed up. No amount of beauty, money, professional success, etc would be worth it. If you leave now while she tells you to (it will end, just later more detrimental for you)
    you will save anguish and alimony.

    good luck

  50. Hi, Thanks for your feedback much appreciated!
    Every situation is slightly different when it comes to living with a depressed person. The reason she told me to find another woman is because she thinks I deserve better but actually loves me very much from what I can tell. This is only when she is in a very low depressed state which means everything in her life is dark and gloomy. The doctor said that if she has a child, it may cure her depression but I find that hard to believe. It is an illness and it is a powerful thing and whenever you are with someone who has this condition, they try and bring you down to their level. Thanks again. I will seriously think about my situation and make a decision. NT

  51. NT, I feel badly for you, and I’m praying for you.

    Let me just give you an alternate perspective from Prop Up’s advice, and you can judge what’s best for you.

    FIrst, I don’t know that I would take her remark about another woman too seriously…this illness does some crazy things and it sounds more like something someone in despair might say.

    My wife’s depression kicked in immediately after marriage, and since we began having children right away, there was no chance to stop and question it. Besides, my marriage vows meant I was going to stand by her come hell or high water, and we had both.

    The first 10 years of marriage were absolutely brutal, and mostly because I couldn’t accept the situation. I was very angry about her and disliked her intensely because I held her responsible for her situation. At the same time, our children are the absolute greatest treasure that ever came into my life. Sure they have some issues because of her illness and what it’s done to our relationship, but there isn’t a family that doesn’t have issues and isn’t dysfunctional.

    In the end, the few positives have outweighed the many negatives because love always wins out. It hasn’t been easy, and the times are still tough, but by accepting the situation I can live with it. I’m glad I didn’t leave. I’m the best person for her and what would my leaving have done to her and other children she might eventually have? (And I have to say, we do have some occasional very good times, probably because I don’t dwell on the tough times anymore.)

    I also couldn’t have got through it without support from God and Christ, who I know accompanied me on this path.

    God bless.

  52. Hi,
    Yes the few positives do outweigh the many negatives only if you are in love with the person. We choose whether to see the good or bad faults in people. Although most people have more bad faults than good, we try and focus on the good ones to maintain the relationship and give it support. No one is perfect, we all have our quirks. I try and understand her condition, but it is very difficult for me because I am always on the go, exercising, feeling good and she is the opposite of me. We are together for a reason and i think we need to communicate and learn from each other despite this serious condition she has which makes it much more difficult.
    All we can do is try and make it work and if the depression is stronger than our love, then at least we can say that we tried.
    Tolerance is something that few people have today which is the reason for all the divorces. Time will tell……..

  53. NT, I agree with Paul. Lots of opinions and like you said every situation and woman is different. My wife had postpartum depression with each of our children. Over the years and cycles of depression we found a common thread to it all. We live in Washington and the weather doesn’t help 😉 but seriously… we got her to the Doc and on some antidepressants. Then we went to the Naturopath, had some blood work done and found out body chem, was all messed up. And then I prayed. You do what is right, that’s all you can do. The rest is out of your hands. Love her up and fight for her. I’ve seen too many men stop fighting too early or not at all. Love is an act of the will more than it is an emotion. I choose to love my wife even when I don’t “feel” like I do.

  54. The good news is that she is getting help with psychatric care and medication, although i prefer the homeopathic way of things.
    Each person has to decide what’s best for them.
    Being single or being married? Being married to someone with a condition is not the ideal situation but it does provide meaning to our lives…………to help one another in good times and bad times.
    If it doesn’t work down the road, I could say that I gave it my best shot.

  55. My wife is depressed, but unlike most of you posters who seem to be victims of an abusive depressed person: I am actually at partially to blame. I see her condition as her problem, so I constantly advise, nag, criticize, comment etc. This contributes to her feelings of worthlessness and hatred of me.

    I’m sorry. I am not a trained psychologist.

    The problem is EVERY SINGLE thing my wife does is to her own detriment or my childs. She does not understand CAUSE AND EFFECT. She claims she wants to have a peaceful house but withdraws and/or acts abusively to me.

    She refuses counseling or help. She believes she is being punished for her sins in this life and in a previous life. She believes that God is a vengeful entity with no love or forgiveness. I have no idea where she gets this from: she wholly rejects religion on the ground that it is “made up by men”

    So where does this leave me?
    I live for 15 years with a miserable woman who is sad 99.99% of the time. She believes death is the best solution, a wonderful thing.

    She either starves herself or eats sugar/carbs.

    Our daughter shows symptoms of depression.

    She has MANY TIMES offered me to get divorced or go off with another woman.

    So out of guilt I stay. I feel sorry for her. She is lonely and pathetic. I want to help her and protect her, but she attacks me for doing so.

    She refuses to be a proper parent, make tough parenting decisions.

    Then she has the audacity to attack me in the most unpleasant way in front of our child for attempting to do parenting after-the-fact.

    I am not kidding when I tell you – the ONLY way she can get our child to do ANYTHING is by begging (which fails, obviously) or the use of her own tears and threatening to leave the house. That shocks our child into good behaviour for a day or so.

    To sum up:I criticize and comment and bring her down BECAUSE I HAVE NO CHOICE. She’s ruining her life, my child’s life and everything. Am i meant to sit by and shut up? She’s made it clear that I should do just that.

    Why can’t she apply any commonsense? Why can’t she do any listening – to anyone?

    Our poor, sweet child. Miserable, angry and also becoming depressed.

  56. I found this site because I wanted to learn what the effects of my depression was having on my children. Right now my 9 yr old son is with his dad, my ex, because of my frequent hospital visits and my inappropriate way of dealing with my husband’s alcohol problem. My son does not want to see us and a recent conversation with him made me see he was acting delusional about the situation and was talking like others would be about the situation. My ex has an injunction against me. I can only see my son at my mom’s and my husband is not allowed. I have made the decision to not fight about who my son is with but told my lawyer that I want my son to get therapy. If my ex will not agree to this then I feel he is harming my son as much as he thinks I am. I will be patient with my son and give him time and therapy to work out his true feelings towards me and my husband. I pray for his mental state to improve and not become me. But if he is prevented from dealing with his emotions then he will not learn how to cope with anything in life. I feel the longer he stays with my ex and his family who project their feelings and opinions onto him, he will not be able to see that we love him and are working hard on both our problems to become better parents. We also have a 3yr old daughter. She adores her father. My husband and I have not conducted ourselves well and we have had 2 occasions of fighting that have harmed my son and have scared him. We also have had wonderful family time together. Everyone thinks I should not be with my husband but he is the only one who understands me and takes care of me and my daughter better than my ex ever did. That was a horrible 15 yr marriage and it was not all because of my depression. I just want everyone to try to understand the complexities of both our illnesses and see that we can still be good parents. I don’t want to be defined as the person that acted poorly on 2 occasions. Right now I fear that is all my son can see because that is what is being fed to him, nothing else. So I will make sure he gets the help he needs and pray that with time things will get better. Also, I appreciate how the men have dealt with their wives and hearing the other side of the story. I see how much my husband has to deal with and will try hard to not make life so difficult for us. I have been diagnosed with major recurrent depression, fibromyalgia, bipolar, anxiety, panic attacks and continue working on the right medications and life style changes. I could go on and on about my life.

  57. I feel every word of some of the comments made here , I live with a woman who is constantly depressed , talks to me like crap , knocks the stuff i do , the presents i buy the children ..her mother lives with us who is also a depressive aggressive woman who only makes things worse , I hate my mother in law who runs me down also.
    I only stay around for my children’s sake as I want to be in their lives , i worry about losing regular contact with my kids as this is common in a break up of a relationship .

    I work hard and long hours, i was told by the wife that I should get another job !! like there are loads of jobs out there !! lol
    I am constantly put down , moaned at and called fit to burn ..I work 60 hours per week so I can give my family nice things and give my children a good education , nice clean uniforms, holidays and maintain a car for her to run about in.

    August 24th was our wedding anniverary , i got a card a week late ..no nice verse ,and no thought put into it ..i am through trying to make her happy 😦 i buy her her fav chocalate from the shop , gave her money for a new coat she wanted for her birthday ,2 years ago i bought her a new car that i pay for and the tax /insurance/mot

    I feel like she does’nt give a crap , financially I cannot afford a place of my own so I am living in utter sadness , as i said i am hanging around for my kids as they need to have a father .

    Sex is a complete joke , I could count on one hand how many times that happens in a year. I am seriously pissed off ..thanks for listening and I take comfort in knowing that I am not the only one out there dealing with this problem.

  58. I am a depressed wife and I must say, some of you have a right to feel the way you do, but others of you, ought to step back and re-evaluate your situation. Are you still providing for your family, the way you did when you first married, and providing the security that most women desire for themselves and their family? Does your wife work? If she does, are you helping equally with chores, shopping, caring for the children? Do you take care of the things around the house that involve preventative maintenence, take care of the lawn and trash? Do you take your wife on a “date” once in awhile and re-connect? Do you make sure her birthday’s and your anniversary is special? When was the last time you surprised her, with anything? When was the last time you looked into her eyes and said, “I love you”, the way you use to? Do you tend to be away from home ALOT, leaving here home to take care of the children? Do you “bawk” when she asks you to do something, she thinks is important or will help make her life easier? Do you demand that your children respect her and follow rules? Do you plan for your future, or for your family’s future, should something happen that takes you away from them? Do you do things that your wife likes to do, even if you don’t, once in awhile, just to make her happy? Do you compliment her cooking or find something wrong with it, even though she tried really hard? Ask yourself these questions, and see if you are all your wife thought you were when you first got together. Whether these things changed suddenly after getting married, or gradually happened over a few years it will make your wife feel as though you don’t care. If your wife tells you how it has made her feel and that it has contributed to her depression and you have done nothing to turn things around, she will not only remain depressed, but could become physically ill and also become more depressed, even to the point of suicide. If you really love your wife, I hope you don’t continue to blame her for her depression, but help her, not by insisting that she eat right, get some excercise and more rest, or see a shrink. Help her by loving her and showing her you love her. She should ALWAYS be #1 before ANYTHING!!!!

    1. I value my marrriage but when do you say enough is enough , when someone you bend over backwards to please shows no love , compassion and no appreciation of what you do for her and the children . lying in bed feeling sad that the person next to you does’nt cuddle up nor want to be affectionate but just turns their back on you and wants to go to sleep 😦 .

      People in depression have no will to help themselves , you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink ! on top of that my mother in law makes it worse by stirring and interfearing , when I told my wife what I thought I was given the option to leave if I didnt like it ! sounds like love ??? Yes I am staying for the kids sake till they are 11-12 years old if I can stand it that long 😦

      I have come to the conclusion that if you cannot please someone then you should just please yourself because no matter what you do or say you will be in the wrong..living with someone who is depressed is a horror story and if I could have looked into the future 10 years ago I would have avoided this woman and her family like the plague

      1. “sickoftrolls” – I don’t think Lucy is being disrespectful, exactly, I just think that this is a very deeply emotional and “hot button” topic if you will – for most people. I love that my blog is a forum where people can express different perspectives and vent feelings on a particular topic. As long as we aren’t taking shots at individuals… Let’s just try and read responses in the very least and take them at face value. 🙂

      2. Hi Alyssa,

        You are probably right. It ‘is’ a hot button topic and the comments apparently upset me. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion of course. Thanks for responding – gave me something to think about.

      3. Before your health and mental abilities suffer anymore remember you deserve to be happy and treated right and respected. If she can’t find her happiness then you will continue to suffer

    2. Tammy,
      Unfortunately some of the same things you state, my Wife states. I think the problem comes in when the view is distorted.

      I get my son up EVERY morning and dress him, make sure his teeth are brushed, and she drops him off at daycare. I drop off at least 2 days a week as well. The “deal” was when I drop off, she will get him ready so I am not late, Guess what? On days I drop him off, I still have to get him ready. She says she doesn’t have the time, and that she picks him up all the time.

      I am a good provider, and make much more money than my wife. I do not complain. I make sure the lawn, trash, everything is handled. I am in turn told “that is your job”, and she says she does everything else. I do laundry, dishes, give my son a bath at least 50% of the time. I also read him his bedtime story every night, she says it hurts her back.

      I make sure the house is taken care of, make his dinner 60-70% of the time, and although we both work, she gets home only 20 minutes earlier than me. I work Saturdays until 3. Now the kicker: she consatantly says “I spend way more time with him than you do”
      I ask you, how can that be?

      It is a perspective, and indicative of the depression. She can’t see what is being done. It doesn’t matter what is being done, it is not seen. Look at you post. Are you sure that all of these things that you state are not being done? Really? I am not saying that is the case, but in my case I am doing more than my share, and it goes unseen.

    3. Hi, I’m replying really late but I feel like I should give some perspective from another depressed wife. I too would bemoan that my husband is never doing enough and doesn’t make me his number one priority. Turns out it was all a twisted perspective. The fact of the matter is that I have suffered from zero self-esteem (bad childhood, bad relationships, family history of depression) and no matter what my husband can do, it won’t help my own self-esteem. Nobody can do that for you. You have to do that for yourself. Otherwise you spend your life waiting for other people to make you happy and give you all the nurturing that you were supposed to have received from your family as a child. This simply isn’t fair to your spouse.

      The day I realized what a horrid attitude I had towards my husband, I swore I would never project my negativity onto him again – ever. If I can manage to go to work and not belittle anyone there, why can’t I extend the same courtsey to the one man who actually loves me? So what if he’s not there with flowers everyday? The fact is that he has been standing there all along with his hand outstretched for the last 7 years. It’s upto me to take his hand and learn to make myself happy first.

      I still get depressed but I understand it for what it is and I certainly don’t take it out on my husband. He’s wonderful and deserves all the love in the world. The least I can do is not make his life hell. I am slowly learning to deal with my own issues and my husband is a lot happier too.

      When your perspective changes, you see all the wonderful and caring things your spouse has been doing all these years but you were too caught up in your depression to see it for what it is.

      1. Thanks, Amna, your post really gives me hope. My wife has been struggling with depression, anxiety, and addiction for years. I am in the same situation as alot of the other posters. I know my wife loves me and our girls more than anything, it is just hard to be the one to provide support all the time.

  59. NT – I appreciate everyone’s comments, but my advice is to get out of the marriage. At least, avoid having children, until it becomes clear which direction you should go.

    My life has been ruined by my wife’s depression. After 15 years, I just don’t think I can keep up the good fight any longer…4 more years and my youngest will be out of the house…but, I’m running out of steam and know in my heart I’ll not last another 6 months.

    My wife hasn’t worked in the last 15 years, developed alcoholism and drug addictions, developed anorexia, has ruined all of our social contacts, neglected our children, never cooks, never cleans, stopped sex altogether, spends more than we take in, etc.

    She had a psychotic episode where she was completely disoriented. She lost track and took far too many meds and had to be rushed to the hospital naked and out of her mind. My son was pretty freaked out. And now I realize, hanging in there for the kids, may be more damaging to the kids than going through a divorce. Since returning from the hospital, she hasn’t left her bed for food or bathing….just her antidepressants and oxycodone. Our household is joyless….probably not even put up the Christmas decorations. My job is suffering as I desperately try to take care of our children, myself and my wife. I’m drowning from the weight.

    The advice I need is…..how do I get my wife into a long term psychiatric care facility? She cannot take care of herself….and I cannot continue to take care of her. I doubt insurance covers this….it doesn’t cover much of her current psychiatric needs (I’ve probably spent $20,000 on her healthcare this year.) I can’t afford to keep her in a private facility. Can I divorce her, get her recognized as a ward of the state and put her into a state psychiatric hospital. Do I even need a divorce to get her committed to one? Any advise would be appreciated.

  60. Anyone out there…. Please pray for me and my wife katie. She is severely depressed with having kids and being married. I’m doing everything imaginable but she is feeling crowded now. I need help. We are going to a councellor today but I beg for any of your prayers.

  61. I have to admit that I didn’t read through all of the posts. I read the main post that began the conversation, some of the following posts, then I skipped down to some of the more recent posts. Corey Hill, you and your wife Katie are in my prayers. I know how extremely difficult it is to be the husband of a depressed wife. I ask God “Why?” all of the time – even though I don’t really think deep down inside God’s intent is to punish me for some past wrongdoing. It’s just that my wife goes through these periods where she just uses me as a verbal punching bag.

    My mother-in-law is of little help in the situation, really. Sure, she’s willing to come over when my wife is over-the-edge and help us to calm down the situation (which, admittedly, is the only thing that works sometimes). However, her and I don’t have a very good history together (she has called me names to my wife, her and my wife have talked poorly of me in the past behind my back – though they really aren’t aware that I overheard some conversations). She’s had multiple divorces in the past, and I’m pretty sure she has unaddressed mental issues as well. I don’t think that she is depressed, but some of the manipulation that I have witnessed from her really would shock a lot of people if they knew the details.

    This isn’t about my mother-in-law, though. This is about my wife. We’re a young family, and we’ve got kids. I love seeing my kids. They are my life. I couldn’t imagine being divorced and not getting to see them everyday. At the same time, I feel like I’m in this horrible marriage with no real escape without sacrificing what I love most – time with my children.

    I’m a man. I want to cry right now. I will admit that. I’m typing this completely frustrated with everything. I am going to look online to see if there might be any spiritual help for me. All of this makes me want to seek Him more, read my Bible more, etc. – but at the same time, I just wish that things would be easier. I wish that I had a happy marriage. Some of my friends are female and so sweet, and I kick myself for not making that my top priority when I decided to get married. When we were dating, my wife was hurtful and borderline crazy sometimes. We would have these insane fights, and I didn’t really know how to handle it, so I always fought back (in a gloves-off, no-hold-barred kind of way – though nothing ever escalated to anything physical). Now, I step back, let her rant, and try to escape as quickly as possible. I’ve learned that there is no “winner” in any of these fights. Her comments, her finger-pointing, her put-downs, her yelling, her screaming, her cuss words in front of our kids are all part of what happens. I’ve become numb to it, for the most part. Well, that’s not really true. It obviously still affects me. However, I just don’t respond like I used to by lashing back. It’s not worth it. It really isn’t. Like I said, it’s a fight that I know I will NEVER win.

    I guess right now I’m just letting off some steam here in an anonymous forum. I don’t know if there is really any “help” for me out there on the internet.

    It’s just so extermely difficult. I am a real family man. I love my little family. I want to spend as much time with my children as possible. My wife and I have very busy work schedules, and I purposely refuse weekend work just so there are at least 2 days out of the week that are totally devoted to family time. My wife thinks that we shouldn’t be around each other all of the time. Maybe she just doesn’t want to be around me, who knows? The point is, I am a solid provider for our family. I help her in so many ways. I am nice to her mother, who in the past was not so nice to me. I am nice to the rest of her family. I just feel like I am walking in a mine field when I talk to her, because I have no idea if what I say will set her off.

    God, I know that you know that I am writing all of this. I know that you can hear my thoughts, and in essence, my prayers. I know that my wife is truly sick. I know that depression isn’t about me just because I am one of those affected by it. I know that it is her who is struggling. I know that she doesn’t mean everything she says, but I do think that she means some of the things. I’m not perfect. I never will be perfect. There are few things in my life that I need to make me happy. My family and my kids are two of those things – in harmony, happy, and content. I withdrew $50.00 out of the savings the other day to buy myself something to “cheer me up.” What’s funny, is that I couldn’t think of anything to buy. It made me realize that I really don’t “need” anything except for happiness and my family.

    I just don’t know what to do. God, please help me. For those of you who are reading this and going through the same, I pray for you as well. I am sure that God wants us to go through these trials so we can be more like Christ. If you are turned off or offended by me mentioning God and Jesus Christ, all I can say is that I really feel like I have nowhere or nobody else to turn to. Counselors may or may not help. I guess I almost feel like I need a miracle of some sort. Not a huge miracle; I just need my wife to realize the person that she married, to appreciate me, and to understand that all that I do – I do for her and our children. I love being a Dad. It really is what I was always meant to be. A loving, caring father who will sacrifice his own happiness to be there for his children.

    Now – the question. Do I post this, or just delete it all?

  62. Wow. Good post, and a real variety of responses. I’ve personally battled with my own depression, and also my spouse’s depression. I guess I’m getting to be somewhat of an expert. There are very few therapies that work very well. (Prescription) drugs help, and you can live with the side effects. Otherwise it’s a battle that never really ends as long as you’re able to stay alive. It’s like keeping up with the laundry or the dishes. If you are able to find a method to mitigate it, you will have to keep working the method for the rest of your life. Good luck to you all.

  63. I have been married 5 years, with a wonderful boy who will be 3 in September. I love my wife with all of my heart, and did from the very start. I is hard to find your true soul-mate. But what if that is not reality anymore? I don’t know her anymore at times. No matter what I do it gets worse. I can’t say anything, or really do anything. She just pushes me away. I guess for me the hard part is that a lot of things I say just get twisted around. Sometimes she tells me I have said things that I haven’t! Mostly it was just small bits of a conversation that were taken out of context. At any rate, she feels like I am the problem. She actually says that I am verbally abusive? She feels that I don’t do anything to help, which is 100% untrue.

    If I make the effort to be supportive and caring it seems to empower her to treat me worse. I do not expect any help here, but it makes me feel OK to vent a little. Lately it has become so bad that I don’t hardly eat, and can’t sleep so good. I just wish I could do something to help. She knows she needs help, and has said so. But to date, nothing. Honestly if it was not for my boy, I would have already left the situation, feeling that I can’t fix the situation. She has an eating disorder that I did not know about until recently. Again, I don’t know how much I can help her. I am willing to try anything at this point.

    The kicker is in one of our recent conversations she actually had the nerve to say “I told you 2 years ago I needed help” Not true, but again, this is my fault.

  64. I’m back. My depressed/low self esteem wife moved out yesterday. We’re trying to keep things rational and civil. I really hope she will get some counseling help to deal with the real issues. She doesn’t want my help anymore because in her mind I’m the problem. Depression is worse in this regard than any other illness, because one of the features is that you tend to reject treatment.

    1. Maybe this will give her an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be emotionally responsible for herself. Sometimes this is a major turning/changing point for women who have built an emotional codependency on another person which frequently exacerbates the problem. I’m not saying this is going to be an emotional fix all and your marriage will come back together and everything will be fine, but this may bring some clarity full circle for both of you and that is important for both the marriage and you as separate people AND for her depression.

  65. Chico,
    Sorry to hear of your situation. Unfortunately in my case I may have to be the one that makes the decison. I should re-phrase that: she is forcing me to decisions I do not want to make. Any talks we try to have, it just goes south, and talks of salvaging our marriage always seem to place all of the burden on ME changing. It is unreal at times. I have to be nicer, more supportive, basically walk on eggshells. How long can that last? How long until “I” screw up?

    I read some of these posts, especially Tammy’s and it sounds so real to me. Here is someone admitting depression, but insisting on a full laundry list of demands and conditions. Living with someone very depressed is hard enough, but now I am expected to be “the man she fell in love with” all over again. Is she the woman I fell in love with? It is not fair to try and re-live the past, and to be right up front, this in itself is part of the problem. The inability to let things go.

    Why must I constantly have to re-live my supposed mistakes from years ago. By the way, being frustrated at a spouse who constantly acts like the world is coming apart is somewhat natural. No one can take that for long without becoming frustrated. She says she knows she needs help. I have offered to go through anything and everything with her. Why wouldn’t you get help? I truly feel that she is afraid of what a therapist will say. The blame couldn’t be put on me anymore. It is just something she doesn’t want to confront. Why should she? It is, after all, it’s all my doing…..

    1. I can tell you my husband has felt the same about me in the past. I still struggle, but I am medicated and it does help considerably with the anxiety and the depression. I personally get more “manic”. Exercising really REALLY helps me. But many women don’t have the desire abs motivation to do all of that simply because of the depression… It’s a very vicious cycle.

      I hope you understand that it is likely not that you aren’t the man she fell in love with but more so the fact that she has blinders on and can’t see him, right now.

      We must also address that, most men don’t want to address this, that we are
      women living in a man’s world and that alone is a lot of pressure, especially in today’s economy. We are expected to raise the children and share the financial burdens now that everything is based on a two income household. It is a lot to take in ten short years since the economy went southward.

    2. Awhile ago I remembered what they taught us in swimming life saving. One of the first exercises was having our “Bo Derek” instructor jump off the boat and start thrashing around yelling “help! help!”, and as a young teenage boy I dove right in to rescue. When I got to her, thinking about how I was going to come up behind and throw my arm around her chest, she lunged for me and grabbed on tight. As we went flailing toward the bottom of the lake, I suddenly remembered her instruction to use my feet to push her away and swim up to catch my breath. You have to protect yourself or you both drown. It’s not easy to rescue a panicked swimmer.

  66. Hi guys, reading through all of this really lifts a heavy burden on my shoulders. I’m only a young guy 29, not sure how old you all are, and my partner is 29. We have a child and we have been together 6 years now. When we first met, I found out she was clinically diagnosed with depression and was on medication for it. She did however get off the medication with me. 6 years down the track, this last couple of months have been killer for me. Mood swings up and down, we planned to buy a house and she now told me she does not want anything to do with the house, it even went to the point she was going to see another man, luckily i did stop that happening, and I fought through it. I didnt realise it was her depression making her feel like this and sometimes in my head im thinking is it really depression or am i kidding myself? She admitted to me she has depression. She has quit her work now because of it only after working 8 months, a good job mind you as an i.t. tech. I guess i’m justwondering how all of you strived through the situation, its true that the relationship becomes 100% only you, im left to the point of cooking, cleaning, for her and the son, and then going to work for 10 hours a day doing over time as well to try and build a future for this family and all i want to come home to is a happy family but its like work never ends now. I’ve suggested her to go back to the doctor to go back on medication she says she wil lthen doesnt bother makign the appointments, i then say i will make it for her and she says no ill do it, this is where it confuses me and makes me wonder in myself if it is depression, but i do know it is I just don’t know what i should do as a man in this situation i’ve been biting my lips so long now

    1. Hey chick0 first of all I’m happy you found more people like you here. It really does help doesn’t it. I am 30 and my husband is 32 so we’re in the same age bracket as you and your wife. I am the depressed spouse in our relationship (we’ve been married for over 6 years now) and we don’t have any kids. Until a few months ago I didn’t really have a real partnership with my husband. LIke your wife I also resisted the idea of getting a house and my husband put his foot down on that matter. Now I’m extremely glad I’m not throwing money away in rent (this of course varies from situation to situation). I’m also ashamed to say that like your wife I too had wandering thoughts but mind you, so did my husband except his were there because I was ‘closed off’. I constantly needed attention, expression of affection and the ‘over the moon’ feeling one gets when they are infatuated with someone. In other words, I had no real idea about what a loving, stable relationship looks like (I come from a broken family).
      I’ve suffered from depression since my late teens and it has gone from bad to worse at points. During those periods it really was up to my husband to take charge and care for us. I have always maintained a job though (I once took 2 month sick leave after my doctor insisted on it) but I bitched about it every single day and that of course has a negative affect on your spouse too. I’m also off meds btw but it isn’t easy dealing with depression. It’s a battle I choose to fight everyday and some days I really wish I were back on meds.
      It sounds to me your wife does need to go on medication. The problem with depression is that you really have to want to beat it. And that ofcourse is difficult to want when you’re depressed. What’s your wife’s background like? Did she have a difficult time growing up? I went through severe anxiety and depression because I couldn’t make up my damn mind about my marriage. I was constantly conflicted even though RATIONALLY I knew it didn’t make any sense to be this conflicted because my husband loves me and I did too – deep inside. It came to a point that I just absolutely had to make a decision. It couldn’t be ‘stay married but be miserable’ any longer. I came to an epiphany of sorts. I realized my unhappiness had really nothing to do with my husband or my marriage but everything to do with my own issues that I had gathered over my life time. Also, my husband said either I make real effort to change and deal with my depression or it’s over. I don’t think I have cried more than when I heard that. He was right. Situation had to change. So….I’ve been trying to change it because I want to change it. You should also read ‘Power of Now’ – that can really do wonders for depression. Exercise and proper nutrition are critical. Talk to your wife and tell her that the current situation makes you unhappy, it makes her unhappy and it’s horrible for your child. I really, really hope she goes and sees her doctor.

      Please hang in there and take care of yourself.

  67. Depression is a horrible thing if you have it. Having a depressed spouse is a very difficult circumstance that you might not be able to sustain long term. But to the extent that I can, keeping in mind that I can only bear so much and still remain healthy myself, I have vowed to try and help her when it’s appropriate in the future. If you have compassion for someone, it doesn’t stop if they fall prey to an illness.

    1. I felt so alone until I found this page. I am fighting to keep my marriage to a very depressed husband from falling apart. We have a 3 year old and this summer has been particularly bad for him. So many factors go into his saddness. But, with swollen eyes, I feel comradeship with everyone here. Being happy is so hard when you live with a depressed spouse. I feel I can’t breathe at times. I love him so, but I am miserable. I will keep trying knowing there are so many out there doing the same. God bless you all and thank you for your insights.

  68. I have a very depressed wife and agree with some of the things in the article. I have went out of my way to seek professional help for her. I support her decision to tell me she needs help. However, im so cofused right now. My wife wants me out, and I’ve tried that for a while. I’m worried about her, and desired to move back home for my own concerns. She suffers from seasonal depression, grief due to the loss of loved ones, and the stress of her convicted felon mother. She isn’t sure if I’m causing any of her stresses or depression. She dosnt know what to tell me. Only that she’s not in love anymore. I’m not sure if I’m making the right moves by staying under the same roof with her when it obviously isn’t what she wants. I’m trying to be supportive, and want to help in any way possible to see her through this. I just don’t know if I should leave again. I’m afraid if i do, i will have to cut off all ties to her to give what she wants. What do I do?

    1. Kevin, I agree with Chico. You have 2 choices, stay home or leave. Im sure you’ve heard this but you can’t change her, or make her do anything, that is her choice. You only have control over your actions and your responses, just always check your motives for what you say or do.

      With my wife and 5 of my friends wives who all have/had depression, there is the standard Anti-depression & Anti-anxiety drugs, BUT, you also need to make sure her body chemistry isn’t all messed up, which is overlooked a lot. Thyroid, estrogen, iron, progesterone, can all contribute or be the cause, women are very complicated like expensive sport cars in the way that their body works.

      There is either a “hardware (physical, chemical)” or “software (learned behavior, state of mind) issue. or both.

      Love is a choice not a feeling, so of course she doesn’t “feel” like she loves you. I went through that as well and lets face it we don’t “feel” like we love our spouses or kids for that matter when they piss us off 🙂 But we choose to love them and the feeling follows. Your wife is in a dark spot right now but it is HER choice to get out of it and your choice to encourage and show her that she is worth fighting for and loved. You might need to set up some ultimatum that if she chooses to not do anything by a certain time or take steps, there will be the consequence of you leaving.

      Counseling, this is for the “software” issues

      Anti-depression meds “hardware”

      Naturopath, get “Horror-mones” tested “hardware” (this is a big one and “fixed” my wife.)

      Pray, whether your religious or not, praying for someone will change your perspective and help you think through the mess. “software”

      And remember to breath, I know its HELL living with a depressed wife.

  69. I feel that I hate my wife now, i also not sure if I am just as depressed now. I wish I could leave her, it would be the only soution I guess.

    1. Read the stories from others up above, friend. You’re not alone. It may help to treat your wife as a victim of a debilitating disease…because she is. Just as you wouldn’t abandon her if she had Alzheimer’s, or cancer, she needs you now. But you also have to look after yourself. This link may be helpful. Unfortunately it doesn’t mention the most important way to deal with situations like this: prayer. I’m praying for you.

    2. 1. COUNSELING? FAILED- did nothing for her (she believes she is being punished by God due to her problems and also a family death)
      2. WIFE TOLERATING ME? FAILED- she resents me and blames me for every single ill in our family
      3. MY EFFORT? FAILED- On my one hour drive home I can pump myself up full of good toughts, positive affirmations and positive energy and once I get home, she is criticizing everything and everyone.
      4. MY NEGATIVITY? Feeds off hers
      5. HER Negativity? Feeds off mine
      6. DIVORCE? She offers me divorce EVERY SINGLE DAY. I decline telling her I wish to make living with me more tolerable, then grow from there. She does not accept this and blames me as a useless husband, etc
      7. USELESS HUSBAND? YES- but with great potential lol. But …still useless after 18 years

      To sum up: she is miserable for years. She is in pain for years.
      BUT I AM NOT IN PAIN- regularly it makes me SAD to see her like this but I am not DEPRESSED or in PAIN.
      So i lack EMPATHY and to be honest sometimes I HATE her depression and her. I HATE her misery and self indulgence.
      I don’t see why she does it. I don’t care!!!

      Then… i swing back. I DO care. But I can do nothing. She accepts no advice EVER EVER in 18 years.

      SHe is not medicated.
      As i mentioned, she believes in some strange thing where God is vengeafully punishing her.

      She has had uncurable acne for 18 years as well.

      Maybe she’s right, maybe it is me!

      1. Don’t ownership for another’s illness. You are not her. Only she can be responsible. If she wanted a divorce. She would get one, period.

      2. When my wife announced she was moving out a year ago, I went outside and sat on a stump for an hour or so. I realized that I had done everything I could to help her, and it was time to let go. It was a tremendous relief for me, and I believe the only solution for her. There’s an analogy to the tug-o-war game. If you let go of your end of the rope, the war is over. No one wins or loses – you just stop struggling. Or like another old saying, “It’s like hitting your head on the wall… it feels so good when you stop.”

      3. I think that once we accept that we can truly ONLY do so much for another human being that is wholly responsible for themselves — we start to heal and allow some of the blame to shift off of us. I mean, let’s be real though, if you are with someone who is emotionally abusive, neglectful, lacking in affection, etc etc…that WILL contribute to the spouse’s depression and mental illness. Studies have shown that lacking in that kind of human connection or being in an abusive connection, whether mental or physical, DOES physiologically cause changes in a person’s illness.

      4. Very true, Alyssa. I’ve concluded in her case, however, that her depression was driven by the successive deaths of her father, then her mother, and then her youngest son over a period of about 5 years. She didn’t have a way of processing it other than holding onto her grief, and eventually aiming it at the person closest to her – me. The mind, left to itself, can come up with some totally irrational conclusions, and build a solid defense around a view that is meant to protect us from pain. Pain is something we need to sit with, however, in a non-judgmental way, without clinging to it or pushing it away. Therein is the path to release and healing.

      5. Grief is powerful… and it can sabotage even the most genuine forms of love. Speaking from a small amount of experience, though her grief likely surpassed anything that I have felt.

      6. There’s two sides. I really do piss her off. I am always giving advice and suggestions and being critical. Sometimes overtly, but often subtely and sarcastically. So i feel that if I could stop doing THAT, it would help her and would undo some of the damage i;ve created.

      7. Octavios – Advice and Suggestions. OK. Critical has to go. A depressed person will negate EVERYTHING else you do as it is extremely common to hone in on the negative. Guaranteed.

      8. In my case, the advice normally made her mad. In the instances where it seemed to help, it was only temporary, and then there would be further backlash. I doubt if you “created damage” on purpose. Realize that you’re not communicating with a healthy brain. Do whatever you can to help yourself in the situation, since there may be very little you can do to help her at this point. You can’t help a drowning victim if you allow them to pull you down too. Good luck.

      9. Ayssa- i agree totally. And I have a problem. I can keep it up for a *while* but after the millionth stupid event in our home i can contain myself no longer… i realize it is totally wrong, but my arrogance takes over and I am overcome with my desire to “fix” things that are broken… with bad bad results all round

      10. Then do not continue to try to “fix”. You can only fix you, my friend. 😦 It is so sad to read all of this stuff about the wives… I was that wife… and it was devastating. I couldn’t fix me… everything was so dark and I was SO angry and he was the only one around… took years for me… I find myself in a similar depressed place now, but a year after our divorce. I’m medicated and I see a psychiatrist and do cognitive behavior therapy and keep myself busy. Do my best to continue to keep improving and make myself healthier… but it is really – really – hard when you’re lost in it… You can’t see anything else but the illness. It is the darkest place in the world… even when you have a REALLY supportive spouse.

      11. I’ve been on the other side of the wall of depression myself. Medication and Mindfulness Meditation pick me up when I fall down that hole.

      12. If only there was a way… OK hear me out. for example, our dog has this shock collar.

        If only there was one for sale in Petsmart that could gently and lovingly give *me* a buzz everytime I tread over the threshold into being a critical, sarcastic, cynical bastard.

        Seriously, I feel like that’s what i need. To wear a video camera transmitting to my “acountability partner” 24×7 and administering a loving reminder 50,000 volt jolt.

        It would seem that while God *does* lovingly administer such jolts via various messengers (gentle voices at first, louder noise, then car breakdowns, accidents, spills, deaths, injuries… etc with increasing pain to get message accross), STUPID people like me simply are too STUPID to recognize the nice Gentle messages and need horrible painful mesages. AND EVEN THEN WE DONT SEE CAUSE AND EFFECT!!!!

        Does anyone have a trick to keep their mouths shut..?

        I freely admit NOW that I talk absolute hurtful junk… yes I acknowldege … but … put me at home when my wife has behaved 100% illogically for 2 hours and I can’t be loving and silent any longer…..

      13. Octavios, Love is the shock collar you are looking for. I speak from personal experience, I was good for comments that did no good. Until I realized I wasn’t fixing anything just pushing my wife further away. Now I think long and hard, will this solve anything, or just start a fight. Good Luck,
        And remember just chill, relax.

  70. Don’t know out of topic but recently there is a colleague which suddenly caught my eye.
    Slowly I find myself thinking of her, and then more and more.
    Until now I can’t help but thinks of her all the time.

    I know it s not right and impossible, I’m married and she has a close boyfriend.
    But I just can’t help it and feels miserable.

  71. Thank you ALL for your posts – this has given me one great thing. An assurance that I am not a piece of s*** as a husband.

    So I’m clear I have recently been diagnosed BPD and went through a moderate depressive episode a few months ago but with medication and awareness am out of it (for the most part – there is the odd day I can’t get out of bed for feeling down). My family have a history of suffered depression as well – so when my wife recently started exhibiting signs of depression, I spotted them quickly. After reading this site she has about 80% of the issues that you’ve all shared. Shes recently also quit her job and is quite anxious about that too – it cant be helping. Lately she’s become fixated on divorce. We had a long heart to heart – I’m trying to convince her to see a local doctor she trusts but she will not. What was telling is that she shared with me that she’s been sad for years on and off.

    This is where I feel like happy – because all the criticism I’ve dealt with over the years, all the complaints that I suck, all the demands that its me who has to change and so on make sense. Don’t get me wrong, I can do better as a person but I am not the piece of s*** that I am sometimes told I am. Its her depression talking. Having dealt with depression myself before, I can accept it for what it is now, and not what it SEEMED to be for these many years.

    I give my wife major kudos’ because she’s fallen over with depression a few times now over the years (I only now recognise it for what the episodes were) but she’s stood back up and powered through and been quite successful. She’s not let it beat her before because she loves me and the kids but with the kids getting older and with her hitting middle age, she might be feeling she doesn’t need to try so hard anymore… hence the “need” she says to get away, to live her own life, not be burdened etc.

    I respect those who have it worse than me – you guys are amazing. I am sorry I can’t advise you on your problems other than never let it get to violence or something that will hurt your kids and to ask you all to continue to reach out for support for yourself in the midst of your own trials.

    I am not sure what the best course of action for me is that I see the need to love my wife through this current wave of depression, and then once she starts to rise through it and come back to baseline, get her to a medical professional. If she still wants divorce when shes not in the midst of a depressive episode then we can work on that, neatly, cleanly, calmly and with consideration for our kids.

    Your stories have helped – a lot. My thanks to you all.

  72. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this fantastic blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for
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