Q&A: depressed partner

There's no quoted email for today, because I've gotten too many emails about living with a depressed partner to pick just one.

I got the first one about two months ago, and delayed answering because I didn't know what to say, exactly. I think my thoughts are maybe not exactly mainstream, because I grew up with a depressed parent who never quite got on top of it, and I have depression myself (that was in remission from the time my older son was born until last month, but I'm back in remission now).

But now these emails are escalating, and I'm getting a new one every week from someone whose husband or wife is just barely functioning, either with or without meds. I think it's clearly related to the economy, and people worrying about not having a job or losing a job and what's going to happen to their families. And WTF does it all really mean anyway? Especially in light of all the climate change and freaky events and the fact that the world basically seems like it's on the verge of blowing up.

The majority of emails I'm getting are from people with depressed male partners. I don't think that's a coincidence, either (aside from the fact that most of my readers are straight women). In general, men tend to be more socially isolated than women do. Even if you don't know anyone in your town, you probably have a friend somewhere that you can talk to if you're a woman, or at least you can come here and hang out and recognize the regular commenters and know you're not alone.

Men are more likely to be emotionally isolated. For the most part, they go to work and come home. Maybe they hang out with some male friends on weekends, but lots of men still don't talk about their emotions, except on approved topics (how much they love their kids, etc.). I don't think most men would feel comfortable talking with other men about the despair and flat-out rage that is part of depression.

So I have so much sympathy for people who are in the middle of it. I know how hard it is just to walk across the room without having your soul hurt. And if you can find those one or two things that don't make you feel like you're going to lose it completely you really grab onto them, even if they're stupid counterproductive things. Even if you're just trading the hurt for rage or derision, or losing yourself somewhere like TV or the internet.

But I've also been on the other side of it. A little kid who didn't know why her dad was never home (self-medicating with work) or alternated among smotheringly loving (because we were the only worthwhile things he had), distant and unable to interface, or angry. I saw how my mom became our parent, and our dad the visitor. It felt like my dad didn't love us enough to try to get out of it. And I vowed that I would do whatever I had to to prevent my kids from ever feeling that way about me.

So the controversial part of my views is this: I think depression is a disease, like diabetes is. And you have sympathy for people who have it, because it affects everything. But if a person with diabetes just stopped doing anything healthy, went off insulin and binged on carbs, that wouldn't be responsible, and you'd hold them accountable for it while still offering them help. There is no one treatment that works for depression for everyone, but someone who doesn't even try anything is not being responsible. And I don't think their families should just take it on themselves to adjust their lives to facilitate the depression.

That may mean having to say to your partner, "This isn't OK. You need to see your doctor." Or asking your partner to stop taking sleeping pills (yeah, insomnia is a symptom of depression, but sleeping pills make the sluggishness worse). Or just making it clear that you can't go on like this indefinitely. If you've been reaching out a hand by offering to talk about it and help with exercise and seeing a doctor or buying supplements or giving massage or buy a light treatment lamp or any of the things that have been shown to help alleviate depression, your depressed partner needs to accept your help. If he won't, then I don't know what the answer is. You're going to have to think seriously about how you can live.

Please be clear that I'm not saying a depressed person should be able to find their way out of it mysteriously on their own (aka "Just snap out of it!"). But if a person is offered help and doesn't even consider it, that's a huge problem.

I know some of you have been going through this and have made some decisions recently. If you feel comfortable commenting, please do, and you can always comment anonymously. If anyone disagrees with me, please go ahead and post. If you agree with me and have your own depression story to share, please comment.

If anyone's feeling depressed right now, please call your doctor, and while you're waiting for the appointment do some exercise that works your core (pilates, T-Tapp, yoga), take some Omega 3s and B vitamins, talk to someone who loves you, and go outside for a few minutes. You can get out of this, and people will help you.

0 thoughts on “Q&A: depressed partner”

  1. Speaking as someone who has battled depression, I agree that it’s important to offer to help, to even insist on help being sought, but partners should also know that there are times when depression is so debilitating that even if the depressed partner wants the help, even if he/she says yes to the help, he/she may not know what to do with it. When I had ppd, my husband had to call the doctor, make the appointments, get me out of bed, and take me there. Eventually I could stand back on my own and be a full partner in helping myself and him and our marriage.

  2. Speaking as someone who has battled depression, I agree that it’s important to offer to help, to even insist on help being sought, but partners should also know that there are times when depression is so debilitating that even if the depressed partner wants the help, even if he/she says yes to the help, he/she may not know what to do with it. When I had ppd, my husband had to call the doctor, make the appointments, get me out of bed, and take me there. Eventually I could stand back on my own and be a full partner in helping myself and him and our marriage.

  3. No answers here but in another corner of the blogosphere there is about to be a book release about male depression by the guy who write Dad Gone Mad. The book is called Rage Against the Meshugenah and I wonder if it would help with the “men don’t get depressed” argument.

  4. No answers here but in another corner of the blogosphere there is about to be a book release about male depression by the guy who write Dad Gone Mad. The book is called Rage Against the Meshugenah and I wonder if it would help with the “men don’t get depressed” argument.

  5. Moxie, I agree with you and your thoughts. Have you ever read ” The Ghost in the House” by Tracy Thompson? If I am remembering correctly she talks about how depression is a disease and requires medication. I think she compares it to heart disease (where you compare to diabetes). I come from a family that believes “depression is all in your head”. The book was eye opening for me.

  6. Moxie, I agree with you and your thoughts. Have you ever read ” The Ghost in the House” by Tracy Thompson? If I am remembering correctly she talks about how depression is a disease and requires medication. I think she compares it to heart disease (where you compare to diabetes). I come from a family that believes “depression is all in your head”. The book was eye opening for me.

  7. Wow – this really hits home. What about when you’re both depressed?My husband and I have both been suffering from low-level depression for a while now. Definitely has to do with recession – my husband’s business is truly in limbo. We are also somewhat isolated – we live in a different country from both our families. Have friends here but not really close ones. We’ve even been going to church in hopes of building a community but so far we haven’t made any connections there.
    We’ve both started excercising more and getting outside with our lovely 21-month-old daughter – truly the light of our lives. I’m also taking Chinese herbs and acupuncture and think it’s helping.
    The only hope ahead is a big contract for my hubby’s company, which we should hear about within the next month, and which could at least secure us financially.
    But we still have these big questions about: where do we live and raise our child? How do we make more connections? How do young families get support?
    We’re just hanging in there for now… hoping something lies ahead which will jolt us out of this.
    Just sharing here – no real answers – but looking forward to the support of other posts.

  8. Wow – this really hits home. What about when you’re both depressed?My husband and I have both been suffering from low-level depression for a while now. Definitely has to do with recession – my husband’s business is truly in limbo. We are also somewhat isolated – we live in a different country from both our families. Have friends here but not really close ones. We’ve even been going to church in hopes of building a community but so far we haven’t made any connections there.
    We’ve both started excercising more and getting outside with our lovely 21-month-old daughter – truly the light of our lives. I’m also taking Chinese herbs and acupuncture and think it’s helping.
    The only hope ahead is a big contract for my hubby’s company, which we should hear about within the next month, and which could at least secure us financially.
    But we still have these big questions about: where do we live and raise our child? How do we make more connections? How do young families get support?
    We’re just hanging in there for now… hoping something lies ahead which will jolt us out of this.
    Just sharing here – no real answers – but looking forward to the support of other posts.

  9. I haven’t got a lot of time to comment right now, but I do want to address this part of Moxie’s message:”But if a person is offered help and doesn’t even consider it, that’s a huge problem.”
    You may have to keep offering help, again and again. If someone is depressed but in denial (i.e., ‘Men Don’t Get Depressed’), it might take a while for them to accept first that there is a problem, it has a name, and there is help. That’s a lot of steps. So, offer help but don’t be discouraged if the first offer is refused. Offer, offer, offer.

  10. I haven’t got a lot of time to comment right now, but I do want to address this part of Moxie’s message:”But if a person is offered help and doesn’t even consider it, that’s a huge problem.”
    You may have to keep offering help, again and again. If someone is depressed but in denial (i.e., ‘Men Don’t Get Depressed’), it might take a while for them to accept first that there is a problem, it has a name, and there is help. That’s a lot of steps. So, offer help but don’t be discouraged if the first offer is refused. Offer, offer, offer.

  11. Also, different kinds of people need to offer help for most people to ‘hear’ it. My mom swears it takes three different kinds of people to tell you something before you can hear it (and none of them can be your mother).If you need to, enlist help in offering them help. Sometimes just the spouse offering isn’t going to be heard, even at the best of times (spouse may be too close to ‘mother’ under those conditions). But if they keep hearing it from others, too, that starts to get in.
    My mom left my dad because of his depression. His came out as rage alternating with crushing self-flagellation. She got to the point where she’d respond to the latest suicide threat by saying ‘just do it in the bathtub so it’s easier to clean up afterwards’, before she decided that she couldn’t make us (the kids) live with his rage, either.
    He didn’t get treatment for decades. He’s still prone to it, but he’s now really worth being in relationship with. He’s married again (the one after my mom also failed, for other reasons – he ended up having to be the more functional parent, and that didn’t work so well, either), only he decided that if he wanted a marriage to work, he was going to have to hire a professional contractor to build the structure, because he was working without any skills on it – like building a house without knowing how to either pour a foundation or frame it. He could slap up siding with the best of them, but the structural engineering was not something he could do. So he actually started dating at a couples counseling session – that is, he said that if she was serious about him, they were starting out in counseling, rather than ending up there. Build up, rather than try to restructure. Their dates for a few months were there, only. They still keep the same counselor on retainer and see him once every few years, whenever they encounter a problem they can’t solve on their own. Just like hiring a plumber or electrician. My dad found that he lacked essential skills for managing his mood, life, and relationships, and that these were things he could learn. Keeping it that task-oriented and pragmatic was important for getting himself to do it – once he thought about it differently, it was an obvious solution. And he’s an engineer, so the pragmatic solution has some real draw. After all, he wouldn’t build a physical house without consulting some experts, either.
    While I agree with the disease-based approach to depression, being sick/ill is hard for a lot of guys to accept, too. My dad did get down to a baseline understanding that his body ‘does that’, and needs help to not go there. But he dealt more forthrightly with the concept of it being a skills issue – problem, solutions, activities, goals, skills, expert advisors, ‘taking himself to the mechanic’, structured problem-solving. Very much a guy-style approach (his counselor was also a guy).
    We are also dealing with economic stress, in our house. Ep has been unemployed since Thanksgiving last year. He has been working on starting his own business, but it is hard on him – many of the things that have to be done are counter to his natural way of working. There’s a lot of hard work, skills-building, and not feeling entirely able or competent yet. He’s never had trouble relying on my income, so that’s not a major player, but knowing that we’re right on the edge of economic viability and the difference is the lack of income on his part is uncomfortable for him. On the other hand, it isn’t like everyone is out hiring Architects right now, either. Add in that he’s home with the kids (we have a part-time summer nanny, but the rest is his), we haven’t had a break or vacation in ages, and my job sucks hours… yeah, why wouldn’t he be having a hard time?
    Keeping the conversation going is part of the deal, for us. But we’re also not dealing with major depression, just the deadening influence of the economy over what is usually pretty high-level function. Taking just-barely-making-it and pushing down with the economy is enough to create a disaster for a lot of people.
    Hang in there, everyone.
    (Oh, and I ditto the rec for the book The Ghost in the House, too – just the Introduction was eye-opening!)

  12. Also, different kinds of people need to offer help for most people to ‘hear’ it. My mom swears it takes three different kinds of people to tell you something before you can hear it (and none of them can be your mother).If you need to, enlist help in offering them help. Sometimes just the spouse offering isn’t going to be heard, even at the best of times (spouse may be too close to ‘mother’ under those conditions). But if they keep hearing it from others, too, that starts to get in.
    My mom left my dad because of his depression. His came out as rage alternating with crushing self-flagellation. She got to the point where she’d respond to the latest suicide threat by saying ‘just do it in the bathtub so it’s easier to clean up afterwards’, before she decided that she couldn’t make us (the kids) live with his rage, either.
    He didn’t get treatment for decades. He’s still prone to it, but he’s now really worth being in relationship with. He’s married again (the one after my mom also failed, for other reasons – he ended up having to be the more functional parent, and that didn’t work so well, either), only he decided that if he wanted a marriage to work, he was going to have to hire a professional contractor to build the structure, because he was working without any skills on it – like building a house without knowing how to either pour a foundation or frame it. He could slap up siding with the best of them, but the structural engineering was not something he could do. So he actually started dating at a couples counseling session – that is, he said that if she was serious about him, they were starting out in counseling, rather than ending up there. Build up, rather than try to restructure. Their dates for a few months were there, only. They still keep the same counselor on retainer and see him once every few years, whenever they encounter a problem they can’t solve on their own. Just like hiring a plumber or electrician. My dad found that he lacked essential skills for managing his mood, life, and relationships, and that these were things he could learn. Keeping it that task-oriented and pragmatic was important for getting himself to do it – once he thought about it differently, it was an obvious solution. And he’s an engineer, so the pragmatic solution has some real draw. After all, he wouldn’t build a physical house without consulting some experts, either.
    While I agree with the disease-based approach to depression, being sick/ill is hard for a lot of guys to accept, too. My dad did get down to a baseline understanding that his body ‘does that’, and needs help to not go there. But he dealt more forthrightly with the concept of it being a skills issue – problem, solutions, activities, goals, skills, expert advisors, ‘taking himself to the mechanic’, structured problem-solving. Very much a guy-style approach (his counselor was also a guy).
    We are also dealing with economic stress, in our house. Ep has been unemployed since Thanksgiving last year. He has been working on starting his own business, but it is hard on him – many of the things that have to be done are counter to his natural way of working. There’s a lot of hard work, skills-building, and not feeling entirely able or competent yet. He’s never had trouble relying on my income, so that’s not a major player, but knowing that we’re right on the edge of economic viability and the difference is the lack of income on his part is uncomfortable for him. On the other hand, it isn’t like everyone is out hiring Architects right now, either. Add in that he’s home with the kids (we have a part-time summer nanny, but the rest is his), we haven’t had a break or vacation in ages, and my job sucks hours… yeah, why wouldn’t he be having a hard time?
    Keeping the conversation going is part of the deal, for us. But we’re also not dealing with major depression, just the deadening influence of the economy over what is usually pretty high-level function. Taking just-barely-making-it and pushing down with the economy is enough to create a disaster for a lot of people.
    Hang in there, everyone.
    (Oh, and I ditto the rec for the book The Ghost in the House, too – just the Introduction was eye-opening!)

  13. Wow, big topic. I have no partner, so I should probably just listen but depression is such a factor in my life I have to chime in to be part of the community in this conversation. My parents had varying versions of depression, combined with bipolar, alcoholism, and basic interpersonal confusion.Depression for me is a troublesome topic. I have suffered from it off and on (maybe mostly on) most of my life. Some has been absolutely situational, some a way of life learned from my parents, and some part of my biological hard-wiring. I was terrified I’d get PPD and be unable to function after the birth of my daughter, but I escaped completely. In the past few years though I’ve struggled against it almost constantly, fighting to remain present for my daughter and to keep moving forward with life.
    I believe more than the economy, more than the global insanity of clmate change and upheaval, more than any of that, the lack of support and human connection in our lives these days is responsible for so many people walking around in a fog of depression, barely hanging on to normal adult functioning.
    As a single mom it’s starkly clear how few truly supportive connections I have, but I think many many people with an ostensibly intact support network including partners, parents, friends, lack basic day to day deep contact with other humans. We’re overscheduled, overstimulated, numbed by constant distraction and it’s like a vitamin deficiency. You can’t necessarily tell right off the bat what’s wrong but something is off, you’re not feeling complete and not able to function at your peak.

  14. Wow, big topic. I have no partner, so I should probably just listen but depression is such a factor in my life I have to chime in to be part of the community in this conversation. My parents had varying versions of depression, combined with bipolar, alcoholism, and basic interpersonal confusion.Depression for me is a troublesome topic. I have suffered from it off and on (maybe mostly on) most of my life. Some has been absolutely situational, some a way of life learned from my parents, and some part of my biological hard-wiring. I was terrified I’d get PPD and be unable to function after the birth of my daughter, but I escaped completely. In the past few years though I’ve struggled against it almost constantly, fighting to remain present for my daughter and to keep moving forward with life.
    I believe more than the economy, more than the global insanity of clmate change and upheaval, more than any of that, the lack of support and human connection in our lives these days is responsible for so many people walking around in a fog of depression, barely hanging on to normal adult functioning.
    As a single mom it’s starkly clear how few truly supportive connections I have, but I think many many people with an ostensibly intact support network including partners, parents, friends, lack basic day to day deep contact with other humans. We’re overscheduled, overstimulated, numbed by constant distraction and it’s like a vitamin deficiency. You can’t necessarily tell right off the bat what’s wrong but something is off, you’re not feeling complete and not able to function at your peak.

  15. I also want to add that the post-partum period can be especially hard on dads, too. They are dealing with all (or some, anyway) of the sleep deprivation, life changes and other stuff, plus they typically have to go back to work quicker than their mom counterparts. My DH had a really hard time returning to work after dd1 was born, and I wasn’t very good as a support since I was barely treading water myself…This time around, (6 week old now) I was better aware of what he was going through, and could support him as he was supporting me.

  16. I also want to add that the post-partum period can be especially hard on dads, too. They are dealing with all (or some, anyway) of the sleep deprivation, life changes and other stuff, plus they typically have to go back to work quicker than their mom counterparts. My DH had a really hard time returning to work after dd1 was born, and I wasn’t very good as a support since I was barely treading water myself…This time around, (6 week old now) I was better aware of what he was going through, and could support him as he was supporting me.

  17. Beautifully written.As the partner who has been depressed, off and on, throughout her life, I can tell you that I know how hard it is on my husband. And it hurts me that I’ve hurt him.
    When I’m depressed, it doesn’t just take my current happiness… It twists all the happiness or contentment I’ve ever experienced in the past. So, I literally can’t think of any time in my life I’ve been happy. It convinces me that the happiness I thought I experienced then was all a lie.
    Everything – even getting out of bed and taking a shower – feels overwhelming. Things I’ve done 1000 times are too complicated or difficult, when I feel that way. My mind convinces me that I can’t do anything, or that I can’t do anything right. I feel hopeless, useless, unloved, and unlovable.
    Zoloft is good, for me. So has been finding an excellent psychologist. The book Feeling Good by Dr. David Burns is an EXCELLENT book that I can’t recommend enough to anyone who feels this way.
    Thanks for writing this.

  18. Beautifully written.As the partner who has been depressed, off and on, throughout her life, I can tell you that I know how hard it is on my husband. And it hurts me that I’ve hurt him.
    When I’m depressed, it doesn’t just take my current happiness… It twists all the happiness or contentment I’ve ever experienced in the past. So, I literally can’t think of any time in my life I’ve been happy. It convinces me that the happiness I thought I experienced then was all a lie.
    Everything – even getting out of bed and taking a shower – feels overwhelming. Things I’ve done 1000 times are too complicated or difficult, when I feel that way. My mind convinces me that I can’t do anything, or that I can’t do anything right. I feel hopeless, useless, unloved, and unlovable.
    Zoloft is good, for me. So has been finding an excellent psychologist. The book Feeling Good by Dr. David Burns is an EXCELLENT book that I can’t recommend enough to anyone who feels this way.
    Thanks for writing this.

  19. So, I’m a depressed mom. I’ve been sinking fast lately, asking for workaholic husband to throw me a line, and he basically responds that he’s sure I’ll make it to shore on my own. Not helpful!So, what have I been doing for myself? Meds are not a good option for me (side effects aren’t a worthy trade), and I cannot financially afford therapy. I would take time for myself, if I knew how. We are in a sitter crunch, and even when sitters are available, the money to pay them isn’t.
    I have asked my husband over and over again for even little concessions, like occasional help with housework. (I’m primarily SAHM, but I do work part-time out of necessity.) I can’t balance home, PT work, and precocious preschooler alone. The more I try, the more I sink. When I say I can’t do it all, the response I get from husband is that other people can do it, why can’t I, or, that he shouldn’t have to help with the house because he really isn’t home much. OH yeah, or my favorite… you go out and get a job that pays as much as mine to support us (which is totally unrealistic, given my resume), and I’ll just stay home with the kid.
    I had PPD, and sought therapy for it, which was very helpful. The therapist also called my husband in and told him in no uncertain terms that his support was essential for my recovery. So, he didn’t bug me about the house for a few months, but as soon as the suggested window of respite from housework was over, he went right back into “when are you cleaning this up?” Of course, I, with infant in sling said, “I don’t know.” He thought I should magically be all better. I wasn’t. I did get better, but now I’m not. I don’t feel like I should have to have a professional strong arm my husband into being supportive. But, it feels like my survival depends on getting a little more support.
    So, what does a mom do when what would make the biggest immediate difference DOES seem to hinge on someone in your family acknowledging that there is, in fact, a problem?

  20. So, I’m a depressed mom. I’ve been sinking fast lately, asking for workaholic husband to throw me a line, and he basically responds that he’s sure I’ll make it to shore on my own. Not helpful!So, what have I been doing for myself? Meds are not a good option for me (side effects aren’t a worthy trade), and I cannot financially afford therapy. I would take time for myself, if I knew how. We are in a sitter crunch, and even when sitters are available, the money to pay them isn’t.
    I have asked my husband over and over again for even little concessions, like occasional help with housework. (I’m primarily SAHM, but I do work part-time out of necessity.) I can’t balance home, PT work, and precocious preschooler alone. The more I try, the more I sink. When I say I can’t do it all, the response I get from husband is that other people can do it, why can’t I, or, that he shouldn’t have to help with the house because he really isn’t home much. OH yeah, or my favorite… you go out and get a job that pays as much as mine to support us (which is totally unrealistic, given my resume), and I’ll just stay home with the kid.
    I had PPD, and sought therapy for it, which was very helpful. The therapist also called my husband in and told him in no uncertain terms that his support was essential for my recovery. So, he didn’t bug me about the house for a few months, but as soon as the suggested window of respite from housework was over, he went right back into “when are you cleaning this up?” Of course, I, with infant in sling said, “I don’t know.” He thought I should magically be all better. I wasn’t. I did get better, but now I’m not. I don’t feel like I should have to have a professional strong arm my husband into being supportive. But, it feels like my survival depends on getting a little more support.
    So, what does a mom do when what would make the biggest immediate difference DOES seem to hinge on someone in your family acknowledging that there is, in fact, a problem?

  21. ” But if a person is offered help and doesn’t even consider it, that’s a huge problem.”That’s the really evil thing about depression – it makes getting help just about impossible for some people.
    I have no answers. BTDT on and off my whole adult life. It is a curse – pretty clearly genetic – that runs through my souse’s family like a wildfire. Drugs can be good or worthless or harmful, and ones that worked can stop. Things can be going fine and turn on a dime.
    The supporting partner needs to carve out some time and some life and some recreation for herself. But don’t ask me how to do that!
    To everyone suffering from depression – either as adepressed person or a partner or child or parent or friend of a depressed person – my heart goes out to you.

  22. I’ve got Seasonal Affective Disorder, so my depression recurs every year, fall and winter months. (The good thing is that it also goes into remission every spring and summer.) I’ve tried to be very open about this both online and in my life, partly so people understand what I’m going through in the winters when I become distant and not “myself” but also so in the hopes of providing support to others going through depression or to those with partners going through it.I like to compare it with diabetes or thyroid problems, since the symptoms can be so similar. Diabetes is a great example because it often requires both medication and lifestyle changes. That is what depression often requires, and yet so many people still assume that a person should just “snap out of it” or somehow recover by force of wanting to. It just doesn’t usually work that way.
    This last winter, while pregnant, I finally reached out for help from friends and family outside of my husband. What the heck was I waiting for? For my husband to break? Cause I think it came close this winter to breaking him! He had to handle pretty much all the household chores, the animal care, the toddler care, the wife care, and the pregnancy care. Although he was not depressed, he was absolutely overwhelmed. When I realized just how overwhelmed and when I became really concerned about losing my interaction with my toddler, I finally sought out medical help and help from family and friends. Thank goodness I did.
    But my husband, like many men I think, still found it hard to ask for the help HE needed. He was okay with my asking my family to help with things I needed, but he still needed to be seen as taking care of his family, even if he was about to break.
    I did two things to try get him help (as I was struggling to get myself help and as he was doing everything he could to help me).
    1. I “planted the seeds” of thought early, and continued to bring it up, without nagging. Just discussions. This also works for me, and I know my husband does the same. He mentions early that I’m showing signs of depression and that maybe I should start my light therapy or medication, and it still takes me at minimum a few days to realize he’s right.
    2. I called his mother and asked her to come visit for a week and help us. When she stays with us, she is able to take over a lot of my husband’s responsibilities without him feeling like he’s letting anyone down. I did not tell him that I called her. She acted like it was her idea to come up and visit (which she and hubby had been talking about anyway). And when she came, she provided such relief to hubby, relief that no one else could provide as smoothly (except me, but I wasn’t able).
    So, like someone else said, offer help again and again (see my #1). If they don’t just take it the offered help, try to provide it in a way they can accept (#2).
    Also, as we’ve discussed in previous posts, it’s usually most helpful and easiest to accept specifically offered help. Like when I told my mom how poorly I was doing this winter and that I needed help, she offered to come over and do laundry and dishes. Or the way my sister has just offered to take my toddler for a few hours next weekend to play at her house so hubby and I can focus on the newborn and household chores. Those specific offers are so much easier to accept when I’m overwhelmed than some open-ended “let me know if you need anything.”
    As for getting someone to seek help, I think it’s SO important to get them to realize that the brain is an organ like any other in their body, except even more complex. When the chemicals are not in balance/harmony, it affects the body and the mind. Medication helps balance those chemicals and gives a person the boost they need to feel NORMAL. Once they are feeling normal, they need to make lifestyle changes to ensure they can stay on top of the chemicals that could become unbalanced again.
    As a partner to a depressed person: Please have patience and understanding. Know that the person does not mean to be acting the way they are. Know that it is really not easy in this society/culture to ask for help, especially for something like depression. Please offer help in specific ways, like @Ellen’s examples of calling a doctor and/or therapist, getting them up and ready to go, driving them there. That time and effort will pay off when the person starts feeling better and can be a functioning person again. If the person does not accept any help or refuses to hear what you are saying and doing… well, then you have to decide how that is affecting you and your family and what you need to do about it.
    Finally, I want to say that along with the depression, I feel immense guilt every year because I become less and less able to function and help out my partner. Thankfully, my hubby is wonderful about trying to ease that guilt and be supportive, but the guilt itself can start to overwhelm me and make me even more depressed. (That commercial for some antidepressant that goes, “Where does depression hurt? Everywhere. Who does depression hurt? Everyone.” That commercial sucks and makes me cry every freaking winter!) But when I start doing things to help myself or taking the help that’s offered, that makes me feel so much better.
    My doctor this winter said to me, “Your friends and family really want to help you. By telling them how to help, you are making them happy by giving them a way to help you.” She was so right.
    Good luck all.

  23. @Anon for now, there’s an expression in 12 step programs about ‘don’t go the the hardware store looking for bread.’ If you can’t get something you need from your husband, you need to look for it somewhere else.Or if you cannot make him understand what you’re asking, or why it’s so important, maybe he needs to hear it somewhere else. There are affordable places to get help: therapists with sliding scales, free support-and-recovery groups of all kinds, churches, clinics, etc. Or maybe you have a friend or family member, maybe someone in his family, who you can confide in and ask for help in explaining to him the reality of your need. It can be hard to understand for someone who is not living it.

  24. @Anon for now, there’s an expression in 12 step programs about ‘don’t go the the hardware store looking for bread.’ If you can’t get something you need from your husband, you need to look for it somewhere else.Or if you cannot make him understand what you’re asking, or why it’s so important, maybe he needs to hear it somewhere else. There are affordable places to get help: therapists with sliding scales, free support-and-recovery groups of all kinds, churches, clinics, etc. Or maybe you have a friend or family member, maybe someone in his family, who you can confide in and ask for help in explaining to him the reality of your need. It can be hard to understand for someone who is not living it.

  25. @Anon for now – I’ve got nothing concrete for you, just lots of love and sympathy. It sounds like you are in a hole. I know there are social services that offer free or low-cost therapy — maybe somebody else will pipe up and tell you the name of an agency to try? Also perhaps you have religious resources? Strength to you, sister. Hang on.@Enu – I feel like we haven’t heard from you in a while! I hope you are doing ok.
    re: depression data point … I was diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder with comorbid Major Depression in 1995 and prescribed Paxil continuously along with other meds as symptoms cycled. I discontinued all medications when it was time to get pg with #1 in 2005. I did not experience PPD with her, did not restart medications and did not get PPD with #2, who is now 9 months old. I did have some trouble with anxiety only from 6 weeks to 8 months with #2, but managed it with supplements and exercise. I know what prescription-level Anxiety feels like for me and I did not quite get there. I definitely feel like following Moxie’s supplement recs and exercising like a fool (outside in the glaring sunlight) kept the PPD at bay and made the anxiety managable.
    Anyway, ITA it’s a disease. But my caveat is that it’s a disease that needs to be diagnosed by a qualified medical professional. Just like diabetes, heart disease or high bp, depression needs to be diagnosed, treated and monitored by a doctor. *Feeling* depressed and having the disease are different, because ‘feeling depressed’ is NORMAL sometimes. Having the diagnosis is another animal altogether. IMO, only a doctor can initially diagnose the difference.

  26. @Anon for now – I’ve got nothing concrete for you, just lots of love and sympathy. It sounds like you are in a hole. I know there are social services that offer free or low-cost therapy — maybe somebody else will pipe up and tell you the name of an agency to try? Also perhaps you have religious resources? Strength to you, sister. Hang on.@Enu – I feel like we haven’t heard from you in a while! I hope you are doing ok.
    re: depression data point … I was diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder with comorbid Major Depression in 1995 and prescribed Paxil continuously along with other meds as symptoms cycled. I discontinued all medications when it was time to get pg with #1 in 2005. I did not experience PPD with her, did not restart medications and did not get PPD with #2, who is now 9 months old. I did have some trouble with anxiety only from 6 weeks to 8 months with #2, but managed it with supplements and exercise. I know what prescription-level Anxiety feels like for me and I did not quite get there. I definitely feel like following Moxie’s supplement recs and exercising like a fool (outside in the glaring sunlight) kept the PPD at bay and made the anxiety managable.
    Anyway, ITA it’s a disease. But my caveat is that it’s a disease that needs to be diagnosed by a qualified medical professional. Just like diabetes, heart disease or high bp, depression needs to be diagnosed, treated and monitored by a doctor. *Feeling* depressed and having the disease are different, because ‘feeling depressed’ is NORMAL sometimes. Having the diagnosis is another animal altogether. IMO, only a doctor can initially diagnose the difference.

  27. I am lucky that neither my current partner nor I tend towards depression. But my previous long-term boyfriend did and wouldn’t get treatment, and I know how hard it is to live with, even without kids. Big hugs to those of you dealing with this.I have no advice, but want to wholeheartedly agree with Moxie’s statement that depression is a DISEASE that needs treatment. I think of it like my asthma. Once I have the disease under control, I may (or may not) be able to reduce or discontinue my meds with good healthy living practices. But when the disease is uncontrolled, no amount of yoga or whatnot is going to get it under control. I need my meds. And if, with my doctor’s approval, I decide to stop using my daily meds because of the side effects, I need to be vigilant and watch for the return of symptoms- and start my meds again if they come back. However, one of the hardest things about depression is that it interferes with a person’s ability to recognize the problem and act to get help. At least my asthma doesn’t do that.
    Also, I remember reading a Newsweek “my turn” essay a while back from a dad who had depression right after his baby was born. It might be something short and helpful to try to get a depressed but in denial man to read.

  28. I am lucky that neither my current partner nor I tend towards depression. But my previous long-term boyfriend did and wouldn’t get treatment, and I know how hard it is to live with, even without kids. Big hugs to those of you dealing with this.I have no advice, but want to wholeheartedly agree with Moxie’s statement that depression is a DISEASE that needs treatment. I think of it like my asthma. Once I have the disease under control, I may (or may not) be able to reduce or discontinue my meds with good healthy living practices. But when the disease is uncontrolled, no amount of yoga or whatnot is going to get it under control. I need my meds. And if, with my doctor’s approval, I decide to stop using my daily meds because of the side effects, I need to be vigilant and watch for the return of symptoms- and start my meds again if they come back. However, one of the hardest things about depression is that it interferes with a person’s ability to recognize the problem and act to get help. At least my asthma doesn’t do that.
    Also, I remember reading a Newsweek “my turn” essay a while back from a dad who had depression right after his baby was born. It might be something short and helpful to try to get a depressed but in denial man to read.

  29. @Anon for now 9:43 – Have you, or has anyone else, explained to your husband that it is a chemical imbalance? Can you try to explain it in terms of diabetes or thyroid disorder? That it’s a medical thing, not just something you can “get over” without help? Especially if you are unable to take medications, you need to have help to stay healthy. Also, there are a variety of meds out there these days–have you worked with a psychiatrist (not a general practitioner doctor) to see if any work for you? Do you have anyone else who can help you, like other moms in a moms group? If there is no one else, you might at some point have to put your foot down and demand that he help you before things get worse. And in fact, that he be supportive of it. You don’t want to have a breakdown by trying to do too much. Even if your finances don’t seem to allow for therapy, perhaps you can re-prioritize some other things to get you therapy (or a sitter). It’s an issue of health, not a nice-to-have. And have you checked your insurance? If I see someone who takes my plan, I have only $10 in copay! Maybe yours is similar? This is important. YOU are important. Your health will affect your child and your whole family. Please try to make your husband see that. Good luck!

  30. @Anon for now 9:43 – Have you, or has anyone else, explained to your husband that it is a chemical imbalance? Can you try to explain it in terms of diabetes or thyroid disorder? That it’s a medical thing, not just something you can “get over” without help? Especially if you are unable to take medications, you need to have help to stay healthy. Also, there are a variety of meds out there these days–have you worked with a psychiatrist (not a general practitioner doctor) to see if any work for you? Do you have anyone else who can help you, like other moms in a moms group? If there is no one else, you might at some point have to put your foot down and demand that he help you before things get worse. And in fact, that he be supportive of it. You don’t want to have a breakdown by trying to do too much. Even if your finances don’t seem to allow for therapy, perhaps you can re-prioritize some other things to get you therapy (or a sitter). It’s an issue of health, not a nice-to-have. And have you checked your insurance? If I see someone who takes my plan, I have only $10 in copay! Maybe yours is similar? This is important. YOU are important. Your health will affect your child and your whole family. Please try to make your husband see that. Good luck!

  31. I am one of your readers who wrote about this. Things have improved somewhat. What changed? I lost it; I shouted, screamed and swore. I could not stand to be in the same room as him and told him so.Finally he took me seriously and talked to me about his feelings, something that 2 years of sympathy and bending over backwards to make things better for him could not achieve.Secondly I went back into therapy myself, I have tons of emotional baggage to sort through myself.
    I am still very angry, hurt and reluctant to make myself vulnerable again. At a time when I needed him most I felt like his negativity, irrational misery and hostility were killing me and at the same time I could see he was in pain. I struggle not to feel resentment because he is almost incapable of taking responsibility for his own emotional life and the effect his moods have on me and his child. He appears to need me to tell him if he is working too hard etc.
    He knows the terrible effect having a depressed parent can have-he had two depressed parents but seems unable to take steps to help himself.
    He has always had depressive episodes but before we had our son all this was manageable, the good outweighed the bad and I did not need him as much I guess.I could just live my own life until he came out of it.That is not so much of an option now.
    I want to feel understanding instead of resentment.I really need to hear from others who have been depressed and/or have had depressed partners.I need insight.

  32. I am one of your readers who wrote about this. Things have improved somewhat. What changed? I lost it; I shouted, screamed and swore. I could not stand to be in the same room as him and told him so.Finally he took me seriously and talked to me about his feelings, something that 2 years of sympathy and bending over backwards to make things better for him could not achieve.Secondly I went back into therapy myself, I have tons of emotional baggage to sort through myself.
    I am still very angry, hurt and reluctant to make myself vulnerable again. At a time when I needed him most I felt like his negativity, irrational misery and hostility were killing me and at the same time I could see he was in pain. I struggle not to feel resentment because he is almost incapable of taking responsibility for his own emotional life and the effect his moods have on me and his child. He appears to need me to tell him if he is working too hard etc.
    He knows the terrible effect having a depressed parent can have-he had two depressed parents but seems unable to take steps to help himself.
    He has always had depressive episodes but before we had our son all this was manageable, the good outweighed the bad and I did not need him as much I guess.I could just live my own life until he came out of it.That is not so much of an option now.
    I want to feel understanding instead of resentment.I really need to hear from others who have been depressed and/or have had depressed partners.I need insight.

  33. @MrsHaley – thanks! I am doing very well these days. Am starting to get into a stage of life where I define myself (a little bit) less through parenthood, but still enjoying reading many threads here.

  34. @MrsHaley – thanks! I am doing very well these days. Am starting to get into a stage of life where I define myself (a little bit) less through parenthood, but still enjoying reading many threads here.

  35. Yes, thank you. My husband and I have both gone through depression and he also suffers anxiety. His family are champions at denial and “just tough it out and you’ll get through” and “life happens to you, you don’t make it happen” kind of people and handed my husband a horrible model for dealing with negative emotions. His mom had multiple nervous breakdowns and I am pretty convinced her sudden death had at least something to do with her unmanaged depression and anxiety.Some years back, before we had kids, I’d pretty much lost my patience with him and his depression and total unwillingness to deal and told him he had to get it together. He did, he started seeing a therapist and taking meds and he’s doing really well now, although there have been tough times including when his mom got sick and he just fell apart for awhile and I actually started considering leaving. He got his act together, gained some coping skills, and now is sad-but-functional about his family (mom died last fall, dad has Alzheimer’s).
    I went through a few episodes since we’ve been together but I have a much stronger history of seeking help in dealing with it. The two worst were when my daughter was about one and a half and I went through the most horrible depression I’d ever had, which is saying a lot. He helped me then by insisting I get help when I told him how bad I’d been feeling and staying on me to keep my appointments and fill my prescriptions, etc. He did the same when I had PPD after my son, and listened to endless analysis of how I was feeling. AND he took the night shift as much as he could since I was nursing, which given the way my husband feels about sleep deserves some sort of medal.
    Living with a depressed partner is difficult, and only you know how much you can take. But getting therapy and the right combo of drugs really works.

  36. Yes, thank you. My husband and I have both gone through depression and he also suffers anxiety. His family are champions at denial and “just tough it out and you’ll get through” and “life happens to you, you don’t make it happen” kind of people and handed my husband a horrible model for dealing with negative emotions. His mom had multiple nervous breakdowns and I am pretty convinced her sudden death had at least something to do with her unmanaged depression and anxiety.Some years back, before we had kids, I’d pretty much lost my patience with him and his depression and total unwillingness to deal and told him he had to get it together. He did, he started seeing a therapist and taking meds and he’s doing really well now, although there have been tough times including when his mom got sick and he just fell apart for awhile and I actually started considering leaving. He got his act together, gained some coping skills, and now is sad-but-functional about his family (mom died last fall, dad has Alzheimer’s).
    I went through a few episodes since we’ve been together but I have a much stronger history of seeking help in dealing with it. The two worst were when my daughter was about one and a half and I went through the most horrible depression I’d ever had, which is saying a lot. He helped me then by insisting I get help when I told him how bad I’d been feeling and staying on me to keep my appointments and fill my prescriptions, etc. He did the same when I had PPD after my son, and listened to endless analysis of how I was feeling. AND he took the night shift as much as he could since I was nursing, which given the way my husband feels about sleep deserves some sort of medal.
    Living with a depressed partner is difficult, and only you know how much you can take. But getting therapy and the right combo of drugs really works.

  37. Holy cow, Anon at 10:39 — I know exactly where you are coming from. And before kid, I had more time and energy and patience and time (did I repeat that?) to nurture him and help him through the hard times. Now I feel guilt for not having that time. I need to go to therapy and get rid of some of this guilt, I think.

  38. I’ve been dealing with depression on and off since high school. One thing I want to say for those that live with someone that has depression is that it is a very slippery slope. Very often I was the last one to know I’d slipped back into it again. You might need to have the depression conversation over and over again before your partner acknowledges even that he is depressed.Simple things can help mild to moderate depression. Exercise is a must. Sleeping with music turned low so it is barely audible (no lyrics) can help quiet the mind enough to get some sleep.
    Making an exercise of going out of your comfort zone once a day, helps to get into a proactive mind frame as well as gauge progress (I had days in college that my exercise was simply not looking at my feet as I walked across the quad, another after college where it took me all day to work myself up to walk across the street to buy toilet paper). The point is to start where you are. If it makes you uncomfortable to do, no matter how lame it might sound, that is your goal for the day.
    Another thing that has helped immensely is supplementation. I suffer from a fatty acid deficiency, which is linked to depression (so, so glad to see Moxie suggesting fish oil). When I need it, I supplement with some amino acids that are building blocks for things like serotonin. A friend gave me a copy The Mood Cure by Julia Ross that deals with brain chemistry. I found it very helpful, especially at a time when I was without insurance or extra resources to seek outside help.

  39. I’ve been dealing with depression on and off since high school. One thing I want to say for those that live with someone that has depression is that it is a very slippery slope. Very often I was the last one to know I’d slipped back into it again. You might need to have the depression conversation over and over again before your partner acknowledges even that he is depressed.Simple things can help mild to moderate depression. Exercise is a must. Sleeping with music turned low so it is barely audible (no lyrics) can help quiet the mind enough to get some sleep.
    Making an exercise of going out of your comfort zone once a day, helps to get into a proactive mind frame as well as gauge progress (I had days in college that my exercise was simply not looking at my feet as I walked across the quad, another after college where it took me all day to work myself up to walk across the street to buy toilet paper). The point is to start where you are. If it makes you uncomfortable to do, no matter how lame it might sound, that is your goal for the day.
    Another thing that has helped immensely is supplementation. I suffer from a fatty acid deficiency, which is linked to depression (so, so glad to see Moxie suggesting fish oil). When I need it, I supplement with some amino acids that are building blocks for things like serotonin. A friend gave me a copy The Mood Cure by Julia Ross that deals with brain chemistry. I found it very helpful, especially at a time when I was without insurance or extra resources to seek outside help.

  40. Moxie and others,Can you PLEASE summarize the supplements you recommend. I see it mentioned over and over in many discussions but it would be helpful to have a handy summary.
    Many thanks.

  41. Moxie and others,Can you PLEASE summarize the supplements you recommend. I see it mentioned over and over in many discussions but it would be helpful to have a handy summary.
    Many thanks.

  42. I’m all about the therapy. Just want to chime in with a big “amen” to everyone who has suggested therapy for the non-depressed partner as well. I realize therapy is sometimes a scary, threatening concept that may unfortunately be out of reach financially for a lot of folks, and yet I really think going to therapy yourself is one of the best “be the change you want to see in the world” steps that a person can take.Chances are, if you believe your partner needs to see a therapist, then so do you, because nine times out of ten you have unwittingly taken on an enabling role and/or have built up resentments & negative relationship patterns over time that can be very detrimental to your own health if left unresolved.
    If more people had access to good therapy, I think there would be a lot less depression.

  43. I’m all about the therapy. Just want to chime in with a big “amen” to everyone who has suggested therapy for the non-depressed partner as well. I realize therapy is sometimes a scary, threatening concept that may unfortunately be out of reach financially for a lot of folks, and yet I really think going to therapy yourself is one of the best “be the change you want to see in the world” steps that a person can take.Chances are, if you believe your partner needs to see a therapist, then so do you, because nine times out of ten you have unwittingly taken on an enabling role and/or have built up resentments & negative relationship patterns over time that can be very detrimental to your own health if left unresolved.
    If more people had access to good therapy, I think there would be a lot less depression.

  44. “…insomnia is a symptom of depression, but sleeping pills make the sluggishness worse…”I gotta disagree with you on this one, Moxie. I suffered terrible insomnia with both PPD and weaning, and I took sleeping pills during the latter stage. They saved. my. ass.
    Without sufficient sleep I was a really bad cranky parent. With sufficient sleep I’m usually pretty decent. There’s a place, a BIG place, for sleeping pills when insomnia is eating your brain.

  45. “…insomnia is a symptom of depression, but sleeping pills make the sluggishness worse…”I gotta disagree with you on this one, Moxie. I suffered terrible insomnia with both PPD and weaning, and I took sleeping pills during the latter stage. They saved. my. ass.
    Without sufficient sleep I was a really bad cranky parent. With sufficient sleep I’m usually pretty decent. There’s a place, a BIG place, for sleeping pills when insomnia is eating your brain.

  46. @AnonForThis – The supplements I take are:AM: 2000mg omega-3 (enteric coated fish oil, B-complex, vit. D (gelcap NOT tablet), calcium, C
    PM: 2000mg O-3, vit. D, calcium, C and ‘prenatal’ multi (I am nursing)

  47. @AnonForThis – The supplements I take are:AM: 2000mg omega-3 (enteric coated fish oil, B-complex, vit. D (gelcap NOT tablet), calcium, C
    PM: 2000mg O-3, vit. D, calcium, C and ‘prenatal’ multi (I am nursing)

  48. I’m one of the readers who wrote to Moxie about this topic. My husband, whom I have been in a relationship with for over 16 years has been battling depression and anxiety on and off since I’ve known him. Let’s just say I knew what I was getting into when we got married 5 years ago. He is in cognitive behavioral therapy and had been taking antidpressents for a while but when his last prescription ran out, he did not have it refilled. I can only “nag” so much but it drives me nuts that he won’t refill it. There are times when he seems to be doing okay, but he still gets into these funks which make life at home pretty much suck.Lately, he’s been upset about his job situation. He has a full time job that he is not 100% comfortable in, but because of his anxiety issues, he is not doing anything to try to improve his situation. Not to mention, quitting is not so much an option in this economy, even though my full time job really supports us. His job covers daycare and groceries — that’s about it. On the other hand, we have survived before on just my salary, and if quitting his job makes him happier, I’m almost willing to accept that. It’s what happens after he quits that scares me…
    We have a three year old son, who is equally a joy and a challenge (he is three, I mentioned). I feel like I leave the stresses at work and come home to a whole new set of stresses: a fun but back-talking pre-schooler who is going though some sleep issues, a grumpy husband, and all the normal home stresses like getting dinner on the table, laundry, bathrooms that need cleaning, hungry kitties, etc. I get so extremely frustrated when my husband mopes around the house hiding behind his earphones (he is constantly listening to books on his ipod as an escape), doesn’t shave or get a hair cut and is just generally a drag to be around.
    He can put on a somewhat happy face for our son, but as soon as the boy goes to bed, it’s back to funk-land. I deserve better than this. I want our relationship to work. I’d also like to have another child (I recently turned 35), but that’s just not in the cards right now with the way my husband is — not to mention he say’s he doesn’t want another one which is a whole other topic.
    He definitely needs to work on his own issues, but I’m wondering if marriage councelling is our next step or perhaps I need to talk to someone. Thanks, Moxie for starting this topic today. Reading others’ experiences helps.

  49. I’m one of the readers who wrote to Moxie about this topic. My husband, whom I have been in a relationship with for over 16 years has been battling depression and anxiety on and off since I’ve known him. Let’s just say I knew what I was getting into when we got married 5 years ago. He is in cognitive behavioral therapy and had been taking antidpressents for a while but when his last prescription ran out, he did not have it refilled. I can only “nag” so much but it drives me nuts that he won’t refill it. There are times when he seems to be doing okay, but he still gets into these funks which make life at home pretty much suck.Lately, he’s been upset about his job situation. He has a full time job that he is not 100% comfortable in, but because of his anxiety issues, he is not doing anything to try to improve his situation. Not to mention, quitting is not so much an option in this economy, even though my full time job really supports us. His job covers daycare and groceries — that’s about it. On the other hand, we have survived before on just my salary, and if quitting his job makes him happier, I’m almost willing to accept that. It’s what happens after he quits that scares me…
    We have a three year old son, who is equally a joy and a challenge (he is three, I mentioned). I feel like I leave the stresses at work and come home to a whole new set of stresses: a fun but back-talking pre-schooler who is going though some sleep issues, a grumpy husband, and all the normal home stresses like getting dinner on the table, laundry, bathrooms that need cleaning, hungry kitties, etc. I get so extremely frustrated when my husband mopes around the house hiding behind his earphones (he is constantly listening to books on his ipod as an escape), doesn’t shave or get a hair cut and is just generally a drag to be around.
    He can put on a somewhat happy face for our son, but as soon as the boy goes to bed, it’s back to funk-land. I deserve better than this. I want our relationship to work. I’d also like to have another child (I recently turned 35), but that’s just not in the cards right now with the way my husband is — not to mention he say’s he doesn’t want another one which is a whole other topic.
    He definitely needs to work on his own issues, but I’m wondering if marriage councelling is our next step or perhaps I need to talk to someone. Thanks, Moxie for starting this topic today. Reading others’ experiences helps.

  50. My previous post disappeared. I just wanted to add a trick that’s often helped me: Even when I am not feeling well enough, I try to ACT like someone who does. Can’t get motivated to shower? Well, let me impersonate someone who can… Eventually, the actions drag along my psyche, and I start to feel better. Good luck!

  51. My previous post disappeared. I just wanted to add a trick that’s often helped me: Even when I am not feeling well enough, I try to ACT like someone who does. Can’t get motivated to shower? Well, let me impersonate someone who can… Eventually, the actions drag along my psyche, and I start to feel better. Good luck!

  52. Here is a list of the supplements I take with a disclaimer that you shouldn’t go buy stuff and take it just because it works for me. I have no idea how this stuff reacts with certain medications and conditions, so make sure you do some research before deciding what you want to try for yourself.A good multi-vitamin along with an extra B-Complex and fish oil
    L-tyrosine or L-phenylalanine- promotes dopamine/norepinephrine production
    DL-phenylalanine (DLPA) – promotes endorphin production
    L-tryptophan or 5HTP – promotes serotonin production
    There are others addressed in Julia Ross’s books, but these are the ones that I have needed/taken in the past. These days my first response to feeling depressed for more than a week or two is to start with the DLPA and get to work on what in my life isn’t working or needs changing.
    Julia Ross has another book, The Diet Cure, that has also addresses brain chemistry. There is an online quiz that can help give an idea of what supplements might be helpful. Answer the first question and then click on the button to delve deeper into which neurotransmitters you might be deficient in.
    http://www.dietcure.com/Questionnairea.html

  53. Here is a list of the supplements I take with a disclaimer that you shouldn’t go buy stuff and take it just because it works for me. I have no idea how this stuff reacts with certain medications and conditions, so make sure you do some research before deciding what you want to try for yourself.A good multi-vitamin along with an extra B-Complex and fish oil
    L-tyrosine or L-phenylalanine- promotes dopamine/norepinephrine production
    DL-phenylalanine (DLPA) – promotes endorphin production
    L-tryptophan or 5HTP – promotes serotonin production
    There are others addressed in Julia Ross’s books, but these are the ones that I have needed/taken in the past. These days my first response to feeling depressed for more than a week or two is to start with the DLPA and get to work on what in my life isn’t working or needs changing.
    Julia Ross has another book, The Diet Cure, that has also addresses brain chemistry. There is an online quiz that can help give an idea of what supplements might be helpful. Answer the first question and then click on the button to delve deeper into which neurotransmitters you might be deficient in.
    http://www.dietcure.com/Questionnairea.html

  54. I was one of the ones who wrote to Moxie, too. I’ve decided not to use an anonymous name today, although I think I did in my email.My DH suffers on and off from depression and anxiety (holy awesome mixture of symptoms, batman!). He’s been on Paxil for years, with a diminishing rate of returns. He’s gone to many different types of therapy, with some good effects, and some zero effects.
    I agree that, before we had children, I had the time/energy to help him more with his episodes. But I also feel that I probably enabled him more then, too. Now, with 2 kids, he just doesn’t have as much time to check out.
    On the one hand, I feel like having a 2nd child pushed us over the brink. I don’t regret my 2-month-old DD, who is funny and sweet and beautiful and contented–but boy, has it been hard to have 2 kids + 1 compromised DH. My preschooler DS has anxiety as well and can be very high needs.
    Some days I realize that I’ve been clenching my jaw all day just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
    What I do:
    – remind my DH often to eat enough, exercise enough, sleep enough. (seriously. I call him at work and make sure he’s taken lunch. Otherwise he forgets and goes quickly downhill.)
    – encourage him to still do the things that give him joy, even if (or especially if!) they take him away from us for a little while.
    – allow him to step up and take charge. I find that if you have a depressed partner, you end up shouldering all of the burden. That leaves them in the position of always being the one taken care of, not the one taking care. You don’t do anyone any favors by never letting them take care of you.
    – try not to forget about myself. And try to keep a positive attitude, even when I don’t feel like it. My DH has told me that my positivity helps him so much. I like the motto, “If you’re going to laugh about this later, why not laugh about it now?” If I ever start feeling negative, boy, watch out…our train quickly derails.
    Anyway, big hugs to all of you suffering from depression or dealing with someone suffering from it. Luckily, in my case, the sensitivity my DH has that fuels the depression also makes him a pretty great husband and dad. I try to remember that when I start asking, “Why me???”
    Oh, and for a read recommendation: “Potatoes, not Prozac”. Very interesting read about brain chemistry, and how our food choices (namely, sugar and alcohol) affect our brains.

  55. I was one of the ones who wrote to Moxie, too. I’ve decided not to use an anonymous name today, although I think I did in my email.My DH suffers on and off from depression and anxiety (holy awesome mixture of symptoms, batman!). He’s been on Paxil for years, with a diminishing rate of returns. He’s gone to many different types of therapy, with some good effects, and some zero effects.
    I agree that, before we had children, I had the time/energy to help him more with his episodes. But I also feel that I probably enabled him more then, too. Now, with 2 kids, he just doesn’t have as much time to check out.
    On the one hand, I feel like having a 2nd child pushed us over the brink. I don’t regret my 2-month-old DD, who is funny and sweet and beautiful and contented–but boy, has it been hard to have 2 kids + 1 compromised DH. My preschooler DS has anxiety as well and can be very high needs.
    Some days I realize that I’ve been clenching my jaw all day just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
    What I do:
    – remind my DH often to eat enough, exercise enough, sleep enough. (seriously. I call him at work and make sure he’s taken lunch. Otherwise he forgets and goes quickly downhill.)
    – encourage him to still do the things that give him joy, even if (or especially if!) they take him away from us for a little while.
    – allow him to step up and take charge. I find that if you have a depressed partner, you end up shouldering all of the burden. That leaves them in the position of always being the one taken care of, not the one taking care. You don’t do anyone any favors by never letting them take care of you.
    – try not to forget about myself. And try to keep a positive attitude, even when I don’t feel like it. My DH has told me that my positivity helps him so much. I like the motto, “If you’re going to laugh about this later, why not laugh about it now?” If I ever start feeling negative, boy, watch out…our train quickly derails.
    Anyway, big hugs to all of you suffering from depression or dealing with someone suffering from it. Luckily, in my case, the sensitivity my DH has that fuels the depression also makes him a pretty great husband and dad. I try to remember that when I start asking, “Why me???”
    Oh, and for a read recommendation: “Potatoes, not Prozac”. Very interesting read about brain chemistry, and how our food choices (namely, sugar and alcohol) affect our brains.

  56. From a woman with a history of 20+ years of depression:1. http://www.crazymeds.us/
    This is the best resource EVER for psych meds, outside of your usual clinical pharmacology manuals, which of course, are still necessary.
    2. I agree with a PP that no amount of yoga or green tea or fish oil is going to pull you out of the black pit of depression. When you’re paralyzed and stuck, you need to pull out the big guns. Rx meds are there for a reason, and they WORK.
    3. It IS possible to go without prescription meds. It takes a LOT of hard work and commitment, and for me, a while on meds to get me to the happy place, but they don’t have to be a forever thing for all of us.
    4. I don’t believe the world is falling apart and about to blow up. It is, in fact, quite wonderful at the moment.

  57. From a woman with a history of 20+ years of depression:1. http://www.crazymeds.us/
    This is the best resource EVER for psych meds, outside of your usual clinical pharmacology manuals, which of course, are still necessary.
    2. I agree with a PP that no amount of yoga or green tea or fish oil is going to pull you out of the black pit of depression. When you’re paralyzed and stuck, you need to pull out the big guns. Rx meds are there for a reason, and they WORK.
    3. It IS possible to go without prescription meds. It takes a LOT of hard work and commitment, and for me, a while on meds to get me to the happy place, but they don’t have to be a forever thing for all of us.
    4. I don’t believe the world is falling apart and about to blow up. It is, in fact, quite wonderful at the moment.

  58. @meggiemoo — Your post resonates a lot with me. Sounds like we’re in similar boats. With regards to wanting a second child, I think my husband knows deep down that another one will push him/us over the brink which is one of the reasons he is against the idea. But I can’t control those baby urges I’ve been getting lately. Did I mention I’m 35? 🙂

  59. @meggiemoo — Your post resonates a lot with me. Sounds like we’re in similar boats. With regards to wanting a second child, I think my husband knows deep down that another one will push him/us over the brink which is one of the reasons he is against the idea. But I can’t control those baby urges I’ve been getting lately. Did I mention I’m 35? 🙂

  60. Thanks for the encouragement. So far my efforts at building a larger support network over the past two year have failed spectacularly. I will keep looking.As for the question about co-pay, our mental health co-pay is high enough not to make much difference.
    I should mention that homeopathy has helped in the past, and is helping some now, but some structures still need to change.

  61. Thanks for the encouragement. So far my efforts at building a larger support network over the past two year have failed spectacularly. I will keep looking.As for the question about co-pay, our mental health co-pay is high enough not to make much difference.
    I should mention that homeopathy has helped in the past, and is helping some now, but some structures still need to change.

  62. I haven’t had time to read all of the comments, but I wanted to say: I’ve been through some very bad times with my husband who suffers from clinical depression (has a family history of depression, suicide, substance abuse), and we’ve made it to the other side. I wasn’t sure it was possible, and was on the verge of leaving. He said stuff that he can’t even remember – mean stuff – and he was like a completely different person when he was depressed, I could practically SEE the neurochemicals twisting him around into someone else. Now he is much better, but I know it is something that we will have to continue to monitor and deal with throughout our lives.I agree with Ellen:
    partners should also know that there are times when depression is so debilitating that even if the depressed partner wants the help, even if he/she says yes to the help, he/she may not know what to do with it. When I had ppd, my husband had to call the doctor, make the appointments, get me out of bed, and take me there.
    I’d add, you might need to go along to doctor appointments and write stuff down, because a depressed person’s memory is often faulty. You might need to assemble some sort of healthcare team. You probably want to gather social services and emergency numbers (a BIG part of what made our situation extra-bad was financial problems, so we got help from local agencies of various kinds – you can find sliding scale counseling through Jewish/Lutheran Social Services, check into state or county programs for financial help and/or food or childcare assistance, see if there’s “stressed parent” free child care nearby, talk to nurses at places like WIC who often know about free services in the community – I also gathered info about acute mental health services and inpatient programs, just in case, but never used them). This takes a LOT of energy. It’s really hard. It’s hard to admit that you’re that bad off, if in fact you are, and it’s hard to talk to people and explain it all over and over again. But social services workers are often trained to be helpful and kind, and I found some of the kindest people ever in those jobs.
    I want to really REALLY stress that as the partner of a depressed person, you MUST make caring for yourself a priority. Depression can be contagious, and in any case it’s draining and feels hopeless. For a long time I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about what was going on with me, so I hedged and stalled with all my closest friends and didn’t really tell them how bad things were. My relationship only turned around after I decided to stop hiding things and spent some time with my best friends, and told them everything, all the worst stuff. I felt like, relationship or no relationship, I had to stop stifling myself, and that it was MY choice. Standing up for myself with him, rather than being passive, was also important. I needed counseling, too, to get through it.
    We partners of depressed people tend to be “fixers,” at least in my experience, and we need to walk a fine line. If we are committed to our partners and have kids at stake, then we probably do need to step in and be the responsible person for a while at least, just so things can be less crazy and we can get to some semblance of stability. But I think it’s crucial to try to restore that balance in your relationship as much as you can when the depressed partner gets better. If you go on trying to do everything, or make all kinds of allowances, it’s sort of enabling and makes your relationship all lopsided. I went on for a long time even after he started to get better, trying not to “upset” him, when what I really needed to do was work on better communication myself. And truly, sometimes the only way to get yourself and your kids back into balance is to leave.
    I also think it’s absolutely necessary that those of us who deal with depression and other mental health issues in our families to do what we can to lessen the stigma that’s associated with mental health problems. The stigma can keep people from getting help, and it can keep us from supporting each other. And, as Moxie mentioned, there are especially stigmas around men dealing with these issues… I’ve finally found ways to talk about my personal experiences without revealing everything about my husband’s health. So whenever I get a chance, I get up on my soapbox about it, or try to offer support to people who need it.
    I still get afraid that it will happen again, but I try not to let fear run our relationship (because it keeps me from being open with him). I do have some fears about what my daughter will inherit, and how those very early years of her life (infancy through about 2.5) will have affected her development. But I just try to do the best I can to instill optimistic thinking and problem solving strategies and make sure she knows she can talk to me about anything. (Anyone read the books by Martin Seligman about “depression-proofing” children?)
    I try to live in the moment, and appreciate what we have. My heart goes out to all of you who are going through this right now. You are definitely NOT alone.

  63. I haven’t had time to read all of the comments, but I wanted to say: I’ve been through some very bad times with my husband who suffers from clinical depression (has a family history of depression, suicide, substance abuse), and we’ve made it to the other side. I wasn’t sure it was possible, and was on the verge of leaving. He said stuff that he can’t even remember – mean stuff – and he was like a completely different person when he was depressed, I could practically SEE the neurochemicals twisting him around into someone else. Now he is much better, but I know it is something that we will have to continue to monitor and deal with throughout our lives.I agree with Ellen:
    partners should also know that there are times when depression is so debilitating that even if the depressed partner wants the help, even if he/she says yes to the help, he/she may not know what to do with it. When I had ppd, my husband had to call the doctor, make the appointments, get me out of bed, and take me there.
    I’d add, you might need to go along to doctor appointments and write stuff down, because a depressed person’s memory is often faulty. You might need to assemble some sort of healthcare team. You probably want to gather social services and emergency numbers (a BIG part of what made our situation extra-bad was financial problems, so we got help from local agencies of various kinds – you can find sliding scale counseling through Jewish/Lutheran Social Services, check into state or county programs for financial help and/or food or childcare assistance, see if there’s “stressed parent” free child care nearby, talk to nurses at places like WIC who often know about free services in the community – I also gathered info about acute mental health services and inpatient programs, just in case, but never used them). This takes a LOT of energy. It’s really hard. It’s hard to admit that you’re that bad off, if in fact you are, and it’s hard to talk to people and explain it all over and over again. But social services workers are often trained to be helpful and kind, and I found some of the kindest people ever in those jobs.
    I want to really REALLY stress that as the partner of a depressed person, you MUST make caring for yourself a priority. Depression can be contagious, and in any case it’s draining and feels hopeless. For a long time I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about what was going on with me, so I hedged and stalled with all my closest friends and didn’t really tell them how bad things were. My relationship only turned around after I decided to stop hiding things and spent some time with my best friends, and told them everything, all the worst stuff. I felt like, relationship or no relationship, I had to stop stifling myself, and that it was MY choice. Standing up for myself with him, rather than being passive, was also important. I needed counseling, too, to get through it.
    We partners of depressed people tend to be “fixers,” at least in my experience, and we need to walk a fine line. If we are committed to our partners and have kids at stake, then we probably do need to step in and be the responsible person for a while at least, just so things can be less crazy and we can get to some semblance of stability. But I think it’s crucial to try to restore that balance in your relationship as much as you can when the depressed partner gets better. If you go on trying to do everything, or make all kinds of allowances, it’s sort of enabling and makes your relationship all lopsided. I went on for a long time even after he started to get better, trying not to “upset” him, when what I really needed to do was work on better communication myself. And truly, sometimes the only way to get yourself and your kids back into balance is to leave.
    I also think it’s absolutely necessary that those of us who deal with depression and other mental health issues in our families to do what we can to lessen the stigma that’s associated with mental health problems. The stigma can keep people from getting help, and it can keep us from supporting each other. And, as Moxie mentioned, there are especially stigmas around men dealing with these issues… I’ve finally found ways to talk about my personal experiences without revealing everything about my husband’s health. So whenever I get a chance, I get up on my soapbox about it, or try to offer support to people who need it.
    I still get afraid that it will happen again, but I try not to let fear run our relationship (because it keeps me from being open with him). I do have some fears about what my daughter will inherit, and how those very early years of her life (infancy through about 2.5) will have affected her development. But I just try to do the best I can to instill optimistic thinking and problem solving strategies and make sure she knows she can talk to me about anything. (Anyone read the books by Martin Seligman about “depression-proofing” children?)
    I try to live in the moment, and appreciate what we have. My heart goes out to all of you who are going through this right now. You are definitely NOT alone.

  64. I just want to chime in with two related comments:1. Not all therapy/therapists are created equal. Some are fairly ineffectual or harmful. If things don’t seem to be improving, please change or make sure the affected person changes. (My primary reference point is addiction but the same principles apply)
    2. re: “can’t control baby urges”. I think sometimes we all have to make very tough choices, and if feels that it will push him/you over the brink, why is it that you really want it? If push came to shove would you want that for your husband and your family? Please think about why this is so important to you and perhaps considering talking to someone about it. If this means sacrificing your spouse, is it worth it?

  65. I just want to chime in with two related comments:1. Not all therapy/therapists are created equal. Some are fairly ineffectual or harmful. If things don’t seem to be improving, please change or make sure the affected person changes. (My primary reference point is addiction but the same principles apply)
    2. re: “can’t control baby urges”. I think sometimes we all have to make very tough choices, and if feels that it will push him/you over the brink, why is it that you really want it? If push came to shove would you want that for your husband and your family? Please think about why this is so important to you and perhaps considering talking to someone about it. If this means sacrificing your spouse, is it worth it?

  66. @MLB:I understand what you’re saying…I guess in my situation, I knew that a 2nd child would stretch *all* of us (one of our darkest times was the 6 months after my DS was born, because I had PPD as well), but we also felt that the long-term gain (a sibling for our son, watching them grow up together, etc.) was worth the short-term pain. I didn’t have PPD this time, and my DH hasn’t felt nearly as badly, either. The sheer work of having 2 children has thrown us both, but I know that’ll get easier, too.
    @AnonAgain:
    One of the crazy things about having kids is you really don’t know the magnitude of how it will implode your life until after it already happens. If your DH feels that he can’t handle another child, that could be the fear/depression talking, or it could be true. Maybe a family counselor could help with the discussion? Hugs to you…
    Since I wrote to Moxie a few weeks ago, things have improved a bit. I don’t feel like the wheels are coming off of the bus anymore. I feel that things will continue to improve as our children get older and aren’t as high needs as they are right now. We will certainly always have our challenges, but we’re all doing our best.

  67. @MLB:I understand what you’re saying…I guess in my situation, I knew that a 2nd child would stretch *all* of us (one of our darkest times was the 6 months after my DS was born, because I had PPD as well), but we also felt that the long-term gain (a sibling for our son, watching them grow up together, etc.) was worth the short-term pain. I didn’t have PPD this time, and my DH hasn’t felt nearly as badly, either. The sheer work of having 2 children has thrown us both, but I know that’ll get easier, too.
    @AnonAgain:
    One of the crazy things about having kids is you really don’t know the magnitude of how it will implode your life until after it already happens. If your DH feels that he can’t handle another child, that could be the fear/depression talking, or it could be true. Maybe a family counselor could help with the discussion? Hugs to you…
    Since I wrote to Moxie a few weeks ago, things have improved a bit. I don’t feel like the wheels are coming off of the bus anymore. I feel that things will continue to improve as our children get older and aren’t as high needs as they are right now. We will certainly always have our challenges, but we’re all doing our best.

  68. Wonderful post, Moxie. Don’t want to repeat what many are saying here. Also wanted to mention THYROID. After my boy was born in ’06 I had all of the symptoms of PPD, which was not at all surprising given a) I had been diagosed with dysthemia already in my 20’s and b) I was on bed rest prior to childbirth for three months, which can trigger depressive attitudes all on its own. But, here I am almost three years later and I’m still struggling with depression, weight issues, hair loss, etc., despite exercise and eating (mostly) right.Went in for blood work a month ago and discovered I have hypothyroidism, which is *very* common amongst women. So, just wanted to remind some women who are either depressed or know of depressed women, to check that thyroid every now and then. It might not explain everything, but just knowing it’s part of the big picture, *really* helps.

  69. Wonderful post, Moxie. Don’t want to repeat what many are saying here. Also wanted to mention THYROID. After my boy was born in ’06 I had all of the symptoms of PPD, which was not at all surprising given a) I had been diagosed with dysthemia already in my 20’s and b) I was on bed rest prior to childbirth for three months, which can trigger depressive attitudes all on its own. But, here I am almost three years later and I’m still struggling with depression, weight issues, hair loss, etc., despite exercise and eating (mostly) right.Went in for blood work a month ago and discovered I have hypothyroidism, which is *very* common amongst women. So, just wanted to remind some women who are either depressed or know of depressed women, to check that thyroid every now and then. It might not explain everything, but just knowing it’s part of the big picture, *really* helps.

  70. pocha beat me to the punch. When I was dealing with depression, I found out I was severely hypothyroid. It was the only problem, but it definitely contributed. Getting that under control has helped me at least as much as therapy did.I took antidepressants for a year or so, while I did the therapy thing. I found that they helped me focus on what I was doing on therapy enough that I could integrate that stuff into my life. Once I got my thyroid under control, though, and learned to allow myself to not be perfect and to not stress about the fact that I wasn’t perfect, I went off them.
    And if you ever make that decision, do it with your doctor’s advice. I weaned off slowly (literally over months) and had fewer side effects than I might have had I not done it that way, and they were of a shorter duration.

  71. pocha beat me to the punch. When I was dealing with depression, I found out I was severely hypothyroid. It was the only problem, but it definitely contributed. Getting that under control has helped me at least as much as therapy did.I took antidepressants for a year or so, while I did the therapy thing. I found that they helped me focus on what I was doing on therapy enough that I could integrate that stuff into my life. Once I got my thyroid under control, though, and learned to allow myself to not be perfect and to not stress about the fact that I wasn’t perfect, I went off them.
    And if you ever make that decision, do it with your doctor’s advice. I weaned off slowly (literally over months) and had fewer side effects than I might have had I not done it that way, and they were of a shorter duration.

  72. Ellen, totally agree. When I was in the midst of really, really bad PPD, my husband was also experiencing undiagnosed fibromyalgia. So every solution I could come up with to make things better involved getting more help from him – which he couldn’t do. I got really angry at the suggestion that the solution would be for me to take drugs – that seemed to be saying that I should simply try to make myself HAPPY about living in a truly horrible situation (no sleep, no privacy, no down-time, full-time work, no help at home), instead of actually changing the situation.You should be cautious about offering “help” that implies the person is WRONG to be unhappy about their present situation. Maybe their situation really does suck. Maybe you can help them change it, or maybe not. But depression usually isn’t just about the affected person – it’s everything going on around them.

  73. Ellen, totally agree. When I was in the midst of really, really bad PPD, my husband was also experiencing undiagnosed fibromyalgia. So every solution I could come up with to make things better involved getting more help from him – which he couldn’t do. I got really angry at the suggestion that the solution would be for me to take drugs – that seemed to be saying that I should simply try to make myself HAPPY about living in a truly horrible situation (no sleep, no privacy, no down-time, full-time work, no help at home), instead of actually changing the situation.You should be cautious about offering “help” that implies the person is WRONG to be unhappy about their present situation. Maybe their situation really does suck. Maybe you can help them change it, or maybe not. But depression usually isn’t just about the affected person – it’s everything going on around them.

  74. I agree with MLB. My husband is a therapist, and he can vouch for the fact that some therapists aren’t very good. Also, everyone has different styles and a therapist that is effective for someone else might not be good for you. So, you might have to shop around. It’s one of the double binds of depression that when you feel the least like advocating for youself, it can be really helpful to do so.And Tzipporah, I’m respectfully disagreeing with you. Sometimes, a lot of times, depression is situational, but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s a chemical imbalance, sometimes it might be stuff being triggered from childhood, but people do get depressed when things are going well.
    My husband and I have both been depressed at various times during our 18 (anniversary tomorrow) relationship. Last summer he had the male equivalent of PPD and it was gut wrenching for him. We’re both pretty functional while we’re depressed though (so far) and we’ve always made it through to the other side.
    Good luck to everyone who is dealing with this. It sucks.

  75. I agree with MLB. My husband is a therapist, and he can vouch for the fact that some therapists aren’t very good. Also, everyone has different styles and a therapist that is effective for someone else might not be good for you. So, you might have to shop around. It’s one of the double binds of depression that when you feel the least like advocating for youself, it can be really helpful to do so.And Tzipporah, I’m respectfully disagreeing with you. Sometimes, a lot of times, depression is situational, but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s a chemical imbalance, sometimes it might be stuff being triggered from childhood, but people do get depressed when things are going well.
    My husband and I have both been depressed at various times during our 18 (anniversary tomorrow) relationship. Last summer he had the male equivalent of PPD and it was gut wrenching for him. We’re both pretty functional while we’re depressed though (so far) and we’ve always made it through to the other side.
    Good luck to everyone who is dealing with this. It sucks.

  76. Wow. I wish I had time to read all of the comments.My younger brother suffered from depression for about the last 7 years of his life (ages 14-21). He pretty much always refused help, refused to take prescriptions, and instead chose to self-medicate with pretty much every street drug available, as well as alcohol. Obviously, there were addiction problems in the mix as well, but I strongly believe that the drug problems stemmed from the depression. Over the years, things spiraled out of control, until the myriad problems were inseparable, and he ended up committing suicide at age 21. We’re coming up on the second anniversary of his death on Wednesday, so all of this has been on my mind lately.
    I really feel for anyone who is suffering from depression or who has a loved one with depression. I completely agree with Moxie that we have to do what we can to support our loved ones, but we are ultimately not in control of whether or not they choose to accept help and treatment. They are the ones responsible, and I am praying that all of you are able to get/give the help that is necessary.

  77. Wow. I wish I had time to read all of the comments.My younger brother suffered from depression for about the last 7 years of his life (ages 14-21). He pretty much always refused help, refused to take prescriptions, and instead chose to self-medicate with pretty much every street drug available, as well as alcohol. Obviously, there were addiction problems in the mix as well, but I strongly believe that the drug problems stemmed from the depression. Over the years, things spiraled out of control, until the myriad problems were inseparable, and he ended up committing suicide at age 21. We’re coming up on the second anniversary of his death on Wednesday, so all of this has been on my mind lately.
    I really feel for anyone who is suffering from depression or who has a loved one with depression. I completely agree with Moxie that we have to do what we can to support our loved ones, but we are ultimately not in control of whether or not they choose to accept help and treatment. They are the ones responsible, and I am praying that all of you are able to get/give the help that is necessary.

  78. My husband also has depression. I’ve learned that he has struggled with it, off and on, for most of his life. I thought he had short-lived anger management issues, etc. before we had kids. We talked about it and he modified a few behaviors, and it just didn’t seem like a very big deal because I didn’t NEED him to do anything before we had a child. But, like a previous commenter said, everything fell apart after our son was born. He has cycled between extremely angry or withdrawn for most of the last 2.5 years, with brief periods of contentment here and there.I was able to put the depression label on it when our son was about a year old, after reading a news article that 10%-15% of dads suffer from PPD. That eventually led me to read “The Irritable Male Syndrome” by Jed Diamond. This described my husband perfectly. At the right moment, I gave this book to my husband to read with a kind, gentle request that he give it a fair chance. Surprisingly, he was receptive (even though he is not a fan of self-help books), read the whole book and recognized himself in it. However, not much changed after the initial epiphany, and he eventually decided the book was worthless. But he was at least aware of his depression and his behavior, and our conversation about depression started there.
    Sometime later I read “Is He Depressed or What?” by David Wexler, which helped me figure out how to talk to my husband, how to stand up for myself, and how to not make a situation worse. It is a positive book that helps me believe in my husband and our marriage. It leans more toward natural remedies (exercise, supplements, therapy) rather than pushing medication as the only option (but it does discuss meds). My husband is adamantly opposed to medication(seriously offended by their suggestion), so this book is great for me/us. We started having more positive conversations (instead of just a lot of yelling and silent treatment) and eventually made an agreement that he could try his own ways to improve (namely, though exercise) for one month, and if that didn’t work he agreed he would talk to a psychologist. After about a week, he called the psychologist and saw her weekly for several months. She helped him work on changing the way that he (wrongly) perceives things, to try to stop the downward spiral into depression/anger before it starts.
    Things are generally better, but I’m pretty sure that he’ll sink back into it again at some point – this is going to be a lifelong struggle. I am trying to figure out how to get over the hurt that he has caused me through the horrible things he has said when angry. I just can’t trust him yet. I don’t have any answers, but am constantly searching.
    Thanks for the wonderful post, Moxie.

  79. My husband also has depression. I’ve learned that he has struggled with it, off and on, for most of his life. I thought he had short-lived anger management issues, etc. before we had kids. We talked about it and he modified a few behaviors, and it just didn’t seem like a very big deal because I didn’t NEED him to do anything before we had a child. But, like a previous commenter said, everything fell apart after our son was born. He has cycled between extremely angry or withdrawn for most of the last 2.5 years, with brief periods of contentment here and there.I was able to put the depression label on it when our son was about a year old, after reading a news article that 10%-15% of dads suffer from PPD. That eventually led me to read “The Irritable Male Syndrome” by Jed Diamond. This described my husband perfectly. At the right moment, I gave this book to my husband to read with a kind, gentle request that he give it a fair chance. Surprisingly, he was receptive (even though he is not a fan of self-help books), read the whole book and recognized himself in it. However, not much changed after the initial epiphany, and he eventually decided the book was worthless. But he was at least aware of his depression and his behavior, and our conversation about depression started there.
    Sometime later I read “Is He Depressed or What?” by David Wexler, which helped me figure out how to talk to my husband, how to stand up for myself, and how to not make a situation worse. It is a positive book that helps me believe in my husband and our marriage. It leans more toward natural remedies (exercise, supplements, therapy) rather than pushing medication as the only option (but it does discuss meds). My husband is adamantly opposed to medication(seriously offended by their suggestion), so this book is great for me/us. We started having more positive conversations (instead of just a lot of yelling and silent treatment) and eventually made an agreement that he could try his own ways to improve (namely, though exercise) for one month, and if that didn’t work he agreed he would talk to a psychologist. After about a week, he called the psychologist and saw her weekly for several months. She helped him work on changing the way that he (wrongly) perceives things, to try to stop the downward spiral into depression/anger before it starts.
    Things are generally better, but I’m pretty sure that he’ll sink back into it again at some point – this is going to be a lifelong struggle. I am trying to figure out how to get over the hurt that he has caused me through the horrible things he has said when angry. I just can’t trust him yet. I don’t have any answers, but am constantly searching.
    Thanks for the wonderful post, Moxie.

  80. @Tzipporah – Sure, sometimes the situation just sucks. A certain amount of depression because life is being sucky is normal and usually manageable. But my take on it is that even if it’s life being sucky, the brain chemicals that go across synapses can become unbalanced, or new pathways in the brain pattern can be created. Once either of those things happen, it can be incredibly hard to either have the energy and capability to improve the sucky situation or to feel better once the situation has been improved.Having taken antidepressants, I can assure people that they aren’t “happy” pills to make a person simply happy with whatever situation they are in. When used correctly, they help you feel normal again. They bring your brain back into synch with, well, the world and life. At that point, people with depression (especially moderate to severe depression) can actually do things to improve their situation and their life. The antidepressants are NOT to drug people into being mindlessly happy. It is to help those who are depressed enough that they can’t improve either their situation or the brain chemistry/synapses pathways get back to “normal” functioning so that they can then work to improve their situation or make whatever lifestyle changes they need.
    This is with the exception that some people may forever have imbalanced chemicals in the organ that is the brain, and they may well need antidepressants for life–the way people with thyroid problems or diabetes might need medication for life.
    @exercising (and therapists) – I also wanted to point out that if a person is in deep depression, they may not be capable of making good, healthy lifestyle choices. An awful therapist I ever saw (and saw him only once) said to me, in the middle of winter when I was in DEEP depression, that I should start exercising more and eating healthy. Sure, great advice. But not for someone who is so depressed that they can’t find the energy to shower or can barely get off the couch to get food! First, I had to get back to normal or close enough to normal that I could even function as a human (that year, I was able to use light therapy, which is really great for people who don’t want to take meds; last year I used an antidepressant). Once functioning again, then I can consider exercising or even making my own food.

  81. @Tzipporah – Sure, sometimes the situation just sucks. A certain amount of depression because life is being sucky is normal and usually manageable. But my take on it is that even if it’s life being sucky, the brain chemicals that go across synapses can become unbalanced, or new pathways in the brain pattern can be created. Once either of those things happen, it can be incredibly hard to either have the energy and capability to improve the sucky situation or to feel better once the situation has been improved.Having taken antidepressants, I can assure people that they aren’t “happy” pills to make a person simply happy with whatever situation they are in. When used correctly, they help you feel normal again. They bring your brain back into synch with, well, the world and life. At that point, people with depression (especially moderate to severe depression) can actually do things to improve their situation and their life. The antidepressants are NOT to drug people into being mindlessly happy. It is to help those who are depressed enough that they can’t improve either their situation or the brain chemistry/synapses pathways get back to “normal” functioning so that they can then work to improve their situation or make whatever lifestyle changes they need.
    This is with the exception that some people may forever have imbalanced chemicals in the organ that is the brain, and they may well need antidepressants for life–the way people with thyroid problems or diabetes might need medication for life.
    @exercising (and therapists) – I also wanted to point out that if a person is in deep depression, they may not be capable of making good, healthy lifestyle choices. An awful therapist I ever saw (and saw him only once) said to me, in the middle of winter when I was in DEEP depression, that I should start exercising more and eating healthy. Sure, great advice. But not for someone who is so depressed that they can’t find the energy to shower or can barely get off the couch to get food! First, I had to get back to normal or close enough to normal that I could even function as a human (that year, I was able to use light therapy, which is really great for people who don’t want to take meds; last year I used an antidepressant). Once functioning again, then I can consider exercising or even making my own food.

  82. My husband has had depression on and off for the last three years, probably longer. This is complicated by ADD, which carries its own set of issues – self-esteem, difficulty in maintaining a routine, etc.As with prior posters, not as much of an issue for us prior to having kids, since I could stand on my own two feet. Since having the first, and especially the second, I’ve reached breaking point a few times.
    He’s done therapy, works at exercise and diet, but it’s hard without me taking parent role, and I just don’t have anything left.

  83. My husband has had depression on and off for the last three years, probably longer. This is complicated by ADD, which carries its own set of issues – self-esteem, difficulty in maintaining a routine, etc.As with prior posters, not as much of an issue for us prior to having kids, since I could stand on my own two feet. Since having the first, and especially the second, I’ve reached breaking point a few times.
    He’s done therapy, works at exercise and diet, but it’s hard without me taking parent role, and I just don’t have anything left.

  84. @anon for this at 11.21 thank you for your post. Finding a good therapist has been the best thing I could have done. I wish I had done it a long time ago. Its expensive (and I know I am very lucky to be able to afford it) but a lot cheaper than a divorce or me going under,and its an invaluable investment in the future of this family. Its scary too because the truth is I have been an enabler and I guess things are going to change. But yes I would urge you to find a therapist.Thank you everone for sharing your experiences.

  85. @anon for this at 11.21 thank you for your post. Finding a good therapist has been the best thing I could have done. I wish I had done it a long time ago. Its expensive (and I know I am very lucky to be able to afford it) but a lot cheaper than a divorce or me going under,and its an invaluable investment in the future of this family. Its scary too because the truth is I have been an enabler and I guess things are going to change. But yes I would urge you to find a therapist.Thank you everone for sharing your experiences.

  86. Another person without time right now to read all the comment (but with the intention of returning). And another plea for supplement information, especially more specific information about sublingual B vitamin drops. I just took some, but they seem to be primarily B12 drops, and they had me feeling rather hyper. What brands do people use?

  87. Another person without time right now to read all the comment (but with the intention of returning). And another plea for supplement information, especially more specific information about sublingual B vitamin drops. I just took some, but they seem to be primarily B12 drops, and they had me feeling rather hyper. What brands do people use?

  88. the “is he depressed or what” book i mentioned above contains a very good summary of supplements for depression – much too long for me to attempt to summarize here.

  89. the “is he depressed or what” book i mentioned above contains a very good summary of supplements for depression – much too long for me to attempt to summarize here.

  90. At somepoint after our son was born my DH was diagnosed with sleep apnea. Once he finally got fitted for a machine and everything the transformation was amazing. He went from being a lump at home to being a partner. Then about a year later he did a diet change and went from being a partner to having an annoying amount of energy :)If he had not been diagnoses and treated for sleep apnea I don’t think we could have survived, I don’t think he could have MADE himself change. The changes saved his life and ours. But he had no idea he was not sleeping and that THAT was the cause, and with out that change to give him the energy to change he couldn’t have.
    I say all of this to just suggest that talking to a dr. who is willing to listen to symptoms (yes go with them) and try to find the cause or something to give you the power to change. Then you can work on long term changes.
    You are what you put into your body. And you also can inherit deficiencies. So a dr. who is willing to work with you to figure out what you might be missing would also be a big help. I just finished reading Real Food for mother and baby she recommended this book on diet for depression.
    http://www.rebuild-from-depression.com/blog
    Also everyone would be well served by therapy. We all come through life with ‘issues’ and we can all be served by working with someone to help us… it is not that anyone is ‘broken’ and needs a therapist to ‘fix’ them… I think looking at mental health the same as physical health and it requires the same preventive care.

  91. At somepoint after our son was born my DH was diagnosed with sleep apnea. Once he finally got fitted for a machine and everything the transformation was amazing. He went from being a lump at home to being a partner. Then about a year later he did a diet change and went from being a partner to having an annoying amount of energy :)If he had not been diagnoses and treated for sleep apnea I don’t think we could have survived, I don’t think he could have MADE himself change. The changes saved his life and ours. But he had no idea he was not sleeping and that THAT was the cause, and with out that change to give him the energy to change he couldn’t have.
    I say all of this to just suggest that talking to a dr. who is willing to listen to symptoms (yes go with them) and try to find the cause or something to give you the power to change. Then you can work on long term changes.
    You are what you put into your body. And you also can inherit deficiencies. So a dr. who is willing to work with you to figure out what you might be missing would also be a big help. I just finished reading Real Food for mother and baby she recommended this book on diet for depression.
    http://www.rebuild-from-depression.com/blog
    Also everyone would be well served by therapy. We all come through life with ‘issues’ and we can all be served by working with someone to help us… it is not that anyone is ‘broken’ and needs a therapist to ‘fix’ them… I think looking at mental health the same as physical health and it requires the same preventive care.

  92. Aaarrgghh! Typed a long post and my computer ate it! Typeing while breast feeding so please excuse errors. Another wife of a depressive here, but things are going well for us at the moment (touch wood), so thought I would share what has helped. It’s not easy being married to an anxious/depressed man, that’s for sure.Firstly, I think the term ‘depression’ is vastly overused. There is appropriate sadness about a situation (like job loss), where you feel upset/lost/confused/sad and then there is the greyness of depression where you feel numb. In my experience, if you have sadness about a situation then the best thing to do is feel your sadness. Feelings are meant to be felt. We so often shy away from uncomfortable feelings like sadness. Sit quietly for 20 mins each day and be sad. At the end of 20 mins do something you enjoy, so that you don’t wallow in sadness all day. If you start feeling sad outside your designated time, tell yourself you’ll deal with that emotion in your next 20 min session. I’ve found this to be incredibly effective in moving through sadness. I have a personal theory (completely unvalidated) that suppressing feelings can be a cause or contributing factor to depression in some people. Feelings are like a beach ball, if you deny them it’s like pushing a beach ball under water – it will always be trying to pop up. But if you deny your feelings for too long and effectively puncture the beach ball, it will go flat and you’re into real depression.
    Anyway, husband had severe clinically diagnosed depression for many years as a teenager/young man. It went away for a number of years and resurfaced after the birth of our first child (which seems to be a trigger for many of the husbands mentioned here). From the start we took a practical and multi-pronged approach to it. If he broke his leg, he’d go to the doctor and in my view, depression is no different. This approach seemed to work with husband and he has seen our brilliant doctor several times. Husband has ended up on low dose antidepressants, but we tried a number of other things, some of which were quite effective.
    Running was the most important factor – it made a huge difference to him. I used to kick him out the door every single morning to run for half an hour and I viewed it as vital. After running he was 80% himself again. A good website on starting running for the unfit is Doctor Mama’s blog (see the Maggots section!). Medical trials have shown running is as good as medication for low to moderate depression.
    A healthy diet and eating regularly. As a SAHM, this was something I could do and I needed at times to feel like I was doing something.
    Socialising with friends and family, just hanging out. He would distress and cope better, so we tried to socialise 2-3 times a week (not always easy with a newborn). We gave his family the heads up about his condition in case we needed more help and support from them. They weren’t very helpful at the time (response was ‘ahh, you shouldn’t be feeling like that’ – REALLY helpful!) but we knew we would be supported if we asked for practical help.
    Having a plan for the bad anxiety episodes. Typical male, he responded well to a plan. He used to wake at 4am and worry for hours. His plan, if he woke early was to a) go for a run, b) go into work early or c) play on the computer. I would remind him of his plan before we went to bed, and once he knew what he was going to do, he slept much better with fewer early morning wake ups.
    Doing things he enjoyed. As the depression crept up, husband stopped doing things he enjoyed, so in the end he was just working and watching tv or doing jobs at home. We got subscriptions for 2 magazines for him to enjoy while commuting to work and he took up a new hobby and made sure that each weekend he did something fun. This really seemed to help and remind him that there were still things to enjoy.
    He tried therapy (cognitive behavioural therapy) which didn’t seem to do anything. I don’t think the therapist was a good fit personality wise and I think he would have responded better to a man.
    All of the above kept the symptoms at a reasonable level, but he did need medication in the end. After a month on the medication he was himself again and has remained so. He is currently coming off the medication (with the doctor’s approval) and we are both keeping an eye out for any re-emergnce of symptoms and concentrating again on the helpful things. We have since had our second child and husband has found things much easier this time around.
    One book I have found useful is ‘Families and How to Survive Them’ by Robin Skynner and John Cleese. It talks a lot about family patterns of behaviour and I found it fascinating and an insight into why some families seem prone to particular emotions. It also helped me look at myself and what family baggage I had carried into the relationship. Sorry for the long post, but I hope it helps somebody.

  93. Aaarrgghh! Typed a long post and my computer ate it! Typeing while breast feeding so please excuse errors. Another wife of a depressive here, but things are going well for us at the moment (touch wood), so thought I would share what has helped. It’s not easy being married to an anxious/depressed man, that’s for sure.Firstly, I think the term ‘depression’ is vastly overused. There is appropriate sadness about a situation (like job loss), where you feel upset/lost/confused/sad and then there is the greyness of depression where you feel numb. In my experience, if you have sadness about a situation then the best thing to do is feel your sadness. Feelings are meant to be felt. We so often shy away from uncomfortable feelings like sadness. Sit quietly for 20 mins each day and be sad. At the end of 20 mins do something you enjoy, so that you don’t wallow in sadness all day. If you start feeling sad outside your designated time, tell yourself you’ll deal with that emotion in your next 20 min session. I’ve found this to be incredibly effective in moving through sadness. I have a personal theory (completely unvalidated) that suppressing feelings can be a cause or contributing factor to depression in some people. Feelings are like a beach ball, if you deny them it’s like pushing a beach ball under water – it will always be trying to pop up. But if you deny your feelings for too long and effectively puncture the beach ball, it will go flat and you’re into real depression.
    Anyway, husband had severe clinically diagnosed depression for many years as a teenager/young man. It went away for a number of years and resurfaced after the birth of our first child (which seems to be a trigger for many of the husbands mentioned here). From the start we took a practical and multi-pronged approach to it. If he broke his leg, he’d go to the doctor and in my view, depression is no different. This approach seemed to work with husband and he has seen our brilliant doctor several times. Husband has ended up on low dose antidepressants, but we tried a number of other things, some of which were quite effective.
    Running was the most important factor – it made a huge difference to him. I used to kick him out the door every single morning to run for half an hour and I viewed it as vital. After running he was 80% himself again. A good website on starting running for the unfit is Doctor Mama’s blog (see the Maggots section!). Medical trials have shown running is as good as medication for low to moderate depression.
    A healthy diet and eating regularly. As a SAHM, this was something I could do and I needed at times to feel like I was doing something.
    Socialising with friends and family, just hanging out. He would distress and cope better, so we tried to socialise 2-3 times a week (not always easy with a newborn). We gave his family the heads up about his condition in case we needed more help and support from them. They weren’t very helpful at the time (response was ‘ahh, you shouldn’t be feeling like that’ – REALLY helpful!) but we knew we would be supported if we asked for practical help.
    Having a plan for the bad anxiety episodes. Typical male, he responded well to a plan. He used to wake at 4am and worry for hours. His plan, if he woke early was to a) go for a run, b) go into work early or c) play on the computer. I would remind him of his plan before we went to bed, and once he knew what he was going to do, he slept much better with fewer early morning wake ups.
    Doing things he enjoyed. As the depression crept up, husband stopped doing things he enjoyed, so in the end he was just working and watching tv or doing jobs at home. We got subscriptions for 2 magazines for him to enjoy while commuting to work and he took up a new hobby and made sure that each weekend he did something fun. This really seemed to help and remind him that there were still things to enjoy.
    He tried therapy (cognitive behavioural therapy) which didn’t seem to do anything. I don’t think the therapist was a good fit personality wise and I think he would have responded better to a man.
    All of the above kept the symptoms at a reasonable level, but he did need medication in the end. After a month on the medication he was himself again and has remained so. He is currently coming off the medication (with the doctor’s approval) and we are both keeping an eye out for any re-emergnce of symptoms and concentrating again on the helpful things. We have since had our second child and husband has found things much easier this time around.
    One book I have found useful is ‘Families and How to Survive Them’ by Robin Skynner and John Cleese. It talks a lot about family patterns of behaviour and I found it fascinating and an insight into why some families seem prone to particular emotions. It also helped me look at myself and what family baggage I had carried into the relationship. Sorry for the long post, but I hope it helps somebody.

  94. One practical note: it is usually possible for a spouse to fill a prescription for the other spouse. Hubby picks up my asthma meds for me sometimes. I call them in, but since I use the store’s automated system, anyone who knows my Rx number and home phone number can do that. Hubby takes my insurance card with him when he goes, but he says they don’t usually ask him for that, since I’m already in their system.@meggiemoo- I’m glad to hear you are doing better. I remember having a really hard time around the 2 month post-partum mark, too. I put it down to the cumulative effects of sleep-deprivation and the realization that this was my new normal and I wasn’t very good at it! Things got better as I got better at handling my new normal.
    This whole thread is making me appreciate my own support network even more than I already do. I wish our society was better at extending support to ALL families, not just those of us who are lucky enough to have truly helpful extended family and friends nearby. I think it would make a huge difference in our society, in some very tangible ways.

  95. One practical note: it is usually possible for a spouse to fill a prescription for the other spouse. Hubby picks up my asthma meds for me sometimes. I call them in, but since I use the store’s automated system, anyone who knows my Rx number and home phone number can do that. Hubby takes my insurance card with him when he goes, but he says they don’t usually ask him for that, since I’m already in their system.@meggiemoo- I’m glad to hear you are doing better. I remember having a really hard time around the 2 month post-partum mark, too. I put it down to the cumulative effects of sleep-deprivation and the realization that this was my new normal and I wasn’t very good at it! Things got better as I got better at handling my new normal.
    This whole thread is making me appreciate my own support network even more than I already do. I wish our society was better at extending support to ALL families, not just those of us who are lucky enough to have truly helpful extended family and friends nearby. I think it would make a huge difference in our society, in some very tangible ways.

  96. I’m the depressed partner, though I’m currently on meds (and I take a multivitamin). What I’ve noticed is that it’s been worse for me this summer – I’m a SAHM and my kids are in public school. Before, I did my exercise when the kids were at school, and now it’s just not happening. I haven’t been crying or anything, but I’m lethargic and forgetting things and just not getting much of anything accomplished. My two kids argue and fight and I feel like I spend my days in this Sisyphean attempt to keep their disagreements at bay and the house somewhat picked up.My husband has sleep apnea and ulcerative colitis and is at his limit, so not a lot of extra help there. We don’t have a sitter or extra money to pay them.
    All that said, I’m functional and much better than I have been at times in the past. And I know things are going to be okay.
    This post feels like complaining…but mostly I think I just want to add my voice to the chorus and remember that “this too shall pass,” and I am not alone.
    Thank you all for that.

  97. another of the original emailers here…I think for my husband, his job situation has been the push point – he is miserable, and feels trapped by me and the kids. Like a previous poster, sometimes I feel like telling him to just quit (I make more money than he does) – but I don’t think we could afford daycare with him home and I don’t think the stay at home dad gig would be good for him right now (he doesn’t have a ton of patience right now – our kids are 1 and 4.)
    so instead I tell him to find another job and it drives me crazy that he is so miserable and won’t DO ANYTHING to change anything. And I do feel like his depression is contagious, that it is bringing me down and I have to try that much harder to keep myself from joining him in the pit of despair.
    So I’m thinking of going back to therapy myself, since so far he has refused those suggestions. I’m also reading the Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the voice of vocation by Parker J. Palmer recommened by Moxie a few weeks ago – it’s actually given me a lot of insight into what he’s going through. Which helps, but it’s not enough.
    Last week on our way into work I started to fall apart a bit (we commute together) – I was sitting in the parked car crying and I think it was the first time he realized how much his actions (or inactions) were affecting me. That seemed to be a bit of a wakeup call for him to be a bit more functional with me and the kids over the weekend, but I am still wondering what the future holds for us. It’s just so hard living with this unhappiness.

  98. WHEW! What a topic…I agree we all need to be self reliant and responsible adults if we suffer from this complicated malady. Right now I am needing help.I read Dr. Weil who says that studies show vigorous excercize, proper diet and supplementation help depressed individuals as much as medications for many types of depression…. I have been clinically depressed since childhood. This chemical imbalance has plagued many in my family…Nutrition and excercize have always helped- when I have been able to get my butt out there and do it.
    I was on Lexapro for 2 yrs before I became pregnant and it was excellent for me- with very little side effects. Those black, negative thoughts in me disappeared!! It was a wonder drug!
    but I stopped taking it during pregnancy and I was okay without it for about 2 yrs. when my child was about 1 year old I relapsed and discovered I could not tolerate the side effects of Lexapro.
    Then My mother died of cancer and I slipped deeper into the darkness. All my energy went to the care of my 2yr old. After a year when I was beginng to feel a bit alive I discovered my husband was hiding a huge amount of debt from me- about $90,000. Dealing with that deception, the loss of a dream of a normal married life, the loss of respect I have now have for him, the feeling of how can we ever rebound from this debt, etc has been staggering for me.
    I am taking omegas, D, CoQ10, C and trying my hardest to eat well. I recently returned to work and am dealing with being away from the only joy in my life- my sweet daughter- for up to 60 hours a week! Yes, it is beyond hard. But somewhere deep inside if we are parents we must find the resolve to do something about our horrible condition for our childrens’ sake. I don’t want my child to think of mommy as a wallowing, sad, tired and yes, self-indulgent parent. I keep reminding my self to get out there and help myself! Take care of myself! Believe it or not, Barak Obama’s campaign speeches have helped me. His optimitic vision of the world is reassuirng. I wish you all well in your personal battles.

  99. @caramama – oh, yes, of course! Once I actually got the meds and started thinking rationally again, I saw that I had been completely unable to COPE with the sucky situation because of the PPD. So things got a lot better. I’m just trying to explain how it can SEEM to someone in the middle of PPD.

  100. My husband’s job situation went from suspicious to bad to intolerable over the period of June 2007 to December 2007. I saw the red flags before he did and dropped hints about him finding something else, but he is a total people pleaser (did not want to ditch his clients or disappoint his workplace), told me that the issues facing him were industry-wide (therefore would follow him), or that he was too concerned with our finances (I am SAH, largely because my industry pre-kids is very poorly paid) and expenses.Suddenly he was so crippled by anxiety attacks that he could not get out of bed. And when he finally did manage to drag himself out of bed he threw up every morning. Things kind of blossomed into full on depression. Finally I told him that throwing up before work every morning is only acceptable if you’re pregnant. I threatened to call a psychiatrist we know for a referral if he didn’t. He did call, but only wound up for a med prescription. It helped, some, although the meds made him a bit of a zombie. I finally badgered him (nicely) into talk therapy, which he’s been at for 18 months. It’s expensive, even with partial reimbursement, but it’s been worth it.
    He says he is feeling much better, although from my perspective I do sometimes have resentment. He has a “hard morning” at least once a week, which translates into him lying in bed until he’s late for work and me getting everyone else ready with absolutely no assistance. I used to make his lunch, but now I basically tell him that I don’t have time. The kids won’t feed/dress/sunscreen/gather themselves, and I have to get myself out the door too.
    What is really petrifying, though, is that he is (FINALLY) leaving the soul sucking job that precipitated the depression (although clearly it wasn’t just the job if he’s had 18 months of talk therapy). And taking a new one that means we will have to move away from the place where we have lived for our entire marriage. Away from my friends, the kids’ friends, their school, other connections. I am worried that the new job will not be the magical fix and the new place could really beat the shit out of both of us and the marriage that does not feel as strong as it was before all of this. I’m scared.

  101. My husband’s job situation went from suspicious to bad to intolerable over the period of June 2007 to December 2007. I saw the red flags before he did and dropped hints about him finding something else, but he is a total people pleaser (did not want to ditch his clients or disappoint his workplace), told me that the issues facing him were industry-wide (therefore would follow him), or that he was too concerned with our finances (I am SAH, largely because my industry pre-kids is very poorly paid) and expenses.Suddenly he was so crippled by anxiety attacks that he could not get out of bed. And when he finally did manage to drag himself out of bed he threw up every morning. Things kind of blossomed into full on depression. Finally I told him that throwing up before work every morning is only acceptable if you’re pregnant. I threatened to call a psychiatrist we know for a referral if he didn’t. He did call, but only wound up for a med prescription. It helped, some, although the meds made him a bit of a zombie. I finally badgered him (nicely) into talk therapy, which he’s been at for 18 months. It’s expensive, even with partial reimbursement, but it’s been worth it.
    He says he is feeling much better, although from my perspective I do sometimes have resentment. He has a “hard morning” at least once a week, which translates into him lying in bed until he’s late for work and me getting everyone else ready with absolutely no assistance. I used to make his lunch, but now I basically tell him that I don’t have time. The kids won’t feed/dress/sunscreen/gather themselves, and I have to get myself out the door too.
    What is really petrifying, though, is that he is (FINALLY) leaving the soul sucking job that precipitated the depression (although clearly it wasn’t just the job if he’s had 18 months of talk therapy). And taking a new one that means we will have to move away from the place where we have lived for our entire marriage. Away from my friends, the kids’ friends, their school, other connections. I am worried that the new job will not be the magical fix and the new place could really beat the shit out of both of us and the marriage that does not feel as strong as it was before all of this. I’m scared.

  102. Resources – National Alliance on Mental Illness – nami.org – they have chapters all over and I think most of the chapters have support groups for those with illness and for their family members. I get the idea that it’d be like going to the AA meetings for partners to get the help you need for supporting someone else’s problem (or not enabling, etc, etc).Depression really is a disease. And partners do need to cut each other some slack. I think everyone here is posting from kindness towards the different parts of the relationship. Yes, when people are depressed they can need extra help to get the help they need, and please do it. But, if their sickness is beyond what you as a non-therapist can handle (violent rages) then there’s no shame in having to move on your life if that person won’t get help.
    Oh – and if you’re reading all this depression stuff, because you’ve spent a lot of time wondering in your life if you or your partner is depressed but they don’t seem quite “darkly” depressed or extreme, or it just doesn’t seem “quite right” for whatever reason – check out dysthmia – chronic low level depression, it’s kind of the next step down.
    And it still sucks ;P.

  103. Resources – National Alliance on Mental Illness – nami.org – they have chapters all over and I think most of the chapters have support groups for those with illness and for their family members. I get the idea that it’d be like going to the AA meetings for partners to get the help you need for supporting someone else’s problem (or not enabling, etc, etc).Depression really is a disease. And partners do need to cut each other some slack. I think everyone here is posting from kindness towards the different parts of the relationship. Yes, when people are depressed they can need extra help to get the help they need, and please do it. But, if their sickness is beyond what you as a non-therapist can handle (violent rages) then there’s no shame in having to move on your life if that person won’t get help.
    Oh – and if you’re reading all this depression stuff, because you’ve spent a lot of time wondering in your life if you or your partner is depressed but they don’t seem quite “darkly” depressed or extreme, or it just doesn’t seem “quite right” for whatever reason – check out dysthmia – chronic low level depression, it’s kind of the next step down.
    And it still sucks ;P.

  104. I’m late to the party and I haven’t had time yet to read all the other comments, but just wanted to say that my husband was really helped by the book “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” by Terrance Real. Great points about male depression manifesting itself as anger.

  105. I’m late to the party and I haven’t had time yet to read all the other comments, but just wanted to say that my husband was really helped by the book “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” by Terrance Real. Great points about male depression manifesting itself as anger.

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