Living with a Depressed Husband who won’t get help
Many women live in a limbo-state when living with a depressed husband. It is that state where you are not sure whether you should leave the marriage (for your own good) or stay in order to prevent your husband from self-harm.
It is never simple when it comes to dealing with a husband who is depressed and is in denial. While depression affects everyone, it is less diagnosable in men than in women. Also, most men will perceive depression as a “woman’s disease”, therefore, resisting any kind of help or medication in order not to be labeled weak.
However, if your husband is depressed, and won’t seek help, there is a higher chance that you could get depressed as well. Depression can take a toll on a marriage, family, and work. This also leads to a wife caring for a depressed husband in denial, hopes the issue goes away or withdraws, and harbors feelings of betrayal and anger.
When you and your husband do not address the problem, he continues to get worse and could even become suicidal. Women living with depression are quick to blame themselves and will often get medical help. But, depressed men will often place the blame on, and get angry at others. This makes it difficult for them to accept their misery which in turn results to untreated depression.
There is good news though, that depression is very treatable. However, many depressed men will feel overwhelming despair, hopelessness, and being worthless and will sweep their feelings under the rug so as to maintain the facade of being strong and keeping their emotions in check. So, how can you get your depressed husband the medical attention he needs but resists?
How to help a Depressed Husband
As a wife to a man suffering from depression, and more so, one who is in denial, there are certain ways you can help your man gain relief from his misery. Remember your “for better and for worse” vow? This is not the time to be selfish and abandon him. Below are ways to help him come out of depression and save your marriage.
1. Look out for signs and symptoms
First things first, it is important to recognize that your husband is suffering from depression when he starts to exhibit signs and symptoms of depression. Your husband is more likely to refute and dismiss depression making it difficult to actually know that he is depressed.
Therefore, certain changes in mood and behavior should be your red flag in ensuring that he recovers safely and in time. Signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Despondent mood and acting depressed
- Loss of interest in pleasurable hobbies or activities and work
- Feeling helpless and hopeless
- Abuse of alcohol and substance
- Weight gain or loss
- Often negativity in talks or thoughts
- Increased anger and being easily agitated and irritable
- Picking fights
- Sleep disturbances
- Sudden and regular talk of suicide and death
- Complaining of physical pain
- Difficulty in concentration and constant fatigue
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Sudden talk of separation and divorce
If your husband identifies with some or all of these signs and symptoms, then he may be depressed.
2. Address the issue
Men need to understand that depression does not symbolize emotional weakness or lack of masculinity. Therefore, as your wifely duty, you need to make him understand that it is okay to seek medical help.
At one point he would listen to you, and so, you should make it a priority to get him to listen to you once more and have his depression treated. Since your partner is being resistant, you can contact your doctor and explain the symptoms your husband has.
Thereafter, book an appointment and persuade your husband to go for the appointment. Also, support him by going with him to the appointment, exercising with him to boost his physical and mental health, spend time with him in nature and write him messages of hope and survival from depression.
3. Reach out
If your man is depressed and won’t get help, do not hope or assume the issue will go away. Instead, reach out to people who can help you help your husband. Such people can be a psychiatrist, a social worker, a psychologist or even a close relative or friend who has survived from depression.
Such people can be able to get through to your husband and enable him to consider and get medical attention. They can also manage to help him open up and talk about his depression.
4. Show your support
While a man suffering from depression can negatively affect his wife, it is necessary that you remain strong for both of you. A depressed man will constantly feel worthless and hopeless and may isolate himself from his wife and family.
This can greatly affect his marriage and work life. Hence, ensuring that he is aware of your support in treating his condition is important. You can show your support by listening to him and sympathizing with his agony, making and taking him to a doctor’s appointment, accompanying him on therapy sessions, going through a Mood Questionnaire with him to enable him to seek medical help, and finding immediate help when he suddenly talks of suicide and death.
5. Knowledge is power
Your husband’s depression is not something you expect or anticipate, and it can go unnoticed and untreated. Hence, ensuring that you are fully aware of what to look out for and how to help will help you help your husband before it’s too late and things go spiraling south.
Get educated by reading books or watching videos on depression and seeking help, reading brochures and sharing the information with your husband to enable him to get help and gain relief from depression.
While depression is a medical condition, you should avoid doing or saying certain things that can make the condition worse. So what exactly should you avoid as his wife in order to help him get better?
1. Agree to his negative views
In his condition, he is bound to view almost everything in a negative way. Thus, agreeing to his negativity is a way of encouraging his depression. Avoid it.
2. Dismiss his feelings
Some men who spiral into depression may express their feelings or conceal them by acting strong. However, if he comes to you, do not brush off his feelings with words like “pull yourself together”, “get a grip on yourself” or “snap out of it”.
3. Force him to socialize
In his depression, a man will withdraw considerably. It will be a bigger mistake to make him talk to other people and socialize even when he does not want to. This can result in increasing his feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness.
4. Compare him with others
You have already established that he is depressed, but rather than help him, you compare his depression to being minor since “others have had it worse than him” as a way of making him get out of depression. This will only make your husband feel ashamed and hopeless. Instead, accept his condition and impact him positively in treating the condition.
Words of encouragement and quotes for a Depressed Husband
To help your husband come out of depression, encourage positive thinking and provide him with words of encouragement. This is a starter pack to bringing back good mental and physical health of your man as well as improve your marriage.
So, here are some words of encouragement and quotes you can say to your husband.
“I love you and I care for you”
“You are not alone. I am never leaving you”
“I will listen”
“You matter to me.”
“It is okay to feel this way. You are not being weak.”
Once you choose hope, anything is possible. – Christopher Reeve
I’ll give you time and I’ll be here when you’re ready. I promise.
I’m so glad you’re here.
Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. – Jim Rohn
Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew. – Saint Francis de Sales
Learning to cope with a depressed husband and helping him seek help is a tough thing, but the earlier you are able to detect his condition, the sooner you can get back to your happy and normal lives. Therefore, if your man is suffering from depression, do not give up on him. Instead, show him your love, care, and support in helping him recover. Also, hang in there so that you do not end up getting depressed as well.