I married someone mentally ill ( rambling;posted while medicated)

And I am so tired. Depression runs in my family, but it comes and goes. My husband has been in a major depression for 3 years. I am so tired. I never stopped loving him, but I don’t think that matters. I could live without sex if I just had affection. Or attention. Depression makes people so self centered. Every time I think he is starting to pull himself together he has a bad day and gets nearly suicidal. If we owned a gun I think he would have done it. We have seen mental health professionals, he’s been medicated, we’ve thought about electroshock. He tries to pay attention to me, but he is so agitated and miserable. I want to have fun, I want to feel like someone wants to do fun things with me. I don’t like being married to someone who feels his life is shit. I don’t like having to take xanax just to be able to sleep. He says he feels old, and he feels like a failure because he is not making a living as a musician. He was not any better when he did, hell, he was worse. He barely noticed me then.Now he is trying to work himself to death or something. I don’t know. I barely see him anymore.
I used to feel so good just knowing I was going to see him. He used to be happiy just being around me.
Depression can be contagious. I am too tired to keep doing things to try to hold this shit together, Yes, he feels worse when the house is messy. Yes he feels worse if he is hungry when he comes home. So what. He doesn’t feel better if the house is clean and dinner is waiting I had to tell him about dinner twice tonight before it registered. It used to make me feel good to do nice things for him, because he appreciated them. Now he is so far gone I don’t think he notices. Its like only negatives register with him. I am tired of seeing him smile, or show interest in something or humor. Its a damn false alarm, I think I see a sign of his old self, or self esteem, but it crumbles again. It is so hard to live with someone who doesn’t like himself. He used to be so good for me when he wasn’t depressed. I don’t know if I will ever see those sides of him again, or trust them to stick around. He is still intelligent and creative, with remarkable talent energy, and potential.He can’t see this any more. I don’t know if he would value it if he did.I still love him and that love is becoming such a source of fear and pain.
I have to be at work early tomorrow, I feel needed there. I just can’t sleep and needed to vent. The spelling and grammar errors are mounting faster then I can fix them, so the xanax is kicking in. See you in the morning

I am not qualified to give advice here, and there are a lot of things in play, but I’ll offer up my 2 cents.

You don’t say how long you and your husband have been together, or whether you have kids, nor do you say whether you are both on anti-depression medication, but …

You come from a family that suffers from depression, so you understand what he’s going through and what he needs to do to get help. Even though “he used to be happy” just being around you, no one has the power to pull him or anyone else out of a depression. If he’s on medication and still suffering from depression, perhaps it’s time for a new medication for him?

I think that and marriage counseling might help you both work through your marriage troubles, and likely offer insight into some of your individual problems, as well.

Sorry, I wish I had more to offer. You sound like a nice person who’s been suffering for quite some time now. I wish I could make that go away for you.


Conurepete, you’re in a really hard place and you have my sympathies.

You have obviously been trying really hard to help your husband and for that you should be commended. My partner has suffered from depressive episodes in the past and I know how hard it is and how helpless you can feel - you’re doing all you can to make things better and it feels so desperate.

At the moment, I think you need to concentrate on keeping good care of yourself. You can’t help him if you’re in a bad place yourself. Hopefully making your post allowed you to vent a bit, which can help.

I note that you haven’t asked for advice or help, so I’m not going to offer any. Just know that you’ve been heard and understood and I wish you all the best.

I know people are going to come here and get mad at Otto for posting that, but its what I thought after I read her post. Yes, she loves him, but theres only so much one person can take, and for her own sake, she needs space.

How could you get mad at Otto for posting that? I think about it. It may happen. I would miss my husband, but mabey less then I do now. I needed to vent, and I feel a little better. (5 years married, together 10, no kids, damn right I am on meds, too. Started a few months back, have been seeing a counselor) Thanks for listening. It helps.


You’re right to say that depression can be contagious, especially since your family has a history of it. It really sounds like you’re struggling with some depression of your own right now - the lack of sleep, not caring about the house.
I know that you love your husband and see his talent etc., but you can’t only focus on him. Your happiness can’t depend on another person; you need to take care of yourself right now.
Maybe think about antidepressants for yourself, and find something outside of your marriage to take an interest in.

Have you talked with your husband about how you feel? How about marriage counseling? I’ve been in your husband’s place; only for one year, not three, and I am starting to come out of my depression now. You nailed it when you said that depressives are very selfish. My husband can be incredibly understanding and accepting, but sometimes he just needs to say, “I can’t take this right now” and I really re-think my attitude and my behavior. I have stratagies for making my thoughts healthier, but sometimes it takes the knowledge that I’m hurting him to give me the energy to act.

You’ve both been suffering for three years. It sounds like your husband is in a rut and needs to be shaken out of it. I don’t know what will do that, different medication, marriage counseling, maybe hospitalization for a while. I was in a psych ward for a week and it helped me a lot.

I know it’s hard to think about leaving, but maybe you should. Just having a plan, knowing you have an option if you can’t take it anymore might help.

I’m so sorry for what you’re going through; it’s evident that you love your husband, and for what it’s worth, I bet he still loves you. I hope you both find peace and happiness again.

Perhaps your husband is one of the people for whom psychiatric pharmaceuticals are rather spectacularly not the answer?
There are people who swear by them, and credit them with giving them their life back, but there are many of us who have never had a pleasant experience with psych meds, and that includes a great many who were suffering horribly from depression and sought out help from the psychiatrists because it’s what they do, it’s what they’re there for.

But the profession’s approach, and its favored medications, are not the answer for everybody.

If he’s open to the idea, look for a user-run mutual-support group in your area. (May also be billed as “consumer-run”, or “alternative”, or “psychiatric survivor network” services).

And consider mutual-support services for yourself, too. You aren’t the only one in your situation, and it would probably do you a world of good to be able to compare notes and get understanding from other folks in your situation.

Depression sucks. I have suffered from it. I thought I had it beaten because in 2004 I tried some alternative therapies, but by september of 2005 it came back. I’m trying new things and it seems to be in remission, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Perhaps serotonin drugs aren’t the solution for him. Depression is alot more complex than any SSRI can fix across the board the way you give a couple of antibiotics for endless types of infections. Maybe his depression isn’t serotonin related. Maybe he doens’t naturally produce enough serotonin so an SSRI won’t help anyway. Maybe his 5-HT1B receptors don’t work. There are 14 serotonin receptors but the 5-HT1B seems to be one of the major one involved with depression. The point is the issue is complex.

I would try




Maybe somewhere in all those books and websites is a remedy that actually helps your husband. I would try to redirect your disappointment and his misery into trying to find something/anything that will help. The guy who wrote the second book has a website http://www.mts.net/~baumel/depression.html and he (when I talked to him at least) implied that serotonin drugs did nothing, but only drugs for dopamine really lifted his mood.

Sadly it’ll be 30-40 years before we understand depression and all its causes well enough to know which remedy to try. But maybe something will work.

Somebody said:

Ah, if only it were that easy. I’m sure he would LOVE to “shake it off” and get out of that rut.

Other than that, the other comments are quite worthy. I have depression myself, and am fortunate that Paxil gave me myself back. Obviously not a one-size-fits-all situation.

One suggestion: Respite time. Do you ever take a day, a weekend, a week off and just go someplace else? Does he? Even the healthiest of relationships can, IMHO, benefit from some time off and time out. (I’ve been married over 40 years. Over that time my husband and I have gone on many excursions together, but we also enjoy things separately. I love to go sit on a beach for a week and do nothing, which bores him to tears.) Perhaps you need a short break away from the stress of trying to help him.

Yes, taking outside interests is a release. The pets are comforting, too. Even though the parrots respond to bad moods by trying to stuff treats in my ears. Antidepressants help ME a lot, they just keep my husband from going over the edge. I doubt being hospitalized would help, he has worked in a psych ward in the past and loathed being there. Clearly, he does still love me, I just sometimes wonder if it is worth it. What is the point of love that does not bring joy? or fun? I don’t want to sound superficial, but when nothing seems to bring pleasure or cheer to someone, their company can become very draining. When he is having a bad depressive day (like yesterday) little things will send him spiraling down into despair, but nothing will trigger a spiral back up.
I admit I don’t take a lot of interest in the house, but thats not really a symptom. I have never taken any interest in the house. If housework looms, I just go get another career. I am willing to keep the place hygienic, but I will never be Martha Stewart. That was part of the original deal when we got married anyway. He knows I am not a “homemaker” type house-wife, that work is too hard. Anyway, his mother wasn’t one, either, and I doubt he could handle living with someone who was really formally house proud.
I feel better now and am willing to keep working on it. For now. I will start by checking out some of those links. Thank you

You absolutely do have my warmest wishes and best hopes for a resolution that works for you both. You are in a really, really, serious situation.

I wish I could offer afvice on keeping the marriage working, and Ihope you do manage it.

The only thing I can contribute is that, sometimes things do just not work out. If that happens, if you are the only one that can survive the sinking boat, then you need to put on the life preserver and survive. If this happens, please do not do yourself the disservice of torturing yourself with “survivor’s guilt.”

Life is for the living. You need for your llife to be good. Do what it takes.

Sorry about the husband.

You wouldn’t happen to have a photo of this, would you?! :smiley:

I wish I did. Its one of those things that I feel happier just remembering. There is nothing like a massively inappropriate expression of affection to remind me that life still contains happy stuff. That, and the zombies attacking “American Idol” tryouts. (For now, I am feeling much better)

conurepete, one of my best friends could have written that. Depression turned her husband into a new, unrecognizable person. She stayed with him because she was so afraid of what he might do if she left. It took her a couple years to realize that that was no way to live her own life, and that she couldn’t live for both of them. It was painful to watch.

I was with her when she got the call from her attorney that her divorce was finalized. It was like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

If you can work it out with your husband, that is great. I hope you can. But if you can’t, don’t let guilt keep you in a situation that’s making you miserable.

conurepete, I have long term low grade depression. It is very important to me that my husband be able to make himself happy. I depend on him to do that for himself.

You mentioned electric shock therapy. If your husband’s misery goes on much longer, I would encourage it. It is not the nightmare that it is portrayed to be in old movies. Sometimes it works when all else has failed.

I am not a housekeeper either. Leave that to the person who is concerned about a clean house.

I meant not to give you advice, but that is just not in my nature. I’m glad to see that you are feeling better! You will find plenty of understanding and support here!

I just wanted to repeat this. I find support groups enormously valuable, while meds don’t do much for me. Oddly enough, my finacee is the opposite, so different strokes, etc… But I’ve been going long enough to have become a facilitator. Most of these are not group therapy or 12 steps, much more nuturing, “I understand where you’re coming from when it seems like nobody else does” groups.

My group also has a Friends and Family meeting, which family members seem to find very helpful, at least the times I’ve sat in on it.

[hijack]AHunter3, do you still go to a group? I’m curious, since we’re both in New York, if I’ve ever run into you without knowing it.[/hijack]

Hi, dasgupta! I haven’t really gone to the self-help / mutual-support variety since Project Release folded tents a few years back. My own participation has been more along the advocacy / activism lines.

My personal story is probably a bit odd —I was in and out of “therapy” with various forms of therapist including but not limited to outpatient psychiatric clinic visits, got nothing useful out of it but nothing coercive or destructive either.

Then one day I worked some stuff out for myself, and then got pressured to receive psychiatric treatment and ended up on a locked ward and received psych meds. So when I was seeking help they mostly ignored me, and then when I was certain for the first time in my life that nothing was wrong with me, I had them coming after me with the proverbial butterfly net!

Most folks in the movement either sought psychiatric help and got it (and then found it unhelpful, some of them also finding it coercive and/or destructive), or else never sought psychiatric help to begin with but had it ‘sicced’ on them (which they found intrusive and offensive to their sense of self-determination).

Emme (the plus sized model) suffered through this for years with her husband. She recently wrote a book about it and I’d recommend checking it out. Her husband attempted suicide and finally resorted to electroshock therapy. He, they, are on the mend now.

Here’s the book

Her husband was also a musician. I have no data on this, but it seems a lot of creative people suffer from depression.

All good advice, but I can’t help but think that your husband is being somewhat manipulative in his behavior. I don’t doubt for a second that he suffers from depression–but the cleaning stuff and the guilt he attempts to induce in you?
No–there should be limits. Sounds to me like there need to be lots of limits set and that you need to talk to someone professionally.

I wouldn’t rule out leaving, either. Just as he is not responsible for your happiness–you are not responsible for his.

good luck