First post here. I am looking for ways to support my husband who suffers from anxiety and depression. It has been an eye-opening journey for me, as I’ve never known anyone close to me who has suffered like this. I can say that it’s been an exhausting journey as well. I can only imagine how exhausting it must be for him, since I only experience the second hand effects. I’ve tried my best to be supportive, to no avail. My husband feels unsupported despite my efforts. We’ve had relationship problems and that really set off his depression even more. Many times, I think that he feels the depression is my fault. He gets angry and triggered during our arguments which in turn, angers and triggers me. So I’m ashamed to say, sometimes I just avoid conversations with him because I don’t want to fight. He’s a kind soul, with a kind heart, who unfortunately has to carry a heavy weight daily. His pain comes out as anger (or sadness) and I honestly have no idea how to help. So I decided to look for people who may have experience with this kind of thing and who may have ideas or suggestions of things that may have worked for them? Any help is much appreciated.
Hi and welcome! Is he seeing a therapist? What have you all tried in the past?
Thank you. He has done some therapy (initially was opposed to any outside help). He thought he could just get through it himself. Therapy helped some, but his therapist changed platforms and he didn’t follow her. He says he believes he has the “tools” now. & really tries to distract his mind by playing sports. Took up 2 new activities, and he spends a lot of time practicing and playing. He says it helps alot but recently that has even been losing its luster. He thinks he just has to get through this rough patch. But sometimes things get really bad. He had some dark days and when they show as anger toward me I just get angry back and that doesn’t help anyone.
You're welcome. I like to have people listen to me, validate my feelings, and not push me. We all need our space and time to process things. I also do not like it when others try and give me advice and/or opinions about how I should deal with things. They can give gentle suggestions without sounding like I need to do it their way or else. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, while I appreciate support, there is a fine line between how much/what kind I can handle.
Norw, I truly feel like my husband could have written this post. He is the same way. I don’t think he feels validated. I struggle with finding ways to tell him I disagree with something without making him feel dismissed. I haven’t been able to find that sweet spot where I can give him feedback without sounding insensitive . For example if I say that I feel like he “should go back to meeting with his therapist” for example. He gets triggered by that. Because like you said, he probably feels like I’m “making him” do it. I just saw a benefit when he went. & I have told him this. But I guess he’s not ready to go back.
I know you're doing your best. That's all you can do. Something that might help: when I'm in a bad place, I can mistake other's helpful suggestions in a negative way. For example, if I'm raging about something to my husband and he tries to change to a happier topic before I'm done raging, I can come back at him and say something like "aren't you listening to me?" or "you know, I'm not a child who can just be distracted". My reaction has nothing to do with him, but rather with where I'm at mentally and emotionally.
It’s very difficult if you want to help and feel it isn’t appreciated.There is only one solution. Don’t help. Don’t give advice.
We sufferers from depression and anxiety have been given advice by others all our lives. If advice from friends and family helped, we would be A ok. Instead, it makes us feel un-understood at best, and dismissed/talked down to/coerced at worst.
In spite of my steep depression and anxiety I had a very happy marriage with my husband. He did not advise me. Nor was that his job. He respected me. My sister, on the other hand, cannot stop giving advice. I shun her.
It’s not your job to fix him - if you can live with the way he is right now, then you accept things as they are. If you can’t, it’s time to move on. Don’t fix people.
Hello Zyxx. Thanks for your response. He feels unsupported by me. So I am trying to find ways to change that. How do I let him know I’m here for him? He gets mad at me a lot, and I just used to shut down or avoid conversations hoping to avoid arguments. So I was just looking for ideas on how I can support him. Since he often tells me I’m not doing that.
His feelings are ok. But he needs to respect you and formulate them in a way that doesn’t abuse you. He needs to tell you exactly how he wants you to support him. And he has to accept that you may not always have the energy to do that.
Has he told you what kind of support he wants?