How to help? : My wife has previously... - Mental Health Sup...

Mental Health Support
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How to help?


My wife has previously been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and has ups and downs.

Where I struggle is I try to be there to listen, talk, hug and whatever she needs when she's not feeling so good, but she increasingly blames me for not being able or not doing enough to make her happy.

I feel I'm being pushed away when she needs someone near and my confidence to do anything has been crushed. Even doing things around the house, cooking, cleaning, seeing family or friends increasingly make me anxious about not doing it right or arranging/doing anything that she wouldnt have or would have done differently which will make her angry or upset. Everything needs to be discussed and confirmed with her in advance and if things/plans change it is seen as my fault and due to not caring/understanding how she feels. I am exhausted by it and feel like I have nothing left in me to try to help her with her own mental health and end up withdrawing from her further... Has anyone been in a similar situation and found a way out?

4 Replies

I fully understand your situation, depression is very hard to deal with. Prior to her illness I take it your wife was not like she is now? Her behaviour has completely changed, am I right? Sometimes a person can withdraw and not care at all about anything, other times they react the way your wife does, I think the latter is worse. Not knowing the severity of her depression it's difficult, I strongly suggest you make an appointment with the GP who is treating her and tell him/her how your wife is behaving. I think from your post you are getting very stressed, the next thing is you will become ill and that will not help. My husband has depression on and off, he cannot sit still he's up and down, opens and closes Windows. drives me crazy. The fact that you are helping her with chores and you are getting criticism is making it difficult. You seem to be getting all negative responses. In the long run you will be worn out and deflated. Go to the GP ASAP as you cannot carry on like this. You need to be strong, you sound like you need support yourself. Your wife will recover but it will take time. Hope I have helped.

Hello Meteora I see that this is your first post on this very caring and supportive community. It sounds as if you are in a difficult and uncomfortable position at present. It sounds as if you are between a rock and a hard place but please don't give up hope that things will improve given time and support. Not only does your wife need support but you do too. That is why this community is a good place to air your thoughts and put into words how difficult it is for you both. There are also organisations that can help both of you, even if it is only you seeking information at first. Also the 'Pinned posts and Topic sections can help towards understanding her condition.

I have included a few organisations that could give you more information and support.

Please keep in touch with us on here and good luck.

MAS Nurse.

Rethink metal illness website on - helpline and info Monday - Friday 9.30 until 4pm - 0300 5000 927.

Mind -

First of all, it's not your responsibility to make her happy. I had to straighten my husband out on this issue not long ago. Even though I suffer from depression and anxiety, I have a hard time knowing what to do when someone in my family has the same struggles. Like you, I want to do something to make things better for them, but it doesn't work that way. Every one is different in the way they suffer and handle their struggles. Sometimes they put the blame on the one they love the most. I do tell my husband when I am in this state, it's not his fault and he hasn't done anything wrong. I tell him I love him, and that I'll be okay. It always passes. I'm 60, he's 62. He doesn't have depression. He has other issues I try to be understanding about. But the personal attack, which you endure, is what he inflicts upon me if he is stressed. Somehow we've made it together 40+ years. I hope your wife sees you. If you know what I mean. It's not all about her. It's about you, too. You matter. Babying her too much could give her a sense of entitlement that it's okay to belittle you or blame you. It's okay to tell her it's not okay to do that. Sometimes we need our spouses to tell us that. I spent 40 years trying to please my husband and everybody else. It landed me on the brink of a nervous breakdown. I realized what I was doing, and when I stopped, the whole fam damily went into shock and wondered what the h** is wrong with Mom.

I am in a position that is slightly similar. I am pretty much sure that your wife's counselors/physicians should know about these reactions, unless they do, already, and that these reactions are part of the process of adjusting to medication/therapy techniques. I am almost more concerned for you, however; are you getting any supportive feedback/therapy, for yourself? Being a caregiver in situations like this requires you to try and use everything at your disposal to stay strong...please keep us posted and let us know if you get in contact with professionals that can assist you in this situation, as well!

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