Caring for somebody with depression and Crohn's disease

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
I am new to this forum so apologies if I've posted this in the wrong place :)

My partner is currently being diagnosed with IBD-Crohn's disease (we are waiting for the last results but the two consultants we have visited agree that they are 90% sure of the diagnosis). The problem is that getting to this point has taken us 10 months with two negative biopsies, endoscopies and several blood tests. In the meantime, my partner has been on sick leave, lost 10 kgs, been in pain (I will not share the gross details), and I am not sure whether I have been very useful in helping him. He used to be a very active and sociable man, but the illness has changed him completely.

He doesn't like talking about his illness, but in the last few months he has stopped sharing anything (either with me or his family). He doesn't want to meet friends or do anything even in the periods where the illness doesn't show severe symptoms. The GP referred him to a therapist recently, but he keeps putting it off. I have been reading about it and it seems to be normal in these circumstances, but I was wondering if some of you have similar experiences and can help me. I am trying to find out how to help him open up (whether with me, with his family or with a therapist) but nothing seems to work. The alternative would be to just wait and see if it improves once he gets a diagnosis and proper treatment for his IBD, but that might take months.

At this point any advice would help. Thanks!!
First of all, I'm glad your husband hasn't anything 'worse', by which I include cancer etc. Trouble is, things like IBD etc tend to be 'diagnoses of exclusion', ie they rule other stuff out first, which takes time.

It's not suprising your husband is 'down' as both the illness itself (not a 'pleasant' one, I know) and above all, chronic pain and discomfort, DO wear one down, very understandably.

Personally, I would suspect that the key 'line of attack' is to get his treatment and the management of his condition the focus of attention, rather than his depression, because I would think that once he 'feels better' physically he'll start to pick up mentally and emotionally. OK, he may not get his 'old life' back, but he can find out how to minimise the negative impact these unpleasant and wearing conditions have.

All these sort of 'systemic' conditions, like gut imbalances, and muscular and joint pain (eg, ME/arthritis) DO need constant management and constant 'experiment'. A lot of them respond best to 'non-pharma' treatment, and change of lifestyle etc etc. It can be a case of trial and error a lot of the time, until he hits on a balance that suits him best (or least worst).

Pscyologically, it is hard to accept being 'chronically ill' - we yearn to get back to our 'real selves' and our 'real life' and it's hard to accept that that has gone 'for ever'. In Cancerworld (which hit my family a while back) the term that is used for the adjustment is 'the new normal' - it's what we HAVE to accept, rage and resent as we will, we have to accept our old lives have gone, and now 'cancer' is the 'new normal', and everything has to gear around it.

I can't but assume there are forums for those with your husband's condition, and they would, I again assume, have a wealth of experience in how to 'manage and minimise' and also how to adapt emotionally as well? At the very least he would realise he was not alone in what he is going through (nor you), and that might be a comfort as well. I found the cancer specialist forums of immense help after my husband was diagnosed, on both those counts.

Wishing you both all the best possible that can be now, and never give up on the knowledge that new research comes out of the labs all the time, and treatments DO improve......what can't be done now, may become totally possible in the future....it's worth hanging on to that hope.