Blurred lines of depression and mental health conditions

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Hi Emma
I'm just wondering if he is up to doing something with the toddler that may tick several boxes. Here , for example, a Saturday morning rugby tots class is mainly attended with the Dads, which would get him out and socialising, and a bit of exercise, and give you some regular time off too? Or swimming ,or ...,?

Also, any kind of volunteering would help him too, takes the mind off self wallowing. My boy was able to go help his Nan, even when he couldn't summon the will to go out for any other reason. (Nan and I used to make up tasks for him to do :blush: )

Your counsellor is quite right about caring for you. Having fun and a laugh with your toddler would count as time away. Do you manage to get to any toddler groups so theres soem socialisong for you too?
For the evening's there are some really good mindfulness apps about which can 'take you away 'even in you are still at home. I use one called Insight Timer

You will get through this, and so will he

"Because my husband hasn't always suffered from depression

Emma, do you, or he, or anyone, have any idea WHY he has been hit with depression this year? Are there external circumstances which would account for it completely? or, perhaps, external circumstances that have acted as a 'trigger' or 'release' for long-held mental and emotional problems that have been 'suppressed' till now?

How much do you know about his past - especially his childhood and relations with parents? Do you think there is 'bad stuff lurking' etc etc, and if so, what?

What has counselling thrown up by way of explanation and analysis so far?

How is he coping with fatherhood? Becoming a parent can trigger all sorts of 'bad stuff' coming out from one's own childhood. Such as fears one will be as rubbish a parent as one's own was perhaps? Or just the whole responsibility of it all?

We know that Post Natal Depression can hit women like a hammer - sometimes 'emotional' in cause, sometimes by the massive swing in hormones (or both!). But maybe it can impact dads as well???

It would surely be unlikely that your husband can radically improve or 'heal' hopefully, without understanding WHY depression has hit in the first place.

(And of course, sigh, as we know, men are not exactly famous for their ability to 'open up emotionally'!!! 'Denial of Trauma' is all too common for the male psyche in our 'repressive' society)
PS - I completely agree with Mr's A's recommendation about volunteering.

The three 'Self-help' pillars for Depression are:

- exercise
- helping others

(Thankfulness is key, as we HAVE to be able to realise what is GOOD about our lives - and for any of us living in the western world that is, no one is dropping bombs on us for a start!)
It would be lovely if he could find something to do with our son but unfortunately it's not something he will do. In fact my son coming along is what I believe has been a trigger for his mental health problems, with anxiety coming in last year and depression following it this year.

I don't think his depression is a result of his own childhood, he has wonderful parents and had a great upbringing. His mum had been really ill this year although her prognosis was excellent so that's really thrown him too. He's almost gone into some form of denial about what his life is now - he stays out drinking most nights and continues drinking when he gets in.

He also hates the routine and monotony of family life and gets agitated if he has no plans to go out at the weekend. If he does stay in he will stay upstairs in his room playing on his pc. It's actually like having a teenager rather than a fully grown man, some sort of regression maybe.

Very difficult to balance getting him better with how much I can cope with running the family and household whilst being at work on my own but we've survived this far!
Oh Emma
It is sounding more and more as though he's one of those chaps who just cannot acknowledge, let alone voice, what is going in inside. And I am afraid you've hit the nail in the head that the undeniable arrival of your lovely boy couple with the realisation that his Mum is not immortal and is ageing and maybe needing his care in the future, is just too much for him. His behaviours are like Peter Pan wanting to stay young and carefree, a teenager, as you say.

The only things that will help him through it is antidepressants and having some professional help him understand his thoughts and feelings.
Other chaps in similar situations would simply ignore everything and head off with the next woman that would take them :roll: , so in a way it's good he's still around, but how long are you prepared to go on? How much toll is it taking on you , and your boy?
I have a male relative who seemed to hit the 'growing up crisis' on his 30th birthday. He had a terrible couple of years accepting he had to be an adult, which involved leaving one woman at the altar then taking up with one 10 years younger. He's through it now, but it was messy and hurt others around .

You sound particularly levelheaded and self aware (2 excellent traits btw) and it seems such a shame that this particular chap isnt fully joining you in enjoying your son's early years.

I've just re-read your other thread. Re-read what you wrote on 30th October

I'm glad you are having counselling to help you understand your feelings and what is right for you
NONE of this is your fault

Have you managed to have a proper conversation about him and his feelings towards his son?

Many men find babies difficult, but your son is surely becoming a little person in his own right now.
I know some men get jealous of the baby getting some of their partner's attention when they used to have it all, but it's HIS child that HE made, and your love for HIS child is surely good.
Do you ever go on walks together as a family? Or do anything as a family at all?
If he is not prepared even to do that, surely you are "flogging a dead horse"?
Hmm, from your post, two words spring to mind now@

MAN and UP.

Sorry, this is just nonsense, his behaviour now! I'm trying to 'make allowances - his fear that his mother will die, his realisation that his 'carefree life' is over now that he has to knuckle down and be a dad and earn a living etc etc, but it's a bit hard to summon up much sympathy really.

I could ask 'did he actually want a baby when you got pregnant'? I could ask if his parents have always indulged him? Have you always indulged him?

But really, he's just coming across as a 'kidult' - 'not ready' to face the realities of life (and death). He sounds, frankly, immature.

And with all this 'depression' simply hopelessly self-indulgent and self-pitying.

Do you think he 'settled down' too young (not sure how old either of you are)?

Of course the 'daily grind' of earning a living, the dreadful 'is this all there is to my life?' realisation dawning, and yes, of course having a baby is 'hard work' (and sleepless too).....but that's why EITHE you have to 'sow your wild oats' BEFORE you marry and start a family....or, you save it for the empty-nesting years that will arrive!!!

All that said, OK, so he's fed up with the boring constraints of his tedious limited life (never mind that no one is bombing him and he's not starving to death in the third world or being crushed in earthquakes etc etc)......can you sit down with him and work out how he (AND YOU!) can get 'SOME' of the 'exciting life' he clearly wants to have (without the boring stuff about earning a living and child care)?

ARE there 'other ways for you two to live'? I've known people buy a boat and sail around the world, etc etc etc. Or save up all year and have 'blow out holidays' in the Andes, or whatever whatever.

But, to be blunt, he seems to be suffering from First World Self Pity - not really facing up to the fact that for most of the world's population life IS 'nasty brutish and short' and that ANYONE living in the UK is really, really, really lucky (which is why SO many of the wretched of the earth are desperate to get here, sigh).
Yes the pity party is where I generally have to grit my teeth in terms of showing sympathy. I know life (particularly when you have a young child) is a bit boring at times but that's life and actually to give you insight into my husbands life a bit more -

1) He does his dream job for a living - runs his own business running quizzes for pubs and corporate events, something I supported him in from the ground up by paying the bills whilst he built up a viable income.

2) There have of course been weekends where all that is on offer is a takeaway and a film (and a lot of the time that suits me!) but in this year alone my husband has been to see The Foo Fighters, Chemical Brothers, Lauren Hill, The Prodigy, League of Gentleman as well as had various trips up to York to see his coworkers (and is up there today actually for an xmas get together) He also gets first dibs if he wants to go and see friends for the evening, goes to the cinema, I could go on

3) In the last year (and I'm being generous there as it's likely longer) my husband has got up with my son in the morning three times, once because I was going to Scotland for work, once so I could go to a hen party and another to go to the actual wedding and needed to leave early as I was a bridesmaid. And even then I nearly didn't go to the hen party as I was worried a tantrum from my son might trigger anxiety in my husband. He stopped changing nappies about six months ago and more recently stopped taking my son for a bath or dressing him for bed, he just appears at the door to say night once it's all done.

4) He does next to nothing around the house, no cleaning, doesn't cook, just about puts the bin out once a week so there is no real expectation of him there. I pay 80% of the bills so his money is pretty much his own although if we need anything he WILL always pay for the extras needed but only if asked.

Since his anxiety returned and his depression kicked in, it's got a point where I can't even point out the imbalance there is in our relationship as it often triggers his anger (verbal not physical) or makes him retreat back to under the covers. I do feel bad that he is poorly but it's hard to see what more we can do to give him the space to work through it. He is hesitant to get going on counselling, he's rejected two and I've been waiting two weeks for him to call up and arrange a new one - I got us 6 free sessions through my work but he doesn't seem to want to take it up.

He has been indulged a lot of his life and I include myself in that, our baby was planned and I asked again and again if he was ready because it meant settling down and was told yes he had gotten being out and drinking 4/5 times a week out of his system. I believed him - we are both 36 now (35 when our son was born) so it seemed a reasonable age to expect someone to settle down a bit. He does have another child who he had when he WAS very young (18) but again he had a lot of support in bringing her up, his parents helped a lot so I wouldn't say he missed out from there either, particularly as he and the mother split up when she was still a baby, sounds harsh but I can understand more and more why.

Sorry I have gone into full on rant mode - some of the above (cleaning, money) falls in the category of I knew who I married but it's also interesting to compare my husband's perception of how monotonous and dull his life is compared to the reality and actually how priveleged his is. Couldn't agree more that it's first world problems.

I could look to hang in there for an indefinite amount of time if I got anything back from him in the way of thanks for everything we do for him but as with a lot of mental health issues there is no gratitude, no thanks just a huge sense of entitlement. I'm petrified to leave him though as I'm worried he might slip even further if he was left on his own.

And now I'll feel terrible for moaning because at the end of the day he is ill and needs support - thanks for the space to rant, feel like I held my breath typing it! I don't want to give the wrong impression, I do love my husband and I desperately want him to get better but there are also needs of his young family that he needs to step up to.
"And now I'll feel terrible for moaning because at the end of the day he is ill and needs support "

No he isn't, and no he doesn't.

He's a self-indulged, spoilt brat waste of space and my best advice to you now is to print out what you wrote, and hand it to him, and to the parents that brought him up.

His behaviour is totally disgraceful.

MAYBE he knows that deep down, and is ashamed, and that is why he's sunk into depression.

Or more likely he's sunk into depression as his 'get out of all responsibility and anything I don't feel like doing or I think is boring' card......

In other words, being 'depressed' is an oh-so-convenient excuse for being a rubbish husband and a rubbish dad.

I would start making an 'escape plan', starting with your financial viability when you are a single mother.

You throwing in the towel on him MIGHT just be the wake up call he needs, 'Ie, WAKE Up, GROW up and MAN up!'. Or, of course, he'll just slump into yet more self-pity and 'woe-is-me' and blame you. But who cares if he does?

Just hand the print out of your post above to anyone who says you are being 'hard' on him.

I'm going to end just now with saying something that usually makes people want to slap me (I wanted to slap the person I heard it from, I promise you!) Is this@

We get the behaviour we put up with.

See, you'll want to slap me, and it's a normal reaction, but it is TRUE for all that it is THE most irritating thing anyone can tell you!

Time to lay it on the line for this piece of work! He really is shameful. No wonder he doesn't like you criticising him - the truth is clearly so uncomfortable for his sense of self-pity and hard-done-by-ness that 'shooting the messanger' is much more convenient for him.

PS I'm not surprised he's avoiding counselling, Any counsellor would hold that same mirror up to him!
"I'm petrified to leave him though as I'm worried he might slip even further if he was left on his own."

You weren't put into this world to be his nanny and comfort blanket.

His life, his responsibility. Time he faced up to that.

NOT your problem. HIS problem.