Husband has shut me out.

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Hello every one.

I apologise in advance for my first, lengthy post.

Yesterday my husband was prescribed ADs for the first time at an appointment I didn't know he was going (saw his car by at surgery on my way to the shops).

We've been going through a bad spell a recently because he's completely withdrawn from me, I told him enough was enough and that if he couldn't include me then I couldn't live like this anymore, this is apparently why he decided to see the Dr. We "talked" and i thought we'd sorted things out then i find out he's gone to the drs and unfortunately has now shut me out completely and won't talk about it at all.

I'm not managing to get this out very well, I love my husband so much and greatly miss the relationship we used to have. We've been together for 32 years and have 2 grown up daughters. He is a quiet man and never really a talker but he has completely withdrawn from me in the last 4 years and even more so in the last 2 since his father passed away suddenly. I was worried because he seemed to deal with it so well at the time, too well in my opinion.

I don't know how to deal with this and am at my wits end. I'm scared because I've been dealing with depression for many years as a carer for my father, sister and mother-in-law, I've seen the damage depression did to my mum and brother-in-law and i just don't know if i have the strength to get through this. I realise that I sound very selfish right now considering that it my husband that has to live with the depression and I apologise if I offend anyone because of this.

I really would appreciate any help you could offer because I feel very overwhelmed by all of this. Thank you in advance.
Lizbeth, I don't have any direct experience so cannot offer you any practical advice, but I just wanted to say that you're not being selfish. You have a right to be happy. Yes, your husband is the one experiencing the depression but it's affecting you too. At least he is seeking help for it. Who knows, once the ADs kick in he may be in a better place to talk to you, I hope so. In the meantime, please don't beat yourself up. Your life, your feelings are important too.

All the best.

Emma
I agree - the ADs will hopefully kick in soonish, (do you know what he's on? Probably a variant of Prozac, which can take a few weeks, I believe, to feel the full effect of?), and help to 'lift' him.

To be honest, it sounds like your husband is scared. And not surprisingly if there is so much depression around in his family, PLUS the loss of his father.

I do suspect, in a way, he's suffering from 'man-syndrome' - the chronic inability of men, often of his older generation, to address any emotional issues at all. They are not 'allowed' to be what they consider weak, sentimental, emotional, incapable, frightened, depressed, etc etc etc.....

As for 'talking' , well, that's impossible as well, isn't it? Talking is for wimps and weirdos! Talking is for women....

I'm not sure what to suggest except the following -

- give the ADs some time to kick in
- visit your own doctor, and ask, in general, what the current treatment plan is for depression and what appears to be affecting your husband. Your GP can't comment on your husband himself, but he can say 'in general' which will be helpful. From my limited understand, the general treatment plan for depression is to put patients onto ADs first, to provide a 'limit' to their sinking, and hopefully a bit of a lift and 'stabilisation', and THEN to start on the talking therapy via counselling.
- don't try and get your husband to 'talk' right now, but give him lots of affection, without making any 'demands' on him. The idea is to reassure, show you love him (but not demand a response!), and generally some cossetting etc etc. I would say if you invest in this now, you will repeat the rewards later.
- try and lighten the load on him by doing 'cheerful' things - can you plan little treats, like days out, family days, weekends away, holidays, etc etc? Sometimes putting someone in a different physical place can move them to a different mental place
- he may need belated 'bereavement counselling' in respect of his father. There is no time limit to grief, and what we cope with well (too well, as you sapiantly observe!) at the time, can require 'healing' later on, sometimes years later for 'unresolved grief'.

Please please dont' give up on your marriage yet! I think we women find the 'not talking' and 'withdrawing' incredibly disturbing, we feel we've 'lost' the man we married. But sometimes they go 'into their inner man-shed' so to speak (!), where they feel safe and unthreatened.

Also, and I think this may be generally true, even if a bit of a stereotype, I would say that one of the 'truisms' about men and women and the difference between us, is that whereas we find talking things through as 'comforting and helpful', men so often find it 'threatening and scary'.

Saying to a man 'We need to talk' can be the scariest threat in the world to them!!!!

Wishing you well, but please, give him a little time and space, and in the meantime, while he's in his 'mental man shed', give YOURSELF some treats and 'time out from worrying', such as nice girly-times together, or times with your children, or pamper days etc.

Kindest regards, Jenny
How true about the man shed/ cave or whatever we choose to call it. Stirred a memory. Hubby and myself were going through an awkward patch ( yes of course we had them). He actually said to me " we need to talk". But.... we didn't. He got comfy in his chair and clammed up! Can't remember how we weathered the blip but we did. So Lizbeth try not to despair. Let the medication click in and take it from there. Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. A book I partly read years ago. Had some pointers about men needed there cave etc. It helped me. Yes, you should if possible have some girly time. You are important too xx
Hi Lizbeth
I agree with what everyone has said so far. I've no experience though, so this is purely from a 'common sense' (I hope) point of view.
Maybe hubby is brooding about something and probably scared. Whether it's his dad's death or worrying about the effect on you should he be suffering from depression, or something else. Being a private, quiet man, he probably finds it impossible to 'open up', even to you and may be scared of the 'manly shame' of breaking down or crying in front of you.
He has revealed something to the GP and the meds are the result. Take the pressure off while they kick in, (keep a sly eye on them to make sure he's taking them). Turn your mind to yourself, find a way to let him know that you are there for him, ready to listen should he want to talk, but get on with your life and don't 'loom' over him. If that doesn't work, well plan B, whatever that might be, but give it a chance for a while. Talk trivia, which he can respond to safely without coming out of his 'cave'.
Elaine
I really can't thank you all enough for taking the time to reply to me, everything you all said makes sense and I will listen carefully to your suggestions.

We actually had a breakthrough today, he thought I'd fallen out with (which I definitely hadn't) and he spoke to me instead of waiting for me to crack. I wad able to let him know that he is not on his own with this, that I very much wanted to help and understand what he needs. Whatever it was I said allowed him to open up to me for the very first time and he's told me a bit about how he feels, I expect there is a lot more to come but I'm happy at least that we've made a start. We had a few lovely moments in between the pain when we connected again. I know our talk today took an awful lot out of him, he was exhausted after and I've never seen him look so upset, but at least now he knows I'm there for him. I just wish I'd known a few wks ago what was wrong because I would never have told him I was leaving him, I've told him I love him and apologised for saying I was going.

I'm going to try and take it one day at a time, he's back with the Dr in the weeks, she put him on sertraline (sp), that's what his mum is on and its helped her so fingers crossed it will do the same for him.

Thank you all again.
Oh, Lizbeth, that is so heartwarming! I'm relieved to hear that there has been a bit of breakthrough for you both. Never underestimate the 'ordeal' that men regard 'communicating meaningfully' as!!!! (They'd rather have an operation without anesthetic than talk 'openly' about their feelings, I suspect!!!!! :) )

After all that 'heart-searching' why not now try and have a really, really easy weekend together. Either just 'pottering around' or maybe a 'little treat' tomorrow, even just an outing somewhere, or a drive in the spring countryside (I'm in bluebell country, and they are gorgeous just now!). Nothing spectuaulous, just a quiet celebration of your 'togetherness'.

I do think, so so much of 'bonding' comes from causal physical closeness - a touch on the shoulder, a quick hand squeeze, cuddling up on the sofa (at our age, cuddles can be a lot less strenuous than anything else ha ha!). Something that makes us feel loved and safe.

One of the lines of a song that I love, it's from the thirties, I think, goes something like this:

'We are Derby and Joan - who used to be Jack and Jill'.....I love that (it's from, I think The Folks Who Live On the Hill, about growing old together.)

And wasn't there a TV series a while back called something lovely like 'Tottering On Together'??? Another lovely image of a couple who have made it through so, so many years of marriage, and now just like to 'be together'.

Wishing you ALL the very best, and after all, isn't what is most important in life love, happiness and companionship. If it takes a little happy pill to make that happen, who cares?!!!!

Have a lovely weekend, and do pop by again whenever you feel the need. We all do that!!

Cheerful thoughts, Jenny :)

PS - there may be some more 'downs' in store, but what you've experienced now, ie, the little breakfthrough and 'reconciliation' is proof that what goes down CAN come back up again! Go easy on yourself, and hubby. :) :)
Hello again.

Jenny I was thinking the same thing about just trying to make the weekend more relaxing. I can tell that hubby is exhausted and could do with some chill out time. I said to him earlier about doing something tomorrow but we'll have to wait and see how he feels. Now that I have an idea of how he has been feeling I'm going to try very hard to give him the time he asked for, I just hate seeing him so upset and he looks ashamed but I don't know how to let him know that he has nothing to be ashamed of apart from when we talked on Fri and I was able to say it then.

For two days now we've held each other and I can't tell you how much its meant to me, I'd forgotten what it was like to feel his arms around me, it used to be a hug was purely for my benefit and didn't really feel like he was present in the moment but these last two days have been different, but more like how it used to be.

I'm building myself up for a rocky road but I hope that now he'll let me be part of this journey with him. Xx