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Some days I just give up! - Carers UK Forum

Some days I just give up!

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May not be the right forum, but I feel like having a moan!
The background is that my wife is depressed , and has been on and off for years , and tried all treatments.
At her insistence we're having decorators in , rather than me doing it.
It's become frustrating as it's not going to be finished on time , and the mess will go on till Monday.
Somehow , this is my fault and the end of the world and she's lapsed into bad-tempered silences . She doesn't feel like being on her own with them on Monday so wants me to cancel all plans.
What happened to the happy person she used to be?
What happened to the happy person she used to be?
she's still in there somewhere Alex, just getting harder to find !

I can't imagine what it's like for you having to cope with this day in and day out and you have my heart felt sympathy for being in such a dark place at the moment.
Have a few (((((((((hugs)))))))))))) from me I know you're doing your best.
Susie. Thanks , it's just the sheer frustration where everything becomes a problem to her. And the fear that at some stage depression will merge with dementia ( looking at the worst view) , and I'll still just have to carry on. Just suggesting she gets more help provokes panic and a refusal to cooperate. This ,I realise , is something she picked up from her parents who hates anything ' medical' .
Right, whining over, time to move on!
Alex, what DID happen to the happy person she used to be? I mean, when and how and why did all this depression 'creep up' on her, and then bed itself into her personality?

You say she has had all sorts of treatments that haven't worked - does she want them to? Again, my reason for asking that is to address an issue that I first read of here, in respect of another member - it's that of 'secondary gain'.
https://www.mentalhelp.net/blogs/the-be ... nd-losses/

"a list of benefits of suffering or “secondary gains”. Such gains can be thought of as “…the indirect, interpersonal advantages which the neurotic derives from his condition, e.g., compassion, increased attention, freedom from everyday responsibilities, and the like” (Watzlawick, 1967, p. 287). This list presents benefits or advantages which people often derive or receive from their physical, neurotic, and character disorders as well as life difficulties. It is theorized that the individual does not consciously and intentionally search for these benefits, but that there is a payoff (i.e., some enjoyment) in them. "


EG " Person uses depression as explanation for why they can’t do something their partner wants when they would find it hard even if they were not depressed. Their partner backs off when they cite their depression as the reason for their behaviour. Attributing problems to depression is reinforced.

Significant others often have a sense that they are being manipulated by the stuck person and relationships suffer. By understanding and being upfront about the secondary gain mechanisms that might be operating, everyone can start to understand that the mechanisms are the problem, not the people involved. It can be a relief for everyone to stop thinking of the stuck person as manipulative etc"

There's loads more on the Internet - some may resonate, some may not.

I'd never heard of this before, but when I read up on it (eg that link, and many others!) it makes perfect sense (My niece has 'chronic depression' and I've never really known why....but she clearly does get 'something out of it'....)(well, that's my interpretation)

One of the key 'secondary gains' from depression is that it 'absolves' the patient from having to make any effort at all not just to heal themselves (or get healing) but to behave in a 'considerate' way to anyone else!

eg, 'You can't be cross with me for my behaviour, I've got depression!'. It's the ultimate 'get out of human responsibility free' card.

That is why, I'm afraid, (and speaking only and entirely as a lay person!!! so do bear that in mind), I think the only viable way forward for anyone coping with someone with depression is to apply 'firm love' (not 'tough - that's too harsh). Firm love 'supports' someone, but does not 'enable' them.

Firm love DOES 'call time' on the bad behaviour (eg, your wife's sullen ill temper because things are going the way she doesn't like ,and she wants you to rearrange your life to suit her thank you very much!). You may not get an algteration in her behaviour ,but you DO tell her it is not acceptable. And if she comes back with 'You can't criticise me or tell me off because I've got depression! I'm ILL for heaven's sake'...well, the ultimate retort is, after all, 'And I, remember, am free to walk out of this marriage today, if I feel like it - if you are SO unpleasant to be with'.

I know this may sound a bit 'harsh' myself, but, in the end, we get the treatment we put up with. Even from people with depression.

To me (speaking, again, only personally), the key factor when someone has depression is whether they are making an EFFORT to overcome it. If they are, then yes, cut them lots of slack (even if their efforts aren't that successful). If not (ie, no effort), then time for 'firm love'.