View Full Version : Please Help?

03-26-14, 04:00 PM
I've been with my husband for 8 years now, been married for 2 of them. I've always known he's had depressive tendencies (and he has too), but I've just always assumed they were just responses to an outside stimulus.

About 2 years into our relationship I moved across the country for school and we did the long distance thing for about year before he decided to move out after me and we've been alone out here ever since. We love indulging in our time together and we love each other very much, but in the time he has moved out here I've noticed those depressive tendencies getting stronger. Being away from our families has REALLY taken a toll on him as we were all very close.

For the past 5 years the amount of "mood swings" he has and the times he lashes out for reasons he doesn't understand has increased and his self-esteem and motivations have all decreased. He feels he has no ambition in life, he is always bored and it makes him feel self destructive and crazy, he feels like no body loves him or wants him (even though he has admitted that he logically knows that it's not true, he still feels that way).

It's been getting tougher and tougher to pull him out of these thoughts he has.

Whenever I see that he is feeling down (I know him too well, I know when he's trying to hide something) I sit down with him and I try to coax him into talking. Sometimes he's receptive and will open up immediately and I listen. Other times he recoils and tries to push me away and I have to chase him, because if I don't chase him and persist he feels like I'm abandoning him. I know he does even if he doesn't always say it. I can practically see it in his eyes. I stop if he says he doesn't want to talk about it, but that is very rare. It's a real battle every time and it's usually after a long hard day at work. But I still listen.

Most of the time he doesn't want to be a downer which is why he tries to hide it in the first place, but I reassure him that no good comes of it and I want to know what he's thinking and feeling. I can't do anything, but at least I can be there for him.

I encourage him to get out and hang out with friends as well (he really only has two that he associates with outside of work).

I try to spend as much time as I can with him. He works M-F 7-4. My schedule is more all over the place, but I'm always home by 5. During M-F it's not so bad, because I get home only 1 hour after him and as soon as I get home I focus all my time and energy on us except if I'm working out, which he'll usually do at the same time. I try to keep him busy by going out to eat, playing games, talking, cooking, exercising, watching movies and tv, and getting into all sorts of mischief. And he's usually okay unless he's had an extremely boring day at work where his coworkers are busy and can't talk to him. Then we cycle into talking about how he feels most of the night.

When he gets depressed, I try and coax him to go outside with me. If I can just convince him to come outside and get a little fresh air, he perks up and feels better, but it's like pulling teeth.

The problem days are the weekends if I'm working one of those days he is left alone for about 8-9 hours and it's like leaving a puppy at home with no one to play with it. Left alone to his own devices he sleeps, eats, and sleeps and stirs in his own mind, convincing himself of his own self worthlessness. More recently he's been making attempts to get out while I'm gone and going for walks or to get coffee. He's been trying to keep himself busy and I'm very proud of him.

He is aware of these issues and has been trying to self help with them by quitting drinking, losing weight (down to 180 from 235!!), eating healthy, and finding little things to do.

One of the biggest problems we've noticed is his lack of passions or ambitions. Nothing excites him or interests him like it used to and that I believe might be a symptom of the depression.

Now, the reason I'm posting this in the ADD forums is that I recently came across an article about ADD and was just browsing through the symptoms and as I read them, I realized that my husband fit A LOT of those symptoms. Some of which I just thought were little quirks, but may actually be ADD.

One of the big things I read about was "zoning out." I can't tell you how many times he'll be playing a video game and I ask him "what do you want for dinner?" and he responds with "uhhhhhh....." and then forgets that I've asked him anything, face never leaving the screen. I'll ask him again and I get the same response or he'll make a start to a sentence like "uuuuh.... Let's have..." face still never leaving the screen. If I snap him out of his trance he has no recollection that I've been talking to him for the past 10 minutes while he's been playing his game. I think this was referred to as "hyper focus" in the article which is funny, because he's described these bouts of zoning out as "polar focus" in the past before I met him.

Or someone will ask him a question and he will completely miss what they are asking and go onto a tangent about something somewhat related to what he was asked like "Where are the oranges?" "Oh, you see, I like to go to the Farmer's Market and there's this one stand there that sells awesome oranges. They're organic..." and this goes on until you stop him and re ask the question.

He has major issues focusing on things if he is supposed to be listening. He can talk forever, but if I am talking about 2 minutes in he picks up his phone and starts looking through Facebook or Feedly and I have to stop him and let him know what he's doing, because he isn't trying to be rude or disrespectful, he just gets distracted by thoughts and acts upon them.

He describes his brain as never being "quiet." His brain doesn't stop producing thoughts and it makes it hard for him to fall asleep and he wakes up a lot during the night even with sleep aids and environmental changes.

He can never seem to stay on 1 task. He and I go through sports like they're Girl Scout Cookies. He gets really into one thing like Volley ball and get all the necessary stuff for it and then he'll suddenly be not interested in it after a few sessions. Then it will be a different sport. Or even something as odd as a blender. He'll be all into blending and get something awesome and then drop it. Or he was all into tea at one time and then suddenly drops it. He has problems sticking to things as he loses interest easily.

He also has problems with extremism. He has problems finding the middle ground of things. It's very all or nothing with him. He either drinks like he wants to die, or he doesn't drink at all. He believes in absolute government rein, or absolute anarchy. He is either animals are amazing, or animals are nothing but food.

He used to be late to a lot of things and procrastinate a lot, but he's really buckled down and tried to organize himself a lot and it seems to be helping him.

He struggles with self control, which is where I think part of his extremism comes into play, but he's been doing really well with things like not drinking and not masturbating so much (which is fine by me, but when it's to the point of self damage there becomes an issue).

He has been diagnosed once by a psychologist in training at a college to having "Russian Roullete" syndrome? He has a tendency to be drawn to things that are bad for him and may result in death without thinking of the consequences. For example, driving REALLY fast or jumping out of an airplane. Doing it for fun? Sure, that's all good. But doing it to try and feel something? I feel there needs to be a different reason than that.

Like I said, he has mood swings, he becomes easily frustrated at work, he feels invisible, poor self esteem, his brain is constantly on the go, he talks forever about everything and nothing, poor sleep, EXTREMELY impulsive, he gets bored and needs spontaneity, and he responds by closing off emotionally if you say anything negative concerning him even if it's not a big deal.

I feel like this might be more than just depression like I thought. He's my trooper and I love him no matter what and I'm doing my best to help him power through this. We've tried getting him on better diets, trying to improve his sleep (to no avail), helping him make better life choices (ie. stop drinking and now 2 years sober), exercise, communicating, etc. This has been helping him a lot, but recently it just seems to be getting worse and worse no matter what we do and it's getting really hard for me to keep my patience.

I've tried asking him if he would like to go get diagnosed and try medication and see if it helped. I told him if he didn't like it we would take him off the meds. He's afraid of it making him into a "zombie" essentially. No thoughts of his own, etc. Both of our mothers are on anxiety meds and his mother is also on anti-depressants and they are fine, but he retains that idea he will lose a part of himself and that scares him. I told him it would only be a trial run and if I thought he looked like a zombie I'd personally take him off it. But he refuses and gets very defensive. I try not to push the issue as I feel it's something he needs to decide on his own, but I every so often bring it up so it's in his mind, but it's recently seeming more and more like that might need to be a viable option soon.

The happiness in his life looks like it's getting harder and harder for him to see every day for him and I hate seeing him so at war with himself. I'm getting more and more tired at keeping up with this. I will keep doing it forever, because I love him.

But I need a little help. I can't discuss this with family, he'd be so embarrassed and upset if they new, so I'm reaching out here to see if there is anyone who has had a similar experience and if they think this might also be ADD.

Any advice for me on how to approach and help someone deal with these issues, especially since I don't understand what he's going through (especially since I'm a severely positive individual)?

Anyone else have a spouse who has refused medication?

What are everyone's experiences with medication? Did it improve your spouses life, decrease it, or have no affect?

What did you find works best?

Am I doing anything wrong or could I improve on something to help him out? I know I'm not a professional or anything so that's why I'm asking if there is something else I should be doing or not doing.

Thank you for reading this and I hope to hear from anyone! :)

03-27-14, 02:13 AM
Hi Gannon,

You sound amazingly energetic and positive. You seem to be working hard to be supportive of your husband and wow, you are quite attentive to his moods and very articulate about describing some of his patterns. I hope the brother appreciates what a loving heart you have.

My response to you is based on my experience as:

--someone who has suffered depression (and is still treated for it)
--someone with ADHD (and being treated for it)
--someone once married to a woman with a condition, though not ADHD, that was still equally debilitating for the person & equally exhausting for partners.

First the depression. I fear that you are working too hard in response to your husband's moods. In my case and in most of the cases I know for people who are depressed, friends and lovers can NOT bring me out of it. Friends can generate some good energy by living their lives to the fullest. But it's a lost cause to try to help someone get over a depression. You can be there for that person, providing support, in the same way you would be there if a partner had the flue. I worry that you're working too hard and staying too focused on him and that you may be operating on the assumption that depression can be improved by a cheerful partner.

But depression is complicated: it does and does not have clear causes. Sure, certain traumas can increase the chances of depression, but depression is also a puzzle, completely unrelated to external "stimulus." My father's life was way harder than mine in any number of ways, but I don't think he suffered depression a day in his life until he got into his late 80's. I on the other hand, suffered depression as early as college with hints of it before then.

Your husband could have (as I imagine I have) an underlying vulnerability to depression, which means it will take far less "stimulus" to throw him into a depression than it would take to throw someone else into a depression. Also some people just have negative thinking patterns (biological and habitual) that keep them focused on the negative and so they end up depressed.

Sorry to hear that your husband is so uninterested in medical treatment for the depression. The amazing thing is that once an antidepressant starts to work (and they don't work for everyone--no med does), far from feeling like a Zombie, people feel more alive than ever. It's the depressed state that is the Zombie state. Unfortunately, depression distorts reason and clear sense--it really does. If he has ADHD, medications often help people focus and get energy and motivation.

What about therapy and counseling? If he doesn't want to go on antidepressants, I would say he absolutely needs to get to therapy or counseling. Speaking for myself, I would not stay married to someone who was depressed and refused to get meds and refused to get therapy. I would quickly lose sympathy for their suffering, for at that point, the suffering goes from unavoidable to avoidable.

Please take good care of yourself during this time. Please let go of the fantasy that you can cheer him up or that it's your job to do so. And if you continue trying, believe me, your positivity will come under severe strain. Just tell him you love him, give him a good hug, and be wiling to listen when he talks.

Good luck.


03-27-14, 04:17 AM
Has he been formally evaluated for anything official like depression, bipolar or adhd? Sometimes having the medical diagnosis can help propel someone into accepting treatment because they are able to realize that they have a valid medical reason for whats happening to them and that its not some giant personality flaw.

03-27-14, 09:29 AM
Welcome to the Forums! I hope you will find this resource to be as valuable as I have found it.

I want to second what Tone said about your feeling that it's your role to help/manage/support your husband so extensively. Love and commitment in partnership are so important, admirable, necessary. But there are limits to what one person can do for another, and your long post sounds as if you are caught up in trying to solve another person's problems for him. You can't--and ultimately, his problems will become yours if too much of your emotional resources are being absorbed something he isn't addressing himself. Care and concern can be taken to extremes that don't help anyone, so do be careful.

Some of what you described could be ADHD, and there are frequent co-morbidities with ADHD which might cover some or all of the rest. Seeing a doctor is necessary to make a diagnosis, though. Whether or not your husband wants to take medication can be separate from getting a diagnosis. ADHD medication is very different in nature and effect from anti-depressants, so if he has ADHD and it's recommended, there's a lot you can both learn about it before he makes a decision about whether or not he wants to try it. There are also other treatments (therapy, coaching, diet, meditation) besides meds which could address the problems you mention he is experiencing.

To me it sounds as though he should see a therapist or a psychiatrist who is knowledgeable about both ADHD and depression for a start. And maybe you should consider seeing a therapist alone also. It sounds as if you may be getting depleted by your role of support person to someone with a lot of needs and problems. It could help you keep a balance and make choices about how to respond to your husband's situation.

Wishing you both all the best, and hoping you'll keep posting to let us know how it goes for you both--

03-28-14, 07:00 PM
Having been similar to your spouse.... to the extent of not wanting to take medication I would offer the following....

1) There are issues that are "causing" the depression and mood cycling

2) You are not the person to explore those issues.... as they are likely to involve events and feelings he may not want to discuss with you. A partner should not and cannot be their spouses therapist.

3) He needs to find someone he can open up to.... this will take time and be very scary for him. This person is unlikely to be a med orientated psych or Dr as the time it will require for him to become comfortable with someone will be significant..... so long term counselling/therapy is probably the only way forward. He may go through several counsellors until he finds one he trusts and has the right blend of challenge and support.

4) Only he can make the effort... if he continually refuses to seek help then you have to accept his position and take a long hard look at your own situation.

5) If he engages with the process of change it will likely be ongoing for the rest of his life, and may involve significant change, change that may surprise you and cause you to reassess your own life and relationships.