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Question
Posted by: SIRIUS | 2011/09/27

THE DREADFUL CURSE OF DEPRESSION

I am struggling to comprehend how depression can destroy a loving partner (who I have adored for 7 1/2 years) and do so overnight. She has been prone to depression but appears to have mostly controlled it through sheer willpower. But now it is surfacing with a vengeance. I know she has always had issues about her self-worth. Her mother just did not relate to her. This was followed by disastrous marriages (3 marriages) and one or two bad other relationships in between.

I have shown her love, warmth, support, affirmation of her as a person, etc. She is a very attractive woman but yet cannot accept totally who she is. I have taken her away, over the years, on numerous holidays, overseas trips, weekend suprprises, etc which have always been idyllic.My adult children so like her.

A bout of depression erupted about 8 weeks ago. She asked me to give her a few days to try to " sort herself out" . I did this and she recovered. However, 2 weeks ago, after a wonderful week and weekend together, she suddenly imploded within 48 hours. She described herself as not worthy of me, too unstable, etc. She returned a beautiful diamond ring which I had let her design. It was the first ring she had ever been given in her life by anyone.

I have tried to reach out to her but she will not communicate, respond to phone calls, emails, etc I know she is in a bad way and feel utterly helpless that depression can so destroy a person who is otherwise a wonderful person to be with.

She will never take advice or discuss a problem. Withdrawal is usually her way of reacting.

How can depression so change a person? I would appreciate if women who have experienced such depression can relate how they felt, how long episodes lasted, what can their partner do to help them during depression (give them space, try to stay in touch, etc?)

I am 58 and my partner 53. She often confirmed how we would spend the rest of our days together so there are absoultely no issues between us. Only this dreadful depression.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Depression is a common disease, which unfortunately commonly can have such effects on relationships and on other people, as well as the person suffering from it directly.
NOBODY in the history of mankind has ever effectively controlled true depression by sheer willpower. So something is wrong with the story. And people who disdain proper expert treatment and have excessive faith in their own "willpower" often come to grief.
The story you tell is of someone with significant psychological problems, whether or not they are typically depressed, and who would benefit from counselling / psychotherapy, and possibly also medicinal treatment of depression.
No amount of effort to show loving, etc., on your part can solve the problem while she pretends it isn't there or pretends she can handle it entirely on her own.
Being puzzled that depression can be so disabling, is like wondering why appendicitis is so painful - that's an essential and central part of the disorder.
True depression usually produces episodes that last 9 months or more. It is, sadly, irresponsible to allow one's own depression to go untreated - maybe an episode needs to be caught earlier, to persuade her to get the expert assessment and help she needs. One of the sneaky things depression too often does, is to make us feel it is hopeless to try treating it properly, which is untrue but may come to feel true.
Persuade her to see a shrink for a proper assessment and a discussion of treatment options

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Vaal Donkie | 2011/09/28

Don''t take this the wrong way, please, but have you tried being an old school husband? Women crave stability and a strong male figure in their lives. And this is a more important timethan ever to be that man. It probably won''t be enough to " cure"  her, but it can give her some much-needed stability when the rest of her world seems like it is falling apart.

She needs to feel that you are a rock and a safe haven, instead of a loyal puppy (which is what you look like when asking " what can I do to make you feel better?" ).

Reply to Vaal Donkie
Posted by: SIRIUS | 2011/09/27

Thank you to you all for taking the time to respond. One feels so lonely when confronted by such overwhelming helplessness and hurt.

Reply to SIRIUS
Posted by: Olivia | 2011/09/27

You might as well be my husband. My husband keeps asking me over and over what he can do to make this better. I wish there was an answer.
My humble opinion would be to let her know that you will never judge her and that you will support her ALWAYS, doesn''t matter what. Sometimes taking action (example maiking appointment with professional and taking her) is also seen as love as she is just too depressed to do it herself.
good luck, may you and your wife find peace.

Reply to Olivia
Posted by: Rob | 2011/09/27

She must go and see a doctor and she must take anti-depressants or else things will end badly!! I have been off my medicine and I can feel that three years were not enough to get me through my ordeal!! Luckily I can go back to the doc to help me!!

Reply to Rob
Posted by: Romany | 2011/09/27

If she is not prepared to address the issue and take medication, she will stay like this for the rest of her life.
Depression is a desease like any other and must be kept under control by medication, for as long as you live.
Once you have accepted this, it is really no big deal.

Reply to Romany
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/09/27

Depression is a common disease, which unfortunately commonly can have such effects on relationships and on other people, as well as the person suffering from it directly.
NOBODY in the history of mankind has ever effectively controlled true depression by sheer willpower. So something is wrong with the story. And people who disdain proper expert treatment and have excessive faith in their own "willpower" often come to grief.
The story you tell is of someone with significant psychological problems, whether or not they are typically depressed, and who would benefit from counselling / psychotherapy, and possibly also medicinal treatment of depression.
No amount of effort to show loving, etc., on your part can solve the problem while she pretends it isn't there or pretends she can handle it entirely on her own.
Being puzzled that depression can be so disabling, is like wondering why appendicitis is so painful - that's an essential and central part of the disorder.
True depression usually produces episodes that last 9 months or more. It is, sadly, irresponsible to allow one's own depression to go untreated - maybe an episode needs to be caught earlier, to persuade her to get the expert assessment and help she needs. One of the sneaky things depression too often does, is to make us feel it is hopeless to try treating it properly, which is untrue but may come to feel true.
Persuade her to see a shrink for a proper assessment and a discussion of treatment options

Reply to cybershrink

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