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Depression

Question
Posted by: | 2019/07/31

Q.

Supporting a wife with depression

My wife was recently in a psych facility for depression after repeated panic attacks, self harm and thoughts of suicide. She was in for a period of 3weeks and saw her psychologist daily and started unpacking her past and where her depression stems from. A lot of it has to do with her mom, and her growing up. Our marriage also came up because she feels I haven't been there to support her emotionally over the last 5years, this after suffering a miscarriage and soon thereafter falling pregnant with our son. I've come to realise and explained to her that I didn't know how to deal with my emotions when she miscarried and therefore didn't know how to support her properly. Our focus also shifted to raising our child after he was born, and therefore we somewhat lost touch with each other. After being released, she has now decided we should separate (which her psychologist suggested and supported) and try to find ourselves again. We still live together for our son, but sleep in separate rooms. My concern is that I know who I am, but has lost who she is, and cannot seem to deal with the fact that life does change after having a child, she wants to go back to having fun and partying like we used to. I agree that we need to make time for our marriage and our love instead of all our focus being on our son, but feel that we have responsibilities as parents that we cannot let go of. My son is so attached to me and doesn't want his mom to do anything for him, he won't even allow me to get out and stay with her. I love my wife immensely and have stuck by her through all of this, and have supported her as best I can, but it seems as if she just doesn't want me any longer and that whatever I do for her is just not enough. What do I do and how can I get through this?

Expert's Reply

A.

Depression expert
- 2019/08/01

Wouldn't it be a good idea to persuade her to join you in couples counselling, to explore how, for the sake of your child and of each of you, you could heal the relationship ? I wonder whether in her first experience of counselling, her counsellor encouraged her to feel neglected without being properly specific as to what she wanted from you, or helping her to realize that you also had feelings and unmet emotional needs, so you could help each other.
Maybe if you could work together, with a more experienced counsellor, you could both achieve more.
It is important for counsellors to help us recognize that, for instance, that we cannot change the past, but we can valuably change how we interpret whatever happened in the past, and the conclusions we draw from past events.  Some counsellors unhelpfully encourage people to embark on a career of seeing themselves as a victim, rather than as a survivor who has learned helpful lessons from bad experiences, and is able to move on to find a happier life.

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