Dealing with a hubby's depression

  1. As I have written many times before, I have been married for 33 years to a wonderful, kind man, who is still the love of my life. We have had problems in the past, but have always come through them together. But lately he has benn becoming more and more depressed, and I am having a hard time dealing with it. Three years ago, he lost a job that he held for 30 years. He thought that with his experience, he would have no trouble finding another job, but after six months of searching, he was still unemployed. He thought going back to college might help, so he enrolled in a local school, and got an Associates Degree in Computer Technology. He had a 4.0 average, and was very excited about looking for a new job. Well, he has sent out hundreds of resumes, and had at least 15 interviews, but the jobs always go to someone younger. He has become Mr. Mom, staying home to take care of the house and grandchildren while my son and I work to support us. He has become increasingly frustrated with his lack of job prospects. In addition, the stress from my son and his kids moving in after his wife left, and the breakup of my daughter's marriage have made things even worse. He is becoming more depressed and withdrawn, and I don't know what to do for him any more. I have tried to get him to see his physician about antidepressants, but he refuses to go. I have reasoned, begged, bribed, and fought, but he won't listen. I have spoken with his doctor, but he will not prescribe anything until my husband is examined, and I can't get him to go.

    I have been as supportive and understanding as I know how to be, but sometimes I feel like I am failing him in some way. At other times, I am just so angry with him for refusing to see that he has a problem. He won't even talk to me at times, and the whole situation is affecting our relationship. My kids have tried to talk to him too, but he won't listen to them either. I'm not really afraid he will do anything self-destructive, but I don't want him to feel this way anymore. I just don't know what to do.
    Last edit by RNinICU on Mar 1, '03
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    Joined: May '02; Posts: 979; Likes: 11


  3. by   baseline
    I wish I could offer you something besides empathy. You know and I know, that he needs to see the physician for antidepressants. You ARE NOT failing him in any way. He can't see thru the fog, and his male side sees depression as a weakness. So not true. Maybe you could suggest that there is a physical reason for the depression, because this can happen.

    Best of luck to you.. if you need to vent and yell, feel free to PM me. I am a good are most of us here!
  4. by   l.rae
    RNinICU....your family will be in my prayers....does he say why he specifically will not see an MD?...if you just made the appt and insisted, would he go?......when my dh was laid off he had a harder time with jobs, and he is a cracker-jack industrial electririan....nearly perfect attendance......and at age 46....there were still problems....something will turn up for your hubby....keep us posted.........LR
  5. by   Stargazer
    Just went to one of my other BBs to look because I am positive someone posted the same problem wihin the past 6 - 12 months and there were some great responses. I can't find it now, and don't have any more time today to look, but I did find a list of books that someone recommended:

    When Someone You Love is Depressed: How to Help Your Loved One Without Losing Yourself by Laura Epstein Rosen;

    How You Can Survive When They're Depressed: Living and Coping With Depression's Fallout by Anne Sheffield;

    and I Don't Want To Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression by Terrence Real.

    In a few days, when I have more time, I'll go back and see if I can find that other thread. Hang in there and hugs to you.
  6. by   hapeewendy
    I dont really have any pearls of wisdom to offer, but I will be thinking of you and your family and hoping your husband gets the help he needs
    you are in no way failing him, though it must feel that way to a nurse who is so used to helping everyone without too much struggle, my friend the rules dont apply when it comes to your own family.
    Men tend to deal with things differently than we women folk do , your husband suffered a major blow when he lost the job he had been doing , much as we like to think this doesnt happen , we are defined by our job to some extent - just look around at all us "nurses" right? its hard to get back on track and realize that the loss of a job does not mean personal failure.
    I wonder is there anyone outside of your immediate family that he might listen to? sometimes its easy to shut out the very ppl who are around us and love us the most...
    you're a whole heap wiser than I am , I just know that although he may not have any ideas or destructive thoughts, being depressed over a long period of time is destructive in itself.

    once again ,in your corner , thinking of you and rooting you on
    always just a pm away!
  7. by   renerian
    I think men derive so much of their identity from work. Women do to but I don't think it as much. I know for me, I am a nurse, mother and wife. I derive much satisfaction from the mom part of my identity that it comes first most of the time. You are not failing him. Only a person can pick themselves up and sometimes you have to get to the rockbottom before they can see their way out. Is there any way he could open his own consulting company?

  8. by   Mimi Wheeze
    I agree with do derive way too much (IMO) identity from their jobs. I'm sure you are thrilled to have him home "holding down the fort," but to him, without a paycheck, it's just not enough.

    Dont'cha wish you could just hog-tie the man and drag him to the Dr.? It must be so frustrating. If you don't think he's going to harm himself, you all might just have to wait it out. Hang in there, and please come here to talk to us when you become angry. You are not failing him.
  9. by   Sleepyeyes
    guys derive most of their identity and self-esteem from work.

    maybe volunteering his skills would keep them sharp and make him feel his skills were valuable?

    when my dh was out of a job, he joined an emergency communications group, a couple of ham radio nets, a weatherwatchers group, and the county emergency management team.

    volunteering gets you out, helps you network for that perfect job, and builds your self-esteem.

    now's the time for him to really reach for that dream--and why not? since he has nothing to lose.

    ps it won't hurt to surprise him with love notes and compliments and just showing him how much you love, value and appreciate (sexy, wonderful!) him
    Last edit by Sleepyeyes on Mar 1, '03
  10. by   researchrabbit
    Wow, good advice from all. Don't really have anything to add here, except to send you more hugs.
  11. by   jemb
    Sounds like your whole family has had major adjustments to deal with. (((HUGS)))

    Would it be possible for you to make an appointment for yourself with a counselor/doctor? You could then tell your husband that you need him to help you with your problem (adjusting to the extra family moving back in, dealing with juggling work/home stresses, getting fleas off the dog, or whatever other creative excuse he might think is reasonable), and have him go with you. This might be a way to get him the help he needs without threatening his self-esteem.

    If you made an appointment and went by yourself for the first session and explained the situation, the counselor or doctor might even sugggest this to you.
  12. by   TX Guy

    I so hope things change for you all soon.

    I've been on both sides of that depression thing and know how helpless you can feel for the other person.
    From a mans perspective, I love SLEEPYEYES' volunteer idea. That is a PROFOUND Idea because we guys need to be needed.

    Also could you get him a gym membership?

    And If he would join a volleyball team or something it would help him with the depression and the job search, employers eat that up.

    Keep us informed!
    Thanks Paul
  13. by   whipping girl in 07
    RNinICU, I PM'd you.
  14. by   Rustyhammer
    I would dig being a kept man for at least awhile.
    Thats the problem with nursing. Cant get laid off.