Supporting a partner with Depression

Dear all,

I'd like some advice from runners here who've experienced a similar thing. How do you cope when a spouse/partner has depression? both in terms of supporting them & looking after yourself?

I'm finding life tough at the moment and feel I'm in danger of becoming very low myself. I often run to get a bit of 'me' time, to feel better.....but that only provides temporary relief.

Already tried counselling, read some advice books & asked GP for advice & wondered if anyone could point me in the direction of support groups/forums....ultimately it is my husband who needs help, but he wont seek it & has only just now admitted he has depression.

(I'm certain is is mild-moderate depression, from my previous experience as a researcher in this area - my husband suffers from: constant low mood, negativity/pessimism (always glass half full - often this will be associated with me, e.g. i'll make a cup of tea & he'll point out it isnt hot enough, or is too milky, too strong etc), irritability, dreadful anger outbursts, inpatience (this has got really bad lately & is quite embarrassing....think of airport queues, traffic jams!), insomnia (but difficult to get out of bed in the mornings), lack of enjoyment/enthusiasm for anything)

Thank you for reading this & for any advice, I do appreciate it.


  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    "often this will be associated with me, e.g. i'll make a cup of tea & he'll point out it isnt hot enough, or is too milky, too strong etc)"

    I'd suggest that he makes his own tea in that case!

    I can't suggest anything more constructive, he can only be helped if he decides he wants help.

  • thanks Wilkie - any reply is helpful!

    I guess a lot of the negativity is centred around me as i'm always 'there' and being his spouse would bear the brunt of any moods! I'm also quite a sensitive person & tend to take negative comments to heart.


    Not sure if he will ever seek help as he's been like this for several years....only I didnt really put 2 & 2 together until now as the physical symptopms (tiredness, aching joints, malaise, etc) were in the forefront & I just thought he suffered from frequent bad moods!

    not sure our relationship will last as it seems to be based on unhappiness with just the odd shared happy moment/memory. image

  • SuperCazSuperCaz ✭✭✭

    I've PM'ed you.  Not sure whether it will help or not.

  • LTS, I havent been in your position. I have been the depressed one in the relationship.
    In my opinion depression broke two important relationships in my life.And now I also  regret never being able to tell them how sorry I am for the hurt I caused.
    Mild depression is a bit of a misnomer. There is nothing particulary mild about it.

    There are a couple of long term threads on 'Health and Injury' where people post about depession and and other issues. Not many with your perspective but still might be an easier environment to exchange views.

    There are many books on the subject and you may hav already seen these but I find the following two very useful in explaining in a simple way what goes on with depression:
    I had a Black Dog
    Living with a Black Dog
    Both are by a chap called Matthew Johnstone.

    In terms of dealing with it,  getting approriate medical help is the only way. I was aware of my depression, but didnt get help until one day I just could not do my job, I just couldnt function.

  • JohnnybikeJohnnybike ✭✭✭

    Whilst my wife is very supportive of my depression which is much improved in recent years once I settled on medication one thing she does that infuriates me is ask if I have taken my tablets if I am in the slightest bit of bad mood.

    As far as him seeking help that he has to want to do it but once he does and gets the right advice/medication then I am sure it will be much improved.

  • YoungPupYoungPup ✭✭✭


    Firstly, I just wanted to say you have my sympathies, and I really hope you find a way to get the support / outlet you need to keep yourself mentally and physically well (for both your sake and for your hubby).

    Secondly, I've been in the position that your husband sounds as though he is in, and depression is a horrible horrible illness that is incredibly difficult to spot in yourself, is really hard to accept that you have a problem (maybe especially for men?) and even once you have accepted that you have an illness and you need to get some treatment to make you better, it's often a long slog to get yourself healthy again.

    However, if your husband now acknowledges that he is depressed, then that is potentially a big step forward.

    For me, one of the biggest things that got me to realise I had to do something about how I was feeling was when my wife told me how my actions / moods / lack of postivity, etc.. were affecting her and my kids. This made me realise that I wasn't coping with the stresses in my work-life, and that whilst I thought I was brilliant at compartmentalising everything and was able to put on a front for many of the people I dealt with, the reality was that my wife (and my kids) were paying the price....

    This really hit home with me, and led me to go see a doctor who specialised in work-based stress and depression, led to me getting some treatment (drugs, therapy, exercise), and 2 yrs later I am now mentally well, I no longer need the drugs or the therapy, and am ruthlessly focussed on maintaining the exercise as a buffer to stop me going down that road ever again.

    I don't know whether any of the above helps, but I really hope you find a route through.....


  • I'm not sure who suffers most with depression, the sufferer or the partner.

    I think the biggest thing is the sufferer has to realise they are ill and seek help AND want to follow it up.

    Mind are brilliant and well worth a look for support and as a partner of someone with depression it's always worth going to see your own GP if you feel like you need support. (If you have a helpful sympathetic gp that is)

    I live on my own, but I know if I had a partner I'd be making their life hell when I'm down, it's an unfortunate thing with depression it's a very selfish illness and it makes you very paranoid, short tempered, irritable, sensitive, anxious and it's very easy to lash out at an easy target, family, close friends etc.

    Another thing to bear in mind, which I spoke to a friend (who has a depressed partner) about, she was completely unaware of this, but sometimes I just feel utterly exhausted mentally and emotionally and I simply haven't got the energy to speak. sometimes I need to be left alone, really left alone, not told to cheer up, or asked what's wrong, or asked if I want to go out and do something to distract me etc. that just annoys me even more

    Feelings of being judged on any level are also very difficult to deal with and can again lead to a kneejerk backlash.

    Like others have said I was depressed (majorily) for as long as I can remember, I wasn't diagnosed until I completely fell apart, I'd be sitting at work staring out the window for ages. My brain shut down, my apetite shut down and I was drinking excessive amounts of alcohol on a daily basis, but I STILL didn't realise I was ill until the point I'd be doign something like the washing up and during the process of that I'd "come to" so to speak, huddled in the corner of the room pretty much wailing. 

    Depression is a very complicated illness but the good thing is once you are on the right road there is a lot of help out there, not just medication but counselling, life coaching, support groups, different types of talking therapies, etc. My local mind group have open access sessions we were can just go and have a cup of coffee, chat or just sit quietly in a corner, support staff are there and there are quiet rooms where you can go and speak to a support worker if things are bad, they do activities such as badminton, reading groups etc, it's well worth investigating into that type of thing as well, and it's free.

    good luck, I think you are going to have to steel yourself for this one, and try to remember that it's not personal as hard as that is, and make sure you look after yourself as well, dont' let yourself become isolated. If your husband is anything like myself and various family members who also suffer depression, we like to shut ourselves away and avoid social contact, try to avoid letting this happen to you, being the partner of someone who is depressed it can be very difficult to maintain a social life and social contact with people. 

    I dont' know what else to add at the moment, have rambled on and in the middle of a pretty bad low since back end of last year. but I hope this is of some help. 

  • Dear all,


    Thank you very much for your very supportive and helpful replies. It is good to get a perspective from those who have experienced depression too. I will have a good read later when home from work.

    Supercaz - thank you for your lovely message too. That has been really helpful.


    I keep thinking to myself maybe one day he'll get better & we can both be happy again, but I know that even occassions like holidays can often stressful for us both, so I'll have to find longer term ways of coping & helping him. I'm not sure if my husband will ever go to the GP: I've known him for 9 years & in that time he's gone twice (not about depression) & that was with me dragging him there & physically going to the appointments with him.


    i'll try some support groups & do a bit of wider reading on the web too. I think it's easy to feel overwhelmed, but I keep remembering he does have many positives too, he's just going through a particularly bad patch at the moment.


    Thanks all

  • Hi LTS

    I'm the one in my relationship who suffers from depression and I must say, I put an awful lot of pressure on the OH. He is always there for me (well most of the time) so I've kinda grown to expect it. If he then isnt, because he needs his own space too, I become very irritable and start accusing him for "abandoning" me. Now I have more issues than just depression, but I know it's far too easy to fall in the well and accuse the whole world, everyone and everything, especially the loved ones, everyone but yourself.

    I know men are difrerent and probably take things differently, but as a someone who is suffering from depression... There are times when things are just too much and too hard. Those are the times when I need him the most. And I need him to be there. However, the best thing that he can sometimes do for me, is to walk away and tell me to get a grip.
    He doesn't want to be dragged down the well and I wouldnt want to drag him down. Sometimes I just get too blind and just assume that he'd rather spend his time in the dark well with me than in the outside world. It's easy to accuse him for not being there enough and to take it out on him. It's like being a kid with tantrum. DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN, don't let him do that to you. It will only make things much harder for him, for you, and to your relationship as well.

    I know I am responsible for my own feelings. I know I cant keep relying on medication, councelling and friends and family alone. I know the major change has to come from ME. Others can only support but I really DO have to get a grip. 

    Sometimes telling it straight helps, just make sure if/when you do, don't do it when he's in the deepest end of the well. Tell him when he's taking his anger on you.

    Having said all this, we are all different. What works with some doesn't necessarily with others but the main thing is for the person who is depressed, to know that they have support but they can't solely rely on others making them feel better.

    DO take time out, spend time doing your things as you are a wonderful person and I'm sure you are doing as much for him as you can, so you deserve your time out image


    I hope this helps.

  • Hi LTS, I am currently in a very similar situation with my partner and wondered , nearly 6 years on,  how your situation played out and whether you have any advice?  
  • Hi guys,its not about my partner its about me. I have a depressive disorder, me and my 10 yrs boyfriend got broke up last weekend and I feel horrible for what happened to us. I love him with all my heart when he just met this girl somewhere I don't know. That's why I don't want anybody to talk to me or even ask me how i feel right now. I only want to stay in my room and lay in bed then browsing the net. But upon browsing i read this that really got my attention. I want to take marijuana as well but it has a good benefits and it can cure my depression. Does anybody tried using MJ as a medicine? Care to reply. Thanks.
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