The neon lights blinked. Her mind rambled between numerous fleeting images of the past and present; Ben, suddenly skipping meals, flaring up at petty issues, becoming withdrawn and grumpy. And today she was confronting her worst nightmare, her husband lying prostrate, seemingly peaceful but struggling for dear life; he had attempted suicide.
Now what had driven habitually soft-spoken Ben to seek the fatal end?
Doctors had confirmed Nora that her husband had been devoured silently and steadily by depression. His vital life force had been eroded away in ceaseless moments of brooding, in useless conjectures about life and death had finally appeared as gratifying and just.
What is Depression?
Depression relates to feelings of severe despondency and dejection that now can be explained scientifically. In fact, it has been discovered that the brain regions of depressed people are smaller and less dense than those of their healthy counterparts.
However, it would have hardly been possible for Nora to discern the chemical malfunctioning of her husband’s brain. She had nonetheless been less observant of the multifarious signs or symptoms.
Is my husband depressed: Signs and symptoms
- An overpowering sense of guilt is often noticed, and it mostly surfaces due to a communication breakdown between two guilt associated brain regions. This decoupling of the regions makes men adopt the tendency to blame them for almost everything.
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities, fatigue, being irritable, aggressive, hostile or reckless, saying hurtful things or wanting to be alone
- Changes in appetite leading to loss of weight and sleep disturbances
- Talking negatively, mostly of death or suicide
These symptoms of depression result largely from shifts in the brain and have a tremendous negative impact on marriage.
Differentiating between situational depression and clinical depression
Situational depression is less harmful and is generated by demotion or the fact that he’s got fired. It lasts for a comparatively shorter duration and has less intensity. Whereas clinical depression has more pronounced symptoms and stays longer, for instance, his malaise or anger.
Husband with depression: Why are the symptoms not detected
An age old conviction in society upholding men as strong, macho lead them to conceal their personal frailties lest they be termed as being feminine. Consequently, the signs of depression go unnoticed and untreated.
Probable causes of downheartedness
- Tremendous workload
- Problems in marital life
- Owing to a loved one’s death
- Constant financial strains related to unemployment
- Family responsibilities such as caring for children spouse or aging parents
- A sense of shame of acknowledging the disease and in seeking medical help
- A midlife crisis can be detrimental and make a husband indulge more on appearance with an inclination to look younger or ape someone hopelessly. He can blame or push you away, have an emotional affair with someone and finally end up filing divorce.
- Sudden unemployment can drag a husband him into abysmal depths of self-pity, turn him pessimistic and make him fall an easy prey to drinking and finally committing suicide.
- Depression can also occasion from retirement and trigger one to become irritable or embrace an escapist behavior. Medical conditions such as heart ailment, stroke or cancer may also contribute to depression in an advanced age.
Living with a depressed husband: What to do
- Read the unreadable signs: If your husband persistently complains of a backache, if he lies or wants to quit his job, it’s time you discern the greater ailment lurking behind. If he is verbally abusive or wants his space for some time, understand that depression may have already affected him.
- Get medical help: The success rate of depression treatment is as high as 90%. Hence, don’t hesitate to receive a handful of antidepressants or counseling that might just be a step away.
- Be open to relapses: Amidst the teeming number that undergoes treatment for depression, almost half have relapses. It can indeed be frustrating, but there’s no other way than to be patient.
- Manifest your love and concern: Depression isolates men and fosters hopelessness. Grasp his hand tightly when he tends to doesn’t understand, tell him how much his drifting away or avoiding hurts you. Holding on to each other in moments of pain actually strengthens the roots of marital relationships.
- Engage in healthy discussions concerning children: An abusive father is likely to affect a child in an adverse way. Make your husband spot the damaging effect through candid discussions. Moreover, the repertoires can include pressing problems as financial limitations or household responsibilities.
- Assure him that it’s normal; that depression is not incurable or deadly. Make him see that and stay with him throughout.
- Support your unemployed, depressed husband: (A) Propose a short holiday as it would encourage your disheartened hubby to appreciate the bright things of life. (B) As it is natural to be depressed over money or a jobless condition, help him stay busy with other things in life, or draft a budget plan so he does not feel like it is the end of the world.
- Tackle his midlife crisis: Besides seeking help from a counselor, you can add variety in your husband’s mundane life by encouraging him to be fanciful: splurge a bit over coveted objects, sport a new hairstyle or even see erotic movies! Variety is the spice of life, and there’s no time better than midlife to explore it fully.
To help a retired and depressed husband
- Reach out: Old age brings with it a life load of accumulated experience and wisdom. Help your hubby to utilize both in nourishing the upcoming generation.
- Engage him in productive work: An occasional gardening or planning for interior change would blossom the sprouts of creativity in him so long dormant due to workload.
What to avoid when coping with a depressed husband
- Your husband’s recurrent mood swings or denial for treatment may hint his dodged depression; hasten for recovery and avoid comments as ‘’perk up’’ or ‘’pull out of it.’’
- Never force him to socialize against his will; it may kindle feelings of worthlessness in him.
- Disagree with his negative views. Instead, harbor positivity by dwelling on the good moments shared.
- Avoid words that crumple his self-esteem. Don’t say ‘’I resent’’; instead, try, ‘’let’s see if it works.’’
- Don’t allow hubby to be abusive to your child.
My husband makes me depressed: A few noble words for the Eve’s
A majority of wives tired over their husband’s depression laments, “I think my husband doesn’t love me anymore; he has changed.’’ However little do they realize that depression is their own ally, and not of their spouse.
It’s natural to feel vexed, puzzled, totally in a mess. An unaffectionate and miserable mate can tamper intimacy and disrupt sex life. Moreover, a mean husband, while the wife is pregnant, can be extremely demoralizing.
Nonetheless, it’s only your husband, dear wives. He can be narcissistic, not supportive but he is, after all, a part of you that needs some care, concern, and bountiful love. Don’t we trim our outgrown hair, shape our nails occasionally; so too depression has to be pruned of our lives such that it seldom haunts.