Posted 9/15/2008 2:12 PM (GMT -6)
Three years ago, shortly after my diagnosis with breast cancer, my husband was diagnosed with depression. At about the same time, he was fired from his job - he became incapacitated by his depression and was unable to function in the office. Initially I thought that it was triggered by my breast cancer, but slowly I came to realize that it had been brewing for a long time, perhaps even since we got married. (We knew each other for 6 years before we got married. He was not depressed at the point we became engaged, in my opinion. The depression only got bad when we had a child five years ago.)
He was put on Effexor, and has been taking it for three years. He has been in talk therapy for slightly less time than that.
But the crazy thing is.....he is still deeply depressed, and deeply in denial about it! He was fired this summer again, and I read his review: it talked about his sleepiness, tardiness, inattentiveness, etc. When we met, we worked together, and he was a hard worker, and I believe that his review was like a list of depressive tendancies, more than anything else. Yet he thinks that he has it under control and that I'm "mean" to insist that he's depressed and needs help!
He is irritable, unreliable, and dishonest. (He lied to me about his progress at work, about the dose of his meds, and about numerous other small things.) He shouts when he is angry, and has frightened our five year old on multiple occassions.
I DRAGGED him, kicking and screaming, to the doctor just about two weeks ago. My husband told me to come to the appointment so that I could "tell the doctor what a bad guy" he is. I resisted, but then realized that it might help fi I did come. I tried to be respectful, but firm - I told the doctor what was going on. The doctor said, "How is your job going?" and my husband didn't even mention that he'd been fired - only that he found a new job! When I pointed this out, the doctor said that he was minimizing his symptoms, and that was dangerous, etc. I think that the doctor is in a position to help, and might understand how to work with my husband. The doctor re-diagnosed him with depression, and added Wellbutrin to his prescrptions. The doctor questioned the effectiveness of his therapy, and suggested that my husband wasn't revealing enough ot the therapist.
But my husband still denies it all. He says that *I* am "giving him" depression. He says that he is fine, except that I am so unloving.
I finally gave my husband an ultimatum: fix some of these problems or I'm leaving in the summer.
How do I protect myself and my daughter from his unhealthy behaviors while still encouraging him? How do I break through to him? Is there any hope? I want to support him through his disease but after living with it for years, and feeling often like a single parent, and walking on eggshells from his horrible moods, and suffering severe financial distress from his inability to be an effective employee, I am at my wits' end. I am a functional person, full of love to give. I deserve so much more than this! Still, I want to honor my marriage vows. I want to leave NOW but I'm hoping that with the ultimatum (which is real: I have limits to how much I can take) he will see that he must get help.
Any advice is appreciated. I realize that what I've posted is disjointed; there is so much more to say. I'm just anxious to find help where-ever I can.
PS I am also seeking the help of my therapist, friends, my minister, my parents, etc.
PPS We have been to two different marriage counselors, but my husband feels 'beat up' by the experience and it makes him more withdrawn than ever. I am planning on trying again, but scared.