How do I deal with my depressed wife?

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/26/2009 8:43 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm a new poster here and I found this place through google. I've read some posts/threads that deal with similar circumstances to mine but they were a couple of years old so I thought I would just dive in. :)

A little history 1st.
I met my wife in 1995 at a bowling alley, her mom introduced us (we all worked for the same company). We hit it off straight away but there was a problem, I had to leave in a couple of months to go back to the UK to finish college. Due to visa restrictions there was pretty much no way I could stay in the US legally so we decided that I would go back to finish college and she would try to come over to the UK to work and be with me. We also decided to make things official and got engaged after knowing each other for all of 6 weeks! As with all things immigration and government her coming to the UK was a no go, so we applied for the correct visa's and jumped through all the hoops of US immigration and finally got set up so I could return to the US on a fiance visa after college was finished. We spent 11 months apart with her coming to visit me for my birthday about halfway through the year apart.

I returned to the US and we began our life together. Things went quite smoothly at 1st with just a few normal hiccups. We were both working so we could afford to buy a house. This really didn't give us an opportunity to explore life together but we were young and in love so we really didn't care. After 2 years of marriage we gave birth to our 1st child. I also started a new job at this time which required me to work lots of hours, my wife had also given up her office job so she could be a stay at home mom. We needed her wage so she found a job working from home doing medical transcription. Initially this job was very difficult for her and there were many, many nights of crying that she couldn't do the job. However she stuck at it and is now very good at her job! :)

Getting pregnant was not easy for us and she suffered a few miscarriages so we were delighted when she finally carried to full term and our 1st son was born. However he was not an easy baby! We were trying to breast feed but he wouldn't latch on properly and would cry constantly, he was gaining weight so nobody figured out that he was just hungry. It wasn't until a couple of weeks later that this was figured out and as soon as we supplimented him with bottle feeding life got sooo much better. Those couple of weeks took a huge toll on my wife though. I was at work for long hours and she didn't really have any other support system to help her. We realize now that she had a pretty bad case of PPD, I don't think that she has ever really recovered from that!

However, now we had the baby problem sorted we settled in to a routine that never really varied. We didn't have much of a social life but we had discussed this and knew that when our son went to school we would start to get involved there and have a better social life. This really didn't come to pass. I was still working lost of hours and my wife didn't go out of her way to make more friends even though she claims she is a very social person.
Just as our 1st son turned 4, we gave birth to our 2nd son. He was a much easier baby to deal with but we had dealt with a couple of miscarriages prior to her getting pregnant. She lost a set of twins right around the same time that her grandmother died, it was tough on her but she seemed to get through it OK. When she got pregnant again it was with twins again. There was trouble a couple of months in and she ended up losing one of the babies. The other one survived all the way and is now one of the brightest things in our lives :)

Again we settled back into a routine and nothing much of note really happened until just about 3 years ago when her pet cat of 18 years (I think) died. This hit her really hard. Although she didn't outwardly show it she was really hurting, so much so that she declared that she couldn't live in the house anymore and that we needed to move. So we started the process of buying a new house. We decided that we really wanted a home that we could spend the rest of our lives in. So we went ahead and really stretched ourselves and had our dream home built. We knew it would be a tough few years but we should be able to survive and after that we would be plain sailing! The whole process of having a home built and trying to sell our old home just as the market started to tank was very trying on both of us but we kept our eye on the prize and just under 2 years ago we moved into our dream home.

Now things really start to go down hill. With the economy going bad I had to lay off staff at work which meant I had to spend even more time there. I wasn't home very much but I did make it a point to take Sunday's off to have family time. It was around this time that I began to suspect my wife of not being entirely faithful to me. I had happened across some e-mails that she had hidden and I called her out on them. She claimed it was innocent flirting but I had my doubts. This little issue kinda dissolved into a fun poking deal. I just kept up with the little jokes until one drunken night I aired our dirty laundry in front of the guy I suspected her cheating with and his wife and kids! Probably not the smartest thing I could have done!!

Anyway a few more months passed and I backed off of her on the cheating case as I was coaching with the guy and came to the conclusion that my wife just had a crush on him and that nothing was really happening. Now the timeline move to Feb of this year and she discovers MySpace. Ever since then she has become a very different person. She stays online till all hours of the night and is neglecting the rest of hers and our lives. At 1st it wasn't too bad but it has gotten very bad lately. I have tried to talk to her about it and she just says that she can be just herself on there not some mom and wife.

She has met and flirted with some guys on there to the point that I would consider cheating. She has always had body image issues and she claims that she really likes the attention she gets from the guys on there even though I always pay her compliments on her looks and congratulate her on her weight loss (she is very overweight and is on Phentermine (sp) for weight loss). She has also become very secretive about her time on MySpace which has caused me to go snooping on her and led to some arguments and finally to us going to couples counselling.

She is now claiming that she doesn't know who she is anymore and that she just doesn't care about anything. She says that she has considered suicide but because of the kids she couldn't go through with it. I have come to the realization that our relationship is just a minor detail at the moment and her depression is the bigger issue. She is on Prozac which her Dr. just increased the dosage (she has been on Prozac a long time as it apparently helps the Phentermine work better). We don't do counselling together much anymore as she is using the sessions to try and sort herself out before we work on us. She has turned her back on everybody in real life and she is only happy when she is chatting to her online friends. This is a huge problem for me, I don't feel like her husband any more just more like a room mate.
I really don't know how to deal with her anymore. I love her hugely but there is nothing in return and she is just ignoring everything else around her and all she does is sit at her computer all day. I have considered getting rid of the computers but she needs that and the internet for work. Just this weekend I had my 1st day off in a month and I had to spend it cleaning the house. She just doesn't care!

Sorry for the rambling but my head is all over the place right now. I don't want to leave her but my options are getting less and less every day.
I'm getting a copy of the Sugar Shock book tonight to see if there is anything in there that might help (saw a reference to it on here). I'm know there is no one answer to help but I'm really at a loss on how to proceed.

Please ask any questions you want, I'm a firm believer in a problem shared is a problem halved, and I'll be as candid as I can in my answers.

Thanks for letting me ramble!


Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 10/26/2009 10:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Explorerman,

Welcome to HealingWell and to the depression forum. You are right that in talking about the problem, you help lessen it's hold on you.

I would really recommend that you insist on some couples therapy in addition to her personal therapy. Also, if you don't see an improvement in her mood in a couple of weeks, call the doctor again. If she's been on Prozac a long time, it can stop working and she may have to try another anti-depressant. This is very common.

Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II

"Bipolar disorder can be a great teacher. It's a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life." - CARRIE FISHER

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42612
   Posted 10/26/2009 10:56 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Exploreman,

It sounds like you and your wife have been through a lot together. And I hope that you can come out of this together.

I would recommend paitence. Depression is a hard one to fight. It is hard to say what is going on in her head. Is she seeing anybody for counseling? Is she on any medication? I would suggest that you get her to see her doctor and then hopefully he/she will recommend her to a therapist. You might want to start therapy too for the extra support.

I dont' know what I think about the myspace thing. I don't think she should be flirting on there. That isn't good. It is giving her a false sense of happiness. And can be dangerous if she meets this person. So I am sorry for that. I would try to let her know how you feel about it and hopefully she will stop. Just remember at this point, it doesn't sound like anything serious, but to me, it is cheating. Hopefully others will give you their opinion on this.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 205
   Posted 10/26/2009 11:23 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Exploreman-

I have been downmany of the same roads as you and can feel your pain. My DH used the internet for a few months as a way to bolster his failing mood. It helped him to blame our marriage on the problems instead of dealing with his depression. I finally had to give him a choice, he either stop his online chats with other women (very inappropriate chats) or he had 30 days to find a place to live.

He stopped chatting and proceeded to hit bottom. This all started about a year ago.....he has suffered from depression for 20 + years......meds always helped somewhat but never brought him the sense of happiness everyoen should have. However the meds have stopped working. He has been on over 20 different meds in the last year and different combinations to no success. We will be starting ECT next week and are hoping for the best.

How do you deal with all of this???

First take care of you and your sons.......very difficult I know. You need to take some time to figure out what is acceptable to you and to the marriage. Anything she may doing that is unacceptable you need to hold your ground on and if need be give a choice. Be sure you are ready to follow through. She may test you and take the choice you would rather not have her make.......trustme when I say in time that will be known to her. Hopefully it wouldn't be too late.

Be sure and get yourself some are dealing with so much and you need someone on the outside to help you sort through the thoughts racing through your mind and help to guide you. You also need to insist on couples counseling as well....she needs to face head on what she is doing to you and your sons.....whether she likes ot or not.....she is currently living in a fantasy world, one in which is temporarliy making her feel "happy".

Just a few of my thoughts.....I am sure I could give you tons more but I will keep it short.....feel free to ask me anything. I have likely been through it.

Take care of you!!! Jenn

Blue Eyes
Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 10/26/2009 12:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm depressed. I wish that was my only problem. Unfortunately, I have other problems, medical, financial, social, etc. Therefore, it is somewhat hard for me to relate your problems, but I can somewhat relate to your wife's. She is stuck in the house all day with her job and the kids. Kids can't deal with someone being depressed, so they can't help. It sounds like your out of the house a lot, so you can't help as much as you might. No fault of yours, just the way it is. I spend a lot of time on line, because I want to forget my problems. Which causes other problems, because I am not dealing with the problems I should be dealing with. Then the problems get worse, which makes me want to forget all the more. So, I go on line to forget them, just for a while, and then the cycle repeats. I just want to stop the pain for just a bit. Just to catch my breath. But, then as soon as I start working on the problems, it reminds me of how messed up things are and I am in pain again. So, I go on line to forget my problems, etc., etc.,

One thing I have noticed. My depression seems to be contagious. My wife is now depressed and like me, she doesn't want to talk about it, because it causes the pain to get worse. My son is depressed, but doesn't want to talk about it, because he sees himself as a loser and talking about it just reinforces those thoughts. I have no friends because I don't want to burden them with my problems. I avoid the rest of my family for the same reason. What I am getting at, is that explorerman may need to do something about his own depression as well as his wife. Even if he isn't as bad off as her yet, he could be getting there. And possibly, by getting better himself, he may do more to help his wife then by just being there for her.

Just my musings. I know that explorerman is in a rough situation. And I know those of us with depression and other illnesses can be hard, if not impossible to deal with. I saw a family torn apart because of a wife's depression. Her husband, family, doctors and friends tryed to help, but none could. She convinced herself of some things which were not true and no amount of people pointing the truth out to her, would change her mind. So, she divorced her husband and now her kids need counseling for depression too.

Anyway, we don't mean to drag others into our personal hells, but it seems that we can't help it sometimes. Like the alcoholic who has to have that next drink, even though they know it is killing them, those of us who are depressed can't seem to help but pull those closest to us down with us. We don't want to, but just don't know how not to.

Bottom line, explorerman, make the time to take care of yourself. Which I suppose coming and posting here is one good step. Please note, that although misery loves company, there is absolutely no reason for someone to be miserable just because another is. You can understand your wife's problems without becoming miserable too. It doesn't mean that you love her less just because you can be happy when she is not. When you are not miserable you can help reassure your wife that life is not over. There are still things to do, people to see, places to go. And be patient. Us depressed people have conditioned our brains for depression. Didn't mean to, but that is beside the point. The point being, we have to re-condition our brains to work other than how they do now. We can't just snap out of it. It takes us time to re-condition our brains. And some of us, try as we might, still cannot seem to get there.

Hope this isn't too depressing to contemplate. I am really trying to help, in my own stupid way.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/26/2009 4:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Many thanks for the replies! I'm going to take my time and read through them thoroughly before making a longer reply.
Again thanks for the replies and I'll answer some of your questions with a little more info.

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