Thursday, July 5, 2012

What can I do to help?

Here I am. It is ten o'clock at night and the house is finally getting quieter. With all these people living here, it has been hard having any along computer time. Tonight DH had to work way late, and so I was doing homework while everybody kept coming in my room to chat. Everybody has finally closed their door.

Last night, waiting for it to be dark to light of our fireworks, I was reading Ashley's blog post, and it really reminded me of the 4th of July last year. DH was not in a good spot. He was very unhappy. Not with me, but with himself. He worked crazy hours, had a really sucky commute, and was just all around unhappy and angry. We would sit together in the evenings (when he was home) and he would complain about a lot of stuff.  I always let him vent, but when he started telling me how much his life sucked, I would always get hurt. I mean how can your husband tell you that his life sucks and you don't get mad? I don't think that is possible. It took me a few months to figure out that DH was depressed. As in not just unhappy, but really, 'chemicals are not firing correctly' depressed. 
Doing some research on spousal depression, I found a great article. I can't find it again, but it boiled down to:
1. Let him vent.
2. Don't tell him his feelings are not valid.
3. Listen to him. Be there for him.
4. Ask him what I could do to help.

And I did just that. When he started to complain, I would always ask
"What can I do to help?" Even then, I would sit by his feet, looking up at him.
"Nothing." And he would pull back into himself because he thought I asked this question to shut him up. Which was not true. Well, last night, DH told me that that question is really what helped him realize there was something wrong.  The more I asked the question, the less he could just tell me nothing. He told me that he would sit in his car, in the worst traffic in the world, and think about that question. What could I do for him that would help. Once he really realized this, he knew he needed real help, which is when I made an appointment with out doc.
Living with somebody who is depressed is so frustrating. He couldn't do the simplest things. He would get overwhelmed with little tasks, the kids tired him out within minutes (even though he was whining about not seeing them all day long), and I felt like I had another child to take care of.
Who wants to feel that way? I don't. I felt bad for him, but I also felt really bad for myself! I mean, I wanted to be married to a man, not to a child who couldn't do the simplest things for himself. Anyone know what I am talking about?
Anyway, reading Ashley's post yesterday really reminded me of last year, and how far we have come. How far DH has come. Dominance still doesn't come naturally for him, at least not the kind that women always think of when they think of dominant men. DH is more quiet, even though, at the same time, he loves making himself the clown of the show, and get all the attention.
I found out about ttwd just after he started taking anti-depressants, and I can't even tell whether the pills or our lifestyle change has brought more changes. He is so much more confident. He believes in himself again. He has the confidence to tell me to get in my 'outfit'. He didn't have that confidence a few months ago. He is still healing, it is a slow process, but so worth it!

On a side note, there will be a review for Home Depot's paint stirrers pretty soon....


28 comments:

  1. i'm familiar with depression. my own. and a couple of family members. it's not easy. and i always tell people that as long as they KNOW what to look out for, it's half the battle.

    also, never ever brush it away. it is real and it can feel like the whole world is crumbling.

    it's good that DH came to the realisation that he's depressed. my father is stubborn. it's tough.

    if he has support and the will to get over it, then it makes it that much easier. he has to fight this one on his own, really. but it's good to know you're there to support him.

    when i'm headed for a downward spiral i have to keep busy and distract myself, form a new routine, whatever, just to not get started on a slippery slope down. perhaps this info might be more useful for future reference tho. watch for the signs and tell him that you're going to make sure if you see him at the edge of another episode (in the future) you'll not hesitate to shake things up to give him smoething else to focus on.

    i've had 3 major episodes in my life, NOT fun times.

    good luck, and keeping your family in my prayers.

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    1. Depression does run in the family. My mom takes something, my grandfather used to, and I know I was very depressed as a teenager. I really could feel for him, but it was soo hard at times. Thank you for your comment, DH really enjoyed it too!

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  2. It's really neat to look back and see the growth isn't it? I think it's yet another great thing about blogging. You have a record of the big and little steps and in the hard moments can look back and remember where you have come from.

    Wonder where you will be this time next year!

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    1. I know, I love that about blogging! Just awesome!

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  3. Julia, it sounds like something that wasn't easy to go through, but it's great that you are so willing to try and do the right thing to help and that you see him becoming more confident.

    Also, I've never thought of a paint stirrer, but those things look sturdy. And two?? Have fun! ;)

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    1. Riley, I found the pic online, was too lazy to get my phone to do it....

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  4. Having experienced some truly life threatening health issues with Musicman, I understand exactly what you mean. Good for you for taking the initiative to make things better. I'm so glad for you both that it worked and things are better.

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  5. It's hard not to take it personally when someone you love is depressed and says his life sucks...but sometimes just being able to say that and be listened to helps a lot.

    Other things you can do:

    5. Realize that this is not your fault, not a reflection on you as a partner/woman/etc., and not a result of something you did.

    6. Find a support person of your own who can listen to *you* because being the partner of someone with depression is difficult, as you well know.

    7. Take time to honor/respect the losses that depression has brought to your lives. Being optimistic is great--and crucial for moving forward--but one of the best descriptions of depression I've ever heard is that it is grieving without an identifiable cause. Sometimes, counter-intuitively, taking the time to consciously grieve will give yourself permission to let go of the depression-as-grieving...because you have now honored it and acknowledged it.

    Best wishes.

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    1. Thank you! Depression is very difficult and not just for the person, but everybody around the person. DH loved your comment.

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  6. I love this simple suggestion - I am going to try it out. "What can I do to help?"

    Paint stirrers - I guess you have found some time for fun? :)

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    1. That simple question really got to him. And yes, we have had time for a little here and there. Plus Sunday is coming...

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  7. Sounds like he has come a long way! Thats great!

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  8. You were smart to recognize he needed the help and wise to initiate the path to a solution. Getting better is the result. Good for both of you.

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  9. What a great example of how far you have come as a couple! You were there for him when he needed you the most, and it helped him to grow and become confident in a way that you need him to be.

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    1. Thank you Tess. That is how I see it too!

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  10. We all need help at some point and so good for you for being there for him and vice versa. Look forward to the Paint Stirrer report, too! Have a good weekend. Hope you can sneak in some shed time or alone time!

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    1. Thanks SNP! I hope you have a great one too!

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  11. Ooh, can't wait to hear about paint stirrers...

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  12. BTW, just named your blog on my Lovely blog awards here:
    http://reneeroseclosetgirl.blogspot.com/2012/07/fondlers-anonymous-me-in-her-one-lovely.html

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    1. hey, i told you i had a plan didn't i? Here it is sweets!!!

      I linked you in THIS POST

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    2. Aww, Thanks FA! I will get on this tomorrow. I feel so honored!

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  13. A fictional philosopher from the future once said that "let me help" were three even more powerful words than "I love you."

    That concept has always rung true with me as well. I'm so glad you both have grown together through this.

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    1. Yes, they are very powerful, aren't they? And who would have thought? I also didn't know that it had bothered DH that much that it actually started making him think about it...

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