Caring for wife with depression & anxiety

Hello all,

I’m new to the forum. I’ve been caring for my wife who has depression and anxiety. We’ve been together for 6 years. Tonight I FaceTimed her from work (as I usually do on a night shift) she instantly burst into tears and told me she’s self harmed. She has only done this 3 times since we’ve been together. I made it clear that I wasn’t upset with her. We discussed coping strategies etc… everything I mentioned she just instantly dismissed. I’m just feeling so frustrated, it’s like she’s not even willing to try any of the suggestions that is going to help her. She said she hasn’t got the energy to do anything or distract herself, I replied with “but you’ve got the energy to get up and self harm?” Probably not helpful but just feeling totally alone and frustrated. I worked as a HCA in a mental health ward for 4 years so I know what can help her. Any idea’s or words of support would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Vicki
Yes it’s very frustrating loving and caring for anyone with such issues . As you are only too aware the recovery nd progress has to come from her herself. No amount of outside pushing has any effect as it has to come from within.

So what about you, the carer? You have to look after yourself physically, mentally, financially and prepare for a long long haul. You have to be extra strong not to be drawn in or under to her demands (most depression comes from low self esteem and a need for attention while avoiding responsibilty). So you need a suit of armour which still allows you to give hugs, a backbone that is srrong and keeps your sense of self worth.

You eat healthily, exercise regularly, get counselling, practice mindfulness, socialise, work and make sure your caree knows that you are doing this for your own well being. This model’s good behaviours which in time she will learn to follow and implement for herself as she sees you grow and develop your own self worth.

It’s ok too, to express the feelings you have. Carers feel frustration, anger, sadness and worry and shouldnt hide them as that would exhibit unhealthy approach to feelings. Just pick your times, for example if an incident has made you angry, adding anger at the time may not help the situation, but the next day to say “I was very angry yesterday” is ok. Even better to say what you did to resolve that anger in a good way.

There’s other ideas on how to cope on the MIND website

Hope this helps a little. It’s a fine line between supporting her to get better and over helping which enables her to stay the same


I am so sorry to hear about the distressing FaceTime call you had with your wife last night and the worry her self-harming must have caused you. It sounds like you gave her the right advice last night – to seek help – and your frustration at her reaction is understandable.

From your personal as well as your working experience as a HCA you will have a good insight into how she must be feeling. It might be about trying to find a route to support that feels the least intimidating for your wife. Contacting her GP if she hasn’t already would be one place to start, accessing counselling another. You wife could contact Samaritans for free on 116 123 – they are available round the clock, every single day of the year to talk confidentially.

Has she been in touch with any mental health organisations? Mind and Rethink Mental Illness provide a wealth of information and support to anyone affected by mental illness, and Mind provides information about support groups in your area. (See link here:

Alongside your wife getting support, it is also important that you get support for yourself as well. The organisations that I mentioned above may be able to support you too.

Once again, I am really sorry to hear about what you are going through. I hope you find the support you need both on this forum and elsewhere.

Hi Vicky!

I can relate to your situation. My husband has severe depression and anxiety, and I am also to the point where I respond with sarcasm, as one gets very frustrated. I also work in mental health, and he sometimes is more unwell than my residents with paraniod schitzophrenia.

I also am able to help him with my experience, but the frustrating thing I think is they do not listen. Its hard loving someone and remaining supportive. I hope you both get the help and support you need.

Thank you all very much for your kind responses. I think I am neglecting my own needs at the moment. My wife is seeing her GP regularly and is waiting for CBT. We had a good talk yesterday, hopefully that’s helped a bit. I’m going to try and concentrate on my own needs for now, it would not be beneficial to either of us if I became unwell too. Thanks again peeps :smiley:

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