How to encourage partner to seek professional help

****My partner of over 13 years has battled with depression for at least the the last 3 year. He has always been very open about it and we talk about it a lot. He has tried to manage it himself, with exercise, eating better etc and has also tried numerous medications, all of which he says have given him different side effects or made him feel worse including feeling suicidal to having raging anger.

He hasn’t really taken any medication for over a year. He has been depressed this whole time, varying from mild to severe where he says he has felt suicidal.
Around 6 month ago he was at his worst and agreed to try some medication from the GP. After a couple of days he said he didn’t want to take them anymore as he didn’t like how they made him feel.
He has managed to get by okay…still depressed but still able to go to work etc. He has had bad days and good days.

The last month his depression has been at an all time low. He point blank refuses any professional help and although he talks to me about it, I’m completely at a loss of what I should do. I obviously want him to try medication again. I know there are many, many types and he will likely find one that works. But he says he isn’t going down that road again…i do understand but I just want him to get better.

We have 2 amazing children and have always had a great relationship. We are a very solid couple in every way. Over the years we are less touchy feely but our sex life has remained good, until the last few month - it is non existant. My main priority is helping him get better but because he refuses any help I don’t know what to do.

Recently, because of the depression, he spends his time not speaking at all, watching videos on his phone, lying in bed or on the sofa.i know his depression causes this, but the lack of interaction makes me so upset. It gets to the point where I imagine us splitting up because I already feel alone. I then feel guilty for feeling this way because I know he only acts this way because he is depressed and I love him regardless. He doesn’t realise how it makes me feel and I would never tell him, as I wouldn’t want him to feel it is his fault–it obviously isn’t!

I just want him to feel a bit better, for himself, for our relationship and for our family. I just don’t know how to encourage or persuade him to get professional help!

Hello Familyfirst, are things any better?

I can understand his reluctance to go back on antidepressants but there are many types and you can start off on teeny weeny doses and build up if side affects are bad. Some will be available in low dose liquid form for children. If you could go together to the GP this could be discussed.

It seems that he also needs some talk therapy to find out what is behind his depression. I think depression is repressed grief/anger and depending on how far back it goes it can take some digging to help people access those feelings. NHS talk therapies can be limited and not always of the type needed but you have to start somewhere.

Other thoughts I’ve had is that two people in a relationship owe each other to try and be as well as they can whether it’s mentally physically. It makes a difference if you know someone is trying.

Even more relevant is the affect having a depressed parent can have on your children and even more so when that parent isn’t doing their best to try and improve things. I wonder if you could appeal to him on these reasons. I’m not saying his depression can necessarily be helped or totally go away but if the children seeing him trying to do something about it that would be some consolation to them and to you.