Husbands depression is bringing us down

I have been with my husband for 8 years, married for 5. At first everything was okay but slowly he has become more and more depressed. We have two children together, aged 2 and 4. He’s on sertraline 100mg which is not helping and he hasn’t made any effort to seek help from gp again despite all my prompting. He works long hours which consist of 12 hour shifts, day and night shifts. He’s openly admitted that he prefers being at work as a form of escape. He does not help with the children whatsoever, he has never changed our youngest childs nappy before and never helped when our kids when they were new borns-night feeds etc. Its exhausting. I work too but only 25 hours per week, as a nurse. I am naturally caring and do all I can to try to help him but it never helps. When he is home he will spend 5 mins here and there downstairs with me and the kids and then he goes back upstairs to lay down and watch TV. He has never helped with any household tasks including emptying the bins, clearing up dog poo etc. Literally everything is down to me. If I am working when he is off he will tell me to ask my mum to look after our children and I do. He is able to go out with friends when there is something planned, able to enjoy himself and I’m pleased, I want him to have fun. I just feel effort needs to be made at home too. He is sometimes rude to me with comments, calls me stupid quite a lot and can be quite sarcastic. I feel like I’ve lost my sense of self and self esteem. I keep telling myself that it’s not him, it’s the depression and he doesn’t mean it but it still hurts just the same. The kids don’t have a great relationship with him because they barely see him so they always want me which probably lowers his confidence as a father even more. I want to have family time, just us 4 and also time with just him which only ever happens if I arrange it and sort child care but even then, he has to make friends with random people during the night because it’s like he doesn’t enjoy just my company. It’s getting me down, I feel low. I don’t feel married. I love him but I can’t live this way forever. If I leave I’m scared he’ll take his own life and I cant risk it. Not sure what to do, please advise…

Have you every thought of contacting Mind UK?

You are not responsible for your husband. He is responsible for himself.

Supporting is one thing but there also has to be pay back for both parties in a relationship.

Do you also feel you children need supporting.

Thank you for your reply. Children are okay, I always put on a brave front so that they don’t know anything is wrong. I always wait til they’re asleep before I bring anything up to my husband. He isn’t violent, doesn’t shout, drink or anything like that. Its exhausting though, trying to ensure our children are happy, work, run the house and worry about my husband. I worry about him all the time. Hes always seems happy around other people, I know it’s a front but then he has nothing left for us. I will take a look at that website now, thank you.

It sounds like he’s never really worked out how to love his children properly, doesn’t really understand what being a dad means. What was his own dad like?

Hi Amanda
Based solely on what you have written, it does seem that neither of you want to be in this relationship as it is now. Depression isn’t a ‘caught or physical’ disease’ it does often have its roots in a situation and I cant help but wonder if hubby is unhappy in the marriage but is unable to say so, or even recognise the root of it for himself.
I do realise that people in the depths of depression find it difficult to start helping themselves, but with so much help and medication available today, and having had years of your support, I understand the frustration that he isn’t making any attempt to move ’ himself forward.

There’s also a school of though that sometimes sympathy and care, especially the kind of care where so many things are done for him, actually makes it easy for the person to stay the same rather than move themselves forward. It’s called "enabling " the behaviours/illnesses to continue rather then supporting and encouraging wellness and healthy behaviours. Have you perhaps fallen into the doing too much for him trap? (Often happens, especially with people who are natural carers?)

Please don’t answer any of these rhetorical questions on here, I only pose them for you to ask yourself
I may be way off beam, I am only going on a few words used to described years of a relationship, but I just picture you as perhaps being happier in the long term if you just have yourself and your children to consider. You deserve a happy life as much as anyone. I always feel so sad when I see a good person being dragged down by another’s mental health issues which often take a bigger toll on the partner than on the sufferer.

BTW, I speak as someone whose son suffered depression for over 7 years or so. A firm but supportive love played a large part in him getting through it. He was depressed but he wasn’t excused chores or real life. He still had to face difficulties and wasn’t allowed to hide under the duvet, much as he would like to have done . Over time his abilities and self esteem improved (praise and more praise) , and then a willingness to go to counselling means he now seems through it, working, socialising and confident, which I wouldn’t have imagined possible just a couple of years ago. Left to his own devices he would still be hiding.


Thank you so much for your replies, I really appreciate your support. I had a chat with him last night and he promised he will change and try harder. Heard it all before though. Such a tough situation because I do love him and I know he loves me and he is able to show me that when hes having a good day. I said to him last night that he needs to go back to the doctors and he agreed but then I’ve heard that before too. I’ve basically told him that this is his last chance and I mean it. Thanks again.

Well done, that’s a positive move on your part.

I understand you I had some alcoholic troubles a few years ago. It was really hard for my wife to live with me. I quit smoking and after quit with alcohol because of guys from But still couldn`t become a normal husband. So I had some visits to the psychologistю
It helped. I started to switch on different things and began to like my life. I understood I have to do my day better for me. Not everybody else. Understanding this helped me a lot.
I hope he will feel this switch at the closest time. If you can take him to the doctor. Hope he will help faster.
Wish you all the best!