Should I let my husband know how I feel?

Hi there,

I’m new to the site. My husband has been suffering from depression since the birth of our eldest daughter (now 5). At first I didn’t understand it and we argued a lot.

For at least the last 2-3 years we’ve been aware of what is going on which has helped me understand him, however he’s not really doing anything to help himself. He saw a psychotherapist last year but that tailed off, he’s very rarely tried some exercise. He refuses to go to the GP and won’t consider medication.

My question is to what extent should I let him know how all of this makes me feel? I want him to fully realise how it affects me in the hope this will spur him on to take control but at the same time I’m worried that by letting him know the full extent - e.g. that I sometimes think for my own mental well-being it would be better for us to be apart and that I sometimes feel I just can’t cope anymore and that it all drags me down - it will make him feel even worse.

Any advice would be much appreciated, thanks

As a male who suffers from depression, I would say yes. Obviously it has to be done delicately. However, when you are in that position, you get in a rut that you need something to drive you to make things better. Mine was being able to provide for our girls. Hopefully the risk of losing you will be sufficient.

I’m not belittling depression, or making out you just need to think positive, its not that simple. However, using counselling, CBT or whatever is available in your area, he needs to find the causes of his depression and tackle why they make him feel like he does.

Likewise, you do need to be mindful of your own MH. Ultimately if you are unable to sustain your own health and well being while being with him, and he is not willing to work on it, then maybe you are better off apart. There is help out there, but he has to want to engage with it. And if he knows you are going to pick up the slack then maybe he doesn’t feel the need.

Fingers crossed.

Hello Jennifer
My adult son has recently worked his way out of a long (5-10 year) depression. During this time both hubby and I had counselling to help us. Part of what we learned was to ‘keep it real’ I.e if we felt angry we said so, if we felt happy we said so. When we needed hep we made sure he knew we realised this and were doing something about it. By showing real feelings and how to deal with them was showing him there is way of being that works and its not all perfect, or all bad. Life has its ups and downs and carers/spouses/partners/parents do have feelings just as much as any other person. It is good to express feelings

So definitely yes! Just make sure your express them as “I feel…” not " you make me feel…". Owning your own feelings is important. Covering them up or denying them to yourself and hubby only adds to his depressed belief that he cannot share his thoughts and feelings

And all though he has tried or refused help in the past, keep making sure he knows those things are still available and that you will support him to access them. My boy refused for years, first try at counselling failed, then after a particularly down time I gave him a list of other counsellors so he could chose which to go to, and within 6 month he was well on his way out of depression.

And, if hubby can’t or won’t pull himself out, then yes, you do have a right to a life not so affected by his depression. It doesn’t have to be for ever.