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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I cope with my husband's depression?

    My husband has been diagnosed with depression. He is on medication and he will not talk to me about it and now he has decided to move out on his own. Financially I could not cope on my own. I feel he is bringing me down as well.
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  • Richard Hill

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    Resident counsellor/psychotherapist at the Davis Health Centre with a solution focused approach; an international lecturer on the neuroscience and psychosocial genomics of human behaviour; author … View Profile

    Although your husband's problems are very difficult and concerning, it is important to first look at your story. In the Curiosity Approach we try to look at a problem and first see what messages might be in the background. Some of your problems are actually very important messages that you need to acknowledge.

    The first big message is that you feel you cannot manage financially on your own. This is a problem that faces many people like you in a situation like this, but this is something you can do something about. By getting some financial advice into your situation you may find that there is a way you can manage. The message in your problem is that you don;t know enough about finances to work it out for yourself. I understand that you may not have the money to see and accountant. How about you go down to your bank and ask to see a finanacial advisor. That will be a free service and might get you started in learning how to look after yourself.

    Another important message seems to be that you are also saying that you are deeply hurt by the way your husband is not communicating. The problem is that he is closing down, but the message is that this disturbs you and stops you from acting like the loving partner you want to be. Your problems loudly shout the message that you feel out of control and abandoned. This is a very unpleasant state of affairs for you, indeed.

    So, you need to get back a bit of control by getting some helpful information about how to manage pragmatic things like finances, bills etc AND  it will also be helpful to find some people who can support you emotionally - a friend, relative, someone from your church/social group/community services - so that you are not dealing with this on your own. In some ways, that is what your husband is doing (shutting off and doing it alone) and you can see how unhelpful that is to the situation.

    I have suggested these two places to make a start. There is bound to be more to it than just those two things, but it is a start that might lighten the load. Sometimes we are only able to lighten the load, but that can make the situation bearable. Then you can take further steps on the pathway toward making some sense of this troubling time.

    I hope this gives you a start that enables you to come out from the feeling of dependence on your husband and to realise a little more of your own strengths. A number of small steps forward can be as effective as a large bound. My best wishes to you.

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