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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Any advice on living with my husband who has depression and anxiety?

    My husband has depression and anxiety. He regularly sees a psychiatrist and takes his meds every day. However, he is still withdrawn, doesn't like to go out, gets cranky, etc. In no way am I unsafe around him, it's just he's not the man I married, and 7 years of treatment hasn't found a solution yet. As a carer, and a wife, how should I deal with his bad days? How do I explain his down days to our children (4 and 7)? How do I help them cope when he is withdrawn and cranky?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    Perhaps you should suggest to your husband that he tries some talk-therapy approaches?

    Two which have helped me are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

    Both of these (working with my clinical psychologist) have been very beneficial, backed up with a psych med from my psychiatrist.

    All the best.

  • 2


    I'm an accredited mental health social worker with over 15 years experience working with women and children. I specialise in exploring life and all those … View Profile

    That space between wife and carer is hard to sit with because as a child or parent we naturally assume some of those responsibilities if our pwn parents or children need our support. When we commit to a relationship we tend to think that it will be a little more equal - being the carer is tough. Have you tried connecting with a counsellor that you can offload to, to share that journey, that grief of the man you married versus the man you now see in front of you?

    Its hard when you're the glue in the family - supporting your husband and then supporting your kids through the process. I agree with the suggestions offered but Id also extend it out to make sure that other places that the kids go - like school or preschool - are aware so that if they are having a tough day they have the space they need to work through their feelings. 

    Take care of yourself.


  • 1


    I am a psychologist in private practice.I also lecture and supervise psychologists/psychology students at University.I work with clients who suffer from depression and anxiety. I … View Profile

    It sounds like you are doing it hard at the moment. You have young children and your husband is not well. While is clear that he is in need of therapy, it also seems that you could benefit with some support yourself. Have a look on the Internet for carers groups. You may benefit from talking to others who are in the same situation as yourself. It may also be helpful if you both saw A Psychologist. It seems clear from your description that's your husband's medical treatment is not helping him as much as you both would like. A psychologist could help you manage your own feelings and also those of your husband. You may be able to see the psychologist together and also individually.

  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    Some great suggestions already made here by others. Another resource that is available to you as someone caring for a loved one with depression is the National Carer Counselling Program - this is a funded service where you can receive up to six free counselling sessions at no cost to you, with an accredited counsellor close to where you live. To find out more, you can go to the carer organization in your state, e.g. Carers Victoria

  • Dr Kate Lemerle


    Kate is a Psychologist with 40 years' diverse experience as a practitioner and educator. She established Chrysalis Wellness Services (now operating as Chrysalis Counselling and … View Profile

    The advice so far is very sound, particulalry in relation to getitng some outside support for yourself, and reviewing the treatment plan for your husband. I am always astonished, and saddened, when I hear of people suffering symptoms of depression for long periods of time. Clealry, if the medication he is on was working, he would be better by now. I don't know about you, but if I have a physical condition for which medication is prescribed and I'm not well again within a short period of time, I'd be back to the doctor asking for a review. Additionally, all the research on depression suggests that with no treatment at all, most people reover within 18 months to two years. So either he's having relapses in between periods of being well, the meds are not doing anything, or worse still, he's suffering side effects from the meds. I have many patients who comment taht after stopping antidepressant medication, they begin to “feel normal” again. That is, with good counselling support they accept that moods fluctuate and they are able to manage these by learning life skills for boosting positive emotions and coping with negative emotions using the power of the mind (along with basic lifestyle habits like eating well, moving more, and getting adequate sleep). So I'd certainly be advising to seek some psychological services that can help both of you get on top of this condition.

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