I’m 35, married to my wife for five years. We have a toddler together. My wife no longer works out of the house, and takes care of our child. I work full-time.
My wife is sometimes depressed. She has a major episode maybe once a month. She feels trapped, bored, despairing about her life and where she is.
Sometimes in the middle of the night she says she wants to run away or disappear and will go for a drive, to who knows where.
When she’s in one of her moods, every friend is considered wretched, every family member terrible, every activity boring.
And every room of our house is described as a mess.
It's always been this way - since before we had our child, and since before she stopped working.
I’ve tried my best to make things right for her. I hoped that having a baby and stopping work at a job she hated would help.
I hoped that my doing the household chores (I do all the cooking and most of the cleaning, too) would help her be less depressed.
I hoped that her finding new friends to socialize with (which she did successfully), would help.
I’ve tried to remove every stressor, take every problem away, but it seems like nothing we do changes the underlying problem which never goes away.
I’ve periodically proposed getting her to see a therapist, but as soon as she gets out of her depression, she no longer sees the point of therapy.
She won't want to pay for it anyway, citing finances.
She rejects the idea of medication offhand. She says she tried it all when she was younger and it didn't work.
I don't know how to make her happy.
There are so many well-meant but counter-productive misconceptions in this account of your wife’s monthly misery and how it affects you too, that it makes me sad.
Because there are so many ways to approach this situation that could be positive and lead to healthy change.
There are physical health and mental health issues at work here, and they need to be explored.
Not doing so is hurting both of you, and will ultimately affect your child too, because of the negative attitudes and unhappy environment that’s regularly created.
A monthly onset of depression in a menstruating female cries out for her seeing a specialist in endocrinology, hormones, and depression.
It’s a wonderful help that you cook and clean, but what’s driving her moods can’t be stopped without understanding the source, and getting some or several forms of treatment.
When she “tried it all” as a younger woman, the “remedies” were based on knowledge now 15 or more years advanced.
She may do well with today’s increased understanding of natural treatments, or with current medications for endocrine and hormonal issues, and/or with a therapist who can help her probe other causes for her repeated depressions.
It’s not a spouse’s job to “make happy” his/her partner. Giving support and encouragement are mutual tasks in a relationship, and you seem to be doing your best.
But her part in this situation is to be pro-active about trying to make her life healthier and happier.
It’s not impossible in this case, since she has regular time periods without depression and negativity.
Please urge her to read this. Seeking and finding the right help and treatment from experienced professionals, will change her life and all her important relationships.
Recently, I dressed up for a party, and my husband said my tummy looked big. He added, “Don't blame me if people ask you if you’re pregnant.”
Even when I was skinny I've always had a small bulge around my stomach. After I had C-sections for two babies, my tummy’s bigger.
He always says something like this so that I hate dressing up.
I was in tears. Then he accused me of being too sensitive.
I felt really uncomfortable at the party. I don't know how to handle his comments or to feel comfortable in my skin anymore.
He may think he’s saving you embarrassment, but his ill-timed comments are rude and unkind.
If you’re otherwise comfortable with your body, tell him to keep his last-minute comments to himself.
If you’re not comfortable, ask a friend or store saleswoman about more flattering styles, like tunic tops.
Tip of the day:
It’s unfair to yourself (and your family) not to seek professional help for depression that occurs monthly.