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Thread: Husband depression / postnatal won't get help

  1. #1

    Unhappy Husband depression / postnatal won't get help

    Bit of a long story! My husband and I have been together for 8 years, married for 3 and had a baby girl 8 months ago. My husband also has a son 16, who lives with us. At the 20 week scan, they found an anomaly with our baby which needed extra scans. Her birth was quite long and stressful and ended up with emergency C Section but she was ok. My husband didn't cope well with either event. He has always struggled with emotional problems. He'd rather walk away or ignore something as he struggles to cope. He was having trouble with work at the same time. His Dad, whom he had worked with for 30 years had retired, so he had to go it alone. He struggled to find a new contractor to settle with.

    When the baby was 8 weeks old, he text me saying he was struggling everyday and felt depressed. He said he panicked when the baby cried and felt like he was having a breakdown and his head was a mess inside. He asked me to help him. I thought it was sleepless nights and stress of a new baby and told him it would be ok. He said he shouldn't have told me as I had enough to deal with taking care of the baby. He came home from work that day and when I asked if he was ok, he broke down and cried, saying he couldn't get his head around the baby being here. I hugged him and told him again it would be ok. He said not to worry.

    After a few months, I noticed he wasn't bonding with her at all. Wouldn't pick her up unless I passed her to him. He'd come in from work and wouldn't look at her. He'd leave her crying when I was cooking or washing up. If I came back in the room, he would be staring straight ahead and purposefully not looking at her.

    When she was 6 months old he was drinking heavily on weekends and coming home drunk, asking if I had gone off him and saying we could have another baby if I wanted one (previously he said one was enough, he was too old for more). I was irritated how he was treating our daughter at the time, I didn't pick up on what he was saying and brushed it off. He tried to kiss me and I pushed him away. A few weeks later, he said he was struggling, he didn't feel anything for me or our baby. He didn't know why, he just kept saying he was struggling and couldn't cope.

    From that point he became withdrawn and started going for a run in the park as if he didn't want to be in the house. After a heavy drinking weekend, it all culminated in him sleeping with someone else. I found out and went mad. He went to stay at his mums.

    At first he said he wanted his Mum to make a doctors appointment as he didn't feel right. She left it a week as she didn't want to pressure him, by which time he said he won't go.

    He has been there for 7 weeks now. He calls on his way home from work for 10 mins and has taken our daughter for a walk in the buggy once. Other than that he has spent no time with her. He doesn't ask about her He has left everything, including his son. He says he doesn't want anything here, marriage house, any of it and no longer feels anything for me. He says he was unhappy but can't explain why or why he didn't mention it to me before. His Mum says he's not talking, just sits in the bedroom watching tv. He is still going to the pub every weekend getting drunk and going to horseracing, which also involves drink. He has had a gambling problem in the past, which I think he may have started again. He functions ok at work which he's thrown himself into. This last weekend his mum said he hadn't eaten all day and was just taking paracetamol as his head was aching. He had a panic attack which his mum told me about, she was ready for calling an ambulance, but he wouldn't let her. One day he will call here and seem ok and chat a little, the next time he won't say a word and stares at the floor. He ignores me and treats me as if I have done something wrong even though he says its not my fault. I've read that it is common to lose feelings for your spouse and be cold to them but its hard not to take it personally. He won't reply to my text messages, even if it is about our baby.

    I don't know how to help him, or us as a family. I'm finding it hard to understand how our marriage can be over with no discussion or mention of being unhappy. He denies he has a problem with our daughter now, but that seems easy to say as he isn't living with her everyday. I'm concerned about the relationship he'll have with our daughter as she grows up. He is missing out on getting to know her and she is missing out on him. Again this weekend he's made no arrangements to see her. I feel like I missed the signs of his depression when he asked for my help and I let him down. I miss him so much and don't know what to do for the best. I've spoken with my GP and his GP, who both strongly recommend he makes an appointment, but he won't. I don't know if he had depression already and our daughters birth made it worse, or if it is male post natal depression. Does anyone have any advice or been through something similar?

  2. #2
    Princess Sparkles Paula's Avatar
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    Hi Julieanne and welcome. First, congratulations on your little girl, and it's wonderful to hear she's fit and well.

    Male PND does happen but it's generally harder to get a diagnosis because, as you've found, getting men to see their GP can often be very hard to do (sorry to the men on the forum for the generalisation). Do you think it might help if you and your mother in law sit down together with your husband to talk to him? It might have more of an impact coming from both of you.

    In the meantime, you need to make sure you look after yourself, try to get rest when you can and accept help where possible. Having a baby when you're on your own is hard work but looking after a 16 yo is hard work too and you need support. Getting in touch with your local NCT may help. NCT's website also has this info on male PND which I thought you might find useful, and may even be helpful to send to your husband

    https://www.nct.org.uk/parenting/pos...epression-dads
    I believe if you wear enough pretty lipstick, sparkly jewellery and great shoes, no one will notice the size of your ass

  3. #3
    Not "nagging" really... Suzi's Avatar
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    Oh my goodness you really are going through it. Having a new baby is hard enough without trying to deal with all this too. Welcome to DWD, no one will judge you here and all you will get is understandings from our own points of view and experiences.
    I've had PND three times and it affected me differently each time. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
    Have you managed to get any time just the two of you since your baby was born? Would the GP think about doing a home visit (stop laughing, apparently in some places they still do - although not in my area!)

    What about you? Are YOU ok? Have you rested at all?
    “You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
    - Jon Kabat-Zinn

  4. #4
    Hi Paula and Suzi,

    Thanks for the welcome, much appreciated. I do have support from my family who have helped with practical stuff like shopping and playing with baby. I have only just returned to work and my daughter has started at nursery since my husband left. Its been hard work, but kept me busy which was a blessing in disguise as it gave me less time to think.

    My Mother in Law was helpful to start with, she was very upset and wanted to get him some help. However as time has gone on, she has stopped coming round as much and has started making plans for my stepson to move with in with them (he doesn't want to though, so that will cause more upset). My husband keeps telling her he can't come back to live here and she has taken him at his word without looking any further. When I've spoken with her about how quickly he's changed and the problems he was having before he left, she just says "Oh I know he's depressed" as if its something simple like a cold! I'm not sure what she says to my face is the same thing she says to my husband, she seems to be making it worse. My husbands brother has suffered with depression and my mother in law admits she's suffered with panic attacks before but none of them seem to want to do anything about it. Its very frustrating as I feel whilst he's living with her she's feeding his denial.

    He hasn't seen our daughter for more than 20 minutes at a time in the last few weeks. The last two weekends he asked to see her, but when I asked what time he wanted to pick her up, he didn't reply. He says he's going to a horse racing meeting one weekend and to the pub another, but I find I can't believe him after he's lied to me already. I don't think he is telling his mum this though, as she has told my stepson that she suspects its me that doesn't want him to see our baby and she was thinking of getting a solicitor!

    To start with I was full of emotion, anger, hurt, betrayal etc and was busy trying to get his family to understand what was wrong and speaking with my GP etc. However now I just feel sad and very tired. Not physically tired as I don't work Tuesdays & Thursdays so do get rest. Its more emotionally tired and kind of hopeless. I cried a lot when he first left because I missed him but now I cry randomly and I don't know why. At the moment I can't see a way forward. I try to think that its his depression that has changed him so much and made him push me away but its hard not to take it personally.

    I'm going to speak with my health visitor tomorrow as its baby weighing day to see if she has any suggestions.

  5. #5
    Princess Sparkles Paula's Avatar
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    Are you talking to him over text? If so, make sure you keep those for evidence if needed. I'd also speak to Citizens Advice to make sure you're getting the right support practically and financially.
    I believe if you wear enough pretty lipstick, sparkly jewellery and great shoes, no one will notice the size of your ass

  6. #6
    Not "nagging" really... Suzi's Avatar
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    Can you talk to your HV about how you are feeling? I'm concerned that with everything going on that it's going to be taking it's toll on you.
    “You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
    - Jon Kabat-Zinn

  7. #7
    Hi Paula,
    Yes I do have all the text messages he's sent. I'm hoping it doesn't come to needing evidence. I wish he would just talk to me.

    Whenever I've asked him why he hasn't connected with our daughter and doesn't seem bothered about her, he can't answer me and just stares at the floor. I've asked him about the text he sent me about feeling depressed and his head was a mess not long after she was born, but he pretended not to remember sending it. A month or so before he left, he came in drunk one night and thought I was asleep. I heard him talking to our daughter in her cot, saying he was sorry for struggling and he was trying his best to be her Dad. He denies saying it now, but I heard him. I had no idea how serious depression was before all this happened and I did some research.

    Hi Suzi, I will talk to the Heath visitor about it all as I don't know what else to do. My husband said I'll be ok because i'm a strong person and can cope. His Mother said the same thing, that I'm stronger than him and he is fragile which is why she won't push him to get help. Doesn't seem fair though that because i'm normally the strong one I should have to deal with it all and get no explanation from him.

  8. #8
    Hi Julieanne..welcome. Your health and well being and that of your little girls is vitally important, so I think, along with Suzi and Paula that you get as much help as possible. Good idea to talk to your HV, and any other health professional you can. I'm so sorry that you are having to cope with all of this worry, and what would appear to be a depressed and very out of sorts husband!! Is there any way that he would go with you to see a doctor for some help?...I say together, because this way you won't get second hand feedback, and will have some input as well. I hope that you can get the help that you need and deserve. take care of yourself and keep posting!

  9. #9
    Hi Flo,

    Thank you for the welcome I'm going to ask my Health Visitor if they can do a home call or private appointment, as normally on weighing day its a busy room full of babies and Mums and no privacy!

    I don't think my husband would go with me to the doctors. He is barely speaking to me most of the time. I have already written to his GP, on the advice of my GP. His Doctor replied and said he strongly recommended that I get him to make an appointment and that the letter I sent is on record in case he comes in for anything else.

    I've spoken with my Dad recently about it all. My Dad has been treated for depression this year after retiring (major surprise to us all as Dad has always been confident and in control) and has been quite sympathetic to my husband, though he doesn't condone his behaviour. My parents have been supportive with practical help, but haven't interfered between my husband and myself. He suggested that I try a change of approach and ask his parents for help because I'm struggling. Its not normally in my nature to ask for help, I usually get on with it and suffer in silence. So far his parents have offered practical help but I've told them I'm ok and they haven't seen me fall apart. My Dad suggested showing them that I'm not invincible or as strong as I appear and maybe then they will realise they need to act. Not sure if it will work but anything is worth a try at this stage and I'm tired of putting on a front of coping with it all.

    I have lots of practical stuff to do which helps occupy my mind. Today's job was to put up the fire guard as my little one is on the verge of crawling. No rest once that happens!

  10. #10
    Princess Sparkles Paula's Avatar
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    I think your dad's a very sensible man
    I believe if you wear enough pretty lipstick, sparkly jewellery and great shoes, no one will notice the size of your ass

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