When you busy living your life, sometimes you fail to notice someone slipping away.
It is hard to believe that simply by not noticing, I almost lost the man I love.
To say that depression is insidious is an understatement. It creeps in and slowly gnaws away at a person until there is nothing of the original person left. It is so easy not to notice someone grappling with depression.
My husband was always a hard worker and a high achiever. It made perfect sense for him to take a new position with his company even though it was more responsibility and a whole lot more pressure.
The new job brought us closer to my family. Previously, we had lived to far away for my parents to take an active role in our children’s lives. Now, we would be able to easily see them whenever, without a long car trip being involved.
While I was happy that the new job brought us closer to my family, it triggered the depression in my husband. The job involved long hours, and he was under constant pressure to perform. Add to that the fact that he was frequently being told that he wasn’t doing a good enough job and you have the perfect combination for a depressive episode.
This slowly ate away at my husband.
Gradually, he began to change. It was so slight at first that I didn’t notice. In my opinion, that is the worst things about depression. It changes people so slowly that you often have no idea that it is depression. Your loved one starts acting weird and you begin to suspect something is wrong, but without firsthand knowledge of depression, you may not realize they have it.
For my husband, it started out with not sleeping well, which led to him being tired all the time. All of a sudden, he hardly had energy to do anything.
This of course, made me resentful. I couldn’t believe his lack of energy; how he wasn’t willing to do anything but lay around. He constantly complained about various aches and pains. I began to think he was a hypochondriac.
He no longer enjoyed our children. He became snappish with them, and didn’t have the energy to play with them.
Still, I couldn’t see that there was something actually wrong with him.
By now, he stopped talking to me. We no longer chatted about anything and everything; he no longer called me during the day just to talk.
So I did what all women do, I figured it was something I said or did.
As he spent less time at home, I began to think he was having an affair.
It made sense, he acted as if he couldn’t stand to be with me, and we barely talked anymore. When we did do something together, his manner made it clear he wasn’t enjoying himself.
Plus, there were a few strange incidents. A few times where he wasn’t where he said he would be and he was doing stuff he never did before. Things like skipping time with the kids to go to an after work party, something he had never done before.
My heart was breaking, how could a man who loved being with his kids, as much as he did give them up? He always took an active role in their lives. He is the one who took them sledding, chased them around tickling them and frequently took care of them all day so I could work.
I figured he had found someone else and was going to leave us.
I couldn’t stand how we were living anymore, so I finally steeled myself up to ask if he had someone else. I stood in our living room and asked him if he wanted to leave us.
What he said was worse than I could have expected; he said he didn’t know.
I was braced for a yes, and I was hoping for a no. When he said, “I don’t know” it really threw me. How could he not know?
We talked and talked. Well, I talked he barely talked. When he did talk, it was to blame me for pretty much everything.
After our talk, he seemed better; I on the other hand, was a wreck.
The imminent collapse of our life together was all I thought about, each and every moment of the day. What would I do? Where would I go? What about our kids? These thoughts circled my head constantly.
At times after our talk he was almost normal, which he later revealed was an act on his part.
Other times he was cruel. Deliberately doing stuff to hurt me, like staying out late, using a gift card intended for the two of us to use on a date night on himself .
This weird limbo went on for weeks.
Then he hurt himself at work. It was more than a pulled muscle. He slipped a disc in his neck; it was causing him agonizing pain.
It happened at work because he was getting so angry at work that he had to go into the warehouse and throw things around to burn off his anger. He was becoming a danger to himself and others.
Later he told me he felt he couldn’t be trusted to deal with tense situations at work because he thought it might come to violence.
The whole sorry situation came to a head when I realized that he was drinking at home, during the day while he was supposedly watching our son. Then I found out he was mixing his pain medication with the alcohol to dull the mental noise he was feeling.
I finally got him to open up to me he admitted that he felt anger all the time, deep anger directed mostly at himself. He had considered harming himself.
I began to research depression. I was lucky to find a doctor in our town and covered by our insurance that specialized in male depression.
Unfortunately, the doctor couldn’t see him for a whole month.
A whole month of worrying about what he was doing, every single moment of my day was spent wondering what he was doing. Was he trying to hurt himself? Would he finally snap and get into a physical altercation with someone? Moreover, the worst, should I trust him home alone with my son?
Finally, his doctor’s appointment arrived. He was diagnosed with depression and the search to find the right medication began. He tried three different medications before finding one that didn’t cause weird side effects and actually worked.
My husband hated having depression, it made him felt weak, and he felt he had failed somehow, that he had let the stress get the better of him. He certainly, didn’t want to talk about what happened. He did agree, very reluctantly, to see a therapist.
He never told me what he and the doctor talked about and he only went about four times.
The hardest part for my husband was the fact that the medicine needs time to work. You do not feel better instantly. It was disheartening to him that he still felt low, that his thinking was still muddled. To make matters worse, he frequently didn’t take his medicine consistently.
It took over a year and a lot more than just medicine to make him feel like his old self. He had to quit his job and find one that was less stressful.
He still doesn’t talk about what he did or felt while he was sick, in fact, he doesn’t remember many conversations we had from when he was at his worst.
He is off the medication now; his personality is back, his energy and his love of life. He really is his old self again. Of course, I do not take this for granted, I am grateful for everyday we have, and I know that he could have another bout of depression and I am prepared for it this time.
male depression, depression treatment, male depression symptoms, depression and relationships