Author Topic: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE  (Read 6472 times)

moneytaichi

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Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« on: August 14, 2018, 05:24:48 PM »
First some background: My husband (DH) quit his job in a toxic workplace 2 years ago. Since then, he didn't put much energy on looking for next acts. He doesn't admit he is retired (at the age of 55), even though our financial condition allows us FIRE. He was pretty miserable because he didn't like where we lived then. He also had some serious depression history (given his make-up and lots of physical injuries).

In the last half an year, we sold our house, and I quit my job in April. We lived in China for 2 months and then moved back to one of the most beautiful places in Southern California. DH is still depressed. He finds faults in the summer heat because he couldn't run (running is his big DIY therapy). His lingering bad mood is increasingly impacting my mood. I feel that I am doing a lot to keep the household together (big or small), whereas he just sits in the rut and stays miserable. He doesn't want to seek professional help either. I really don't know how to live with a chronicle depressed person any longer. Since both of us spend most time at home now, it doesn't help either.

If your spouse has/had depression, could you be so kind to share how you avoid the situation impacting your mood?
If you has/had depression, could you be so generous to share what advice you'd give your loved one when you are in the deep water?

Thank you so much for your help!

scottydog

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2018, 05:52:10 PM »
In the past year I've had and recovered from depression. I found tremendous help from a therapist using cognitive behavioural therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy. My case is different because I wanted to seek help and had to convince my wife that it was worth the financial investment.

I've long been fascinated by psychology, and still listen regularly to the Savvy Psychologist podcast. She has an episode specifically about how to help a loved one suffering from mental illness.
https://quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/mental-health/how-to-help-a-loved-one-suffering-from-mental-illness

I still have low spells but they're shorter and shallower, largely because I have many more tools to work with. I also follow advice from Tim Ferriss, doing some of the same things he does to cage his monkey mind. I believe it's in his book The 4-Hour Work Week in which he states that, "the opposite of happy isn't sad, it's bored." Maybe that perspective can help spur some new adventure.

As for advice for my wife... I still struggle with that. With my therapist I found some strategies that I could use in our discussions, but our working hypothesis was always that I should focus on what I can do. I suspect that it would help my wife to see a therapist as well. Speaking with a therapist yourself might actually be wonderful for you, especially if you can find ways to proactively work on the things you can influence and let go of the rest.

I hope some of this might be helpful. Best of luck!

Frankies Girl

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2018, 06:04:16 PM »
I have serious, clinical depression and anxiety. I also have a touch of PTSD from a few other fun things that life threw at me.

I knew my situation isn't going to magically get better without help; in fact it got worse the more I've tried to weather it on my own. Counseling and possibly drugs will be needed. Even in my darkest moments, I know this and I am pretty sure that your husband knows it too, it's just so damned hard to make those steps. Even admitting that you might need outside help - it's terrible.

Your husband is stuck, and needs help. It might be because the act of finding someone, making the appointment and driving over there and talking about it makes it "real" and some folks do think that depression is just a made up thing and you should just get over yourself, so he may have a mental block about getting outside help for something that he considers a silly weakness that he is able to (but not really) control himself.

But depression is just like getting sick; if it hasn't gotten better with time, change of scenery and loss of stress, then it very likely is a chemical imbalance or deeply ingrained thought pattern that needs professional help to put right. He may not need drugs, as talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy alone may help unstick some of those terrible cycles of depression that we just can't fix on our own.

But also he may need tough love in this case since he's unwilling or unable to make the moves himself to seek help. Depression makes it VERY hard to think about how your state of mind effects others.

So what I'd do is this: find a good counselor for yourself. Go in, and talk to them about what you yourself are dealing with. You work on you and what your choices are going forward. Figure out what you want and what lengths you're willing to go to in order to work through this. And don't forget that you matter in all of this too. You absolutely should not be held hostage in a relationship where one of you is refusing to make the necessary steps to get better. 

Talk to your husband about this too. Explain that you love him and want him to get better, and offer to find and get him to counseling appointments. Go with him, get joint counseling if any of you think it will help. But tell him that this current state - where he does nothing and is hurting both himself, you and your relationship - is not working and you're not willing to do this any more. He's had years to figure it out and had changes and moved on from the bad situations... and that's not helped. So time to seek out other solutions to fix this because the status quo has to go.

Lovingly and in plain speaking (maybe with the help of your own therapist after you've worked through things with them) Discuss all of this: He needs help, and you are willing to provide it because you care about him. But he has to work with you on this, or else your relationship will likely not survive. All he has to do is try. And keep telling him that (the love part and the you're in his corner part).

Good luck and so sorry about this whole thing. Depression is a nightmare.

« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 08:15:56 AM by Frankies Girl »

use2betrix

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2018, 09:12:51 PM »
Can he not run early or late? Thatís what Iím doing in TX right now and itís WAY hotter and I hate the heat. I got at 5:45 am.

I was in LA a few weeks ago and running around 8 am was still 10x better than Texas at 5:45 am.

moneytaichi

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2018, 12:26:00 AM »
Thanks a million to @Frankies Girl! Your thoughts on how depression works really strike a chord with me. I keep reminding myself that depression is the sickness, and he doesn't choose it either. Letting things slide is not a good option. I used to see a very good counselor for all kinds of issues. Maybe it's time to check with her again.

@scottydog, I really appreciate your insights and the link on this issue. I know I need to take care of myself more, not too driven by my other goals. More rest, more excercise, more social time (although it's hard as we just moved to a new place)...

@use2betrix, both of us know getting up earlier can be a solution, but he is depressed so he couldn't get himself out of door until noon, after he watches hours of YouTube. He goes to bed by 8 pm and gets up at 7 am. He is not functioning like a normal person :(

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2018, 03:18:31 AM »
This a truly tragic situation but not uncommon, unfortunately. Many men become depressed following retirement. The sad part is, there is nothing you can do except share how youíre feeling and the impact on you. Like most of these issues, the person wonít be helped until they help themselves. His refusal to seek help is what is standing in the way. 2 years is a long time to be going through this, it must be very painful for him. All you can do now is to look after yourself and maybe get your own therapy to discuss this and deal with what youíre going through. You might also learn language to help communicate better with your husband. Good luck.

kei te pai

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2018, 03:36:18 AM »
Just a thought, how is his diet?  He may not be interested in preparing good food, but there is some evidence that increasing omega 3 and fruit and vege intake can help mental health. I think there is an Australian study called SMILE with some good data. ( I will have to check that name)
Edit -SMILES study
« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 03:39:43 AM by kei te pai »

Malkynn

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2018, 05:58:08 AM »
Depression is an illness and like any other illness, the sufferer has a responsibility to put in the work to manage it.

I have a family and an in law family full of mentally ill people with illnesses ranging from depression, bipolar, PTSD, addiction, generalized anxiety, schizophrenia, various forms of mild psychosis, and narcissistic personality disorder. I am extremely cognizant of their need for support, but I have a 100% zero tolerance for those unwilling to put in the work to help themselves. I simply will not talk to them if they are not trying to be managed. I wonít be party to wilful, uncontrolled self destruction anymore.

Depression is a real and serious disease. Not seeking help is like a diabetic not taking their meds, a spinal injury patient not doing their physical therapy, or someone with high blood pressure not adjusting their salt intake. Itís irresponsible, dangerous, and a huge burden and stress on their loved ones.

Mental illness is complicated in that avoiding treatment can be part of the disease itself that can be difficult to manage. Therapy avoidance is common in depressed people because dealing with it is painful and hopelessness is a key symptom. Thatís why as their main support person, itís so critical to know when and how to push them.

Your support role is not to sit back and be understanding of his inaction because itís a disease. Your role is to understand that treatment avoidance is an insidious part of the disease and to try and push accordingly and draw his attention to how dangerous and irresponsible avoiding treatment is, and how unfair it is to you for him to expect you to sit back and watch his disease go unmanaged.

Make it clear that you will support him through anything but that you will not sit back and enable poor disease management the same way you wouldnít enable someone with a broken bone not going to the doctor because they are afraid of the pain of having it set.

He doesnít get to have it both ways. If he has a disease that requires you to accommodate him, then he also has a disease that requires treatment. He canít require you to accommodate him AND not be responsible for getting professional help.

If I were you, I would actually recommend getting your own therapist to help you better understand depression, to get support for your own secondary suffering with the disease, and to learn strategies for keeping your own mental health safe and when and how to push and manage him in terms of his symptoms.

Iíve been in therapy since I was a teenager to deal with my severely bipolar mom and Iím now extremely comfortable with supporting her while also holding her accountable in a reasonable and helpful way. My mom is still very much mentally ill, and can be incredibly challenging to be close to, and requires A LOT of patience sometimes. However, itís still very possible to have an amazing and satisfying relationship with her because sheís still an awesome person who is capable of astounding emotional generosity, wisdom, and insight. She doesnít drag me down at all, even with her mental illness, sheís one of my favourite people to be around.

Loving a mentally ill person is a challenge, just like living with mental illness is a challenge, but both people need to be willing to fight to not let the disease dictate the relationship. Itís a reality that needs to be managed, but it doesnít need to take over your reality.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2018, 06:08:28 AM »
You should try to find your husband a gym that has an indoor track. That could help him continue to run even when the weather is bad.

elliha

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2018, 06:30:01 AM »
Both my husband and I have had problems with depression and we still have smaller "rebounds" at times but no longer on the severe side. My husband completely refused to seek help but I talked to both a therapist and a psychologist. The therapist wasn't really that useful and I mostly found my sessions to be draining but I did take one thing from these meetings and that was that staying with my husband is my choice and he is not responsible for me making this choice. He is responsible for his behavior and the ways he may be hurtful towards me but I do have options and I have picked being with him (for good reasons even though we went through some very tough periods). I did feel bitter about my bad life and I needed to be reminded of my part in this. The psychologist was better, she really helped me break some very unhealthy thought patterns for example some relating to anxiety that meant that I was very scared of the kids being ill/sick for no real reason. I still have some of it but it is much less than before and I no longer feel trapped by worrying about this. She also listened to some of the crap I have been going through in life and she told me that I have more strategies than most people to handle problems and that she rarely meet people who are so aware of their strengths and weaknesses. She told me that the reason I have not fallen deeper into depression despite a massive load of crap having been dumped on me so many times is this and this is why she is 100% confident that I can move forward again if I just give myself the opportunity to do so. It sounds so damn stupid when I type it but her just believing in me kind of made me start being able to grab hold of those abilities to a much higher degree and I am now much better.

As to my husband and him not seeking help. I decided that this is like with an alcoholic. I will not push him or force him although I have on occasion brought it up as an option, he will have to make the decision himself. He has been able to move forward but I think that he would have been able to do so faster and with much less pain had he talked to a doctor and perhaps gotten a low dose of medicine or some therapy but he didn't and that was what his choice was. My choice? See above.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2018, 07:25:06 AM »
I have depression.
The advice: get medical help.  Get a combination of talk therapy and medication. Exercise helps manage symptoms, but it isn't a cure.

You can just make depression go away because you want it to.  You can't just make it go away by getting busy. 

use2betrix

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2018, 07:46:59 AM »
Has he had blood work done in the last couple years and had his testosterone checked? Many men suffer from depression as they age that can often be directly effected by low testosterone. I would absolutely get blood work done if he hasnít already. May not be the cause, but it could also potentially cure nearly all the problems.

Mezzie

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2018, 11:26:40 AM »
I am the one in my relationship with chronic, clinical depression. I actively get help, and I've taught him the signs to look for that show I'm entering depression again so he can tell me it's time to start therapy again/stop tapering off meds, etc. Having a partner in this has been an incredible help.

That said, I am not blind to how my mental health affects him. My hospitalization, in particular, sent him spiraling, and for a while there it was hard for either of us to help the other. I suggested he go to therapy or a support group (or at least talk to my dad who went through the same with my mom). Though he didn't take my exact advice, he did talk openly with friends, and that helped.

Advice for him: he needs to get help. Period. It is unfair to both of you for him to let this fester. This is an illness that is sometimes terminal -- like any other deadly illness, it must be treated.

Advice for you: Find support through therapy and/or your social circle. Also, remember you are not responsible for this. If he had cancer, no one would expect you to cure it or treat it on your own. Yes, you should be supportive, but that can only go so far.

sui generis

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2018, 05:12:01 PM »
You've already indicated you may pursue this recommendation, but just another +1 for seeking therapy yourself.  I'd even tell my husband that I was going because he was refusing to go and I needed help with how to handle his refusal to manage his mental health (or the contextually appropriate version of that). 

As someone who has successfully dealt with a prior, very serious, bout of depression, a wake up call like that would have been helpful.  Not to say it would work for everyone, but I would take it seriously.  For me, it was not the starting to manage my depression, but the couple of years of effort that it required to hit on something successful once I had.  Ultimately, I believe it was a combination of changing my situation, better medication and a better therapist.  I tried like 4 of each of the latter before I hit on ones that helped, so even getting started is just...well, the first step.  It will still be hard after that for a long time, very likely.  So, like Malkynn sort of said, starting the work is really the least he needs to do. 

For you, I also recommend more exercise and meditation/mindfulness practice.  These things tend to help biologically and, with respect to the latter, I really admire the Buddhist idea of detachment from our feelings and our stories.  You don't need to so much avoid the situation impacting your mood as see how it can be irrelevant to your mood.

Good luck!

moneytaichi

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2018, 11:24:44 PM »
Thank you all very much! I am really touched with so much support pouring out for me. Even knowing that helps!

I talked to DH yesterday about how difficult to watch him suffer. He said He will try to do something, but nothing is commited. I used to dance around this issue, and have decided to face it more honestly. I Even talked about his depression with his mom today.

This thread confirmed lots of tools I have been using, eg meditation, exercise, good diet. Thanks for reminding me keep doing them. I just enrolled a gym today and hope it will get me exercise and get out  of the house more.

I will read this post often to remind myself that I am not alone, and there are many tools to deal with depression. My heart~felt thanks again!

DanLee

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2018, 10:31:44 AM »
For me it helped a lot watching sadhguru on YouTube about questions I had about live. I think he is very intelligent in all it's simple answers.

Here he talks about not being happy about your husband , I think it helped me a lot.

https://isha.sadhguru.org/us/en/wisdom/video/how-to-deal-with-an-exploitative-spouse

« Last Edit: August 17, 2018, 12:58:01 AM by DanLee »

use2betrix

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2018, 11:49:03 AM »
Thank you all very much! I am really touched with so much support pouring out for me. Even knowing that helps!

I talked to DH yesterday about how difficult to watch him suffer. He said He will try to do something, but nothing is commited. I used to dance around this issue, and have decided to face it more honestly. I Even talked about his depression with his mom today.

This thread confirmed lots of tools I have been using, eg meditation, exercise, good diet. Thanks for reminding me keep doing them. I just enrolled a gym today and hope it will get me exercise and get out  of the house more.

I will read this post often to remind myself that I am not alone, and there are many tools to deal with depression. My heart~felt thanks again!

As I mentioned earlier, has he had blood work done and his hormones checked? Verrrry common issue in men his age.

GreenEggs

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2018, 05:37:29 AM »
I just read this thread and wanted to thank Moneytaichi for starting it and also everyone that has replied.  There is a lot of mental illness in my family and I've suffered from mild depression at times.  It is really helpful for me to hear the experiences you all have had and hear your words of support and wisdom.


My father recently passed away.  I am the executor of his estate, and am afraid that my immediate future is about to get very stressful.  Mental illness, hurt feelings, and greed are going to create a lot of drama.  I feel like I will be living in the crosshairs, maybe indefinitely.  Not sure how to handle things, but I will be rereading some of the great advice given above for guidance.

DaMa

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2018, 06:07:33 AM »
I suffered a major depression event several years ago.  My DH tried to get me to do things...go for walks, visits with family, etc..  His disappointment when I said no became just another burden on me.  Looking back from a healthy place, the one thing I can say is that he should have done those things without me.  He would stay with me and sort of hover, and I knew he was unhappy.  I think I would have been more likely to eventually join in if I had seen his enjoyment and happiness.  So my advice is be supportive and express your love, but have a life and enjoy it even if it's without your husband.

I also agree with Malkynn in  "treatment avoidance is an insidious part of the disease and to try and push accordingly and draw his attention to how dangerous and irresponsible avoiding treatment is...that you will not sit back and enable poor disease management the same way you wouldnít enable someone with a broken bone not going to the doctor because they are afraid of the pain of having it set."  This is a very good suggestion. 

Also +1 for get your own therapist.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and regular exercise was what really worked for me.

If the cost of mental health therapy is an issue, try support groups.  Appropriate 12 step groups are a great option if appropriate (e.g. Adult Children of Alcoholics).

Hargrove

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2018, 02:43:21 PM »
Lots of ground already covered... just wishing you luck with it.

Sometimes the fantasy is that if you just convince someone they need help, they'll get it, but something is usually in the way of hoping for wellness when it comes to depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy works so well because it can help people defeat their nonconstructive processes, but some people do need more than that.

There's often a way around the pessimism towards seeking help. Try talking about your needs without making things high-stakes. Don't say you need him to get better (oh no, what if I fail!), say you need him to work with you to search for recovery. People in this position often need to start by seeing effort as the goal. If trying to get him to see he needs help doesn't work, explain your needs, and how/what commitments would make the world of difference for you.

"I'll call."
"Ok, can we set a date, please? This is really important to me, because I care about you, and I need your help to keep this a high priority."

DaMa suggested having a life as well, and that's important for both of you - moping at him will do nothing at all, but do remember that invitations are lifelines even when the depressed person says no. The temptation to shut down normal activities is a spiral that makes depression worse but seems like it might conserve energy. Don't nag, but push a little sometimes. Skip the "if you want to"s (a person who is depressed often has difficulty imagining many want-tos).

"I'm going to X, come with?" /smile
"No thanks."
"Oh, ok - well, love you, see you when I get back."

Animal therapy often works well because someone who is depressed can often concern themselves with the needs of another, even when they can't prioritize themselves. This responsibility is often also a boost, and this mechanism can be useful to convince a loved one to seek help when you make it plain that you need them to. Just be careful to use positive phrasing and offer support - "it would mean a lot to me if you could work with me on this" rather than "it's really killing me that you're not trying" etc.

It's common to feel guilty for needing help when you're dealing with someone suffering this, but the fact is, you're getting dragged down too. That's hard, and it's real, and even mental health professionals have difficulty when its their own loved ones.

elliha

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2018, 03:39:31 AM »
The activities part we will struggle with. During my husband's worst moments he would not want to do anything and every activitity was an epic struggle for him even when he enjoyed them. I don't know how many times I just said no to things without asking him because it was too much for me to get yelled at because people had the audacity to ask us to do stuff and how utterly riddiculous these activities were and how much he didn't want to go to them etc. Then if I did say no he would yell at me for saying no because how could I not know that he really meant that he wanted to go and I should have just magically had our daughter ready to go when I had been told that said activity was out of the question. I then just said no most of the time and when I really wanted to go I would tell him and tell him that he could just decide if he wanted to go or not and that I had already decided I would go. He would have fits about me already having made up my mind and now I was forcing him to go against his will but I just let him have those fits and just see if he wanted to go or not. Now he feels lonely because he cut so many people off and burned bridges for him and for us as a couple but it is what it is and I have resumed some of my own activities and it is up to him to get back into hanging out with friends and perhaps an activity for him too but that has rarely been his thing. Thankfully he does get a lot of joy out of his hobbies again so that is an improvement. At his worst any frustration in relation to his hobbies (linux systems, cars, mopeds) would only lead to him going into a worse mood and feeling more depressed, now he handles things like that like a "normal" person, he might get angry or sad but it goes away and he keeps looking for a solution instead of going to bed and sleep. Even people talking about this triggers really bad memories for me but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, I need to work on this if it makes me feel bad.

Missy B

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2018, 09:30:05 AM »
Someone mentioned Omega 3's, and I wanted to jump in because I used them successfully to manage depression a few years ago, and I still make sure I'm topped up when I feel my mood cratering.

I think that these alone will not resolve your husband's depression, but can help tip his brain towards normal functioning.

Omega 3's were clinically tested and found in mild and moderate depression, to have effect with 70% of the test group at 10g a day. (No link, sorry, I'm remembering this from a front page newspaper article).

I started at 6g, felt some lift, and then slowly (about one gram every day) increased the dosage until I was no longer feeling dark in the evenings. (that was always my worst time).
I will also mention that I was injured and had pretty bad inflammation as a result, which Omega 3 will help reduce, and dry eye, which also resolved.
At my peak dose, I was consistently taking 16g a day. Ocassionally I was up to 20g.

There is some legal-butt-covering on most products about not taking more than 3g a day. I think you can safely ignore this. Apparently, in diets which are very very high in Omega 3 (like pure fish-eating Inuit) there is a 0.4% chance higher of having a spontaneous bleed ( i can't recall the clinical term, but you can get something similar from too much anti-coagulant).

The only other thing to caution is, make sure you are consuming a 'molecularly distilled' product. That is to remove heavy metals. Greens and Now brand (which is much cheaper than Greens) are molecularly distilled.

It does take a little while for your body to build reserves if you are low. It takes me a couple of days for the effect of them to kick in. (periodically if I feel shitty I up my dose, and would take 6 of the regular Now brand O-3)
Now came out with 'Super' and 'Ultra' omega three that have a higher level of the stuff you want. I find 2 of the super daily keeps me well instead of 4-6 of the regular.

There are many brands out there, and not all of them are good. Stay away from Costco for this stuff. Some are quite expensive. I do recommend Now brand (orange bottle) as a low-priced product that is quality and effective.



kei te pai

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Linda_Norway

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2018, 02:04:33 AM »
Someone mentioned Omega 3's, and I wanted to jump in because I used them successfully to manage depression a few years ago, and I still make sure I'm topped up when I feel my mood cratering.

I think that these alone will not resolve your husband's depression, but can help tip his brain towards normal functioning.

Omega 3's were clinically tested and found in mild and moderate depression, to have effect with 70% of the test group at 10g a day. (No link, sorry, I'm remembering this from a front page newspaper article).

I started at 6g, felt some lift, and then slowly (about one gram every day) increased the dosage until I was no longer feeling dark in the evenings. (that was always my worst time).
I will also mention that I was injured and had pretty bad inflammation as a result, which Omega 3 will help reduce, and dry eye, which also resolved.
At my peak dose, I was consistently taking 16g a day. Ocassionally I was up to 20g.

There is some legal-butt-covering on most products about not taking more than 3g a day. I think you can safely ignore this. Apparently, in diets which are very very high in Omega 3 (like pure fish-eating Inuit) there is a 0.4% chance higher of having a spontaneous bleed ( i can't recall the clinical term, but you can get something similar from too much anti-coagulant).

The only other thing to caution is, make sure you are consuming a 'molecularly distilled' product. That is to remove heavy metals. Greens and Now brand (which is much cheaper than Greens) are molecularly distilled.

It does take a little while for your body to build reserves if you are low. It takes me a couple of days for the effect of them to kick in. (periodically if I feel shitty I up my dose, and would take 6 of the regular Now brand O-3)
Now came out with 'Super' and 'Ultra' omega three that have a higher level of the stuff you want. I find 2 of the super daily keeps me well instead of 4-6 of the regular.

There are many brands out there, and not all of them are good. Stay away from Costco for this stuff. Some are quite expensive. I do recommend Now brand (orange bottle) as a low-priced product that is quality and effective.

The Inuit have developed a different metabolism that profits from omega-3. It doesn't work as well for all other people.

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/22/science/inuit-study-adds-twist-to-omega-3-fatty-acids-health-story.html

lexde

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2018, 04:11:23 AM »
I have MDD. It’s rough.
It’s my position though that at some point as adults we have to take responsibility for our mental health. He needs to see someone, look into medications, therapy, etc.
CBT is helpful. Meds can help. Hard exercise and healthy dieting helps me a lot. When I get stuck in a dark place it sometimes feels impossible to get out, but I try to maintain a sense of self-awareness.

Talk to him. Don’t blame him, since it won’t help, but tell him you need him to be on board with getting better, that there is a “better” and that you need him to fight. It’s hard, but those are the cards we have been dealt.

TartanTallulah

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2018, 08:04:37 AM »
I suffered a major depression event several years ago.  My DH tried to get me to do things...go for walks, visits with family, etc..  His disappointment when I said no became just another burden on me.  Looking back from a healthy place, the one thing I can say is that he should have done those things without me.  He would stay with me and sort of hover, and I knew he was unhappy.  I think I would have been more likely to eventually join in if I had seen his enjoyment and happiness.  So my advice is be supportive and express your love, but have a life and enjoy it even if it's without your husband.

This chimes; I had my first (and, I hope, only) black dog encounter a few years ago, and had several months off work. At the time my husband was a SAHP. As I started to recover, what I needed was to be given a hand up off the couch and taken out, even if only to sit in a coffee bar and people-watch, but we've never done purposeless things like that as a couple and, I realised afterwards, it was emotionally exhausting for my husband to have a near-catatonic and sometimes suicidal wife (he took longer than I did to recover from the experience) and he wasn't able to summon up what was needed to be my therapist as well as my spouse, and he just hovered around not doing anything himself.

There was an extra layer of guilt on my part because my first husband developed depression around the time we had our second child and remained depressed, dropping out of the workforce and morphing from the eccentric but bright and energetic young man I had married into a bad-tempered, paranoid and inert 30-something. I was possibly the least suitable person in the world to be the spouse of someone with depression and I also had to be the sole breadwinner and functionally a single parent, roles I had never wanted. I was often unkind and impatient with him, especially when his depression dragged on and consuming mental health resources seemed to become an end in itself for him because he showed no signs of wanting to do any of the things I believed he should do if he wanted to recover. I have no regrets about divorcing him, but I do think I could have treated him better while we were married.

Missy B

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2018, 06:53:14 PM »
Someone mentioned Omega 3's, and I wanted to jump in because I used them successfully to manage depression a few years ago, and I still make sure I'm topped up when I feel my mood cratering.

I think that these alone will not resolve your husband's depression, but can help tip his brain towards normal functioning.

Omega 3's were clinically tested and found in mild and moderate depression, to have effect with 70% of the test group at 10g a day. (No link, sorry, I'm remembering this from a front page newspaper article).

I started at 6g, felt some lift, and then slowly (about one gram every day) increased the dosage until I was no longer feeling dark in the evenings. (that was always my worst time).
I will also mention that I was injured and had pretty bad inflammation as a result, which Omega 3 will help reduce, and dry eye, which also resolved.
At my peak dose, I was consistently taking 16g a day. Ocassionally I was up to 20g.

There is some legal-butt-covering on most products about not taking more than 3g a day. I think you can safely ignore this. Apparently, in diets which are very very high in Omega 3 (like pure fish-eating Inuit) there is a 0.4% chance higher of having a spontaneous bleed ( i can't recall the clinical term, but you can get something similar from too much anti-coagulant).

The only other thing to caution is, make sure you are consuming a 'molecularly distilled' product. That is to remove heavy metals. Greens and Now brand (which is much cheaper than Greens) are molecularly distilled.

It does take a little while for your body to build reserves if you are low. It takes me a couple of days for the effect of them to kick in. (periodically if I feel shitty I up my dose, and would take 6 of the regular Now brand O-3)
Now came out with 'Super' and 'Ultra' omega three that have a higher level of the stuff you want. I find 2 of the super daily keeps me well instead of 4-6 of the regular.

There are many brands out there, and not all of them are good. Stay away from Costco for this stuff. Some are quite expensive. I do recommend Now brand (orange bottle) as a low-priced product that is quality and effective.

The Inuit have developed a different metabolism that profits from omega-3. It doesn't work as well for all other people.

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/22/science/inuit-study-adds-twist-to-omega-3-fatty-acids-health-story.html

Well, rather than hunt through a thread in Norwegian, I googled. The study you're presumably referencing actually has nothing to do at all with the use of Omega 3 in mental health. Omega 3 has been studied in non-Inuit populations and found to be  very effective in mild to moderate depression.

moneytaichi

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #27 on: September 01, 2018, 11:45:56 PM »
Thank you all for your warmest concern! Sorry that I have not checked in the thread for a while.

Things are getting little better. We are helping a friend's husband (with Parkinson) by babysitting him. By taking care of someone who has a more serious problem, we get better perspective too. The weather is cooling down a little. We are adjusting to Southern California... All good sighs. I hope we can get better after so many changes in a short period of time.

I am doing a lot better now, after enrolling and starting a writing class at a local community college. The class helps me meet new friends and keep my perspective in check since most of my classmates are people in 60s or older. We talk about sickness, loss, love, vulnerability etc. very openly and support each other.

I also enrolled a free online class called "Healing with the Arts" (https://www.coursera.org/learn/healing-with-the-arts/home/welcome). I highly recommend anyone who is facing a challenge to take the course. It has a great book by the instructors too. Painting and writing have been hugely helpful too.

Again, thank you all for your kindness!

GreenEggs

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #28 on: September 02, 2018, 08:20:39 PM »
What's the price for the "Healing with the Arts" course?  I looked at the link, but couldn't find that info.


The description sound great.  I've neglected my creative spirit for far too long.   


I'm glad to hear that things seem to be improving for you.  :)

moneytaichi

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #29 on: September 02, 2018, 11:56:12 PM »
@GreenEggs, the course is free if you only audit. If you want to get a certificate, it's $49. It'll really worth your time. Good luck with your creativity. It has helped me through so many challenges.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2018, 07:19:22 AM »
I would like to use this thread for writing off my own concern...

Yesterday, my DH was very depressed. He ended up doing nothing at all on a Sunday and was crying on the couch at some point. When in bed, he asked whether I new what the meaning of life was. I answered that life doesn't have a particular meaning, but that we just need to make the best of it. I try to be helpful to other people, what makes me feel good.

Our situation: Still working, but intending to FIRE in a year or so. But if finances don't work out, than OMY to 2020.
DH is in the situation that he has always been a very sporty person, but has gotten heart flimmer issues, related to hard training. He often get those flimmers when he works out and at times they last very long, more than a day. Then he feels terrible. It happened again on Thursday after cycling to work. Lots of flimmers with 220 in pulse while cycling and a pulse 10-15 beats per minute lower than usual during the night. He spent the whole Friday at the doctor and at the hospital. When you don't die from your heart issue, the hospital don't prioritize you and you have to wait for hours.
Eventually he talked to them, they measured stuff. He has a second operation scheduled in December or January, but doesn't have an exact date. It has already been postponed since September. He does have a private health insurance as well, where he can be scheduled for operation in 2 weeks. But he prefers to go to the public hospital, where they has more knowledge and can perhaps improvise more than the scheduled operation. But it is hard to communicate with the hospital and schedule an appointment with a heart specialist. And he really has the need to talk about his issue, instead of just getting another operation.

I understand that this is extremely frustrating for him. In addition, it is now autumn. The leaves are falling and the view from the house is mostly gone. DH wants to go out of the house. He suggested to visit a flea market in our village, which we did on Saturday. Afterwards we walk in the forest, but it was a pretty short walk, as DH didn't find it very inspiring.
DH is very active with sewing clothes and laying them out on instagram. But that didn't inspire him this weekend either.

I tried to comfort him yesterday. Saying that everyone is allowed to have a depressed day occasionally. But when we went to bed he started asking for the meaning of life... He was also not looking forward to his work the next day. He was complaining about annoying customers and his employees wanting more salary, especially the one that deserves it least.

In the meantime, I spent my 3-day weekend mostly walking in the forest, on Friday with a new friend, and in the afternoon studying at home for my hobby. DH also has free diving as a hobby. He could have done that this weekend with some other people, but didn't dare to with his recent heart issue. I really hope his mood will blow over and that it is mostly due to the weather being a bit depressing (grey). He often has these moods in late autumn and also in spring when the snow is melting and the roads are very dirty.

From what I read in this thread, I think I should suggest he should have his testosterone level checked as a first step.
I also think that maybe he should seek some help with it. I will see if this lasts for a longer period. Just one weekend is nothing to worry about.

I really hope he doesn't blame me for having hobbies and being able to keep myself busy and happy. But at the moment I am a bit more in touch with new and familiar people than he is. When I asked, he said his depression had nothing to do with me. Based on his depression now, I hope this won't become worse when we FIRE. DH is also downsizing to 80% from next month, like I did some months ago.

Askel

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2018, 08:25:47 AM »
Oh man, I can relate. I live for biking and skiing.  It's what I look forward to, it's what I use as a coping mechanism, and it makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty. 

Without it (as I have been for nearly a month now due to some work commitments and incredibly bad luck in weather), and I start feeling really shitty and it affects all aspects of my life.  The only way I hold it together is knowing that this condition is not permanent, I'll be outside doing what I like again soon. 

But if I was facing the prospect of maybe not being able to due to a heart condition?  Wow...

I'm sure it's possible to find other healthy things to replace my ridiculous amounts of outdoor time with, but it would certainly be a painful adjustment. 

Hope all goes well for him and you! 

Malkynn

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #32 on: October 15, 2018, 08:46:58 AM »
I have a brand new heart condition that started in 2017, and a brand new spinal injury from this summer, plus a previous shoulder injury, both knees injured, and a suspected autoimmune disease that seems to leave me really prone to injuries and very poor healing.

It can be very tough to have the activities you love steadily stripped away from you. For me, itís the career that I canít do full time anymore that has been the hardest to accept since I went to school for 11 years to be able to do it and was forced to downshift after only 3 years.

However, there are great therapies out there specifically designed to help people who deal with chronic health problems. Itís been a process for me to adjust to me new reality, but itís actually pushed me trough therapy to learn a lot about how to be happy, and I actually now consider myself lucky that life and health forced me to examine my own drives so closely and do such good psychological work that now Iím happier with my life than I ever have been.

I long ago learned that the conditions under which we live have shockingly little impact on our happiness levels compared to changes in our circumstances.

Basically: yeah, getting sick or injured sucks, but good therapy is a great thing.


Linda_Norway

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #33 on: October 15, 2018, 10:53:58 AM »
DH has also been through a list of other health issues with dislocated shoulder, frozen shoulder and knee problem that didn't get better for 1,5 year. First now his knee is getting better, so that we can hike, but he needs to use my walking poles in steep downhills.

Today he was in a pretty good mood when back from work.

rubybeth

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #34 on: October 15, 2018, 11:05:39 AM »
First some background: My husband (DH) quit his job in a toxic workplace 2 years ago. Since then, he didn't put much energy on looking for next acts. He doesn't admit he is retired (at the age of 55), even though our financial condition allows us FIRE. He was pretty miserable because he didn't like where we lived then. He also had some serious depression history (given his make-up and lots of physical injuries).

In the last half an year, we sold our house, and I quit my job in April. We lived in China for 2 months and then moved back to one of the most beautiful places in Southern California. DH is still depressed. He finds faults in the summer heat because he couldn't run (running is his big DIY therapy). His lingering bad mood is increasingly impacting my mood. I feel that I am doing a lot to keep the household together (big or small), whereas he just sits in the rut and stays miserable. He doesn't want to seek professional help either. I really don't know how to live with a chronicle depressed person any longer. Since both of us spend most time at home now, it doesn't help either.

If your spouse has/had depression, could you be so kind to share how you avoid the situation impacting your mood?
If you has/had depression, could you be so generous to share what advice you'd give your loved one when you are in the deep water?

Thank you so much for your help!

When a partner has an issue like this, you really both have the issue. He doesn't exist in a vacuum--he exists in relationship to you. I would encourage him to do actual therapy with a therapist, and go with him. Do therapy together. You need support in this. If he is unwilling to get treatment, I think you need to have a discussion about how this doesn't just affect him, it also affects you and you want to treat it together.

*note: my partner is a therapist, so I say this with some bias, but there is plenty of evidence that therapy helps. If he won't go, you could go by yourself.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #35 on: October 15, 2018, 02:12:06 PM »
I have a brand new heart condition that started in 2017, and a brand new spinal injury from this summer, plus a previous shoulder injury, both knees injured, and a suspected autoimmune disease that seems to leave me really prone to injuries and very poor healing.

It can be very tough to have the activities you love steadily stripped away from you. For me, it’s the career that I can’t do full time anymore that has been the hardest to accept since I went to school for 11 years to be able to do it and was forced to downshift after only 3 years.

However, there are great therapies out there specifically designed to help people who deal with chronic health problems. It’s been a process for me to adjust to me new reality, but it’s actually pushed me trough therapy to learn a lot about how to be happy, and I actually now consider myself lucky that life and health forced me to examine my own drives so closely and do such good psychological work that now I’m happier with my life than I ever have been.

I long ago learned that the conditions under which we live have shockingly little impact on our happiness levels compared to changes in our circumstances.

Basically: yeah, getting sick or injured sucks, but good therapy is a great thing.

Sounds like you have some tough challenges to deal with. Great that you have found a way to be happy despite of them.

GreenEggs

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #36 on: October 15, 2018, 02:29:39 PM »
I've been reading this thread for a while and I don't remember if the new book "How to Change Your Mind" by Michael Pollan has been mentioned.  It's about the research that is being done using psychedelics in the therapy for a variety of mental conditions.  I'm not promoting it, but it might be something that can help a lot of people overcome some of the things that they're dealing with. 


I know somebody here mentioned art as therapy, and that reminds me that I still need to sign up for a pottery or painting workshop.  :) 



Malkynn

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Re: Living with a depressed husband after FIRE
« Reply #37 on: October 15, 2018, 02:34:13 PM »
I have a brand new heart condition that started in 2017, and a brand new spinal injury from this summer, plus a previous shoulder injury, both knees injured, and a suspected autoimmune disease that seems to leave me really prone to injuries and very poor healing.

It can be very tough to have the activities you love steadily stripped away from you. For me, itís the career that I canít do full time anymore that has been the hardest to accept since I went to school for 11 years to be able to do it and was forced to downshift after only 3 years.

However, there are great therapies out there specifically designed to help people who deal with chronic health problems. Itís been a process for me to adjust to me new reality, but itís actually pushed me trough therapy to learn a lot about how to be happy, and I actually now consider myself lucky that life and health forced me to examine my own drives so closely and do such good psychological work that now Iím happier with my life than I ever have been.

I long ago learned that the conditions under which we live have shockingly little impact on our happiness levels compared to changes in our circumstances.

Basically: yeah, getting sick or injured sucks, but good therapy is a great thing.

Sounds like you have some tough challenges to deal with. Great that you have found a way to be happy despite of them.

Oddly, Iím largely happy because of my challenges.
My shit has really forced my hand in learning how to be happy and how to build a happy life regardless of what happens or what comes along.

My point is that really good therapy and a lot of personal work can really help in the face of losing function to illness or injury, and the alternative of sinking into it can be really horrible. I recommend really encouraging him to seek help. Itís really really hard to get through emotionally without professional help to guide you through the very fine path between not suppressing the negative thoughts and not letting them take over either.

I canít imagine handling it without high level professional support, and I canít imagine the burden that would have put on my husband. Donít get me wrong, heís a HUGE support to me, but itís his job to support, not to bear the weight of guiding me through it. Thatís not fair to a spouse.