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Author Topic: dealing with spouse's depression  (Read 1180 times)
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« on: October 19, 2006, 01:20:50 PM »

How do you guys handle it when your BPD spouse goes into depression?

My wife has gotten very depressed over the past week or so.  To top it off, her T is out of town for two weeks, so she won't have an appointment until early November.  I'm still going to my T weekly, as well as DBT group therapy (which is awesome).  However, my wife refuses to go back to our couples' T until I "change".

Anyway, I feel like I am suffocating under her depression.  Today provides a great example.  I emailed her, saying that I would be staying at school a little this afternoon to do some homework.  She asked me to call her.  I did, and she said she was really down and depressed.  After talking a little, she asked when I would be coming home.  I told her a time, and that obviously wasn't early enough.  Now, she is coming to pick me up right after my class is out (like every other day this week).  I really need some space!  As my T said "I need to be free to come and go." (w/in reason, of course)

Basically, she thinks I am her sole support and responsible for getting her out of depression.  I feel like I am getting close to a breaking point.  However, I can see she is also.

Any thoughts?
John Galt
Formerly marc, rutheless
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2006, 01:28:01 PM »

I think you really have to do the things for yourself because you cannot really help her too much with her depression-with the exception of maybe guiding her towards a professional. When you do that though she states that ''you must change''.

I think you have to insist on your time and not fall into her depression along with her.

Only she can really help herself my friend,


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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2006, 01:40:33 PM »

Hi jimfly...  you were posting quite a bit back in the spring, then you stopped posting.  Was there some reason you stopped posting?  How have things been in the past 6 months? 

I sense that you feel terribly trapped and you simply can't do what you need to do... like stay a bit for homework.  You can't do anything for your wife's depression.  She needs therapy; she needs meds.  Is there anybody she can see while the t is on vacation to see if she needs a stronger dose of antidepressants (if she is on them)? 

Remember, those with BPD are bottomless pits of need.  Their inner core is empty.  They are the only people who can fill up that inner core.  Most nons keep trying and keep getting frustrated when it doesn't work.  What will happen if you say forcefully that you are going to stay at school for an hour and she is not to pick you up until x hour?  Will she rage?  Try to kill herself?  Destroy things?  Aren't these the same kind of problems you had in the spring?

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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2006, 01:47:06 PM »

It is really good to see you again Jimfly (I wish it were not under these circumstances).

When my wife feels depressed or suicidal, I always encourage her to reach out for professional help.  I am ill equipped to offer any real help.  I know that is not what she wants to hear but it is the only real answer.

I know first hand how you feel when your wife says that she feels like you are her sole support and are responsible for getting her out of her depression.  Putting each of you into that role is not healthy for either one of you nor is it likely to produce any long term improvement for her.  She has to take responsibility for her own mental health and you need to do (or not do) whatever will help her get to that point.

You are in a tough spot Jimfly but there is hope.
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2006, 01:56:45 PM »

You guys are all so awesome!

The past several months have been pretty rough.  My lack of posting was mostly due to internships over the summer, and no real private time to get on BPDFamily.  Plus, things were looking up later in the spring.  Now, they are looking right back down.

You guys are all so right.  I need to encourage her to seek help.  I tried to get her to reach out to friends and family.  If nothing else, they can be an ear occassionally.  But that backfired and she said that as her husband, it's my job.  (I know that's not true)

As for meds, she's on Prozac.  She actually talked about going to see her psychiatrist about other meds the other day.  I'm not sure if she'll pursue that - probably not.

Yeah, if I stood my ground and stayed at school she would probably rage, destroy things, and who knows what.  It is the same ol' crap.

The GOOD NEWS is that I'm a lot more stable.  I can at least SEE what is going on usually.  I still fall prey to manipulation, but I don't kick myself for it.  Now, for me, divorce is closer than suicide.  I hope they are both REALLY far away, though.

I better go.  Thanks for the quick replies.  We'll see how the afternoon & evening goes.
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2006, 05:11:15 PM »

I can't remember, jimfly...  Is she diagnosed?  Does she work?


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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2006, 06:05:18 PM »

No problem - it's been a long while.

She's not been diagnosed with BPD.  That was my T's speculation.  She has been diagnosed w/ post traumatic stress and (I believe) depression.

As for work, she does some committee/volunteer work with church.  Also, she has now started art school.  She's enjoying it, but it also creates another place for tension.  She has what I would call an inferiority complex.  She was definitely the victim of a horridly abusive relationship; a guy controlled, beat, and raped her.  Her parents weren't stellar either.  This has led to her thinking that I want to control her and she thinks I think that I am better than her.

Anyway, that's the nutshell version.  I better go, since I'm at home with her right now.

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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2006, 09:39:31 PM »

My BPDh is fairly high functioning and currently in with a dbt program.  He used to get extremely depressed (original diagnosis was major depressive disorder/ ptsd)  and it scared him to be in that place. The BPD diagnosis and hope with dbt and a cbt approach to therapy is really helping him.
The meds for depression never seemed to do much...anyway, when he was really low like that he would call me and it usually helped to let him ramble about the things bothering him. I just listened and was kinda empathetic.  SET helped here because I would try to direct him into thinking of things he could do to help himself.  The end always being that he would call his T.  Usually this all passed by the next day, so he was "fine" & no need to tell T then or whenever.  So, I got in the habit of reporting to his T things that were of concern re: his behavior.  I also told him that I had called or would call because I was concerned for him.  I also did that when the "disconnect" went on for way too long btwn me& him, he and our kids (grown) because it usually meant that he was isolating waaay too much.    Keep working on yourself,  inner strength is the key.   
Cap'n Spanky
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2006, 10:55:22 PM »

I know this is an older post and you've been through a lot since then, but the "change" comment reminded me of something near the end of my marriage...

Throughout our marriage, she always had things I needed to work on.  And hey, she was right.  I was hardly perfect, and I could see mistakes I had made that had hurt her (or, more commonly, misinterpretations on her part, for which I took responsibility).  I kept feeling like if I could only please her, she'd be better to me.  Even after I realized she was more ill than I was, I figured if I jumped through enough hoops, eventually she'd see the light.  It all came to a head fairly quickly, and just before the end she was in a rage (I had largely stopped arguing back) and told me I needed to be better before she would take responsibility for her share in the relationship.  I asked her in what way, and pointed out how I had done absolutely everything she had asked of me.  Her only answer was that I needed to be "better".  It was then that I realized she had no clue herself, that all those years she was just grasping at the next available thing in an attempt to explain away her own emptiness and depression.  When I'd do whatever it was and it didn't fill her black hole of need, she blamed me and found something else.  Rinse, repease.

Just something to think about.
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