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Relationships

Support for husband’s mental health

Dear Wendyl, My husband is one of many Kiwis who suffer from depression. In the early days of our marriage we didn’t know what was wrong and several times I nearly left him.

By Wendyl Nissen
Dear Wendyl,
My husband is one of many Kiwis who suffer from depression. In the early days of our marriage we didn’t know what was wrong and several times I nearly left him. But thanks to a great doctor and antidepressants our lives are much easier.
My problem is he starts to feel so good that he keeps going off the drugs but then he gets depressed again and goes back on them and it’s okay. I understand his desire to be drug-free, but it’s such a repetitive, annoying thing to do. How do I get him to accept who he is?
*Joan, by email
*Dear Joan,
Depression is a tough thing to deal with as a partner. You need to be supportive and often it’s the partner who notices changes first and therefore is very valuable. I know going off medication is very common with depressed people and I feel for your husband wanting to live without drugs, but it seems to me he might be in denial about his condition.
He may view it as temporary or an age-related thing rather than something that sounds like it might be quite permanent. And perhaps you might be making the innocent mistake of nagging him to take the pills and in doing so highlighting his inadequacy in his eyes.
I think both of you would benefit from counselling to help you work out what is appropriate for his condition and the way you handle it together. Ask your doctor for a referral.
Send your questions to wendyl.nissen@nzww.co.nz or write to Agony Aunt, NZWW, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142
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