Q: I think that my husband is depressed, but he will not admit it and refuses to see a doctor to do something about it.
Instead, he continues to pace up and down the living room floor almost nightly. He eats barely enough to keep a chicken alive and he spends hours during the day staring out the living room window rather than getting on his tractor and working the fields like he used to do. Our teenage sons are concerned.
They have always loved their dad, but he is so irritable around them these days that they do what they can to avoid him.
I am really worried. Do you have some suggestions that might help me? I need help to support my husband.
A: You have good cause to be concerned. The man you care about is in serious trouble.
Your job is to monitor his symptoms, making note of his insomnia, indigestion, disinterest in the farm and impatience with his children.
One or two of these symptoms are reason enough for you to make an appointment to see your family physician.
Don’t wait for your husband to decide he is depressed before taking him to a physician. If your husband had a stomach ache, you would not wait until his appendix burst before going the doctor.
Many of your husband’s symptoms are not unlike those found in sleep apnea, unresolved grieving reactions, neurological difficulties or physical illnesses. He clearly needs to talk to a professional.
It is important that you and your sons look after yourselves. If you cannot get your husband to see a doctor, make an appointment for yourself and make sure that you get whatever medication or counselling you need to see your way through these tough times. Keep an eye on your sons. They might benefit from professional counselling as they try to make sense of what is happening to their dad.
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Appetite or weight changes
- Problems sleeping
- Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent.
- Loss of energy
- Self-loathing. Feelings of worthlessness
- Reckless behavior
- Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions.