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Depression...any advice would be appreciated

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
This is bound to get long, so I apologize in advance for the lengthy post. I appreciate your bearing with me, though.

My husband’s family has a huge history of clinical depression. His mother is on medication for it, and three of his four siblings are being treated for it as well. Many of his family members also feel that his father has problems with depression as well, but he refuses to see a doctor about it.

Over the course of the last several months my husband has been going through a tough time. He hated his last job and thought that was the reason for his unhappiness. He started a new job a few months ago, but he doesn’t seem to be any happier as a result.

Last weekend was kind of a tough one for us. We had some arguments that led to some serious discussions. In the course of these discussions I flatly stated that I knew he was unhappy, and I just wanted him to be happy again.

This morning as he was leaving for work he admitted that he has been unhappy, and he doesn’t know why. He said he has no drive for much of anything…work, sex, exercise, whatever. He confessed that it’s becoming a struggle for him to get going and get to work each day. He’s also been having some numbness in his fingers lately.

I asked him, and he agreed, to schedule an appointment with his doctor right away for a complete physical. I know that the numbness could be a sign of diabetes…which he also has a family history of. I also suggested that he talk to his doctor about the possibility of clinical depression. He certainly has the family history for it. I emphasized that it is a chemical imbalance, much like diabetes, and nothing to feel embarrassed about. To my surprise, he’s agreed that he should be checked for it, but isn’t sure who to talk to.

I know there are others here who have been through this or are going through it now. My specific questions right now are:

Where should he start? Should he start with his general practitioner or make an appointment right off with a mental health specialist?

I know this has to be HIS decision and I can’t push too hard. (He’s not a guy that pushes easily.) What can I do to help?

Any advice anyone can give would be much appreciated. Thanks!
post #2 of 21
Oh no Tari... don´t give up..

Can I send you a big hug from México?..

I´m not a Doctor but if you feel he need to a check for a Doc, Go, don´t spend the time...

Lots of Hugs to boths with my best wishes........

Sinceresly...Rigel...
post #3 of 21
I say general practioner. Taking medication for deperession is nothing to be ashamed about. See this thread:

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...ght=depression
post #4 of 21
Hi there,
I have a bit of a history of depression myself. I know how hard it can be to get help sometimes, even if you want it. Normally your first port of call should be your GP. The help you can get often depends on how good your GP is. The important thing is trying to get him to explain to his GP how bad he is.

Good luck feel free to PM me anytime.
post #5 of 21
Quote:

Where should he start? Should he start with his general practitioner or make an appointment right off with a mental health specialist?

I know this has to be HIS decision and I can’t push too hard. (He’s not a guy that pushes easily.) What can I do to help?


He should make an appointment with his GP first. They will do a complete physical and check his blood and everything...and then talk about the clinical depression. They will probably ask about family history...mine did for anxiety. Then they will discuss treatment options, and its then that he may be referred to a mental health specialist or a counselor and also put on medication to even out the chemical imbalance. The doctor should give him options and together, they should describe the best method of treatment. They should schedule him for check ups through out the treatment just to make sure the medicine is working. I take zoloft and that also help my mother.
All you can do to help is be there for him. Its hard to get inside his head, when hes not even sure whats really going on himself. Let him know that you support him, and encourage him to keep a journal of his symptoms that he can report back to his doctor...for example:

August 9: I had a lot of sadness today for whatever reason......

And have him write down how he feels. He doesnt have to let you see it, but he should take it to the doctor. Or write down his symptoms for that day, such as:

August 9: Felt hopelessness today.

Things like that. This would aid in a doctors or a mental health specialists ability to gauge his case accurately.
But, step 1, is that he admitted there is a problem there with depression. And you are probably right about the diabetes.
I hope your husband gets checked out and they get him on a proper regimen. He will realize once he evens out, that life is not about being sad and scared and unhappy all of the time.
Good luck, and keep us posted. If you need support, please feel free to PM me.
post #6 of 21
Hi there Tari, My name is Howard and I've been there, got that , have the scars and the tee shirt.

First let hin get the complete physical from his G.P. have then do the blood work and the whole nine yards. If he is Diabetic start treating that first anong with any other physical ailments. Then he should see a Mental Health Specialist and go from there.

I take Prozac now for my depression but I started on Wellbutrin. His Doc should know what is best. If you have good Insurance see 2 Docs. You will need to be patient though cause you will not see overnight results and treatment will go on for the rest of his life.

If I can help in any way don't hesitate to let me know cause clinical depression especially in men can be a killer if not treated.

Howard Jones.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tari
I know there are others here who have been through this or are going through it now. My specific questions right now are:

Where should he start? Should he start with his general practitioner or make an appointment right off with a mental health specialist?

I know this has to be HIS decision and I can’t push too hard. (He’s not a guy that pushes easily.) What can I do to help?

Any advice anyone can give would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Sorry to hear that your husband (and you) are having a rough time right now, but I can say that you have both made the first step by admitting that there is a problem.

Personally I think the first step would be for him to see your general practitioner then he/she will decide the next steps on from there. Normally they check out the family history, ask questions and run a few tests. In my experience I wasn't referred to the mental health ppl straight away. I was put onto anti-depressants first and took up counselling. It was only when the medication and counselling started to not work and I went downhill (which I won't go into because it's not nice) they referred me elsewhere because I asked them to and they agreed I needed to see someone else....

What you can do to help? Well I think you should try and do some reading on the subject. So many of my family members would rather ignore the fact that I am depressed and don't know how to deal with it that it can make me more upset. My mum for example has a tough time when I get down. She wants to protect me but never knows what to say. At the same time she can be somewhat ignorant as she will not read about the illness I have been diagnosed with so therefore, how can she understand? Apart from that, just be there for him and don't push too hard. He may need a shoulder to cry and also, if he does take up counselling there might be some stuff there that he will not tell you as he is afraid of scaring you/hurting you.

Thats my experience anyway and if you want any further info, please PM me as I am concious of what I type here when there are so many ppl reading etc... I hope that I have helped in some way.

Good luck to you both
post #8 of 21
Go first to the GP. He will usually do some blood tests and similar stuff to make sure he is not suffering anything physical like diabetes. He can easily diagnose a depression. However, what I personally suggest is have him diagnose and once he says it warrants it, go to a psychiatrist.
post #9 of 21
This unfortunentaly will be a long thing for him, and it is very good to be supportive. I agree that he should see a GP first, but soon after see a "mental health" doctor. My therapist is very helpful, and the best way to treat Depression isnt with just meds, but with meds and counceling. I wish you both the best, i know how hard it is. PM me if you need to also. Oh yea, my Therapist who perscribed my zoloft asked if i had numbness in my fingers i said a little, i think it somehow has something to do with the depression, because that didnt seem to worry him at all.
post #10 of 21
Hugs to you both...I hope you can weather this tough time together.
I will reiterate what most of the rest have said...start with the med doctor (full physical, the works) and then follow that up with a psych doc and maybe a therapist. Meds for depression can treat the chemical imbalance itself, but IMO seeing a therapist, counselor or psychologist would help even more with the feelings that go along with it.
Best of luck to you both. Remind him that depression is highly treatable and nothing to be ashamed of.
post #11 of 21
He should see his family GP first - since s/he will know his medical history and also can rule out any physical problems that are causing the feelings he is having now. Anti anxiety and anti depressants are some of the most prescribed meds (Maybe we are an unhappy lot I don;t know) so he should not feel badly about taking a med if his doctor thinks it would help him. But he should rule out any phsyical probs 1st - there are many illnesses that can seem like depression, thyroid levels for example, among others.

Good luck!
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much, everyone for your advice and support!! I may have a slightly rougher road ahead than I originally anticipated.

Last night he told me that he was talking to a friend yesterday about having the "doldrums" and the friend told him that he was having the same thing. SO...my husband now figures that it's the weather or stress because of my current health issues that's causing his feelings. (My doc found a uterine growth of some sort. I go in for exploratory surgery on Sept 20. It's probably fibroids or something else that's no big deal...but always a little frightening when they say "something's growing there and we don't know what it it". Plus, it falls under the category of "female problems" which I think are always especially scary to the guys who love us.) His solution is to schedule a golf day with his buddies...he figures that will "snap him out of it".

I'm not letting him off the hook so easily. He isn't at a crisis point now, and he may be right...maybe it is just a temporary thing. But even the possibility of it being diabetes or depression is too serious to mess around with. With his family history of both diseases even a hint of it needs to be followed up on. I'm not willing to let him slide on this until he DOES reach a crisis point when it would be so much more treatable now.

I asked him to PLEASE schedule an appointment for a physical with his doctor...if for no other reason than to put my mind at ease. (I told him I'm under enough stress right now with my health and I don't want to be worrying about him, too. Both of us can use that excuse.) So, for now, he's agreed to schedule an appointment, and I've agreed to gently remind him to do so every morning until he does.

He's every bit the "tough guy". He's very proud of the fact that he has no health problems. He sees anything like that as a weakness. He won't even take asprin for a headache. If I keep on him he'll eventually go, and I think it's easier for him to say to himself that "I went for Tari" than to admit that he went because something's wrong. I'm glad that he can start to explore the possiblity of it being depression with his GP. It would be much, much more difficult at this point to convince him to see a mental health specialist.

Whatever it is, we'll get through it. We've made it through way worse over the years, and he's stuck with me no matter what. But I love this big, stubborn guy WAY to much to take any chances that something might happen to him.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tari
My husband’s family has a huge history of clinical depression
...
This morning as he was leaving for work he admitted that he has been unhappy, and he doesn’t know why. He said he has no drive for much of anything…work, sex, exercise, whatever. He confessed that it’s becoming a struggle for him to get going and get to work each day. He’s also been having some numbness in his fingers lately.
I agree with the advice everyone has given so far. Depression can run in families. I always wondered why I was depressed most of my life but when we started looking at my father, his brothers, and his father, there was a pattern of depressive episodes taking place in different ways.

His lack of interest is classic symptoms of clinical depression.

Not sure what the numbness is, but have him start seeing the GP. Have the GP test him for at least thyroid and diabetes.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tari
He's every bit the "tough guy". He's very proud of the fact that he has no health problems. He sees anything like that as a weakness. He won't even take asprin for a headache. If I keep on him he'll eventually go, and I think it's easier for him to say to himself that "I went for Tari" than to admit that he went because something's wrong. I'm glad that he can start to explore the possiblity of it being depression with his GP. It would be much, much more difficult at this point to convince him to see a mental health specialist.
Stay with it. I know it is hard because my husband's brother is the same way and suffered bad burns in a car accident. He was trying tough out the pain but we learned very quickly that the pain needed to be dealt with immediately because it passes a point where the medication doesn't help.

Maybe this analogy will help with your tough guy. Good luck.
post #15 of 21
What a positve attitude you have!, I hope everything goes well for your husband...and you!, you sound like you have alot of your own issues..and I'm sending good vibes your way for your surgery.

The best thing to do is to go and see the family doc first. You are defintley on the right track...keep your spirits up
post #16 of 21
GP GP GP. That should be the first port of call for anything - not just depression. If you have a good family doctor whom you trust and are comfortable with, go to them, get the full physical, bloods and everything. Your GP may also be able to start your husband on some anti-depressants while he is waiting to see a psychiatrist. I have Bipolar Disorder and after much naffing around with it when I was younger am finally well after 14 years. It can take a long time in the best of cases and so the sooner you get onto it the better. Luckily there is a lot more understanding and help out there nowadays, and mental illness does not have the stigma attached that it used to (well, not everywhere, at least).

I would also encourage your husband to talk to his siblings and his mother - they will all be able to offer lots of advice I'm sure.

I hope, in the future, that his father is able to bring himself to get the same kind of checks, they are vitally important. It can be a very destructive illness if not properly treated, but you really seem to have the perfect attitude and I'm sure everything will work out well for you and your husband.

EDIT
Woah woah woah I just saw your thread at the top of the page. DO NOT allow your husband to get out of this and put it down to other things!! I don't mean nag and bully etc, but he REALLY needs to see someone about this. The most insidious thing about depression is that, when it goes away or starts to get better, the person suffering starts to feel normal again and think, `Oh that wasn't so bad - it must have been blah blah blah'. They forget they ever felt that way and unfortunately, if it's in you, it ALWAYS comes back, usually worse and usually for longer.

What you described intially - his lack of drive, motivation etc - are text-book classic symptoms of clinical depression. Others are inability to concentrate, irritability and difficulty sleeping. There are about 10 tell-tale signs in all.

You MUST keep on him about this it is terribly important.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Oh, believe me, there's no way he's getting out of it.

Last night he started to get cranky with me. I asked him if he had called his doctor and he started in on how I'm nagging him. Mind you...I've only mentioned it twice...once Tuesday night and once last night...and I just asked if he had made an appointment with his doctor. I told him that I was going to keep asking him, just once each night, until he made the appointment. He was critical and crabby to me for the rest of the night.

He can get as critical and cranky as he wants, but he IS going to go see the doctor. I firmly believe in picking my battles and doing my best to let go of the things that are unimportant, but this isn't one of them. I'm not going to let him mess around with this and take the chance that things get really bad. I lost my best friend to depression (and her subsequent suicide) sixteen years ago. There's no way I'm going to let him take that kind of chance.
post #18 of 21
I agree with the advice posted. And I like your attitude, and your determination to help him. I work as a nurse at a psych outpatient clinic, and I am just a pm away!

I think his GP is a good place to start. A day or two before the appt, you could call and ask to leave a voice mail message for the doctor. Keep it brief, but mention your concerns. It is entirely possible your dh will fail to mention or minimize some of his symptoms of depression. Also, if he can find out which medications work for his family members, the same med is likely to work for him. This will give the doc some good info about where to start.

And if he doesn't get adequate treatment with the GP, advise him to call a psychiatrist. Sometimes you do need a specialist if it is a complicated case.

P.S. Good luck with your upcoming surgery!
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have good news... He's made an appointment!

I kept reminding him, and he kept putting it off. BUT...after a few days he started reminding ME if it got to be too late in the evening and I hadn't asked him yet. I think he knows he needs to be checked out, but just didn't want to admit it. The bad news is that his brother was voluntarily hospitalized for his depression last weekend. Of course, the whole family feels bad for him, but we're glad and very relieved that he knew he needed more help and decided to admit himself. I think the news on that may have been enough for my husband to realize that he shouldn't mess around with this.

I'm headed out of town for a business meeting until late Sunday, and probably won't be able to check in here while I'm gone. His appointment is Tuesday morning.

Thanks so much, everyone, for your support. It really is amazingly helpful to be able to get everything out here and hear your encouraging words.
post #20 of 21
Just read this thread and am SOOO glad you talked him into going to see the doctor........that's the first place to start! Keep us posted!
post #21 of 21
Yeah for hubby!!! It won't regret it - in the long run anyway.
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