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family support except for depression issues

newhouse17nnewhouse17 Posts: 133
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:46 AM in Depression and Coping
My family is great when it comes to my back issues and not be able to do things. They help me so much without a single complaint. Lately Ive oticed that when I start talking about my feelings and how depressed I am everyone leaves the room. No one wants to talk about the fact that moms depressed, if we ignore it maybe it will go away.Ive talked to my hubby about it and he's one of those who say this is what life has given you and you need to deal with it. He's very supportive in everything else except this area. I have talked to him about meds,therapy or support group and he is against it. He is afraid that the med will change my personality. He says that if I need to talk he is there for me but when I do I get the "you'll be alright" or "it will pass", he's definately a tuff love person. He says that he doesn't care that he has to do everything, hes thankful that I am alive and if he doesnt care than why should I. We've had this discussion so many times I sound like a broken record.Do I be put on an act of being happy for the sake of everyone else?How do I deal with this?


  • Hi Newhouse..Sorry to hear that this is happening to you..They probably dont mean to do it but they probably dont really know how to help you..

    You shouldnt try to be happy because thats what everyone expects, be your true self and if your depressed and in pain, dont feel guilty..I used to do the exact same but you shouldnt have to hide how you truly feel..

    I found a great piece of writing on the site called "Letter To Normals"..Do a search on the site and it should come up..It truly is briliant and Ive used it to help a few people understand what we go through daily.. >:D<

    Take care
  • Most people, even family who should know us better than anyone else, do not know how to communicate with someone who is depressed.

    It would be good if somehow you could convince your husband how much better you will feel if you got some counselling help and possibly medication. Antidepressants are not meant to change your personality, but to help you cope. And actually, your true personality comes back as depression affects that greatly.

    Best wishes,

  • I too have held in my emotions alot. Who do you open up to when you are down. I do alot of pretending that I am ok. I do talk to my husband yet he is disabled with a heart condition and also has depression. Our pain and depression goes hand in hand. However, I did open up enough to realize I could not handle this by myself. My husband goes to all my appts. and my dr put me on Cymbalta, which is an antidepressant which is supposed to help pain issues also. I made the step which I never thought I could do and joined this wonderful support group. I find no matter what there is someone in this forum who is or has gone through what we are. I can open up alot more than I used to and it does help. No one judges you and the love and support is just wonderful. I think we try to hard to protect our loved ones. They can visually see we are in pain or weak or tired. But depression is a whole different situation. I learned that it can make my pain worse and that is not good. Perhaps taking your husband to your appts. would be a great start. Also sitting him down and having a heart to heart.
    If I were more financially secure I would be all means go talk to a counselor or a psychiatrist. But by taking my antidepressants and being open with my husband, also if I am having a bad day opening up on this forum has enabled me to handle my issues in a much more positive way.
    Good luck to you. If you ever need a friend to talk to feel free to PM me. I am a good listener and I'm sure we could help each other.
  • normal people }without pain } dont know how to deal with a person in pain all the time ..in my opinion you dont require counselling just talk to each other . CP is a very hard thing to live with but its doable just dont let things get out of hand and talk about anything that 91551ng you off.dont bottle it up .maybe by your other half read some of the post the spoon analogy and the letter to a normal post is a good started and you could also have your other half post a question for us to read and we could explain from our perspective maybe that may help ??here to help anytime {a quick typical incident is when someone has terminal cancer and no one in the room want to mention the c word! its a bit silly but talking helps .i have found SPINE HEALTH a tower of strength and the people and moderators an excelent
  • Most people do not know how to deal with the issues when a loved one is depressed. If you're in pain, you may have an injury that caused it, if you have surgery, you've got a scar... when you're depressed... there is nothing for them to "see" or "get"...

    For most people, that do not have experience with depression, they don't even understand what it is and/or why you can't "just talk yourself out of it"...

    They aren't trying to be mean or ignoring you... they may have outdated thoughts about what or who depressed people are....

    In this, I'm going to say, I would think you will benefit from seeing someone specifically to deal with these issues. You may even want to go on your own to the first appt...if only because you will be able to say things that maybe you wouldn't normally want to, in front of your husband, or you may want him to go with you regardless of what he thinks of it all at that point.

    I am one of those people that don't really"get" depression. If I'm feeling down, I think of something else, or try to do something to get away from the feeling... so I'm often confused with real depression, the kind that you can't get away from. When my mom started feeling depressed about her medical issues, she saw a home visit social worker for a few visits and slowly began to understand what the person was explaining to her... To this day, I can't honestly say that I "understand" it, but I am grateful for the help and healing it brought to her. My mom now talks to her GP about meds and issues sometimes... he's an awesome guy/doc and is so empathetic with his patients (sorry about the spelling, I need spellcheck :P)

    If it isn't a money/insurance issue, what can it hurt to go see someone ? Maybe someone that deals specifically with chronic pain patients, so they are more aware of what goes on with you? It can't hurt and it might help you feel a bit better.
    Take care and I hope you are feeling better all around, soon.
  • so he will understand that this is not something you can control and that you probably need something to help you and someone to talk to. I'm thinking I am a little bit like your husband. I know when hubby is feeling 'down' but I can't do anything about it and that frustrates me to no end. I am doing all I can and doing it willingly. I cut the lawns, take care of the garden, dry his back, get his meals etc without any 'poor me' attitude. He is not one to talk out his feelings but I really don't know what I would say if he did.
    I think you should see an expert in this. I have several friends on anti-depressants and they are just themselves only a bit more able to cope with the realities of today's stressful living. But I really don't think your husband will ever be able to talk with you about this as he simply does not know what to do and he hears the same thing every time. And he can't FIX it so that is stressful for him. Poor dear does not realize that you know he can't fix it- you just need to vent.
  • My hubby is going to the doctors with my on Sept. 1 so we can talk about the depression associated with CP. He says he get everything, the pain, moodiness and not be able to do all the things I want to do. He doesn't mind having to do everything for me but he just cant wrap his head around the depression so he wants to talk to the doctor with me. Maybe the doc can explain it to him so that he will have a better understanding of what Im going through.I told him the meds wont change me and that they will help me get my spark and sassiness back instead of a blubbering mess all the time. We'll see how it goes. Will keep you updated.-kathy
  • That is Excellent! sounds like you've got a real keeper there... someone more than willing to help AND learn about what he doesn't understand. I wish you luck with your appt and your continued treatment.
    This could be the start to you feeling better in all ways :)
  • They are scared because they are as clueless as you are as to how to fix it. Plus depression, like suicide, is one of those things that people imagine is contagious. In a way they are right. If they took on what you are going through it would be nearly as depressing for them, so they ignore it. Not because they don't love you or don't want to help you. That is the only way they can cope. I used to get angry at my parents for not relating to me when I am get really angry and consequently depressed. Then one day when I confonted my dad he told me that he just couldn't handle it. He asked me if it would help if he was depressed as I was. I said no. Then he explained how if he felt like that he probably wouldn't be able to go to work, and would feel as hopeless and powerless as I do. He asked if I wanted him to feel that way. I said no. Sometimes people don't understand that you want them just to say 'I'm sorry, that is horrible', and to validate your feelings and let you know it's not your fault, that they too would feel the same way if they wore your shoes. But to understand and help you people think that they have to have the answers, and therefore they have to go through the same thing themselves. It's not so much that they want to deny your experience. But dealing with your depression means they have to examine their own feelings and assumptions, the kind of thing that happens during a mid-life crisis. People usually don't want to consider what life would be like if they were stuck in unbearable pain and were powerless to get better. It is too scary for them. People don't imagine themselves in Haiti or Pakistan because they don't want to accept the fact that they could end up miserable even though they did everything they were supposed to. It's a hard reality that most people simply cannot face, won't face because they don't have an answer for how to be happy in such a situation. Don't take it personally, be happy they don't have what you have. Go to a doctor and get help, you NEED it. It's not selfish or sick, it's doing what little you can to get yourself better and be the best you can be for the rest of your family. You don't have to take anything you don't want to. And if you just take antidepressants like cymbalta, you won't notice a difference except for the fact that you don't get as low as you normally would. Trust me it's not cheating, it won't solve your problems for you. Love and accept yourself right now, it's more important than ever. Don't deny that you are in a crisis, you need help and understanding. If you don't get it at home find it elsewhere. In the meantime communication is the road to understanding in your family. Sit them down and tell them in an unselfish way, not blaming or accusing them of doing anything wrong, that you are hurting and are doing the best you can to get better, but that it is the hardest thing you have ever faced. This can be as painful for them as it is for you. Trust that they love you and don't know how to help, show them what you need and watch them try the best they can, but don't expect your hubby to go down the pit with you, it would destroy what he needs to keep supporting you. He says touhg it out because that's what he would try to do if in your shoes. Of course it wouldn't work and you would be there to tell him it's okay not to win, sometimes these things are more powerful than willpower, something most men don't like to admit. You have told them already how depressed you are, it probably sounds to them like nothing new, they already know, and it's a burden for them to think about it over and over. Of course they leave, but it's because they can't handle it either, it's not selfish its a knee-jerk reaction. You should find a group or a counseler. Even if they put all their effort into understanding they won't get it nearly as much as someone else who has CP or depression. Good luck and don't forget to take care of yourself. Remember getting better is not selfish or weak, it is what you need to do because you are a good mother and wife.
  • I have had the same feelings that you have. It's odd being a patient and a social worker all rolle dup into one, as I can see both sides now. Depression is such an odd "thing" to them, as they are used to dealing w/ pain - that had a clear cause. Now, they cannot see that you're in pain - so it's hard to know what to do and/or say. Seeking an outside opinion, or even someone to vent to is the best thing. I often turn to some of my coworkers to vent (and they do the same w/ me), as I worry about overloading the Hubby w/ all of my concerns/thoughts/moods. Hes been such a godsend for everything I need help with - but he's a such a typical guy ! In my experience, guys just don't how to help you, without fixing things... even if you just need someone to listen to you.
  • Newhouse,
    Our depression does impact on all those wishing to help us, it has been normal to think this type of illness we go away, my doctor said, depression takes quite a time to develop and an equal time to recover.

    You are brave for addressing depression head on and finding appropriate any supportive help at this time, it is understandable that given our continual pain depression does develop and not many go through chronic pain experiencing some aspect of its varied restriction.

    The sooner we deal with this developing feeling the less impact it may have in the longer term and for many depression and pain go together, intertwined for this periodic visitor. Medication usually gets us over the worst and enables us to feel with the right encouragement we can help ourselves. Those who care for us do not have any power in making all this go away and are best placed to be supportive, this may be the fist time dealing with a chronic pain patient and saying or doing the right things is never easy or natural, they need help and support also.

    Depression however it is measured is usually only a phase of chronic pain and even with that improving knowledge and understanding it is rarely possible to not experience depression, imposed changes may have dramatically changed our own world and it is right to get the help we deserve. Carers should be helped to understand the best way of helping us and as said, perhaps the doctor with address those concerns that your husband has, in our session of PM our loved ones explained in detail what it was like trying to support patients in pain, it was an enlightening and informative.

    We sometimes keep that inner turmoil to ourselves, even from our loved one and it benefits everyone if we discuss these thoughts with some individual detached from our situation if appropriate, who can provide support and encouragement. It is a strength to want to improve, as depression can isolate and tarnish all our attempts if we let it.

    I know some husbands who would not go to the doctor at all for whatever reason, so your husband should be applauded in his effort to try and help and support you at this time.

    Take care and I wish you both good luck.

  • hi! :H maybe you need to get someone outside of your home to talk with, a professional.i have found that my family is not able to meet all of my needs and they are many being a pain patient.. perhaps this is your case as well. there are lots of places to access someone to talk with,from the mental health community to community center practitioners to here at the forum (although we are not professionals).. sometimes i have found that it is best for my husband to not know everything..(he faces depression issues as well). i like having some thoughts being private and this approach allows that.. good luck to you and i hope you find some relief soon. Jenny :)
  • Yesterday my husband and I went to my appointment with the NS. Before we went in my husband asked me to be brutally honest with the doctor, I tend to say that Im alright when Im not. When we went in we talked about the usual and then discussed the depression. Wouldn't you know it that my NS has the same feelings about depression that my hubby has? He said that he believes that pain is 20% physical and 80% emotional and that if Im feeling agitated,crying, yelling it only increases my pain levels. He does not refer or perscribe anti-depressents and said that I should go see my GP if I feel the need too. He told my hubby that I have been through alot and my life will never be the same as before so when she gets down you need to let her talk it out even if you've heard it a thousand times before.Talking is the best medicine for this type of emotional stress. He strongly suggested dealing with this on our own for he feels that my GP would immediately put me on meds and he feels I don't need it. He said that what happened to you is awful but their are alot of others out there who are worse of than you and be thankful for what you have for you came to here 2yrs ago barely able to walk, I even fell in his office one time.He said I am a stong woman and can deal with this without being on meds.I was so pissed when I got in the car and my hubby had this smerk on his face, I know he wanted to say I told you so.We agreed that I would open up more to him but he had to respond with more that you'll be alright and deal with it. I told him sometimes I just need you to really listen to me without your here we go again attitude. I do think I will attend a support group that meets in my area just as a backup.
  • You had this response from your NS. My OS never quite gets or got it either.

    Telling someone that is actually depressed to "tough it out" is crappy advice and usually comes from those who don't, won't and or can't "get it" nothing you do will change their mind.

    When I first went looking for help my wife supported me doing so, but soon changed. She was totally convinced that once I was "better" I would leave her! Nothing I could say at the time would convince her otherwise.

    No one here can really say what you should do. I believe your intent to seek out the support group is a very good one. I did most of my "learning" at support groups. just remember, sometimes knowing what is wrong is just knowledge. Sometimes it takes more than that with depression. Don't be afraid to take care of yourself as it is very difficult to care for others when you are having trouble caring for yourself.

    I hope things turn around for you soon.
  • Newhouse,
    Our developing strategy is to dampen the luminosity of our condition and not inadvertently heighten it radiance beyond where it needs to be, it is understandable when that emotional 80% impacts on our traits or managed behaviour and in not knowing the best possible route, we create unhelpful modes of reacting to the most difficult of imposed changes.

    Taking therapy is effective for that element it is designed to address and you need to see some change and control rather than feeling all this is happening to you and you can do nothing about it. If we agree with the assertion that the entity of our whole condition is that 80/20 split, then we have some control in how we react to the emotional side, if we do the same things we will get the same results and in CBT change is implemented in doing an alternative strategy that dictates a substitute and improving outcome.

    We have to value and recognise the progress we have made, however small that is in relation to how we would like to be, having realistic expectations allows us to progress in what we can literally achieve rather than planning for continual failure, this takes time, patience and the correct support and encouragement.

    We all need to take the positive out of any support group that enable us to get us where we want to go and concentrate on what we can do. Wanting to be acknowledged is part of the management and coping process, this may well be the first time that patients have had the opportunity to come from behind the shadows and secrecy, those with more experience and competence should embrace that most difficult of stages from someone trying to help themselves.


  • My husband could give a rats ass less how I feel, or how much I hurt as long as the almighty paycheck keeps coming in. Drag myself in to work in pain and misery to keep that money train rolling. I am thinking I might get a divorce. I really don't like him at all anymore.
  • Newhouse I'm sorry you are going through all this. My husband is also a "get over it" and "my pain is worse". I've stopped trying to talk to him because I know it will make me feel worse. I'm lucky because most of the week there is 150 miles between us. Now if I could just get rid of the phone....hmm.

    I've thought about asking for something for depression and I've thought about counceling or a support group. I'm honestly afraid of getting hooked and I also don't like the idea of taking something that might mask my symptoms at least until I get an accurate diagnosis. I did do a support group years ago and the one thing I learned was to keep a clear head. It's easy for them to turn into pity parties or to be lead in one direction. The best thing I did was find someone to talk to about the meetings. She was my control and wasn't afraid to say "what kind of crap is that" when I told her what we talked about at the meeting.

    I'm not saying no to a support group - I might look for one myself - but I wanted to throw that warning out to everyone. Wrangler said his wife was afraid he would leave her if he got better -- leaving can be physical or emotional.
  • Mine have all been professionally run, one of the things they often told us was to process the meetings on our own for a day or two before discussing them with others. The idea was for us to form our own opinion without it being steered by others.

    As for getting "hooked" I guess that is a chance we who do these things take.
    Finding oneself to be Bi-polar and finding a medication that both works for this and pain, well, I guess that leaves me "hooked". But better for it.

    Depression in and of itself can change a personality, deeper and darker the hole can get if it is dug alone and no one holds a light so you can see how to climb out.

    To this day my wife will not read a book I suggest or try to understand depression, pain she is learning. But she turns away when I ask her about her knee as if I could not understand???

    Yes, you are correct we can emotionally leave. There is not even a need to open a door. I believe that 25 years together and 23 years of marriage deserves a chance to survive a little "emotional" bump in the road. In time it may indeed prove to be a rougher road than needs to be traveled. For myself I can only say she stood by me, took care of me and puts up with my B.S. days. Can I do less for her?
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