De­pres­sion can be treated by a pro­fes­sional

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PAUSE & PLAY - El­lie Tesher Ad­vice Read El­lie Mon­day to Satur­day. Email el­lie@thes­tar.ca. Fol­low @el­liead­vice.

Q-I’m 35, mar­ried to my wife for five years. We have a tod­dler to­gether. My wife no longer works out of the house, and takes care of our child. I work full-time.

My wife is some­times de­pressed. She has a ma­jor episode maybe once a month. She feels trapped, bored, de­spair­ing about her life and where she is.

Some­times in the mid­dle of the night she says she wants to run away or dis­ap­pear and will go for a drive, to who knows where.

When she’s in one of her moods, ev­ery friend is con­sid­ered wretched, ev­ery fam­ily mem­ber ter­ri­ble, ev­ery ac­tiv­ity bor­ing.

And ev­ery room of our house is de­scribed as a mess.

It's al­ways been this way - since be­fore we had our child, and since be­fore she stopped work­ing.

I’ve tried my best to make things right for her. I hoped that hav­ing a baby and stop­ping work at a job she hated would help.

I hoped that my do­ing the house­hold chores (I do all the cook­ing and most of the clean­ing, too) would help her be less de­pressed.

I hoped that her find­ing new friends to so­cial­ize with (which she did suc­cess­fully), would help.

I’ve tried to re­move ev­ery stres­sor, take ev­ery prob­lem away, but it seems like noth­ing we do changes the un­der­ly­ing prob­lem which never goes away.

I’ve pe­ri­od­i­cally pro­posed get­ting her to see a ther­a­pist, but as soon as she gets out of her de­pres­sion, she no longer sees the point of ther­apy.

She won't want to pay for it any­way, cit­ing fi­nances.

She re­jects the idea of med­i­ca­tion off­hand. She says she tried it all when she was younger and it didn't work.

I don't know how to make her happy.

Help­less Hus­band

A-There are so many well-meant but counter-pro­duc­tive mis­con­cep­tions in this ac­count of your wife’s monthly mis­ery and how it af­fects you too, that it makes me sad.

Be­cause there are so many ways to ap­proach this sit­u­a­tion that could be pos­i­tive and lead to healthy change.

There are phys­i­cal health and men­tal health is­sues at work here, and they need to be ex­plored.

Not do­ing so is hurt­ing both of you, and will ul­ti­mately af­fect your child too, be­cause of the neg­a­tive at­ti­tudes and un­happy en­vi­ron­ment that’s reg­u­larly cre­ated.

A monthly on­set of de­pres­sion in a men­stru­at­ing fe­male cries out for her see­ing a spe­cial­ist in en­docrinol­ogy, hor­mones, and de­pres­sion.

It’s a won­der­ful help that you cook and clean, but what’s driv­ing her moods can’t be stopped with­out un­der­stand­ing the source, and get­ting some or sev­eral forms of treat­ment.

When she “tried it all” as a younger woman, the “reme­dies” were based on knowl­edge now 15 or more years ad­vanced.

She may do well with to­day’s in­creased un­der­stand­ing of nat­u­ral treat­ments, or with cur­rent med­i­ca­tions for en­docrine and hor­monal is­sues, and/or with a ther­a­pist who can help her probe other causes for her re­peated de­pres­sions.

It’s not a spouse’s job to “make happy” his/her part­ner. Giv­ing sup­port and en­cour­age­ment are mu­tual tasks in a re­la­tion­ship, and you seem to be do­ing your best.

But her part in this sit­u­a­tion is to be pro-ac­tive about try­ing to make her life health­ier and hap­pier.

It’s not im­pos­si­ble in this case, since she has reg­u­lar time pe­ri­ods with­out de­pres­sion and neg­a­tiv­ity.

Please urge her to read this. Seek­ing and find­ing the right help and treat­ment from ex­pe­ri­enced pro­fes­sion­als, will change her life and all her im­por­tant re­la­tion­ships.

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