I need your prayers
My DW and have I have been married for almost 14 years and we have 4 children together (9,6,2, 2 months). She struggles with really bad postpartum depression. With every single child, she had threatened to leave me or divorce me because of it.
She has a really hard time controlling her anger at times as well. So when she gets angry and one thing that anger just rolls into other things making small things, suddenly really big. The depression just makes it worse.
She constantly complains to me about the way I do things, or the way I say things / communicate. According to her the way I communicate isn’t like the rest of the world and she is the only one who is willing to say anything to me about it. Granted communication isn’t my strong suit and I know there are areas I can and need to improve in. But honestly there are times I feel as though she is trying to change me completely instead of loving me for who I am.
All of this leads to arguments and disagreements frequently, including in front of the kids. Which I absolutely hate. When she gets angry I try and avoid her or just not respond, but that makes it worse.
I’m really struggling right now and don’t know what to do. Honestly there are times I just want to say, leave. This added stress isn’t doing her or I any good.
Today was one of those days we argued when I went home for lunch and I could see in my kids eyes they were scared and wanted to cry. But I didn’t know what to say or do because I was so worked up, so I kissed them all (and my DW) told them I loved them and went back to work.
I could really use your prayers right now.
Oh, scoutwes, my prayers go out to all of you. We’ve been there in our marriage and are now on the other side. There is hope.
What help is your wife getting for this? What you are describing is so typical of depression – the anger, the difficulty communicating, the needing to escape. I would also suspect that her mind is racing and that she can’t focus on one thing for very long. There is excellent help out there for people in your situation.
Forgive me for saying this, but this is too big for one man to handle. God has created experts for this purpose. You can ask your wife to speak to her doctor with you. If she won’t go with you, ask if she’ll allow you to drive her and she can go in by herself. If she refuses to go altogether, then I suggest making an appointment with a therapist for yourself. Pastors can be good, but only if they understand mental illness. And a pastor worth his salt will make sure you seek professional help. A good therapist / psychologist will help you navigate this as the husband.
Use I statements when you speak with her. “I’m so worried about you. Can we see a doctor together so I can learn how to help you?” Don’t make her feel like she is at fault. Trust me, she already feels that way and is actively trying to deny it. It’s one of the biggest components of depression. You threaten her denial if you call her on it, and that makes you the bad guy. Remember, you aren’t fighting her. You’re fighting the illness that’s causing her to act this way. And she can’t control what that illness is making her do.
There are also many books written for the spouse of a depressive. I highly recommend picking one up if you haven’t already.
I have walked miles in your wife’s shoes. Depression can feel like a deep pit from which there is no escape, and the people who are there to help you are just dumping more dirt on you. That’s not the reality, but it’s what the depressed person is feeling. At my worst, I asked my husband for a divorce and secretly contemplated disappearing to Alaska because I thought it would fix my problems. I really just wanted to escape my pain, and depressives don’t escape pain in rational ways.
Please know that her anger with you is more than likely misdirected anger at the pain she is feeling. When she gets help identifying the root cause of her anger and managing her depression, these issues will subside.
I also recommend getting someone to come in and help her. Depression is tough enough without adding 4 kids to the mix.
And.. I pray it doesn’t come to this… any word she speaks indicating that she’s thinking about self harm is a 911 call. It just is.
But I close by reminding you that there is hope. I have been through this, and my family is much stronger on the other side.
On my knees praying for you brother. I want to lift you by saying you are doing well to see the big picture here, keep focused on that big picture and what is best for your family. It will take patience and hard work on your part, but you not looking at only yourself is huge. Start with immediate things you can do to lift and strengthen her. Pray for His wisdom and His help; He will hear you.
Absolutely agree 100% with DoveGrey! I’m guessing instead of her “postpartum” depression “going away” each time, it has really been merely receding, a little less each time, until she is just staying at the height of depression. Find a counselor ASAP and don’t be afraid to ask about his/her beliefs and philosophies before sending your wife in for treatment. Check with a doctor about medication; she will do most of the work healing herself (or being healed by God) through her counseling, but the medication paves and smooths the way for her to get the work done. I’m glad you are watching her carefully for signs of self-harm; it can happen when you least expect it. And by all means, yes, get someone to come in and help with the kids–preferably someone who understands that she is likely also struggling with feelings of self-doubt and -loathing and who will take pains to not appear to be a more competent replacement.
You are all in my prayers. May God bring each of you peace and healing.
P.S. If the Holy Spirit leads you to make apologies because that’s what she needs to hear in a moment of extreme emotion, fine; but do NOT internalize any blame for this situation (unless the Lord convicts you of actual sin of which we are not aware.) Depression is an illness, not a moral failing on her part or yours or anyone else’s. Do not accept false guilt!