Anxious Wife, Depressed Husband; Help!

saddadQuestion: “This is a multiple question…. We’ve been married over 15 yrs., 5 kids. My husband has been self employed most our marriage and done well until a couple years ago. When the economy changed drastically, so did our lives. We moved 300 miles away to make another venture work and all that seemed to happen was my husband getting depressed. He has never been depressed or anxious until this point. In this time we lived mostly be selling our excess of things or odd jobs but that could only last so long. He was feeling bad for everything and more. My biggest issue is our finances and dealing with the ups and downs of depression and anxiety. It is not my want to be real involved or decisive in money. Yet he is making a lot of bad decisions, some I know and others I think I know. He is just trying to get from one day to another but the choices I feel are making our situation worse. Checking accounts in a bad way etc. our credit is shot from all our previous choices. I don’t feel ingenious enough to get him to get a good job, or find ways to make the money needed to live. I will stress on $ when we are trying to decide on what to do with $ and he says he will make it work (which is saying he wants it and let’s do it and maybe he’ll make it work)….. I hate hearing that. When it comes down to it, he is more stressed and pressured to figure something out. He was suicidal for a while and was seeing a therapist. When he feels overwhelmed he feels that he is going back into that darkness. I am barely hanging on myself and have my own anxiety issues, how am I suppose to continue this way? I get very angry very easily with the situation, dealing with kids and life, etc. Now with the holidays coming and to be “happy” and afford anything for the kids is more pressure coming our way. I know I am babbling, and am randomly just talking, sorry. He did hold a job for awhile but it just felt like we were trying to catch up and never quite there. We have also tried to lessen our outgo of $ each month. We have moved several times in the last 2 yrs and our bills seem to just continue to get behind. We have been doing better going to church but it is our weak area. We both feel with all our bad choices and lack of spirituality in our lives it is never going to get better. He is finally actively working on getting a job that should pay the bills but there are so many things we are behind on, I feel like we are drowning and there is no help to get us afloat. How do we remedy this when with choices he has made or I have made that have caused us and our family so much agony and stress? The financial choices are of Satan and how do we right this? I have so much guilt for allowing it to happen or helping my own self. What can I do to truly find peace? Thank you in advance for any of your time you spend on this. Any answer I feel will make it better.”

Answer: Thanks for writing. From your post, it appears that you are dealing with a ton of stress and anxiety produced by financial pressures as well as being a mother and wife. It also sounds like from your report that your husband is suicidal that he is really struggling too. He must feel the pressure of providing and struggling to do so really does usher in depression for many men, especially during this time of recession and financial struggle. I’ll get right down to the key points below that can help you along on your path.

Sounds like you are feeling pretty guilt ridden due to the choices he has made and ones you have made. The fact is, you cannot change what you did, that is water under the bridge. Don’t let your mind obsessively think about “what if” that only tires you more mentally and spiritual and fuels the guilt and at times shame. Guilt is the “I feel bad for the financial decisions I made” and can grow worse to shame which is “I am a flawed or ‘bad’ mom for making those decisions.” At this point, you really need to regroup with him. You mentioned not wanting to be in on the finances. I suggest you toss that old idea that he’ll be the one to run things and instead shoulder the load with him. Shouldering looks like making a budget and discussing the financial setting you are in openly with him. He may feel alone and that he can handle it, most men do; but they can’t. They need their wife’s support and love. In light of his past depression and darkness and suicidality he really needs to be ‘yoked’ with you. So, don’t wait, join him together. I know you must be buried with your own duties and tasks as a mother of five children. Just that task alone without the financial stress is overwhelming.

The kids must sense it on some level. They may not be aware of all the details but they are very perceptive at picking up on vibes and dynamics that shift as parental moods fluctuate with anxiety and depression. I recommend that you join one another on a mission to unite your marriage first off. Speak with your husband about your fears and concerns. Hopefully he can listen and support you as he listens. Also, ensure you ask about his. Create a plan, something that is achievable and measurable. Moving forward in a plan to ‘try harder’ isn’t’ going to cut it. You need to have discrete steps of what you’ll do. Again, you cannot fix the past, merely author the chapter you are in now! I realize there are chapters you’ve written in your family legacy you don’t like but you’ve got to get a grip now on the status of the family and get first things first. I highly recommend you read booklet, “One For The Money” it can help you start to sort things out.

You mentioned wanting peace. I have a few questions for you as a mother and wife. What do you do each day for you, just you? I call it self-care. You need to engage in some kind of self-care outside your mothering and being a spouse. So, get with some kind of self-care, go for a walk, read 20 minutes in a good book, buy yourself ice-cream on way home from grocery shopping etc. Next question, are you taking time to be still? Being still means being calm and meditating or pondering. This cannot look like your obsessing about finances but being still and getting centered and being present. Learning to be mindful and aware is key if you plan on feeling alert and rational in your parenting and emotional stability. Here are more details on mindfulness, please use this link to get the details on it. You also can glean blessings from the Lord, but only if you seek Him for them. I recommend that you bare minimum pray daily and plead with him about your situation. Also heading out to church and getting regular with that can help immensely. Also, ensure your husband is getting help regarding his clear clinical depression and suicidal thoughts. I realize money is tight but you cannot afford to not have him stable and rational. He needs help, please see that he gets it. If he is feeling like he needs to talk when he falls into the ‘darkness’ of thought as you spoke of it he can call toll free 24hrs a day 800-273-TALK and visit, this is a free service for all Americans that are depressed and that may be suicidal. This service is provided and supported by the federal government.

You can do it, it will take some work, a lot of it. You have a lot of work on your plate as a mother and wife. Don’t give up, your children need you. They are counting on you. May you be blessed as you move forward with your family.

One Response to 'Anxious Wife, Depressed Husband; Help!'

  1. Pam says:

    Wow…I could have written that question myself.
    I came upon your site, after pleading with God for help for me & my husband, just hours ago. I decided to search Google Books, found a book on depression, was reading the preview then the reviews, kept coming across this word ‘Mindfulness’, decided to Google it, and clicked a link which brought me to your site, but another page about mindfulness, where I saw the title of this exact post, in turn clicked it and here I am reading a post that I could have written verbatim (Minus 4 Children, w have an only son-A huge blessing)

    Thank You for this site…I thank God for answering my call so quickly and pray I can find help for us here. Our situation is dire…we are on that precipice of the edge of both of us giving up hope.

    Now, I feel maybe there I’d some hope. I’m returning to church tomorrow with or without him. Hopefully WITH both him & our son.
    I’m very excited to read more on your site as well.

    Thank you again!! I’ve got to find some peace somewhere and this ‘Mindfulness’ that I’m now going to begin to read more about will be a start as well.