When depression is the other woman

I had my suspicions a while ago. The distance, the silence, constantly on his phone…I knew something was going on. My worst fear was that he was seeing someone else, and it was true. Only the other woman was depression, and she has got her black claws well and truly in.

My partner, John, is severely, clinically depressed. He has had suicidal thoughts, so yes, you could say that things have hit rock bottom. He is under the care of the mental health team, has been prescribed a heavy dose of antidepressants, and is having cognitive behavioural therapy. Although he is getting the treatment he needs, the problem is me. As with most affairs, they start because of a problem at home. He blames me for it. For everything. There have been days (quite often), that I actually think he hates me.

In the absence of family (we both live miles away from everyone), a social life (he’s never really made any friends here), and the added pressure of a small child and working shifts, things have taken their toll – and unfortunately I am the emotional punchbag. He is angry. Really fucking angry. I’ve dealt with depression my entire life, both personally and with friends and family, and I don’t think I have ever witnessed this much rage and resentment. I’m putting it down to the fact that he is a guy. Maybe this is just how they deal with it. But my god it’s tough.

I know he’s looking for a reason for the way he is, it’s only natural to want to do so. But he is taking our relationship and putting every single thing under the microscope. Tiny, insignificant differences that we would normally laugh at are suddenly major problems. Every time we have a disagreement he thinks I am belittling him and speaking to him like a child. Every day he tells me he needs a break, some peace and quiet, or that he wants to leave for good. Everything I do he will find fault in or somehow take offence to. In fact he said that I don’t even have to say or do anything, I just annoy him in general, and his stress levels rise.

I know it’s normal for someone who is depressed to lash out and try to make their loved one feel as bad as they do, but it’s worn me down now. In the summer he told me he doesn’t love me like he used to – that one hurt. I’ve batted most of them off, but some of the vitriol he has spewed has stuck. When his ire has worn off, the guilt sets in. He cries, tells me he doesn’t mean it – that it’s him not me. But the cycle continues.

I don’t want him to leave, but he’s said it that often that I’m just at the end of my tether now. When you hear something that many times you start to believe it – ‘you’re the reason I am like I am’; ‘I’m a shadow of my former self because of you’; ‘you’re trying to control me’; ‘I don’t know who I am anymore’; ‘I don’t love you like I used to’; ‘I feel trapped’; ‘I’m leaving’…

It’s been going on for that long now that I don’t know who I am anymore. I’m trying desperately to hang on to him, to our family, but I can’t do it for much longer. Molly is seeing us arguing, me crying, her dad saying he wants to leave. The only way out I can see is for him to actually go – take me out of the picture – and hopefully he’ll see that the depression is still there, it’s not me that’s causing it. Or, he will actually be happy, in which case it was the right decision.

I hate depression. It has stolen my once beautiful, happy, charming boy and turned him into a pessimistic, bitter and spiteful man. To watch him look at me with so much resentment where there used to be love is just breaking my heart. I have literally been on my knees, crying, begging him to tell me what it is that I’ve done to make him this way, and he just stares at me blankly, with cold dark eyes.

He never reaches out to comfort me. Little things have really gotten to me – when he went to get his jacket out of the cupboard and mine fell on the floor, he just kicked it, didn’t even attempt to pick it up. How symbolic. The other night I went to hold him but he just carried on scrolling through Facebook and got annoyed when I asked him to put his phone down.

This man is the father of my child, and I am so desperate to help him get better – but at what cost? If someone told you every single day that you are the reason for their unhappiness, what would you do? How long would you hang around for? I’ve written him letters, bought him books, went with him to the doctors, talked, cried and let him scream at me. I cry every day. My anxiety is through the roof. I have to start thinking about myself now, surely. I’ve got a three year old daughter that has to come first, and needs protecting from this.

So I am preparing for him to leave, and to be a single mum (for a little while at least). I’m not actually scared though, just sad. So very sad at where we are and how we got here. I’m going to miss him, terribly. But she has got him now, and I need to accept that. I hope I get him back, but I don’t think it will ever be the same. Too much has been said, far too many tears have fallen, and the dark days have overtaken the sunny ones. I suppose the one good thing is that he told me about his suicidal thoughts without actually going through with it, or things could be much worse.

My self esteem has taken a battering, I’m constantly going back through every little argument we’ve had, analysing every word I’ve said, trying to piece together the reasons why he’s so unhappy. But everybody argues. I don’t know any couple that doesn’t, especially when they’ve been together for so long.

I know I’m not easy to live with either, and had such a bad time with post natal anxiety after Molly was born, but I’m not the crazy, controlling person he’s telling me I am. I’ve had to really give myself a mental shake up – I’m not a bad person; I don’t cheat; I don’t lie; I don’t spend any money on myself ever; I look after Molly and try to earn a little extra money for us through my business. So why does he detest me so much?

I’ve had to ask myself the question – is this actually depression or what the end of a relationship looks like? I’ve never been in this situation before, as it’s always been me who walks away first. Maybe I just need to face facts and admit that he’s just fallen out of love with me. God that hurts. But I’ve begged and pleaded with him, told him I’ll do whatever it takes to save our relationship, and he just shrugged his shoulders and said it’s gone too far.

And Molly, oh my beautiful girl. How on earth do I even explain this to her? She’s only three so I’m hoping she’s young enough to not be too affected by it. Kids are resilient, but I will forever be plagued by guilt every time we see a happy family. I’m so sorry baby, but I tried my hardest. Depression is just too cruel a mistress, and unfortunately she’s beaten me.

4 thoughts on “When depression is the other woman

    1. Thanks Kimberly…things are actually getting slightly better, although we have a long way to go. Felt great to just write it all down to be honest! Yes I have great friends & family to turn to. Thanks so much x

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