Home Depression Carolyn Hax: My partner’s depressed, and now I’m not feeling so great

Carolyn Hax: My partner’s depressed, and now I’m not feeling so great


But now I’m worried about me. I’ve been employed the whole time. So, I’m responsible for 100 percent of all our expenses. Because of his depression, I’m also responsible for most cooking and cleaning, and all the mental energy to do anything — plan a grocery store trip, remind him to go to the résumé class for career changers, make appointments, know where extra batteries are, where the remote control is, where his glasses are.

I am EXHAUSTED. And might also be feeling some depression due to the pressure. I’m not sleeping. I’m crying whenever I’m by myself, because if I cry in front of him about something, he goes on and on about how he’s caused it, he’s worthless and stupid (depression talking, for sure), and how I’d be better off without him. So, I’m also responsible for reminding him he’s not stupid, he didn’t cause whatever is upsetting me, and I’m really fine. I feel like I can’t do it anymore.

And I can’t do therapy myself. I have an $8,000 deductible. How can I afford a luxury like therapy? How do I manage my own emotions, and keep moving forward until his therapy starts working?

Exhausted: Oh, my goodness, I am sorry. Depression is exhausting to be around.

Therapy is not a luxury, though. I understand the massive deductible — such an outrage — so what about a support group? The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers programs for caregivers, including Family to Family: nami.org or 800-950-6264. I suspect just talking to the helpline staff will bring relief, that people know this problem and understand how you feel.

If you had any doubts that you’re in good company, allow fellow readers to dispel them. They recommended sliding-scale fees, students working toward a counseling degree, employee assistance programs, openpathcollective.org and the following:

●Sleep deprivation is a major health problem that makes it harder to deal with other problems. Talk to your doctor. Address that first.

●Your partner’s therapist may be able to recommend some resources for caregivers. They also may be able to talk with you in a joint session with your partner about how to best support the partner while keeping your own sanity.

●Volunteering somewhere will get a depressed partner out of the house and give him people who depend on him. My husband did that and it gave him a purpose.

●As someone who has been chronically depressed, much of it career-related, I highly recommend Buddhist podcasts from the Amaravati Monastery. We put so much stock in our working identities that any blip can send us into a tailspin. Meditation as well has been clinically proven to help with depression. Letting go of my own rigid beliefs saved my life.

●Much of situational depression stems from the lack of control you feel. Therapy can give you tools, PLUS make you feel as if you are doing something just by going, which helps. Sending good thoughts. You are NOT alone, you are being a hero to your partner, and you are very brave and strong.


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