Help for the one not depressed?

There are a few things that you can do right now that might help you while you are waiting for your wife's energy and mood to improve.

My wife is depressed. She started some medication last week and her doctor wants her to see a therapist, too. Nothing has changed yet, but I am hopeful that she will get better.

At this time, I am more worried about myself. I have a stressful job, and then I come home to a messy house and fighting kids to discover that my wife has been sleeping most of the day.

The laundry, dishes, clutter and kids are out of control. I make dinner and spend the rest of the evening trying to catch up all the things that didn’t get done through the day. We just fight if I try to talk to her about it.

I am exhausted, angry and resentful and I don’t like feeling this way. I am not depressed, but is there any help for me?

Thank you for asking this question. You are not the only person to feel this way when a partner or family member suffers from depression.

Depression affects families, but resources tend to focus on the depressed person and leave the family out. It is great that your wife has started treatment because as her depression is addressed she will likely be able to participate more in the family and your workload will be lessened and things will improve for you.

There are a few things that you can do right now that might help you while you are waiting for your wife’s energy and mood to improve.

Ask for help. In posing your question you have already begun to do this. Don’t stop; keep on going. Ask for and accept help from many sources, friends, family, neighbours and professionals.

Things that are helpful include: listening and understanding, preparing meals, taking the kids for a while, driving kids to activities, etc. This is a time to let people help.

Hire people to help. It isn’t possible for one person to do the work of two for an extended period of time without succumbing to stress.  Consider hiring someone to help with the house cleaning, yard work or food preparation.

Suffering alone is not a good choice. Instead, talk to friends who may have dealt with depression. They might be able to offer some hopeful insights and practical tools for coping. Work with a therapist yourself. If you have extended benefits through work, therapy costs may be covered.

One of the most important things you can do is look after yourself — take a night off to do something you enjoy, get some exercise, take 15 minutes to yourself between work and home. Anything that lets you take a small break from the problems at home will be good for you and leave you feeling better able to cope.

Organize the environment so there is less work to do — simpler meals with planning for leftovers, establish a toy free zone in the house so there is one place that stays uncluttered, keep all eating in the kitchen (dishes spread around the house usually comprise much clutter).

Talk about depression with the kids. Kids often feel the same way you do about a parent’s depression only they tend to blame themselves for it. It is important for kids to know some facts about depression and that they didn’t cause it.

Your wife’s therapist may have some suggestions for you as therapy progresses. Couple’s therapy may be useful as the depression comes under control.

If you would like to ask a question of the counsellors, for a response in future columns, e-mail them at askpacific@shaw.ca. Consult a Counsellor is provided by the registered clinical counsellors at Pacific Therapy & Consulting: Nancy Bock, Diane Davies, Leslie Wells and Andrew Lochhead. It appears every second Friday.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter not done with the Comox Valley quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

This spring will be a time of transition for Island Voices chamber… Continue reading

From left—Rev. Ryan Slifka (minister, St. George’s); Ellen Wise (elder, St. George’s); Evangeline Mathura, (vice-president, Dawn to Dawn); Grant Shilling (outreach worker, Dawn to Dawn), with a cheque for $10,433.15.
Courtenay church donates more than $10,000 to transitional housing and support service

St. Goerge’s presents Dawn to Dawn with $10,433.15 cheque

A pine siskin is treated for salmonella poisoning at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) hospital, in Merville. Photo by Gylaine Anderston.
Salmonella poisoning in birds and pets a result of unclean bird feeders

Have you ever endured a bout of food poisoning? If you remember… Continue reading

Inside the new shop operated by Wachiay Friendship Centre. Jared Kotyk (left), Jan Kotyk, Paloma Joy, Tim Gagnon, Jonah Hill, Jennifer Corbett and Tally, the shop dog. Photo supplied
Wachiay opens store-front arts shop in downtown Courtenay

There’s still tailor-work in the back of old AnnSew site, with the store in front

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

442 Transport and Rescue Squadron from CFB Comox was tasked to assist Arrowsmith Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) in extracting an injured hiker off of Mount Arrowsmith on Jan. 17. Photo by Capt.Reg Reimer
442 Transport and Rescue Squadron assists in Mount Arrowsmith rescue

“The turbulent conditions … made the hoisting quite challenging.”

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Most Read