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My wife is depressed. Need advice please
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Hi all, I figured this might be a good forum for advice on how to help my wife. She is 40, I'm 42, we have 2 kids age 4 and 7.

She had mild anxiety and depression off and on most of her life but she pretty much figured out how to manage it after a lot of counseling and small dose of meds.

Fast forward to today, we have 2 young kids who are great, but present pretty typical young kid challenges. Listening, not fighting with each other, picking up, bedtime and eating are major struggles. They are great kids but raising them is tough. They are normal and healthy.

My wife is totally burned out from them. I'm worried because she has no joy around them and she admits she is sad about this but doesn't know what to do. The kids need positive reinforcement, but she is struggling to get them to follow directions because she can only focus on the negative behaviors.

We talk about this off and on, but tried to talk about it again last night. She acknowledged she is depressed but has no plan to try and defeat it. She is going to wait it out until the kids get older or it goes away. I ask about counseling, but she said she's been through it a bunch of times and they are going to reteach self care and other techniques she already knows.

Any advice? Our relationship is suffering, we don't talk about anything fun anymore. Her relationship with the kids is fine, but could be way better. She stresses me out because she's always frustrated by the kids. She has tons of vacation time this summer, a first for her, but she has no idea how to spend it because she says there is nothing she is excited about anymore. Our family fun time is no fun because we can't go 10 minutes in the car without her yelling at the kids to stop kicking the back of her seat or making certain kid noises.

Thanks for any advice.
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [Triocd] [ In reply to ]
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I often find myself feeling the same way as you describe your wife's feelings. I have three kids, the oldest one is 5. I also feel overwhelmed and exhausted by my "mom voice" and there are days when I feel nothing can snap me out of it. It's hard to be needed 24 hours a day.

Does your wife work? Or exercise in a group? I found having appointments outside the house to he helpful when I had post partum depression.

One point that I would find concerning is that your wife doesn't want to do anything about it. That's really too bad. Counseling could help her identify triggers and help come up with strategies to cope. Having young kids is really hard and I know a lot of couples in the same position you are. Before our third child, I would say us included. I doubt it will magically get better when your kids are older.

What helps me is exercise, writing in a journal and having time occasionally to do whatever I want without needing to check with someone if it's OK. It might sound trivial (or sad) but I love going into the city alone for a few hours even if I don't accomplish anything. Just having the freedom to choose which direction I go in for once can make a big difference.

When I was really struggling with PPD, this helped me https://www.motherhoodandmore.com/sometimes-i-cry/
Last edited by: slink: Apr 28, 22 8:06
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [slink] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for the reply! My wife works and has a lot of hobbies, she just has no time for them.

She works roughly 8-4 and gets home around 4:30. She loves gardening, painting, journaling, and runs with a neighbor 2-3 times per week. She's sort of an introvert so she's never really liked social activities of more than a few people. She made some great friends and support at baby mom's group, but that sort of fizzled now that the babies have grown up. She still has a few friends she talks to or has dinner with occasionally from moms group and they all have their unique kid/family challenges. My wife also journals a lot. Her ideal day is having time to garden, paint, and run and I'm happy to take the kids away for a day/weekend but she doesn't really ever want me to. Maybe she feels guilty or maybe she would miss us, I'm not sure.


Would family therapy be better than individual counseling for her? We need some strategies for handling some kid behaviors and also need some help with me and my wife's relationship since our relationship has sort of been not as great lately due to everything.
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [Triocd] [ In reply to ]
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I found the book Transforming The Intense Child and the accompanying book for teachers (I teach 2nd grade) The Nurtured Heart Approach very helpful. The entire approach is very positive even when in the midst of tantrums or difficult behavior. They have online videos if reading a parenting book is not your thing.

Not trying to push religion but we were faced with some difficult health issues earlier this year and were pretty stressed out. LifeChurch online has a series of messages about reframing how you view your situations, maintaing a positive outlook even when in the midst of struggles.

My daughter used to kick the back of my seat all the time. It is super annoying. Fast forward and my kids are 14 & 16. I ride in the back and my son rides in the front just to avoid their squabbles when we travel!
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [Triocd] [ In reply to ]
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it sounds like maybe couples therapy might be helpful, and maybe she'd be open to meds again? As someone who has been in therapy loads, I get her resistance to individual therapy. Also can you plan more times to get a babysitter and do stuff just the two of you?

maybe she's born with it, maybe it's chlorine
If you're injured and need some sympathy, PM me and I'm very happy to write back.
disclaimer: PhD not MD
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [Triocd] [ In reply to ]
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I would suggest a medical appointment. My mother suffered from depression and it wasn't until they found that she had actual chemical imbalances and was put on medication to regulate that, that she improved. And the improvement was dramatic. Good luck.

clm
Nashville, TN
https://twitter.com/ironclm | http://ironclm.typepad.com
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [Triocd] [ In reply to ]
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I feel like she and I are kindred spirits.

It's not a kid problem, it's a her problem. I say that lovingly and from a place of perspective. I can tell exactly when I'm feeling overwhelmed, tired, sick, burnt-out, needing a break - based solely on how I react to the kids. When I'm in a good place, the usual kid stuff (that isn't going to magically go away as they age) is either funny or mildly irritating. When I'm not my best self - I want to strangle them and yell at them. My kids are 10 and 5.

SHE needs to change. I suggest a dr and some anti-depressants.

It sounds like you are on-board to be there and support her (go you - it can be a thankless job). If she can start getting some help via meds, she might find the desire to make things better.

Being down is such a bleak place and saying "I'm depressed" usually doesn't encompass just how debilitating it is.

Best of luck and feel free to PM me.
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [edbikebabe] [ In reply to ]
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Here's a brief update. Thank you for everyone's feedback so far.

Both kids had a cold last weekend and slept like crap so it was an exhausting, rough weekend for everyone.

My wife and I have been trying to talk the past couple weeks to come up with a plan. As I mentioned before she didn't really have an action plan to tackle this, but that has been changing quickly for the better.

Through talking, we realized she is having a "mom midlife crisis" which is actually pretty well documented online, although the mens get all the midlife crisis attention. She doesn't feel like herself anymore. She used to be creative, artistic, fun, excited about hobbies and now she feels like she is parenting/needed ALL the time and the brief downtime we get when the kids go to sleep we are both too tired to do anything creative or fun. One question I asked her recently was "how do we get her to feel more like herself again" and she decided to get a tattoo (really surprised by this, because we aren't tattoo people) but she wants to feel spontaneous and exciting so I'm cool with a tattoo of a lavender flower on her arm. She has an appt to speak with the artist next month to see if she will move forward with it.

She also decided to get an electric bike so she can commute to work more and bring the kids all over the place to parks and go grocery shopping etc. It's kind of an expensive impulse buy (almost 5k!) but she's really excited about it and I think we will all use it a lot. She used to bike commute to work a lot but it's too much of a workout nowadays without some motor assistance. She test rode a few at a shop yesterday and borrowed a friend's to bike commute earlier in the week and totally loved it. I'll use it a lot over the summer with the kids because I'm with them all summer because I have the summer off.

Lastly, she met with her PCP yesterday for her annual and discussed her crappy mood. The doctor is recommending a treatment "team" which will involve the PCP, a psychiatrist, and a counselor all working together to develop the best treatment program. She seems really excited about this and has her psychiatrist appt in a few weeks.

The kids are great, but still really tough. The 7 year old is a sweetheart but she whines constantly. It's like she doesn't have a normal voice anymore, just a whining voice and that is like nails on a chalkboard to my wife (and me too). Any ideas on addressing this?

The younger one (4) is a bold, adventurous athletic kid but she is really stubborn and can sometimes be mean to get attention. She has been mean to a current preschool friend by saying I don't want to play with you and you aren't my friend and then laughed at the teacher when pulled aside to address this behavior. It's a work in progress.

I feel like there are few consequences we can give the kids for whining, poor behavior, or making a mess. Timeout doesn't work at all and "no screen time" or "no dessert" is not always an option. Anyone have any good recommendations for kid consequences that work?
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [Triocd] [ In reply to ]
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I'm so happy to hear that things are moving in a positive direction for your wife. The fact that she is excited about things is a huge win. I hope she continues to find ways to feel like herself and not just "mom".

The whiny thing is awful. I bet it has become a habit with her and she hardly notices she does it. I'd sit down with her when things are calm and good and explain that you will only respond to her when she uses an appropriate voice/tone. The follow through might be hard - but ultimately worth it. Alternately - you use a whiny tone every time you interact with her...

Instead of punishment, I'm going to suggest a reward chart. My son was having lots of bathroom accidents and there was no "punishment" that he cared about. So I drew 4 squares on a piece of paper, let him choose a reward (seeing my niece's dog and going for ice cream). The deal was every day that he went without an accident he got to put a sticker on the paper. After we got to 4 he got the reward.

The good thing about this is it's flexible and there are a million different ways to do it AND it gets you all on the same team, working towards something awesome. It's probably going to take a while for the "bad stuff" to die off completely (and by then something new will take it's place), but it's infinitely better than always being negative and the bad guy.

You could even do a chart for the whining.
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [Triocd] [ In reply to ]
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You say your wife has no time for hobbies. Maybe you could do something with the kids one day/morning at the weekend, so that she could go off and do something alone.

Every time you daughter whines, take something she likes away she loves (her favourite toy) and she doesn't get it back until she does something nice. Sounds harsh, but she'll soon get the message.
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [Triocd] [ In reply to ]
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I’m late to this thread but so many things I can relate to in your wife and as a spouse to someone who had a very low period that was really tough on us both. “mom mid life crisis”!!!. I feel this in my bones. Never heard of it but it makes so much sense. Aging in general keeps me up at night, and especially with young children, it creates a stress, anxiety (which I developed postpartum pretty severe), the loss of freedom, losing part of your identity bc of kids, body will never be the same again, and IMO the biggest thing behind the anxiety, is the “Mom over stimulation”. Starting with pregnancy, feeling like crap, your body changes, childbirth, C section, recovery from that with a newborn, lack of sleep, breastfeeding, constant touching, sacrificing your body, then as they age, the whining, still constant touching, crying, (for me- our two dogs barking at everything is like that nails on the chalkboard you speak of), being asked questions like I’m freaking Google by either my kid or husband all the time after I’ve worked all day, even the phone ringing on vibration, etc. OVER STIMULATED MOTHERS are not good physically or mentally. That’s a huge part of the burnout for me. I’m (and prob your wife too) constantly in a partial or full state of over stimulation, every loud noise makes me want to cover my ears- and go “La La La La La La”. I actually put headphones on or earplugs on some days. It’s like living in flight or fight. It can be miserable and depressing.

I’m lucky I’m not depressed in general- but I have episodes. My outlet is training, it’s my reset, especially after a long weekend. Swimming is my first love so I get to the pool each week. My husband has to carve out that time from his insanely busy work schedule for me to get there, or I will legit need to be checked into a psych ward. I now recognize over stimulation and when I’m at a limit (i yell at the dogs to shut up, or snap at my kid, or just feel that feeling like I’m going to explode). I break the feeling by taking a break, by going for a walk, swim, run, even just go take a shower in silence… scream in a closet, whatever I can do to reset my brain and calm the F down. Depression/anxiety I’m able to curb it usually with talking it out, so you guys talking and talking and talking this death is probably such a release for her and you! I take supplements like St. John’s wart but if it was continuing as bad as it had gotten before I sought out therapy I’d have turned to pharm drugs for sure. No shame in that. For me Knowledge of the triggers and the level I’m escalating to is power and gives me back a sense of control.

Your wife getting a tattoo is awesome. (They are addictive ;). Theres something in the pain, permanence, and ownership of making that decision to permanently ink your body, when many think it’s taboo, which is powerful. Sounds like she’s creating an new part of her identity for herself, post childbirth, which I think will help her. We gain so much becoming moms, I love being a mom, but I’ll say it, there are days i hate it too… I’m grateful and sometimes resentful, I’m in love with my little girl, i adore her and sometimes I’m like WTF? What demon has possessed her today? I mourn the freedom i had and the risk taker I was before my daughter, but I wouldn’t trade my life now for anything. It’s a crazy mental state to live in constantly. The opposing thoughts bouncing around in our brains. I can’t be the only mom who feels this way. And you know what? My husband admittedly doesn’t understand or feel ANY of this, but he supports me. Which it sounds like you are trying to do. That’s so important for her to know. I’m not crazy- I’m just over stimulated, burnt out, and I need alone time. 🤷🏼‍♀️

I don’t have advice for the whining. Although, I do love the advice given.. positive reinforcement vs punishment is worth a try! Can’t hurt! Maybe explain in real talk that there are better ways for her to express her feelings when she’s raging, upset, bc most importantly WHAT she has to say, good or bad, is super important to you. Explain the way she’s communicating isn’t allowing her to show what a strong, powerful, confident girl she is! Maybe encouraging calming techniques in the moment and reminders you WANT to hear her the content not the noise. Hopefully mastering a communication skill could be something she can do for herself and feel good about bc I know crying, whining, raging, feeling out of control is a horrible feeling… But, ugh, that’s a tough one, I don’t know, my kid is only 4. We are simply working on breath technique when she loses her shit. Tantrums are totally normal, I get that, but we really work on learning to calm down, THEN talking our feeling out, versus screaming them with tears, with me losing my shit too. She’s improving a lot, (me too), but I have to come at her with a calm, patient presence- non reactive. “Mom is here to listen and help you learn how to cope and work thru this” mentality. So hard some days. But shift your mind to your are there to help her learn to communicate better, teach her to cope, bc they don’t know how to. I wish my parents had taken this approach instead of yelling at me to stop crying, whining, etc. Just fueled the fire.

I’ve blabbered on long enough. I just empathize so much with your wife, and you bc you sound like my husband, wanting to help. I hope you guys keep improving. Everyone is so different so what works for me and my kid might not work for anyone else. But know you are not alone! My husband is dealing with my mom mid life crisis too;)

Team Zoot
Conejo Valley Masters Swimming
Conejo Valley Triathlon Team
Go H2okies!
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [ In reply to ]
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I agree about the award chart. My 7 yo grandnephew responded big time to that at karate. Sensai Gary has a chart with things like practice at home, no issue at school, make your bed, etc. You get a certain number of squares filled in and they get a "prize". Works really well for that age.

Glad to hear things are going well thus far.

clm
Nashville, TN
https://twitter.com/ironclm | http://ironclm.typepad.com
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [GoH2Okies] [ In reply to ]
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Solidarity!! It sounds like you are doing all the right things to stay healthy and productive.
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [Triocd] [ In reply to ]
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Triocd wrote:
Hi all, I figured this might be a good forum for advice on how to help my wife. She is 40, I'm 42, we have 2 kids age 4 and 7.

She had mild anxiety and depression off and on most of her life but she pretty much figured out how to manage it after a lot of counseling and small dose of meds.

Fast forward to today, we have 2 young kids who are great, but present pretty typical young kid challenges. Listening, not fighting with each other, picking up, bedtime and eating are major struggles. They are great kids but raising them is tough. They are normal and healthy.

My wife is totally burned out from them. I'm worried because she has no joy around them and she admits she is sad about this but doesn't know what to do. The kids need positive reinforcement, but she is struggling to get them to follow directions because she can only focus on the negative behaviors.

We talk about this off and on, but tried to talk about it again last night. She acknowledged she is depressed but has no plan to try and defeat it. She is going to wait it out until the kids get older or it goes away. I ask about counseling, but she said she's been through it a bunch of times and they are going to reteach self care and other techniques she already knows.

Any advice? Our relationship is suffering, we don't talk about anything fun anymore. Her relationship with the kids is fine, but could be way better. She stresses me out because she's always frustrated by the kids. She has tons of vacation time this summer, a first for her, but she has no idea how to spend it because she says there is nothing she is excited about anymore. Our family fun time is no fun because we can't go 10 minutes in the car without her yelling at the kids to stop kicking the back of her seat or making certain kid noises.

Thanks for any advice.

Dude, not a women, have not read other replies.. but from reading this, I can really tell you only 1 thing... GET HER MENTAL HEALTH... I have posted some in the lav. room about my journey. I still have issues, and should but am not in therapy, but the drugs I am getting have literally changed my outlook on life. I read what your writing, and can relate, which is kind of scary to me... Lucky for me kids are grown, with younger kids, I don't think I could have handled kids and those feelings... I am totally serious, talk to her Primary or have her do it.. she needs help, sadly the only way to get it for her is for her to decide, but you can support, and suggest, its a very fine line, You can talk to her primary so they know of things to ask, to maybe get her help, you can talk to her, and suggest she gets help (this i feel from personal experience helps a bit but not much) maybe start therapy yourself and then get her to join you..

Sorry to sound scary, but well all I can say is I am glad we did not have a gun in our house... if you do... REMOVE IT dont secure it REMOVE it.. Sorry this may seem over the top, but reading what you wrote and going through what I have.. its all to familiar. Yup I have had a bit to much drink...

okay daughter interrupted went back to your post.. she admits she is sad about this but doesn't know what to do. ,,,, She acknowledged she is depressed but has no plan to try and defeat it. She is going to wait it out until the kids get older or it goes away. I ask about counseling, but she said she's been through it a bunch of times and they are going to reteach self care and other techniques she already knows. BULLSHIT, she needs drugs... sorry to be so blunt, I thought I needed therapy, but ended at a PA that did mental health drugs. Once they got the right drugs it was night and day.. no I mean literally you hear people say, they day's just seem to be brighter.. its true... my sister had the same revelation.. working to find the right combo for my daughter.. unfortunately it takes times, but when they get the right ones it takes day..

Yes I am overly passionate about this, thanks to a brain tumor I lost to many years of my life sitting around, at times, nearly lost my life... if you want to PM me.. feel free... With little ones in the picture this is not something, i feel you can sit by and wait for.. I lost teens to 20s with my kids. I mean I was partially there for things, but was not there like I know now I could have been. with younger kids, I really don't want to think about it..

Just Triing
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Triathlete since 9:56:39 AM EST Aug 20, 2006.
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [Triocd] [ In reply to ]
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Triocd wrote:

Lastly, she met with her PCP yesterday for her annual and discussed her crappy mood. The doctor is recommending a treatment "team" which will involve the PCP, a psychiatrist, and a counselor all working together to develop the best treatment program. She seems really excited about this and has her psychiatrist appt in a few weeks.

So glad to read this... hope all is going well (just looked at date of OP)

Just Triing
Liking ST more since finding the block user post option.
Triathlete since 9:56:39 AM EST Aug 20, 2006.
GM employee, The views and comments posted are my own and in no way reflect those of GM. - Required legalize from employer.
Be kind English is my 2nd language. My primary language is Dave it's a unique evolution of English.
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [DavHamm] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you for sharing your experience Dave. Glad you are doing much better.

clm
Nashville, TN
https://twitter.com/ironclm | http://ironclm.typepad.com
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Re: My wife is depressed. Need advice please [Triocd] [ In reply to ]
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Mrs Sheridan here.

When was the last time you went on a date or made time for you as a couple rather than you as parents? A proper date allocating time to doing something that you both love? Make time in your schedule. A romantic walk, watching a sunset, something that you can have a real belly hurting laugh at.

You say you are shattered by the time the kids go to bed but can you eat together after the kids have gone to bed once a week? Make the meal about you two rather than the family. Pretend you are dating again!

Good luck, hope you get the sparkle back.
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