I lived with my ex for 12 years, she was diagnosed with depression after our second child was born (5 years ago), although the symptoms that she described when meeting with the various doctors, I thought she had been demonstrating for many years, even prior to the children being born.
From that point on my life turned into a bit of a living hell, whilst I was very supporting and sympathetic, pretty much her depression seemed to be a passport to do what she liked, i.e. nothing she didn’t want to do really, expect run up huge debts on things we didn’t need, generally make a lot of mess (more than the children) threaten to kill herself if things were not going her way etc. In fact having been labelled as ill, she was justified in her own way to do what ever she liked.
I really tried hard to support her, I went to her sessions, tidied up behind her no matter what the mess was, excused her behaviour, etc.
It got to the point where she no longer looked at me as a husband or friend, I was just the whipping boy, she lost any respect for me, and so did I.
She takes all sorts of medication, things to help her sleep, wake up etc. As far as I can tell she will be on them for the rest of her life, she likes being ill, she is constantly looking for things to label herself with; the latest quest is attempting to prove that she is diabetic. She was convinced that our son was ill in some way.
Anyway the eventual strain that this put on our relationship was too much, and we separated about a year ago, I came to the conclusion that I could never be happy if we stayed together, and she no longer loved me.
I miss the children massively, even though they stay with me just less than 50% of the time.
Whilst she used her depression as an excuse between her and I, most of the time she seemed to be completely healthy to everyone else. They did see however how she treated me, when it came to light that we were separating, I was very surprised to find that pretty much everyone was very sympathetic towards me, and that they didn’t think I was abandoning her, more like I had been a saint to put up with it for so long!
I thought I would just share my experience with you; yours may well be very different. The one thing I would say is that no matter how ill your partner, you deserve an opportunity to be happy, in my case staying with my ex, that would have never been an option for either of us.
From my experience (which may not obviously apply) the frustration is actually half the problem. You need to realise that you cannot make anyone do anything, he will not take responsibility, you do the things that need doing so he doesnt have to. Having said that my stbx still takes no responsibilty but fortunately i no longer have to deal with it. You need to come to terms with these things. It is a grief process in its own right, your grieving for the man you married, your angry that he isnt the same etc. You need to start living your life for you and your kids now in the best way you can because you need to be strong for them. Not all the answers will come straight away but once you start recognising and doing things for your life it will help.
It is sad .. yet comforting .. to hear the stories that are being shared on this thread.
I have felt that I risk being judged for "deserting" a poor sick man. That is certainly the way he and his legal team are going to try to portray it.
I just wish all of you could come to court too to explain just what it is like living with someone like this .. I feel I have given nearly years to this man already .. now he wants even more to "punish" me for not doing enough.
Kathleen - having him still there must be very hard for you. I am afraid I have no practical suggestions to help. But try as hard as you can to create your own space even in this difficult environment. You will get through this .. and in the end you will be very glad you did.
Just for info for people,,,,,a good book i read when i was coming to the end of being able to cope with my stbx depression was depression fallout by anne sheffield.
Until reading this i was under the impression that the blame and self pity were to do with me, no where did i read these were also symptoms or reactions, oh i read all the other symptoms and researched it and researched and researched.