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SueC's situation sounded very familiar to me! Our daughter was diagnosed with BiPolar Disorder (as was her Grandmother). Her husband was very supportive. She was under psychiatric care, and kept her appointments and was compliant with her treatment plan. She is a very creative person and now makes her living as a potter. She was very active in the local arts community, and her husband (a model railroad buff, incidentally) participated with her.

And then he developed depression. He withdrew more and more. He all but stopped working on the house they were building together. After all the support he had given her, she was very willing and eager to support him in any way she could. But he absolutely refused treatment of any kind. Wouldn't you think that seeing what a good treatment plan did for his wife he would be willing to try getting some help? But no, there was nothing wrong with him. He didn't need any help.

Both Daughter and her husband faced serious mental illnesses. Both are treatable. The different is she got treatment! I don't think it is fair to say, "Get over your depression or else!" It is reasonable, I think, to say, "I'll help you all I can, but you must seek treatment. Your depression is affecting our marriage. That is important to me."

After trying everything she could think of she divorced him and moved to another state and got her art career off the ground. Ironically after she left, her ex-husband began to get active in several community issues, put out a newsletter for one of them, and got active again in completing the house project. (I don't know whether he was being treated medically at that point.)

As SueC says, Daughter continued to care for her husband, but not as a husband. Divorce was a logical choice under the circumstances.

Retiredhub, I think that seeing a therapist yourself might be a good first step. That person can help you sort out your feelings and your options. Perhaps at some point your wife can join you for a session or two.

Then your options are either to stick it out and make the most of your retirement on your own, regardless of whether your wife will participate with you, or make a clean break of it and free yourself to move forward with the rest of your life.

I wouldn't issue any ultimatums just yet. But you should make it clear to your wife how very important this is to you. For example, let her know that seeing a therapist is about how to cope with her depression.

Having depression is not your wife's fault. Failure to seek treatment is.
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I agree 1000 per cent with Sue!

Is your wife refusing to see a psychiatrist, or refusing to see any doctor at all? Some people, it seems, are still put off by the idea of seeing a psychiatrist, thinking that it means that they're crazy, or that they'll be forced to reveal things they'd rather not talk about.

Will she discuss the depression with her regular doctor?
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As Sue said, don't let her drag you down. Her recommendations are very good.
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As Sue said, don't let her pull you down. Her recommendations are very good.
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Hi retired hub,
At 20 I married a man (25) who had undiagnosed depression. He exhibited all the symptoms of the disease but, at 20, I had no idea what was going on. Over the next 30 years, it got worse. He started sleeping 18 hours a day (on days off) and could barely drag himself out of bed to go to work. He resented HAVING to go to work. He resented any intrusion into his free time. He would go into his model train room, shut the door and not come out until dinner. I felt like a housekeeper (I worked too) instead of a wife.

We talked all the time about his problem. I finally got the courage to tell him I would leave him if he didn't try some of the (then) new antidepressant medication. He tried it for awhile (and it did help) but he took other meds also that made intimacy difficult, so he stopped the antidepressants.

I started drinking way more than I should of (both my parents were alcoholics at one point) but I realized I was "medicating" my situation, so I stopped. I went to therapy. That was right around the time I hit menopause. I knew that he would never change and I grew tired of the accusations he would throw at me because of his insecurities. I filed for divorce around our 30th anniversary. I hated to do it because I really cared for him but just not as a husband anymore. Maybe your wife's depression is not this severe.

What I'm trying to say is, if she won't go to therapy, you should. Buy books on the subject and give them to her. Maybe she'll read them. Educate yourself on the disease of depression. Focus on positive things and nurture your own life. Don't fall into the cycle with her. It drags you down, so keep up old relationships with friends. Go out and enjoy yourself, even if she won't go. You can't loose your love of life because of your loved one.
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