He’s Not Lazy, He’s Depressed :: My Husband’s Shocking Depression Diagnosis

Dear Husband,

It was almost over, you know. I couldn’t do it anymore. Life had gotten hard, and you had checked out. 100% completely checked out. I was doing it all. It got to the point where my therapist and I were processing how I’d leave. “If you stay, you’ll end up a bitter, resentful person. And that’s not you,” he said. I agreed. You were tearing me apart from the inside, seemingly sucking the life out of me. No argument or explanation could help you understand. I was exhausted, defeated, and had lost all hope.

I began searching for a new place to live, and I told you very matter-of-factly how custody would work with our child. I’d been preparing for that conversation for months, after all, since you mentally and emotionally left our home and all that was left was your physical shell, and even that wasn’t around too often. You were preoccupied with friends, drinking, golf and whatever else you felt like doing, which never included any of our home responsibilities. Child-care, pet care, finances, housework, vehicle maintenance … it all fell on me, and I looked in the mirror and asked myself “Why is he even here?” Your contributions were non-existent down to basic tasks that are done before leaving the house like adjusting the thermostat, turning off the lights or locking the doors. I thought you were selfish and I was disgusted with the way you manipulated me into marrying you to become your slave, because that’s what I felt I was to you.

depressionAfter that talk, I expected you not to care. At this point, I had deemed you a narcissist who would gladly move out and move on in no time. I’d prepared fully for that and was ready to fight a nasty court battle with you because that’s how narcissists handle divorce. I had money stashed away. I had bags packed. I was ready to fight. But what would come next would be the biggest surprise from you yet. You proved me wrong.

You showed remorse, like you usually do, but this time was different. You went to our therapist the next day, an appointment you scheduled on your own, and you begged him for answers. You begged him to tell you what’s wrong with you. Depression. Maybe it’s depression. When you told me this, I laughed. I immediately thought it was a cop-out and a way for you to make me feel sorry for you, but I had completely surpassed any possibility of compassion at that point. But you then made a doctor’s appointment where it was confirmed. Medication was prescribed. Depression. You have depression.

At this point I was still so jaded that I wasn’t willing to hear what you or any medical professional had to say. I was starting over on my own and while I wished you the best, I didn’t believe a word of it. We passed each other like ships in the night. I was living with a stranger.

Weeks had gone by before you tried to talk to me. You gave me the space I needed and you sat down after your series of therapy and doctor’s appointments and explained something to me in a way you never had. Your eyes were brighter. You took responsibility for your actions. You were ashamed at what you had done, but you were mostly upset because you felt it was out of your control somehow. You explained to me that you have felt as if you’ve been in a fog for a very long time and you simply didn’t know how to lift it. You explained that life has gotten so overwhelming that it’s made you feel as though you can’t do anything right, so why even try?

I’m aware of the silent crisis of men’s mental health. I know that men your age are at risk of suicide, panic attacks, violence and more. I empathize with women who experience changes in their husband due to testosterone levels and I understand when these women choose to stay with their husband despite their challenges because after all, depression is a disease. Knowing these things that I know, I began to wonder if I could have that same empathy for you.

I chose to try.

Every day you showed me a new part of you. You showed me the man I met and fell in love with. You’d let me know daycare was paid through the month and groceries were in the fridge. When I’d get home, you’d be working in the yard instead of drinking or sleeping on the sofa. You began managing our finances in a way I always knew you could, but wondered why you didn’t. When you’d get off work early, you’d decide to pick up our child instead of heading straight to the golf course until dark. You’d rid yourself of all the distractions that were coming between us and decided to focus on our family and your responsibilities here that you had so desperately neglected. Even though I still wasn’t speaking to you, it didn’t matter because you stopped telling me you were going to improve with words. You instead showed me with your actions. And let me just say, you got my attention.

It took several months to repair our marriage. And so you know, husband, I still have doubts. I’m still waiting for that man I thought was selfish and lazy to return. But every day you manage to show me that he’s not coming back. You’re a work in progress, as we all are, but I’m really proud of the progress you’ve made.

Most importantly, I’m grateful I gave you the grace you so desperately needed. I know you grew up in a home where pain was silenced, so I’m not sure why I expected you to know how to discuss it. I know you, and most men, don’t believe in talking about feelings and you certainly think labels like “depression” are excuses, because that’s what you’ve been taught. But I’ve seen you, husband. I’ve watched you fight to get well and fight for your family because in the end … you’re not lazy. You’re not a narcissist. And you’re not selfish. You’re depressed. I can work with depressed.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here