Grief or Depression

Dakota from Seattle, Wa

Q: We have been together 4 yrs and married for 1 1/2. My inner feeling is really messed up. I feel I’m angry and with fear … I don’t know why. I have problems trusting my husband, lack of sex interest, everything … I wondered why? I feel like I have anxiety that I worry about failing our marriage because of those feelings I have. My husband is just wonderful. I just want this mistrust feeling go away but I don’t know why its staying with me. You know? Maybe you can help me. Thanks.

A: Dear Dakota, no I’m afraid I don’t know. I would suspect that you may have old emotional injuries that are buried in memory and are now being activated by your dependent role in he marriage. If so, you will not be able to resolve them by yourself one because painful memories are often buried in a different memory system that our usual verbal memory. I would suggest that you might want to find a certified EMDR therapist in your area who can help you with these old feelings. EMDR therapy can make very dramatic improvements in how a person feels and I have had a lot of success using it for the kind of baseless mistrust that you describe. You can go to the international organization www.emdria.org to find out more about this very effective form of therapy. Good luck. – Bryce Kaye

Mandy from Orlando, Fl

Q: My husband and I just don’t seem to get along anymore. We’ve been married about three years. We have a four year old and an eleven-month-old. The relationship was rocky when I got pregnant with the baby and I am the first to admit that I am a Horrible pregnant person. For the entire pregnancy we fought. Bad. Anyway, since I had the baby I have been on medication for depression, which I originally thought was post-partum depression. I am beginning to think, however, that I have been having depression issues for a long time. There are two parts to the problem. One, my husband has a lot of anger and resentment towards me about the way I treated him when I was depressed. I was not a very nice person. Two, now that I am on the meds he says that I am cold and impersonal. I don’t know how to deal with this. I feel so much better than I did in the past but he says he doesn’t like me on the meds. It probably doesn’t help that I have no sex drive while on the medication. I’ve stopped taking them several times, thinking that I can handle it, every time I end up depressed again. He sent me an email a few minutes ago that said that “he thinks he’s going insane, he hates his job, and he hates his life.” I’m really worried about him…and US. Thanks for listening.

A: Mandy, you can ask your doctor if your husband can come into some of your sessions. Help for your marriage needs to be integrated into your ongoing treatment for depression. I’m sorry but it’s really ethically beyond the scope of what I should try to influence from my distant and limited perspective. Good luck – Bryce Kaye

Debi from Farmington, Il

Q: How do you help your spouse get out of a depression that he doesn’t even realize that he is in???

A: Debi, here’s what I suggest: 1) Don’t take it on as your responsibility. 2) Be upfront about how it affects you and the relationship. 3) Ask if he would be willing to consider getting professional help. 4) If not, then ask him if he’s open to getting a third party’s opinion. 5) Ask him to choose which professional can mediate the conflict. Very often, couching it as a marital conflict and challenging him to choose a professional person he respects can get around the stigma of being designated the “sick” partner. Good luck. – Bryce Kaye

Tabby from Fayetteville, Ga

Q: My husband’s Dad died 9 months ago. He is having a problem dealing with his emotions. He tends to take them out on me. He is verbally abusive. (Never physical). I would love to work this out, but is it hopeless? If not, what are some things I can do to make this work?

A: Dear Tabby, It doesn’t sound hopeless to me since it sounds like you’re describing an acute reaction. It sounds as if your husband’s raging did not significantly precede his grief. If so, you will probably find that your husband will return to his emotional baseline over time. Unfortunately, the grieving process can take a long time, especially if a man is highly ambivalent about the lost relationship and especially if he cannot talk about about the mixed up sadness, shame, and frustration that underlies the rage. Nine months is really not a terribly long time with such a situation. Ambivalent grief may take a couple of years. One thing you might consider doing is to wait until he is in a calm mood before you approach him about how he might be able to shorten his grieving period with some help. A certified EMDR therapist (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is specially trained to actually help reduce the emotional pain that fuels your husband’s type of rage. You can get more information about this and certified EMDR therapists at www.emdria.org . Good luck. – Bryce Kaye