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WS with severe depression - need advice

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MarcusNL posted 4/5/2018 16:42 PM

As all other stories this will be a long one. We've been together for 14 years now.. with all the regular ups and downs of marriage. I've always been the relaxed/controlled guy.. the rational one. She has always been the spontaneous one, the life of the party. And that's why we matched so good when we first met.

Things changed though after the birth of our first daughter 6 years ago. After 6 or seven months i noticed something was wrong. When she was playing with her she didn't look happy. She didn't seem to share the limitless love that i felt. There was no glint in her eye. 2 months later she told me that she thought something was wrong with her. Something was wrong with our child. Somehow she had convinced herself that the child was not hers. "she smells wrong.. ". And she had started to develop intrusive images.. someone hurting the baby.. the baby falling down the stairs. Someone in the streets grabbing a knife and stabbing the baby. It was an endless parade of horrible things happening to the baby. At first it was only a few times a day.. but it slowly got worse and developed into a continuous loop. We agreed that she should take therapy and after a few sessions PND was diagnosed. She got help.. for about 3 months and quickly stated that she was cured and didn't need more therapy (she works as a nurse.. they're way to good at compartmentalization). During this period i noticed that when i showed her how worried i was.. or how much it hurt me that she had these thoughts.. that she stopped telling me about them. (it scared the shit out of me to go to work, seeing as i had 3/4 hours in the car every day) So i started hiding my fear and pain and told her it would work out.

The images she had returned a year later. She saw paedophiles everywhere .. and in everyone. And she kept on battling with the fact that our daughter was "wrong" somehow. Those thoughts slowly deteriorated into suicidal thoughts. At first she had them once a week. A " this is not my life.. everything is better than this, even death"-thing. But she started making remarks more and more often that 'is she was brave enough she would end it all". I tried to be strong for her.. and didn't tell her how much it hurt me that our daughter and me weren't good enough for her to feel alive. Rationally i could cope.. emotionally it eroded my core and my self-assurance.

During the past 1.5 years my wife's behaviour deteriorated further. She called in sick at work 6 months ago and at home she was angry 24/7.. or tired. Refusing to come to bed before 24:00.. because "her biological clock was wired differently" (now i know what she was doing). We started having many fights where she accused me of having an affair. Something that was triggered hard by the fact that i had admitted to her that before meeting her i had some D/s relationships. During this period her anger, distance and the continuous suicidal words pushed me into a "rigid and tough" man.. trying to cope with her issues. We still got married 12 months ago though.. but after an initial happy week her anger and distance returned.

This january I found out that she had was hiding something from me. 2 months before our marriage she had started working on a tattoo to celebrate the fact that she had overcome the PND (as if) and the tattoo artist (old hippie guy.. 18 years older than her. Not the standard tattoo artist) and he had shown an interest in her. An interest that she returned after several months and it turned into an EA. 2 weeks after our marriage it turned into a PA.

It was the usual emotional roller-coaster when i found out. She lied.. deflected.. trickle truthed me. I went to his work, punched him in the face (he was an ex boxing champ) and he spilled everything.I contacted his wife afterwards When i confronted her at home with her lies she slowly admitted to more and more. But only because i confronted her. She kept on lying and hiding things. Afterwards i found out that she had sexted with 2 other guys, and had intimate talks with a 3rd who said he loved her.. but they didn't do anything sexual. All these things i had to find out myself.

We're 3 months in now and her initial shock has subsided. At least.. that seemed to be the case. We tried working through it because we have two kids. But it slowly dawned on me that i was doing the pick me dance. Reading up on everything infidelity related, trying to show my faults and that i changed. And she was hardly putting in any effort. When i started digging i found out that her suicidal thoughts had increased tremendously during the past 6 months. She had actively looking for ways to kill herself and had taken risks when crossing the street... or when she went running and crossed the train tracks.

It scared the shit out of me. We agreed to therapy for her and counselling for me and we would delay r.t. until she was more stable. Slowly though her initial regret turned into anger. She was making me the guy who caused it all, who caused her shame and pain. Who pushed her into an affair. Her guilt diminished and she started saying things like "we didnt see each other every week." or "the guys i sexted with.. it wasn't always sexual. We also talked about other stuff". And then in a moment of rage she told me.. "to be honest i think i was entitled to cheat".. and she quickly diagnosed me with autism because of my withdrawn behaviour these past 16 months.

5 weeks ago she was planning on buying a new house with me, because she wanted to flee from her dark past. But 3 weeks ago, when i found out she had contact the P. AP to " say goodbye" we got into an argument. We had a deal that she wouldn't contact him, but that she was allowed to say goodbye. Instead she chose to do that in secret. After the argument she told me to come upstairs (our 2 kids were downstairs) and i got the "i love you but i don't love you" talk. She said she couldn't stay in the same house with me and we agreed to take the kids in turn while she slowly worked out her issues.

2 weeks ago we got into r.t. and during the first session it dawned on me that i had become a doormat. That i was blaming myself, tried to fix her.. and was enduring all her anger, contempt and disgust because of her suicidal thoughts. Suddenly I had enough. I've always been a strong and confident man but this had turned into a codependent relationship. Afterwards I restricted my contact (i was needy.. looking for validation.. fearful) and that caused her to be pissed off. "why don't you cuddle me when you come get the kids?" .. "Why do you have facebook? are you talking to other girls. I'm not jealous, just angry that you say you want to fight.. but you're doing things behind my back! Shit.. you can do whatever you want.. I.. DON'T.. CARE".

We got into a fight this weekend because she was hiding her phone again.. and i saw panic in her eyes when our oldest unlocked it and gave it to me. Monday i confronted her and told her that for this to work she has to show me that i can trust her.. and i asked to see her contact list. She refused.. 'we will talk about this at r.t.' and started walking out. I followed her down the stairs and asked her if she was really going to blow this because i wanted to see her contact list (not her messages).. and she remained silent. Our oldest saw her anger.. and that she was leaving and said "no mommy.. stay.. don't divorce daddy!".. and that angered her even more. I couldn't help myself.. but at that moment the ridiculoussness of the situation dawned on me. and i said "this seems to be what momy wants.. its not your fault" . Not my finest moment for the kids.. but hey.. i had been bottling up my anger and pain for 2 months trying to ' help her'

At our 2nd session with our 2 therapists she started the talk with "this is over, i'm only here because i want to learn how to communicate with him after our divorce.. for the kids". And during our session she kept in hammering on me.. her anger turning into rage. Time and again the therapists confronted her with what she was doing.. interrupting my side.. making demeaning remarks. Then they started confronting her. And it all came out.

She hadn't been in contact with other guys, she was paranoid about me. Thought there were camera's all over the place, that i was tapping her phone (she turned it of when she talked to people.. afraid that i was listening in). And she said she had a severe distrust of who i was.. called part of me (the previous D/s part) 'a monster'..

The therapists pushed harder and she broke. It turned out that her "its going ok. I sleep badly.. but its ok" was a lie. She kept running 2 times a week, boxing... and was slowly laying waste to her mind and body. She was in constant rage.. and panic. And the conclusion was that she was on the verge of a breakdown..She had hit rock bottom and was incapable of empathy towards me. Made me the bad guy (or as one of them said "she's just allergic to you atm.. it doesn't matter what you say or do.. it all fuels her rage"). They also told her not to make remarks about divorce or take any life-changing decisions at this time. She just isn't capable to do that.

Her own talks with her i.c. were focussing on writing a plan this monday, but our r.t. therapists (also experienced in depressions) told her that in their view she should drop everything now and preferably take a month off in a secluded spot somewhere. They will contact the other psychologist and will change the plan to an emergency plan/intervention to prevent a breakdown.

In the meantime we have agreed to go NC with each other, only seeing one another when it's my time for the kids. And I must confess that it's giving me a lot of peace. Her constant anger and resentment, her continuous blaming of me.. downplaying her own role. It was just enough.

The problem is though.. that when i look at her i still love her. And i hope that we can work it out.. If we didn't have kids.. perhaps it would have been a different story.

Anyway.. it seems as if in her mind i have become the cause of her affair. There is no respect, only anger and rage. No love.. only contempt. What makes this harder though is the severity of her depression. I know i can't fix her (my attempts at helping have only fuelled her rage).. she has to do that herself.

I'm working hard on myself now.. lost 14 kg's (finally that semi sixpack!) and working out 5-7 times a week. Picked up kickboxing again and generally feeling more self assured by the day. I've stopped my sleep meds (damn.. oxazepam is nasty when you read the side effects!) and started meditating. The constant fear and despair caused by the thought of her has left me (permanently i hope).. but i still have a slimmer of hope that she will fix herself in time and that she is capable of understanding (and admitting) that she is rewriting history.. blame shifting.. rationalizing her affair.. and doing everything bad in the WS playbook.

I don't know how much of her is "broken permanently".. and how much of her can be repaired. I just hope that she does that in time.

Any advice on how to approach her? Anyone (WW?) who has done something similar and has struggled with depression while trying to work things out?

[This message edited by MarcusNL at 4:51 PM, April 5th (Thursday)]

36yearsgone posted 4/5/2018 19:04 PM

Your story sounds familiar. It sounds like she is in a mental health crisis with the possibility of a cluster-B personality disorder.

I hesitate giving advice because I don't know if there is anything YOU can do to help her. Get her in to see a psychiatric professional; make sure your children are safe, including getting a court order to have them removed from her control if necessary.

tushnurse posted 4/5/2018 20:11 PM

She sounds like she is schizophrenic. This is mot just depression. The paranoia, the rage, that is not normal depressice behavior. Is she being medicated at all?
You need to document the shit out of her behavior because if she is thos unbalanced she should NOT be alone with those babies. These are the people you see on the news that do horrific things to their children because they are the devil or whatever delusion is being played out in their broken minds.
You absolutely must protect those kids. You cannot save this relationship especially if she has no interest in saving it or helping herself. Im sorry but your relationship is NOT the top priority now. Protecting those babies from her is.

Hephaestus2 posted 4/5/2018 20:32 PM

Marcus NL wrote: "Any advice on how to approach her?"

You seem to be doing all of the most important things. If she is severely depressed then she needs professional help, which she has. I agree with you that is something that she needs to deal with together with a professional. Aside from seeing a therapist, there are lots of things that can help with severe depression. For example, her interest in physical exercise will probably be a benefit.

Your anger is understandable, of course. The fact that she is running through "the WS playbook" can't be helping you. Not much you can do about that.

I understand what it is like dealing with an unfaithful spouse with mental health problems. My wife was dealing with an increasingly severe substance use disorder while we were trying to recover from her affair. It took me years to understand how that affected her, me, and us (studying information on addiction, going to Alanon meetings, etc).

If I had to give you advice it would be not to take her behavior (or her contempt) personally, which is stupid advice because an extramarital affair (and the associated contempt) is deeply personal no matter how you look at it. However, it might help to try to focus as much as possible on your own behavior and less on hers. Like most advice, that is easy to give.

Even if your wife has no problems with substance abuse, you might find Alanon meetings useful, if you can find a good group in your area. Or keep posting on a site like this one.

Prepare yourself for a backbreaking, uphill slog. Be very skeptical of quick, easy fixes. Do volunteer work. Be of service to others. If you are religious, get involved in your church/temple. Take care of yourself as best you can. There is a huge supply of information about self care out there.

Hephaestus2 posted 4/5/2018 20:41 PM

One other thing. Ignore amateurs on discussion boards offering psychiatric diagnoses. They understand your wife less than you do.

MarcusNL posted 4/5/2018 23:39 PM


Personally i don't think it is a cluster-B disorder. I had a relationship with a girl suffering from borderline syndrome when i was in my 20's and she could never hide her behaviour from me. I saw the change after the birth our our child and the way she changed during the affair. Her behaviour is totally different from her normal interactions with me.

MarcusNL posted 4/5/2018 23:44 PM


She is unbalanced, but all her hatred and anger is directed at me and at herself. The only thing keeping her safe (and.. sane?) is her love for the kids. Although she is overcompensating on that front.. and lying as well.

They're 3 and 6 now and the oldest one is taking this very personal. This causes a lot of fights between our kids. When we're together with the 4 of us they calm down.. and i know (from her remarks) that my WW finds it frustrating and tiresome to be around them when she's alone. During R.T. though she remarked " the kids are way more relaxed when he's not home".. when i know for a fact that it's the other way around.

Anyway. She would never hurt them.. and the r.t. counsellors that i selected are people with 30 years of experience in the field of psychology and disorders. I trust on their judgement and so far it seems like as if she's just way to hard for herself. Not wanting to give up or get the tag "mental nutcase" .. and thus doesn't really accept help willingly.

MarcusNL posted 4/5/2018 23:52 PM


Thanks.. i'll try to remember that. :)

During her affair my WW started drinking as well..10-12 bottles of wine a week.. as well as ordering shitloads of stuff online (lets just say she spent about triple the normal household budget monthly.. and four times the normal budget on clothes and tiny useless purchases).

She has stopped drinking altogether now so that's a plus. But her new addiction seems to be working out. She has always had a problem with 'giving up' so when she's boxing now she refuses to back down. The same goes for running.. no matter how tired she is she will push her boundaries and just keep on going. The problem is that these things are high adrenaline activities and they only deplete her faster. She feels good for half an hour after coming home.. but then she drops lower than before. The therapists have stated that she should drop it all and only take long walks.

How did you manage your contact with your WS during the time when you couldn't talk with her? Did she also push you away? Or was she accepting of your help and what she did?

The problem is that it's all very fresh.. but she's grabbing hold of anything that empowers her. And at the moment "I want a Divorce" seems to empower her.

And.. just to clarify.. she would never hurt the kids. If I was scared of that I would have intervened.

Hephaestus2 posted 4/6/2018 00:50 AM

Marcus NL wrote >>The therapists have stated that she should drop it all and only take long walks.<<

Wait. What?

You have more than one therapist saying that your wife should be walking instead of running? Why? Did they explain why they thought she ought not to run?

Marcus NL wrote >>How did you manage your contact with your WS during the time when you couldn't talk with her? Did she also push you away? Or was she accepting of your help and what she did?<<

I don't understand your questions. Were they meant for me?

I don't remember a time when I couldn't talk to my wife. She may have been drinking heavily but she was communicative, for the most part. Except maybe for the time when she was in 72 hour involuntary detention. She didn't speak to me for a month or two after that.

But no. She wasn't interested in my help. I give her credit for being willing to come with me to four or five marriage counselors. However, she stonewalled and lied her way through those sessions. At the end, I insisted that she get help with her mental health issues (i.e., her drinking).

She refused. I left. And that was that.

Not sure if that answers your questions.

>>And at the moment "I want a Divorce" seems to empower her.<<

You know the old saw "you can't control anyone's behavior but your own"? There really isn't much you can do about what she is or isn't doing, or saying, or thinking. There are plenty of great books describing how you can change your marriage by focusing on changing your own behavior.

I struggled for years before I began to realize there was nothing I could do to change my (then) wife's unbelievably stupid and destructive behavior. It was almost impossible for me to understand why she was being so ridiculous. In hindsight, I realized that no amount of begging, pleading, demanding, arguing, yelling, or jumping up and down would have made any difference. In fact, all of that was counterproductive. Reacting to her nonsense made things worse. I had an epiphany- there was no way for me to make her see the light. The moral of the story is that I was the one who was ridiculous. Eventually, she realized that I was gone for good and at that point, she decided she needed help. Sadly (especially for our children), it was too late for our marriage.

MarcusNL posted 4/6/2018 01:01 AM


Because all high intensity sports (when she runs she goes all out.. she sprints for 10-15 km's) deplete the bodies reserves. Yeah she recharges mentally and has a short dopamine hit, but afterwards her feelings spiral into more negativity.

Yeah.. i understand that there is nothing that i can do. That's why I'm focussing on me now. I'm not even showing an involvement or interest in her therapy, that would only annoy her and make her feel weak/the victim. If she needs my help she can get it, but i won't guide her or become her caretaker.

And yeah, those questions where for you. I thought that you two had worked it out, but it seems you've gone the route that feels like the most obvious one for me. I think that NC and placing me first is a good thing. That codependency has vanished the instant i did that.

Marriagesucks posted 4/6/2018 01:20 AM

I've been to several websites researching cluster B disorders. I was reading through symptoms of one...and it could be the symptom for another thing and on and on it went. The bottom line or so it seems is that the only ones that are capable of diagnosing these disorders are highly trained phsychologists... and even they will argue amongst themselves... IMHO.

Google Richard Gallagher for some more insight.

Hephaestus2 posted 4/6/2018 01:21 AM


I guess there's just no telling how fast people will come around (or if they will come around).

In my case, things just didn't turn around in time.

Hopefully, in your case, things will come around faster. Perhaps you have more patience or more persistence.

It sounds like you are doing everything possible to give your wife the space she needs to straighten herself out. For the sake of you and your children, I hope she loses her defensiveness and sees the light sooner rather than later.

MarcusNL posted 4/6/2018 05:32 AM


Yeah.. I know. I gave up the notion that i could help her.. fix her... or understand her. This is her battle, not mine. I have my own battles to fight now.

Cooley2here posted 4/6/2018 06:55 AM

She could be suffering from bipolar disorder and needs a thorough exam. If so she can be helped with medicine.


You might have to accept that this is your wife. It might be who she really is. In my job I met someone with these outbursts, irrational thoughts and the father got custody of the kids.

You need a good lawyer and a very experienced psychiatrist to diagnose her. Donít be surprised if she refuses to cooperate.

MarcusNL posted 4/6/2018 10:09 AM

We've been together for 14 years.. and this has only started since the birth of our oldest daughter. So it's something that was caused, not something that she has always done.

Anyway.. the specialists will find out what she has. I'm mostly in need of advice how to talk/communicate with her without pushing her away (currently my mode is: don't communicate). And if there are people on this board who are experienced (either BS or WS) with a case like this.. and who can tell me how it went... and what they did wrong/right..?

[This message edited by MarcusNL at 10:23 AM, April 6th (Friday)]

sillyoldsod posted 4/6/2018 10:21 AM

I've no advice MarcusNL. Your's is a very sad story and all I can offer is a virtual hug.

I hope your WW gets better with the correct psychotherapeutic interventions.


Root posted 4/6/2018 10:22 AM

Any advice on how to approach her? Anyone (WW?) who has done something similar and has struggled with depression while trying to work things out?

I'm a WW and sadly I relate to your wife. I was eventually dx with bipolar disorder, BPD, depression, c-ptsd and severe anxiety. What helped me was BH stopped enabling me. He was going to kick me to the curb if I didn't get my shit together. It took a while but I eventually bottomed out and sought help. It took a while to find someone competent (many therapists are just awful). I now see this awesome psych nurse. In the past year she has helped me get stable with medication. I still have to do the work (A LOT of work) but at least now I can see the world more clearly.

I take lamictal (no side affects) and an anti anxiety as needed She's offered me way more meds but I've declined choosing instead to work at it myself. As long as I stay somewhat stable BH won't push me to take more meds (which I hate due to side affects).

MarcusNL posted 4/6/2018 10:26 AM

Hmmm.. that must have been hard for you. I've stopped "enabling" her, but that only switched her mindset from "perhaps we can make this work" to "ok, we're getting a divorce". What i do keep doing wrong though is that I'm confronting her with what she did. It only makes her more angry. So i'm hoping to be able to be non-confrontational from now on.. hard though as there is still a shitload of anger inside me.

It feels as if she wants to burn all bridges just to put the shame and pain behind her... unaware that we have kids and she will be confronted with what she did constantly.

And.. in her eyes I have become 'the bad guy'.. so it feels as if she thinks her actions are justified.

Did you have the same behaviour?

[This message edited by MarcusNL at 11:22 AM, April 6th (Friday)]

tushnurse posted 4/6/2018 12:19 PM

Anyway. She would never hurt them.. and the r.t. counsellors that i selected are people with 30 years of experience in the field of psychology and disorders

I'm sorry but I disagree. Every single one of us here also believed that our spouses would never cheat on us either. But they did.

She is mentally unwell, and she has something more than Depression going on. Her behavior and anger towards you is bad for your kids to observe. When you are out of the picture where will her anger be focused then.

I am very serious when I say that you need to focus on the safety of your children.
We had an event here a few weeks ago where a mother killed all 3 of her children, and they chalked it up to Post Partum Psychosis, which is different than depression.
Better to be safe than sorry. Document the hell out of her behavior and actions. Because if she refuses to acknowledge and treat her illness then she will get worse.

MarcusNL posted 4/6/2018 12:29 PM

She is being diagnosed.. and she doesn't have any anger towards the children. It's all focussed on me. And I've asked the neighbours to keep an eye on things.. she's quite relaxed as long as I'm not around.

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