Q: What can I do if my wife refuses to get help for her depression ? -- Dan, 48
Dr. Susan: That depends on why she refuses. She may resent that you see her complaints as depression, or she may be so down that she can't imagine anyone or anything helping her. Perhaps rather than putting a label on her feelings, focus on what's going on. For example, do the two of you never have any fun anymore? Is she unwilling to make any efforts to be a pleasant mate? Is her mood bringing you down too? Or are you worried that she is seriously ill and may harm herself at some point? Maybe if you tell her this is very important to you, and that you will go with her for a check-up and support her in finding some way to help her feel better? Although depression is a very inward-turning experience, I believe husbands and wives owe one another the effort to get back on an even keel to ensure the relationship remains safe and satisfying. Your quandary is a challenging one, but don't give up on your wife. Maybe marriage counseling would seem less threatening to her than individual help.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.