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How can I help someone who needs help but is not willing to recieve it?

My husband and I have been married for about 3 years now. We got engaged 3 months after he came home from his mission. While we were engaged, I noticed that he was having a hard time although he would not admit to it.  I thought he was having RM Blues and assumed that things would get better. I thought that he would get over it after a while and get back into the swing of  things.  But he never did.

As the months went by I have noticed him sinking deeper and deeper into depression. At first I did not recognize it for what it is. I was just getting so frustrated with his mood changes and negativity. Then one night we had the chance to really talk  it out and after speaking with him I was sure he had depression. I asked him to get help by visiting a doctor or getting on some type of medication because obviously this wasn't going away on its own. But he angrily refused.

He told me not to bother him with this anymore. He was getting very hostile about this whenever I brought it up so I stopped asking him to get help. I did not know what to do. I feel so helpless sometimes as I watch him sink further and further into depression. I keep hoping that he will wake up one day  and realize that he needs help and go get help. But I so far that hasn't happened yet.

When he is not in class or searching for jobs he occupies his life with video games, computer games, movies and D and D group meetings. He doesn't seem to want to spend time with our daughter who is almost 1 year old. I literally have to plead for him to play with her and spend time with her. His depression has caused other things to happen. Because of his depression he has become antisocial, verbally abusive, negative and he lost all interest in church. He only goes to church because I go.

I don't know what to do. We are seeing a marriage councilor but he just thinks its all a waste of time for him. The only hope I have is through prayer. I have been praying so hard that things would get better. That he would want to get help. I do all in my power to be a good example to him. I try to plan family activities. I try to do family home evenings. I try to plan date nights and temple trips. I make sure we get to church every Sunday, alhough he leaves early most of the time. I try to have daily scripture study both on my own and with my husband.  But nothing seems to work.

I have spoken to my bishop as well as to his and my parents. I even felt tempted to slip him some St. John's Wart, which is an herbal supplement for depression. I don't know what to do.  I feel like our marriage is about to fall apart because of this. I honestly almost left him 5 times because of his verbally abusive behavior.

Sometimes I wonder if there is a legal way to push him into getting treatment. I wonder if there is a rule somewhere that states if a person becomes unsafe to the point of harming someone in anyway because of his depression that he would have to get treatment by law. I don't know how bad does it have to get for him to get help. How far does he have to fall to realize that he has been in denial?  I don't know. I just pray and pray and pray that things will get better, that I will be strong enough to raise my daughter on my own, that someday he will be humbled and accept help, that the Holy Ghost will help him heal his pain through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

I know that Christ suffered all so that we can have peace. I know that he lives and loves us. I know that he wants us to be happy. Men are to have joy in this life. I know that maybe if I have enough faith a miracle will happen just like with Alma when he prayed for his son to find his way back to Christ. I know it could happen to us. I just need to have faith.

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4 Comments about "How can I help someone who needs help but is not willing to recieve it?"

said this on 04 Oct 2010 7:56:57 AM CDT
Dear Jessica: Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns. I can see that you love your husband very much and want to help him. Unfortunately, unless he has a desire to change, there is little you can do to force him. I hope he will wake up and realize that he is in very real danger of losing everything dear to him. I urge you to speak openly about this to your bishop and get his council. You may also need to get come counseling or attend a support group for people whose spouses who suffer with depression. If your husband becomes abusive or violent, you need to take steps to protect yourself and your daughter. Your bishop can help to steer you in the right direction. Never loose hope in the power of prayer and fasting. Our prayers are with you.
Love, Sally and Winston

said this on 07 Oct 2010 11:32:12 AM CDT
Dear Jessica: I know somewhat what your husband is going through! I don't know if you mentioned his age, but it sounds to me like he might be at mid-life!
Which can be a very difficult time for both sexes. I don't have any special advise for you, except that with sincere and ardent prayer things will work out for the best naturally! But, know that when we inquire the Lords help, we should learn to listen through quiet meditation for answers as well as pray! Its a two way link of communication (as with any other) between God and ourselves! God bless you and your family! In the name of Jesus Christ! Amen!

Roger Stark
said this on 08 Oct 2010 7:30:58 AM CDT
Jessica, I am sorry for your difficult struggle. Abuse isn't much fun, and it is hardly what we expect when we marry. I admire your faith and your commitment to helping your husband. He is a lucky man (even in his blindness). In my practice I deal with a lot of folks struggling with very difficult problems and continue to be amazed at the comfort available from the Savior even in the midst of very difficult emotional storms. I encourage you to continue to reach out to Him. About your husband I would only say that this sounds like more than just depression and abuse is not ok and can not be tolerated. Neither you or Seraphim deserve that.
Blessings to you, roger

said this on 20 Nov 2011 3:43:21 AM CDT
Hi Jessica, thank you for sharing. I can relate to your situation. I have been married for over ten years now and have a wife with depression. It is hard. Sometimes I think about leaving but what holds me in are two beautiful children who I could not leave. Also the love for the Lord and knowing divorce would be an easy option at first and full of bitterness later along with, hurt, pain and regret for the rest of my life. I do love my wife, but not the illness. I agree with others that physical abuse should not be tolerated. Over my ten years with my wife the best times have been when she has been on medication (6-9 months). It does help but has worried my wife because she believes in having children and there could be complications if you fall pregnant on the drug. We have struggled to have any more children and may be coming to the time soon when she needs to go back on medication. I do not know the answers but I do know that she needs me. Her life is rocky with many arguments with her family and close friends. We have received great help from a sister in our ward who is a counselor. Without her help we would probably be divorced. She has given us many great tools to help us communicate and help us to understand what is acceptable and what is not. She has also shared anger management principles with my wife in private - which I have noticed make a difference. I suppose like anything in life that you want to succeed at you have to put effort into. Marriage is no different. Understanding depression is no different. All the best with your struggles. You are not alone.

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