Curing My Wife's Depression

Based on email from a husband.

With comments by Dr. Weston. 

" I was afraid to come home after work for fear I would find her dead. I called her several times a day just to make sure she was okay. "


     I researched depression on the Web and found your site. 

My wife, Rowena, was depressed and suicidal.

I first suggested that Rowena talk to a therapist (She said, "I'm not crazy, I just get 'down' sometimes."), joining clubs and organizations ("I don't have the energy for that."), or visiting her family ("You know my mother drives me nuts."), etc. etc.

I couldn't get her out of the house ("I'd prefer to stay here.") Dishes and laundry were piling up and she didn't even return phone calls from her friends, ("I just I bring them down.")

" Those who haven't experienced real depression or lived with someone with severe depression can't understand.

...It doesn't make sense -- especially when it seems that the person has all kinds of opportunities 'to pull themselves out of it.'  But, believe me, it doesn't work that way."


It was getting so that I was afraid to come home after work for fear I would find her dead. Fact is, I felt I had to call her several times a day just to make sure she was okay.

She was openly questioning whether life was worth it.

     In one article on your site the wife was energized by the attention of other men. That rang a bell; my wife used to date a lot and she called them, "The fun times."

She had been a bit of a news junkie, but now she didn't care. If the world would have blew up and she would have welcomed it.

         Finally, I did the thing I thought I would never do, I contacted a guy that she used to have a "thing for."  I was jealous of him, but my wife needed help, and as far as I was concerned these were desperate times.

We met in a coffee shop and he soon asked "How's Rowena?"

I said, "Not good," and then I reluctantly explained things -- even though it made me look bad as a husband. To his credit, he just mentioned how women in general these days weren't happy. 

I said, "I guess you know she used to have a thing for you."

He was silent for a while. 

" It seemed as if he had shifted gears from the braggadocio guy I had known. Maybe a couple divorces did that, or maybe he was growing up. "


II was admitting defeat and maybe even risking my marriage.  Swallowing my pride I said, "Why don't you invite her out, get her to have some fun."

He said, "Didn't you used to be rather jealous -- just about punched me out one time as I remember?"

 We went through several cups of coffee and I won't go into the plan we devised -- it was intricate and I might even say ingenious -- but the end result was that they would be working together on a project. We set up so things couldn't be traced back to me.

 " I had openly tried everything with consistent failure, and if she knew I was behind this, it wouldn't work. "


 The first few times they met I saw an improvement, but soon she said she didn't want to continue with the project they had been working on. She had discovered he was a bit of a blowhard and she said he was getting on her nerves.

Then I had another meeting with the guy over coffee. (I had explained all this to one man and I didn't want to start over with another.)

Rowina was clearly losing interest in him and this time he was the one that was failing.  Even so, I mentioned how things had briefly improved. I said, "Find her a guy or guys who are smart, will drool over her, will seduce her, and tell them she puts out."

His response was, "You're crazy!"

I said, "She's sliding backwards again and nothing else will work." I'm sure he heard my note of desperation.

He asked, "But what if she starts really liking one of the guys?"

"I would rather have her happy with someone else than...." I didn't finish the sentence.

" I could tell that this kind of love was far beyond his comprehension. "


 A new and better plan was put into action (very long story) and over the next few months Rowena started meeting guys. We started the rumor that she "put out." That kept them interested.

Soon, she ended up in bed with one of them.

I could tell right away by her attitude change, but she didn't admit it for a while.

" She started paying attention to her looks again and seemed to have a new zest for life. "


Now she has regular dates with men.  They take her places, sometimes over weekends, they regularly end up in bed (which keeps them interested), and she has yet to slip back into that funk she had been in. 

 Dr. Weston replies:

Although therapy coupled with medication would be my first suggestion, in your initial lengthy letter you say that this isn't an option. 

Although I'll let the word "curing" in your letter  pass, your kind of "solution" could backfire with women that have strong conservative upbringings and lead to even deeper depression. Guilt and a sense of personal failure are often underlying components of depression. 

Strong diversion (often necessary to sidetrack depression) coupled with a badly needed ego boost might temporally work with certain individuals.

Your "solution" seems to boil  down to this, and sometimes that's enough to get the person back on more stable personal ground.  This should not rule out a more professional intervention.

TO INDEX  ~ Important Legal Notice  ~  © 2018, All Rights Reserved