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I think my husband is in the midst of a mental breakdown...


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My husband and I have been married for three years and we have a four month old daughter. I had a difficult pregnancy and had to be on bed rest for the last three months of it. She was also a colic baby and is still very high needs. I am, for now, staying home with her and had planned to do so for two years. Unfortunately, I think my husband is having a mental breakdown. He has an awesome job, makes about $100,000 a year and often has days off and can also go on his laptop and mess around when he runs lab tests (he works in a science lab) so it sounds almost ideal to me, he works the night shift because he likes it. Well for the last year he's been moaning about how he hates his job and all the people there. I have encouraged him to then find a job he likes. He refuses to even look or explore the possibility of other jobs...instead he just perpetuates this constant state of perceived suffering. I know he must truly hate his job but I must admit it is perplexing because he makes a salary most people would kill for, often only has to work two days a week, works the hours he wants and he gets a lot of down time at work which most jobs don't offer at all. He claims he hates the people he works with the most but I mean...that's any job right? Anyway...as I said I have encouraged him to seek a profession he likes better but he just says he won't and he's trapped in this existence forever. Maybe he's worried about the money but I told him I'd go back to work if he needs me to. It seems like he has taken on this martyr attitude and is very woe is me.

 

Lately his behavior has really escalated. The last week has been especially bad. Yesterday we had to go to a family gathering and he got the worst road rage I've ever seen and was screaming obscene things and kept saying he was going to crash the car. I was terrified and begged him to turn around but he wouldn't. Thank God we didn't get in an accident. Then he put on a happy face for his family but again on the way home had terrible road rage. When we got home the cat was sick with diarrhea and he was cursing and screaming at the cat and threatening to kick it out into the woods. This is a cat he normally loves and has had for 10 years and has been his constant companion. Luckily I was able to save the cat...for today anyway. Then he spent the night sobbing and saying how I deserve better and how I should leave him. I asked if he wants a divorce and he wouldn't answer. He won't talk at all today and has been sobbing in bed. Even tiny things set him off like the cat splashing water from her dish or him spilling food he always says he can't do anything right and life is against him...he says his life is a cosmic joke.

 

He didn't used to be this way...or not as bad anyway but I know he's always had mental health issues. I left him when we first started seeing each other because his behavior sometimes scared me. He convinced me to stay and now he has shut me out. I truly don't know what to do. I've tried just lying in bed with him quietly as a silent show of support as to not harass him with words when he's so catatonic but he just tells me to leave.

 

 

Is there anything I can do? Please help...I don't want to leave him but I'm worried for my daughter if he doesn't get help...

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He needs to see a doctor about this. You say he has always had mental health issues, so is he on any medications currently? If not he may need to be back on them.

 

This is impossible for us to diagnose and we shouldn't be. I know you can't understand why he's having these issues based on what seems to be a peachy life, but some people are better equipped to handle stress than others.

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I'd be afraid for my daughter, if not for myself. He needs help - and maybe that's the thing to tell him to encourage him to get it. He needs to think about the little girl that you are raising...and that she doesn't need to see her father go into a rage over nothing. What if his next one targets her? Or you?

 

People say mental health issues are BS when they are scared. He could be scared that it's true, scared of the stigma, whatever... but odds are pretty good that he's afraid of a mental health issue. Approaching him with love, caution, and knowing what you need to do to keep your daughter safe are important.

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I have asked him so many times to seek therapy I also suggested that he take a leave of absence from work to try and recharge...he took 6 weeks off when the baby was born and he was much happier but sank further than ever into depression when he had to go back to work. Honestly I think he hates working and not really his specific job because I can't ever get him to tell me what his dream job would be he just avoids any discussions about changing his employment at all...I'm truly worried about him but also I am worried about our daughter I'm not even comfortable leaving her with him which is not good at all...but what can I do if he absolutely won't seek help...

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Sitting idly by is not going to work - you are just condoning his action. From what you describe, it is very possible he is suffering from depression, which in men can manifest in angry mood swings and might even explain his inertia in terms of he hates his job, but doesn't have the drive to do anything else. Frankly, if he always works the night shift, there is a lot of idle down time, etc. - that kind of a situation can bring on depression even in the strongest person. What you see as a great job really isn't.

 

Either way, you are going to have to get tough, sit him down and read him the riot act in that his behavior will not fly and that he needs to go see a doctor and start taking care of this today. Sitting by passively is not going to make this go away, it's only going to get worse. This is not about you, your relationship and getting a divorce. This is about the fact that he has an issue that can be addressed and fixed for that matter.

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OK, first thing you need to do is move in with a friend or relative or get him to do so. At the moment, he is a danger to everyone, including himself and he is unpredictable.

 

As someone who has mental health issues, I can get where he's coming from. I'm less than happy in my job and maybe he's like me in that he would really rather not work at all. It is very difficult to leave a job that pays a high salary, especially if he feels (rightly or wrongly) that he would be letting you down.

 

As an example, I haven't felt fulfilled in any job for a very long time, so have channelled some of my creativity into writing. Maybe if he has something else to stimulate his mind, he could improve.

 

Unfortunately, he's in denial. His behaviour is not normal. Being angry with other drivers is quite understandable but crashing the car is a sign that he needs help. I'm not one for ultimatums but he has to get help.

 

I wish you luck.

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You say he put on a happy face for his family? Can't you please go and see his family? Talk to his parents? Surely his family know he has suffered some sort of depressive moods?

 

Someone said to read him the riot act and I couldn't agree more. He is a father now and responsible for his daughter, he doesn't get to lay down, throw his hands in the air and give up. He's destroying the family he is working every day to provide for.

 

Also, he is probably missing out on all the good family stuff that goes along with having a day job. My father worked the graveyard for my whole childhood/teenage years and we didn't know him at all. That must be enough to depress any new father that obviously loves staying home with his daughter.

 

You need some work life balance solutions and that might mean you going back to work and cutting out some unnecessary costs.

 

Can your husband work part time? If it is so flexible, with so much down time, is there a way he can cut back on his hours or at least get them changed to the day time? Surely if its such a high paying job in a lab there are possibilities of transfers to other organisations?

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I'll also add this - stop trying to ask him to make the decisions like should you get a job, should you get divorced, etc. It doesn't sound like he is in any mental shape to be deciding anything. If you think that you getting a job is going to relieve the pressure on him, then go and start applying for jobs and start working again. It will also do something else for you - if he continues to refuse to get help and continues to deteriorate, you will have ready means to get out. Don't discount that possibility. When someone is in denial of their problems, sometimes it takes a serious jolt or hitting complete rock bottom for them to finally face the issues and do something about it. That means that you are going to have to put on the pants and do what needs to be done for your family. Don't wait until it all completely hits the fan.

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I left him when we first started seeing each other because his behavior sometimes scared me.

 

I'm sorry this is happening, but you need to make getting you and your daughter's safety a priority. And that means you leave when he's not there, go stay with family and tell him you will not be coming home until he's been in therapy for a good long--i.e.. a year or more--and gotten help or you will not be coming home at all. And stick to that. And you go see an attorney to make sure custody visits are documented and supervised. You tell them his threats and his actions in that car that day with you and your daughter. Road rage is nothing to screw around with, he can kill you and your daughter and other people too in the blink of an eye. Not to mention going into a sudden rage and doing something.

 

His anger is out of control and it's getting worse, you see it. Don't wait until you have to wish you'd left before one of you got hurt or killed, especially not your daughter. Don't be one of those stories we see on the news far too often. Abusive behavior is still abusive behavior and it kills people regardless of how often the person doesn't display it or what issues they had. He knew this was enough of a problem in the beginning of your relationship to get it under control, he is responsible for his own actions. Unfortunately when he spirals out of control like this he can be responsible for badly hurting or even killing you, your daughter or anyone else. The fact that he acted normal around his family that day and so full of rage and disregard for his own family is all the proof you need that he is very aware of his actions and he can control them. He just chooses not to with you and your daughter, because he's confident you won't leave him over it.

 

I know how painful this must be, but please don't let love blind you to what's most important--the safety of your beautiful daughter and you. If you were terrified that day in the car she must've been out of her mind with fear thinking that you were all going to die, because Daddy said so. Is that the life you want for your daughter? You know you need to leave him again and you need to stay gone and he needs to get this under control NOW. Really under control, not empty promises, but real therapy and whatever the heck else he needs. Or you both need to stay gone, because the risks just aren't worth it.

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If he's going to get help then there has to be a big enough carrot for him to do so--i.e. you leave and take your daughter. Staying with him, indulging him, asking him what he wants is not working and it's not going to work. Tell him he needs help and you won't be coming back until he gets that help and gets himself under control. Is that harsh? Yes., but you cannot will or wish away whatever he's going through. He has to choose to do that just the same way he chose to put his wife and daughter in danger, but then act normal to his family.

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Dear AJ4!

 

Your husband should definitely see a professional. I felt and acted very similar to the way he is acting before my own mental breakdown and the surfacing of my General Panic Disorder. I waited too long/spent too much time in denial until my own health deteriorated and my girlfriend left me, because she did not understand what was happening to me. He is already a lucky guy for having you there and wanting to help. Being someone that has mental issues and had a nervous breakdown, I never actually did anything aggressive. I had roadrage and was very frustrated and used vulgar language alot. The sense of being trapped sounds very much like a panic disorder/depression to me. He definitely needs to seek therapy and medication before he tips over.

 

This is not something that he needs to take seriously. 8 months ago I ended up in a hospital, and I am still working day to day to beat this thing. I am content with my health, but my relationship is lost. This is something you must let him know. That even if you care for him... his condition is going to rub off on you and your child. Asking for help is difficult, I spent years in denial, but hey, if you have bad eyesight, you get glasses... if today's messed up world messes up your mental stability... there are professionals that can help with that, and there is absolutely no shame in it. He has all the power to fix whatever issues are eating him up from the inside out.

 

I wish the best of luck to you!

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