I deeply hear you … very deeply. My grief and guilt about the impact of depression on my youngest daughter and husband was immense. It still throbs, but with far les gusto.
Depression often lacks overt signs of illness to which others can readily connect. It is isolation that seeks isolation.
The first really helpful comment I bathed in – luxuriously – was a psychiatrist who told me, “Your kids were baked before depression came crashing. That doesn’t mean they have no needs; that doesn’t mean they understand, but don’t beat yourself up for an illnes thst is encumbering you”.
As for my husband – he is a stoic, kind man. He does not freely offer anything less than optimism. That said, it was clear he suffered. My capacity to help at home diminished to very little. I asked him constantly and forever how he was doing, and he was always upbeat – he was “fine” and simply worried about me.
I learned a few years into major depression that his struggling and angst for my struggles was immense. I understand why – I asked – but he was cconcerned that if he spoke negatively, I would tailspin.
What I needed most was the truth. He is now getting help from a separate psychologist. We share are thoughts openly and honestly. Our marriage is good – very good – after eight years of major depression.
I guess my thoughts – based on what I have experienced – is to (despite the constant pull of mental illness), do all you can to understand, deeply, the thoughts of your husband. Include him in your own therapy from time-to-time.
If the roles were reversed, and your were your child or husband – what would you be feeling, thinking, feeling? Is there something in those thoughts that would allow you to create “touch points” each day – a hug, a note, a surprise, a listening mind?
It is Hell to have mental illness. It is “near Hell” to watch someone you love suffer. It is a forum for torn relationships if all parties are not attentive. It creates a sense of feeling “depressed for your depression” – the doubleness of illness.
I would love to see a post of what you CAN and DO do for your kids and husband. It is clear (and true), that depression saps capacity … but usually, not ALL of it. How do you, or can you use the power within to give yourself credit for the many good things you are able to do?