Obstacles You May Encounter:

As you deal with PPD several obstacles will appear.  Whether they be medical, psychological, financial, or societal they are all real and must be dealt with.  Below are some of the more common obstacles.

  1. Unhelpful Family and Friends                   
  2. Insurance Companies               
  3. Job/Financial Concerns
  4. Hostility/Rejection                    
  5. Stigma of Depression               
  6. Your Own Attitudes
  7. Refusal of Treatment                
  8. Legal Issues

Unhelpful Family and Friends

While the support of family and friends can be invaluable in dealing with PPD, unhelpful family and friends can be a real burden.  Unhelpful family and friends come in many forms and degrees.  On the mild side are the ones that are very concerned about you and your wife, sincerely want to help, but just don’t understand the situation.  They feel like if your wife would just stop worrying about things everything would be okay.  They don’t understand depression very well and tend to get in the way.  They may lecture your wife with the sincere intent to make her feel better, only to leave her more depressed.  Being around them can be draining to you because they aren’t helping.

On the more severe side are the family and friends who think you are trying to kill their daughter, sister, or friend.  They will actively try to sabotage her treatment and separate the two of you.  Again they do this thinking they are saving your wife but the effect can be very damaging.

There are also the family members that just “disappear” during the crisis.  They can’t bring themselves to confront the situation and deal with the depression, so they cut you and your wife out of their lives.  The damage that they cause is they deprive you of their support and reinforce the stigma surrounding depression.

Other friends and family will provide lots of advice and suggestions for alternate cures.  These may range from meditation, to herbal remedies, to expensive resorts.  Again, since depression is so little understood by society at large, hearing that someone is depressed and requires medical treatment can be very disturbing to people.

Here are some suggestions for dealing with unhelpful family and friends:

  • – Be very open in your communication with them. Explain what is going on with your wife and her treatment plan. Explain what you do and do not want them to do. Be understanding of their concerns as well.
  • – For the mildly unhelpful relative, come up with practical ways that they can help and feel part of the recovery process. Taking care of shopping, caring for the baby, running errands, etc.
  • – Screen her phone calls. Do not allow people to tie her up on the phone lecturing her if you don’t think they understand what is going on.

Pam’s family visited regularly during the depression.  Unfortunately I couldn’t relax because I was worried about what they were telling her and I had a house full of people.  I would have much preferred if they would have taken her out of the house, anywhere, and left me to have some peace and quiet at home.  I wish I would have told them very clearly that I didn’t want a house full of people and that I would appreciate them taking Pam out somewhere to visit.


Stigma of Depression

One way that dealing with depression is unlike most other ailments is that people are very reluctant to talk about it.  If you have cancer, or some other serious ailment, people generally know how to react and support you.  Depression is much different, people are often uncomfortable talking about it and you may be reluctant to bring it up.  Unfortunately this cuts you off from much of the support that you need. 

When Ana had a very serious life threatening illness, the support we got from friends, coworkers, and family was wonderful.  People cooked us dinner, friends called regularly, people at work were very supportive.  I could talk freely about her progress and let people know how I was handling the ordeal.  There was a general feeling of support and openness.  After Ana’s hospitalization for depression it was much different.  I was very careful who I told about her condition.  Only her very close friends called and looked out for us.  Even most of her family was never told about her depression.  That lack of support and openness made the recovery even more difficult.

Ana and I have tried to be open about her illness to people that we know and trust.  Fortunately everyone that we have told about her depression has been very supportive.  We have learned that many of the people around us have suffered from depression and we didn’t even know about it.  Now Ana is able to support others because they know what she went through.  Don’t let your fear of other people’s reaction prevent you from discussing your wife’s depression and depriving you of the much need emotion and physical support.  You will be surprised to find out just how many people you know have dealt with or are dealing with depression.




2 Responses to Obstacles

  1. Dimitri says:

    Our youngest came along last January. At first, my wife and I were fine, taking care of our household responsibilities. He was born with torticolis and two small heart murmurs. We’ve dealt with pediatric cardiologist appointments for the past year, torticolis physical therapy, and a helmet for the playcephaly. In addition, my wife’s grandmother, who was like a 2nd mother to them, was in hospice since May 2016, until she passed in October 2016. Last April, my wife began lashing out at me, basically because I ate the last donut in the house, which to her was my thoughtlessness, yet developed into a weekend long argument. The longer it went on, the angrier she became. When she argues, the entire world comes to a standstill, with complete disregard to what is going on, to the needs of our infant and our 2 1/2 year old at the time. On July 2nd, in the middle of the night, I was awoken by her standing over the crib, yelling at the 5 month old to shut up as he was crying. I got up, calmly said I’ll take him, go back to sleep, and let her go back to bed. The other part to all of this is, I suffer from narcolepsy with cataplexy. I take sodium oxybate every night to cope with my symptoms. At the time, I wouldn’t take it on weekends to help her, whereas during the week, my job involves me driving between work sites. After that episode, I chose not to speak with her mother about it, because I didn’t want to add to her stress of her mother in bospice. So, I chose to recruit her sister. When we spoke, she asked how PPD is typically treated. I explained that it begins with my wife speaking with her doctor and then they will properly asses, and prescribe psychotherapy or antidepressants, or whatever they may see fit. That was a mistake. “Oh no, not my sister on antidepressants”, was her response. She spoke with my wife, and she convinced her sister that my wife yelling at the baby was done for my benefit, to wake up. My response to that was exactly what you may be thinking, that one should be standing over me, getting me to wake up, like when I’m snoring and she pushes me to stop. Still, left alone. Since then, every little thing I do, becomes a major argument, escalating in rage, yet very careful not to act out on our sons. With two exceptions towards our oldest, where she had a meltdown because he didn’t want to leave or get in the car. This time, I calmly explained to her that this isn’t her and may need to speak with her doctor. Again, shot down, and eventual argument, refuting the idea that something is wrong with her. Arguments continue, and escalate. Her grandmother passes in October, she turned 40 in December, she misses our oldest’s 1st Christmas recital becausr I was running late (my dumb move) a week later, which is another escalated argument. On Christmas morning, wakes up to indicate that I had eaten the last cookie of its kind. Erupts into a fit of rage, after her question of “why” I ate it, my response being, “didn’t think much of it because the house is going to be full of sweets the next couple of weeks”, wasn’t what she was expecting. It was an expectation of (minus the expletives-kids present as well for the expetives as always) “I’m a selfish pig of a screw up. Didn’t think of you. Please forgive me. I’m at your mercy”. This escalated, again, world comes to a stand still, into a huge argument where she insisted I take the kids to church for the older to take communion, because he better and she expects it. So, as she got them ready, I got dressed and left. The whole time sending me messages of being a failure of a husband and a father, yet I’m taking two small children into a packed church, and expected me to give her the play by play to see if she would make it. Later, calls my mother, with a raised volume and tells her that “she needs to talk to me. To not worry about her, but our fighting is too much and she needs to talk to me”, while my parents are having a nice lunch with my brother and sister. My mother’s reply, after the tone in my wife’s delivery was, “I’ve hear you yelling and arguing with your mother and sister, and sometimes you yell and argue over nothing”. They’ve never had an issue until that moment, where my mother is caught off guard. Mind you, my mother, no matter what I’ve said to her, has always taken my wife’s side.
    I know, way too many details. However, not only have our arguments escalated, to where she has gotten physical with me, she has now lashed out at my parents, all because she feels “disrespected”. Again with details. Sorry. I once again attemted ti speak with her about PPD, possibly having PMDD, to no avail. She actually told me that she found the questionnaire at the ob/gyn amusing and comical because it’s not her. My response to that was that it’s not funny the seriousness of it and the women who do suffer from PPD, and she should take it seriously. Again, refuting any issues she may have, blaming me for everything, feeling entitled to her lack of self control, because it’s her revenge for me hurting her, her way of me feeling some of the hurt she feels.
    I’m at a dangerous point in our marriage. I love her and care about her, and no matter what I say, how I say it, she refuses to admit, at least to me, her family, and friends that I know talk to her about this, that there’s any issues. Yet they all tell her the same thing, that she’s not the person they know. Her mother as of late, mentioned that she may have a chemical imbalance. Yet my wife refuses. I even called the last ob/gyn I know she’s gone to, and unless she voluntarily goes in to seek help, there’s nothing they can do.
    I go to a marriage counselor by myself.
    I desperately need help, to get this woman that I love and care about, the mother of our children, the help she really needs. This rage is dangerous to our marriage, our children, and has spilled over into the extended families. I’m not a perfect husband, and I have failed her in certain ways I can’t get back or change, but I’m not alone in this marriage, and our small children dependent on us for everything, deserve better then this.
    If this is postpartum, then I know I can, and I know my parents, can and will put all behind us, but we need to get PPD treated. I’m lost as to what avenues I have. Her refusal, no matter which way I or anyone close to her has worded it, is discouraging, and upsetting.
    Please! If anyone has dealt with a wife who refuses, yet still got her help, please give me ANY ideas.

    • Gabriel says:

      I wish I could help. I am reading through these posts, looking for help myself. If you don’t mind sharing, what has happened since February for you and your family?

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