So for years I thought I was simply dealing with a moody spouse. My husband's moodiness was often the subject of light-hearted teasing. I picked up a Good Mood/Bad Mood button years ago so that he could give all of us a little heads up on which person we were dealing with at any given moment.
I bought into the whole idea of moodiness going hand-in-hand with creativity. He was an artist who needed lots of head space. I could relate as a writer. There are definite times when I need to be alone and think. This is why I prefer to run alone and am fond of the long hot shower.
But unlike me, when my husband was involved with his art, there was no joy in the act of creation. I thought this was just the normal frustration that comes from trying to marry the desire to create with living in the real world. There's nothing worse than being right in the middle of some creative burst and then having to stop to take care of something outside of this creative haze.
I have always tried to make certain that my husband had room to work. I appreciate the fact that he is the one who is working at a "real" job to sustain our life. I encouraged him to carve out time even when I desperately needed time to write myself. It was important for me to feel that he was fulfilled. It seemed simple but little did I know I was dealing with an unknown foe.
Moodiness was simply a cloak covering up the depression that has always been present. I was spending a lot of time and energy trying to make everything as perfect as possible for him without understanding the ground rule: satisfaction does not exist. I've been running like a hamster on a wheel trying to please him while my husband's been emotionally checking out of our life.
Over the past year the depression has gotten worse. My children have been affected by my husband's moods. It's been very difficult for my two oldest children since their father is not involved in their lives. My husband is unable to engage or be involved with anyone other than his daughter from his first marriage. It has been most upsetting to watch him explode at our youngest son when he behaves in the same way as my step-daughter did when she was the same age. My children feel I am their only parent. My daughter once described my husband as "just the guy who lives in the house."
After my husband's depression led him towards a self-destructive act, I've had to put a magnifying glass up to my life. What I've seen is that my husband's depression is a weight my whole family is bearing. My children and I have been experiencing the fallout that comes from living with some one who has been in denial about their mental state for a very long time.
My husband is making a start. He has begun seeing a therapist but he is still having a difficult time understanding the impact he has had on us. For him depression is still a "me" disorder but from here we're all going through it.