Dear Judge Mental Jones,
My husband was fired from work for absenteeism when his father passed away last year. He developed a depression that impacted our bills, the yard work, our social life… practically everything. He spent months on the couch and refused to seek therapy or meds.
However, now that we’re in debt and our house looks like Jumanji, he’s waking up early, going for jogs, and meeting his friends at coffee shops every day. When I asked him to cut the lawn or to start interviewing for jobs again, he keeps saying that he’s “too depressed” but he isn’t exhibiting any of the symptoms. Can depression go away? Is there a way to approach him sensitively about this?
Dear My Husband Seems Like He’s Faking Depression,
This one’s not the easiest question to answer as I don’t have much back history to go on. I’d first like to say that depression takes many forms and your husband is most likely depressed still. I had a friend who had the exact same thing happen, and some things he can still do, but everything else has been pretty slow to come. His wife became extremely frustrated, and it didn’t help the situation much. So you’ll need to stop being a dick about this, especially if he never gave you any reason to believe that he was a lazy good for nothing ass before his father passed away.
Now, if your husband has always been light in the helping out around the house and paying the bills home front, then here’s the answer you’ve been waiting for.
Ahem…..You let this entitled asshole know that you are not his Sugar Mama! If he expects you to be there at his worst – he has to pick up the slack once he’s recovered. It sounds like he’s using his mental health as leverage to manipulate you. The fact that he’s pulling the depression card on getting a job and house work while he’s jogging his ass around to make social calls, makes him a lying fucking asshole. I’d strangle him with the overgrown lawn of yours just to lay down the law.
How long will you let this slide? You’re already an epic mate for helping him recover, but now he sounds like a spoiled brat teenager living at his mom’s house. Life & loss happens, and it affects everyone differently. Depression is real. But there are two types of depression. Situational (based on an event or situation) and Chronic. There are meds and therapy available for both. So once the symptoms aren’t there, your ass better stop taking advantage of your support network and get back to adulting.
I’d recommend the classic marital move of “ultimatums.” Let him know that he’s free to recover in peace as long as he gets a doctor referral for therapy or meds (online video conferencing options are available). If this manipulative asshole thinks he can lean back on depression any time he’s asked to contribute – WHEN HE’S HEALTHY – then you need to protect yourself with some boundaries. Because SPOILER ALERT he’s going to know more people who die and so will you.
Try and Create a healthy ecosystem for supporting one another by having tools to assess/manage stress that can save your marriage, house and your yard.
xo Judge Mental Jones
If you or a loved one you know battles with any Mental Health Issues, please do get the help you need. If you need to talk to someone now, you can talk to one of the many fantastic therapists at Better Help by CLICKING HERE.