How Do You Make Someone Get Help?

Someone I love dearly has a problem, and being mentally ill myself, I know what *I* would do, but I'm finding out that getting someone else to do what you know is the right thing to do and they won't do it is very frustrating.  Especially when you live with them and watch the consequences and worry about them.

My husband has been going up and down with depression ever since I've met him.  He's tried scores of anti-depressants, but he claims they don't work, or the side effects are not worth it.  Yes, I totally get the whole side effect thing, but in my case, I can't give up, that's simply not an option.  I don't know why it's okay for him to do it, but I always thought to myself, "If it ever got THAT BAD, he would be desperate enough to do something about it."

So the last few months I've noticed he's been very anxious, and it didn't occur to me until yesterday and he blurted out how depressed he was (I'll get to that in a minute) that anxiety can be a sign of depression.  He's had a history of abusing alcohol and xanax in the past and we've had "episodes" that I don't think he'd appreciate me posting on the internet, not that he'd appreciate this either, but I do record things in my life that I find to be important or I want to remember for a later date.

Again, a few months ago, I went to kiss him, and thought I detected alcohol on his breath.  At the time, he had been home for quite awhile, which meant he would have had to sneak something to drink at home.  That's alarming to me - that he would actually hide it from me.  I told him his breath smelled like he had been drinking, but he apologized and said he must have bad breath.  Hello?  I've known him for 15 years.  I know what his bad breath is like, and that wasn't it.  But I questioned myself.  It wasn't very strong.

But it happened a couple more times.  I was hypersensitive about it though, was I imagining it?  I was pretty sure I knew the smell of alcohol, but would he really sneak a drink at home?  I saw him do it about a year ago and confronted him about it in marriage counseling and he admitted he had done it because he was anxious, and at about that time, he decided to stop drinking altogether.  That lasted for a few months, but he decided he could do without it, he had quit easily, and he could use it in moderation and talked about it with our counselor, and she seemed okay with it.  He does work in an environment where everyone drinks at business dinners, and it is extremely uncomfortable to the very few who do not.  I wouldn't believe it, but I've been to a business dinner of his.  I wasn't sure that this was the right decision, but honestly, I don't want to drink at dinner alone, and I don't want to drink if he's not drinking and is trying not to drink, so I was a little relieved, which I know is wrong of me. 

So he knows how I watch his drinking like a hawk, but lately, he has been using any excuse to drink.  It's not crazy drinking.  I mean, it's normal stuff to anyone else.  Cinco de Mayo, he wants to have a few beers.  We go to a Mexican restaurant on a night we don't normally go out for dinner, and he has a few beers.  It's not like he's buying a six pack and bringing it home and drinking it every night, or any night actually.  He doesn't drink at all at home as far as I know except what I suspect.  I know most people won't agree with me, but I just don't "get" drinking at home for no reason.  I know people have a glass of wine at night to "unwind" or whatever, but I don't understand it.  I just don't enjoy the feeling of alcohol that much so it's hard for me to relate and he knows that.  Social drinking?  Sure, it can be fun.  Drinking at home alone?  That seems wrong to me, but I come from a home of parents who drank and did drugs,'s probably natural for me not to want that as an adult, or to want that for myself either.

I've been checking up on his anxiety every so often, asking every few days how he's feeling, but by his actions, it's been escalating, but really got bad once we got back from our vacation.  Like out of control bad.  Everything and everyone was irritating him, he was on edge, but he still tried to be pleasant to me, make me happy, go running with me, showed me his office, went to a music festival with me.  But underneath it all, he was miserable.

So yesterday morning I once again asked about his anxiety and he said he was anxious, and I asked him if he knew what he was anxious about.  I had told him not that long ago that I had learned that sometimes I'm just anxious without a reason, yet my mind tries to attach it to ANYTHING to make sense of it, yet I have to remember it's only chemical.

He said "this is what I THINK it is."  And then he went on and on about how miserable he was, how depressed he was, how life had no meaning for him, and ended it with "I just want to die".  I was shocked. 

"I just want to die"?  That's a pretty serious statement.  I thought about that all day.  Is that suicidal?  Does someone have to say "I want to kill myself" suicidal, or is "I want to die" suicidal?  Either way, I didn't take it lightly, I was pretty alarmed and upset to hear that.

I can't count the number of times I've told him to go the psychiatrist, to go to a counselor, even our marriage counselor has asked him to come and see her on his own, and he won't.  She has known he's been going through something. 

I told him yesterday to go to a doctor, to get some help, and he said he refused to go to a psychiatrist.  He might go see our marriage counselor, but he would not go on drugs. 

I called him on the way to school when he was on the way to work, and he was once again extremely irritated at traffic, where he is at his worst when he is anxious.  I hadn't had a chance to say anything but greet him, and he started complaining about what lanes people were driving in, and how he had been driving 95 until some car had made him slow down to 75.  I told him I thought 95 was too fast in what I thought was not a mean way at all, just a "please be careful" way, and he went off on me.  He said something like I was just a civilian who had no right to tell him how fast to drive, only a police officer could tell him to slow down, or something like that, but very rudely.  I didn't say anything, I was like oooo-kay then, to myself.  I said "have a nice day, love you, bye" and hung up, because I sure wasn't going to make his anxiety worse by arguing with him.

So yesterday afternoon I finally told him, because I didn't know what else to do, that just like it is my responsibilty to take care of my mental health, it is his responsibilty to take care of his and he needed to do something about it.  I mean, what can I really do?  I can't force him to do or go anywhere.  I did threaten to leave him once years and years ago after the alcohol/xanax incidents if he didn't go to his pychiatrist and get help, and he did go.  But that was pretty extreme.  And I also called 911 and had him hauled to the emergency room when he overdosed which he is still mad about today.  But had he been coherent or even moving, he could have told them that he was okay and he didn't need them, and would remember actually being in the emergency room.

So he called me yesterday afternoon and said he felt much better, he got out of the office and went shopping, went to some place called Baretta, I guess it's an Italian gun place, and bought a case for his...uh, gun?  After years and years of telling me he didn't have one and didn't want to get one because I would shoot myself or him?  So I was happy he sounded better, but how could I not be upset that he had lied to me for years about having a gun, which I would have been okay with, I had suggested getting one many times?  It made me wonder, did he buy a gun at Baretta along with the gun case, or did he really have the gun all along?  He swears he had it all along and told me it was always unloaded in his trunk, and he was going to take a concealed weapons course.  I'm fine with that, but I got to thinking about the timing.  "I just want to die", and then he's thinking about guns?  It's not completely out of the blue.  Taking a concealed weapons course is on his list of things to do.  So it could be coincidental, or not.  He spent an hour or two cleaning the gun, and I looked carefully at his cleaning supplies, and they didn't look new, it looked like they'd been around somewhere for awhile.  I'm not sure how to process this yet.  I don't want to get mad at him because he's having such a difficult time.

Maybe it's a message after all.  I don't know what to think of it.

I see now how very, very difficult and hard it is to live with someone who is not taking care of themselves mentally.  Who could be so much better if they would just get help but won't.  It's FRUSTRATING, and I don't understand it!  If he would just be doing anything, I would be more understanding, not that he doesn't know that I'm not on the outside.  I will listen to him whenever he wants to talk about anything, which is not very often.  But I can't do this for him.  Only he has the power to help himself get better.

Wow, I didn't mean to write so much.  I thought it would just be about three paragraphs.  I must be more worried and frustrated than I thought I was.         


LiveLaughRun said...

I feel worried just from reading this! Saying, "I want to die" and then finding out he's had a gun and is now letting you know that..? maybe a coincidence but it's like how do you know when to be worried or not? and then what do you do? Go with your gut? I hope it's just a coincidence and that he will agree to getting some help!

KansasSunflower said...

LLR - I re-read that part after you commented about that, and yes, now I'm more worried too. Sometimes writing it out and analyzing it puts it all together, you know? I don't know what to do.

LiveLaughRun said...

Ah, well I hope everything is alright and that it's nothing. I just know how I felt whenever I've said those words, and I didn't trust myself .. not trying to make it seem worse than it is, just never know with something like that! :/

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