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Discussion Starter #1
I posted part of this story elsewhere but I know that there's really good support in this forum so I'm posting here with more details.

DH has always been a very happy and laid-back person who doesn't let things get to him, until recently. His salary was reduced (stepped-down many times) to about 1/2 of what it was 8 months ago. We owe money in taxes due to the standard deduction being lowered to only around 40% of what it was last year, and that difference was not accounted for in prior withholding (but this is the case for everyone). Our car insurance payment went up as did the annual car tax (again, for everyone). We recently (this summer) moved from a furnished apartment to an unfurnished apartment and the move cost us a lot of money (the move, the furniture, the start-up fees for everything, the agent, etc). So overall this year has been a very, very expensive year for us.

Considering the circumstances here in Greece, we are very fortunate. We managed to furnish our home, create a good stockpile, pay all our obligations, and decrease rather than increase our debt. While we are very frugal and can't spend money on "fun", we are doing much better than many people we know and many people we don't know. For Greece in 2011, at our age (30 & 33), not living with parents, we're doing well.

DH comes home from work, eats, and then sleeps for at least 3-4 hours. Then he wakes up, watches TV, and then goes back to bed. If he has work to do at home for the next day (which he almost always does) he ends up getting up really early in the morning to do it. When I ask him about work or how his day went, he always says "I'm totally exhausted. You don't want to hear about it." I tell him that I do want to hear about it, and I try to ask questions but instead of opening up he just becomes negative and it seems to worsen his mood.

At least once a day he says he wants to quit his job. I know that he knows that this would be a total disaster for us financially. His job is low paying but it is more or less secure and is paying our rent and our car payment, and unemployment is 38% in our city. I know he's just venting and I try very hard not to look ruffled when he says it but I'll admit sometimes I may be contributing to the problem by reacting to his "I want to quit" line by saying "no, really, you can't!"

I handle the finances 100% and I reassure him that while we need to stay frugal, everything **is** covered and we have an emergency fund and so on.

It's getting to the point where I am considering taking him to some kind of therapy. He'd go if I made an appointment. He's not against it or anything. I don't want to overreact but he is starting to show the signs of depression: sleeping too much, not taking the same interest in things he used to, talking less / not opening up about his feelings, negative thoughts, self-deprecating comments / negative comments/criticisms about himself.

Has anyone been through this? What should I do? Mental health is not covered by our insurance and will cost around €70/hour for a therapy session, which we can't afford really but could come out of our Medical Sinking Fund (that has about €300 in it).
 

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No real advice as I have never had to deal with this. However, since you say you have some savings you could use, and he would go willingly, it might be worth a try. If it really is the beginning of clinical depression, better sooner than later to start addressing it.
 

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I would totally make the appointment for him. Even just one appointment to let it all out could really help him turn the corner, especially if you are catching it early.

He may not be able to totally let it all out with you because he wants to be the strong man. But maybe he could spill it all out and get some feedback and support from someone else.

Another thought if you are unsure if this is the best route: does he have a male friend, father figure, or hang out person that you can send him out with? For some true one-on-one time, no women around, that maybe he can just let it all out to? Hugs to you both.
 
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sustained

What is happening these days is not what people were conditioned to prepare for. And everyone affected will be struggling within these stages:

Denial, bargaining, anger, depression, acceptance.

The anchor within one's self is what will sustain a person through tough times and disaster.
I put my faith in God for whatever happens.
And I literally count all of my blessings every night as I lie awake in bed, and I fall asleep counting my blessings.

Four years ago, my income was 4 times as much, and I was feeling pretty good about my future.
Then I became seriously ill, paralyzed after my 2007 flu shot, and this has ruined me as a music teacher, but I've received no treatment or compensation. I'm just struggling on my own.
So my income dropped to 1/2 of what it was 4 years ago.
But this year, to make matters worse, we had widescale flooding of the Canadian Prairies, and our town was literally a flood-zone, which further negatively affected my employment.
Now, my income has dropped again to 1/4 of what it was 4 years ago.
This summer I was in limbo, wondering how badly my teaching year (Sept-June) would be affected by these disasters. Now I know, for the present. So, after the initial shock of incredulity, I've tried to adjust again. I've dealt with anger and depression and bargaining, but have no other options or plans except to hang on and see it through. My employment income may still drop to zero; I have only 2 students at present.

But I have a legacy which sustains me. My parents made it through 2 World Wars & The Great Depression, and still raised 10 kids, and lived to a ripe old age. They had very little to live on, but didn't give up. They always found ways to economize and my dad found jobs far from home, and continued to support us. Mom was a great homemaker, very economical and organized. And when we were well into middle-school years, she also took on a job as caretaker at our Post Office, and later on as indoor janitor at our High School to help with our finances.

It is only natural for your DH to feel this turmoil, as the economics and the factors of his situation are putting so much stress upon him. But if he could see himself, and you, as ultimate survivors of these hard times, in time to come, it would help to sustain him now. We must visualize ourselves as survivors, so the present stress does not seem overwhelming. We must give ourselves the benefit of hope, and cling to God in faith. "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee."

If there are any other ways to find the dollars you need, or the circumstances you need, keep on praying for answers, and take action with the answers that come.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
does he have a male friend, father figure, or hang out person that you can send him out with? For some true one-on-one time, no women around, that maybe he can just let it all out to? Hugs to you both.
We have a few friends here but since we only moved to this city this summer, our friends are pretty new and he probably can't truly open up to them either. I think I will encourage him to call some of his really close male friends who live in other cities. He used to call them regularly, and unlike many men, would talk on the phone for over an hour with them! I think it's been a while (several months), and in his current state I think he may simply not be thinking of it.

Interestingly, he went to a city about 3 hours away earlier this year (August I think) to see a friend of his who is depressed (lost his job, barely making it, no girlfriend, etc) and he expressed great concern for this friend, discussed his situation with a mutual friend of theirs - I could tell he was really shaken seeing his friend so depressed. His father also has clinical depression and takes antidepressants. So he's completely aware of depression as a condition and it worries him to see it in his friends. It's such a sly condition, it creeps up on you and you don't see it.

I think when he comes home from work today I'll suggest he call one of his really close friends.

Would it be dishonest of me / a betrayal of him if I called one of these friends who I also know and who I know to be DH's REALLY close friend, and asked him to call DH and let him know that DH was feeling down lately? Is that overstepping boundaries? I don't know. I don't want to do something behind his back. It seems too close to lying. But then I think how happy it would make DH if he got a call from a friend, too. Since we have a free calling plan and no one else does, we're always the ones making calls, we almost never get calls.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Four years ago, my income was 4 times as much, and I was feeling pretty good about my future.
Then I became seriously ill, paralyzed after my 2007 flu shot, and this has ruined me as a music teacher, but I've received no treatment or compensation. I'm just struggling on my own.
So my income dropped to 1/2 of what it was 4 years ago.
But this year, to make matters worse, we had widescale flooding of the Canadian Prairies, and our town was literally a flood-zone, which further negatively affected my employment.
Now, my income has dropped again to 1/4 of what it was 4 years ago.
Incognito, your post really touched me. DH is also a music teacher, and as I try to tell him, very very lucky to have a tenured teaching position. Many of his friends from university aren't so lucky. Of course others are playing in the national orchestra, and when he sees them perform on TV, I know he feels like a failure but he's not at all.

I agree with you that the lessons of the past - just how tough things were and people made it - have a lot to teach us. Unfortunately again DH is in some sort of depressed haze and can't see these things. He doesn't believe in God or anything along those lines, although interestingly, he's started watching (and insisting that I watch with him) Carl Sagan's Cosmos series (which we have on DVD) - if you're not familiar with it, it's a series of documentaries about different aspects of the universe, the solar system, the planets, and so on. I think it's an escape for him, both because it makes you feel really small and your problems small also, to realize how tiny we are in relation to the universe as a whole, but also probably because he remembers it fondly from childhood.

It is only natural for your DH to feel this turmoil, as the economics and the factors of his situation are putting so much stress upon him. But if he could see himself, and you, as ultimate survivors of these hard times, in time to come, it would help to sustain him now. We must visualize ourselves as survivors, so the present stress does not seem overwhelming. We must give ourselves the benefit of hope, and cling to God in faith. "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee."
I agree, and as I am not in the haze of depression, I can see very clearly that we are actually doing very, very well considering our low income and the fact that prices are so high. I mean, under those circumstances, you can't really expect to go out and eat steak at a restaurant. But we're neither hungry nor cold nor naked. We're okay. He just seems to lack the ability to see the good things, and focuses on the negatives, like where he wishes his life were at this point. In this particular situation, it's not even primarily a financial problem. It's more an issue of his career ambitions and daily dissatisfaction with work, and he doesn't seem able to see the positives at all.
 

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I don't think making a phone call is overstepping especially when it could help him so much. I am so sorry he is feeling so down. It is hard to watch that in someone you love dearly.
 

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I'm so sorry to read this. I've suffered from depression myself nd he certainly has symptoms. I very much wanted to see a doctor but my DH didn't think it was necessary. he was ashamed of my depression and tried to bully me out of it. Thank God his is a different man now :) He went through a severe depression of his own after being injured and losing his job, etc. He is still disabled.

If your DH is willing to see a doctor, I certainly would make an appointment. Perhaps the doctor could then refer him to a licensed therapist and it would be covered by insurance?
 

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Clinical depression involves changes in the brain, usually gradual, which affect the seratonin levels. The effects & resulting symptoms range from mild to severe. It is not a condition that can turn itself around without medical intervention and proper medication.

On the other hand, crisis situations, whether slow or sudden, can be extremely stressful to the mind and cause many of the same symptoms as clinical depression. Any help you can get for DH, or that he can get for himself, could make a positive difference. Struggling mentally and emotionally with severe stress is a tremendous ordeal for anyone, and if it can be alleviated, so much the better.

Yesterday, I received some encouragement in my own life which lifted my own spirits. One of my students gave me a Christmas gift-bag, and inside was a tiny plaque with the famous saying:

"A hundred years from now...
It will not matter what my bank account was,
the sort of house I lived in,
or the kind of car I drove...
But the world may be different
Because I was important in the life of a child."

Crisis forces us to look outside ourselves; and beyond our own lives with our set of problems and struggles, there is a God who loves us.
"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms". And even when we see our own mortality, we also see that the significance of our life cannot be discounted.
 

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this seems situational not chemical. he has to come to the conclusion that he is not trapped.

math and science secondary teachers are in high demand in the states.... paid well too.

what is your employment?
 
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I'd encourage him to call his best friend, but I wouldn't call the friend myself.

We all know how much a man's self esteem is wrapped up in their career, it's a bitter pill to swallow that your husband has been penalized through no fault of his own.

Maybe it would also help to let him know that you have a backup plan if he does quit the job. I think you mentioned something once about moving to the U.S.?

If all else fails, talking with a therapist sounds like a very good idea.
 

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IMHO - I would call his friend and send up the SOS flag. As for setting up an appointment with a doctor - go fo it as well. Whatever the cause of his depression - situational, chemical imbalance - he deserves help. Definitely not a road to travel alone for either of you.

Please let us know how it is going.
 

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I would not call the friend a man and his pride are a big thing. His depression sounds situational and I would take him to talk someone. Probably an anti depressant might help. (everybody here takes them) also not frugal but DO something fun.....it won't hurt hugs pen
 

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If you can't afford to go to the doctor fish oil is a mood balancer. Our doctor suggests 3- 1000 capsules 3X's a day. They really are quite helpful, but take a month or so to kick in.
 

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I remember 2 times in my life when I could have been described as "depressed". One was when we were being sued for over and above our insurance limits...the other was when my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. I was given anti-depressants. It was a case of situational depression. Once the ordeals were over I was able to stop taking them. If you can get your husband to realize that what is going on in Greece is bigger than what most people can handle, maybe you can get him help. My heart breaks for you...the casualities of the result of worldwide spending. Most people never thought it could come to this.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you all for your support and advice. I chatted with a mutual friend on FB and I asked him if he'd talked to DH lately; he said no, and I said "you should call him - you'll make his day!" in a sort of off-hand way and he said he would. Then when DH came home I mentioned that we'd chatted and he said "I really need to call him." So hopefully they will reconnect soon.

Then last night we sat down together and I told him that we need to do 3 things.

1) We need to work out a plan for the future that will satisfy his career ambitions and set up a plan of action for making it possible.

2) He needs to talk to someone, whether it be a therapist or his friends, but it has to be someone. We set up a "playdate" (hehe) for him to play sports with a very old friend today (who lives in another city but works in this one), and he promised me he would reach out to his friends in other cities, and that if he didn't feel better, we could look for a therapist.

3) He needs to make an effort to appreciate the positives in life (including work) instead of focusing so much on the negatives.

So we started working out a plan for him to finish his PhD, starting in the summer of 2013 even in the absence of financial support. He seemed so much more hopeful when we talked it through. I set up a savings fund for that. No money in it yet, but it will get there. As long as we start getting that going, and he talks to his friends and makes an effort to smile once in a while, I'm feeling hopeful. He even said "as long as I know that I'm headed SOMEWHERE, I'm not worried."
 

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Way to go greekislandgirl! Some of us just need to have some focus or goals in our lives. My DH doesn't need them. I do. I'm wishing you both all kinds of success. :) By the way, vitamin D3 seemed to lift my depression this fall...1000 IU daily.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
He seems better today already. I have to be very careful that he's not putting up a cheerful exterior to protect me from his depression, because that's exactly the kind of thing he would do (whether intentionally or unintentionally). I also think it is a case of "fake it til you make it." (You know how just smiling - even when you aren't happy - improves your mood? that kind of thing.)

The kids were doing irregular activities (they had an assembly this morning and a few other things going on) so he had his extracurricular kids in rehearsals all day instead of teaching regular classes, and while he's tired from that, I think it makes him feel much more creative/productive than the day-to-day slog.

A childhood friend of his who lives abroad is coming home on Friday and playing a concert (I believe he is a classical guitarist) in DH's hometown so we're going to see that. It's €14 for both of us but I think we can swing it. And then we'll spend the rest of the weekend at the IL's for Christmas stuff. So at least he'll get a change of scene and a chance to play with his dog.

Except his extremely obnoxious grandmother will be there too, I forgot about that. She's beyond description and worthy of a whole different thread but I'll spare you. She's quite likely to burst into tears and throw a tantrum if we don't give her adequate fawning attention!
 

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I understand completely what your going through. My husband and I are both stuck in jobs we dont really care for right now. We also both have opportunities to take jobs that we both love however those jobs dont pay what the crappy jobs do. Therefore we are stuck.
The one hope that I have is that if we could get out of debt we could both take the jobs we love (the jobs will wait for us) so my entire goal is that 2012 will be the year we get out of debt. I am looking as debt free as freedom to enjoy ourselves. :cheergrl: Which is great but the day to day living is what is the hard part. Getting through the year without being miserable is going to be tough.
Good luck to you and your husband. Thinking of you and wishing you the best.
 

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Heather, thanks for your post. I really hope you guys kick the debt this year and can have your dream jobs! When you consider how much of your life you spend at work, it really is a shame to have a job you don't love. (Though I suppose that's the case for the vast majority of people, isn't it? Not that many lucky ones who LOVE their jobs!)

Right now is Christmas break so DH is happier because he's not at work - but in general his outlook has improved since we "dealt with it" so to speak. I've already started socking pennies away for when we take the next step toward getting him a better job. I feel good about that too, not just he! :)
 
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