My husband has stopped going to work once again

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a company employee in my late 40s. I’m worried about my husband, who won’t go to work.

A colleague at his previous workplace recommended him for his current job. But he started to take days off, saying he was depressed.

Since I leave home early and return later than him, I didn’t realize this was happening until his company president called me. I was told this had been going on for three weeks.

My husband started seeing a doctor. After discussions about our children’s education and other expenses, he agreed to return to work after a month or so. But it only lasted for a day. He stopped going to work the very next day and kept it to himself until I learned about this a month later.

This is the fourth time such a thing happened in the last 20 years. We are now in financial difficulties and my patience is running out. But our younger child is still in primary school and seems to be very fond of him.

How can I make him go to work? He overcame the last three episodes by eventually getting a new job. Unfortunately, he’s already in his 50s and I don’t see much hope of him getting another one.

T, Yamaguchi Prefecture

Dear Ms. T:

First, your husband has to be cured. I recommend that you accompany him to a doctor and listen to what that doctor has to say on the situation.

I suspect your husband hasn’t told you what his doctor told him before. I would suggest you ask the doctor directly whether your husband should be switching jobs, or what kind of jobs would suit him best. The doctor should be able to recommend what would be appropriate for your husband, considering the symptoms.

Judging from the fact that he got a job through the recommendation of a former colleague, your husband must be a good-natured, trustworthy person. I don’t think he lacks the will to work. He is probably not comfortable with his current job, but just can’t say so.

Don’t criticize him or drive him into a corner. He is aware of his problem, but just can’t solve it by himself.

You should believe he’ll be able to recover as he did previously, and you should care for him. Worrying too much about him will make him feel uneasy and he will blame himself even more. Discuss this with his doctor, for your own sake as well.

Tatsuro Dekune, writer

(from June 12, 2016, issue)Speech

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