Thursday 13 December 2018

Dear Mary: I'm ill, my husband abuses me and I hate my life. Should I run away?

Photo posed. Thinkstock Images.
Photo posed. Thinkstock Images.

Mary O’Conor

I'm a young married mother under 25 with three kids. I'm not happy at all - I'm in a very bad mood every day. I got diagnosed with post-natal depression and I'm not allowed to take the pills by my husband. My hair is falling out in clumps, I'm as white as snow and in general I don't feel well.

Is there any way to feel better? I have a four-year-old, a two-year-old and a newborn baby and I'm struggling to do day-to-day things - and my husband isn't helping the situation.

He manipulates me into fighting with my family and tells me how ugly me and my body are even though I'm a size eight.

I feel like running away but I've nowhere to run to - I hate how my life is. I adore my children but I've no love left for my husband from the way I'm being treated. I don't drink, go to pubs or call to anyone other than him.

I'm called a prostitute and I've never cheated on my husband but I think he's hiding an affair himself. I'll accept it if he wants to move on but I will not be abused and used when I've done nothing at all to deserve this. He keeps saying "you've a brilliant life - I don't beat you".

Please help me decide what I should do. Should I take my kids and leave him?

Mary replies:  No you should not leave your husband right now because you are far too distressed to make any long-term decisions about your life. The first thing you have to do is to get your mental health sorted out.

Having been diagnosed with post-natal depression you were prescribed medication but your husband won't allow you to take the pills.

That is so wrong of him to be going against the advice of your doctor and I cannot emphasise strongly enough how important it is for you to take your tablets.

A few weeks have passed since you wrote to me so please get on to this right away if you are to have any chance of feeling able to cope with your busy life. And it certainly is a busy life with three children under five to take care of.

Instead of having a supportive husband you have one who is verbally and mentally abusing you. Telling you that you have a good life because he doesn't physically abuse you is so far short of what a proper husband should be that it seems hardly credible.

Please go and visit your doctor again and tell him or her how things are for you.

You should also explain to one of your family that the fights you have been having with them are not all your fault and have been orchestrated by your husband. Somebody needs to know how things really are at home for you. Your hair will be back to normal within a year as it is quite usual for a mother to suffer hair loss after childbirth - your doctor will reassure you about this at your visit.

Then when you are feeling stronger mentally write to me again telling me how you are and we will take things from there.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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