Dear Prof Nadine Khan,
Assalam o aleikum, I am in really desperate straits. I am a housewife, with four kids, and live with my husband in Lahore. I am really worried about his health and state of mind, and my own, too.
My husband worked full time as an assistant professor in a public sector university. He is a very learned, intelligent and a hardworking person, and we had a good life together. Three years ago, my husband found out about some very illegal activities going on in his department, and wrote a detailed report about the whole business to his superiors in the Examination wing. His action resulted in the opening of a long inquiry into the conduct of some senior professors, but all the culprits were exonerated and my husband was then continuously victimised and threatened and he was forced to resign.
Since then, he has been only teaching on a part-time basis as a visiting faculty member at some private colleges, and has not been able to get a full-time job in the public sector, despite his merit, degrees, experience and integrity.
This has made him and me very depressed indeed. As a consequence, our life together is also suffering. He hardly speaks to me or the kids now, or to anyone else and has also stopped meeting people, including his friends. He has developed hypertension, and is on medication for this, which makes him feel even worse, since he has become bitter and disillusioned and subject to outbursts of anger, when he walks out of the house and sometimes threatens to kill himself.
Needless to say, I am worried sick about this. My in-laws feel that I am somehow ‘responsible’ for this condition of his. The kids are also becoming unmanageable and I just don’t know what to do, anymore. I feel like simply packing up and escaping to my father’s house, or lying down and closing my eyes and putting my head under a pillow.
What should I do? What can be done? Please help me.
Dear Helpless Wife,
It is really unfortunate that honest and upright people suffer when they refuse to countenance corruption and the cheaters get away. Your husband is under immense pressure because he has not been able to get a job as a full-time faculty in public sector. The reason probably is that his ex-employers paint him black when they are asked about him by any prospective employer. Try to explain to your husband that teaching in private sector is fine, too. He needs your moral support, so you have to be strong. And, my dear, women are emotionally stronger and can lend this strength to their spouses. Your husband has to be a very smart person, so make him see that this just may be a blessing in disguise as he can now work on his terms, without compromising on his principles.
The first thing, however, should be for you to make him seek professional help for depression. In fact, both of you should get it for the sake of your kids. Consulting a psychiatrist would help him to get over his severe depression. This should be your first priority, to ensure he does nothing bad under depression.
They say its darkest before dawn, and inshaAllah very soon dawn will pierce this darkness and things will become good for you and your family. Don’t worry about what your in-laws think. It’s normal here to blame the wife for any ill that befalls her husband. Just ignore it and don’t take it to heart. Try to keep a positive frame of mind and very soon things will be good again. After all, your husband is a very learned person. He will find his feet very soon with your support. Both of you should also pray to God to help you get over this misfortune. Best of luck!