David is having a bad spell with post-vacation depression.
I'm not really surprised, given all the stress that we've experienced in the past month: Our youngest getting married, my graduation, becoming empty-nesters, and our favorite dog getting killed.
I can see the signs when it starts getting harder for him to control, and I feel frustrated and sad that I can't do much more than give quiet sympathy when it overtakes him.
In the bad old days I took it personally when he distanced himself from me emotionally. That's when we argued the most. Now I realize it's one of the symptoms of his illness.
Here are some hard-won lessons that I've learned over the past 20 years on how to work with him. It's not that I'm perfect at it, but this is what works the best for us:
When he says he wants to be left alone, I've learned to give him space and continue on with my own projects and life.
He tends to say unkind and inappropriate remarks; I either ignore them and leave the room, or tell him as calmly as possible that he's out of control.
Most of the time when I ask him how he's doing he gives me full sentences about how he feels. When he's in this frame of mind, he gives me one word answers or a cold look. I've learned to accept the answer and not press for more.
David has very little energy and motivation right now. I accept what he does, and don't demand more than what he can give.
We usually have a nightly prayer together, and that always helps. Now is the time when I also need to put his name on the prayer roll at the temple.
I try to remember that a loving Father in Heaven knows him, his needs, and how best to help him. I've learned to "let go, and let God" take charge.