24 May Supporting Your Partner Through Depression
A marriage can really suffer when one partner is depressed. It can be very difficult to watch your spouse ride the rollercoaster of emotions while trying to maintain the love and affection in your relationship. It is common for partners to take on the emotional burdens and start to feel resentment towards the depressed spouse, wishing they could “snap out of it” long enough to show some happiness and bring some normalcy back into everyday life. Unfortunately, if your spouse is in fact depressed, the road to happiness is not as easy as a snap of the fingers. Awareness is the first step to getting the help needed to face depression and start on the road back to a happier relationship.
If you think your partner might be depressed, the first step is to pay attention to the symptoms and help him or her seek out diagnosis and treatment from mental health professionals.
Symptoms might include:
- Loss of interest in once preferred activities
- Persistent sad feelings and or irritability
- Feelings of hopelessness and or pessimism
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and or helplessness
- Excessive fatigue or general slow down in thinking and behavior
It is important to keep in mind that your partner may feel ashamed or be in denial about his or her change in behavior and depressive symptoms. In order to begin the process of healing you may want to approach your partner with your concerns and have a plan of action in mind. You might say, “I’m concerned that you seem withdrawn lately; I think it would be beneficial to see the doctor. Let’s arrange a time when we can meet with her.” Be empathetic, yet firm; depression is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Your partner might resist, but remember that you are doing the right thing by seeking out help.
It is easy to forget about your own needs throughout this process. Be sure to take care of yourself so that you will be emotionally available for the rest of your family. Seek out support from other family members and close friends; sometimes just having someone to talk to and share your feelings with can help tremendously. Set aside some alone time for you to decompress. Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise when you are able and get outside for fresh air throughout your day. You may even consider getting your own therapy or joining a support group. These steps may help you to be more energized, healthier and better prepared to face day-to-day challenges.
Although you will feel discouraged at times, try to remember that you and your partner are on the same team. Do things you both enjoy and remember to laugh and have fun as much as possible. Get outside and take a walk, watch your favorite show, play a game, try a new restaurant, exercise together. If you have children, include them in family activities. Give yourselves something to look forward to as often as needed to get you all through the difficult times. Remind yourself that with time and proper treatment depression can get better.
Holly Balazs, MA MFTI, is a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern. She currently works in private practice at Coastal Counseling. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Robyn, please call 1-888-470-4415.
This article and the information herein are for educational and informational purposes only. It is not meant as a substitute for professional psychological or therapeutic services. The self-help information provided by this blog are solely the opinion of the bloggers and should not be considered as a form of therapy, advice, direction, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. Instead, the information is designed to be used in conjunction with ongoing treatment provided by a mental health professional. Use the information in this blog at your own risk. All of the information is provided “as-is,” with no warranties of any kind, express or implied.