December 4, 2017
Living with someone that has depression can be a daily struggle. You are probably experiencing a mix of emotions. You desperately want to help the other person but might not know what to do. All you know is that the dynamics have changed in your household, or, at least, that’s how you might feel about it. If so, here are just a few suggestions that can help you help your spouse cope with his or her depression.
Encourage your spouse to seek treatment. They may be unwilling to admit that there is a problem. Communicate to them that the whole family is impacted by their depression—be gentle when making that known, though. Gather all the information that you can—data from clinical trials and studies—and share it with them. They may not be very receptive to listening in that moment and might just need some time.
Allow your spouse to have some space to think about the conversation that you had with them. If you show that you’re impatient for them to get help, then that might add to the inner stress that they could be feeling. Once the situation has calmed, however, try speaking to them again about getting help. Let them know that you will be there for them throughout the entire process—whether it’s therapy, medicines, or a treatment program.
Find a counselor that is willing to work with the both of you. This is important because their depression will also have an impact on you. You may even be feeling resentment towards your partner. You may not even be entirely aware of the resentment that you could be feeling. Such feelings could be bottled up and set aside mentally so that you can focus on getting your spouse better. However, it really is not good for your health to bottle these emotions up.
By going to therapy with your partner, you are creating an atmosphere of open communication. You are telling your spouse that you are supportive of what they are going through and want to help them. You will also have an outlet for your emotions. This can help you cope with the added stress of the situation. Not only that, but your spouse will become more aware of you and your emotional situation. During depression, people can often become very self-centered, believing that they are the only ones going through what they are going through and that nobody else understands. By being there for them and being transparent about your own emotional health can really help them to break down their walls and get better.
You will need to have rules of how communication will occur in your household. While it may be tempting to say ugly things to each other, it is not conducive to a healthy relationship. Such words will never solve marital or family issues. You will still need to work at making your relationship a success. In the process, you may feel like you’re putting in more work than your spouse to make things work, but it’ll be for the better in the long-term.
Set aside time to be apart from each other. This will allow you to have some time to take care of yourself. Maybe this means that either of you will go to your parents’ for a weekend or off to somewhere fun for a solo vacation just to get a way, catch a breather and get a mental break from the day-to-day routine. Children will also need to be included in this process. Maybe they need to take a vacation to grandma’s while you and your spouse take some time to be yourselves. However, it’s important to make sure that your spouse continues to interact with the kids. Maybe your spouse should make sure to spend one night a week hanging out with the kids doing something that they want to do—going skating, cooking a meal, or another interactive activity. Movies, video games, and things that limit the interaction should not be a part of that activity. The point is to get your spouse to open up and get outside of themselves for just a little while.
Studies have shown that getting more exposure to sunlight can help with depression. If nothing else seems to be helping, consider moving to a climate that has more sun. An example of a state that has year-round sunshine would be Florida. To decrease the stress of the move, you may want to consider hiring professional movers, such as Bekins Van Lines Inc. It may be harder for your spouse to experience depression somewhere that is warm and sunny all year. It can also benefit them to change their routine by finding new hobbies, friends and oppotunities. Getting a fresh start could help them to feel like the slate has been cleared.
Helping your spouse to manage their depression is a challenging task. Use these techniques to overcome it together.