When one partner hit a black streak or experienced a trauma that drove him or her into a state of depression, it will certainly tell on the other partner. To begin with, their life together becomes riddled with negativity, unhappiness and excessive criticism; meanwhile, the suffering partner steadfastly refused to believe he or she has an issue that ought to be addressed.
While depression can manifest itself in many different forms, it carries behavioral traits that affect any existing relationship adversely.
The sorry state is generally caused by an altered brain chemistry and affects thoughts, moods, sleep, energy, and even appetite and sexual life. All these factors are very hard on family life and can easily destroy any marriage – unless preventive steps are taken.
But while a number of marriages and partnerships certainly suffer, others – not surprisingly – grow stronger: the couple joins together to battle the issue and take it is another life’s challenge.
But to effect this, one needs to be aware of certain things about depression – and how to handle them.
Remember you’re on their side
You are not going to struggle with your partner – it is their illness that is your adversary. Instead of distancing yourself from your spouse join him or her in trying to put down the depressed state. Be active in distracting the other from depression by taking them places, or in seeing to it that they take their medication in good time.
Don’t give way to anger and resentment
As you get involved with your partner’s mood shifts, you begin to succumb to anger. Reasons for it pile up: behavior at home, excusing him/her at social events, having to take over some household chores.
Deterioration of your intimate life
As your spouse grows more and more withdrawn and shows less and less affection, your sex life takes a big dip. Your faulty partner’s situation is further aggravated by feeling shameful for his mental condition, the problem with which is he or she will be likely to shy off from trying to get professional help and treatment.
Assist in your partner’s getting diagnosed and prescribed treatment
Sadly it happens only too often that people with disturbances refuse to recognize the fact they are in need of medical attention. In this case it’s up to the non-depressed spouse to tactfully suggest a plan of engaging help and arrange for a consultation.
Help them accept their condition
Tell them you love them, but it won’t do for them to suffer unnecessarily. You see depression as your mutual challenge you’ll have to tackle together, and first of, all you need to understand it thoroughly.
Let your spouse open up and tell you all about how he/she is feeling, what is their attitude to their condition, how they are going to behave, and don’t be judgmental. If the spouse is in a bad way, you may learn some things you hadn’t known before, and which can make you sad. The depressed person may even voice doubts whether your union is still working and whether it wouldn’t be better if you parted. You don’t want to make any hasty decisions, especially ones concerning your marriage, while depression is upon them.
Visit a doctor together
The doctor will be glad to see both partners arriving at the consultation – the depressed person’s partner can tell a lot of useful information, and the doctor can assess their relationship. Besides, the non-depressed spouse may remember the very first symptoms of the condition and explain the reasons behind the issue.
Explain to little children and teenagers what is going on
The children of the couple are also affected by depression in the family, even little ones understand that something that something untoward is happening, and they mustn’t be left in the dark with just their misgivings.
Be open with them and tell the children that their parent is ill in a way, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. Sometimes it’s a good idea to let the depressed one take the children to school in the morning, it makes them feel better.
Keep in mind that depression treatment requires a lot of patience
There are no sure ways to shake off depression in the shortest time possible, so there may be better times and worse times, and they all must be gotten through. Yet it doesn’t mean there is no cure: given time and patience, doctors have therapies and medicines to successfully deal with depression.
Don’t forget that depression is but episodic
If depression descended on one of you, of course, it means having emotional upheavals. What’s more, it is actually good for couples therapy. There may be work to do together, and it will eventually create a stronger bond between you. It is highly advisable when the suffering partner is well on the way to recovery.
While the afflicted spouse is still trying to put down depression, the other one will periodically need emotional support from a professional or a trusted friend to calm down when they feel overwhelmed.