Ask About Suicidal Thoughts
Be aware if your spouse begins giving away prized possessions or admits to feelings of hopelessness or unbearable pain. A suicidal person doesnt so much want to end life as to escape the pain. They are too tired to fight to live anymore. They just want to get away from the hurt, the confusion, the darkness.
A gentle way to approach this subject of suicidal thoughts would be to say something along these lines: Honey, theres been a lot going on lately. Have you been doing OK? Ive been concerned. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Have you had any thoughts of hurting yourself?
Do not leave your spouse alone if you think they are suicidal. Remove any firearms in the home. Having thoughts of suicide is a medical emergency. Call 911 and tell the operator that your spouse is at risk of hurting themselves or potentially someone else. If you feel your life is in danger, seek a safe place. Keep your phone with you and stay in contact with the 911 operator.
Navigating A Toxic Culture With Your Daughter
As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social mediaand many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism
How To Handle A Depressed Spouse When All Else Fails
Need to know how to deal with a depressed spouse but have no idea what youre doing? Treating depression can be complicated it’s rarely as simple as popping a pill or showing up to therapy. With this in mind, what do you do when you feel like youve tried everything to treat your partners depression and theyre still not getting better? Here are some tips.
Knowing how to deal with a depressed spouse takes time, and the journey can be long and arduous. Ultimately, though, only you can decide what your boundaries are when it comes to your partners mental illness .
If youre worried about your loved one, you can call the NAMI helpline at -950-6264 for advice and support. If your partner is acutely suicidal, call The Suicide Prevention Lifeline or contact the emergency services immediately.
APA ReferenceSmith, E. . How to Deal with a Depressed Spouse: Im at the End of My Rope, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, July 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/depression/relationships/how-to-deal-with-a-depressed-spouse-im-at-the-end-of-my-rope
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Realize That Christians Have Depression
One of the biggest misperceptions is thinking that depression cant happen to us. Dealing with this problem is particularly troubling for Christians. We somehow suppose that being a Christian means that we cant be depressed. And if we are depressed, that might mean were not real Christians. After all, arent Christians supposed to be joyful?
If we think being depressed is incompatible with our faith, were apt to deny any feelings of depression. But denial only gives depression an opportunity to gain a stronger foothold. None of us are immune to the brokenness of this world.
Consider that depression could be a possibility for what your spouse is experiencing.
They May Deny The Problem
A depressed spouse may deny that they have any problem at all, Ben-David says.
âMany people with depression or mental health issues donât want to be âfixed.â They may just want to be heard. If in the process of listening to your partner, if you hear things that are too hurtful for you to handle, then turn to a professional for help,â he says. âYour spouse may not identify their behaviors as depression. If theyâre acting out with sex, drinking, drugs, or food, they may say, âI need this. It eases my stress.ââ
Encourage your spouse to get help and a diagnosis from a mental health professional. They can start with talk therapy and, if they need it, prescription medication, Barber says. Make an appointment with a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, or family doctor for a diagnosis, and begin therapy.
âPsychotherapy plus medication has shown to work better for depression than just medication. Medication without talking is not going to help,â says Barber, who adds that medication may be more appropriate to treat people with severe depression.
Some couples choose to have therapy together, especially if depression has led to sexual issues in the marriage, such as an affair, Ben-David says. Your depressed partner may prefer to do solo therapy. If theyâre struggling with addiction, they need to treat that before tackling their depression, he says.
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Getting Help For Male Depression
Dont try to tough out depression on your own. It takes courage to seek helpfrom a loved one or a professional. Most men with depression respond well to self-help steps such as reaching out for social support, exercising, switching to a healthy diet, and making other lifestyle changes.
But dont expect your mood to improve instantly. Youll likely begin to feel a little better each day. Many men recovering from depression notice improvements in sleep patterns and appetite before improvements in their mood. But these self-help steps can have a powerful effect on how you think and feel, helping you to overcome the symptoms of depression and regain your enjoyment of life.
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Be Mad At The Situation Not Your Spouse
This is much easier said than done, but do your best to be mad at the situation, not your spouse. As you might already know, attacking your partners personhood or character is not a positive way to go. In fact, this could even cause them to spiral further into depression.
When all else fails, try to remember that your partner is not making a conscious decision to feel bad. At the end of the day, their mood swings are not your fault or theirs.
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Keep Doing Things That You Both Enjoy
Depression, like many mental health problems, can take over your life. Its important to remember and remind your partner that the depression diagnosis is only a part of their identity. They also have many other roles and interests. Being able to fulfil these roles is a big part of recovery.
We know that exercise and staying active can protect our mental health. You may like to suggest going for a walk or visiting your favourite places. Keep trying but dont push too much if they arent ready to join you.
You may notice gradual changes in their mood, rather than a massive improvement from one moment to the next.
Dont Take It Personally
There is the person you fell in love with, who makes you laugh until it hurts and then there are the bad days, when you are dealing with a stranger who wont let you in. Depression can magnify or alter emotions, says Dr Kousoulis. A person can have emotional highs and lows in equal degrees, so it is important not to take changes personally.
This can be easier said than done. I found my own coping mechanisms therapy, exercise and lowering my expectations of what I needed and wanted from Rob when he was feeling bad. I knew that somewhere inside this person was my husband, so from time to time, Id leave him postcards telling him how much I loved him. He didnt react in an effusive way but I know it got through because he kept every one in a memory box.
Above all, hold on to your love. You wont always feel as though you are making any progress, says Hardy. You, too, may feel helpless at times. But your patience, kindness and understanding make such a difference.
Chase The Rainbow, Poorna Bells memoir about life with her husband, is published by Simon & Schuster.
The Samaritans helpline is 116 123.
In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123.
In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.
In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14.
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When A Depressed Spouse Refuses Help
Having a depressed spouse and parent in the family creates a difficult problem. The parents are supposed to be the leaders, the example setters, the encouragers both to each other and to their children. When one of the adults has big mental health problems, this changes the balance and affects everyone.
Heres how the dynamic can go:
You spouse has found themselves in a deep hole from circumstances beyond their control. This could be health problems, job issues, financial responsibilities that have gone badly, fallouts with friends of family, etc. These circumstances leave them depressed and not functioning well.
You see they are in the hole and try to help without falling in yourself. Up around the edge of the hole, you find a few things that look useful. Theres a map of how other people have gotten out of similar holes, showing footholds and good ways to make the climb up. You find a long rope with knots, which looks like it could hold your spouses weight. You also find a few shovels that they could use to change the shape of the hole and more easily climb out themselves. It seems there are other possibly useful things around the hole as you keep looking, but you are sure one of these will work.
You tell your spouse about all these solutions up here at the top of the hole, hoping to provide some encouragement. It is dark down there and they are feeling lonely.
Your spouse tosses the rope back up. Says theres no way.
Questions To Figure Out The Impact Of Their Symptoms
These arent questions to diagnose whether or not your partner has depression, anxiety, bipolar, or related disorders. Thats something for you both to find out with the help of a mental health professional.
Instead, these questions are designed to help you determine if your partners symptoms are getting the upper hand:
- Are you sleeping more or less than you normally do?
- Are you eating more or less than you normally do?
- Are you tasting your food when you eat?
- Do you feel tired no matter how much you sleep?
- Are you capable of enjoying things right now?
- Is it hard for you to do personal grooming?
- Are you having thoughts of your own death?
Karen reminds us that theres a difference between simply feeling down and experiencing symptoms of clinical depression. These questions help determine which is happening.
Julie says that, as a partner, you probably already know the answer to these questions, but asking them helps your partner feel respected and gives them agency.
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The Influence Of Lifestyle On Depression
Heres where you can make a significant difference. As human beings, we feel at our best when our essential emotional needs are met in balance. Our most important emotional needs are:
- a sense of volition and control a feeling that we have an impact on our family, our immediate or extended environment and our well-being
- a sense of belonging being part of a community and that, of course, includes the two of you
- a need for friendship, fun and laughter
- a need for a sense of security thats a tough one if, for example, you the two of you were already on the brink of divorce
- meaning at purpose a feeling that your life is worthwhile, that your existence and contribution matter.
Find out which emotional needs are not met. Decide what you might want to do about that as a couple or as individuals. Yes, your needs are also important!
Heres a free worksheet to help your depressed spouse
Tips For Being Married To A Depressed Spouse
Sadly enough, over 17 million American adults deal with depression on a regular basis. So,if youre living with a depressed spouse, chances are that youre not alone.
To be quite honest, there are several challenges with being married to someone who suffers from depression. Intrigued? Read on for nine tips for being married to a depressed spouse below!
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Provide Support During Recovery
While recovery from depression is possible, it can be challenging at times. To support a partner during the recovery process:
- help them keep track of their appointments and medications
- do some physical activity together most days
- plan and prepare healthful meals together
- try to reduce stressors in the home
- make goals small and achievable
- encourage them to socialize with others
- plan fun activities together
- point out the persons progress on their journey to recovery
- avoid forcing treatment on the person
Let them know that they are not alone by saying things such as:
- I am here for you.
- We will deal with this together.
It may also be helpful to attend a support group for family members of those with a mental health condition. Couples may also benefit from couples therapy or family-based counseling.
Respect Your Own Needs
If your spouse has depression, you still deserve everyday nicetiesa neat house, regular meals, a calm family environmentas well as friendships, a social life, and time to pursue meaningful interests, Walfish says. As much as possible, pursue these things. Its easy to spend your time dealing with your spouses needs and issues. But dont sacrifice your own joys and goals needlessly. As we noted, you are susceptible to depression too. Pursuing your personal pleasures will not only help prevent that but also better prepare you for aiding your spouse.
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Accept That There Will Be Bad Days
People with depression have good days and bad days. To deal with the bad days:
- expect that they will happen
- understand that this is a normal part of depression
- do not withdraw love or support during these times
- take some time out and do something enjoyable, either alone or with others
- remember that not every day will be like this there will be good days too
Be Understanding And Listen
Watching a loved one go through a difficult time may leave you searching for the perfect solution. Practical advice and tips can help, but sometimes rather than trying to ‘fix a problem’, it’s better to listen to your partner. Be a safe place for them to turn to.
Dont dismiss their feelings. Offer hope and remind them of better days and that its likely that things will improve again.
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When To Seek Professional Help
When you have done all you can and youve exhausted all efforts and there arent any visible changes or if you slowly see that your spouse is now exhibiting signs of suicide, then its time to ask for help.
Lack of willingness to get better is one of the toughest issues to address and a professional can help you with this. Sometimes, its best to have someone help you with this ordeal.
Helping your depressed spouseshould come from your heart and not just because it is your obligation.
That way, your patience is a lot longer and your heart will show the way on how you can help your spouse get through this hard challenge. Slowly, both of you can work together to bring back the light of happiness in your spouse.
Take Time For Yourself
When you want answers to how to deal with a depressed spouse, its easy to forget about another important person: yourself. But you cant properly take care of anyone else unless you take care of yourself first.Self-care can reduce stress and help you reconnect with yourself so that you can create breakthroughs in your life and the lives of your family members.
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Talk To Your Friends And Family
You may fear that friends and family wont understand. But trying to maintain appearances while supporting your partner is exhausting. Opening up conversations to friends and families, and getting them involved usually makes a big difference in tackling the stigma and building a circle of support, says Dr Kousoulis. Hardy adds: All the advice we would give to someone who is unwell with depression also applies to loved ones who support us: make sure you are supported, reach out for help in understanding more about the illness, keep the channels of communication open dont be afraid to ask questions, and prioritise self-care.
Be Alert To Small Changes
Depression can come on slowly, almost imperceptibly. You look for all types of other explanationswe just had a new baby, its a tough time at work, its a phase, Scott-Lowe notes. It can take a while to see the pattern or to be ready to accept that depression might be the cause.
Often its up to the non-depressed spouse to take the lead, Walfish says. The illness itself often prevents depressed people from recognizing that somethings wrong or seeking help. They may feel too lethargic or withdrawn or may think they can fix it alone.
If you notice that your spouse isnt acting, feeling, or thinking as he or she normally does, ask yourself if it could be depression, but dont stop there. Depression may be the reason your spouse is working extremely long hours, drinking too much, using recreational drugs, or looking for thrills in risky activities. It can also look different in men and women, she adds.
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