Monday, October 3, 2022

How To Live With A Depressed Spouse

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Potential Causes Of Your Spouses Depression

Marriage & Divorce : Living With a Depressed Spouse
  • Medication beta-blockers, steroids, the contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy, epilepsy drugs, allergy meds, anti-anxiety medication, anti-cancer drugs and more. So, its well worth checking!
  • Relationship problems the two of you are growing apart, or theres a lack of trust. Trust is linked with our essential emotional need for a sense of security. Depression most often results from a disbalance in our emotional needs.
  • Feeling/being bored in your relationship or justbored within themselves
  • Severe or chronic health problems
  • Burnout due to the pressures of work or caring for sick and/or elderly loved ones.
  • Anxiety depression often goes hand-in-hand with depression. One might cause the other and vice-versa
  • Grief they havent got over the loss of a loved one or something else significant in their lives, while you think they should have got over that by now.
  • With regards to the latter, be sure not to jump to conclusions. Grieving for the loss of a significant other or factor in-/part of your life is healthy and may take months or even years.

    Often theres a combination of factors at play.

    Almost always does depression occur due to a disbalance in essential emotional needs, including unmet inborn needs. So, youre going to have to be a Sherlock to figure it out.

    I suspect youve already let it be known that youre worried. Depending on the state of your relationship, you may or may not have got anywhere.

    Do You Live With A Depressed Spouse Take These 5 Simple Steps

    If you live with a depressed person, you know how hard it can besometimes harder than being depressed yourself. Depression wreaks havoc on relationships and, according to one study, it makes divorce nine times more likely. While none of us can make another person get better or get help, it is crucial for you to resist being drawn into your partners sense of hopelessness and helplessness, a key feature of depression.

    Try these steps to help your partner and yourself.

    Be supportive

    Depression is usually not the depressed persons fault and its important to understand that depression is a serious disorder. Without that awareness, it would be easy to make the mistake of blaming the person for their mood.

    Here are a few things you should avoid saying:

    • Snap out of it
    • Its not that bad
    • Stop being so negative

    In addition, its best not to offer to fix whatever you think the problem is becoming the fixer will only increase your partners sense of helplessness, something she simply has to overcome to get better. In other words, taking action himself is the only thing that will improve your partners depression in the long-term. Plus, depressed people are often too troubled to appreciate things like logic and a lets just fix it approach.

    Educate yourself

    • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
    • Loss of interest in normal activities
    • Lack of energy
    • Trouble thinking clearly or making decisions

    Encourage your partner to get help

    Help yourself

    Get on with your own life

    The Cause Of Your Partners Change In Behaviour

    I can understand youre confused if youre really not sure why your partners behaviour has changed in general or just towards you. Sure, they may well be depressed, but if so, what might have caused it?

    If they have already been diagnosed with depression, youll no doubt also want to have some idea of what has led them to be depressed

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    Have Your Own Resources

    Like most spouses, my husband is my most valued confidant. When one of us is struggling with depression, though, the reality is those heavy emotions can weigh down the other person. In those instances, licensed marriage and family therapist Lisa Bahar said it helps to have separate support systems. That autonomy, she explained, âServes as a âharm reductionâ plan, due to the high potential of one spouse’s depression activating the other spouse’s depression.â She suggested thinking of three people you can turn to when depressed and then giving that list to your partner so he or she can facilitate contact if necessary.

    Respect Your Own Needs

    Are you living with a depressed partner? Here

    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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    Check Out Couples Counseling

    Once youve done your personal research and you still need help, we highly recommend that you check out couples counselling. This is a great solution for couples who fight too often to get on the same page.;

    In addition to your partners counselling, joining them in couples therapy is the number one way to show that you support their mental health. Not only does this promote proper communication, but it will also help you communicate tough issues better as well.

    Admit That You Cannot Cure Your Partners Depression

    Your spouse needs your love, support, and concern, but these important qualities cant reverse depression any more than they can control blood sugar, ease arthritis pain, or clear out clogged arteries. Just as you wouldnt rely on love alone to cure a medical conditionor withdraw love because it didntdont expect that your feelings or attention will be able to alter your spouses off-kilter brain chemistry. Use your love to get help and to remind your partner of his or her intrinsic worth during this challenging time, Walfish advises.

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    Let Go Of Judging Them Or Thinking That You Know Better

    When we think that we know better and try to change our partner, not only does it often backfire, it also allows their energy to infiltrate ours. If you dont want your spouse to affect your energy, then it is important to allow them to make their own choices and hold their own opinions.

    Similarly, the act of judging, even if done silently to yourself, can bring in more negativity, as focusing on their negativity and what you perceive they are doing wrong puts you on the same low emotional vibe.

    Give up trying to convince someone you know what is best for them or making judgments in your own mind. Your positive energy is the most powerful tool you have to live a happy and fulfilled life, so protect it!

    Dont Wait For Your Spouse To Hit Bottom

    How To Help Your Spouse With Depression

    Letting a depressed person sink low before offering help is an old-school approach borrowed from the early days of alcohol and drug addiction treatment. But the reasoning behind it is flawed and dangerous. Long-term depression is harder on your marriage, tougher to treat, and more likely to recurplus, it leaves its victim in despair, Walfish says. The most chilling risk: It leaves open the very real possibility of suicide. About 60 percent of people who attempt suicide have major or minor depression or another mood disorderand depressed men are four times more likely than depressed women to take their own lives, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. Dont miss these 14 signs of suicide.

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    Be Patient With Your Spouses Treatment

    Treatment for depression involves a degree of trial and error. Doctors can help your spouse function and feel better through therapy and medication. Their depression can lift with treatment and time. Its important to have patience with the treatment process and your spouse. Dont become discouraged if you experience small setbacks.

    Dont Fall Victim To Angry Feelings And Stigma

    Your spouses struggles with depression can evoke feelings of resentment and anger. You could find yourself constantly making excuses for their social absences. Household responsibilities may shift more to you. This puts more on your plate and adds to your own stress levels. Also, your sex life may even suffer if your partner is withdrawn or unaffectionate.

    As tough as it is, try to think of life through your spouses current perspective. This may help you avoid angry outbursts.

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    Check For Underlying Conditions

    Dozens of health conditionsincluding heart disease, diabetes, lupus, viral infections, and chronic paincan trigger the same symptoms as depression, Walfish notes. So can scores of prescription medications, including some birth-control pills and drugs that treat acne, herpes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cancer. Your family doctor can rule out underlying causes and decide whether or not its really depression.

    How To Help Your Depressed Spouse

    Living with a Depressed Spouse

    Watching your spouse struggle with depression can sometimes feel like a helpless experience. Everything you do to try and help them is rejected or outright ignored. This can cause you to feel confused, overwhelmed, or frustrated. You may even feel a sense of responsibility for your spouses depressed state.

    Depression is an isolating disease that has profound negative effects on close relationships. Major depression often leaves its victims feeling hopeless, sad, or discouraged. It can also include constant anger and casting blame on others.

    The different elements of depression may leave you at a loss as to how to help your spouse. While you cant cure them, you can be a quiet presence at their side on their journey towards recovery. Check out these ways to show your support and help out.

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    Think About Your Needs Too

    In the middle of dealing with your partners depression, dont forget to think about your own needs too. Remember to keep up with your friends or personal interests outside the relationship. Dont neglect your self-care either.

    Pro tip: taking care of yourself isnt selfish, its necessary. Otherwise, youre going to take out your bad mood on your partner, and both of you will suffer.

    Refuse To Give Your Power Away By Reacting

    Is your spouse always creating drama? Are they trying to invoke a negative emotional response from you in order to get energy or attention from you? Do you allow your spouses bad mood to dictate your own?

    If you answered “yes,” know that the moment you react, you give away your power.

    Doing this leads to a temporary gain for them that sets the cycle in motion to repeat itself.

    That wont help either of you in the long term, especially if you want to save your marriage.

    Remember, no one has power over you. They only have the power that you give to them, which is controlled by your thoughts, beliefs, and actions.

    One woman I worked with found that the more she reacted the more her husband’s complaints, the more complaints he had, until it escalated to the point at which he passive-aggressively argued that she was just as angry and aggressive as him. To deal with his negative energy more effectively, she tried not reacting at all, instead saying, “Youre probably right,” before carrying on about her business. After a short amount of time, he changed his tune dramatically, which benefited them both. In short, she was able to save their marriage.

    Before you react, pause ask yourself, “Is it worth it? Who will it help if I react?”

    Note: this doesnt mean that you cannot or should not speak your truth and set boundaries in a way that supports you and the relationship.

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    Tips For Living With A Depressive Spouse

    Happily ever after. It’s a fate that seems well out of reach for couples in which one of the spouses experiences clinical depression. It negatively impacts communication, teamwork and sexual intimacy. And, it can cause the non-depressed spouse to experience frustration, isolation, anger, pessimism and guilt. Needless to say, these are not the ingredients of a healthy marriage. Not only is the depressed person and his or her partner in anguish, the relationship is at risk as well. And with nearly 19 million Americans experiencing depression, it’s inevitable the disease will impact wedded bliss for many people .

    While dealing with a depressed spouse may not be a challenge you foresaw when reciting your wedding vows, it’s a situation you can get through by exercising tact and patience, and — ultimately — seeking professional help.

    You may find it helpful to:

    1. Recognize depression as an illness. While many may think of it as simply sadness or the blues, clinical depression is a disease. And just as you’d never expect someone with diabetes or heart disease to snap out of his or her condition without treatment, you shouldn’t assume that a depressed person can either. It may be helpful to both you and your partner if you research the illness to learn more about it.

    There’s no quick fix for depression, but there are options and reason for optimism. Keep reading to learn more.

    Stop Accepting Blame When It Isn’t Deserved

    10 Tips for Staying Sane When Your Partner is Depressed

    When negativity is directed at you, do your best to shake it off as quickly as possible.

    Dont retaliate. Dont brood. And dont get caught in your own pity party because youre married to them.

    People blame us all the time for things that are out of our control. Just because someone blames you, it doesnt mean you have to accept the blame.

    If you are responsible, be responsible and rectify the situation, but dont allow yourself to be their scapegoat otherwise.

    You don’t need to react to or defend yourself from their blame. Simply allow it to pass.

    Of course, the best solution for dealing with a negative spouse is;to stop the negativity at the source.

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    Know That The Odds Are In Your Favor

    Up to 80 percent of people report seeing an improvement within four to six weeks of starting treatment, according to statistics from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Usually, the road back is relatively simple: antidepressants, counseling, or a combination of the two, they report. That said, recovery may take time and patience, Walfish says. There may be an initial trial-and-error period while you try various antidepressants or see whether various therapy techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal counseling, are helpful. The results are worth it.

    Taking Care Of Yourself

    If your spouse is unwilling or unable to follow through on social engagements, remember that it is not your job to make excuses for your spouse to family or friends. Letting those you are closest to know that your spouse has been seriously depressed will not only put the issue squarely on the table, but will open up the potential for you to receive the support anyone in your circumstances would need.

    Whatever you do, try not to take the depression on as something you can personally fix. Although your support, encouragement, and caring are clearly needed, you cant love this particular problem away. Treatment is the answer and the services of a professional are required.

    Take care of yourself. You wont be of much help to yourself or others if you allow your spouses depression to envelop you as well. Eat well. Get enough sleep. Stay in contact with your friends. Continue your work and social commitments to the greatest extent possible.

    As stated above, dont hesitate to get some professional help for yourself if you need it. Its okay to need a private place to deal with your feelings of anger, disappointment, and upset.

    Benazon, N.R., & Coyne, J.C. . Living with a depressed spouse. Journal of Family Psychology, 14, 71-79.

    Depression.com . Living with a depressed person . South San Francisco, CA: Author. Retrieved July 25, 2000 from the World Wide Web: http://www.depression.com/health_library/living/index.html

    Last medically reviewed on May 17, 2016

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    Make Healing An Ongoing Practice

    Depression is a chronic illness. It will never truly go away. Your spouse may have fewer episodes and less severe symptoms, but they still have depression. Their stay at a mental health center may be complete, but the journey is ongoing.

    When your partner comes home from a treatment program, make plans for ongoing care. This may include individual therapy sessions, antidepressants, and marriage counseling. Do what works for your marriage, but make treatment for depression a constant. You may need to ramp it up at times or ease back, depending on how the course of the illness goes.

    Be Supportive And Encouraging

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    Provide the necessary support to your loved one. However, in the same way that your compassion cant cure depression, keep in mind that your support cannot solve the problems for the depressive partner or family member. This is their journey of grieving what was lost and turning towards something where they experience life and value. You have your own grief to be working through, youve lost something as well. They are and arent there. Its a gift to be journeying with another through this. Ive written previously on the paramount importance of grief in working with depression. The same goes here. Theres something so beautiful, vulnerable, and also riveting to look your partner in the eye, turn towards the experience of the moment in the fullest sense and have a good cry over what was lost. Because, between the two of you something was lost. Some feeling or shared value or experience that brought the two of you together.

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    Professional Treatment For Depression In Men

    If support from family and friends and positive lifestyle changes arent enough, seek help from a mental health professional. Be open about how youre feeling as well as your physical symptoms. Treatments for depression in men include:

    Therapy. You may feel that talking to a stranger about your problems is unmanly, or that therapy carries with it a victim status. However, if therapy is available to you, it can often bring a swift sense of relief, even to the most skeptical male.

    Medication.Antidepressant medication can help relieve some symptoms of depression, but it doesnt cure the underlying problem and is rarely a long-term solution. Medication also comes with side effects. Even if you decide that medication is right for you, always pursue self-help steps as well. Therapy and lifestyle changes can address the underlying causes of your depression to prevent it returning when youre able to come off antidepressants. ;

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