Thursday, August 18, 2022

What To Do When Your Partner Is Depressed

Don't Miss

They May Deny The Problem

What to do when your partner is depressed – Esther Perel

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.

Questions To Encourage Self

Self-education and self-care are both vital to successfully helping care for and foster a healthy relationship with a partner living with depression.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reminds caregivers that you must first take care of yourself to be able to take care of the people you love. To do this successfully, here are a few questions to ask yourself in private:

  • Are you getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night?
  • Are you drinking or using drugs to cope with the stress?
  • Are you exercising daily?
  • Are you experiencing physical symptoms like headaches, insomnia, or digestive issues?
  • Do you have people you can talk to who understand what youre going through?
  • Where can you locate resources to help you?

Karen likens it to the oxygen mask that will drop from the ceiling of an airplane in the unlikely event of losing cabin pressure. Any parent would have the impulse to put it on their children first, but that usually results in the parent losing consciousness before they save the child. Both people suffer.

Put your oxygen mask on first, so you can best help your partner with this challenging situation.

Living With A Depressed Person

Article by:

Depression is much more than a bad mood. Its a disorder that casts a shadow over a persons thoughts, feelings, perceptions of the world, and their relationships with others. This makes living with someone who has depressed quite the challenging task. Researchers estimate that almost one out of every five people in the US will experience major depression at some point in their lifetime. So chances are youll have a loved one who has experienced the disorder at one point or another.

Depression looks different for different people, so shake off those stock images of the crying person who cant get out of bed. Though people might experience this intense sadness, others may feel irritable, anxious, or angry. That constantly irritated friend who cant concentrate or sleep at night? He might actually be depressed. Other signs to look for might include loss of interest in activities that were once fun, difficulty making decisions, changes in sleeping and eating, loss of energy or sluggishness, feeling guilty or hopeless, and even suicidal thoughts.

Read Also: Odds Of Getting Schizophrenia

Dont Make Her Feel Bad If She Doesnt Accomplish Anything In A Day

JUST BE THERE. Is she crying? Hold her. She doesnt want to get out of bed? Bring her snacks. She doesnt want to bathe? Have a bath together! Doesnt want to get dressed? Wash her favorite pajamas so she has something clean to put on.

As a woman who struggles with severe depression, the most amazing thing a person can do for you is to just support you and NOT try to fix it. Dont try to make her exercise. Dont make her feel bad if she doesnt accomplish anything in a day. Dont make her talk about it if she doesnt want to. Dont try to force her to be happy. She already feels so badly about herself and all those things. Just be there for her.spicybrushetta

They Can Be More Irritable

What to do if You or Your Spouse is Depressed

All of the therapists Talkspace spoke to described men with depression as being more irritable on average than their female clients.

They can fly off the handle or have a short fuse, said therapist Roudabeh Rahbar. She also used words including moody and touchy to describe male clients.

Therapist Candice Christiansen said they often had more anger issues and struggled with being too serious about the subject of depression or anxiety.

Men often hide depression because they see it as a sign of weakness, Christiansen said, but the symptoms tend to seep out in the form of irritability and fatigue.

Don’t Miss: Can A Panic Attack Cause You To Faint

Depression In A Relationship Sign #: Your Partner Struggles To Focus And Concentrate

Someone who is experiencing depression may find it difficult to focus and concentrate.

This mainly happens because depression makes a person lose interest in almost anything, even the things that they used to enjoy.

Obviously, this can affect a relationship, because, as licensed therapist Cameron Murphey explains, if someone loses interest in the things and activities they used to enjoy and is finding it hard to focus and concentrate, they probably wont listen well to their partner, leaving them feeling unheard.

Ask Them How They’d Like To Be Helped

“Too often we assume what another person needs based on how we would like support,”Dr. Jessica, a licensed psychologist, tells Bustle.

If you like to be cuddled, for example, you might think your partner likes to be cuddled, too.

But since everyone’s different, it’s important to figure out what they actually prefer, she says. Talk about it, and honor what they need.

Don’t Miss: Acute Phase Of Schizophrenia

Consider The Practical Implications

Trying to sustain a relationship with a depressed person can make the healthy partner feel helpless and more than a little hopeless at times. If you feel you simply cant go on, it may be time to sever ties. But walking away may be easier than it sounds, especially if youre in a marriage. Where will you go? What will you live on? What will your spouse live on? Are children involved?

Sometime depressed people may use drugs or alcohol. If this is the case, walking away may be your only choice. Your childrens emotional well-being and physical safety must be your first priority. It may be necessary to take a hard look at these and other practical considerations before you say goodbye and walk away.

Encourage Them To Seek Professional Support

What to DO When Your Partner is Depressed: One wild idea could change everything.

As much as you may want to support them in all aspects, remember, you are not your partners therapist. Its important to know your limits and how to encourage seeking out the support of a professional.

Its a good idea to try a gentle approach. You may try something like, I think youre doing a great job handling this I know its not easy. I want to see if were doing everything we can to get through this. What do you think about working with a therapist, to give us more tools to work with?

You might want to suggest couples counseling, especially if the symptoms of depression are affecting your communication or sex life. If your partner would prefer to go alone, let them know that you think thats a great idea too.

You can also let them know that 90% of people who seek support for depression respond well to treatment, according to the American Psychiatric Association .

If your partner is not ready for a therapist, you may suggest a support group or scheduling an appointment with a primary care physician.

Its a good idea to reassure your partner of your motive you want to see them as happy and healthy as possible.

Also Check: Phobia Of Long Words

Things To Do When Your Spouse Is Feeling Depressed

Watching your loved one suffer and feeling helpless in the face of it is one of the worst feelings in the world. When you have a depressed partner, it may feel like nothing works.

So, what can you do when your partner is depressed?

RELATED: 7 Meaningful Ways To Just Be There For The Person You Love When They’re Depressed

Fortunately, when your spouse is feeling depressed, there are things that you can do to support them through it. Almost more importantly, there are things that you definitely shouldnt do to help your person manage and get through their depression.

How To Know If Youre Depressed

If you identify with several of the following, you may be suffering from depression.

  • You feel hopeless and helpless
  • Youve lost interest in friends, activities, and things you used to enjoy
  • Youre much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual
  • Youre consuming more alcohol, engaging in reckless behavior, or self-medicating
  • You feel restless and agitated
  • Your sleep and appetite has changed
  • You cant concentrate or your productivity at work has declined
  • You cant control your negative thoughts
  • If youre feeling suicidal

    Problems dont seem temporarythey seem overwhelming and permanent. But if you reach out for help, you will feel better.

    Read HelpGuides Suicide Prevention articles or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. at 1-800-273-8255. For help outside the U.S., visit Befrienders Worldwide.

    Also Check: What Is The Fear Of Darkness Called

    Include Them Even If They Reject Attention

    “Depression is a very isolating condition and it can be hard for the loved one’s of a person with depression to keep reaching out when their invitations are constantly declined,”Megan E. Johnson, PhD, a psychological assistant, tells Bustle. But it is crucial that the individual with depression always knows wanted and included.”

    And that means sending a text with an invitation to meet up, even if you’re positive they’ll say no. “People with depression can be hypersensitive to the effect that this illness has on their loved ones,” Johnson says. “Hearing that want them around can be so refreshing â even if they aren’t able to participate all the time.”

    How Do You Uplift Someone

    I Think My Girlfriend or Boyfriend is Depressed: What ...

    Its the small things.

  • Be 100 percent present.
  • Invite them for a meal.
  • Take them for a walk outside.
  • Take them to a yoga or meditation class.
  • Ask them to point out some of the positive things that are happening to them.
  • Invite them to join you in supporting a cause or helping someone else.
  • Compliment them.
  • Recommended Reading: Withdrawal Symptoms Of Pristiq

    Offer To Help With Tasks

    If you live together, sit down as a couple and figure out how you can work together to get both of your needs met. If something they usually take care of feels like too much right now, you may want to ask them what would feel more intuitive at this time.

    For example, maybe they can swap out laundry for paying bills online for the month. Or, instead of doing the dishes, they can water the plants. If you are up for it, you may even offer to take on a little more than usual for a few days.

    If its accessible for you as a couple, you could find out what things you can automate. For example, grocery delivery services may waive a delivery fee if you place an order large enough for a weeks worth of food. Going to the grocery store will be one less thing for both of you to do.

    If you dont live together, you may also find a way to help your partner with their chores. You could also come up with ways to check on them while taking care of specific tasks.

    For example, you may explore the possibility of cooking a few dishes for them so they have some lunches ready for the week.

    Negative Unrealistic Ways Of Thinking That Fuel Male Depression

    All-or-nothing thinking. Looking at things in black-or-white categories, with no middle ground

    Overgeneralization. Generalizing from a single negative experience, expecting it to hold true forever

    The mental filter. Ignoring positive events and focusing on the negative. Noticing the one thing that went wrong, rather than all the things that went right.

    Diminishing the positive. Coming up with reasons why positive events dont count

    Jumping to conclusions. Making negative interpretations without actual evidence. You act like a mind reader or a fortune teller

    Emotional reasoning. Believing that the way you feel reflects reality

    Shoulds and should-nots.Holding yourself to a strict list of what you should and shouldnt do, and beating yourself up if you dont live up to your rules.

    Labeling. Classifying yourself based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings

    You May Like: Side Effects Pristiq

    Tip : Support Your Health

    Positive lifestyle changes can help lift depression and keep it from coming back.

    Aim for eight hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems whether youre sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers. Get on a better sleep schedule by learning healthy sleep habits.

    Keep stress in check. Not only does stress prolong and worsen depression, but it can also trigger it. Figure out all the things in your life that stress you out, such as work overload, money problems, or unsupportive relationships, and find ways to relieve the pressure and regain control.

    Practice relaxation techniques.A daily relaxation practice can help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation.

    Spend time in sunlight. Getting outside during daylight hours and exposing yourself to the sun can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Take a walk, have your coffee outside, do some yard work, or double up on the benefits by exercising outdoors. If you live somewhere with little winter sunshine, try using a light therapy box.

    Develop a wellness toolbox to deal with depression

    Come up with a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost. The more tools for coping with depression, the better. Try and implement a few of these ideas each day, even if youre feeling good.

  • Spend some time in nature.
  • List what you like about yourself.
  • Read a good book.
  • Act Like You Trust Him

    What To Do When Your Partner Is Depressed

    Depressed husbands need love the most when they deserve it the least.

    If hes been out-of-sorts for a while, you may have started covering for him by putting the kids cheer competition on his calendar so he wont forget, or reminding him to call his mom, or suggesting that he go to the doctor for antidepressants, for example.

    You mean to help, but implicit in your actions is the message, I dont trust you to run your own life.

    That translates into, Youre not capable and competent.

    For a husband, saying this is the same as saying, Youre not lovable.

    Actions really do speak louder than words, and you can imagine how hearing that message from the woman who knows him best in the world would weaken his spirit.

    I know you didnt mean to make your husbands gloomy mood worse. I didnt either. But thats what I unwittingly did before I knew any better.

    It wasnt until I started acting like I trusted him to take care of his life and some things for the both of us that my husband started to regain his optimism and confidence.

    But as soon as I did, everyone noticed something was up with my husband.

    What happened to John? they would ask me. Has he been working out? He looks different. One friend even said, John looks taller.

    Thats because he was standing taller.

    The same will happen to your husband when you start acting like you think hes competenteven if that means you have to pretend.

    You May Like: Pristiq With Wellbutrin

    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.

    Men With Depression Dont Want You To Fix Them

    No one with depression wants a partner to fix them because depression does not mean being broken. The intention of fixing someone may be good, but it can make the person with depression feel you are looking down on them or dont accept them.

    This bothers both sexes, but it seems to irritate men significantly more, according to the therapists and men Talkspace interviewed.

    Women who are fixers have actually been a trigger for me that makes my depression worse, said TED talk mental health speaker Mike Veny.

    There is a difference between supporting someones recovery and trying to take away their problems or change them, Veny said.

    Recommended Reading: Can Dehydration Cause Anxiety Attacks

    More articles

    Popular Articles