If you live with a depressed person, you know how difficult it is to stay positive.
Living with a depressed person can be well…depressing.
The dark cloud that seems to follow your depressed spouse, will rain on you as well. You remember when your depressed spouse was smiling, laughing and happy with life, but your depressed spouse, more than likely has forgotten this part of the story. If you asked your depressed spouse about his/her happiness history, he/she will have a difficult time remembering happiness. This is not because your depressed spouse is seeking out attention or trying to make you feel bad, it really is because he/she can’t remember. Clinical depression causes decreased memory and an inability to recall past events. Those with depression are truly stuck in a dark hole and can not seem to find a way out.
They are fortunate to have you in their life, yet you are going to need some help or tools to guide your depressed spouse out of this darkness.
Here is How to Help:
Learn about clinical depression.
Understand that clinical depression can be a symptom to many medical conditions. With your spouse’s permission, seek out your depressed spouse’s medical provider and make sure there is not an underlying medical condition that is causing the depression.
Typically, several things can be potential causes of depression, and although separate they are minor, when bundled together, they can cause the depressed mood.
Things like, low vitamin D, low thyroid, low testosterone, side effects from medications and poor nutrition.
If your medical provider does not check or ask questions regarding these items and instead determines your spouse’s depression needs to be treated with a pill…I would recommend you decline, walk away nicely, never to return.
Find a medical provider that is more of a detective and is asking the “why” instead “here take this”. Medication alone for depression has a relatively low rate of success click here for the Star D study.
Because medication to treat depression takes up to 6 weeks to begin working, some medical providers will begin the medication while checking your blood levels and set you up with a nutritionist. In those cases, I would recommend you take the medication as long as you are seeking out other reasons for the depression.
Research has shown that medication alone for the treatment of depression has a low success rate.
Medication, therapy, and improved nutrition all play a valuable role in improving your depressed spouse’s mood.
Here is the problem: You care deeply about your depressed spouse yet you are exhausted and frankly becoming depressed as her dark cloud is migrating in your space.
How do you keep your sanity?
Here are some tips you can start today:
Talk to your depressed spouse about your concerns.
Reminisce. Talk about those funny, awkward situations and how you both overcame them.
Talk about your own moments of sadness or times you felt defeated.
Ask your depressed spouse if he/she is thinking about death. And if so, allow him/her the freedom to talk. Talk about how that would impact you and your family. It is important that you relay to your depressed spouse how their death would impact you and express your love. If the feelings of death are overwhelming, then mental health intervention is paramount. Seek help from your local crisis center if you are uncertain as to where to go, here is a global resource: Global crisis information
Understand your depressed spouse is sick, but not without feelings.
Set achievable goals with your depressed spouse. For example, go for a walk around the block after dinner each night.
Determine for yourself, what is important.
Talk to a therapist for YOUR support.
Celebrate the small wins, such as a smile, going out of the house, enjoying the weather.
Talking to your depressed spouse is the best thing you can do.
In order to have a meaningful conversation, you must remove distractions allowing you to have a genuine interaction. Turn off the TV, radio, shut down the computer and turn off the cell phone. Your depressed spouse already feels worthless and his/her self-esteem is low, if you were to get a call while he/she was talking to you, it would just enforce their beliefs of worthlessness.
So…don’t do it. Turn off the phone.
Set your schedule to accommodate a daily meaningful conversation with your depressed spouse. If you are too busy and this seems “over the top”, then you need to do some self reflection. Your busyness could be a contributor to this self-worth, isolation and depressed mood. This is where therapy can be a benefit to you.
Share your story, involve others in your life. Their energy and involvement will strengthen your bond between you and your spouse. Do not hide your own stress, although you might believe your story is unique to you…the truth is we all struggle and the more we share out struggles and how we reached out for mental health care, the better the world will be.