Depression is mental illness that can have detrimental effects throughout an entire household. Not only does it impede your ability to perform to the best of your ability from an employment standpoint, but it can have very negative implications on your relationships with loved ones. It is estimated that approximately 10% of the population deals with depression either on a regular or seasonal basis and a staggering 80% of individuals suffering from depression struggle through without any medical treatment.
Depression not only affects the mood and self-confidence of the individual, but it can be a very complex issue for family members and friends to comprehend. It is incredibly common for loved ones to take the sadness, anger, frustration, and mood swings personally, and it can be very disappointing when their attempts to fix the situation are unsuccessful. Spouses and children are likely to feel responsible and partially at fault for producing the overwhelming roller coaster of emotions.
In the following paragraphs, I would like to discuss how husbands and wives who are dealing with depression, either with themselves or their spouse, can cope with this disorder. Statistics suggest that men and women who find themselves in this situation are nine times more likely to become divorced, primarily due to the emotional toll and consequences of unresolved depression.
Most Important Things to Remember When Your Spouse is Struggling with Depression
If your spouse is struggling with depression, the most important things to remember are 1. You alone probably cannot fix the entirety of the situation and 2. Unless your marriage is already unsteady, you probably didn’t cause this to happen. Clinically diagnosed depression is often attributed to a hormonal imbalance within the brain. Although it is very difficult to see your spouse battle with emotional lows, the most important thing that you can offer him or her is unconditional love and support. Even when you may become frustrated or irritated with your spouse’s depression, anger, scepticism – doubt and blame will only create barriers in your ability to communicate.
As a spouse, it is crucial to be an active listener when your husband or wife is willing to share and discuss their emotions with you. Depression can actually be very embarrassing, so your spouse may not always be so willing to talk about the issue. If you can give them the trust and confidence to communicate with you on the subject, it will benefit you both. Be sure to ask your spouse if you can contribute or help them in any way. Are there certain actions, behaviors, verbal tones, or triggers that are certainly not helpful. Knowing what not to say is just as important sometimes as understanding what you should say. Keep in mind that marriage counselling is a great facilitator of these questions and discussions.
It is also imperative to understand that your spouse may never feel comfortable talking about the situation with you. In that case, encourage them to seek professional counselling or talk to a medical professional. Suffering through depression alone is unfair for everyone involved.
Handling Depression as a Couple
For the spouse who is combating depression, make a conscious effort to reach out to your husband or wife and try your best to thoroughly communicate with them. Do not be ashamed of your feelings – depression is not anyone’s fault. Even when you are feeling frustrated or low, try your hardest not to take your anger out on the ones that are truly trying to be supportive.
Try to discern the cause of your emotional distress, if any, and consider ways that you might be able to resolve those feelings. A professional psychologist or qualified counsellor is a great resource for helping you to uncover the root of a serious emotional issue. Counselling combined with medication can often have the best results.
There are plenty of resources and ways that couples can actively work together to help their spouse who is struggling with depression. Although the first step is usually the hardest, it is definitely the most important for maintaining a happy and healthy marriage.
If depression is causing problems in your marriage and you want help, call me on 0468 950 420 for a FREE 10-minute consultation to discuss your needs and find out how I can help you or press BOOK NOW button to find my available appointment and schedule an online booking.