How To Help A Partner With Depression
If you suspect your partner is dealing with depression,Dr. Borland recommends these five action items:
1. Encourage your partner to seek professional help
Depression is treatable. So rather than ignoring theproblem or trying to fix it yourselves, enlist the help of a primary caredoctor or psychiatrist.
Depression can be hard to talk about. It helps to work onassertive communication. Share your feelings and concerns without playing theblame game. Start sentences with I statements that focus on your feelings,such as, I noticed, or, Im worried. Talk openly about symptoms youve seenand how you want to help.
2. Work as a team
If talk therapy is part of your partners treatment, join their first few sessions or more. Your partner may also want you to participate in meetings about medications.
Being depressed can be scary, Dr. Borland relates. Your spouse will benefit from all the support you can offer.
3. Practice self-care
Maintain your own health and well-being. You may alsobenefit from your own outpatient therapy. This is not you being selfish itsmaking sure that you have enough in your tank to help your partner and family,Dr. Borland reassures. You need to carve out time for yourself without feelingguilty.
4. Dont take it personally
Depression isnt anyones fault. Give your partner a senseof security and support even when theyre acting out. This takes patience andcommitment but its worth the effort.
5. Educate yourself
Create A Supportive Home Environment
Its important to remember that your partners depression isnt anyones fault. While you cant fix it, your support will help your partner work through this difficult time.
Changes in lifestyle can make a big difference during the treatment process. Because depression can zap a persons energy and affect both sleep and appetite, it can be difficult for depressed people to make healthy choices. You can help:
Support Your Spouses Successes
When its time for your partner to recover from their depression, its important to support their successes, no matter how large or small they are.
For example, if your spouse has a hard time getting dressed in the morning, congratulate them if they throw on their best outfit first thing. In fact, saying something as small as I love your outfit today, might be just the thing they need to continue their journey toward recovery.
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Help Her Build A Safe Connection
My depressed wife is pushing me away this feeling is not uncommon when your spouse is grappling with mental health issues. To be able to step out of this zone, she needs to have a safe connection or environment where she can express her thoughts without the fear of being judged. Try to create a secure space at home and around her so she feels free to communicate her feelings and thoughts.
If you can be that person for your depressed wife, then nothing like it. But that may not always be possible, and if its not, dont consider it a reflection of the state of your marriage or your relationship with your spouse. Dont take it personally if she finds it difficult to open up to you. In such circumstances, you must encourage her to turn to a friend or any other person she knows she can lean on.
However, if she doesnt have such a person in her life, joining a support group can be immensely helpful. Feel that your depressed wife wont get help because stepping out, meeting and talking to strangers could be too overwhelming for her? Well, in that case, you can motivate her to join an online group that offers a safe space for people with depression to cry, express their anger or vent.
For instance, I run a WhatsApp support group for depressed women, where they help each other heal together. There are several such online programs available today that you can leverage to help your depressed wife.
Know When To Give Them Space
Lastly, you should know when your spouse needs space around them. Sometimes, all your spouse needs is space to reflect and think. You can know when your spouse needs space by asking them certain questions and connecting with them emotionally. If your partner says that they need space, hold their hands and connect with them emotionally. Look straight into their eyes and ask them if they genuinely need space. If the answer is yes, find something to do and let them rest.
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What Do You Do When Your Partner Doesnt Understand Your Mental Illness
You must understand that for your partner to cope with your depression, they need to be aware of it. Here are some ways you can help them understand your mental illness.
- Talk about your mental health
- Let them in how you are feeling
- Tell them what you need
- Suggest couples counselling
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Understanding Whats Beyond Your Control
Its possible to have a healthy relationship with someone who has depression. Remember that depression is a treatable condition, says Beurkens. It is very possible for couples to weather this and to come out on the other side.
Its important to keep in mind, though, that their recovery and progress arent up to you. You can support them but you may not be able to make decisions for them, such as getting professional help or taking care of themselves.
Letting go of the expectation that you can make them happy again can help you both find practical ways to navigate depression.
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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.
Seek Diagnoses And Treatment
If you suspect your spouse may be depressed, the most important action you can take is to help him or her get proper diagnosis and treatment. That can be difficult, though, since one of the factors of depression is hopelessness depressed people tend to believe nothing will help. Thats why its important that you be persistent.
You can begin with listening to your spouse and showing empathy. You can indicate that youve noticed a change in behavior and are concerned for your partners happiness and well-being. You can also say that you wonder if depression may be the cause.
It doesnt matter whether you begin with a counselor or your family doctor. Either one can help in the diagnosis and refer you to the other for additional treatment.
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Reconciling Faith And Science In A Medical Crisis
Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. Hell share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of lifes toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven
Dr Tim And Mrs Noreen Muehlhoff
Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution. Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biolas Center for Marriage and Relationships where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast.
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Dealing With A Depressed Spouse
Still not sure how to deal with a depressed spouse?
When it comes to living with a depressed spouse, weve got you covered. For professional support for self-care, weve got everything you need to get your loved ones back on their feet again.
Want to learn more about online counselling?
If so, ask us about how we can help treat your spouse with depression today!
Hours of Operation
Tactics 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan For Discussing Your Christian Convictions
In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. Youll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, youll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.
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Know The Warning Signs Of Suicide
The risk of suicide is always elevated during major depressive disorder. Its important to know the red flags and get immediate medical assistance:
- Talking about suicide
- Getting a means to attempt suicide, such as purchasing a gun or stockpiling pills
- Extreme mood swings very high one day and deeply discouraged the next
- Social withdrawal
- Preoccupied with thoughts of death
- Noticeable changes in normal daily routines
- Feeling overwhelmed with hopelessness
- Engaging in risky or self-destructive behavior, including drug or alcohol abuse or reckless driving
- Giving away belongings
What Kind Of Help Does My Spouse Need
Depression can be helped. The support of Church members, family, and friends is invaluable. However, because so many causes exist, a variety of treatments are often necessary as well. Your spouse will probably require medical treatment, psychological counseling, or a combination of the two.
If there is a history of depression in your spouseâs family, or if your spouse experiences extreme mood swings , medical treatment should be considered. Several types of antidepressant medications have proven helpful and can be obtained through medical consultation. These forms of medication do not typically produce dependencies and can be life-saving drugs to some people. However, allow two weeks before expecting to see any positive effects.
While biological depressions respond best to medication, the majority of mood disorders do not appear to be biologically based. They are best helped by counseling and by the assistance of family, friends, and neighbors. Often, a depressed person holds mental attitudes and beliefs that lead to expectations of catastrophe. For example, if your spouse believes that he or she is walking through a mine field and could be killed at any moment, being told that there really are no mines does not lessen his or her anxiety level.
Often, the right counselor, along with concerned family and friends, can help your spouse to see life differently and to abandon self-defeating expectations of perfection that lead to a sense of imminent disaster.
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Don’t Take It Personally
Depression can make people behave in ways that they normally wouldn’t when they are feeling well. They may become angry, irritable, or withdrawn. They may not be interested in going out or doing things with you like they used to. Your spouse or significant other may lose interest in sex.
These things are not personal, and they don’t mean that your partner no longer cares for or about you. They are symptoms of the illness that requires treatment.
Try To Stay On The Same Team
“The enemy is the illness, and not the spouse with depression,” Baer told LiveScience. Team up to tackle depression rather than allowing it to drive a marriage apart. Actively work to help your spouse get better, whether it’s taking a daily walk together, providing a ride to a doctor’s appointment or ensuring that medication is taken.
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Stages Of Grief After An Affair
After you have discovered your partners unfaithfulness, there will be four stages of grief after infidelity:
These stages of grief after infidelity are common when someone has experienced infidelity, and moving through these stages is the way people can heal from the pain that comes from infidelity.
First, you will deny the facts, mostly because you are in shock. You keep telling yourself over and over that what has happened to you simply is not possible.
You can feel guilty for your partners infidelity and be angry at them both at the same time. There will be a lot of anger after infidelity boiling up inside of you. Also, you might be feeling angry at yourself.
The next phase is about harboring this anger deep inside of you until you feel pure resentment. You might also lash out at the people around you, particularly those who are close to you.
Finally, we come to the stage of reflection and depression. It is during this stage that you come to terms with what has happened and may have emotional reactions to that realization.
In this stage, you may experience depression after infidelity, ranging from minor signs of depression to major ones.
Many people suffer from depression, but what exactly is depression, and what triggers it?
So, how to move on after being cheated? Lets have a look at the different ways.
Break The Ice Gently Yet Firmly
If you suspect your partner is depressed, dont blurt out a laypersons: Youre depressed! or announce: You better get help! In order to begin the process of healing, approach your spouse with concern and with an action plan, Walfish says. You might say, Im concerned about how feeling tired and losing your appetite are affecting you. You deserve to feel better. Our doctor may be able to help you, and Id like to arrange a time when we can meet with him. Next week, I can go on Wednesday or Friday. Whats good for you?
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Turn It Into A Lesson
Sometimes spouses reconcile after the affair, but the we are special and will never get divorced-the feeling is gone.
Your marriage may not be the same again. It is up to you if that is a good thing. If you and your spouse are willing, you can turn the negative experience of infidelity around in what might become a very valuable lesson.
Each experience can teach you something about how the world works and what you value. There have been numerous couples that have grown more intimate and stronger after one of them had an affair.
It will hurt from time to time, and it will be hard, but both of you can make it through this and become stronger than ever.
Also watch: How to move on after someone cheats on you.
If you are experiencing severe forms of grief and depression after infidelity that impacts your ability to function in your life, you may need to seek professional guidance from a trained mental health professional to learn new tools to manage your sadness.
A trusted therapist can help you process the pain of an affair but also find a way to cope with the feelings in a way that can help you move on.
If You Need To Wallow Wallow But Do So Constructively
Suppressing your feelings and emotions may seem like a strategic way to cope with the negative symptoms of depression. But this technique is ultimately unhealthy.
If youre having a down day, have it. Let yourself feel the emotions but dont stay there.
Consider writing or journaling about what youre experiencing. Then, when the feelings lift, write about that, too.
Seeing the ebb and flow of depressive symptoms can be instructive for both self-healing and hope.
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How To Help When Your Spouse Is Depressed
Tim and Sandra sit close together on their porch swing, holding hands. Its hard to believe that less than a year ago, theyd discussed selling their house, splitting their possessions and sharing custody of their three children. The couple explains that a common but treatable illness nearly destroyed their strong 12-year marriage.
I remember the day it started, Tim says. I walked into the kitchen one morning and Sandy was just sitting on the floor. She was still in her bathrobe, and her eyes were swollen from crying.
When Tim asked what was wrong, Sandra told him she honestly didnt know. Their lives were good. They werent struggling financially or having problems with the kids. She knew there was no reason to cry, yet the tears returned every morning from then on. Her concentration began to slip as well, leading to mistakes that almost cost her a job she loved. Finally, Tim insisted she see a doctor.
I sure didnt like the diagnosis, Sandra explains, shaking her head. I expected him to give me vitamins or tell me not to work so hard. I never anticipated what he would actually suggest.
Over the next few months, Sandra tried to bury her secret but her sorrow was too pervasive to hide. Their frightened children began asking what was wrong with Mom.
And the more angry he got, the more hed withdraw from me, Sandra adds. Then Id feel guilty and withdraw even more. We just kept drifting further apart.
Get Involved In Treatment
When one spouse goes for treatment for depression, they are on a personal journey of healing and wellness, but theyre not alone. Depression impacts both partners in the relationship, which means both should be involved in treatment.
You can be involved in your spouses treatment in several ways. Most facilities have family days and visiting times. And many involve families in the treatment itself. Attend relationship therapy so that you can rebuild your marriage together as your spouse heals from depression.
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