Respect Your Own Needs
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.
The Effects Of Depression In Your Body
Depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses in the United States, affecting about 26 percent of adults. Depression is technically a mental disorder, but it also affects your physical health and well-being. Learn more about some of the most common symptoms of depression, as well as how depression can affect your entire body, especially if left untreated.
symptoms of depression . Its estimated that each year 17 million American adults will experience depression. However, clinical depression, especially left untreated, can interrupt your day-to-day life and cause a ripple effect of additional symptoms.
Depression affects how you feel and can also cause changes in your body. Major depression is considered a serious medical condition that may have a dramatic effect on your quality of life.
Supporting Your Loved Ones Treatment
One of the most important things you can do to help a friend or relative with depression is to give your unconditional love and support throughout the treatment process. This involves being compassionate and patient, which is not always easy when dealing with the negativity, hostility, and moodiness that go hand in hand with depression.
Provide whatever assistance the person needs . Help your loved one make and keep appointments, research treatment options, and stay on schedule with any treatment prescribed.
Have realistic expectations. It can be frustrating to watch a depressed friend or family member struggle, especially if progress is slow or stalled. Having patience is important. Even with optimal treatment, recovery from depression doesnt happen overnight.
Lead by example. Encourage the person to lead a healthier, mood-boosting lifestyle by doing it yourself: maintain a positive outlook, eat better, avoid alcohol and drugs, exercise, and lean on others for support.
Encourage activity. Invite your loved one to join you in uplifting activities, like going to a funny movie or having dinner at a favorite restaurant. Exercise is especially helpful, so try to get your depressed loved one moving. Going on walks together is one of the easiest options. Be gently and lovingly persistentdont get discouraged or stop asking.
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Suicidal Thoughts: An Emergency
For people who are severely depressed, suicide is a real threat. Each year, about 30,000 people in the U.S. take their own lives, although the true number may be higher. Some suicides go unrecognized because they’re classified as accidents, drug overdoses, or shootings. Among people whose depression remains untreated, up to 15% will kill themselves.
What are the warning signs of suicide? According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, they include:
- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill yourself
- Looking for a way to kill yourself, such as searching online for methods or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
When Does Low Mood Become Depression
We all have times when our mood is low, and we’re feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually these feelings pass in due course.
But if the feelings are interfering with your life and don’t go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back over and over again for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you’re experiencing depression. See our page on the symptoms of depression for more information.
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Practice These Coping Skills Every Day
I recommend doing many if not all of the following coping skills and techniques once a day when experiencing depression. Its important to know you probably wont be motivated to do any of them at first because depression frequently saps motivation. In other words, know that its normal to feel unmotivated until youre halfway done.
The patients I work with who frequently practice these coping skills get better.The seven techniques can be memorized with the acronym MY PEERS.
1. Meaning: Find small ways to be of service to others.
Find personal meaning by serving something larger than yourself. Remember service doesnt have to be big to count. Consider this, Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued it must ensue as the unintended side effect of ones personal dedication to a course greater than oneself. Viktor E. Frankl, Mans Search for Meaning
2. Your goals: Find workable goals that give you a sense of accomplishment.
Most people feel guilty when talking about goals because they set unreasonable or unworkable goals. A goal is workable if its:
If something goes wrong with your goal, adopt a what can I learn from this? attitude . Also, be careful when comparing your progress with others. We usually compare our biggest weakness with another persons biggest strength. This is unfair .
3. Pleasant Events: Schedule pleasant activities or events.
4. Engagement: Stay in the present.
Solo Activities To Help With Depression
Coping with depression can feel like an uphill battle as it saps your energy, motivation and self-esteem. Finding ways to climb out of a depressive episode is not easy, but understanding the illness and how it affects you specifically is the first step to being able to find the coping mechanisms that work best for you.
While spending time with trusted loved ones and going to therapy regularly are healthy ways to cope, sometimes depression makes you want to hide. Luckily, many things can help distract from the debilitating feelings of this mood disorder.
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Irritability And Angry Outbursts
Typically, symptoms must last at least two weeks for depression to be diagnosed, so take this into consideration throughout the depression quiz then ask for an assessment from a mental health professional for further information and treatment, Furthermore, medical conditions such as vitamin deficiency can be mistaken for symptoms of depression so it is important to fully consider all possible causes as you take any depression quiz or inventory. Mental health can impact your energy levels, how tired you are, your stress, sleeping habits, mood, thoughts, and so much more. Keep reading to find out more about what treatment might be right for you.
Be Alert For Relapses
About 85 percent of people who suffer a bout of major depression will have a relapse within a decadeand half will have a recurrence within a year, according to a study published in International Journal of Neuropharmacology. The researchers recommended a maintenance dose of antidepressants and/or therapy to prevent a relapse. Both spouses should also stay alert for signs that the illness is returning, Walfish adds.
Caring for a depressed spouse can be lonely, overwhelming, and emotionally draining, she says. You may blame yourself, feel helpless, grow pessimistic, lose your sense of humor, and even consider leaving. Its easy for the non-depressed spouse to become angry and frustrated with an irritable, lethargic mate whos pessimistic and critical, who cant unload the dishwasher, or who cant get the kids ready for bed anymorelet alone make love, ask how youre doing, or acknowledge that youve been holding things together for weeks, months, or years.
This starts a cycle that burns you out and doesnt help your partner at all, Scott-Lowe notes. I did this with DennisI would become extremely angry with him. Then I would feel really guilty and try to make up for it by taking on more and more around the house. Then I would get angry all over again. This wasnt helping Dennis, of course, and it was wearing me out emotionally and physically.
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Take Care Of Yourself
You won’t be able to support someone else if you are feeling overwhelmed and depleted yourself. Periodically take some time to step back from the situation and recharge your batteries.
While you can’t “catch” depression the way you would a cold or the flu, the shared genetic and environmental influences may make it more likely that people who live together or are members of the same family will become depressed.
When Youre Depressed You Cant Just Will Yourself To Snap Out Of It But This Guide To Depression Help Can Put You On The Road To Recovery
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many of us are dealing with social distancing, isolation, and lockdowns that make it even harder to cope with symptoms of depression. Whatever your circumstances, though, there are ways to overcome feelings of sadness and despair, improve your mood, and regain a sense of hope. In addition to the tips in this article, you can also find help for depression in our Coronavirus Mental Health Toolkit.
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Know That Today Isnt Indicative Of Tomorrow
Todays mood, emotions, or thoughts dont belong to tomorrow.
If you were unsuccessful at getting out of bed or accomplishing your goals today, remember that you havent lost tomorrows opportunity to try again.
Give yourself the grace to accept that while some days will be difficult, some days will also be great. Try to look forward to tomorrows fresh start.
How To Help Someone With Depression
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Verywell / Bailey Mariner
If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
If someone you love has depression, you may wonder how you can help. You may even experience a range of difficult feelings of your own, such as worry, disappointment, and anger.
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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.
Whats The Difference Between Normal Grief After A Loss And Mdd
When you experience a loss of someone close to you, its normal to grieve and feel down and empty for a period of several weeks or more, but it should get better, says Dr. Murrough. If youre starting to feel worse instead of better as time goes on, thats a red flag. Perhaps, more critically, a typical grief reaction isnt: My life is not worth living anymore. Consider seeking treatment if you or someone experiences this.
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How Can I Take Care Of Myself
Once you begin treatment, you should gradually start to feel better. Go easy on yourself during this time. Try to do things you used to enjoy. Even if you dont feel like doing them, they can improve your mood. Other things that may help:
- Try to get some physical activity. Just 30 minutes a day of walking can boost mood.
- Try to maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
- Eat regular, healthy meals.
- Do what you can as you can. Decide what must get done and what can wait.
- Try to connect with other people, and talk with people you trust about how you are feeling.
- Postpone important life decisions until you feel better.
- Avoid using alcohol, nicotine, or drugs, including medications not prescribed for you.
What Is Treatment Resistant Depression And Is There Any Help For It
If youve tried at least two different antidepressants and your depression hasnt improved, you may be diagnosed with treatment resistant depression . TRD is a serious condition that has been highly associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Nearly 33 percent of people with TRD attempt suicide in their lifetime, more than double the rate of their treatment-responsive peers, according to a recent report in Psychiatry Advisor. It is not, however, a hopeless condition. A number of alternative treatment approaches are available, including:
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What Can I Do If I Have Depression
If you have symptoms of depression, see your healthcare provider. They can give you an accurate diagnosis, refer you to a specialist or suggest treatment options.
If you or someone you know is thinking of hurting themselves or taking their own life:
- Go to the emergency department of your hospital.
- Contact a healthcare provider.
- Speak to a trusted friend, family member or spiritual leader.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Depression is a common condition that affects millions of Americans every year. Anyone can experience depression even if there doesnt seem to be a reason for it. Causes of depression include difficulties in life, brain chemistry abnormalities, some medications and physical conditions. The good news is that depression is treatable. If you have symptoms of depression, talk to your healthcare provider. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can feel better
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/31/2020.
Therapy Activities For Adults With Depression
Science has proven the healing benefits of some activities, especially those that allow the mind to relax. Some of the best therapeutic things to do for depression include the following.
- Yoga: Since this ancient practice is a spiritual one at its core, the benefits of yoga go beyond physical. When you include yoga and all its mindfulness practices with your treatment for depression, like antidepressants and therapy, you will likely see an overall improvement in your physical and mental health.
- Meditation: Like yoga, meditation is an excellent way for you to learn how to relax your mind and efficiently refocus it.
- Coloring: Adult coloring books may seem like a fad, but they have legitimate value in treating depression. Allowing you to be creative, focused and occupied, adult coloring books soothe and bring peace of mind.
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Treatment For People With Seasonal Depression
If you have depression that usually occurs in winter and gets better in the lighter months, your healthcare professional should offer you the same treatments as for other forms of depression. If you wish to try light therapy instead of the recommended treatments, your healthcare professional should advise you that it is unclear whether light therapy is helpful for people with depression.
How Common Is Depression
Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the country. An estimated 17.3 million adults in the US reported having at least one major depressive episode over the course of a year, a 2017 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows.
Thats 7.1% of all adults ages 18 and older. Women have a higher prevalence of experiencing a major depressive episode than men .
Depression is especially crushing for the workforce: Its the number one leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The total economic burden of MDD is estimated to be $210.5 billion per year in the United States alonea figure that reflects costs associated with missed days, reduced productivity, treatment for depression, and suicide.
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Separate Yourself From The Depression
A condition does not define a person they are not their illness. When depression symptoms begin, some people find it helpful to repeat: I am not depression, I just have depression.
A person should remind themselves of all the other aspects of themselves. They may also be a parent, sibling, friend, spouse, neighbor, and colleague. Each person has their own strengths, abilities, and positive qualities that make them who they are.
Signs And Symptoms: How To Identify Depression
If sadness alone isnt a good gauge of depression, what is? According to the American Psychiatric Associations current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , which is the diagnostic guide used by most mental health professionals, if youve experienced at least five of the following symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be , also known as clinical depression.
- Constantly feel tearful, empty, or worthless?
- Have little interest or pleasure in your work, hobbies, friends, family, and other things you once enjoyed?
- Notice dramatic changes up or down in your appetite or your weight not related to dieting?
- Often feel listless or fatigued for no obvious reason?
- Have trouble concentrating or making decisions?
- Find yourself wringing your hands, pacing, or showing other signs of anxious restlessness or the opposite, moving or speaking more slowly than usual?
- Struggle with or sleep too much?
- Have recurrent thoughts of suicide or death?
To be diagnosed with MDD, one of your symptoms must be a persistent low mood or a loss of interest or pleasure, the DSM-5 states. Your symptoms must also not be due to substance abuse or a medical condition, such as thyroid problems, a brain tumor, or a nutritional deficiency.
Of course, its normal to have any or all of these symptoms temporarily from time to time. The difference with depression is that the symptoms persist and make it difficult to function normally.
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