In this article, we discuss some ideas about how to deal with a depressed spouse, while taking care of your marriage as well as yourself.
When you are married to someone depressed, it can feel like you are walking on eggshells. You never know your spouse’s mood and when they might snap at you for seemingly no reason.
However, you are not alone dealing with a depressed person. In the US there are almost 21 million people who have at least one major depression episode. And most of them are married or were married.
Dealing with a depressed spouse can be a rather difficult situation to navigate, but there are ways that you can help your spouse and yourself through it. Here are some tips on how to deal with a depressed spouse.
Signs Your Spouse Is Depressed
Depression is a severe mental illness that affects many people. If you’re worried about your spouse, some telltale signs can give you clues about their well-being.
Understanding these symptoms and knowing what to do if you notice them can help you care for your spouse and get them the help they need. Here are some of the most common warning signs of depression in spouses:
Changes in sleeping patterns or appetite
One of the most obvious signs of major depression is changing sleeping habits or appetite. For example, your spouse might sleep too much or might not be able to sleep at all. They may also eat more or less than usual. These changes can be difficult to notice, but taking note of them can help identify depression in your spouse.
A lack of motivation or interest
Another common sign of major depression is a lack of interest in things that were once enjoyable to your spouse. They might stop spending time with friends and family members, they might not be interested in hobbies they used to enjoy, or they may be unable to work as much as they usually do. These changes can be signs of something wrong, so it’s essential to pay attention if you suspect your spouse might have depression.
Withdrawing from loved ones
Along with a lowered mood and a loss of interest in activities, your spouse may also withdraw from loved ones when they are depressed. This can involve avoiding social situations, not returning phone calls or emails, and generally isolating themselves. If you notice your spouse withdrawing from you, it’s essential to talk to them about what’s going on.
Increased irritability or anger
Depression can also cause increased irritability or anger in some people. If you notice your spouse snapping at you more often than usual or if they seem to be easily angered, it could be a sign that something is wrong. This is especially true if their outbursts are out of character for them.
Changes in weight or appearance
Just as depression can lead to changes in sleeping and eating habits, it can also lead to changes in weight or appearance. Your spouse may lose or gain weight, stop taking care of their hygiene, or let their appearance go. These changes can be subtle, but they can be clues that something is wrong.
Feeling hopeless or helpless
Depression can also cause hopelessness and helplessness. Your spouse may feel like there’s no point in anything, that things will never get better, or that they can’t do anything to improve their situation. If you notice your spouse expressing these kinds of negative thoughts, it’s essential to talk to them about how you’re feeling.
Experiencing physical pain
In some cases, depression can also cause physical pain. This can include headaches, stomachaches, and general aches and pains. If your spouse is complaining of physical pain that doesn’t seem to have a cause, it’s essential to mention it to their doctor.
Thinking about death or suicide
Finally, one of the most severe signs of depression is thinking about death or suicide. If your spouse is talking about wanting to die or hurt themselves, it’s essential to get help immediately. These thoughts can lead to dangerous behaviors, so it’s crucial to get professional help.
If you notice any of these warning signs in your spouse, it’s essential to talk to them about what’s going on. Depression is a severe illness, but it’s also treatable. Many resources are available to help people struggling with depression, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
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Taking Care of Your Spouse: Ways to Help your Husband or Wife Deal with Depression
One of the most important things you can do to help your spouse deal with depression is simply being kind and supportive to them. Your spouse may feel like they’re letting down their family by suffering from this condition, and they need reassurance that they haven’t let anyone down by struggling with symptoms of depression. Be patient with them – depression can be complicated to deal with, and it will take time for them to adjust and cope. In the meantime, try to be as understanding and supportive as possible.
Be there for them
One of the most important things you can do is simply be there for your spouse. Listen to them when they want to talk, and offer encouragement when they need it. Let them know that you’re here for them, no matter what.
Avoid Entering the ‘FixIt Mode’
When your spouse is going through depression, it can be tempting to try to fix their problems. After all, you love them and want to see them happy and healthy. However, it’s important to avoid entering the “fix-it” mode. This means not trying to take on their problems as your own or becoming their therapist. Instead, focus on being supportive and understanding.
If your spouse is dealing with depression, it’s essential to be supportive and encourage treatment. Depression can be difficult to manage, but your spouse can recover with the right help and support.
Depression is a severe condition that requires medical attention. There are many effective treatments available, so it’s essential to get started on the path to recovery as soon as possible. If your spouse is not already in treatment, encourage them to seek professional help.
Create a supportive home environment
If your spouse is suffering from depression, one of the best things you can do is create a supportive home environment. This means creating an environment that is safe, loving, and nurturing. Here are some tips on how to do this:
1. Be understanding and patient: Depression can be a challenging condition to deal with, and your spouse may not always be able to express themselves as they would like. Try to be understanding and patient with them, even when it is difficult for you or it doesn’t seem like progress is being made.
2. Set healthy boundaries and expectations: While it’s essential to be supportive and understanding, it’s also crucial that these emotions don’t lead to codependency. Set healthy boundaries with your spouse, and be clear about what you expect from them regarding communication and behavior.
3. Seek professional help: If you feel like you’re struggling to cope or support your spouse, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A therapist can provide valuable guidance on how to best support your spouse and help you work through your own emotions about the situation.
Focus on small goals
In particular, focussing on small goals can make a big difference when taking care of your spouse during their battle with depression. It can be easy to get bogged down in all the things that need to be done or feel like everything is too overwhelming, but by breaking things down into more manageable chunks, you can help make the process more bearable – and ultimately more successful.
Know the warning signs of suicide
It’s essential to be aware of these warning signs in yourself as you care for your spouse. If you notice that your spouse seems down and is withdrawing from their usual activities, reach out to them and talk about how they’re feeling. Please encourage them to seek professional help, whether through a doctor or therapist, to get the support and treatment they need to manage their depression.
Support Your Spouse’s Successes
One of the most important things you can do as a spouse to support your partner during a depressive episode is to encourage them when they succeed. Whether they’re taking steps toward getting better with treatment or taking on new challenges that build confidence, you must highlight these achievements and celebrate them together as a couple. Reaffirming your partner’s successes, even if they seem small to you, can make a big difference in helping them to feel supported and motivated.
You might also like to read: How To Help Elderly With Depression?
Working On Your Marriage
Check Out Couples Counseling
One of the best things you can do for your marriage is to seek out couple counseling. This can help you and your spouse communicate better, work through any issues you may be having, and learn how to resolve conflict healthily. Counseling can be incredibly beneficial for marriages, so if you feel like your relationship could use some help, don’t hesitate to reach out to a counselor.
If you’re unsure if counseling is proper for you, consider talking to your spouse. See how they feel about the idea and whether or not they’d be open to trying it. If both of you are on board, find a counselor you feel comfortable with.
Strengthen your support network
One of the most important things you can do to strengthen your marriage is build a strong support network. This network should include close friends and family members who can offer advice and support when times are tough. These people can provide an invaluable sounding board for decisions about your relationship. Additionally, having a supportive network can help you weather the storms that inevitably arise in any marriage.
Create new enjoyment spaces
By creating new enjoyment spaces to focus on in your marriage at least once a week or month as part of regular date nights or special celebrations like birthdays or anniversaries, you’ll have an enjoyable way to strengthen your bonds and renew the romance between you. Here are some great ideas for creating new enjoyment spaces in your marriage:
- Cook dinner together at home and then enjoy a relaxing meal by candlelight.
- Go for a walk or hike in a nearby park or forest.
- Take a dance class together or look up online tutorials to learn some new moves.
- Plan a weekend getaway to a nearby city or town you’ve always wanted to explore.
- Check out a new restaurant in the city or try a different cuisine you’ve been curious about.
- Go on a road trip and explore other parts of the country or take a more extended vacation to an international destination.
- Spend an evening stargazing in your backyard or visit an astronomy museum to learn about the stars.
Cultivate healthy habits
When you and your spouse get married, the real work begins – working on your relationship. And for couples who’ve been together for a while, maintaining a happy marriage can be challenging. But by putting just as much effort into creating new enjoyment spaces within your relationship as you do with all of the other parts of life, you’ll create a successful working marriage that will last for years. Here are some tips on how to cultivate healthy habits in your marriage:
1. Get on the same page: First and foremost, you and your spouse must be on the same page for your relationship. If you’re not sure where your spouse stands, ask them directly about their thoughts and feelings on the relationship. This will help ensure that you’re both working towards the same goal.
2. Communicate openly and honestly: One of the most important aspects of a healthy marriage is communication. To effectively communicate with your spouse, you need to be open and honest with them. If you’re feeling upset or frustrated about something, don’t bottle it up – talk to your spouse about it. Likewise, if your spouse comes to you with a problem, listen to them and offer support.
3. Make time for each other: In today’s busy world, it’s easy to let your relationship take a backseat to everything else in your life. But if you want your marriage to thrive, it’s essential to make time for each other. Whether going on regular date nights or simply taking some time out of your day to talk to each other, carving out quality time for your spouse.
4. Be supportive: A strong marriage is built on mutual respect and support. If your spouse is struggling with something, be there for them. Offer them words of encouragement and understanding. And when they’re going through a tough time, be their rock.
5. Be honest: Honesty is vital in any relationship, but it’s essential in marriage. If you’re not being honest with your spouse about something, it can create tension and mistrust. So if there’s something on your mind, don’t hesitate to share it with your spouse.
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Taking Care of Yourself
While dealing with your spouse it’s important that you take care of yourself also. This is because your spouse’s condition can affect you severely.
Avoid the Vicious Circle
Taking care of yourself is a fundamental part of managing stress. You can do many things to take good care of yourself and many things that will help you avoid getting into the vicious circle where problems lead to more problems, causing ever-increasing stress.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to ensure that you aren’t overtaxing your energy. This means eating healthy and getting enough exercise to stay strong and get enough sleep so that your mind and body have time to rest and rejuvenate.
Another key strategy in avoiding the vicious circle is learning how to manage your time more effectively – this means breaking down large tasks into smaller, manageable steps and assigning time for those tasks on your calendar.
They May Deny the Problem
It’s essential to take care of yourself, even if the person you’re caring for denies that there’s a problem. Denial is a common defense mechanism used by people confronting a difficult reality. By denying that anything is wrong, they can avoid facing the truth.
Stay Positive and Get Active
One of the best things you can do for your health is stay positive and get active. Research shows that physically active people who have a positive outlook on life are more likely to be healthy and live longer than those who don’t.
There are many ways to stay positive and get active. One way is to find an activity that you enjoy and make it part of your daily routine. Walking, biking, swimming, dancing, and gardening are great ways to stay active. You can also try something new like yoga or pilates.
It’s also important to surround yourself with positive people. Spend time with friends and family members who make you feel good about yourself. Avoid people who bring you down or make you feel bad about yourself.
Don’t get bogged down in stigma or angry feelings
It’s easy to get bogged down in stigma or angry feelings when taking care of yourself. But it’s imperative to remember that taking care of yourself is a necessity, not a luxury. Here are some tips for staying positive and keeping your self-care routine on track:
- Acknowledge your feelings, but don’t dwell on them.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone has a unique journey.
- Find an activity or hobby that brings you joy and stick with it.
- Set realistic goals for yourself and celebrate your accomplishments.
One key part of taking care of yourself is educating yourself about your condition and treatment options to make informed decisions about your medical care.
Some ways to educate yourself include:
- Talk openly with your doctor or another healthcare provider about any concerns and questions regarding your treatment plan, including other possible treatments and medications available.
- Keep a detailed diary or record any symptoms associated with your condition, including when they occur, how severe they are, and what you were doing when they started.
Try to stay on the same team
It can be challenging to take care of yourself when you’re under a lot of stress, but it’s essential to try. One way to do this is to think of yourself as being on the same team as your body. Your body is working hard to keep you healthy, so it makes sense to help it out as much as you can.
Taking care of yourself can be challenging, but it’s worth it in the long run. That means eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep. It also means avoiding things that can harm your health, like smoking or drinking too much alcohol. After all, you’re the only one who has to live with your body for your entire life!
You might also like to read: My Elderly Mother Is Never Happy – What To Do?
Frequently Asked Questions
#1. How do I deal with a depressed husband?
If your husband is suffering from depression, it can be challenging for you. Depression can cause your husband to withdraw from you emotionally, making it hard to connect with him. However, it is essential to support your husband during this difficult time and seek professional help if necessary. Here are some tips on how to deal with a depressed husband:
1. Communicate with your husband. It is essential to keep the lines of communication open with your husband, even if he seems withdrawn. Try to talk to him about how he feels and encourage him to share his thoughts and feelings with you.
2. Be patient and understanding. Depression can be complicated to deal with, and it can take time for your husband to start feeling better. It is essential to be a patient and to understand him during this time.
3. Seek professional help. If your husband’s depression is severe, it may be necessary to seek professional help. This can provide him with the support and treatment he needs to recover from depression.
#2. Can your spouse give you depression?
While it’s true that many people develop depression due to genetics, lifestyle factors, and other outside causes, there is some evidence that suggests that the stress of a troubled relationship can also play a role. If you’re suffering from sadness or hopelessness, it might be worth considering your marriage’s role in your mental health.
#3. Can depression make you want a divorce?
Depression can be debilitating and isolating, making it challenging to maintain healthy relationships with friends and family. For those living with depression, feelings of sadness and hopelessness may increase their desire for divorce.
#4. What are some comforting words?
Some comforting words can be “Everything will be alright” or “I’m here for you.” Other words of comfort may include “You’re not alone” or “I understand.”
Sometimes, simply providing a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear can be comforting. Whatever words of comfort you choose, make sure that they are genuine and come from the heart.
Dealing with someone who has depression can be very difficult, but when it comes to your own spouse, it can ruin lives and break up homes. One has to be careful, understanding and always positive when dealing with such situations.
Always remember that there are three aspects that you need to care of: your spouse, yourself and your marriage. All three things need looking after, you cannot simply think that doing everything for your spouse is enough. Take some time out for yourself and make sure that you are not getting sucked into the void of depression either.
Thank you for reading the article. We hope we have provided enough tips and ideas on what you can do. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to write to us.