How To Support Your Depressed Spouse
It can be a very helpless experience when your spouse is battling with depression. It can make you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and confused. You might get rejected or ignored if you try to help your partner and you might even feel at times, that you are in some way responsible for your partner’s depression.
You’ll experience your partner’s mood as discouraged, hopeless, or sad, but it can also include anger. You might also notice that your spouse isn’t interested in finding joy any longer and they tend to withdraw socially.
Remember that you are not alone and that there are many resources that you can use. Read more at Consumer Health Review for an objective view on natural supplements for depression and anxiety. Supplements might make a huge difference in your partner’s life. Try to remember that you can’t cure your spouse’s depression, but you can definitely assist and support your spouse along the way to recovery.
What Exactly Is Depression?
Even though major depression usually lasts for at least two weeks, it is definitely not a static illness. Your spouse might have many good days, only to experience a low mood once again. Loved ones don’t always understand the rise and fall associated with depression.
The following symptoms might be experienced when depressed:
- Agitation or anxiety
- Trouble making decisions or concentrating
- Anger outbursts
- Loss of pleasure or interest in any activities
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Feelings of hopelessness, tearfulness or sadness
- Physical symptoms (unexplained)
- Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of death
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
To understand this disease is an important first step in order to be able to help and support your partner. Symptoms of depression may change and vary over time and even though it probably would be a good idea to consult a professional or read up on depression for more information, the best thing you can do is to listen empathically and to ask open-ended questions.
Be There For Your Spouse
Often, the best thing you can do for your partner is to simply be there and to show up. You can offer hugs, be present or hold your spouse’s hand. You can also respond to them with uplifting and supportive statements.
Remember that depression-victims seldom recover without getting treatment. Encourage your partner to get help or treatment and be there for them during appointments. You can let your spouse know what symptoms you have noticed, express that you are concerned and let them know that you are willing to help. Discuss with them what you have learned about the illness and talk to them about various treatment options, such as lifestyle changes, medication or psychotherapy. Read more about 10 natural ways to treat depression.
Make Sure Your Home Environment Is Supportive
Remember that your spouse’s depression is not your or anybody else’s fault, although lifestyle changes might make a huge difference when getting treatment. As depression can affect a person’s appetite, sleep and energy, it can make it difficult for them to live healthily.
- Try to eat healthily – get your partner involved in healthy meal planning and cooking in order to encourage healthier food choices.
- Workout together – exercise can help to boost your partner’s mood. Try to plan a bike ride, jog or daily gym session together.
- Help your spouse to stick with their treatment. If possible, drive them to appointments or wait outside while they get treatment. They’ll need all the support they can get.
- Go out together – depression often causes loss of interest in fun or pleasurable activities. People with depression, therefore, often avoid any social interactions. Make sure to do one fun weekly activity, such as going to the movies, going on a date night or even playing a board game.
- Depressed people often judge themselves quite harshly and it is, therefore, important to give them as much positive reinforcement as possible. Point out their strengths and let them know if you notice any improvements.
Remember that it can be emotionally taxing to care for a spouse with depression. It is therefore important to not forget to take care of yourself as well and make sure you have your own support system during this period.