Depression affects approximately 16.1 million Americans and this mental illness can take a toll on their lives as well in their spouse and family’s lives. The divorce rates are escalating as an effect of irreconcilable differences due to a psychological condition, and feelings of hopelessness towards living together. Divorce-proofing your marriage is said to be a hopeless tactic since nobody knows what the future brings, but taking proactive steps is also one way to curb the anxiety of possible divorce. It is often best to strengthen the foundations of marriage than to repair damages.
Ability To Identify The Signs
Since you are with your spouse almost all the time, be vigilant in knowing the symptoms of depression and any other mental illness. Always be alert to the changes in his/her usual mood and activities. The key to making sure you don’t end up divorcing is seeing through your spouse’s mental health. According to experts, it is reasonable to experience sadness, but these symptoms characterize depression:
- Loss of pleasure or interest in pleasurable activities and hobbies
- A sudden change in appetite; weight loss or gain
- Sleeping problems either trouble in getting sleep or sleeping too much
- Fatigue/loss of energy
- Thoughts of suicide and death
- Feelings of irrelevance and triviality issues; also, excessive self-pity and inappropriate guilt
- Inability to concentrate/indecisiveness
“But some people who are diagnosed with depression do not report feeling depressed, sad or low, but rather, they report experiencing significantly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day,” says Simon Rego, PsyD.
Approach With Love And Support
If you feel that your partner needs help from a professional counselor or psychiatrist, slowly introduce the idea to him/her. Explain the changes you have noticed and always emphasize your love and support no matter what happens. Since depression is already categorized as a disease, attacking the individual because of his/her condition is futile because it is not a decision he/she can address on his own. Experts suggest starting a conversation with the declaration of love and support. If they are resisting consulting a professional, don’t take it personally. Maybe it is better to suggest going to a couple’s therapy session. Reiterate that both of you will be present at the consultation.
“Depression isn’t just the result of a biochemical imbalance. It is an opportunity to grow, to love yourself more, and to receive support from those who love you,” says Judith Orloff, MD.
Don’t Act Like A Mother
Despite what your partner is going through, treat him/her as your equal who is capable of doing things for himself/herself. They need to be encouraged and to instill in them the sense of independence. You can assist in medication administration and ensuring that they take this diligently. You can remind your partner about taking his medicine on time, showing up on doctor’s appointments, and leading a healthy lifestyle.
Stay Romantically Connected As Possible
Anti-depressive medications often have sexual side effects and will most probably alter your sex life as a couple. Recognize that these changes are typical effects of treatment. It is best to find other means of letting each other know how much you love him/her. Explore ways on how to preserve your physical connection within the boundaries and conditions of the illness. Have fun despite the limitations.
Spend “Me” Time
When a spouse is besieged with depression, the study shows that the other spouse is also at high risk to experience one. Due to this reason, it is often wise to prioritize self-care more than ever. Be prepared to counteract by taking a rest if you are feeling exhausted, physically or mentally. Visit a spa and spend some time on yourself. Stay connected with your friends. Have coffee with them and talk about things other than the problem that you are handling now. Or, your friends can also be a source of help and support group as you go along in this journey.
“Self-compassion is not tough love or false hope, but connecting the pain with understanding, curiosity, and a sincere wish for relief based in kindness and love rather than criticism and disgust,” says Erin Mendoza, PsyD.