Nowadays, depression has been a serious and alarming issue in society, yet, not everyone is sensitive enough to understand what it is. But what if it’s your spouse who’s struggling, and you see how much he/she suffers every day?
Depression is a serious mental illness that might affect all the aspects of a person’s life. It is mistaken as simply ‘sadness,’ ‘being dramatic,’ ‘it’s all in the head,’ or ‘being negative’ by the ones who have no idea about what a depressed person is going through. What makes things worse is when a hyper lover/friend/family says, “Can’t you just pull yourself up and stop being dramatic? There are lots of things to be thankful for!”
Sometimes, the ones who aren’t aware of it have tendencies of dropping words that can leave scars in the heart. Physical wounds may heal, but emotional wounds are a different story.
Depression is bad enough, but hearing the criticism from others who are close to the depressed instead of listening and understanding their pains adds up to the mental problem. With that fact of not being aware of what it is, what it feels, and how exhausting it can be.
How can you tell if your spouse suffers from depression?
- There’s no pleasure in life and any sense of direction.
– A person with depression may not have a sense of direction in life because everything feels hopeless, worthless, tiring and vague. They won’t enjoy the things that they used to love or the things that they were passionate about.
- Their self-esteem is low.
– With the fact that they have no sense of direction and everything is hopeless, they’re likely to think that they’re a failure on everything, because they can no longer do the things that make them happy.
- Sleeping problems.
– Sleeping or falling asleep can be hard for someone who’s under depression because even after sleep, they feel tired or they’re unable to sleep because of the harshest thought given by their mind.
- Energy levels are slow.
– They can’t often get out of bed with energy, making them less functional than they’re used to. They may feel too tired to do anything, which can be an issue at home because some may see it as being lazy.
- Emotions feel like an enemy
– Being overwhelmed with emotion is one of the struggles of a depressed person which makes them see that it is bothersome – making them feel more worthless.
- Difficulty with thinking, decision making
– Having a troubled mind, a troubled soul and a weaker body disable them from thinking the way they used to and decide the right way, which is why they’ll be needing help in this matter.
- Frequent thoughts of being guilty of the past failures, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, attempts or actual suicide
– The memories of past failures cause guilt to the depressed person, making them see themselves as a failure and they no longer have the right to live, or they no longer see the point in living because “they’re worthless, anyway.”
- Food may be used as a comfort or coping tool
– It is common for an individual, regardless if depressed or not, to use food to cope up with stress (a.k.a. stress eating). A depressed person might gain weight when they overeat because of the stress that they feel inside.
- Loss of appetite
– Losing interest in almost everything in life can also cause the loss of appetite, for they no longer enjoy even the food that they used to like.
- Physical and mental aches might happen
– They have high risks of having nausea, body aches, headaches, etc.
How can depression affect relationships or marriage?
The symptoms above might affect relationships if those aren’t addressed or understood. Depression has different effects in marriages that can lead to misunderstandings, fights, and worse comes to worst, divorce. However, that doesn’t mean that just because someone is depressed, the marriage would end. There are different ways on how to cope with it.
How can we cope with this?
- Research and understand what depression is. They say that knowing the problem is half the solution – understanding what the spouse is going through can make the significant other know how he/she can help his/her spouse.
- Find support groups online or offline. Doing this will help to know how others cope, they can find people who can cheer them up and encourage them to survive.
- Use coping tools. Find activities that can help the person to have a clear mind. It can be exercise, reading books, meditation, talking to other people, praying.
- Do the things that will make them feel better. Aim for an 8-hour sleep, manage stress together, practice relaxation techniques.
- Gain a daily dose of sunlight. Sunlight can boost serotonin levels to improve mood. Walk outside under the sun, but don’t expose for too long.
- Remind them about their importance, how much you need them, the good memories together, etc. Being reminded about these things can touch their hearts and realize that they aren’t useless, after all.
- Listen. Depressed people are full of struggles deep inside their minds, and letting it all out lessens the pain. Let them express it without judging. Let them cry if they have to.
- Find a counselor. Not everyone can counsel someone because most people can give advice, however, getting professional help might improve things.
- Depression isn’t just a mental problem, but a spiritual battle too. When someone is spiritually weak, they tend to feel weaker in different aspects of their lives. They have to go back to the presence of the Lord and ask for help and freedom.
- Be careful with your words. As a husband/wife, you have to be sensitive to the things that you say, because words can leave greater scars in the heart.
- Remind them about their kids. Once they get reminded how much their kids need them, it can give them the encouragement to live and go on in life because they have a purpose.
- Love has five languages. Express how much you love them by:
- Giving quality time. Make them realize that they’re not alone in this battle, bring them to places that can cheer up their minds like visiting the places that can remind them of good memories, taking them to places where they can reconnect with nature (it gives the mind some peace).
- Touch. Embrace them especially when they’re at their worst because it will make them feel secure.
- Words of affirmation. Say the words that can cheer them up and make them feel important.
- Acts of service. Show them that you love them by serving them. Show them how much you support them even if they’re at their worst. Whether they have appetite or none, cook for them and encourage them. Let them see how much you value them.
- Give them gifts. This item doesn’t have to be costly, but give them the things that they might enjoy and give them the reason why you gave them that.
- Be patient with the healing process. Depression is like a wound and each wound takes time to heal. It won’t be healed overnight, but support them until they get free from it.
Depression is a battle and is something that cannot be fought alone. Help them live in a world that kills. The enemy is the illness, not the spouse. Give them the strength, encouragement, and love – for it conquers it all.
Also .. did you know that THIS can positively influence your mental health?