“For better, for worse, in sickness and in health” is just one of the promises that you and your spouse have said to each other when you got married but no one would expect the worst that can happen.
When your spouse is showing signs of depression, it’s just expected that you will do everything in your power to help the person you married. Awareness is one of the key in helping your depressed spouse.
Without knowledge and understanding about this illness, you won’t be able to help your spouse.
The truth about depression
One should understand that depression is an illness and not just a weakness that the person is showing. Some people mock a person who shows signs of depression not knowing that this isn’t drama or attention seeking. It’s an illness that no one wants.
Depression can greatly impact not just your marriage but also your family that is why it’s better to understand what depression is and how we can actually help.
Depression is defined as a dramatic shift in brain chemistry which in turn can alter moods, sleep, energy levels, appetite and even sleep. Depression just doesn’t happen, it is being triggered by many factors including but is not limited to severe stress, tragic loss, parenthood, marriage, health conditions and of course financial problems.
Remember, you just can’t tell your depressed spouse to fight the feeling and move on. It’s never that easy.
Signs that you have a depressed spouse
Before being able to help a depressed spouse, you have to first understand how the signs show. One of the most common misconceptions about depression is that it’s showing every day and you’ll easily see it but it’s not like that.
Most people who are depressed can also have their happy days and this can even last for a few days only to bounce back to the darkness of depression.
Depression is so common but we don’t find enough information about it and with our busy lifestyle, we would often oversee how a loved one is already showing signs of depression. This is the reason why it’s often times called an invisible illness.
Here are some of the signs that your spouse may be depressed
- Constant feelings of sadness, emptiness, tearfulness, or hopelessness
- Losing or gaining weight because of dramatic changes in appetite
- Sleeping all the time or having a hard time to sleep
- Sudden lack of interest in daily routine and even with fun activities
- Showing fatigue even when rested well
- Agitation and anxiety
- Sudden mood changes like anger outbursts
- Recollection of past mistakes
- Deep worthless feeling and thoughts
- Suicidal thoughts
- Thinking that the world is better without them
One of the scariest parts of having depression is that the person is more susceptible to suicide.
Some who don’t understand this illness may disregard the signs that a person is already thinking about suicide and that’s one of the reasons why today, more and more people succeed in committing suicide.
Be vigilant with the following signs
- Noticeable changes with your spouse’s way of communicating socially
- Preoccupied with thoughts that surround death
- Overbearing feeling of hopelessness
- Sudden fascination about suicide
- Actions that don’t make sense like stocking pills, purchasing knives or even a gun
- Extreme changes in mood – feeling very happy and loving then going back to being distant and alone
- When your spouse is no longer being cautious and may show signs of having a death wish
- Starting to give away their most precious things
- Calling to say goodbye or that they will miss someone
- Sudden calls to attorneys and settling debts. Organizing everything
How to help your depressed spouse
The first thing that you will need to know when helping a depressed spouse is to know that the problem exists. Don’t shrug it off like it’s nothing because a depressed spouse will affect the whole family.
Accept the reality and start helping your spouse through the following
Your presence is already a huge step towards recovery.
Being there even if your spouse pushes you away is one thing that they need. Be there to listen even if the issues that your spouse have are just the same — don’t get tired.
Remember your wedding vows and expect lots of sacrifices. Don’t try to avoid your partner instead be there when needed.
Patience – lots of it
We all have to admit that the process of helping a depressed spouse is hard.
Often times coupled with stress from taking care of your children, being the head of the house now that your partner is unstable and caring for your spouse can put your patience to the test. You have to endure and give more.
Surround your spouse with love
People who suffer from depression needs to feel loved and cared for. Don’t be fearful to ask questions similar to “Is there anything that I can do to make you feel better?”
Reassure your spouse that you love them and don’t get tired of doing it. Don’t forget the power of touch and hugs because it can do wonders.
Don’t give up
The most important part is that you don’t ever give up.
Expect that this process will drain you out too and it’s tough and you might want to just give up. Take a rest and take a time off but don’t abandon your spouse.
When to seek professional help
When you have done all you can and you’ve exhausted all efforts and there aren’t any visible changes or if you slowly see that your spouse is now exhibiting signs of suicide, then it’s time to ask for help.
Lack of willingness to get better is one of the toughest issues to address and a professional can help you with this. Sometimes, it’s best to have someone help you with this ordeal.
Helping your depressed spouse should come from your heart and not just because it is your obligation.
That way, your patience is a lot longer and your heart will show the way on how you can help your spouse get through this hard challenge. Slowly, both of you can work together to bring back the light of happiness in your spouse.