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Relationship: Proper Ways To Deal With A Depressed Spouse

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Depression is caused by a whole variety of scenarios. To couples, losing a loved one, getting fired from a job or going through a divorce are majorly the causes of it. When one spouse is depressed, a marriage is depressed. This illness destroys emotional and sexual intimacy in a relationship and also attacks with much negativity, resentment, anger and isolation.If there’s depression in your marriage, it’s time to sit up and act for your partner and yourself. Waiting increases the chances that your relationship won’t last; depressed couples are nine times more likely to divorce. If you think your partner may be depressed, your first step is to pay attention to the clues and get the right diagnosis and treatment. Here’s what to look for and how to take action.Be alert to small changes. Depression can come on slowly, almost impossible to perceive. Often it’s up to the non-depressed spouse to take the lead: If you notice that your spouse isn’t acting, feeling, or thinking as he or she normally does then watch out. Depression may be the reason why your spouse is working extremely long hours, drinking too much, using recreational drugs, or engaging in risky activities. It can also look different in men and women.Break the news gently yet firmly. If you suspect your partner is depressed, don’t start screaming “You’re depressed!” or “You better get help!” In order to begin the process of healing, approach your spouse with concern and with an action plan. You can say, “I’m concerned about how feeling tired and losing your appetite are affecting you. You deserve to feel better. Our doctor may be able to help you, and I’d like to arrange a time when we can meet with him. Next week, I can go on Wednesday or Friday. What’s good for you?”Find a mental-health counsellor for the two of you. Depression affects both of you and your whole family. Research suggest finding a therapist or counsellor who has worked with depression in couples.Keep on learning about depression. Read books, check out websites, ask your doctor about advances in treatment and understanding of this illness. The more you know, the better you can cope and fight.Admit that you cannot cure your partner’s depression. Your spouse needs your love, support, and concern. But these important qualities can’t reverse depression any more than they can control blood sugar, ease arthritis pain, or clear out clogged arteries.
See depression as an intruder in your marriage. Like any other illness, depression is an outside force—an unwelcome visitor wreaking havoc with your spouse’s health, your marriage, and your home life. Seeing it this way can allow both of you to talk about its effects without blame or shame.
Photo Credit: Getty

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