Today we’re going to get really deep and it’s for a good reason. Brittany from Clumps of Mascara sent out her weekly newsletter talking about how on May 15th she wanted bloggers to post about Mental Health to not only make an impact but to help normalize mental health concerns. As soon as I saw the call I knew that April Favorites would have to be pushed to Wednesday so that I could join in on this important topic. Many of you may not know this but for six years the Hubs suffered from depression. This was a hard time for him, a hard time for our marriage, and what people may not realize but a hard time for me as well. That first time of saying to myself “My Spouse Has Depression” was, at that time, one of the hardest things for me to say because you naturally think “could I have prevented this” amongst other things. Today I’m going to tell you what you can do to help if you’re currently having the “My Spouse Has Depression” thoughts.
My Spouse Has Depression: Support
One of the biggest things that you can do if your spouse has depression is support them. A lot of people seem to think that depression is just a strong “case of the sads” and this is far from the truth. From the beginning I could tell that something was off with the Hubs; he seemed sadder, he was quicker to anger, and everything was “his fault”. Anytime any of these things happened I would make sure to try to make him happy, to back off to avoid fights, and most importantly try to show him how things weren’t his fault and the things that he had accomplished. The important thing to know is that this will not always work. There will be times that they withdraw, they get angrier, and they say things that cut deep. If you are planning on supporting your spouse through their depression you need to know this in advance…and accept it because getting angry back, blaming them, etc. will just make their disease worse!
My Spouse Has Depression: Patience
One of the hardest aspects of having a spouse with depression is seeing them in such psychological pain which can then lead to emotional and physical pain. To go along with that seeing them drag to get going in the morning, seeing them come up with excuses to not be involved, and hearing the things that they will say to push you away. Even though you tell yourself over and over “this is not the person that I married”, “my spouse has depression”, or “this will pass” it can be hard to watch and hear. Instinct is to push, pull, and fight back but that is the worse thing that you could do. Patience in many forms is needed if you’re going to support your spouse with depression. Patience to wait out the dragging, patience to come up with reasons past the excuses, and patience to listen to the digs and barbs and not respond to them.
My Spouse Has Depression: Getting Help
If seeing your spouse going through pain is one of the hardest things about supporting a spouse with depression then getting help is the actual hardest. Getting help is two-fold and both parts can be the hardest part of dealing with depression. The first person that you need to get help for is obviously your spouse, however, how do you help someone that doesn’t even want to admit that they have a problem because that’s what a lot of people with depression do, deny the problem. If you tell your spouse to set an appointment to see someone they won’t do it because they won’t believe they need to see someone. If you set an appointment for them and tell them they’ll avoid going because, again, they don’t believe they need help. If you set an appointment for them and don’t tell them you could actually damage the trust in the relationship as they’ll feel betrayed. Some ways to get a spouse help is to talk with them, tell them you’re worried, and offer to go with them.
I said that getting help is two-fold, the second fold is getting help for yourself. Yes, even though YOU don’t have depression YOU still need help. You may need a personal therapist to help you sort through the emotions that you are having and how to deal / help your spouse. You may need a couple’s therapist to help the both of you get a grasp on the depression and how to handle it. You may need emotional support from your friends and family to also help with these things on a daily basis.
My Spouse Has Depression: Talk About It
There is no shame in the fact that your spouse is dealing with depression. YOU have done nothing wrong and more importantly THEY have done nothing wrong. Letting the people in your life know what is going on will not only allow them to help you and your spouse but will also make it where you’re not making excuses for the things your spouse says and does. When the Hubs was first showing signs of depression I felt that I needed to make excuses for the things that he did. For example, if he didn’t want to go to a celebratory dinner instead of just saying “He’s battling depression and today isn’t a good day” and leaving it at that I felt the need to say “Oh he’s not feeling well, stomach virus.” That not only made me a liar to my friends but put everyone in the awkward position at later meetings when someone asked if he was feeling better etc. Being honest, open, and owning the fact that you are both in a battle and neither of you are doing anything wrong.
My Spouse Has Depression: Resources
For More Information on Depression:
To Find A Doctor Near You:
If You Or Your Spouse Are Considering Suicide:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- National Suicide Prevention Number: 1-800-273-8255
- CALL 911 IF THERE IS IMMEDIATE DANGER OF SUICIDE
Support Groups For Supporters: