You promised to love your partner for better or for worse, and depression can definitely put your vows to the test. Dealing with the symptoms of depression is challenging, as it is hard to watch your spouse struggle with feelings of sadness that impact their day-to-day happiness. You may have even watched your relationship suffer when your partner is too tired to attend social events or even play with the kids. While your spouse works through their depression, you can use these strategies to provide them with comfort while looking out for everyone’s needs.
Don’t Take It Personally
Depression hurts everyone and it is hard not to feel spurned when your partner snaps at you for asking if they want to go out to eat. Alternatively, you may struggle with feelings of inadequacy when nothing you do seems to bring a smile to their face. Try to remember that your partner’s depression is at the heart of their words and actions. Instead of taking it personally, try to remind yourself that it is part of the symptoms and will get better with time. This helps you stay in the right frame of mind for helping your partner overcome their symptoms.
While it is important to avoid letting little things get to you, it is also critical to establish boundaries that prevent depression from hurting you, your spouse or the kids. At times, a person may turn to drugs, alcohol or other addictions as a way to cope with their symptoms. Talk to your partner about what behaviors are not acceptable early on. Then, make it clear that you will support them with getting help for addiction, but you will not tolerate watching them hurt themselves. Knowing that you have clear expectations in place helps your spouse make better decisions about staying on track with their treatment plan for the depression.
Work Together to Create an Action Plan
It is important to make the most of your partner’s good days. Sitting down to talk about how they prefer to be comforted lets you know exactly what works for them. Your personal action plan may include things such as helping your loved one talk to their counselor or reminding them to take their medication if it is prescribed. It may also include things such as encouraging them to get up and exercise.
Take Care of Your Emotional Needs
Caring for someone with depression can take an emotional toll on you over time. Not only are you constantly worried about your partner, but you may also have to manage the bulk of other responsibilities such as earning an income and managing the household. At times, you may feel guilty, angry or even remorseful that you got married at all. As fleeting as these powerful emotions may be, they must be acknowledged and released in a healthy manner for your family to thrive. To avoid burdening your loved one with negativity, reach out to a counselor who can work with you on finding a way to meet your emotional needs, while also being there for your partner.
Give Them Space On Rough Days
Depression is different for everyone, but trying to force someone to be happy might only make the problem worse. Try to avoid pushing them to do too much on bad days, even if it means giving them a free pass to skip the family celebration. Although it is hard, it is best to be patient and trust that the process involved with their treatment will work. With enough time and support, you will eventually see the smile return to your partner’s face again.
As the spouse of someone who has depression, you play a vital role in their treatment. While you can expect some hardships in the coming months, it is possible to ease your loved one’s pain by offering your support. Remember that being a caregiver on top of being a spouse is hard. We are always here at Cuppls when you need an understanding person to lean on through it all.