In the United States, 8.4% of adults have suffered from major depression at some point in their lives. Depression can be difficult to deal with, both for the person who is depressed and for their loved ones.
If you find yourself living with a depressed spouse, you may find yourself at a loss for what to do.
But you don’t have to go through this alone. We’ve written a guide on how to help a depressed spouse with advice from people who have been in your shoes.
You can find hope and healing by reading this guide. Let’s take a look at the strategies you might want to consider.
Learn About Clinical Depression
Clinical depression is a severe medical condition that can significantly impact a person’s day-to-day life. It’s important to understand that it is not the depressed person’s fault, just like with any other illness.
Depression is caused by genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. It is not simply a result of someone’s choices or behaviors.
You might find it helpful to read books or articles about depression. Learning more about the condition can help you understand what your spouse is going through and how you can best support them.
Do Not Ignore the Problem
If you think your spouse may be depressed, don’t ignore the problem or hope it will disappear. Depression is a severe condition that requires treatment.
If you think your spouse may be depressed, start by encouring them to speak with a doctor or mental health professional. The sooner your spouse gets help, the better their chances of recovery will be.
Don’t Take It Personally
Being married to someone with depression can, at its worst moments, feel like a lonely life sentence. But it’s important to remember that your spouse is not their illness. And illnesses can be treated.
Depression is a mental illness, not a personal attack. It is not a character flaw or a sign of weakness. It doesn’t mean that your spouse doesn’t love you or want to be with you.
Your depressed spouse is not choosing to be depressed. If they could, they would choose differently!
Do Not Blame Yourself
It can be easy to blame yourself when your spouse is depressed. You might think, “If only I were different, they wouldn’t be depressed.” You are not responsible for your spouse’s depression.
No amount of money, time, or effort can change how your spouse feels. When you start to blame yourself, remember that depression is an actual medical condition that is not your fault.
Get Help for Yourself
Caring for a depressed spouse can be difficult. You might find it helpful to seek out help for yourself, whether from a therapist or support group.
When you’re married to a depressed spouse, it’s essential to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Depression can be draining, and it’s easy to become depressed yourself if you’re not careful.
Make sure to schedule time for yourself and do things that make you happy. Consider talking to a therapist about how you’re feeling. It’s also essential to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
Build a Support Network
You don’t have to face this challenge alone. While it’s essential to support your spouse, try not to neglect yourself.
Reach out and connect with other spouses going through the same thing. Building a support network can provide you with the support, encouragement, and advice you need. It can help to know that you are not alone in this.
There are plenty of online support groups and in-person meetings available online and in local communities.
Get Help for Your Depressed Spouse
Major clinical depression isn’t something that goes away. Depression is a severe medical condition that requires treatment. If your spouse is depressed, they will need professional help to get better.
There are many ways to get help for depression, including therapy, medication, and other forms of treatment. Depending on your spouse’s needs, they may need to see a therapist, psychiatrist, or primary care doctor.
Create a Supportive Home Environment
One of the best things you can do for your depressed spouse is to create a supportive home environment.
When your spouse is depressed, they might not be able to take care of themselves the way they used to. You might need to help with cooking, cleaning, and budgeting. This can be a difficult change.
Your depressed spouse might not be able to do as much as they used to, but having some level of responsibility can help them feel better. Here are some powerful ways to help your spouse:
Take walks, join a gym, or take self-defense classes. Physical activity is one of the best things a person with depression can do to alleviate symptoms.
Establish a routine.
A daily routine can help your depressed spouse feel more in control. Routines are also beneficial for people with anxiety.
Encourage them to spend time with friends and family.
Social interaction is essential for mood, and depressed people often isolate themselves. Social interactions are proven to help lessen the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Practice positive reinforcement.
Tell them how much you care and appreciate them. Celebrate small victories with them. Let them know that they are not alone in this struggle and that they can get better with time and treatment.
Spend time together doing things you both enjoy.
Whether it’s going for a walk, watching movies, or pursuing a new hobby, the important thing is that you’re doing it together.
Final Thoughts on Marriage and Depression
Most of all, remember to take care of yourself. This is a difficult situation for both of you, and you mustn’t neglect your own needs.
Helping your depressed spouse can be a stressful and challenging experience. But with time, patience, and support, you can help them get the treatment they need to recover from depression.
At Abundant Living Counseling, we offer compassionate care for women and couples dealing with depression. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you or your loved one get back on track.