Living with a Depressed Spouse How Do You Cope.
Till death do us part is a well known expression that has been recited so many times during wedding ceremonies. You get married because you are in love and you feel you can spend the rest of your life with this special person. If you could see what the future holds for you, you would probably not have taken the plunge. The expression "till death" do us part is depressing, but spells out the truth about married life. Most people say you go through ups and downs. In marriage you tend to only remember the downs. That is unfortunately the human nature, because you wish the good times will last forever. The reality of married life is interesting, complex and at the same time joyous. You can never prepare yourself enough for the future. You can be sure that hard times will come, and when they do, you better be prepared. Depression is one of the many challenges in a marriage that can really put your love to the test. If you've ever had a friend who suffered from this illness, you might have an idea of what it can be. However, it is not the same as when your spouse is constantly depressed. If you knew what you know now, you will certainly not have made the same decisions. You might already know that your spouse sometimes gets the blues but you might not know to what extent. At times we are so much in love that we feel that love is enough. When it comes to dealing with a depressed spouse, you will need more than love to be able to cope. This is not the time to lament, but to be pragmatic and take control of your life.
Living with a depressed spouse can be terrifying and confusing. Take for example, your spouse has always being the one responsible for paying the bills, taking the children to school; the bread winner. It will be a battle against the illness and managing your daily life. Finance is a big issue in almost every family. If the depression means you will not be able to afford to pay the bills at the end of the month, then you are in for a terrible ride.
The problem with depression is, you know when it starts, but you never know if your spouse will ever get over it. Some people become depressed from overwork. They might decide to go back to work after a while but at times they only relapse after a few weeks and might come out worse. It will be very difficult for you to deal with. You might feel that your spouse is not doing enough to get over his illness. You might also feel guilty for trying too hard to get him back to the way he was. It is complex and there is no easy solution. There is nothing much you can do but to weather the storm and pray for better days. Dealing with your spouse depression will depend a lot on various parameters. Mostly it will depend on what effect the depression has on him/her and how much emotional autonomy he/she has. If your spouse has the desire to seek professional help, it might make it easier for you to cope. People deal with depression differently and your spouse is no exception. Here are some helpful tips.
Guilt: It is not your fault and there is no point in blaming yourself. It will not help your spouse recover nor will it make you feel good about yourself. You cannot avoid the feeling of blame and guilt. It is part of who we are and to lay the blame on something or someone happens frequently. At times we do it because we cannot seem to find a satisfactory answer to some of life's afflictions.
Patience: You need to be patient with yourself and your spouse. Depression has no timeframe. You would wish you could know that by next month your spouse would be better. That of course is wishful think. Depression is not like other diseases that can be controlled by medication. Medications will help but they will not determine the length of the illness.
Perspective: You've often heard the saying; it is not the end of the world. Well that is true and you need to put things in perspective. Solve what you can and leave the rest.
Help: Seek help if not for your spouse, at least for yourself. Some victims of depression refuse external help and there is little you can do. You could seek help that might help you deal with your spouse's depression on a daily basis.
Hopelessness: You will have your own moments of sadness and near depression; because it will break your heart to see a loved one in such a state. Don't give in to despair, things always get better at even for a few moments.
Outdoor: Contrary to what you might feel. Going for a walk with your spouse will do both of you a lot of good. If you spouse doesn't want to, there is nothing stopping you from going outside for a change of scenery.
Misplaced sympathy: You will have to deal with friends and family showing sympathy for your spouse but forgetting about you. There is no reason to get angry about it. It is just the way we humans deal the things. There is someone who will show you some consideration
Children: You will need to be balanced in making sure your children do not become victims of your frustration. They will not understand how you feel and might not even be helpful. Remember they are children.
Be Positive: It will take a great dose of motivation to remain positive. You need to do all you can to help your spouse. Having positive things to share with him can be helpful to you as well.
Excuses: Depression is not an excuse to behave in an inconsiderate way. There are times when you will have to set things straight with your spouse in spite of his/her depression. Learn to separate the illness from bad and controlling behavior.