Friday, 16 September 2016

How to Help Your Depressed Spouse

Maybe you recognize that things have changed in your relationship and you wonder why and what to do. For example, your spouse may have lost interest in daily activities, lacks of energy, and expresses hopelessness. 

Depression that is not diagnosed and treated in a spouse could take a toll on your marriage relationship and family life. As your depressed spouse withdraws from the relationship through lack of interest in intimacy you could be placed in a care-giving role. 


Your depressed spouse needs help,
Your depressed spouse needs help. Here are seven steps you can take to give the support and help your spouse requires.
Get Professional Help
The National Institute of Mental Health advises that the most important way to help a friend or relative that is depressed is to encourage the person to get the necessary diagnosis and treatment. This is the first and most critical step in your spouse’s journey to recovery. But in all of this you need to show compassion, love, and concern for your spouse.
Learn About Depression
To help your depressed spouse, you need to have a basic understanding about depression. While you must never try to assume the role of your spouse’s therapist you will need to have some knowledge of the signs, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of depression. This knowledge will give you a deeper appreciation of the disease and allow you to give your spouse the kind of support that is needed.
Communicate with Spouse
Good communication is essential in marriages to share the feelings and the deepest needs of spouses. This is especially important when a spouse is suffering from depression. However, at this time it might be difficult to communicate with your spouse, and especially to talk about depression.
Despite the challenges, you will need to seek to engage your spouse in conversation. This might mean more active listening on your part; listen not just to what your spouse says, but to the feelings behind the words and his or her body language. As the communication pattern in the relationship improves, it is likely that talking with your spouse about depression will get easier.
It is important that you continue to give your spouse emotional support and understanding during the treatment process. This support should include encouraging your spouse stay in treatment or to seek additional help. Such support will also mean that while you help your spouse to take a realistic look at things, you validate his feelings and instill hope for the future.
Take Care of Yourself
In the midst of supporting your spouse, your self-care is extremely important. You need to take care of your personal well-being which includes proper diet, exercise, rest and having time for yourself. Make every effort to keep your own goals in sight.
Seek the support of a trusted friend or relative or join a support group where you can share your feelings. In all of this, you will need to set boundaries in order to promote your own self-growth and be in a better position to support your spouse.
Recognize Suicide Risk
It is very important that you respond proactively to any comments your spouse makes about suicide. Depression distorts a person thinking so never ignore any suicide ideation. Additionally, you need to know the warning signs which usually include the person’s preoccupation with death. Talk to your spouse about them and immediately seek professional help.

 

Keep a Positive Outlook
Living in close to a person who is suffering from depression could color your own vision of the world. However, resist self-defeating thoughts and don’t allow the depression to wear you down. You will need to bring a sense of hope to the difficult situation. Draw the strength and hope you need from God, who is the source of all hope.
There are things you can do to assist your depressed spouse but it is also important that you take care of yourself. Your concern, encouragement and support can go a far way to help in your spouse’s recovery.

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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