7 Ways How to Explain Depression to a Spouse
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KINDS OF DEPRESSION
Below are some of the most common types of depression, it is important to know what kind of depression you are dealing with for you to be able to explain to them exactly what it is you feel is going on with you when you are depressed. And also it might just explain why depressed people sleep so much!
This is the most common mental disorder. Major depressive disorder can interfere with a person’s ability to do some things. For example, someone with this type of depression will find it extremely difficult to get out of bed in the morning (or at any given time) even when they really need to.
Source Link: Psycom.net
Also known as dysthymia is a form of depression that is chronic in nature, meaning that it comes and goes and can last for longer or shorter periods of time depending on the severity of the trigger and how the depressed person is handling it. Someone with PDD may start avoiding social gatherings, be irritated by the smallest things, and have low self-esteem.
Also known as Seasonal Affective Depression (SAD) because it often spikes during wintertime. Most people with SAD will be alright most of the year and get depressed when winter comes.
This affects women who have just given birth and especially first-time mothers. PPD is characterized by these symptoms; mother feeling detached from baby, and mother experiencing extreme anxiety, among others.
Studies have shown that women are more susceptible to depression due to hormonal changes in their bodies, however, men who suffer from depression are more likely to commit suicide than their female counterparts.
About 41.9% of women and 29.3% of men have at some point in their lives suffered from depression, this means that at some point in your life, if you haven’t already, you will come in contact with someone who has depression. This article will guide you on what to do if someone you care about – a friend, lover, or family – gets depressed.
HOW TO EXPLAIN DEPRESSION TO A SPOUSE
Trying to explain depression to a loved one can be quite hard for a number of reasons; the first one being that most people who have depression do not know how to express what they feel in words, and the second reason is that depression may be hard to grasp for someone who has never had to go through it, and the third reason being that the meaning of the word ‘depression’ has been overused and saturated so much that it is used synonymously with ‘sadness’ and this presents a problem because whilst sadness is a symptom of depression, not everyone who is sad is depressed and not everyone who is depressed is sad.
1. WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS AND INTENTIONS
The best way to describe depression to someone who doesn’t have it is to write down what you want to tell them. What are your intentions for telling them? Do you want them to understand you better, do you want them to be knowledgeable about depression? Write down the intention; why do you want to explain your depression to them? Once you have written the intention, write down the goal(s), that is what do you want to achieve by the time you are done telling them about your depression. Do you want them to go and do more research on their own? Do you want them to ask you more questions to elaborate?
Writing down your goals and intentions will help you be more organized with your thoughts and therefore put you in a position to explain depression to a spouse better as opposed to just throwing random information at them – which might end up leaving them with more questions than answers.
2. BRING RESOURCES TO THE CONVERSATION
When you are explaining depression to someone who doesn’t understand, it is important to bring resources to the conversation that will help your spouse understand you better. You could bring statistics about depression, explain forms of depression, and medical resources that can better elaborate on what depression is and how it looks like in different people. The resources you bring should be able to cover and elaborate on information that you already have and are willing to share with others.
3. INFORM YOUR PARTNER OF YOUR COPING MECHANISMS AND TREATMENT PLANS
When you are explaining depression to others, it is important that you let them know what your coping mechanisms are and if you are on any treatment plans. This is important because if you are on medication, you can explain to them how exactly it helps you and what side effects it has on you and your body. On the other hand, if you are not on any medication and have developed some coping mechanisms to help you deal with your depression, you can also disclose what this looks like to your spouse and why it is helpful and beneficial for you to cope in that way. For example, most people with depression will resort to working out (some form or another), and explaining this to your partner will help them understand why your morning routine needs gym time and why that is vital for your mental health. When you explain depression to spouse, you have to be very detailed and specific to make sure that they understand you very well. The more information you give, the more they will understand you.
4. HAVE AN OPEN COMMUNICATION
One of the most effective ways to describe depression when explaining depression to someone who does not understand it is to have an open and honest conversation. What does this mean? Well, instead of you monopolizing and dominating the conversation with facts and charts and your own personal feelings (which is all valid and a conversation starter) you can lead it with an openness that will let the other person know that it is safe to ask questions about things that they do not understand yet. Do not be short with your audience, and do not make them feel unsafe for asking questions that are “too obvious”
Open conversations are often beneficial to both parties because you also may end up learning something valuable from the dialogue.
5. TELL THEM WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ARE GOING THROUGH A DEPRESSIVE EPISODE
The best way to describe depression is to use descriptive words, this is an important aspect of letting your partner know – in layman’s terms – what it feels like to have depression. When you are telling your partner what to expect from you when you are going through a depressive episode, use words that will make them know exactly what you are feeling. For example, you may say: when I am going through a depressive episode, I tend to shut down and isolate myself from everyone else. This is because, in those moments, I believe that asking for help will just annoy whoever I am asking because why am I being dramatic over abc…” this statement tells your spouse what you may be feeling at the time and the reasoning behind it. It helps them understand how your brain and thoughts might be processing during these times.
6. EXPLAIN YOUR TRIGGERS TO THEM
If you want your loved ones to understand your depression, you need to let them know what triggers you. Different people with different types of depression (and backgrounds, of course) have different things (places, people, names, foods, etc.) that trigger them. For the most part, a depressed person will not know or even recognize what their triggers are, however, if you happen to be aware of your triggers, it is helpful for your loved ones to know what they are so they do not accidentally do or say something that will throw you into depressive despair. It is also important to note that you should only share these with people you trust and feel completely safe with because some people might use this information to manipulate and gaslight you.
7. INFORM THEM HOW THEY CAN HELP YOU
If you ever think to yourself “nobody understands my depression” – which might be most times, especially when you are going through a depressive episode – it is very important to remind yourself that you have people around you who love and care for you and this is why it is crucial that you tell them how they can help you when you are not in your depressed state. Telling them what you need to pick yourself back up again when you are experiencing a low will help them take care of you in the best way possible. For example, if you like to sit and watch movies when you are depressed to make yourself feel better, telling them this information will allow them to know to pick you out your favorite movies and maybe even sit with you and watch these movies with you. Be as specific as you possibly can about how you want them to help you – should they be willing to do so.
Related Articles: What to Say to a Friend Who is Depressed
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. My husband doesn’t understand my depression. What can I do to make him understand?
Trying to explain depression to someone who doesn’t believe in it can be quite discouraging and often feels like pushing a boulder uphill or talking to a brick wall. It is especially heartbreaking when this person is your husband and someone who has shared vows with you – to love and protect you for better or worse. However, not all hope is lost, there are still things that you can do to make him understand that your depression is real and it is something he should take into account before all is lost and depression ruins your relationship.
The first thing you should do is sit down with him and explain to him what your depression looks like. Use examples that he is familiar with, use symptoms that he has seen you exhibit before. For example, if you sleep a lot, or go days without leaving your house, or go through bouts of unmotivation, or cry for no apparent reason. Use things that have happened to you that he has noticed. People are more likely to sympathize with you when you present them with evidence that they have seen or experienced rather than research and facts.
If this does not work, you are going to have to bring your spouse to your next therapy session – if you are in therapy. Therapy is often a safe space and here you can explain to your spouse how they make you feel invalidated when they do not try to take the initiative to understand what you are going through. If you cannot afford therapy, you can invite a family member or friend that you both trust who can act as a mediator to try and get you both to talk in a calm and controlled environment.
Additionally, you can refer to the options given in this article and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to explain depression to a spouse.
In conclusion, this article has talked about explaining depression to boyfriend and the different ways on how to explain depression to your husband. This list has been compiled to aid healthy conversations surrounding mental health problems, more specifically depression.
Understanding people with depression is better done when someone with depression explains what happens to them when they are depressed because the disease is not a monolith and therefore shouldn’t be treated as one. Every person you meet, who suffers from depression, will have different coping mechanisms, triggers, and treatment methods. When you marry a person with depression, it is part of your responsibility as their partner to check on them and make sure that they are okay and the only way you can do this effectively is when you take it upon yourself to learn and understand depression so you can understand better what your partner goes through and how you can better help them.
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