What to Do when Your Spouse Is Depressed - 11 Ways to Support a Depressed Spouse.
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The charts above confirm one thing, and that is the fact that depression is no respecter of person or age. It can affect anyone of whatever age or station in life. And this should provide some solace or comfort in a small way because it means you and your spouse are not alone. Knowing how to help a depressed spouse is key to helping your spouse and your family successfully scale the challenge that depression presents.
You may also be interested in this related article on How to know if your teenager is depressed.
Husband/wife depression symptoms – 6 Signs your spouse is depressed.
Table of Contents
In our article on How to help a man with depression, we also highlighted signs and symptoms of depression in men. It would therefore be a useful read if your husband is going through a depressive episode.
Generally, if your spouse (both male and female) is depressed, you see it in the following symptoms displayed by them:
1. He may suddenly bury himself in work.
Maybe he was not a workaholic before, and suddenly he has to be at work all the time. You should pay closer attention. Men generally turn to work as a way to distract attention from the depression they are going through. They reckon that if they are very busy working no one would notice that they are struggling with depression. And this is because it is not easy for men to speak about their feelings. Even for the man who is generally a workaholic, when they are going through depression, their work schedule becomes double what it usually is.
If you, therefore, suspect that your husband might be going through depression, pay attention to his work pattern and see if it has changed exponentially.
2. She may start to display erratic mood swings.
While a man may mask his emotions, a woman is the opposite. She would become more emotional when she is going through depression. She may have more temper tantrums than usual. Her moods may change all too often than usual – one minute she is very happy and the next she is bawling and crying her eyes out. Where you see this happening, rather than get upset, see it as a silent cry for help. She is likely going through stress and depression.
3. They may become more sullen and withdrawn than usual.
Maybe they used to be the life of the party and always upbeat and cheerful. Now they are very withdrawn, always in their shell and melancholic and looking sullen. For the man, he could maybe walk around with a slouch and a scowl on his face. They do not want to be disturbed and nearly bite off anyone’s head who wants to draw them into a conversation.
4. They start to have sporadic sleeping patterns.
They can either sleep too much or too little or they can have both patterns switched up depending on how they feel each day. In our article on Why do depressed people sleep so much we explain why people sleep a lot when they are depressed. Reading it will also help you understand their sleep patterns better and help you in figuring out if you are dealing with a spouse with depression.
5. There may also be drastic changes in the way they eat and their weight.
Depressed people generally develop unhealthy eating patterns that also affect their weight. They can eat a lot, too little, or not at all. This would in turn make their weight fluctuate from weight loss to weight gain and anything else in between.
If your spouse’s eating patterns have changed significantly and it is not for the better, you should not take it for granted.
6. They may start to display suicidal ideation.
Do they start talking more about suicide and entertaining suicidal thoughts? Or maybe they start giving away their things or saying odd goodbyes and making arrangements for life without them around. These are serious warning signs to pay attention to because it shows that they are going through a major depressive episode.
What to do when your partner is depressed/7 Ways How to help a depressed spouse.
Dealing with a spouse with depression can be tasking. However, with the right approach, you can get through it and reach a point of recovery for your depressed spouse. You can provide the right kind of support for a depressed spouse by doing all of these 7 things for them.
1. Have a good understanding of depression.
This will help you have at least a sense of what they may be going through. Understanding a problem is the first step to finding a lasting and sustainable solution to that problem. Not everyone understands what people who are going through depression may be going through. And because of this lack of understanding, they tend to adopt the wrong approach to persons dealing with depression. To avoid this happening, find out all you can about depression. A good place to start would be knowing what the signs of depression are. And we already list the main ones in the first section of this article.
2. Create a safe and comfortable home environment.
Your depressed spouse is already dealing with a lot emotionally and psychologically, and a negative or stressful environment at home will only serve to exacerbate the depression they already feel.
Depression brings feelings of worthlessness and despair and such feelings are all the more heightened in a stressful family environment.
To help them, keep the environment at home cheerful and filled with hope and joy. In your daily interactions with them, find healthy and helpful ways to resolve any conflicts that may arise and keep conversations light-hearted and relaxed. Let them not be at home and still feel like the world is coming to an end for them. They should rather feel the love and strength to know that they can come out of depression strong and better.
3. Help them stay physically active/fit.
Exercise is known to help with depression because it releases feel-good hormones that would help in reducing depressive feelings. You can make it easy for them by joining them in the exercise. If they are not generally an exercise person, start them out small. Ask them to come along for a short walk in the park or just your neighborhood.
Getting them up and going would not only help them stay physically fit, but it would also help them not spend too much time thinking a lot. You can read our helpful article on How to get motivated to exercise when depressed to find out about helpful ways you can motivate them to get moving on staying physically active even if they may feel depressed.
4. Encourage them to eat healthily.
Healthy eating is also very important for someone going through depression. It is important that they are getting the right amount of dietary supplies each day to stay healthy. Read our article on What foods should we eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle for food ideas to try out for them.
5. Spend quality time with them.
It’s not enough to just be at home but be there for them. Spend quality time with them playing games and the likes. Try out new hobbies with them that would keep them engaged like trying out cooking new dishes or baking something or maybe going out to watch movies and the likes.
6. Get them talking about anything and actively listen to them.
Talking is a great way to get a depressed person to get the weight they carry off their mind/shoulders. Talking with them helps them realize that the problems that look so larger than life in their minds can be solved by talking about them. Talking makes it easy for them to start coming out of their shell.
And to make talking easier for them, try to start with the light stuff first – things they like doing and just general stuff that doesn’t touch on sadness and heaviness. You can talk about humorous experiences you shared with them in the past just to get them to start laughing and seeing the brighter side of life.
7. Encourage them to get professional help.
This is the ultimate and most important way you can help a depressed spouse. The other 6 things will only be temporary fixes and not offer a permanent solution. Only professional help can get them the long-term help they need to recover from the depression they feel.
Coping with a depressed spouse – 2 Ways How to cope with a depressed spouse.
Depression can take its toll on you as the spouse of the one dealing with depression. And that is why the following 2 are the best ways to cope with a depressed spouse
8. Take care of yourself.
This is very important. If your health and wellbeing take a hit then you cannot help your depressed spouse. And thus, do not let their depression affect you negatively. Don’t feel guilty for taking time to just get a breather and clear out your head.
To help you also take care of yourself, have a support system with other loved ones and family members. This would be good to help keep your head above water and also have people who can help you out when you need a time out.
9. Focus on the good times you’ve shared as a couple.
This will help you see the silver lining because there will be days when it will all feel so overwhelming and almost unbearable. Remembering that there were good times before now would help you keep faith that those days will come back and that your spouse will overcome the depressive episode they are going through. Check out our helpful article on How to make yourself feel better when sad to learn helpful ways to focus on the good times in a depressive environment.
2 Ways How to deal with a suicidal spouse.
If your spouse’s depressive episode has gotten to the point where they display suicidal ideation, you must help them by taking these two steps.
10. Get them help.
Suicide is not something to joke with. Once a person starts showing suicidal tendencies, a delay could be fatal because no one knows when a suicidal person decides to take their life. Thus, immediately get them help. Find the nearest suicide help desk and get them help.
11. Until they get help, keep them close by.
Don’t let them out of your sight because you don’t know if they would be going to buy the items that would be used to facilitate taking their own lives. Try as much as possible to keep them close by until professional help comes by.
Frequently asked questions.
1. How to deal with a depressed spouse?
The best method in dealing with a spouse with depression is by supporting them. And you can support and help them by following the 11 tips set out in this article.
2. What suggestions can you give on helping a depressed spouse?
Knowing how to help a depressed spouse will go a long way in making it easy for both of you. The 11 suggestions listed in this article will help you to successfully support and cope with a depressed spouse.
3. What happens where both spouses are depressed?
This will be a devastating state of affairs because it would mean that none of them will be able to support the other. The best solution is to have them surrounded by friends and loved ones who will help them get professional help.
4. What should you do if you have depression and anger towards your spouse?
Talking to your spouse about how you feel will help a lot. It is very likely that your spouse is unaware of how you feel and would therefore not know that you are going through such terrible feelings. Talking to them about how you feel will let them know how they can help you deal with the emotions you are going through.
5. My husband/wife is depressed and angry, what can I do?
Help them process their feelings. Rather than lose your temper too, calmly ask them what the problem might be. Create a safe space and environment for them to not feel judged and feel free to express how they feel. Their anger is the best way they know how to get out their feeling of depression. When you do not respond in kind and are instead understanding, it will have a remarkably calming effect on them and make them realize that they can count on your love and support.
6. My husband/wife has depression. What to do?
Follow the 11 suggestions listed in this article in trying to help them.
7. I think my husband/wife has depression symptoms. How do I know if they are depressed?
Pay close attention to them to see if they display any, all, or most of the 6 signs listed in this article. If they display such, then you can be sure that they are going through a depressive episode.
Living with a depressed spouse can become unbearable and draining without the right approach and method of dealing with a spouse with depression. The best way to cope with a spouse with depression is to provide them with the right support structure as they deal with depression. And by following the 11 tips suggested in this article, you will be giving them the right support they need to recover from depression.
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