How do you deal with a spouse who is depressed and doesn't want to get out of bed? This is a challenging situation that many married couples experience. Here are 10 tips to help you get your spouse back on track.
1.Separate fact from fiction
To deal with a depressed spouse, it is necessary that you separate fact from fiction. There are many myths about depression but knowing the truth will help you to understand the condition better and how to deal with it.
Myth: Depression is just a passing phase
Fact: Depression is a serious illness that affects your mood, energy levels and ability to cope with everyday life. It can be triggered by stress and life events such as relationship problems or bereavement. It may also run in families, making some people more vulnerable than others.
Myth: People who suffer from depression should snap out of it
Fact: Depression is not simply a matter of willpower or being depressed about something. Most people with depression feel they are worthless, inadequate and unlovable; they don't have any hope for the future and they have no interest in anything anymore. They may even lose interest in their appearance and hygiene because they don't care about themselves anymore. They may even become suicidal if left untreated for too long because of these feelings that overwhelm them constantly.
These are the common myths and the facts that debunk them. Knowing the truth can indeed help you respond better to your spouse’s needs.
2. Educate yourself
If your partner has been diagnosed with depression, it's important that you learn as much as possible about the condition. Understanding what causes depression and how it affects the mind will help you understand what your partner is going through and why they act the way they do.
It's also important for you to understand how depression manifests itself in relationships. Depression often leads to feelings of isolation, apathy and self-loathing, which can create problems in any relationship — especially when one person doesn't have a clue what's going on with their partner or how they can help them get better.
Just usually hearing knowledge is power, without it you cannot help your spouse better and effectively.
3. Practice self-care
Self-care is an important part of dealing with a depressed spouse. You can't fix your partner's depression, but you can help yourself. If you're not taking care of yourself, then you'll have less to give.
It is anything that helps you stay healthy and happy. It includes eating well, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and reducing stress. You would think that people would naturally do these things for themselves, but many times they don't because they are so focused on others.
It is important to note that taking care of yourself doesn't mean selfishly putting your needs before those of others or ignoring your responsibilities to others. It just means making sure that you have some time for yourself — even if it's just 15 minutes to read a book before bed or take a short walk after dinner.
When we're feeling overwhelmed by our daily responsibilities and commitments, it can be easy to put ourselves last on the list — or not even make the list at all! But if we don't pay attention to our own needs first, we won't be able to give anything else our full attention either.
4. Help your spouse to get proper diagnosis and treatment
Depression can be treated with medication and therapy, but many people suffer from depression for years before seeking treatment. It’s important that your spouse find someone who can diagnose their symptoms correctly and prescribe the right kind of treatment.
You may not be able to encourage them to go see a doctor on your own, but it helps if you show support by accompanying them or going with them to their appointment. You could also talk with their doctor about what they can do to help their spouse begin treatment sooner rather than later. Simply because the sooner they get treatment, the sooner they will start feeling better!
5. Be patient
There are times in life when you need to be patient and understanding. This is one of those times. You need to be patient with your depressed spouse and understand that they are going through a tough time.
A lot of people do not understand how difficult it can be for someone who is depressed. They may feel like they have no energy, no motivation, and no hope for the future. They may feel like nobody understands them or cares about them, which makes matters worse.
You need to remember that your spouse did not get this way overnight. It took time for them to become depressed and for their feelings to develop into something more serious than just feeling down or sad all of the time. Thus, be patient and understanding as you try to help your spouse get better by supporting them during this difficult time in their life.
6. Don’t force them to talk about their feelings right away
When a loved one is going through depression, it's hard for them to make sense of what they're going through—and even harder for them to communicate that experience with you. If they don't feel like they can talk about what they're going through, their mind will wander into the dark corners of their imagination, and that can make things worse. You need to give your spouse time and space to figure out how they want to share their story with you.
It can be frustrating when someone close to you isn't sharing what's going on in their head—especially when you know that keeping quiet about it could lead them down a dangerous path. Instead of pushing too hard for answers, help your spouse feel comfortable with talking about what's going on with them by asking questions like “How are things going?” or “Do you need anything?” These kinds of small questions will help ease the tension between the two of you so that you can get started on figuring out how best to deal with depression together.
7. Don’t blame yourself
A depressed spouse can be a difficult person to deal with. They may lash out at you or withdraw and ignore you. This can leave you feeling confused, frustrated and afraid. You may even feel guilty about your partner's depression because it seems like a reflection on you.
You might ask yourself: “What did I do wrong?” or “Why can't I make them happy?” The answer is that it has nothing to do with you. In fact, trying to find blame for the depression will only make things worse for everyone involved.
The best way to deal with a depressed spouse is to refocus your attention away from yourself and onto your partner's needs. So that you will be able to deal with this condition together as one. After all, this is the true essence of marriage, to support each other through thick and thin.
8. Join a support group
This is an important thing for you during this time because joining one means you have others to talk to about your situation. These people understand what it's like to have a spouse who is struggling with depression because they're going through the same thing themselves.
Additionally, you can learn about strategies for dealing with your spouse's depression from other people in the group who have successfully overcome it or are still struggling with it but have found ways to cope successfully.
You'll also get support from people who understand what you're going through because they've been there themselves! Remember that the more we talk about our feelings, the easier it is for us to understand them and figure out how we want to respond when they come up again in the future (even if that means talking about them again).
9. Listen without judgement
The most important thing you can do for your spouse is listen without judgment or interruption. When someone is talking about their depression, many people begin to offer solutions or advice before the person has finished describing how they're feeling.
This can be frustrating for anyone going through depression because it shuts down communication and prevents them from getting the support they need at that moment in time. Instead, try listening intently without offering advice or suggestions until they have finished speaking completely on their own terms.
Knowledge is power and the most effective way to help a depressed spouse is to bring them to a mental health professional as soon as possible. This can be a big roadblock for spouses since they feel like they have failed. But remember it is not a failure, it is an illness and something a person cannot control.