Depression is on the rise in America. While most try to maintain a positive attitude, a lack of foundation in family and church and the ever-changing dynamics provides an unstable world that can contribute to depression.
When a loved one is depression, their partner may feel helpless. Not only do they not understand the roots or reasoning of depression, but they feel ill prepared to know what to do about it. They worry about their loved one but are clueless on how to help them.
The chaos around depression makes it hard for for the partner to deal with the issue. There is collaterol damage and the most you can do is mitigate the damage. This can cause sadness and some depression for you too because you are left feeling like your world is ending. It’s not, but you must understand what to do about it.
Understand that depression only worsens the longer it goes untreated so it’s important that you don’t ignore your spouse’s depression. It could just be a mood swing, but it could also reach deeper than you realize. It’s important for you to understand the difference between a temporary mood swing and deep depression. If you see your partner sinking into deep depression, be sure to reach out to your family doctor for help.
Here are five things to do to help your partner through episodes of depression:
- You should acknowledge the problem, but don’t try to fix it.
You shouldn’t bury your head in the sand when you see your spouse feeling depressed. You may want to run because you don’t know what to do, but you must tell them you see the problem. Once your partner know that you see it, it helps them manage it better.
One thing you shouldn’t do is try to fix the problem by talking them out of it or offer a variety of solutions to remedy the situation. Telling them that “life is great” or to “snap out of it” will only make the problem worse.
- Give them space.
Depressed people sometimes need time and space to manage their emotions and feeling of depression. They can, and often do, come back around after they have “checked out” for a while. However, don’t give them so much space that they feel alone and unloved. Don’t abandon them. Just be there in case they need to talk but don’t innodate them with happiness and cheer. Go for a run or run some errands and check in.
Sometimes, you can ask them how much space they need. If they have been managing their depression for a while, they may be self-aware enough to tell you.
- Make a game plan.
A good way to deal with depression is to address it before it strikes. You two should create a game plan of how to handle it when it happens because depression isn’t a matter of if, but when, it will happen.
Your partner should be able to better tell you what they need during their depression states when they aren’t depressed. So, talk to them and make a list of things that will help when that day strikes. It may be to watch a movie, or their favorite television show. It could be to go on a hike, play with the dog, sex, or napping. Make a list so you have things to do once they hit a depressed state.
- Be realistically positive.
You should maintain a positive attitude because being down will make your partner feel like you are competing for “worst day ever.” It could also plunge them into a deeper depression without you intending it.
However, being annoyingly positive isn’t good either because it will make them feel like they aren’t normal or are beyond repair. The answer is to be positive in a supportive way. Tell them you love them, ask them what they need, and tell them you are there to listen whenever they are ready to talk. These are things they want to hear.
- Find help but don’t push it.
It’s always good to have resources listed ahead of time in case you need them quickly. There could be a list of counselors, pastors, life coaches, and psychiastrists you keep handy if you two hit a crisis situation.
However, don’t hound your partner about seeking help. They may need help, but that is a decision they have to come to on their own. You can’t force it and will likely meet a lot of resistence if you try.
Developing a strategy for when your partner hits a depressive state will help you and your partner feel like you have more control over the situation. That means you and them won’t feel so helpless or overwhelmed.