Let me expand. You don’t LIVE with a depressed wife, you co-exist with a depressed wife. You know those commercials that play the dramatic bass piano sounds and show people sitting and staring out windows and rubbing their shoulders. You know the ones with the dog bouncing around walking to play ball and the man is leaning against a wall with his eyes closed and they look back at the dog and the dogs all sad and depressed? Where the kids are moping around because the Mom is too tired to play with them. The woman at her job is rubbing her forehead and co-workers are looking at her strangely. Yeah those.
Then they say “Depression Hurts. Everyone”
They’re right. On so many levels. Depression affects everything we do, it affects our immune systems, as females it can affect our menstrual cycles and eating habits. Depression affects marriages, children, and jobs. But I’ll give you one guess as to which suffers the most. If you guessed marriage, pat yourself on the back right now.
With our spouses we tend to be more lax with what we do and say – as compared to work and kids (depending on the kind of person you are and assuming it really is depression what you are suffering from). We say things to our spouses we would never say to anyone else and we do things to spouses we would never intentionally do to other people. Intentionally. When one or both partners are depressed, you begin to shut out important parts of your marriage, the kind that keep you from being estranged. The kinds of things that derail your sex life. The kind of things that keep discomfort from wedging itself between you and a person you said “I do” to. It’s real and it happens every day.. With the way our world is today, in a fast paced society with demands to our jobs and time schedules where the sky is the limit — we tend to let it overwhelm us completely and leave little time for “mental maintenance” and the first person we vent to when that happens is usually our spouse, there is a healthy vent that goes a little something like this:
Healthy Vent: “You know, I’m really under a lot of stuff right now, and X and Y and Z are causing serious issues with the way I feel right now and I just need to talk about it!”
Great, use your partner as a sounding board – but not if you’re going to point fingers. Unless you’re asking for your spouse to immediately shut down and withdraw themselves from being there for you little by little – or maybe all at once – then be my guest.
Unhealthy Vent: (any use of curse words is going to change the way the other person is viewing this conversation, they may immediately feel like this a Bitch Session instead of a mental health maintenance session.) “I am depressed and upset and angry right now and you’re not doing a very good job at helping me or making me feel better – and you’re being a (insert explitive) for not seeing whats going on with me.”
Spouses are not mind-readers, in any way. You stand to dramatically lose the ground you’re walking on. Don’t talk yourself out onto the “plank” where you have pushed yourself and your spouse so far out of the conversatiion to where they’ve shut down and they are bouncing on the edge of never being willing to be emotionally/mentally there for you..
Your job as a spouse to a depressed person is to get them help – you need to find a way- go out of your way- to help. And sometimes just one spouse stepping out and saying, I know this is going on and I’m going to go OUT OF MY WAY to help you seek help without passing judgement, can sometimes in itself, aid in the healing process of depression. When I say “without passing judgement” I mean the following…
“Bitch/Dickhead(desired explitive whatever), you’re depressed and pissing me off so I’m going to call the men in white coats to come get your ass and get you some god damned help.”
…is offering help while angry – and passing judgement. I advise strongly against this… This is like putting all your money for the night into the penny slot machine and then betting the whole dollar amount of what you posess on the very first spin. Not a very good idea, because then you’re out of money…and it’s game the hell over.
There are thousands of organizations nation wide who provide free or close to free counseling services, some even psychiatric services with prescriptions if needed, for people with little to no insurance and who are down on their luck in the finances department.
If your spouse refuses counseling, then he or she is refusing to help themselves – and you cannot help somebody who will not help themselves. Yeah yeah yeah “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink.” Right. Very true. But depression can sometimes be more serious than that.If they refuse counseling or family therapy of some kind – after a waiting period and a few more attempts within reason, you may want to consider some more “drastic” options. Keep in mind – you may not understand this as the person on the outside of your partners depression, that depression can make you do and say the most idiotic things and though they should be held accountable for their actions, anger for what they do or don’t do or say or don’t say, should be relative to their depression.
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