Marriage is composed of two unique individuals who came from a different family and had different life experiences. When you get married, it means you are embracing both the good and the bad about your partner. You don’t just call it off because of a mistake, a shortcoming, or a status. Marriage faces different kinds of challenges from within like when the other party is having a mental health condition such as depression.
“Depression is not a weakness of character, laziness, or a phase. Tough love, like telling someone to ‘buck up’ or ‘try harder,’ doesn’t work, and worsens the illness,” says Deborah Serani, PsyD.
How does a relationship go on if one of the other has a personal issue that’s difficult to manage? Is it okay to continue hoping that everything will be better in time? Is it fair to stay or is it wrong to leave?
How Do You Help Your Spouse Who Is Suffering From Depression?
- Encourage him to seek professional help. Depression is not something that will pass. You can’t just give your spouse an aspirin, and everything will be okay. It is a poison from the inside which requires the expertise of a qualified individual or a therapist. He may not want to do so that’s why it is vital that you make him realize its importance.
“Antidepressants may be helpful in certain forms of depression, but it is also vital that you delve deep into yourself to get to the psychological and spiritual truths of depression so you can fully heal,” says Judith Orloff MD.
- Never let your spouse feel that he is a burden or that he is less important. Reassure him that you are always by his side to stay and support him. That way, he will find the will to help you help him.
- Take him to places that will inspire him no matter how he refuses. Depression is like living in darkness that the sufferer may not find the will to escape from. It torments the mind, keeping a person incapable of happiness if not helped.
“Depression convinces a person to withdraw from the world. The best treatment for this problem is to increase the variety of places a person visits, and increase the frequency with which they get out of their usual spots.” —R. Wolf Shipon, PhD
- Take care of him physically. Encourage him to shave or take a bath. A person with depression typically loses interest in their looks. Sometimes, they don’t care too much and lose hope when they think they look worse than they should. Instead of fighting it, they give in, and the depression worsens.
- Talk to his friends and ask for help. A person suffering from depression needs much support especially from people he cares about. It is vital that he sees his friends are concerned about him.
- Watch lively and inspirational movies with him to bring out positivity. Movies have the power to make us empathize. In some way, your spouse may find motivation or inspiration from stories of other people, may it be real or fictional.
- Cook him his favorite dish. Food can bring a particular kind of happiness – that’s why there is what we call comfort food. We eat them when we are low. Make sure that you don’t feed him unhealthy food all the time. Healthy eating can also help in addressing mental health issues as it brings out positive energy from the body.
When your spouse is suffering from a mental health condition, you have to be stronger than you are. You make twice the effort and time including patience. You must help him get out of his dark situation, and you have to remember that marriage is in sickness and in health. You don’t have to find someone extraordinary. Instead, be someone that brings out the extraordinariness.