Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 31 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius Loyola
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Living with depression: How to help your partner and your family

SAD COUPLE

Shutterstock

Edifa - published on 07/27/20

Some tips for how to accompany your depressed loved one on the road treatment.

If your spouse is experiencing depression, this can have negative consequences on family life. Depression creates a difficult environment for the one who has this illness and for all those who live with and love them. This is considerably accentuated when the illness is not being treated or the person fights getting help. At that point, what can you do?

Educate yourself about what they are going through

First let’s consider what you shouldn’t do. There’s a great temptation to ask a depressed person to “look on the bright side” or “make more of an effort.” But just as we would not ask a person with physical paralysis to snap out of it and go running, we can’t ask a person with depression to exercise a paralyzed will. Clinical depression is more than a bad mood, and it is not something over which the will alone has control. Depression often affects eating and sleeping patterns, the ability to concentrate and make prudent decisions, and the sense of loving and being loved by others — which is why it is so heartbreaking not only for the one who is ill, but also for the spouse and children.

There are many resources, from books to internet chat groups to family counseling, available to support the family members of those who have clinical depression. It is often a good idea to avail yourself of these even when your spouse is hesitant to seek treatment, because they can give you a basis for providing the support and compassion your loved one needs. They will also help you feel more hopeful about your loved one’s future and stronger in yourself. Don’t forget to ask your priest to keep you all in prayer, too.


Fan Deduo and wife Peng Xiaoying

Read more:
Wife finds creative way to help her husband through depression

Moving towards treatment together

If you suspect that your spouse is depressed but he or she denies it, one place to begin is by asking them to see their regular physician. Sometimes the symptoms of depression are mimicked by other underlying physical problems such as vitamin deficiencies or sleep disorders, so physicians are good at screening. The doctor may refer your spouse to a specialist for further evaluation, or suggest a beginning treatment regimen that may include counseling and or medication.

If your spouse already has a diagnosis and has tried treatment before but became discouraged, try your best to help him or her look for alternatives. People with depression often feel pessimistic or hopeless about their own prospects, or resist treatment out of fear or an unwarranted feeling of shame (this last is common among men, who are often raised to believe they have to tough out any emotional setbacks). Assure him or her that you want what is best for them, and that you understand this is no overnight process.

You (and your children, too) can also help by engaging your spouse in the good habits that do help those who live with depression: getting good exercise, sleeping well but not all day, avoiding overindulgence in alcohol or use of drugs, eating nutritious, fresh foods, getting sunlight for at least a few minutes every day. These habits will help your whole family’s emotional and physical health, as well as supporting your spouse.

Last, but not least, it is a very good idea to keep in mind family prayer, which is  truly therapeutic.

Denis Sonet


DEPRESSION

Read more:
4 Ways to help teens struggling with depression

Tags:
Mental Health
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
HIDILYN DIAZ
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
2
SIMONE BILES
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
3
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
4
ORGAN
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
5
PRINCESS DIANA AND MOTHER TERESA
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
6
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
7
Lauren Daigle
J-P Mauro
After 3 years Lauren Daigle ousts herself from #1 Billboard spot
See More