Depression and Relationships
When depression and relationships clash, it inflates all of your negatives while diminishing your positives. Essentially, the good gets bad and the bad gets worse. Depression does this by changing how you see the world and those around you. Over time, you begin thinking that the people in your life are not as supportive, fun or loving as they once were.
This is an illusion, though. The people around you do not change. The world around you does not change. You change. Seeing this difference is hugely important in your quest to limit the negative impact of depression.
People who do not see depression for the trick that it is will report less satisfying relationships. Perhaps, they will be more suspicious of their loved ones or simply believe that they no longer care. Depression strives for you to become isolated and weary of those around you. Once you are alone, depression has control.
Working to never surrender your control to depression is a challenging task. At moments, it will seem the better choice is to succumb and admit defeat, but if depression is part of your relationship, fight back. Your spouse or significant other can be the best ally in the war against depression. Use them. Utilize their skills, perspectives and influence.
Subtracting the Bad
Relationships impacted by depression will begin developing unwanted patterns. A simple request is met with a harsh response. A good deed goes ignored without reinforcement. If left to fester, these instances transition into habits that become more frequent and intense. They will transform and generalize until they permeate every aspect of the relationship. If you and your spouse have fights that start with one topic and end many topics later, or if you cannot remember why you are upset, this might be you.
If caught early, these trends can be more quickly undone by you and your partner. Acting fast limits the damage. Here’s how:
- Build acknowledgement. Understanding the role that depression plays in your relationship is essential. Developing a solid foundation of information allows you to recognize your relationship objectively. This is necessary because relationships, by nature, carry a lot of emotional weight that distort your judgment. Retrace history to see what attracted you to your spouse in the first place or when depression first appeared. Was it the good times you had together and the commonalities you have? Or was it that he seemed a bit depressed and you thought you could help? Was it that you were a bit depressed and needed some help? Symptoms change in relationships as people change in relationships. Along the way, ask yourself what your relationship would look like without depression. It is possible that depression was once expected or even beneficial in the relationship.
- Seek therapy. If depression is making your relationship less desirable, seek therapy. Therapy will be beneficial for each of you regardless of which one has depressive symptoms. Having depression means having a distorted view of the world and a therapist can help find balance and positives. Having a partner with depression will increase your stress, frustration and feelings of hopelessness, and a psychotherapist will provide useful coping skills and a sounding board to take out your anger or sadness. Couples therapy will teach appropriate conflict-resolution skills and allow grievances to be aired.