Take Care of You and Your Children
If your partner is deeply depressed, you may end up being their caregiver. But you cannot take care of someone else without taking care of yourself first.
You should take care of yourself physically, by eating healthy, sleeping well, and being active. Take care of your emotional health by making time for yourself and handling stress in healthy ways.
When one parent develops depression, it is not usual for their children to develop it as well. Make sure children’s needs are still being met and keep an eye out for symptoms of depression to make sure this is addressed as soon as it becomes apparent treatment is needed.
You should also consider your partner is not the only one who needs therapy. A therapist can help you cope with your partner’s depression and deal with the challenges of managing your current family life.
When Your Spouse Won’t Get Help
Some people who are depressed will refuse help and treatment. Either, they don’t think they need it, feel they are not as affected by their depressed mood as others think, or they think they cannot afford treatment or even have time for it.
It is also possible your spouse may not want to seek help because of pride. In most people’s minds, depression equal weakness, and that level of pride – especially when you are a breadwinner or the ones who take care of everyone – leads to not getting the help that is desperately needed.
Regardless of the excuses used, all you can do is express your concern, listen, and encourage your partner to seek help. Show your support by offering to attend therapy sessions and doctor visits.
A person in a relationship has the option of attending therapy alone or having their partner come along for couple’s therapy. The decision about the types of treatment will depend on what help the relationship needs with communication and intimacy, and this can be assessed and discussed with the help of a therapist.
When Your Partner Pushes You Away
Most people are not skilled enough to understand how they can truly help someone who is depressed. It is not even harder if your loved one refuses help and pushes you away.
The truth is, there is not a lot you can do when your depressed partner pushes you away. The one thing you can do, however, is to continue to be there for them.
Most depressed people deal with depression by shutting their closest loved ones out, generally because they feel they have failed loved ones by being depressed. They may feel also feel ashamed for needing help.
You can help your spouse by talking to them about their pushing you away and encouraging them to reach out. ou can help yourself by trying not to feel angry at or resentful of your spouse.
Decide How Much You Can Handle
If you are staying with a partner who has become angry and abusive, are you helping or hurting?
While the decision to support your spouse is yours alone, you must decide whether doing so is hurting you or your children.
It is important to note that if your spouse is refusing help, threatening to walk away may not help anyone, and could hurt in the long term. Therefore, it is important to figure out your priorities, and how much of what you do is realistic, helpful or even harmful.
The Bottom Line
Depression in a relationship can take a toll on even the best relationships. But when you have committed for better or worse, the last thing you want to do is give up on the person you love most.
Good treatment, support, and caring are the keys to helping a partner recover from depression. And with good communication and encouragement, your relationship will also survive the effect of depression and may even become better than it was before.
Most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself, especially your emotional health, and don’t lose yourself caring for someone else.
Last, never tolerate and ignore the abusive and hurtful behavior. Depression is not an excuse to allow yourself to be a punching bag.