How to Help a Depressed Spouse

Watching from the sidelines while a partner struggles with depression can make one feel powerless. You may feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and confused. Every effort you make to “assist” your partner may seem to be met with rejection or, worse, disregarded.

You can even start to believe that you are somewhat to blame for your partner’s depression. If that describes what you’re going through, you’re not by yourself. Depression is a lonely condition that may ruin relationships and make loved ones feel terrified and powerless.

Major depressive disorder is commonly characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, discouragement, or depression, but it can also include anger that doesn’t go away. Blaming others, social withdrawal, and having angry outbursts are also common.

Knowing how to support a partner who is depressed can be challenging due to all of these variables. However, your assistance is crucial. Although you cannot make your partner’s depression go away, you may support them as they work toward recovery.

Signs That Your Spouse May Be Depressed

Depression can make someone lose interest in people and things they enjoy doing. It could also result in a lack of drive. This mental health condition affects almost every aspect of life, including relationships, hygiene, socializing, work or education, eating habits, sleep patterns, and self-worth.

Even while it’s crucial to have a qualified mental health expert diagnose depression and develop a treatment plan, you may be the first to recognize your partner’s symptoms.

Signs That Your Spouse May Be Depressed

What To Do To Help A Depressed Spouse

Here are some of the things you can do to help your spouse if you suspect they are battling depression:

1.   Learn More About Depression

Although the hallmark of major depressive disorder is a period of at least two weeks during which there is either a gloomy mood or a loss of interest or pleasure, depression should never be viewed as a static illness.

Individuals who suffer from depression may experience extremely excellent days, or even a few good days in succession, before returning to a markedly depressed state. Depression has ups and downs that family members may not always be aware of.

Symptoms of depression may include the following:

  • Sadness, or a sense of helplessness.
  • Appetite changes (resulting in weight loss or gain).
  • Sleep disturbance (Sleeping too little or too much).
  • Loss of interest in routine activities.
  • Fatigue (even simple tasks can take longer than expected).
  • Agitation or anxiety.
  • Fits of rage.
  • Guilt or a sense of unworthiness (includes dwelling on the past).
  • Having difficulty focusing, thinking, or making decisions.
  • Frequent thoughts of suicide as well as thoughts of death.

Gaining knowledge about the illness is a crucial first step in supporting your partner. Depression symptoms can be diverse and dynamic.

If you want to learn more about depression, you can read books and speak with a specialist, but asking open-ended questions and practicing empathic listening are the greatest ways to find out how your partner is feeling.

2.   Practice Active Listening

Even while it could be tough to just listen when you really want to jump in and help, remember that your spouse wants you to be there for them, not take charge. Try these techniques for active listening:

  • When conversing, be fully present. Put electronics away and make time to listen.
  • Show that you’re paying attention by using nonverbal clues like nodding, leaning in, and making eye contact.
  • Summarize what you’ve heard, then pose additional queries.
  • Use sympathetic comments such as “I understand why you’re struggling right now” or “That sounds difficult.”
  • Refrain from passing judgment and offering advice.

3.   Establish a Supportive Environment at Home

It’s critical to keep in mind that nobody is to blame for your spouse’s depression. Your support will help them get through this trying period.

A patient’s lifestyle might have a significant impact on their course of treatment. People with depression may find it challenging to make healthy decisions because depression can drain their energy and interfere with their ability to sleep and eat. You can do the following to create a supportive home environment:

  • Emphasize eating well.
  • Work out together.
  • Use routines to create a low-stress environment.
  • Make plans together.
  • Give positive reinforcements.
  • Help your spouse stick with treatment.

4.  Encourage Your Spouse to Seek Treatment

Many individuals with depression experience symptoms that are severe enough to cause difficulty in their day-to-day activities, such as relationships, job, school, or social activities.

However, some people may not even be aware that they are depressed. They might not be aware of the signs of depression or believe that their emotions are a necessary part of life.

People mistakenly believe that they can just force themselves to become better, yet depression rarely gets better on its own without medical intervention. Supporting your partner to seek treatment and attending visits can go a long way toward helping them recover.

Take the following actions to encourage your partner to think about receiving treatment:

  • Describe the symptoms you’ve observed.
  • Let them know how you feel.
  • Demonstrate your willingness to assist by scheduling and organizing appointments, among other things.
  • Talk about the things you’ve learned about depression.

5. Focus on Setting Small Achievable Goals

Depression can be so overwhelming that someone suffering from severe depression might find getting out of bed a difficult task.

You can support your partner by establishing little objectives and celebrating every little victory. Reducing major tasks (like applying for new jobs) to smaller ones (like updating your résumé, writing a cover letter, and looking up job vacancies) might assist your spouse in making little progress toward going back to their regular daily activities.

For those who have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, encourage them to focus on getting dressed, having a shower, and consuming a nutritious meal.

When receiving treatment, your partner will probably get better, but while they’re going through a depressive episode, you’ll need to be empathetic and patient with them.

Get Depression Treatment Today

As we conclude our journey through understanding and supporting a spouse dealing with depression, it’s crucial to recognize when professional help is necessary. At our clinic, we’re committed to offering compassionate, cutting-edge treatment options that go beyond traditional methods. One such innovative treatment is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy, an FDA-approved solution designed to alleviate the burdens of depression safely and effectively.

TMS Therapy stands out as a beacon of hope for many who have found little relief in conventional treatments. This non-invasive technique uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain responsible for mood control, helping to reset the neural activity associated with depression. What makes TMS particularly appealing is its painless procedure and the absence of systemic side effects commonly associated with antidepressants, such as erectile dysfunction, blurred vision, constipation, and more. Patients can resume their daily activities immediately following each session, making it a convenient option for those leading busy lives.

Our clinic embraces TMS Therapy as part of our holistic approach to mental health care. We understand that each individual’s experience with depression is unique, and the path to recovery requires personalized, attentive care. By offering TMS Therapy, we aim to provide an effective alternative for those seeking relief from depressive symptoms without the adverse effects of traditional medication.

Get Depression Treatment Today