Depression is a severe mental illness that can affect any person. Our experiences at Virtuous Circle Counselling Calgary | Anxiety, Depression & Couples Counselling have shown that it is often difficult for those suffering from depression to recognize and accept that they need help leaving their loved ones in a difficult position, as they may not know how to best support and help their spouse. If you are a loved one of someone who is struggling with depression, here are a few ways that you can help them:
Recognize the signs and symptoms of depression.
It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression to identify it in your spouse. Some common symptoms of depression include feeling sad or hopeless, losing interest in activities that used to bring pleasure, feeling anxious or restless, experiencing changes in appetite or weight, having difficulty concentrating, and feelings of worthlessness or guilt. In addition, there are some physical symptoms of depression, such as fatigue, headaches, and changes in sleeping habits. Your partner may also start drinking alcohol or using drugs more frequently.
Communicate openly and lovingly.
One of the most important things you can do for your spouse is communicate with them openly and lovingly; thus, you should avoid judgment, criticism, and blame. Instead, try to show understanding and compassion. Active listening is also key and involves focusing on what your spouse is saying and understanding their perspective.
Research has shown that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression. So, one way to help your spouse is to encourage them to get moving. This could involve going on walks together, joining a gym, or taking up a new sport. You could even sign up for a dance class or yoga class together.
Help them stick to their treatment plan.
If your spouse is in therapy and taking medication for depression, it’s important to help them stick to their treatment plan. It could involve driving them to appointments, helping them remember to take their medication, or simply providing moral support.
Take care of yourself.
It’s also important to take care of yourself; you should get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and exercise regularly. It can also be helpful to find someone to talk to about what you’re going through; This could be a friend, therapist, or support group for loved ones or people with depression.
Create a low-stress home environment.
Creating a low-stress home environment is one of the best things you can do for your spouse by minimizing stressors in the home and keeping things as calm as possible. You might want to consider creating a daily routine, having regular family dinners, and establishing rules and boundaries.
Give plenty of positive reinforcement.
It’s important to give your spouse plenty of positive reinforcement by letting them know how much you love and appreciate them. You might want to write them a heartfelt letter, tell them three things you admire about them or say “I love you” more often.
Educate yourself about depression.
The more you know about depression, the better equipped you will be to help your spouse. You could achieve this through reading books, articles, and blogs about depression. You might want to watch documentaries or talk to experts about the condition. There are also some things you should avoid doing during this time. Here are a few:
Don’t ignore the problem.
If your spouse is dealing with depression, don’t ignore the problem, as this will only make things worse.
Don’t try to fix everything yourself.
While it’s important to help your spouse, you can’t do it all yourself. Let them take some responsibility and don’t try to fix everything yourself.
Don’t push them too hard.
It’s important to be patient with your spouse. Pushing them too hard will only make things worse.
Don’t take things personally.
Depression is a severe illness, and it’s important to remember that it’s not personal. Try not to take things too personally during this time.
Depression can be difficult to deal with, both for the person experiencing it and their loved ones. However, there are things that you can do to help. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression, communicating openly and lovingly, getting physical, and helping your spouse stick to their treatment plan, you can make a difference.