Raina with a chronic illness is pleased to introduce her guest, Elizabeth Holly, from chronic wonderer. Elizabeth Holly is a Women’s Fiction writer and blogger with a BA in English & Creative Writing. She writes about chronic and mental illness, self-care and loves talking about books. Check out her blog, A Chronic Wanderer where Elizabeth shares her journey as a writer living with chronic and mental illness and encourages others to create and thrive despite their illnesses. You can find her on her blog at www.elizabethholly.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
My Experiences with Major Depression and a Spouse who also Suffers from Depression
Dealing with Depression
- Know the symptoms – knowing the symptoms can help to prepare you for dealing with depression.
- Know the differences in the way they can manifest in men versus women can help to identify if that might be what’s happening to you or your spouse. There is no set standard outside of the symptoms themselves.
- Know that everyone is different and is not expected to show every symptom to have depression.
The Differences of Depression in Men and Women
If You are Suffering from Depression:
- Educate yourself on all possible symptoms of depression and understand that you won’t get all of them.
- Communicate with your partner openly about what you have experienced and how it has affected you.
- Respond honestly if they ask questions that you aren’t ready to respond to yet. If it is something you are uncomfortable with, tell them and do your best to explain why you’re uncomfortable.
- Try to identify when you first felt symptoms and how long ago.
- Seek treatment from a licensed professional for a proper diagnosis and for a treatment plan. Getting treatment early can prevent the symptoms from worsening
- Depression can make you more negative which can lead to more fights, be honest if you think this is a factor and tell your partner so they can remove themselves if necessary. People fighting depression can have a tendency to pick fights.
- If talking face to face is too difficult, write e-mails, leave notes, or write short letters.
- Believe them when they explain their symptoms. Trust is invaluable.
- Educate yourself on depression to avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments.
- Understand their depression isn’t about you or because of you. It’s not even something they did, it is a medical condition. You can’t fix them and that’s okay.
- Don’t ask questions if they aren’t open to them, yet. Reconfirm your support. Tell them you are there for them when they are ready to talk (don’t say if). Chances are no one wants to talk about their depression but by saying “when” it informs them that this wasn’t a one-time offering and you will hear them out.
- Assure them you are there for them even when they don’t want to talk. Even if that means sitting with them quietly. Show them you are there.
- Engage them, encourage them to be active but don’t push.
- Suggest talking to a doctor but don’t push it. Be sensitive to their concerns about seeking help.
- Remember that they don’t want to feel the way they do, no one does. They may lash out, this isn’t easy to control, there is no on-off switch. Be compassionate but it is not an excuse for abuse.
- Remember that depression can affect libido so encourage being close but don’t push for an outcome.
- If your partner picks a fight, don’t give in. They may not see right away what they are doing but if you can, remove yourself from the situation, do not prolong a fight. It can only tear your relationship further apart. Instead, try to diffuse the situation.