Depression puts a stress on your relationship. If you are depressed, it can make you doubt your relationship. If you are married to someone who is depressed, it can make you wonder if you should stay.
In this article, we will discuss how depression impacts both partners based on which one is depressed. We will also explore ways you can work together to keep your marriage intact.
Depression can make it hard to see the good in your relationship and you may start to doubt whether it’s worth continuing. It can also make you withdraw from your partner, which can lead to disagreements and tension. If you’re struggling with depression, it’s important to talk to your partner and let them know what you’re going through.
Let’s first look at what to do if you are depressed and it is impacting your marriage. Then we will explore what depression does to your partner.
The important thing to know is there is hope and help.
What Is Depression Anyway?
Many confuse depression with sadness. While depression can accompany sadness, the two are not the same. In contrast to being sad or experiencing the blues, depression isn’t caused by situations or events in life such as the death of a loved one or divorce.
Clinical depression is a psychiatric disorder characterized by depressed mood almost every day for at least two weeks. Oftentimes, this sadness lasts months or even years. Depression isn’t simply being unhappy or having a bad day; it affects your mind and body.
A low mood is a normal part of life, but it usually does not last long. Depression, on the other hand, is more than a brief mood or feeling of sadness. In reality, depression is a mood disorder characterized by hopelessness, sadness, and negative thoughts that are more severe or prolonged than the usual range of sadness.
Symptoms of Depression
These are the signs of depression according to Health Services at the University of Michigan.
- Depressed or irritable mood most days for the majority of each day
- Total or very noticeable loss of pleasure or interests most of the time
- Significant change in appetite, weight or both
- Sleep problems (insomnia or excessive sleepiness) nearly every night
- Feelings of agitation or a sense of intense slowness
- Loss of energy and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue
- Sense of guilt and worthlessness nearly all the time
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Inability to concentrate nearly every day
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
This is why depression can have a negative affect on your marriage.
Help! I’m Depressed And It’s Affecting My Marriage: How Depression Affects Your Marriage If You Are The One Depressed
I met John and Taylor about 4 years ago. John owned his business but was struggling because Taylor was battling depression. Her struggle seemed to put life on hold. John didn’t know what to do to help. He felt pulled between keeping his business afloat and providing Taylor with the attention and care he felt she needed.
I remember one conversation in particular where John was trying to explain to me how he felt. He said,
“It’s like I’m trying to carry a beach ball under water. I can only keep it submerged for so long before it pops up and I have to start all over again.”
John’s analogy really struck a chord with me and I think it’s a great way to describe the challenges of trying to support someone with depression. It’s a constant battle to keep everything afloat, and it can be exhausting.
1. Depression can lead to feelings of doubt and insecurity in a relationship.
In an ideal world, we would be able to easily distinguish between thoughts, feelings, and emotions (yes, I see a difference in feelings and emotions).
But we do not live in a perfect world. Many times our thoughts are driven by what we feel.
Remember our definition earlier? Depression is not simply feeling sad. It runs much deeper. It’s like the beachball in John’s analogy. It’s that ‘thing’ that keeps surfacing that interfers with your life in a way you can’t quite explain.
Because it always seems to be right beneath the surface (until it explodes to the top), it interfers with your normal way of life. It causes you to doubt when you should trust. It makes you insecure when you should feel safe.
That’s why I often tell clients depression is the great interrupter. It interupts life as it should be.
2. Depression can cause a person to question their own worthiness and value.
Because depression disrupts your normal way of life, it often leads to feelings of worthlessness. The negative thoughts make you lose your sense of value and cause you to feel like you are not good enough, or that you do not have anything valuable to offer in a relationship.
This can lead to feeling worthless and like your relationships are not worth investing in.
3. Depression can make it difficult to trust others and feel like they are truly invested in the relationship.
When you are feeling depressed, it can be hard to trust others because the negative thoughts you have about yourself can make it difficult to believe that someone else cares for or values you.
Depression can also lead to feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem, making it hard to trust that someone will treat you with respect.
4. Ultimately, depression can put a strain on any relationship and make it difficult to maintain.
One of the key indicators of depression is lack of energy, drive, or motivation. Because of this, people often lose interest in trying to maintain the important things in their life.
It’s not that they no longer love their spouse, but they lack the internal drive to put effort or energy in their relationship. This makes it difficult to maintain a marriage.
Help! My Spouse Is Depressed And I Don’t Know What To Do: How Depression Impacts Your Relationship If You Are Married To a Depressed Person
If your spouse is struggling with depression, it can be difficult to know how to best support them and your relationship.
Depression can cause a person to feel isolated, hopeless, and unable to trust themselves or their partner. This can lead to feelings of worthlessness and insecurity in the relationship, making it difficult for both partners to connect and find satisfaction in the marriage.
In this section, we will explore how depression can impact your life as the spouse of a person with depression, and offer advice on how to cope with these challenges.
1. Living with a depressed spouse can be extremely difficult.
Depression is a serious mental health condition. It can affect a person’s mood, thoughts, behavior, and well-being.
A person with depression often feels sad, anxious, or empty. It can also lead to a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and changes in appetite and sleep patterns. These symptoms can make it hard for a person to function and enjoy their daily activities, including their relationships.
For the spouse of a depressed person, this can be challenging to cope with. It is difficult to see your spouse suffering and to feel like you are unable to help.
It is especially frustrating if your spouse is unable to take part in activities that you used to enjoy together. Or if they are unable to meet their responsibilities at home or work.
Mood changes and lack of energy associated with depression can make it difficult for the spouse to feel connected.
Living with a depressed spouse can be draining and isolating. It can be difficult to maintain a healthy and supportive relationship. Especially when one partner is struggling with such a serious mental health condition.
It is important to seek support and to work together to manage the challenges that depression brings.
2. Depression can cause a person to withdraw from their loved ones.
Because they feel emotionally drained and a lack of energy, it can lead them to withdraw from their loved ones and social activities. It is also possible for a person suffering from depression to feel persistently sad or low. This can make it difficult for them to find pleasure in the things they used to enjoy.
They may feel less motivated to spend time with their family or participate in activities they used to enjoy.
An individual suffering from depression may also have difficulty thinking clearly. Or making decisions. This often makes it difficult for them to initiate social interactions. The result is they pull away from family and friends’ invitations.
People with depression may feel overwhelmed by social situations. They worry about how they are perceived by others.
These behaviors are not a reflection of the person’s feelings towards their family members. It is a symptom of depression.
3. Depression can lead to arguments and conflict within a relationship.
Because depression affects a persons thoughts and feelings, it naturally impacts how they relate to others. Depression can often lead to arguments and conflict within a relationship.
Here are a few ways it causes conflict.
First, the symptoms of depression, such as low energy, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and difficulty concentrating.
It makes it hard for a person to meet their responsibilities at home and at work, causing the other partner to feel resentful and frustrated.
Second, depression can also cause a person to feel irritable and more prone to negative thinking.
Their communication with their partner may be more critical or less understanding, resulting in misunderstandings and arguments.
As a result of depression, a person may become less affectionate and withdraw from their loved ones, which can lead to a distance in the relationship and conflict.
Both partners must be understanding and communicate openly and honestly about the challenges that depression brings.
Getting support from a therapist or counselor can also help manage the difficulties depression can cause in relationships.
4. Depression can make it difficult to show affection or feel connected to a spouse.
As a result of depression, a person may feel emotionally drained and lacking in energy, making it difficult for them to engage in activities or initiate physical or emotional intimacy with others.
People with depression may be overwhelmed by physical or emotional intimacy, or may worry about how their partner perceives them, which may prevent them from feeling connected or showing affection.
I’ve often heard it put this way: ‘I just feel empty. It’s not that I don’t love my family, it’s that I just don’t feel anything.’
The behavior is often a result of depression symptoms and not a reflection of the person’s feelings for their spouse.
5. It is important to seek help if you are married to a depressed person.
Depression is a serious mental health condition that can significantly impact your mood, thoughts, behavior, and overall well-being, so it is critical to seek professional help if you are experiencing depression. Your quality of life and your relationships can be negatively affected if you do not seek treatment for depression.
Seeking professional help can be beneficial in several ways.
A mental health professional can help you identify the underlying causes of your depression and develop coping strategies.
They can also give you support and encouragement as you work through your challenges. Medication may be needed in some cases to manage depression symptoms, and a mental health professional can determine the best course of treatment for you.
Professional help can also help you recognize and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to depression. By managing stress, improving communication, and building healthy relationships, a mental health professional can help you feel more positive and in control of your life.
If you are struggling with depression (or think you may be depressed), it’s important to get help.
You may also want to consider couples therapy to help you both learn skills to navigate this difficult time.
We have resources available to help you create the marriage you desire and deserve.
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If you are having serious marriage struggles, we recommend starting with ‘Save the Marriage System‘ by Lee Baucom.