Depression is a mental illness that is very difficult to live with. For those who suffer from it, it affects their day-to-day lives. If they are married, this includes the relationship they have with their spouse.
Here are five things that every husband needs to know about his wife’s depression to help both you and her learn to live with, and accept it, together.
It’s not you
What a wife who is suffering from depression wants you to understand first and foremost is that when she is having a dark day, it usually has nothing to do with you.
For those who suffer with depression there is a myriad of thoughts going through their heads daily, and most of them are negative. But those negative thoughts are usually centered around themselves; their own inadequacies and insecurities. Feeling that it is something you did could actually make these feelings worse, so it is best to either let it go or try to ask how your wife is doing on that particular day. Make sure to let her know that you are open to hear how she is feeling but don’t pressure her into it either.
She is not doing it on purpose
Some days it may seem that your wife is especially crabby or snappy. You may want to react by either getting defensive or being crabby and snappy back. Before you do this, just remember that depression, and the acts that come from it, are not anything she does on purpose. Again, her actions are not something you have done even when it feels that way. When she snaps at something you did that seems completely insignificant; have patience. Let her know you are there for her, and if she needs some space at that moment to cool down, give it to her.
She wants to change
The biggest thing to know about depression is she doesn’t want to feel the way she does; she just does. She doesn’t want to be sad, anxious, or tired all the time. No one would blame someone for having the flu or cancer, and it is the same with depression. It is an illness, and hopefully your wife is working with a professional to cope with it to the best of her ability. Encourage her to be the healthiest she can be, and don’t try to force her to change something she can’t.
Ask her questions
This doesn’t mean just asking if she is ok, because she will probably just answer with the standard “yes” when she really means “heck no.” Ask her how her day was, if today was a good or a bad day and why and how you can help. Usually she will not go out of her way to talk about how she is feeling because she is probably ashamed of her feelings, which is a byproduct of depression. Understand that sometimes she will not want to talk about it, that she is just not up for it. Let her know that is totally fine with you and then be ready for when she wants to open up. She will always appreciate your listening ear and kind heart.
Love her unconditionally
You love her. You want the best for her. When your wife suffers from depression, let her know this. She probably needs to hear it, especially when she is already feeling like a crappy wife and mother. At times it may be very difficult, and you might not know what to do, but know by loving her and supporting her she can continue to work with her depression and your family can be stronger as well.