Unfortunately, this is something people don’t talk a lot about. Recent research has found that nearly a third of Americans have or will experience some type of depression. There is one death by suicide every 12.8 minutes. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 - 44.
If you haven’t experienced depression yourself, you may know someone or be close to someone that has depression. Some of the symptoms are: irritably for no apparent reason, prolonged sadness or crying spells, pessimism, indecisiveness, social withdrawal, and significant changes in appetite and sleep patterns. There can also be more symptoms.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to get help. You don’t have to go through this alone. Here are 5 tips to help you deal with relationship problems due to depression:
- Your emotions feel like the enemy. Although, it’s natural to have a range of emotions. You should be able to cope with them. This is one that can be taken out on your partner a lot. Since, you are usually closest to your partner and spend a lot of time together it’s easy to take out your emotions on your partner. This may cause your partner to get defensive or shut down. The next time you feel you are going to be emotional, let your partner know. Try to say it nicely. Let your partner know what you need during this time. Maybe you just need someone to listen to you.
- You feel hopeless about the future of your relationship. Just because you feel this way, doesn’t mean it is true. You might be feeling pessimistic because you are feeling depressed. This is when it is time to do a reality check. Ask yourself if there is any truth to this? Does your partner express love and affection towards you? Does your partner set aside time for you, and take a genuine interest in you? If you answered yes to these questions, then things probably aren’t as bad as you think they are. Make sure to talk to your partner about this. Your partner may want, and be able to help you.
- What happened to your sex life? You can’t remember the last time you had sex, or even had the desire to have sex. This is something that you can’t explain. You can’t think of anything that your partner has done wrong. There could be many reasons for the loss of libido. Maybe there is a trauma from the past you haven’t dealt with, poor body image, or a side effect of medication. Whatever the reason, it’s important to talk about it. Talk to your partner about it and talk to a professional about it.
- You can’t get out of bed. It’s not that uncommon to feel that way when you are depressed. You may feel like life is overwhelming. You just don’t know where to begin. The house, work and family feel out of control. This is when you need to set boundaries. Don’t say yes when you mean no. The house doesn’t need to look perfect all the time. Your body is sending you a clear message. You might need a long overdue break.
- You can’t remember the last time you felt happy. Things that you used to enjoy, you just don’t enjoy anymore. This means going to places that you used to like, or spending time with family and friends that you used to enjoy. There is no apparent reason for this, other than your mood. Everyone deserves to feel happy. When you compare yourselves to others, it will decrease your chances of happiness. We all go through highs and lows in our lives. When you wake up in the morning I want you to state three things you are grateful for. Start with having a roof over your head and a warm bed to sleep in. The next time you see a beautiful sunset, take in the moment. Let yourself feel the happiness from it.
Depression doesn’t have to ruin your life or your relationship. You can get through this. But, you are going to need help. Make sure to ask friends and family for help. Also, talk to a professional. They can help you come up with a plan to get through the depression and live a reasonably happy life.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many people overcome depression and thrive in life. For more information, please call or email (650) 892-0357 or Lianne@LessonsforLove.com.