It is very difficult to live with someone who is depressed. Knowing the cause of the depression makes it somewhat easier.
Living with someone who is chronically unhappy makes the whole family feel guilty. It makes everyone think that they did something wrong. Such depression can depress the family.
Depression, in reality is physiological. It is nothing more than dry brain hormones.
There are three brain hormones. Serotonin, which makes us able to experience, remember, and expect pleasure. There is Dopamine, involved in depression , and Norepinephrine, which keeps mood stable.
When people drink or drug the substances eat up the good brain hormones. Then Adrenalin takes over which makes people feel anxious and the anxiety, leads to depression.
Negative thoughts also make depression.
We all can choose what we tell ourselves. Emerson said that the experience of life is what we tell ourselves all day.
Some people ruminate about what they don’t have, how they have been incurably hurt, or cheated, or robbed.
If this is the case, it is just as easy to learn to tell yourself what is good, what you have, or why you are fortunate.
If a spouse is depressed it can be lonely for the partner. The spouse may demonstrate depression by withdrawing. They may isolate. This may be a way to punish the spouse who is otherwise active.
Certainly, if drugs or alcohol are involved, the symptomatic partner can be asked to quit if only for the sake of the relationship.
Exercise is key in depression. It is the only way to make Serotonin and the other two.
The better functioning spouse can invite the other spouse for a walk daily. This may or may not work if the depression punishes the partner, it won’t work.
The best treatment for depression is exercise. After that, possibly medication and the examination of what we tell ourselves.
Sometimes there is so much depression that the partner uses it to punish everyone.
The most important questions are , who does this effect and how? To understand the causes for behavior we must understand the results. What is the result of someone’s depression?
There are people in the world who will not change regardless of who they hurt. For some, often men, fear of disappointing is so high that they push everyone away. Fear of being “discovered to be a fake or less than is greater than anything else.
If there are children leaving is usually not possible. They can’t be asked to live with someone the parent can’t. Sometimes it is not practical financially to leave.
In this case it is important to build an independent life. It is important to go and do—invite the depressed spouse along, but go with or without them.
Keep a running dialogue with the children about what is going on and talk to them about not feeling guilty for someone else’s depression. This can be the most difficult. Depression can debilitate everyone.
Be the résiliant parent. Demonstrate that being a grown up has many rewards. Find joy where you can and don’t pursue the depressed to engage if your initial efforts fail. The most difficult position to change is the victim position.
For the others, exercise, medication, and change of self talk can work wonders!