By Guest Blogger Valerie Johnston from Healthline.com
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Depression and Relationships
“Depression’s downward spiral of negative thinking”
[Image from iStockPhoto]
Depression can be a challenging situation for any person struggling through it, but it can be even more difficult for couples trying to stop the effects of depression on their relationship.
Depression can be caused by a lot of factors, and it is a psychological condition that can last for long periods of time, much more extreme than the normal blues that everybody feels once in a while. Grappling with depression can be a draining experience, and treating it successfully can take time. It’s important to understand the effects of depression — both on the individual and on relationships — so that you can effectively work through it.
Effects of Depression on a Relationship
Depression can be a serious issue for couples in relationships because it makes the basic components of building and maintaining a strong relationship even more difficult.
Depression starts with feelings of hopelessness and pessimism, and it can spread to affect all parts of a person’s life. Those feelings expand to excessive guilt and worthlessness, and these emotions can be very draining both mentally and physically. A loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities usually follows, along with unhealthy changes in sleep patterns (such as insomnia or excessive sleeping) and eating patterns. People suffering from depression feel less motivated to engage in everyday life, from getting out of bed to getting out of the house and doing social activities. In extreme cases, thoughts of suicide can arise.
Because communication and mutual support are the foundations of a healthy relationship, depression can be a serious problem for couples. The effects may begin when one partner’s depression leads the other to feel frustration with the negative mood in their relationship.
The effects of depression are such that people are no longer themselves: They no longer have the same interests or passions that they may previously have had, a change that manifests itself in the changes in the person’s physical activities each day. Whereas couples may have previously enjoyed doing certain activities together — such as going on dates together or going out with friends — depression can leave one partner without the energy or drive to do these things anymore, which may cause the other partner to feel unloved and frustrated with the changes.
Working Through Depression Together
Overcoming the effects of depression is a task in which both members of the relationship have to actively engage in order to be successful. Because depression is a chronic condition, it can take long periods of time to overcome and address, so patience and commitment are key parts to handling depression and improving the relationship in the face of depression.
The first step is for both partners to understand what depression is, including its causes, its symptoms, and the best ways to decrease its impact in the short term. Realizing that depression is more than a made-up condition is important for accepting it and working through it.
While the partner with depression must work through the feelings of fatigue and lack of motivation to actively engage the condition, the other partner must also be supportive. This includes actively increasing one’s patience and understanding and working to understand the other partner’s feelings. It can be a major help for couples to work together to identify the causes of depression and the triggers of extreme depressive episodes so that they can support each other through the process.
Miscommunication and frustration can seriously undermine efforts to get over depression and maintain a strong relationship, so it’s important for both parties to be considerate and thoughtful in expressing their emotions. It’s also important that although the relationship is important, caring for the individual is also important and each person should spend time doing things that they enjoy, even if it’s away from the other partner.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.