When you’ve lived for a long time with depression in someone you love, moving past the illness can be a real challenge.
Even once recovery and good health becomes a reality, those who walked alongside the depressed person in the worst of times carry scars that can come to the surface pretty easily.
I was reminded of this fact yesterday. Though my husband is currently, in almost every aspect, living a “normal,” healthy life, he’s having a rough week. He’s fighting a low-grade virus (illness has always triggered anxiety and intensified his depression). He’s had some minor, temporary setbacks in his new career area. He’s frustrated with a do-it-yourself auto repair project that’s going nowhere.
And yesterday I saw some echoes of depression in his behavior. I had to remind myself several times throughout the day NOT to overreact. I offered a bit of gentle nudging in the right direction, along the lines of “you might feel better if you get out of the chair and do something to keep busy.” Later in the day, I witnessed him self-correcting his behavior when small depression-related actions/reactions appeared – without any nudging from me.
The fact that he kept himself moving and relatively positive in the face of stress is a definite sign that things are much better for him now. The fact that I’m still on high alert for any depression-type symptoms (though I work very hard not to be an alarmist) is a side effect of caring for a person who’s struggled with depression for a very long time.
It takes a lot of effort and teamwork to navigate these echoes from the past, even when health returns.
Filed under: Clinical depression, health, Mental health, mental illness | Tagged: depressed spouse, depression, depression recovery, depression symptoms, health, marriage, mental illness, mental-health | 3 Comments »