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Spouses and Depression


Out of the England today comes a story about depression in males and it is one of the best articles about this issue that has appeared for some time.  In it, the author, Polly Dunbar, speaks candidly about a man’s reluctance to seek help, about what happens in a relationship when the depression is denied or hidden, and about what women feel when dealing with a depressed lover.   

It is a well known fact that women go to the doctor and deal with their health more quickly than men.  What is not often addressed is that women often wonder what they have done to cause the depression in their mates or what frustration they feel when their mates refuse to talk about the situation or to get help.  Also hidden are the damages that occur in the bedroom to sex and intimacy.  Many relationships are destroyed because of lack of understanding of what is happening.   

The fact remains that depression is an illness and any illness should be talked about and dealt with. Just as no one is at fault when someone gets cancer or diabetes, it is not the loved one’s fault if the partner develops depression. 

Caroline Carr, a clinical hypnotherapist, had to deal with her husband’s depression a decade ago. She has since written a book and founded a website – www.mypartnerisdepressed.com – to help others in the same position.

“It’s extremely difficult to be the partner of a depressed man. It was such a shock for me, and I felt desperately worried. I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve been told by many other women they feel the same. It’s common for men to pour their energy into functioning normally elsewhere in their lives, particularly at work. At home, they become withdrawn and distant.

“They often want to take themselves away for a time because they feel they can deal with their problems better alone. They can also lash out, revealing the tremendous anger they feel towards themselves and the world by saying terrible things. My husband would often snap at me for no reason and I sometimes felt he blamed me for the way he felt. Of course, he couldn’t help his behavior, but it’s difficult for women not to take it personally and wonder if they’re doing something wrong.”

Ms Carr echoes the sentiments of partners worldwide who often feel helpless in the face of their loved one’s depression. Once again, as we have often said in these entries, truth is so important.  Get that issue out into the open, talk with others, seek help even if your partner refuses. And remember that depression and the behavior that comes with it is not the person you love.  Separate the ilness from the person and reach out to others to keep sane.   -Bernadette


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