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    By Amy and Bernadette

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Shhhhh! Don’t Talk About It!

shieldWhen a relationship has been dealing with depression for a long time, you have to do a lot of changing and a lot of salvaging. You remember the persons both of you were before depression set in. You remember what today is missing. And you try to forge a new normal.
And that is difficult.

Sleep is often disrupted by a loved one waking you in the middle of the night because some unseen force is causing blows or shivers or talking to take over the sound asleep body. For the caregiver that spells exhaustion when it happens night after night. And there is the endless talking or crying or sleeping during the day which has to be dealt with by the caregiver so as to arrive at some type of peace.

We as caregivers of our loved ones in the throes of depression often find ourselves dealing with stuff we never thought we would – mood swings, twitches, drug dullness or drug hyper-ness, and sheer fatigue. The intimacy of intercourse is gone and the couple has to work out other ways to deal with pleasuring one another. And that issue is often overwhelming for the couple already dealing with so much.

Sadly, the medical system often doesn’t address these issues. Few doctors or therapists say anything about the changes that might occur. And we know that if that sharing were to take place, that would mean seeing both people. Psychiatry keeps its cards close to the chest and often doesn’t include significant others or family members. Right at a time when people need the healing of touch, the couple find themselves pulling away and suffering from the lack of intimacy that previously had filled an important place in their lives and nobody tells them that such a scenario might take place.

It is strange that we see so many sexual images on television, on the web, in magazines and yet seldom do we address the issue when it affects people with cancer treatment or people with depression or people with other illnesses.

Caregivers dealing with depression lose sleep, lose sexual pleasure, and often a significant part of their relationship identity. And no one wants to talk about it. No wonder depression swallows up so many caregivers.

-Bernadette

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