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Other Advice for Living with a Depressed Spouse

There’s a good down to earth article on living with a depressed spouse at http://newsok.com/article/5449876. Check it out.  Sound advice is always good to hear again and again and again.

– Bernadette

Truth or Fiction?

once-upon-a-time-719174_1280Do you believe that depression is not a real illness?  Or that if the person only engaged in hard work, he or she would beat depression?  Or worse, that depression is just self-pity?  And if you are familiar with depression, do you believe that getting help for it means drugs for life?  Or that talking makes things worse?

Those are just a few of the myths about depression that keep appearing in different places.  I have encountered so many in the past two weeks that it is time to set the story straight.

First of all depression is a real illness.  It took my spouse over forty years to realize and accept that.  It is an illness like cancer or heart disease and deserves to be treated as one.  People don’t plan on getting cancer or heart disease.  People with depression don’t plan on the illness coming into their lives.

Next, engaging in hard work is a variation of the “pull yourself by the bootstraps” theory.  Hard work might work for a mild case of the blues but not for depression and sometimes in men who overwork, it is often a sign of clinical depression.

People with depression are not caught up in self pity.  They are not lazy or feeling sorry for themselves.  Depression is a real health problem with real changes to the brain.   And being treated for depression does not mean that the person will be on drugs for life.  Some will, some won’t just as in other illnesses some people need to have radiation, some need chemo, and some need both.  Some stay on it for life.  Some only a few months or weeks.  When it comes to depression, medication can be a help and some people do maintain a regimen for life, others for only the time that they need, and still others opt for talk therapy or other methods to deal with the illness.

Other myths include the wild idea that depression is part of aging.  It can appear during the golden years but many navigate those years without depression.  People think depressed people cry a lot.  It’s true that some individuals do, but many simply feel worthless and think there is not emotion in them.  Some people believe talking makes the depression worse when in reality many depressed individuals find their salvation in talk therapy.

There are other myths, but maybe listing these few will make you think twice before you believe so called “facts” about depression.  Find out about the illness so that together we can make life better for so many individuals suffering from depression.


But It’s All In Your Mind…

“But it’s all in your mind.”

Yep. People say that to people who are depressed, and you know what? It is in their minds because depression is a brain illness!

We feel most comfortable if there is a wound or a disease that we can feel or experience in some way. If it is cancer we can ask about chemotherapy or we can ask how the radiation treatments are going. We can see the disease and we can respond with meals or take time to help clean the house or just stay around to talk a bit. Or we can say something like, “Cancer sucks and I’m sorry you have to go through this.”

The same is not true of depression and other mental illnesses.

Fears from who knows where creep up. Is this person dangerous? Will they go off in a rant that I won’t be able to handle? Is it safe to go in their house? We don’t worry about getting a bug, but perhaps we worry that depression will rub off on us. And we wonder what we will say, what we will do. And oftentimes we seek avoidance or we do nothing at all. If we work hard enough, we can pretend that it is all in the mind of the sufferer and “if they would just give themselves a kick in the rear, everything would be better.”

Oh, how I wish brain illness was as easy to deal with as physical illness