Depression puts a big stress on marriages or relationships. Despite promises to stay together “for better or worse”, the stress of dealing with untreated or inadequately treated depression can fracture the best of relationships.
Oftentimes a depressed partner withdraws. Sleep and eating behaviors can go awry (too much or too little). Conversations, focus and concentration may no longer happen. This often forces the other person to pick up the slack, especially if there are children. They may be very understanding and sympathetic at first, but as exhaustion and frustration increase, the feelings may turn to anger or resentment. Another source of irritation is when the depressed partner doesn’t enjoy engaging in activities the couple used to do together. The other partner is forced to do things on his or her own or stay home too.
The partner may have a hard time understanding. “Why can’t he or she just pull themselves up?”
The partner who isn’t depressed may also feel cheated, because the depressed partner is typically not much fun. People are attracted to those who are fun, enjoy each other’s company and share activities. If you are depressed, you may give the impression that you don’t care. This includes less interest in intimacy, both physical and emotional. This puts further strain on the relationship.
If the depression persists for years, the relationship continues to change, often for the worse. A partner might feel more like a caretaker than a spouse. People start to blame themselves for the failure of the relationship and the ongoing depression. This only worsens the divide. It is not unusual for a partner to get tired of the struggle and seek a divorce.
But, this is not everybody’s fate. What can couple’s do to stay together through this challenge? Couples who are able to talk about the depression and feel they are working on solutions or relief together can be successful. Counseling can provide those tools to see relationships through this difficult time.
At Ketamine Wellness Centers, we offer counseling services designed to benefit both persons struggling with depression as well as their loved ones. Our wellness program provides group and individual services to help those struggling with depression and with their loved one’s depression. If you, or someone you love has suffered too long, give us a call. We can assist in saving your fractured relationship. There is hope. There is help.
Dr. Ellen Diamond is a Clinical Psychologist for Ketamine Wellness Center’s Inc.