8:30 PM August 21, 2022
Many of us become happier as we get older. Scientists suggest that this is due to the fact that we have acquired more coping skills and better regulate our emotions.
However, as the saying goes, there is an exception to every rule and a friend of mine finds out the hard way.
Her husband became depressed. He has a history of bad temper, but it’s never been as bad as it is now.
She tells me he can’t feel any gratitude or pleasure about their 35 years together, the careers they both enjoyed, or their three adult children and seven grandchildren. Indeed, she almost has the impression that the past is fading – for her as for him – and that her husband has been replaced by a complete stranger.
Luckily, there could be a turning point as soon as her GP runs six cognitive behavior sessions that should improve her mood. In my opinion, this is the best possible treatment, so hopefully it will be.
But I feel it is now my friend who needs help, and I am writing about her problem because I know many of you are facing challenges of this nature. And in fact, some of the advice I’m about to give can also benefit people caring for partners with serious physical illness.
As I know from experience – and I’m sure many of you do too – even if we really want to take care of our sick spouses ourselves, it’s rarely easy to do so day in and day out.
Getting back to my friend, what can she do to make it better? The first thing each of us should probably do with a sick partner is to accept that we are in it for the long haul, even if the condition is not terminal. As you age, it takes longer to bounce back.
The second point for anyone with a depressed partner is to remember that the negative, and sometimes even hostile, treatment they may experience from their loved one is not personal – even if it really does seem like it. .
Some spouses who are severely depressed like to have a little close physical contact and will be happy to have a hug or even have sex. It can help your relationship feel more normal because you still feel appreciated and wanted. But unfortunately, a significant number of depressed people withdraw into themselves so much that they don’t even indulge in a hug. It may sound really sinister.
Why does this happen? Mainly, I think, because people with severe depression feel so bad about themselves that they don’t want to impose themselves on anyone in any way. It’s unfortunate because most of us feel better when we become tactile with the person we love. Sometimes, however, we just have to accept that it’s not happening right now. Also, it may help to remind you that this lack of interest in intimacy is part of the disease and, as difficult as it may be, is completely normal.
But when you feel rejected, it’s essential that you get appreciation and love from others in your life. So make sure your loved ones know how difficult the situation is and allow them to support you.
Meanwhile, keep talking to your partner. It’s usually not wise to say, “I know exactly how you feel.” It’s because, almost certainly, he or she doesn’t believe you do. So say instead, “I realize I can’t know how bad you feel, but I’m here for you and I’ll help you however you want.” You may feel ignored no matter how hard you try and when this happens try not to despair because deep down inside your spouse is often grateful that you are not giving up on them.
Another thing you can do is reassure him of your love. But don’t overdo it. Express your care and affection two or three times a day, but then leave the subject and do something interesting and beneficial to yourself. Prepare a delicious meal, go out to see a movie or meet a friend.
You may be living with someone who doesn’t want to do anything, but that doesn’t mean you have to let your own existence become dull and boring. Indeed, it is important for your state of mind to integrate strong points. And if he or she can’t be left for whatever reason, enlist the help of neighbors, family and friends to come to your house several times a week so you can get out and do something. thing for yourself.
Finally, remember that people with depression are actually the same people as before. It’s just that they are sick. Sure, it’s a dreadful patch, but you’re – one way or another – going to get through it.
So, remember all the positive aspects of your past life together by looking at photo albums or reading old newspapers or just thinking about the joy you had. Cherish some great memories, and I hope you’ll make more soon.