As we discuss the challenge that depression presents to relationships, I would like to make some suggestions.
I will use my husband and I as examples here. We have been navigating these dark waters together for over 13 years now. We have come up with some things that work for us, maybe they will work for you too.After a lot of trial and error and a lot of failure and discouragement, we came up with a strategy. We came up with the strategy on a good day, not a bad day.
We made a plan, not a very complicated one.
1. For me? Rest. Rest is my first line of defense when I sense depression looming. I rest best in my bedroom with the TV. I brings books and writing pad and drawing pad with me, but if I am in really bad shape, TV is all I can handle.
For my husband? Leave me alone but not too much alone. He drops into my room every hour or so and asks how I am coping and if he can get me anything. (now remember, we are retired empty-nesters, so this is more possible for us than for some others).
This line of defense works well for both of us. I stop being overwhelmed with life the minute I retreat to my room. My husband is relieved from watching me try to accomplish things I am incapable of and being frustrated and making his life miserable at the same time. It is a win, win.
2. If the depression continues for several days we have to add a few more things to our strategy. Despite my lack of interest in the outside world, even lack of interest in any room but my bedroom, it is not good to stay too much alone and so I force myself to maybe visit my husband in the TV room, bring a cup of tea, maybe even sit with him for just a little while and hold his hand or rub his back. We both benefit from this mild bit of contact. It keeps us connected.
Sometimes a short drive can help too. But just a short drive. I usually have to say when I have ‘had enough’ and my husband respects that. He is happier to turn around and head home when I say so than put up with me getting crabbier and edgy.
3. We make no plans. If we have plans we cancel them unless they are really important like a grandchild’s birthday or a grown-up child’s graduation.
Now, there are probably a few other things we do at a time like that but frankly, I can’t remember them all. It has become just how we live now, almost automatic. Some of you might be thinking ‘boy her husband must be an understanding guy’ and he is! But he is smart too and I benefit fro m that. I call him a ‘coach’ because he has a coach mentality. He watches, observes and makes suggestions. I trust him. He says it’s a win/win.
Each of us will be different. Only you and the people you have important relationships can create a strategy to keep your relationship strong despite the divisive power of depression.
Next time I am going to tell you about a new theme for my depression getaway writing.
Don’t forget to check in here for a little giggle therapy.
I am so glad you dropped by today!
Join me again at ‘Depression Getaway’ and together we will…
…live, care, laugh, share, learn, discover, forgive and recover.
Don’t give up, I’m praying for you!