When you’re married to someone, you’re committed — through thick and thin, sick and well. But when you’re married to someone with depression, sometimes you feel a little sick yourself.
How do you manage to care for your partner yet also find happiness, both within and outside of the marriage? How do you live with a partner who at times may consider suicide or shut off from everyone, including yourself?
It’s not easy. And sometimes, it pushes you to the brink of your own sanity. Here are 10 struggles spouses of someone with depression know too well.
1. Your depressed partner may have suicidal thoughts.
In that alone, you sort of feel insulted. Is your love not enough? Your life together? At the same time, you know that your partner can’t help how his or her brain functions. That depression is a serious issue. But fearing that your partner may take his or her life takes a toll on you. You end up feeling like you’re a superhero trying to “rescue” your partner from death. It’s exhausting.
2. You always have to be an advocate.
In many ways, you are your spouse’s advocate. When your spouse is severely depressed, who goes to bat for him or her? Who pushes going to see a therapist or a doctor? You do. It’s like you’re the treatment coordinator.
3. You feel like a Google search engine for depression.
You’re the one sometimes nudging your partner: “Hey did you take your meds?” You feel like a caretaker or doctor. You wonder if the meds are adjusted right. You wonder if he or she should or shouldn’t take meds. You feel like a Google engine for depression. You’ve read it all.
4. You feel guilty about your own happiness.
If you’re happy most of the time or even some of the time, there’s guilt in that you are NOT the depressed party here. And this guilt translates into…
5. Your social calendar is restricted by your partner’s depression.
How many times have you missed an event or gone out alone because your partner was depressed? All too many times.
6. You are a target for their anger.
It’s not unusual for a depressed partner to be an angry partner, and since your partner feels safest with you, you frequently are the target of your partner’s nastiness.
7. You sometimes feel you are walking on eggshells.
You don’t want to say the wrong thing that could cause a downward spiral for your partner. Or worse, invite anger or coldness from your partner. You end up sometimes walking on eggshells.
8. Your sex life has seriously diminished.
If you’re not having sex with your depressed partner, that’s not surprising. Oftentimes, people who are depressed will not have a high sex drive. This can be difficult for you, who still has a healthy and potentially high sex drive.
9. You always want to make your partner better.
Of course, you love your partner and want him or her to get better. And when you can’t “make it better,” it devastates you.
10. You constantly hide your worry.
Sometimes you may be insanely worried over your partner, but you don’t want to let him or her see. You don’t want to make him or her feel worse or guilty about coping with a depressionthat he or she certainly didn’t choose to have.
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