All those promises that a man and a woman make to each other before marriage, means nothing when one of the partner suffers a personal setback or a major illness and the other isn’t able to provide the support when needed the most.
While there are many minor setbacks that couples face, they somehow manage to resolve them together, however, there is one illness, which is not understood by the vast majority of the population in the world, including the partner until it affects them.
I can only wish you never have to go through such a devastating experience. However, you may want to read this article for your own awareness or if you know a friend / relative / acquaintance whose partner suffers from depression.
The easiest thing to do for the other partner is to walk out of a relationship, as most people do. The hardest and the true test of their love is to be there, hold their partner’s hand, show them the light until they comes out of this dark world.
And be prepared for a long and tiring journey that will leave some scars on you too.
Why is depression not taken seriously ?
The seriousness of this illness has been diluted by the general public these days who loosely use the term ‘depressed’ even when they fail in exams, did not get selected for their dream job or any minor setbacks in life. We all have our ups and downs. That is not depression. They are just feeling sad. Sadness is a healthy emotion. Depression is not the same as sadness. People with depression lack any emotion.
There are no visible symptoms from depression. They look normal for most people. They go about doing their work like a normal person. However, there are subtle symptoms one can watch out for.
What are the early symptoms you can watch out, when you suspect someone you love suffers from depression ?
They disconnect from their social circle, their friends and relatives.
They can’t give a proper smile and you can’t force them to smile.
They hate sound in any form. Hence, they prefer not to even talk to people and prefer to live in isolation. They avoid picking up phone calls too.
They will also miss paying bills on time.
They are seen lying on bed all day over the weekend or whenever they are at home. Waking up in the morning is the toughest challenge for them.
Negative thoughts rule their mind. Examples of negative thoughts are ‘If they are driving, thoughts of an accident’. While on flight ‘they imagine an air crash’. If they are holding a baby ‘the baby could get hurt or fall off from their hands.’ Not many will tell you, they also get bad thoughts of death of their loved ones too.
They can’t concentrate at work. This affects their performance at work as they struggle to meet deadlines. Any negative feedback from supervisor just aggravates their depression.
They will often have anger outbursts. It has got nothing to do with you. The anger is within, with themselves – for letting this happen to them. They feel miserable about themselves and prefer to vent it out to their loved ones.
The worst thing is constant suicidal thoughts. They feel worthless and that they are a burden to their family and loved ones.
What actually causes depression ?
It is difficult to pin point a particular reason. Usually, when someone suffers depression, if it coincides with any other setback like job loss or break up, then people usually think it is because of the job loss or break up. The fact is that job loss or break up could be a result of prolonged depression that affects job performance and marital relationship which the person who suffers is not aware of.
There are various other reasons too that could result in depression :
- Job related stress over a long period. The effects of working in a toxic workplace and a jerk boss on mental health of individuals is now being recognized. A natural choice would be to quit. However, the tough economic climate makes it difficult to move on for most people.
- Living in cold countries where sunshine is rare also might cause one form of depression. It is called SAD ( Seasonal Affective Disorder) that recurs on a seasonal basis.
- A traumatic past – childhood abuse or workplace bullying over a long period of time can also cause depression.
How can you help your loved one suffering from depression ?
The person suffering from depression is a mentally strong person and hence unlikely to visit a doctor. Visiting a doctor is considered a weakness by them (especially men).
In such case, it becomes the responsibility of the partner to ensure they are either convinced that depression is curable and they need medication or prepare for a long battle along with the person who suffers from depression.
The partner needs to ensure that s/he is sensitive about what they say to them. Insensitive remarks like ‘Just snap out of it’ or ‘Just go out and watch a movie’ or ‘What is your problem ? I have mine too’ will only worsen the condition.
One must remember that the person who suffers from depression have their own problems too and on top of that there is this depression that does not let them think rationally or solve the problem.
Few kind words won’t hurt. Phrases like ‘You will be fine.’ ‘I liked what you did yesterday’. These are words you should be saying anyway, however, they are more important you say those words when they suffer from depression.
What are the natural remedies for depression ?
Exercise or long walks help a lot. They need a lot of exposure to sunlight. Writing all positive thoughts helps a lot.
However, the best remedy is for the partner to just let them vent it out. They need a patient hearing – about their work, the pressure, their dreams or what they have planned for both of you.
It is unfortunate that in our current materialistic world, nobody has the time to hear out anyone.
Sometimes people around can also aggravate depression, especially those insensitive jerks who have no control over their tongue.
Friends and relatives must also understand that their presence is not required only for birthday parties, wedding reception and funeral. When someone is alive and they need you, it is their duty to inquire about them often.
There is no point telling the world they should have known earlier once the person suffering from depression ends his/her life.
Today it is them. Tomorrow it could be you.
I always believed that ‘Karma is a bitch and she comes back to haunt you’. If you are kind and help people suffering from depression, you accumulate good karma too and God will bless you someday in future.
“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.
Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”
– Stephen Fry