It’s Not Just About You: How Depression Affects Those We Love
When you are depressed, you are not the only one who is suffering. Your loved ones are watching you suffer, and your pain hurts them, especially when they can’t help you feel better. There are other ways that your depression can affect your loved ones as well. These are not your fault. They bloom out of others trying to help you. When people don’t understand how depression works, they get frustrated or sad when nothing they do seems to work.
They Try to Be Compassionate
Your loved ones may try to be compassionate, saying they can’t imagine what it must be like to feel the way you do. They might assure you that you can discuss anything with them at any time. Still, hearing how much people love you and care about you seems to bring you no comfort.
Friends and family may try to overcompensate for your mood by being overly positive, in the hopes that some of it will rub off on you. This puts pressure on your loved ones because they can’t sustain an overly happy disposition forever, yet they feel they must try in an effort to help you.
On the other hand, they may get sad right along with you, feeling as if they are doing something wrong in not being able to help you feel better. They start to mope around, feeling bad about themselves for their perceived shortcomings.
Loved Ones Can Get Overwhelmed
Family members or friends who live with you may get the added pressure of doing all the household chores that you usually share. Doing the laundry, feeding the dog, making dinner every single night, and then doing the dishes might all fall on their shoulders until you are feeling well enough to rejoin daily life. The list goes on and on. A person can quickly get overwhelmed trying to do all the tasks that two people once shared.
Friends and family can also get angry with you. They have tried to be compassionate. They have tried to help you feel better. They are doing all of the chores that you once did, on top of their regular responsibilities, and they have even seen you have “good” days. Why can’t all of your days be good days, they wonder? Why can’t you just “snap out of it”?
What to Do?
Learning how your depression affects those you love is not a reason in and of itself to start feeling better, and that doesn’t make you magically able to simply get well. However, there are ways to treat your depression, if only to lessen it to a level where you can function more effectively in your life. By doing that, you will make a difference in the lives of those around you.
Seeking therapy is often the best help out there. If your depression is too deep for a therapist alone to help, maybe a short course of antidepressants can raise your mood enough to help you work with a therapist to flush the negative thoughts from your mind. As you get rid of unhealthy thoughts that are keeping you down, you can begin to work on building up positive thoughts that can help your mood. They can get you on the right track to feel better, and that can be a boost to everyone in your life.