Relationships in which one individual is depressed are ninetimes more likely to divorce. Wow, the normal divorce rateis already over 60% nationally! But, it's not always aspouse who is depressed, sometimes it is a child or anextended family member.

In this article, however, we'll be focusing on depressedpartners. Most people agree that marriage should be 50/50.We all know this is an ideal, and, with the ebb-and-flow ofmarriage, the percentages slide up and down but should doso in both directions. For instance, one week the wifegives 70% and the husband 30% and another week the husbandgive 80% and the wife 20%. This is the way "ideal"marriages work.

Unfortunately, this is not the case when chronic depressionenters the marriage. Let's say that the husband haschronic depression. The wife may pick up many of the tasksthat would customarily fall to the husband. Depending onhow long this goes on, an avalanche of negative momentumbegins.

The longer this process goes on, the more the wife beginsto feel resentful, hence, there is less compassion for theone struggling with depression. Yet, for the wife, it'slike being a single mother while married. I've been toldby many spouses that it would be easier to be a singleparent than to live with a spouse struggling withdepression, because it's like having a special-needs childin addition to all the other responsibilities.

I do not make any of these remarks to assign blame orheighten anyones sense of being victimized. It's veryimportant to understand that EVERYONE suffers whendepression attacks a loved one. Blame only functions tocreate animosity and distance between two loved ones.

Sometimes the spouse of a depressed partner becomesdepressed as a result of living within a "depressedlifestyle" for too long. Depression is said to becontagious and can become a shroud over the spouse orfamily. It's also vital to consider that depression maynot only be genetic, but it can also be taught. You heardme right. For instance, our children's most powerfulclassroom is the home. Both "Nature and Nurture"contribute to depression.

Depression works its way into your moods, attitudes,behaviors, tone of voice, posture, life outlook, personalhygiene, work ethic, spiritual beliefs and so on. If youlive in a "depression atmosphere" you are constantlymodeling and teaching how to be depressed. I hope thisserves as inspiration for change, not shame. Shame onlyfeeds the power of depression.

The first step in a plan of action is to know that it isactually depression that you're dealing with. I won't gointo those details here. You can find those answers at thewebsite listed in my biography below.

Naming and accepting the problem is half the battle, forBOTH spouses. Why? Well, when folks are depressed, thereis no obvious scientific evidence to prove it. And yetpeople have an instinctive need to what is causing suchpain. The depressed person may project their negativefeelings onto those closest to them, i.e. a spouse, a boss,the children, the neighbors etc. If you're married to adepressed person, at times you may question your own sanity.

You might blame external sources for your spouse'ssuffering. Without understanding, you might attack yourspouse, assuming they do not care or are lazy. Whatappears to be marital problems, may, in fact, be depression.But certainly marital problems can develop over time whendepression goes untreated.

Another important fact to point out is that men and womenexperience depression differently and each will responddifferently when their spouse is depressed. This requirestwo separate articles just to begin to respectively covergender issues involved in depression.

Here's what to do. First and foremost, realize thatdepression is the foe, not your spouse. Developing a "we"instead of an "I" approach to depression treatment is vital.A good recovery motto might be best summed up from thecartoon, Bob the Builder: "Can WE do it? Yes WE can!"

Do everything you can to learn about depression. Seekprofessional advice. If depression has been present for along time, both the relationship and the depression willrequire attention.

Have individual and marital recovery plans. It's thesurest way to give depression the one-two punch that canknock it out of your lives. Write your recovery plans downand spend time reviewing, modifying and noting progressmade.

Once depression is stabilized, create a list of "redflag" symptoms. This serves as your safety net. If thesesymptoms recur it would indicate that prompt attention isrequired. Then list solutions you each are willing to acton if you notice symptoms reappearing. Commit to this inwriting and each of you sign it.

Create external support systems. Note that I did not sayexternal griping sessions. There's a major differencebetween griping and purging. The former only feedsrighteous resentment, and deepens the depression problemoverall, and the latter helps clean you out.

Support pillars can be comprised of friends, colleagues,churches, support groups and any place you decide is safeto disclose to. Do not hide your dirty laundry in thecloset, so-to-speak. Depression loves to isolateindividuals, marriages and entire families. It's one ofthe primary ways it grows strong.

Do recovery activities together. Attend therapy orpsychiatry sessions together. Participate in onlinecounseling together. Read a depression recovery booktogether. Exercise together, pray together or keep a moodlog together. If your children are at the appropriate age,educate them about chronic depression. There are goodchildrens books on chronic parent illness.

Most importantly, develop the "WE!" It's you and yourspouse against this powerful depression foe. Together youcan do this!

Best recovery wishes and always let me know if I can be ofany help.Publishing Guidelines: You have permission to publish thisarticle electronically or in print, free of charge, as longas the resource box is included with a live link to my site.A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.***********************************************************
Title: DO YOU LOVE SOMEONE WHO SUFFERS FROM DEPRESSION?Author: Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSWEmail: mailto:editor@overcoming-depression.comCopyright: by Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSWWeb Address: http://www.Overcoming-Depression.comWord Count: 978Category: DEPRESSION - FAMILY - HOME LIFE

Author's Bio: 

Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW is an author, universityfaculty member, success coach and veteran psychotherapistwhose passion is guiding others to their own success inlife. For weekly doses of the webs HOTTEST success tips,signup for Dave’s powerful “Feeling Great!” ezine at