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How to Deal with a Depressed Husband: 3 Things You Must Know

Are you wondering how to deal with a depressed husband? Here are three things you should know.

Don’t know how to deal with a depressed husband? Watching someone you love experience depression can make you feel frustrated and helpless. You may not know the right things to say or do, or you may not be able to understand what they’re going through. You might also fear making the depression worse if you can’t offer the support they need. Loving someone with depression is challenging, but there are plenty of things you can do to help your partner through depression. Here’s how to deal with a depressed husband.  

How to Deal with a Depressed Husband: Understanding Is Crucial

It’s difficult to know how to deal with a depressed husband, especially if you’ve never experienced depression yourself. The illness is incredibly isolating, and those experiencing it often feel like they’re the only ones who’ve ever felt that way – even if everything they read, see and hear tells them differently. Standing on the sidelines while your husband is in pain can feel frustrating and hopeless, but understanding is key to bridging that gap and dealing with a depressed husband compassionately.

If you want to know how to deal with a depressed husband, increasing your understanding is a great place to start. Getting to know his condition better will not only help you find new ways to help and support him, but it will also help him feel less alone in his fight.

So, how can you understand depression better? Attending a support group for loved ones is one idea, as is reading about depression online or in self-help books. Depression is a common illness, affecting 15% of U.S. adults at some stage in their lives, so there are plenty of resources out there to help you navigate the topic. However, according to Psycom, the best way to learn is to ask open-ended questions and use empathetic listening.

Dealing with a Depressed Husband: 3 Things You Should Know

Knowing how to deal with a depressed husband isn’t easy. Perhaps he has never experienced any mental health difficulties before, or he has always been upbeat and positive. Whatever the story behind your relationship, one partner becoming depressed often shifts the dynamics in a relationship, which can make things difficult because depression can hurt relationships.

To help ease the strain, here are three things you should know about dealing with a depressed husband.

1. A supportive home environment is crucial

Minimizing stress is key to dealing with a depressed husband. You’ll want to create a low-stress environment that revolves around a simple routine to encourage your partner to heal. Some tips include:

  • Prepare healthy food for your husband or encourage him to cook for himself
  • Encourage him to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day
  • Make plans together, even if they’re low-key. You might decide to rent a movie or order take-out if your husband doesn’t want to leave the house. Plan small activities for you both to look forward to.
  • Be positive about your partner’s accomplishments. Never make him feel like you don’t believe in him.

2. Reaching small goals will increase your partner’s confidence

Depression often makes people feel weak and codependent, so it's important not to take over your husband's life. Encourage independence by setting – and helping him reach – small goals, such as taking a shower or eating a healthy meal. You may decide to break down larger tasks (e.g., accessing treatment) into smaller goals.

Each time he achieves one of these goals, however small, tell him you're proud of him. Some days he won't be capable of even attempting them, and that's okay. Tell him you're behind him no matter what kind of day he's having, and you want to help him get better.

3. The warning signs of suicide are often hard to spot

No one likes to think about someone they love feeling suicidal. However, suicidal thoughts affect up to 15% of people experiencing depression, so you need to be on your guard. People who are suicidal often hide these thoughts from others because they feel ashamed, or else they’re worried that their loved ones will try to stop them. These statistics might be scary but being aware of them is crucial if you want to know how to deal with a depressed husband.

According to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), the warning signs of suicide include:

  • Acting agitated, anxious or restless
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Talking about wanting to die, in person or on social media
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being a burden to others
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Researching ways to hurt or kill oneself

Understand that no one is to blame for suicidal thoughts or actions – they are symptoms of a debilitating illness and not acts of selfishness or weakness. If you spot any of these signs in your partner, it's important to act right away. You can call The Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) for advice and support. If your husband is acutely suicidal, contact the emergency services in your area.

article references

APA Reference
Smith, E. (2019, March 8). How to Deal with a Depressed Husband: 3 Things You Must Know, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/depression/relationships/how-to-deal-with-a-depressed-husband-3-things-you-must-know

Last Updated: May 17, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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