If you’re the pilot of your household, when depression hits, you need help from your trusted co-pilot; here’s how:
#1 Extra help with household tasks
The daily routine (especially when there are children to take care of) can seem extremely overwhelming to someone sinking into depression. It’s like they are in slow motion while the world around them speeds up. The laundry piles up, the dishes go unwashed, and all chores seem increasingly impossible to get ahead of. Having extra help with household tasks and chores will keep clutter at bay and keep things running smoothly and doing this for your spouse without being asked is a bonus.
#2 Pitch in on meal planning and making
For those in a depression, food can be a double-edged sword, with a tendency to either eat too little or overeat. Regardless, planning nutritious meals, especially for a young family, can seem impossible, and the least stressful thing is to order a pizza or opt for the fast-food drive-through. This is fine once in a while, but seeing as food is so essential to our brain and body, having healthy food for fuel is so important. Perhaps you both have a plan to have a few nutritious meals already frozen that can be saved for times when you need the extra help.
#3 Lend a compassionate ear
Sometimes it helps people with depression to articulate what they are dealing with and being able to talk it through helps in many ways. However, they want to feel that they’re not “off-loading” their troubles, so if they’re asked, earnestly, how they are feeling, it takes that burden off and provides a comforting and understanding ear. Conversely, don’t be upset or take it personally if your spouse does not want to talk about how she’s feeling because that may be more difficult for her to do.
#4 Respectfully encourage self-care
During depression, many things cease being a priority, including personal appearance. When people are in a state of depressive inertia, getting off the sofa or out of bed is a real chore, so showering or brushing their teeth will not seem to matter, let alone dressing up nice or getting a haircut. This then leads to lowered self-esteem. A simple, “I’m going to do the dishes, why don’t you go enjoy a bubble bath?” could help relay the point your spouse is worth feeling good and you want to help.
#5 Offer a hug and provide reassurance
Research has shown that hugging raises levels of oxytocin, the “love hormone”, which is beneficial for stress levels, heart health and much more. And, a sincere hug lasting longer than 20 seconds reduces the harmful physical effects of stress, like the impact on your blood pressure and heart rate. It is trickier given that people who are depressed often don’t wish to be touched, but try and figure something out. While you are hugging your spouse, reassure her confidently, that you will always be there for her and will always fight for her because she is worth it; this will do wonders in alleviating any stress she may have had in scaring you off with her illness.
#6 Give a reminder that things are good
When your spouse has spiralled into a deep depression, she will be plagued with a never-ending loop of painful and destructive thoughts. She will forget that she was ever happy and may fear she will never get back the love for her family she once had. She will need reminding that she is a strong person, has accomplished many things, is an incredible mom and wife and that she will get through it. You all will.
Read the full article: “Here’s How to Ask for Help Through Depression”
via Esperanza – Hope To Cope
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