Relationship Advice: Help Your Spouse Beat the Blues

March 8, 2017 by

Winter can be a wonderful time to celebrate our favorite holidays and appreciate the love in our lives. But for many people, the season casts a pall that they just can’t escape.

For over three million people in the United States, that pall is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It is a form of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, and technically it can be attached to any time of the year. Most people, however, experience SAD during the winter months.

If your partner tends to display symptoms such as fatigue, depression, or social withdrawal at around the same time every year, they may be suffering from SAD. Regardless of whether their symptoms of SAD or another form of depression, it’s important to give them some extra love.

Research from the University of Alberta showed that depressed individuals need extra support in order to prevent furthering their symptoms. This extra support will also help the depressed partner boost their self-esteem and get well sooner.

Instead of thinking of SAD or depression as a mental illness, treat it like you would any other type of illness. If your partner has a cold or suffers a physical injury, you’re probably more than happy to buy them soup or take on extra chores so that they can rest. Apply this thinking to depression, anxiety, or any other mental conditions that your partner is facing. Offer selfless support. If there is a time for letting your partner know you are there for them, it’s now.

Of course, we know that this is easier said than done. It can be difficult to care for someone who is withdrawn, or who lashes out at you more than normal. But even if your partner is upset with you or does not appear to want your support, there are ways that you can provide support quietly.

Cook their favorite dinner before they get home from work. Rent the movie you’ve refused to watch with them for weeks. Do chores so they come home to a clean house. Even small gestures send the message, “I am here for you.”

Depression and other forms of mental illness have the potential of hurting a relationship if they are not addressed or cared for properly. If you are experiencing trouble due to a partner’s depression – or your own – talking to a relationship counselor can help.