Almost everyone feels a little blue now and again. When those feelings linger they become depression. Dealing with depression yourself is tough enough but when your man feels down – and stays down – that’s a problem! First, resist the urge to tell him to “Suck it up!” If he’s truly depressed he needs more than a pep talk. According to WebMD, real depression lingers for days, even weeks.
Depression is more than feeling sad; the site defines it as feeling “hopeless, helpless and worthless.” Women who date or are married to men who struggle with depression have to deal with their own feelings. It’s normal to cycle between empathy and aggravation but what should you do?
Know the signs of depression. Don’t guess! Even if he won’t admit he’s depressed, you can qualify it your own mind. He’ll need a doctor to give an official diagnosis but you should look for these symptoms:
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Loss of interest in sex
- Weight fluctuations
- Talking about death or suicide
- Excessive guilt
The next reasonable question is what can you do? First, accept that while you can nudge him toward getting help, it’s up to him to want to get better. If he chooses to “walk it out” by himself, without medical help, expect to see a few angry episodes. Expressing anger is a typical method men use for overcoming depression, unlike women who cry to release depression. Besides being supportive, you also need to set boundaries for your own protection during this time.
Know what you won’t tolerate! For example, it’s not okay to be called names, physically roughed up or treated poorly all in the name of depression. Think ahead of time on how you’ll cope with the worst case scenario. You may never experience a severe problem but it’s good to be prepared if you do. Women dating a depressed man need support too. Talk to a trustworthy family member or a friend about what you feel and see.
You’ll be tempted to step into the role as “healer” but don’t. You can’t fix him; only love him, as long as it’s healthy for you. If he’s chronically depressed, meaning he becomes depressed frequently and severely, he needs help. In this case, you should insist he get help if he wants to continue in a relationship. Dating a depressed man or living with one is doable if the depression is brief and mild. If he’s chronic or violent, make changes. His depression may control his life but it should never control yours.
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