What a long time for my wife to live with someone depressed! In the
beginning, we didn't know any better. The critical sullenness that
became more prevalent over the years was tempered with hope that the
next job, or the next move, or even the next TV show would shake me out
How I regret that she had to put up with my mood all those years!
about your relationship? Is there hidden depression? Is it out in the
open? Now is the time to face it. Let's not put it off any longer.
We're not talking here about situational depression, that some call a
case of having the "blues." Situational depression comes, but then it
goes. Right now we're talking about the real thing that hangs on and
on. The person's mood is chronically low, self esteem suffers, and
there is a pervasive negativity.
It may be "Major
is the big deal, or more likely, it
may just be like mine: a chronic inability to take joy out of life,
while otherwise being able to function just fine. I
always looked for distractions. Television was a common avoidance
mechanism. Sugar was a payoff for feeling "low." Caffeine was the
stimulant of choice. And, my relationship with my wife was more often a
"should do" rather than a "want to" or a "get to." What
about you or your partner? Are there too many distractions? Are
there things that get too much attention while your relationship
suffers? Are there any addictions starting to show: alcohol, drugs,
over-eating, over-working, or over-something? There
are many things that can cause some of these problems other than
depression, but if you suspect depression, mild or severe, consider
these things: 1.
Talk it over with your doctor, minister, or counselor. You may need
more than one opinion. Mild depression is so normal that some
professionals will just dismiss it. It's fine to feel good about quick
assurances, but it is also OK to seek a second opinion. 2.
Increase your exercise routine as a couple. Exercise releases those
feel good chemicals called endorphins and elevates mood. It's also a
positive activity to do together that builds positive expectations for
3. Increase your
as a couple (unless this is already
one of those excessive things.) Depression normally leads to some
degree of isolation. Being with people also elevates mood by producing
those endorphins. (Hugs do, too, so hug a lot!) 4.
If the doctor suggests anti-depressant medication, definately
consider it. I first tried such medication around the age of 40. While
my results were quite dramatic and out of the norm, it was as though I
could see in color for the first time in my life! I suddenly knew what
I'd been missing all those years, as well as, what my wife had been
missing in me! 5.
Buy an inexpensive copy of "Feeling Good: The New
Therapy" by Dr. David Burns, along with the companion
on the links for Amazon's copies) This
"new" mood therapy isn't so new, since I've been recommending this
book for the last 15 years, but it is still the most user-friendly
cognitive therapy you can find for depression. It is simple to use, but
still a sophisticated approach. 6.
Encourage "positive anticipation." This means to look forward to
things. We now know that this simple mental exercise causes the brain
to secrete more dopamine, a neurotransmitter essential for a better
mechanism is what really changed my life two years ago. I learned
that I can control my mood simply by looking forward to what is before
instance, I might consciously look forward to the experience of
writing this newsletter for you. I can enjoy the possibility that a
percentage of readers willed be helped. I might anticipate my first
client of the day and feel some level of joy that I get to see that
person again. And, I will remind myself to look forward with positive
expectancy to seeing my wife this evening. All
these conscious choices of "how to be" will add dopamine to my
system and will make me feel very good. Sometimes,
just these simple steps will do what you need, but at times
it is far more complex. That's why we have professionals to help us
out. So, make use of them! I regret the 15 years of married life that
could have been so much better if only I knew of the treatment options.
I don't want you to have a similar experience! Depression?
Take care of it now. It is so possible to feel good again.