Depression can impact our relationships in a variety of ways. When we are depressed, we see the world differently. We were once optimistic but now, everything seems hopeless. Small stresses take on large significances and tax our ability to cope. The joy and interest we once felt for specific activities has disappeared.
Changes in personality and character
Many partners of a depressed person have complained that it seems as though there is a third person in the relationship. When a depressive episode happens, we become a different person. Our character and personality changes in a profound way. Our worldview shifts and everything is perceived in a negative light, even the relationship itself.
Once an episode of depression passes and we feel normal again, things can go back to the way they were. However, over time these ups and downs can begin to make life difficult.
Depression affects more than our thoughts and emotions; it also affects our physical health. People who are depressed may experience a variety of symptoms that can impact the daily life of a couple. Some of the physical symptoms of depression include:
- lack of energy
- trouble sleeping
- gastrointestinal problems
- headaches, unexplained aches, and pains
- changes in appetite and weight (gain or loss)
- worsening chronic pain
- lack of libido/changes in sex drive
These symptoms change how a couple spends their day together. A lack of energy or enthusiasm for life may mean staying home (again) rather than going out and doing something you both enjoy. This may mean more conflicts and arguments in general or spending more time apart.
Individual and couples therapy
Depression is among the most treatable of disorders. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is widely used to treat depression and anxiety because of its continued demonstrated effectiveness. Individual therapy can help with depression symptoms and feeling better.
If the relationship is dysfunctional, it may be part of the problem. When the relationship itself is a significant source of stress and one or both of you is prone to depression, this issue needs to be acknowledged and addressed. Therapy and couples therapy can help you get to the bottom of what’s happening, both on an individual level and in the relationship.
If you or your partner is depressed, you do not need to struggle alone. Reach out to a qualified therapist that can help you individually or as a couple.
If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to call and book an appointment or fill out my contact form and click Send.
This article was written by Sherry Bellamy from Therapy Everywhere.