Depression: A Family Affair

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depressed man
Depression affects more than just the sufferer. Read on for solutions to alleviate the struggle.

Adjust Your Expectations – Loving someone through their depression means creating a new, temporary normal. It's human to expect that treatment will provide instant relief. It’s human to be hurt or feel rejected when someone isn’t responding to you as they typically do. It’s human to personalize it by wondering what you’ve done wrong or how YOU have changed to elicit such a response. It's even human to wonder why they simply can't "snap out of it" or believe that if they loved you enough, they would appreciate you and get better.

Human, however, doesn't mean "constructive" or "accurate." Understand that healing and recovery take time and that your loved one isn’t functioning on all cylinders. This means that they cannot give to you like they typically do and this has to be okay, for now. Take an inventory of their emotional reserves and process what this means in terms of their day-to-day abilities. During a severe depressive period, simply getting out of bed and going to work is an accomplishment. In a lesser episode, they will be capable of more attention and focus. 

They say that depression isn't a sign of weakness, but instead, it's a signal that you've been strong for too long. This applies not only to the sufferer, but to the concepts of caregiver, partner, lover, friend and family member as well. There is hope and there is help for all involved. Depression may be a family affair but it doesn't have to ruin the party.
 

Article contributed by
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Allison Cohen, M.A., MFT

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Allison Cohen, M.A., MFT

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