Addiction has many strong 12 step programs to help those of us who recognize our addictions. But when you are living with depression, the help for you mainly lies with the medical profession. The problem with this dependence upon the medical field for solutions is that most of the help comes from pharmacological means.
Presently there are huge debates about the fact that many of us are over-medicated. Beginning Oct. 2012, I quit taking my anti-depressant that I had taken for 20 years. I wanted to see what living without medication would be like. It was a mixed bag. I rarely slept more then 2-3 hours at a time. This sleeping on demand became harder and harder to endure and to try to keep a natural rhythm in my life. I also had a continual low level of anxiety that made me feel I needed to hurry up. (UPDATE–2015–I later found this anxiety was caused by gluten).
So I returned to medication. I went to my doctor and his assistant and the three of us had a long talk about medications prescribed for depression. They helped me to fill in some missing blanks in my knowledge. Because I had only ever used one medication, I had limited experience of what might work for me. We selected one similar to my prior medication and I will know in 2 weeks how it is working.
So even though I will be taking a medication, I will continue to write about living with depression. I do plan to periodically try life drug free as I believe my depression comes and goes. Also I believe the less medication in my body, the better.
1. From Lisa Eslie: “How to Maintain a Healthy Relationship While Depressed”:
So how do you honor yourself when you’re depressed and give yourself the love and kindness you need without blowing up an otherwise loving relationship?
1. Don’t believe everything your mind says.
Your mind’s always telling you things that aren’t true, and this applies even more so when you’re depressed. The more you can differentiate between you and your mind, the easier this gets. See if you can step back and think, “Ah, look at what I’m thinking now.”
2. Don’t make assumptions.
Watch out for assumptions your mind is making. Look at what you’re mad about. Did they actually say that, or are you drawing conclusions yourself?
Chances are you’re just seeing a reflection of your own thoughts. And anyway, if anything your mind is telling you is real, it’ll still be there when you’re not feelings so flat, by which time any conversation you do have will be infinitely easier and more productive.
3. Connect with your loved one over the bigger picture.
Try sharing the bigger picture of how you’re feeling (“Honey I think I might be depressed”), rather than voicing your criticism of them. If there really is something bothering you, it’ll still be there when your depressed feelings have passed; and I promise you, it’ll be a whole lot easier to talk about it then!
4. Know that your mind is very convincing.
Your mind may think it is absolutely imperative that you bring up the issue. And you know what? You might still decide to. It’s your call. If you do find yourself in a discussion that you later regret, don’t worry about it; it’s all okay. It might be helpful to show this article to your partner.
5. This time will pass.
And even though you can’t feel it right now, you have all the calm and peaceful loving feelings inside of you.
Kind wishes and loving relationships to you!
2. From John Folk-Williams: “Can You Be a Therapist for Your Depressed Partner”:
Depression’s Filter on Relationships
I think a depressed person has needs that are very hard for a partner to meet because they aren’t about relationship. They come out of a narrowed perception of yourself and your partner.
Depression provokes a kind of soul panic. You feel a threat to your very being, but you’re not sure what the threat is. You don’t know how to deal with it so there’s a tendency to pull back, hunker down, withdraw. A survival instinct comes into play.
It becomes very hard to listen to other people. You sense the need of an intimate partner for loving reassurance. You hear their words intended to comfort or help. Yet most of what comes across is like an emotional demand that you simply can’t tolerate.
It can feel claustrophobic. You’re hurting too much inside, feeling too nervous about losing control of your own life to be able to listen to your partner’s needs. So it’s easy to tune out what they say or angrily reject it. There are times when I’ve been like that, and there was no talking to me.