How to have relationships while living with depression?

Posted by marjou @marjou, Jun 21, 2020

Need some help in coping or pointers in how to best handle relationships whether family,dating, friends. Because my depression is the constant factor every day, I isolate in a way as to not subject others to my depressive state which I have to live with but they do not. Feel it's not fair to them or they just avoid me. When to tell or not to tell someone especially if trying to date?

@marjou Whether or not we have depression, we have relationships. The closest relationship we have, is with ourself! While having depression is not comfortable, the fact that you recognize it is a positive step. Be gentle on yourself. The "acting as if" that @rossjt mentioned, sometimes works. But we do have to gently get on with our life. You can face off against the depression, using medications, or exercise, or therapy, or journaling [see the discussion https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/journaling-the-write-stuff-for-you/ ]. Find what works for you. Friends, family, and romantic relationships are a touchy subject, and you should not have to feel defensive. Do what you are comfortable with.

Have you thought about things you used to do that brought you pleasure? Can you start those things again? Is there something new you would like to try? Can you make steps towards that and let me know?

I have gone through depressive episodes myself, and found that exercise in fresh air, healthy food, restful sleep, all help.
Ginger

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@gingerw

@marjou Whether or not we have depression, we have relationships. The closest relationship we have, is with ourself! While having depression is not comfortable, the fact that you recognize it is a positive step. Be gentle on yourself. The "acting as if" that @rossjt mentioned, sometimes works. But we do have to gently get on with our life. You can face off against the depression, using medications, or exercise, or therapy, or journaling [see the discussion https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/journaling-the-write-stuff-for-you/ ]. Find what works for you. Friends, family, and romantic relationships are a touchy subject, and you should not have to feel defensive. Do what you are comfortable with.

Have you thought about things you used to do that brought you pleasure? Can you start those things again? Is there something new you would like to try? Can you make steps towards that and let me know?

I have gone through depressive episodes myself, and found that exercise in fresh air, healthy food, restful sleep, all help.
Ginger

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@gingerw Babysitting was one of my joys, dancing (salsa and two step) but this pandemic has changed that. I was just starting to go out again which took many years to force myself to do and enjoy again but all that has changed. Life is certainly challenging. Thanks for your questions.

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It been tough but I just try and keep my mine busy focus on other things and i pray

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@trellg132 I feel the same way. I try to keep my mind busy and PRAY for all at Mayo Connect and all. I am 2 weeks post-op from my 9 hour fusion surgery on my back. Still very fatigued, but on Oxycodone andTramadol with 3 hours between them. So that might be contributing to my depression and fatigued. Take care my friend.
I always feel better when I can laugh. It's hard to find things these days. My husband who is 69 still works full-time. I know he wouldn't be happy not working, but it has been stressful. Our refrigerator is breaking down and he's the kind of person to research for one. Poor guy, taking care of me, working, and looking for a new refrigerator. I think his job is the biggest stressor for him, but it all adds up. We have to help our daughter who has many physical illnesses, asthma, sinus infection etc. Nothing serious, except she is very over weight. Her doctor has kept her out of work because of the Covid-19. My prayers are sent your way. Jeanie

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@marjou

Thank you for sharing. Sending prayers and blessings for your recovery process.

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@marjou Thank you for your prayers and blessings for recovery. My pain is down today. This morning when I got up from bed I had a lot of pain. How are you doing? Let me know what I can pray for you. Jeanie

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@catcatanzaro60

Hello lilypaws, I had blood transfusions while pregnant. I seemed to feel so much better. Depression I will fight always. I am glad you have a great husband.9 fight depression0 I have thalassemia. inherited it too

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@catcatanzaro60 What is thalassemia? I know about depression though and it's not fun is it? My son is bipolar 1, like my mom and she died of suicide of age 69. He is a professor as his wife is also, but he can't teach because of the bipolar 1. His wife is controlling. We have no connection with him. They have an 8 year old girl, who was born on my 50th birthday. I haven't seen her in person since she was 3, but skype with her when she's at her grandmothers in Chicago. They live in NYC. They are both very smart, almost too smart! Both my sisters fight some type of mental illness. My neices daughter has been hospitalize quite a few times and was cutting herself. Of course, her mom and dad went through a divorce. My daughter suffers with anxiety and depression at times and is very over weight. She lost some and then gained it back. She's 40 and not married. We have to help support her. Her doctor took her off of work because of the Covid-19. She's getting paid and she is on Medicade (SP)

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@bob76farmer

EXERCISE — Go outside and walk 10 steps, go back inside and write what you did on todays date on the calendar. Tomorrow go outside and walk 15 steps, write that on the calendar. Do this for a week increasing distance 5 steps a day. After a week go back to 10 steps and increase distance each day as you can. Always walk outside and always write down how far you walked. Never miss a day. Set attainable goals with your walking. Make it a priority in your life.

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@bob76farmer What a great idea to get started walking. I had a back fusion 2 weeks ago from t-10 to my pelvis. It was a 9 hour surgery. I'm suppose to walk every day. I wear a brace to let it heal, which can take up to a year. I go back next month for a check-up.
Are you a farmer? I was raised on a farm in Iowa. It was a good experience and hard experience with my mom fighting Bipolar 1 and did suicide at age 69. My son has Bipolar 1 also and so does a lot of our other family has different types of mental illness. I am depressive and have anxiety. Thanks for the hint on how to start walking.

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My husband has severe depression and I understand (As much as I can from a bystander viewpoint) how difficult it is to interact with the anyone. His escape is to spend large parts of his day , even all of it, sleeping on the couch. We've tried light therapy, several meds, some of which had terrible side effects like major panic and terror attacks , nothing works. The current one has dampened the panic, but he still has zero motivation and no joy in doing anything. It has been years since he could engage in intimate relation ships and we can go days with him not saying more than a few sentences. Other times he shares his desperation and tries to talk but mostly it is "I wish I could understand what is causing this ( I tell him even doctors don't know so he can't focus on the why) and I just want it to go away"( I tell him that expectation is not likely but we can work on controlling it and softening it) I offer him methods to help like encourage him to get up, move, go sit outside, walk – his inactivity has made him weak and easily tired – So I have question for you. As someone who has depression, how do you think your friends and family could help you? What support do you wish for? I feel I listen, I am there, I have taken on most of the tasks of running the house, I do not put demands on him, i try not make him feel guilty for laying down all day though I am terribly lonely most of the time as I feel like a housekeeper and nurse not a wife of. 39 years. I want to help. From your perspective (or anyone reading this who has severe depression) what cn i do to nurture our relationship and help him with his daily stress and depression?

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@lilypaws

@marjou Thank you for your prayers and blessings for recovery. My pain is down today. This morning when I got up from bed I had a lot of pain. How are you doing? Let me know what I can pray for you. Jeanie

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@lilypaws Hope you are doing better today. How kind of you to pray for me and had to think about what specifically. The request is for relief of this daily depression. Thank you and blessings.

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@marjou and others in this discussion about depression and forming relationships. I recently received an email from, https://thinkr.org/newsletter/humankind-a-hopeful-history, with information about Friendliness and how it can build happy relationships. I know that depression tends to create a less than friendly countenance and attitude but perhaps but practicing friendly actions and attitudes this might be something that would work for you. I just copied the last paragraph for you to read. Will you let me know what you think about this?

2. It’s not the fittest, but the friendliest that survive.
Until recently, humans elevated the collective over the individual. Despite popular images of warring tribal hunter-gatherer cultures, nomadic groups preceding the rise of agriculture formed fairly peaceful, egalitarian societies. It was the friendliest who would have the biggest families, and so nature selected for friendliness. It shows in Homo sapiens’ progression toward domesticity. Homo sapiens are at their best and strongest when they are at their friendliest.

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@grandmaraines

My husband has severe depression and I understand (As much as I can from a bystander viewpoint) how difficult it is to interact with the anyone. His escape is to spend large parts of his day , even all of it, sleeping on the couch. We've tried light therapy, several meds, some of which had terrible side effects like major panic and terror attacks , nothing works. The current one has dampened the panic, but he still has zero motivation and no joy in doing anything. It has been years since he could engage in intimate relation ships and we can go days with him not saying more than a few sentences. Other times he shares his desperation and tries to talk but mostly it is "I wish I could understand what is causing this ( I tell him even doctors don't know so he can't focus on the why) and I just want it to go away"( I tell him that expectation is not likely but we can work on controlling it and softening it) I offer him methods to help like encourage him to get up, move, go sit outside, walk – his inactivity has made him weak and easily tired – So I have question for you. As someone who has depression, how do you think your friends and family could help you? What support do you wish for? I feel I listen, I am there, I have taken on most of the tasks of running the house, I do not put demands on him, i try not make him feel guilty for laying down all day though I am terribly lonely most of the time as I feel like a housekeeper and nurse not a wife of. 39 years. I want to help. From your perspective (or anyone reading this who has severe depression) what cn i do to nurture our relationship and help him with his daily stress and depression?

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@grandmaraines As I read your post I could get the sense of your love for your husband, your care and your wanting to help him. I have been diagnosed as being bipolar which took many years to determine, but the heaviness of depression is unrelenting. I, too, have tried many medications that didn't work or made me a "zombie", ECT, been hospitalized, talk therapy, etc.

For me progress was minimal like lying in bed to lying on living room couch. It zaps the life out of the body both energy and the loss of joy. Science explains depression as a chemical inbalance in brain but is unique for each person and why there's no one remedy or cure.

Have been in a relationship where both of us were depressed and thought at least he understands but that didn't help us. As women we want to help and fix it, but difficult to do when the other person feels helpless/hopeless. The more I did the less he did and I noticed myself resenting him for not trying to do something, anything. So I had to break off the relationship to keep the friendship.

Does your husband have a therapist? Group therapy? Art therapy? Does he have friends that can visit him?
I don't have a miracle answer, but am here if I can be of help. Blessings and prayers are sent to both of you.

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@marjou

@grandmaraines As I read your post I could get the sense of your love for your husband, your care and your wanting to help him. I have been diagnosed as being bipolar which took many years to determine, but the heaviness of depression is unrelenting. I, too, have tried many medications that didn't work or made me a "zombie", ECT, been hospitalized, talk therapy, etc.

For me progress was minimal like lying in bed to lying on living room couch. It zaps the life out of the body both energy and the loss of joy. Science explains depression as a chemical inbalance in brain but is unique for each person and why there's no one remedy or cure.

Have been in a relationship where both of us were depressed and thought at least he understands but that didn't help us. As women we want to help and fix it, but difficult to do when the other person feels helpless/hopeless. The more I did the less he did and I noticed myself resenting him for not trying to do something, anything. So I had to break off the relationship to keep the friendship.

Does your husband have a therapist? Group therapy? Art therapy? Does he have friends that can visit him?
I don't have a miracle answer, but am here if I can be of help. Blessings and prayers are sent to both of you.

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@marjou From what I understand from your message is that you are Bipolar 1? Mental illness runs in our family and my mom committed suicide at age 69. My son is the one fighting the devil now. He has his PHD, but can't teach, because of his Bipolar 1. His wife also has her PHD and is very successful. I do fill that she is controlling and controlling our son and granddaughter, we have no contacts with them. I am depressive and anxiety, my daughter the same, plus other factors like being very over weight. Most of other family members have some type of mental illness. It is very inherited. I just got home 2 weeks ago from a 9 hour fusion back surgery from T-10 to my pelvis. Had Pinched nerves plus other problems. I am still recovering and it takes time. Blessings and Prayers are sent your way.

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