20 Things You Need to Do When Your Spouse Is Depressed

Depression is a taboo concept that affects people all over the globe. Sadly, millions are suffering from this illness and don’t have the support they need to go through these dark days of their lives. So, if your spouse or someone close to you suffers from depression, you must know about some things that you can do to help them navigate these trying times. Read on and find the top 20 things to do when your spouse is depressed.

Learn About Depression

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The very first step in being able to help someone suffering from depression is to understand the illness itself. It’s hard to combat this state without knowing anything about it; you might even feel helpless—like whatever you do is not bearing fruit. However, the more you learn about depression, the better equipped you will be to help someone else.

Practice Self-Care

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We understand how much you want to help your spouse out. However, getting drained and burned out is easy when you’re trying to help your partner get better. So, first and foremost, you must practice self-care. Doing this gives you the strength, patience, and insight to better care for and look after your spouse.

Exercise and Be Physically Active

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If your spouse is struggling with depression, try getting them to be more physically active. Even better: get active with them! Exercise pumps up one’s endorphins, and according to the National Library of Medicine, “Exercise has a positive effect on depression due to an increased release of β-endorphins following exercise. Endorphins are related to a positive mood and an overall enhanced sense of well-being.”

Offer Support

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When someone is going through depression, one of the only things they can think of is how alone they are in their struggles. So, just telling them and showing them that you’re there to support them can definitely help them out. Highland Springs Clinic explains that better coping skills and well-being are just a few benefits of having a support system.

Help out With Chores

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One of the things that manifests in a person with depression is lethargy. They can feel severe fatigue, making even the simplest activities—like getting out of bed, taking a bath, eating, and more—too tiring. So, helping your spouse with household chores already helps them take a deep breath of fresh air.

Encourage Them to Seek Treatment

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Depression is a widespread illness, and approximately 280 million people worldwide are suffering from this disorder. Even so, people can get embarrassed or ashamed of what they’re going through, making them hesitant to ask for help. So, when you know your spouse has depression, one of the most significant ways you can help them out is by encouraging them to seek treatment or therapy.

Be Patient

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You can’t fix your spouse’s depression; you can only help. And, at times, even if you try your hardest to help out, nothing seems to work. This is why it’s so important to be patient. At the end of the day, remember that curing depression is a slow process, and it will need countless trials and errors.

Focus on Small Goals

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Depression makes people feel trapped in a negative headspace, and it also makes people feel very weak and powerless. So, setting big goals might overwhelm them and serve as a roadblock to their recovery. You and your spouse must instead take it one step at a time. Be patient, have faith, and know that things will get better.

Don’t Take Your Spouse’s Depression Personally

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Depression affects not only the one suffering from it but also the people around them. After all, it’s like a dark cloud that covers one’s life. If your spouse suffers from depression, they might act out, get angry out of nowhere, or be a completely different person than they were before. When they treat you differently or take their anger out on you, remember not to take it personally; your partner is suffering from an illness and is not doing things to make you mad.

Offer Hope

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Psychology Today notes that depression is the thief of one’s hope and joy. It’ll make someone feel like there’s nothing to look forward to in life anymore. However, if there’s one thing they need to overcome depression, it’s to know that they still have hope. Therefore, one of the best things you can do as their partner is show them and make them believe that better days are ahead.

Reinforce the Idea That You’re a Team

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Depression can make you feel like a lone soldier fighting a whole army. If your spouse feels the same way, do all you can to make them believe you’re in this together. They’ll never be alone because they have you! The National Institute of Health also shares, “Positive social interactions are probably an encouraging sign for people struggling with depressive symptoms; these interactions might reinforce the idea that they matter to others.”

Practice Deeper Communication

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Depression is often considered a taboo or something that shouldn’t be discussed as openly. However, to truly combat the adverse effects of depression, one must talk about it, discuss it, and try to understand it. Open the discussion of depression with your spouse because by doing so, you help them take ownership of their feelings and concerns.

Create a Supportive, Low-Stress Home Environment

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Though there’s no number one cause of depression, one’s environment plays a significant role. Therefore, you must help maintain a supportive and low-stress environment for your spouse suffering from depression. You can do this in many different ways. For example, you can focus on healthy eating, remove stressful triggers at home, or even create new but simple routines.

Build Simply but Healthy Routines

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Routines can get boring; that’s true. However, they can also be very helpful for people battling depression. This is because establishing a routine in your everyday life can reduce stress and anxiety. So, if your spouse is suffering from depression, try to create a simple but healthy routine that you both can follow.

Be an Active Listener

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People with depression often experience feelings of isolation. However, when someone listens to your concerns, you’ll immediately feel like you’re heard and appreciated and that there’s hope. Knowing this, you must strive to be a better listener for your partner.

Know the Warning Signs of Suicide

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One of the most unfortunate effects of depression is having thoughts of suicide. Most of the time, people don’t even realize anything is wrong until the irrevocable happens. Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare notes, “Suicide is not a normal response to stress, so suicidal thoughts are a definite sign that you or someone you know needs help and treatment to learn positive coping skills.” Be more mindful of your environment and how your spouse acts to get them the help they need in time.

Get Support From Family and Friends

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Depression is like a Goliath of a problem to solve. Your spouse can’t do it alone, and you can’t do it alone, either. In battling depression, the saying, “the more, the merrier,” is undoubtedly accurate. You and your partner need support from everyone you can get.

Be Present

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People suffering from depression feel like they’re all alone in their suffering. However, this doesn’t only mean being physically present. You must understand and step into their shoes to see why they truly feel alone. For example, during parties, people with depression might feel like everyone’s doing great and having the time of their lives without them—this is when they truly feel alone and need your care and presence.

Demonstrate How Much You Love Your Spouse

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One of the more specific ways of being present is by demonstrating your love for your spouse. Depending on their needs, you can offer a shoulder to cry on, a hand to help, or even an ear to listen. Do whatever you need to do to let them know you’ll always be there in whatever way they need because you love them.

Be Gentle

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People sometimes think that tough love is key when solving a problem. However, Warner Family Practice explains that people with depression don’t have the strength or ability to pull themselves back up, so tough love will only make things worse for them, and they might pull away from you. On the flip side, being gentle will help more. The American Psychiatric Association notes, “Kindness can increase happiness and self-esteem while decreasing stress and emotional reactivity.”

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.