Depression is a very common mental illness that is quite harmful to your mental health. It may destroy your feelings and corrupt your thoughts day by day. You may lose your self-esteem, work energy, motivation and even lose focus on every important thing in your life.
The immense effect of depression can create problems in your love life. Due to severe depression, it might become difficult for you to maintain an emotional and fulfilling relationship.
If you are getting depressed due to several reasons, it may cause you to pay less attention to your partner. Whenever you become less involved, or become more irritable, or have issues while spending time together, it may cause your relationship to falter.
Here are a few common signs when depression impacts your relationships and ways to get out of the situation.
Sign #1. You are having self-doubt
Depression creates self-doubt, and that may change how you are seeing your partner and how you think he or she thinks about you. As per psychologist Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD, in her book When Depression Hurts Your Relationship: How to Regain Intimacy and Reconnect with Your Partner When You’re Depressed, “Someone with lower-self-esteem and depression may have a bad time with their partner and think, She doesn’t really care about me. I knew it wouldn’t last, whereas someone with a healthier sense of self-worth may think, Right now, we’re going through a tough time, but I know our relationship can withstand this. We’ll work it out.”
The best way to get out of this situation is to feel secure within yourself and cultivating self-compassion, added Kolakowski. Self-doubt can portray yourself as defective, worthless and filled with flaws. As per Kolakowski, self-compassion says, “It’s okay to have failures, setbacks, and to be disappointed. It’s part of the human condition. Everyone feels this way sometimes.”
Then how do you possibly overcome this paralyzing situation? Kolakowski advises looking for such moments when the victim felt empowered. “Look for small ways to affirm that you are capable of affecting your path in life.”
Yes, you must take action and do anything that makes you feel better. You can do it anytime, anywhere, and without hurting your partner. This might be anything from cycling, cleaning, mowing your yard, cleaning your car, and even bathing your pet. Keep doing these things to stay happy.
Sign #2. Your life is lacking sex drive
Miami marriage and family therapist Lisa Paz, Ph.D., explained that due to the depression 75% of common people report a lack of sex drive.
In our regular life cycle, it is quite common and natural to have sexual desires in a marriage. It is something that many humans desire in which is a gift from God.
But whenever you have a lack of sexual connection between you and your significant other, it clearly denotes that there is something fishy going on in your relationship. Your non-existent sex life may signal that you are having severe depression.
Lack of sex drive can generate from multiple issues related to depression. Normally these symptoms may look like common problems. But if you can notice, these are deep psychological issues which are originated due to depression. These issues are:
Shame about sex
Feeling exhausted while having sex
Taking medications without consultation, etc.
To solve this situation, you need to communicate with your partner and tell him/her that while your sexual desire has reduced, it’s not the reflection of your feelings for him/her. You still have the deep feeling and faith upon your relationship.
If your doctor advised some antidepressants, ask him if you can take medication that may reduce depression without lowering your sex drive more.
Sign #3. You are criticizing your partner too much
Depression reduces the positiveness in our life and increases the negativity. So if you feel that you are getting too much annoyed with your partner and criticizing him/her badly, even if he or she isn’t guilty, it is a solid sign of Depression.
When depression triggers criticism, as per Kolakowski, your partner might experience that they are standing on a glass floor barefooted and worry about being condemned.
To get out of this situation, you have to notice your spouse's positive traits and realize that they have much more positive qualities than their mistakes.
So, you won’t consider those mistakes as a crime. List up 5 to 7 his/her positive traits, and show your appreciation. This may help you to cure the bad impact of depression on your relationship.
Kolakowski has given a good example on this topic: “He sometimes leaves clutter around the house, which bugs me way more than it bothers him. He also is caring and considerate most of the time, like when he offers to help my mother go to the store and buy groceries or when we decide to go to the movies and he’s happy to see whatever film I pick.”
Sign #4. You are being unrealistic and squabble more
Have you started nagging recently, or acting short-tempered, impatient and making unrealistic demands, which leads to fights?
As per Kolakowski, as an impact of severe depression, you might have an internal script that tells you - “you are right, and he/she should obey/support you”. You might think it is ok, but the problem is your partner doesn’t know anything about it, as he or she isn’t a mind reader.
Kolakowski stated in her book - “When the other person inevitably deviates from your script, the depressed part of you may react with dissatisfaction, disenchantment, or feelings of failure.”
You have a clear solution to that problem. Start to communicate more directly and clearly with your partner. Let him/her know what you are thinking about him/her. Tell your partner about your inner script and ask him/her about what he or she thinks about you.
Sign #5. You are lacking energy and isolating yourself
It would take a lot of energy to keep going with a relationship when you are in a normal state of mind. So, think about that what you may have to do when you are in a severe depression. Depression drains out your three important resources - physical, mental, and emotional energy. You may feel broken, disheartened, and unmotivated. So, apart from being moody and irritated, you may lose your energy and lose interest to engage in any related activity.
You might feel ashamed of yourself and make yourself isolated from your partner and from others too. You have to remove this bad impact of depression over your relationship at any cost.
Interaction in a relationship is very important to win over the depression. Don’t hesitate. If you can’t talk face-to-face, send messages or leave notes for your partner that say I love you, or I trust you more than my life, or Thanks for your patience, etc. Try to live nearby, so that you be with him/her at any point in time.
Depression affects 20 million people every year. If you are one of them, there is still hope to make things better. You can rebuild your relationship easily, the only thing you need the most is patience and faith upon yourself. As Maya Angelou said - “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” So, give yourself that chance again, and again, and again, and again. In the end, everything will be alright, trust me.
Author Bio: Ralph Macey is associated with SavantCare.com which is a mental health clinic in Los Altos where his job is to look after those people who are suffering from chronic mental disorders. His motto is to focus on the integrated interventions to improve mental health conditions and the other alternative approaches to healing.