Q&A: Living with my depressed spouse

Question:

My wife was just diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. She rarely engages in conversation, and even though she’s on medication, she acts like she doesn’t want to have anything to do with me. She’s not the same person I married. I try to talk to her and she says it’s just a phase and to leave her alone. I am so hurt. What can I do?

Answer: We’re sorry to learn of your predicament. Clinical depression is a complex problem involving a blend of genetic, biochemical, personal, and spiritual factors. That being the case, do not take your wife’s behaviour toward you personally. The forces contributing to her emotional distance are beyond her control.

Your mention of a diagnosis suggests that your wife is receiving ongoing care. That is essential in a situation like this. Our counsellors suggest that you encourage her to continue taking her medication and to remain under the care of a trained physician or qualified professional.

Finally, you should be aware of your own needs during this emotionally trying time. You’re in a difficult position, and you need all the outside help you can get. Seek out a support network through a special interest group.

And don’t be afraid to enlist the assistance of a counsellor, with or without your wife’s willing participation. Please do not hesitate to call our Family Support Services at 03-3310 0792 or write to support@family.org.my.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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