When Your Spouse Is Depressed (Part I)
By Jenn Grandlienard
My husband recently had to take me home following a panic attack during church.
I went right to bed. My safe place. See, I struggle with depression.
That day he was dad and mom. He made our boys lunch and dinner, took them to a friend’s house to play, checked on me.
This time was different than before. My depression hadn’t changed. His reaction did.
It’s taken us years and stepped-on toes to learn this clumsy dance.
He’s a self-motivated go-getter: Bed is for sleep, not safety. So he used to get irritated, pleading, furious. He begged me to get out of bed, help with our kids, and get over it.
He loves me deeply; He just didn’t understand.
This time, he gave me the space I needed so I could heal. Rest. Sleep.
He came up, laid beside me, and listened. He asked how I was doing and what triggered this episode.
When I didn’t know, he trusted me to figure it out and tell him later. He didn’t try to “fix,” but was just there with me, in my pit. It was exactly what I needed.
My brain doesn’t have needed chemical ingredients, leaving me overly sad and unable to get out of bed. Even for things and people I love. It can be so overwhelming, nothing else seems to exist except darkness.
He invites me to join him and our kids, but doesn’t push when I’m not ready. He’s learned when to encourage me to get out of bed a little more than the day before. How to balance empathy and motivation.
The good stuff: And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
- How is your spouse’s depression personally hard for you to understand and/or empathize with?
- What do you wish you could say to your spouse? What personal emotions do you associate with this struggle?
- How does Scripture respond to your pain, anger, isolation, and other emotions? How will you pray for yourself today?
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