Guest Author: Ralph Macey
As per the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1 in 5 Americans suffer from depression in a given year, the most common mental illness. Recent surveys also indicate that 1 in 5 teens suffer from clinical depression. Women also face these illnesses twice as much as men, though men are highly prone to hide their depression compared to women. Major Depressive Disorder or MDD affects more than 16.1 million adults or about 6.7% of the U.S. population aged 18 and older in a given year. Major depressive disorder can grow at any point of your age. The median age is 32.5 years.
Most people with depressive illnesses are afraid of the treatment due to stigma and misconceptions. Most patients think mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety can only be cured by costly medications, painful treatment, and by receiving multiple electric shocks. In reality, depression can be cured if people can identify the signs earlier.
The Signs Of Depression After Marriage
- Daily sadness
- Loss of interest in various activities
- Trouble focusing, remembering, or concentrating
- Excessive weariness and lethargy
- Restlessness, anxiety, or irritable behavior
- Constant fatigue
- Suppressed or oppressed appetite
- Insomnia, especially early-morning waking
- Increased anger
- Unexplained aches and pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
- Low sex drive or loss of libido
- Thoughts of suicide or death (HELPLINE: 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) and 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)
If you can identify such symptoms in your spouse’s behavior occurring for more than a few weeks, do not hesitate to consult with a psychiatrist at once.
Ways In Which Depression Affects Your Marriage
Yes, you are right. Depression can affect your sleep, your mood, your way of thinking, your food craving, your ability to live your life, and definitely your marriage. Depression can kill your relationship very slowly, without giving you a hint. However, don’t be nervous, check out the ways in which depression can hurt your marriage and avoid them positively.
A) Depression Stops You From Being Happy
If you are encountering severe depression, you’ll be less satisfied with your married life. You’ll be less happy, less compassionate, and less emotional with your partner. You won’t be there for him/her when he or she needs you the most. Your spouse or partner may feel lonely and lose the physical and emotional bonding with you.
B) Depression Reduces Your Energy Levels
When you experience depression, you might lose interest in various activities, especially activities you once found joyful. You might find negative vibes in every activity you commit to. You’ll lose hope and fun doing anything new. Through this, depression reduces your energy levels, thereby making you disinterested in positive events and outcomes. You will lose all your positivity along with all the energy to live a happy married life.
C) Depression Turns You Into An Unresponsive Person
Due to depression, you’ll lose your focus, memory, and concentration. This may cause you to forget a few of your important dates related to your spouse, like anniversary, birthday, or any other important day. So being a forgetful person, you may hurt your spouses’ feelings and make him/her unhappy.
You’ll be out of focus while being depressed. You might lose interest in most things, including small moments that used to make him/her joyful. If you still manage to remember some dates, your lack of concentration may spoil the mood. As a result, you’ll become an uncooperative and unresponsive person for your partner.
D) Depression Makes You Insensitive Towards Your Partner
You are depressed, but your partner isn’t. He or she has all the feelings and demands that any normal married people should have. Being depressed, you might not be responding to him/her with proper dedication and feelings. You are being insensitive to your partner’s needs and feelings. Your depression is detaching you from the family and the reality of marriage. So, as a result, they will find you careless and irresponsible to them. This may destroy all the love between you and your family.
Depression makes you sad, hopeless, and reduces your self-confidence. These traits may cause extreme mood swings. You might feel angry all of a sudden, and after a few moments, you might feel emotionally broken. You might shout out, and even hurt your partner physically due to this mood swing. So, it’ll become difficult for your partner and family to understand you, support you emotionally, and ultimately help with the depression.
You’ll become more depressed, and more detached from everything, as though you’ve lost everything. You’ll feel isolated, anxious, insecure and may disconnect all the contact with the outer world.
E) Depression Causes You Loss Of Libido And Sex Drive
Depression in males can affect their sexual life. Depression may kill the sex drive and trigger impotency more than anything. On the other hand, women may feel a lack of sexual desire due to depression. If one of the spouses has depression, it may create an empty space between partners intimately.
Sex is one of the important aspects of a happy married life. Therefore, lack of intimate love for your partner can kill the marriage. Furthermore, being depressed, a spouse can ignore taking care of his/her personal hygiene, which may become a possible cause behind their partner losing interest in them sexually.
Dr. Jennifer Payne, M.D, director of the Women’s Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins added – “Change in sex drive is a key symptom we look at when deciding if someone fits the diagnosis for major depressive episodes.” …”A primary symptom of depression is the inability to enjoy things you normally enjoy, like sex. People with depression also have decreased energy, feel badly about themselves and might view their partners through a negative filter, all of which impacts sex drive.”
F) Depression Triggers Anger, Negativity, and Recriminations
Your partner may not know why you are depressed, or even understand that you’re actually depressed. Instead, he or she may consider you as being lazy and uncooperative. Gradually they will start blaming you for all unfinished tasks at home. Soon, it’ll become open to all as soon as you blame each other in front of everyone. You may start shaming each other. Overall, the family’s happiness and contentment quotient will take a hit as you are too depressed to cope up with this situation.
When your spouse is depressed, you may also feel depressed due to the negative energy in your relationship. So, practically depression works as a deadly virus which can gradually spread all over your family’s mental health. Slowly depression can affect your partner’s mood, attitude, communication, reaction, and behavior.
Well, now you are aware of the fact that depression might cause serious problems in your marriage. But you must know this…marriage can push you into depression too.
People say you find a great partner when he/she compliments you. Therefore, having a wrong partner with a not so friendly behavior may ruin your dream of a great marriage. You may find many couples who are spending their lives with a lack of marital contentment or irrational behavioral pattern towards their spouses. And this may leave the spouse to deal with severe depression and anxiety.
Couples who encountered chronic stress and anxiety after their marriage, are lacking the enjoyment of positive experiences. They also showed higher depressive symptoms. You can identify some of them here:
- Couples after marriage may experience a lot of disagreement or arguments. If this happens on a regular basis for any reason, it may build up a lot of tension between them. The outcome might be worse; these couples may experience depression 10 to 25 times more likely than normal unmarried people.
- If the disagreements between the couples are quite high, and only one spouse is going under treatment, amazingly, the other can experience more depression, Therefore, both of them should start counseling together.
- As per scientific research, 50% of married women who are living on one particular anti-depressant pill, have marital issues. These pills might work initially. But, they might again experience depression if their marriage problem continues.
- When couples are engaging in on-going fighting, depressive symptoms may continue. But fighting isn’t always bad. Fights can lead to greater intimacy if the couple processes the fight, comes to a mutual understanding, and ultimately work to address and fix the issue.
- When couples try to avoid stress due to marriage problems and start using alcohol, drugs, and other poly-substances to relax, they are making the path for depression to ruin their lives. This will not only make them mentally ill, but they will also face serious physical health problems.
- “Having sexual intimacy is part of a good marriage. If the couples are avoiding each other, that could be a warning sign” – added sex and relationship therapist Megan Fleming, Ph.D. If the couples are not exercising important physical affection like hugging, holding hands, kissing etc, it may develop a possible space for depression between the partners.
- Sometimes people find things from others which they should expect from their spouse. Compassion, love, friendship, sexual need, all of them can be attained through an extramarital affair. But that is not the solution.
As per relationship therapist Jamie Turndorf, Ph.D., author of Kiss Your Fights Goodbye – “Detaching psychologically by fantasizing about having an affair or making plans for the future that don’t include your partner can all be signs that you’ve fallen out of love…It’s as if the mind has pulled its own plug so our hearts won’t suffer as much when the relationship ends.”
Depression affects people and those who love them. But depression does not always lead to divorce. You must accept depression as a factor that is affecting your marriage and the bonding of your relationship. You must take help from a professional therapist, your family, or friends and deal with your depression and anxiety.