Depression is a natural enemy of close relationships, and restoring them is a major goal of recovery. It’s never easy. A depressed partner may suddenly withdraw into emotional isolation or perhaps turn angry and blaming. Trying to save the relationship may seem impossible in the midst of hurt and anger.
Here is a set of posts and resources to help you deal with this destructive influence, whether the depression is yours or your partner’s. The material captures the experiences of dozens of people who have written in to share their stories and seek advice.
I’m pleased to announce that the first Storied Mind ebook is now available. Surviving Depression Together contains new versions of more than 20 posts on relationships published here over the past five years as well as completely new content and material previously published only in the newsletter. It has all been edited and organized into a smoothly flowing reading experience. Here is an excerpt from the introduction: “I’ve been married […]
I’ve often described the way depression can break up close relationships, but does the illness explain everything? How responsible are depressed partners for the human cost that others pay because of what they do when they’re ill? One reader told me I’d confused her about this. First, I talked about depression taking over someone, as it had done to her husband. The angry stranger he became was the opposite of […]
Depression sets relationship traps for both partners. Everything can change quickly between two people, and it’s crucial to be able to spot these changes as soon as possible. Here are 11 signs of the illness that seem perfectly designed to undo the bonds of closeness. Humor, talking and doing things together, sharing special moments – they’re all gone. In their place are avoidance, anger, blame and isolation. Two Sides of […]
Relationships can break down quickly under the impact of depression. While many depressed partners decide to leave for good, I think it’s more common for two people to stay together and try to tough it out. If that’s the situation you’re in, you need more than hope to make a go of it and eventually restore the relationship. As my wife and I discovered, one of the first things you […]
When depression takes over your partner, you’re likely to go through an emotional waterboarding, a torture you have to escape. You may feel overwhelmed, confused, helpless to do anything. You take the brunt of the punishing anger or indifference that is all your partner can give you. The relationship that means the most to you feels like it’s breaking fast. What can you do to keep yourself together? There are […]
Depressed partners walk out and leave behind a lot of emotional wreckage. Whether the ending is explosive, grieving or compassionate, its impact is life-changing. As the abandoned partner, you have to put your life back together, and it can take years to do it. There are a lot of obstacles to get around, however, before you can start. One of the worst can happen if your partner makes you responsible […]
It’s the worst scenario of life with depressed partners. They leave, shutting out a lot of love and support because of the illness. If you’ve been abandoned in this way, the first thing you’re likely to try is to get in touch. You need to say you still care and want to help in any way you can. They may refuse all contact or send an answer full of anger […]
Over and over, I find stories online about the transformation of a loving partner, most often a man, into a depressed stranger. I know what that’s about because I have been that stranger. I went through a period of withdrawing emotionally from my wife and blaming her and just about everything else for my problems. I filled my mind with fantasies about escaping to a different life as the answer […]