Taking on other people’s depression

 

It’s often hard to separate yourself from what someone you love, feels.  If you are a mom, or spouse, or daughter or mother, you sometimes can’t help but internalize other people’s mental outlook on things. Growing up, my mother suffered from severe depression. I remember days where she would sleep well into the day and not come out of her room. My brother and I fended for ourselves quite often. When she was moody, you didn’t know what to do, you didn’t know how to act…I knew any and every thing would upset her. 

Since I’ve been released from those bonds when I ran away at 16, I learned very quickly, life is what you make it. You can’t spend time dwelling on things that happened in the past, I personally hate giving power to something in the past and having it ruin my whole out take on life. I feel like there is so much to experience and do and enjoy about each day, that I can’t spend time dwelling. This doesn’t mean I don’t ever get depressed or down…I just find a way to snap out of it and usually those feelings only last for a day before I’m back to my normal self. I spent too many days as a child internalizing my mother’s mental illness to let any kind of depression get me down for  long periods of time. 

Photo May 11, 6 41 35 PM

Little did I know back then, I’d marry someone who tends to get depressed. My husband, an ex football player and rough and tumble child suffered quite a few concussions in his youth. We now know that concussions can actually attribute to permanent brain damage and even alter the shape of one’s brain and how the synapses fire that controls one’s mood. A healthy brain has a healthy mind and one that can easily get over things. So its fitting that I would be the one again that tries to help my husband see a life that is great. I can tell you that he has been pretty good over the last couple of weeks, but there are times when he’s not that great and I can tell, even though he rarely speaks about it. His body language tells me a lot. I think my words though have had an impact over the years. I try to always be positive about things, but it’s often the things I can’t see that upsets him the most, like work relationships. Sometimes you have toxic co-workers that thrive on creating controversy for their own entertainment. They love gossip and drama and my husband is not that at all, but finds himself often among the silly things that he should never be apart of because his work ethic is too great to engage in trivial things. These are the things that bothers him the most, and these are things that I can’t help with much. I can simply provide guidance and tell him that people know him by his true character. 

Talking about his feelings and the past has really helped my husband, but there are other ways of dealing with depression. A friend of ours is also going through a tough spell with her depression but has a hard time opening up. She felt particularly tired and foggy last week, so we decided to look in to natural ways of treating depression. After some research we found that a lot of people are using products like this full spectrum cbd oil. Studies seem to find that CBD has a positive effect on people’s moods, so she’s going to give it a try. Hopefully she’ll be able to get some relief.

Over the years I would say that my husband is in the best place he’s been in his whole life. I think he’s found his grove and his way and over all he seems happier. He’s happy when he’s busy, and I’m happy seeing him busy and joking around and being his funny self. It’s still hard to separate yourself from that and not internalize the depression you see in your spouse or loved one. All I have to say to that, is be as encouraging as you possibly can, then be you, be happy, enjoy your life because if your spouse sees your happiness, heck it just might snap them out of it, maybe a little….maybe enough for them to realize the gift they have in you, in life, in the fresh air…in the rain, in the comfort of your embrace. 

I know that he may not share all of it with me, but what he does share with me, I hope I’ve helped him to some extent realize his significance in this world, what he means to me and our kids and what I know he is as a human being. I hope he knows I truly love him for him. 

About Heather Jones

I'm just a wife and mom of two boys trying to find her place in this world. I enjoy walks around the lake, bible journaling, and RV camping with my family.

Heartfully Heather

 

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Heather Jones

I'm just a wife and mom of two boys trying to find her place in this world. I enjoy walks around the lake, bible journaling, and RV camping with my family.

0 thoughts on “Taking on other people’s depression

  1. Depression is hard to overcome by yourself. You definitely need someone to just be there and show you how good the world really is. I’m sure your husband appreciates all you do for him.

    1. Yes, I agree that it’s easier with someone else by your side when dealing with depression.

  2. I’m pretty sure husband is thankful for you and such a sweet post about him. Depression is hard and you really need someone to be there to be able to over come this.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. This is such an important topic and so difficult for family members to understand and cope with the shared stress.

  4. It’s an incredibly good thing for the relationship that you have such an awareness of how his depression works. I think this sort of empathy makes relationships strong.

    1. I think we are pretty strong as a couple. Nothing really could tear us down nine years in. Through thick and through thin is what I signed up for, and him as well.

  5. I have struggled with depression most of my adult life. It was triggered mostly by my verbally abusive ex husband and a rough situation several years ago. I was doing great until my chronic pain started causing issues again. I try to keep it in check but I have to say some days are harder than others.

    I think as a partner you just have to do your best to support them. Getting help is sometimes tough but help was the best thing that helped me.

    1. Yeah, its not talked about often enough and it does make me a little hesitant to let my children play a contact sport. I, in no way want to be a helicopter parent, but it does make me nervous.

  6. As someone who has depression I know how hard it can be to open up to people when you feel so alone and worthless. It’s great that your husband has you as a support and seems happier in his life these days.

    1. Thank you Fi. I try to help and I hope he knows I always have good intentions even if I can’t come up with the right words to say sometimes. I know sometimes just being there and listening is all he needs.

  7. I had no idea you ran away from home at 16. I’m sure it’s personal, but as a mom, I find stories like that interesting, as I’m able to see things from different points of view. Luckily, I’ve never battled depression that I’m aware of. So sad to hear about your husband’s football-related concussion injuries. My old English teacher (and former football coach at my high school) actually wrote a book about the topic “Goodness Falls” by Ty Roth. it might be worth looking into.

    1. Yeah, I ran away from home when my mother asked if I’d drop out of high school and get a job to help pay off her debt. I refused because I wanted to go to college and didn’t want to drop out of high school. I slept on friends’ couches for some time until a Christian couple took me in and unofficially adopted me. It was the first time in my life I knew what a functioning family looked like. I also went through two years of counceling to help me deal with some of the abuse I endured as a child both physically and mentally inflicted by my mother and my mother’s boyfriend. It was hard, but I know I went through those things for a reason and I feel like it has made me a better mother.

  8. When I meant my boo I did not know how much of his ‘down time’ I would have to take on and support him through which I am not complaining but never realised how much I internalised his anger and made it my own, after a while it became exhausting and I lost track of me. Now I am me and able to help him better. Your husband is lucky to have you.

  9. Glad to hear your husband is doing pretty good. I suffer from anxiety and it wasn’t until recently that I realized I got it from my Mom. My sister and I were talking and the light bulb went off. It’s a constant internal battle but it a little easier with amazing support.

  10. So sorry to hear about your husband and his head trauma. Negative energy has a way to attach from one person to the next but good news…so does positive energy. Just be the best wife you can be and keep his spirits uplifted…co-workers can be some of the pettiest people ignore them!

  11. Oh wow! That sure is a lot to deal with. I too have a mother that suffers with mental illness and it is hard to not internalize it and take on the burden. I really appreciate your honesty and strength about it. And I hope I can keep the kind of perspective you have!

  12. This was wonderful, Heather. Thank you for being so open and honest! You are so right–We are called to love and encourage one another–but we are still allowed our own happiness! Great stuff!

  13. Life can really be tough at times. I know we have alot of depression in our family and it takes work for me to overcome this. We need to count our blessings daily and focus on them. Thank you so much for sharing this great article. God Bless you and your family

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