One of the most difficult aspects of depression is that few people recognise when they are feeling really bad. It often takes someone else close to you to point it out before it registers, but it’s not uncommon for someone with depression to be in denial. This particularly impacts on partners, who are living with them every day and who know them well enough to recognise the signs.
Immediately this can cause conflict that can lead to relationship problems, and in some cases can result in break up. So how can anyone deal with a depressed partner?
Caroline Carr, hypnotherapist and life coach, has started a website, www.mypartnerisdepressed.com 020 7467 8517 or 01202 731385 to provide guidance to people in this situation. She also offers workshops and consultations, and has an e-book on her website that you can download free of charge. See at the end of the article for details of a competition to win a free session with Caroline.
Caroline is kindly offering her time to one lucky winner (£500 prize value), either in person in Dorset or London, or through four telephone coaching sessions.To win a session with Caroline please email email@example.com with the title ‘Healthy Soul competition’ before 31st March 2012.
Caroline has personal experience of this issue, and she says, ‘As a partner you can get emotional shocks because you don’t know what to expect and when. Communication goes wrong between you and you may feel worried, hurt, angry, dejected and eventually you build up resentment. The main message I give is that this is not the partner’s fault. You need to take an emotional step back from your partner to avoid getting sucked in, or you can find yourself getting depressed as well.’
This is of course much easier said than done, but Caroline teaches people a range of strategies and techniques to help themselves to step back from the situation and avoid become embroiled. ‘You need to stay strong and have your own life. Many people find it hard to be selfish, but you can do this with compassion and kindness as you do have to protect yourself.’
This is particularly important when there are children in the family too. ‘My advice is to talk to children, making it age appropriate. They pick up on the vibes even if they are very young, and they can feel the hostility and aggression that’s below the surface. As soon as they can understand it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “Mum/Dad is not very well and that’s why they are behaving like that.” It’s so important that they don’t blame themselves.
‘Depression is so intangible and it eats into every aspect of life. It can have many causes – something that has happened in the past, hormone imbalances, deficiencies in certain nutrients, or something more obvious that has happened recently, such as bereavement.
‘I sometimes find that under hypnosis people discover something happened in their lives that they don’t even remember, but which has been making them feel bad ever since.’
We still live in a society where depression is a taboo. ‘People still aren’t good about discussing their feelings, and if you confide in someone who doesn’t react well it can make things even worse,’ Caroline continues. ‘You have to get into the mindset that it’s OK to think about your own needs, and recognise that you are on your own path in life and you don’t want to be pulled off it.’
Caroline Carr will be holding free talks at this year’s Vitality Show (London’s Earls Court 2, 22nd-25th March) entitled ‘Zippy Women’ in the One Life Theatre on Friday at 2:30pm and Saturday at 1:30pm. She will also be holding a workshop entitled ‘How Not to Worry’ on Saturday at 11am. For tickets and further information please see www.vitalitylive.co.uk
See Healthy Soul’s article: Coping with Depression