“Can’t you just be happy today?” “I don’t see what’s so hard about getting out of bed!” “Here, a drink will calm you down.” “What are you getting so nervous about?” “Look, we all have rough days. Just do what I do and push through it!” “What’s wrong with you?” “Get some help!”

If you suffer from anxiety or depression, know that our hearts go out to you. And if you’re the husband or wife of someone who’s dealing with anxiety or depression, we feel for you, too. You already know how much those conditions can affect the life of someone who has them, but what you may not realize is how much they can affect the health of your marriage.

On our wedding day, we pledge to be there for each other in sickness and in health. It’s an easy promise to make, because we’re deeply in love. Reality can be a different story. It’s one thing to be supportive when your husband or wife is saddled with a headcold or fighting a stomach bug. It’s something entirely different when the illness is chronic; even more so when it involves mental health.

If you’ve never suffered from anxiety or clinical depression, it can be difficult to understand the impact those conditions have on someone’s daily life. Things that seem simple to you have become a significant struggle for your husband or wife. They truly want to feel better, but that doesn’t seem to be possible. They don’t know what to do.

I know you’ve tried. You’ve taken steps to try to cheer them up (or help them calm down). Maybe you’ve even pushed your own feelings aside so you can always have a sunny disposition and an upbeat attitude. You’ve encouraged them to do things and felt the disappointment and frustration when they cancel plans at the last minute because they just don’t feel up to it. It’s understandable that those feelings of disappointment and frustration can mutate into anger. You’re not superhuman.

Here’s what you need to know. You can’t strong-arm someone into not being depressed or anxious. You can’t cheer someone out of depression. You can’t fix anxiety with a stiff drink. Your husband or wife is dealing with a medical condition and needs help.

We can help you too. Being the caregiver for someone with depression or anxiety is extremely difficult. It’s confusing. It can be frustrating and exhausting. At times, it can feel like you’ve had to put your life on hold. So you need three things. First, share your feelings with someone who will listen and understand. Second, learn about the realities of the condition affecting your loved one. Finally, learn strategies you can use to better serve his or her needs and cope with your own feelings.

It’s not a hopeless situation. The best way to start is to set an appointment with one of our professional counselors. We can help you take care of your spouse, your marriage, and yourself.  Call us today.

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