Depression affects not only the patient, but also the family. The spouse of a depressed patient must be very tolerant. They must be very patient and they must be very loving.
Take Time For Yourself
As the spouse of someone with depression, it's very important to take some time for yourself. Get away from the stress and relax a little. Grab a trusted friend and go to coffee once a week. Go for a daily walk. Spend some quiet time with your favorite book. How ever you spend this time, make it you time and make sure that the depressed spouse isn't along.
Stay up to date and current on your spouses medications. Is your spouse taking the medications? If you spouse has been known to pretend to take them learn to count pills and double check. You can also tell by behavior. If your spouse seems off, consult with their doctor about the possibility that they may be off their medications or on the wrong medications.
Set up a support network for yourself. This network could be, the family doctor, a pastor, a few trusted friends, a support group or your own family. When things are tough ask for help. Don't be afraid to tell family what is going on. If they truly care, and most do, they'll want to help you.
Teach children and other family what to do in a crisis. If there is a crisis situation, have a plan in place for children. It could be a friends house, a family members house or simply to hide out in their room until the crisis has passed.
Your spouse doesn't like feeling out of control. Be patient and loving. Redirect whenever possible. Recognize symptoms before they happen and redirecting them to other feelings is often more simple.
Have A Plan
When your loved one is doing well, sit down and discuss things openly. Your loved one won't be able to understand during an episode of depression and you'll be wasting your breath. If you work out a plan prior to an incident you'll be able to work together and focus on healing and not damaging your relationship.
Keep Doctor Appointments
Help your loved one make it to all of their doctor appointments and go with them as part of their support network. Be supportive and encouraging to them.
Keep A Journal
Journaling is a great way to track your own concerns. Journaling will help you to share with the doctor about "bad days" and "good days". Journaling will help you to remember those good days on a bad day when you're struggling.
It's important to remember that you're not alone in your struggle to help your spouse. Many others are struggling with the same issues that you are. Don't ever be afraid to take time away, get help, call the doctor or your pastor. You can't do this alone and neither can your depressed spouse.