Marriage is a commitment that requires open and honest communication in order to work at its best. Once someone begins to keep secrets or tell lies, the union is damaged. The damage isn’t always irreparable, but it’s there and it has to be dealt with.
But what if the secret being kept is actually being kept by your spouse to protect you or avoid your judgment? What if they have no malicious intent? Or, to complicate matters further, what if your spouse doesn’t even realize they are keeping a secret from you?
Depression is a serious condition that affects more people than many of us realize. Statics show that roughly 14.8 million Americans suffer from depression. Often times, people who are suffering from depression don’t even realize they are. And for those who do realize it, many do not seek help—particularly in the Black community. Results from a 2011 CDC study shows that only 7.6 percent of Black Americans sought treatment for depression compared to 13.6 percent of the general population. Many medical professionals also say that although depression itself may not be a reason for divorce, the consequences of untreated depression are.
When someone suffers from depression, they often suffer in silence. Maybe they think they are just experiencing a bit of the blues and they are patiently waiting for the sad feeling to just “pass.” And because so people are uncertain about how depression is defined, many do not turn to their spouse for help. Men and women alike usually try to manage the pain on their own, keeping the people they love most in the dark about their feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
For those who are familiar with the symptoms of depression because they have a personal history with it, or they have seen a loved one suffer from the condition, reaching out to a spouse still may not be easy. Fear of judgment can cause people to keep their emotions bottled up. People also fear the stigma that comes with depression and they can keep their daily struggles a secret because they don’t want their spouse to think of them as weak or overly emotional.
But depression is not just a small case of the blues. It’s not something people can just “wait out” because the sadness will go away on its own. Depression is a serious mental health issue, and if left untreated, it can cause immense pain and hopelessness—and possibly even lead to suicide.
If you have noticed changes in your spouse and you aren’t sure how to make sense of what is going on, maybe you should consider the possibility that they are struggling with depression and they either don’t realize it or don’t know how to open up and share how they feel with you.
Here are 5 signs that your spouse may be suffering from depression:
1. Lost of Interest in Activities
If it seems like your spouse has completely lost interest in activities that they once enjoyed, there is a possibility they are suffering from depression. Whether it is a night out with you, cooking a great meal, s*x, hanging with their friends, or even watching their favorite programs on television—a lost of interest in what once made them happy should not be ignore.
2. Anger or Irritability
If there are no looming issues in your marriage that you know of and your once pleasant, happy-go-lucky mate seems to get angry and irritated with a great deal of ease, it’s worth asking them what’s wrong. Maybe it is just a marital issue that they haven’t brought up with you yet, but it could also be a sign of depression. Either way, pleasant and happy people don’t just switch up without reason. Talk to them with concern and find out what’s at the root of their behavior.
3. Sleep Changes
Does it seem like your spouse sleeps far more than usual or they suffer from insomnia. Have they sought medical insight for their sleeping habits? A change in sleeping habits can be a symptom of many things, but people often neglect to consider depression. Depression can cause a lack of energy and even headaches, body aches and pains, which can all cause a person to either sleep more than usual or prevent them from sleeping at all.
4. Changes in Appetite
Does you spouse have a healthy appetite and they’ve suddenly lost interest in eating? Or maybe they typically follow a really healthy and balanced diet but lately you notice that they overeat quite often. When someone’s eating behaviors change, they should go see a medical professional to determine what is causing the change. There are many possibilities, but depression is certainly one of them.
5. Memory and Concentration Issues
If your spouse appears to have difficulty concentrating or you realize they are forgetting things that they once remembered with ease, have a conversation with them to see if they can share what they think is going. Your simple inquiry may lead to a larger discussion about how our spouse feels on the day-to-day basis and what might be wrong.
Remember, although your impulse may be to fix what’s going on with your spouse, depression is not something you can just fix or cure. It’s a condition that requires specialized care, which often includes therapy and possibly medication, but only a medical professional can help your spouse make that determination. As for you, all you can do is love them, listen, and offer support. Be present as their rock while they fight a battle that isn’t easy but can be won.