Maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t for you. Perhaps you aren’t bothered about hearts and flowers and wine and chocolates, and romantic trips abroad and luxurious silk lingerie, and soppy messages in cards. Or maybe you love all that.
Traditionally it’s a day for two people to express and celebrate their love – or at the very least to exchange tokens of affection. If you’re single, you probably feel fed up because everyone around you seems to get a card. And if your partner is no longer alive, Valentine’s Day may be a time of sadness, but also of many loving memories.
Valentine’s Day can be a poignant reminder that your relationship has changed
But when your partner is depressed, Valentine’s Day can be a poignant reminder that your relationship has changed. The fun, the friendship, the intimacy and emotional support can dwindle, as depression eats away at these aspects of the relationship. You may feel lonely and deeply sad, and long for what you had before depression stole the best bits of your relationship. Valentine’s Day and the build up to it can be miserable, a painful reminder of what once was.
Sue, one of my clients said that all she wanted was for “The person I fell in love with to come back.” Her partner had been depressed for a couple of years, and though a lot better, she noticed subtle changes, which made a huge difference to her. “One of the things that attracted me to him in the first place was the fact that he was so tolerant. Now he over-reacts to so many things, and is very quick to blame. It’s a whole different side of him, and one that I don’t really like.”
Adele’s husband had been depressed for years. She said: “I can hardly remember what it was like before. What we were like, and how we interacted. I do remember being blissfully happy on our honeymoon though. I’d give anything to feel that way with him again.” But the experience of depression is profound, and people do change because of it.
Grieving process if your partner is depressed
I have found that partners go through an important grieving process, so it’s important to be aware of that and accept it for what it is:
- Accept that you are on an emotional roller-coaster, and that this is quite natural in this situation. So be gentle with yourself. Let yourself rest and recoup when you can.
- Know that it is the depression that is the issue, not the person inside.
- Recognise that you may not be able to do anything about their depression or behaviour, but you can choose how much of an impact it has on you.
- Ask for help when you need it, and make sure that you look after yourself. In time, your broken heart can strengthen and heal, as you prepare to be OK with whatever happens next.
Read more here: http://www.mypartnerisdepressed.com/blog/story-38
Photo credit: digitalart