Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Depression and Relationships – A Two-Way Street? - Guest post by Teresa Jackson

Mental illness is not easy to understand, especially if it’s in the form of depression. Most people do not realize that depression is a mental ailment that is just like schizophrenia or mania in that those who are affected by it cannot control it. We tend to use the phrase - Oh, I’m so depressed – at the drop of a hat whenever we’re sad or find that life is not going exactly as we planned. And because we tend to bounce back sooner or later, we don’t really get what “depression” as a mental illness is. This is why we’ve all been guilty at some point of time or the other of asking people who suffer from depression to “snap out of it”. The unpalatable truth is that depression as a mental illness cannot be snapped out of – it has to be treated medically and handled with affection, kindness, patience and understanding.
People who suffer from depression find it hard to maintain healthy relationships with their significant others. This is because they’re moody and in their own world; they have neither the energy nor the willpower to do anything and so come across as lazy; and they find it hard to talk explain their state of mind to others. It’s often harder on the other person in the relationship, because it’s like having to deal with a really moody child most of the time – you have to be extremely patient, you need to really understand the illness and its behavior, and you need to be prepared for all the side-effects that the medication could cause. It’s almost similar to dealing with a chronic or terminal disease or living with an alcoholic – simply put, your partner needs medical help and emotional support.
More often than not, depression tends to kill relationships because not too many people are able to provide support and care on a constant and continuous basis; it either breaks them off completely or keeps partners together through ties that are tenuous at best and which can snap at any given time or at the slightest provocation. And when this happens, there’s always the risk that it can worsen the depression or send someone who is recovering into a relapse.
There’s also the risk that people who are normal are pushed into a depressive state when they’re unable to cope with traumatic breakups or with the death of a loved one. They’re in a state of shock at first, and when they don’t seek professional help for their intense sadness, it brings about a neurological imbalance and sends them into full-fledged depression. People whose children abandon them and who live alone, and those who have suffered trauma and who shun any form of emotional attachment are easily susceptible to depression.
A recent study conducted at the University of Michigan found that their spouses’ hostile and anti-social behavior increased symptoms of depression over time in women.
So you can see how relationships and depression are two-way streets – one can cause the other and each feeds on the other. So the more loving and healthier a relationship is, the more positive an effect it has on alleviating depression, and vice versa.
This guest article is written by Teresa Jackson, she writes on the subject of online NP schools . She invites your questions, comments at her email address :

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