Dear JFFS Counselor:
My wife, who just turned 30, was diagnosed with depression and placed on medication by her doctor. She has been feeling down and unable to participate in her daily activities, like work and even taking care of our apartment. Before we were married, she was taking medication and this seemed to help. She has also agreed to start therapy again. I would like to know more about depression, so that I can understand what she’s going through and what I can do to help.
A Concerned Husband
Dear Concerned Husband,
Depression is a mood disorder that causes symptoms such as low energy, prolonged sadness or irritability, and lack of interest in daily activities. It is more than just the normal, temporary feelings of sadness and hopelessness associated with difficult life events. Depression can be triggered by an imbalance in the brain’s chemistry or stressful, emotional situations. It is important to understand that depression is an illness, not a character flaw or weakness. Many people with depression do not seek treatment, because they are embarrassed or think they will get over it on their own. Research has shown that depression runs in families and can be triggered by stressful life events, and, as in your wife’s case, it tends to recur. It is wonderful that you want to learn more about your wife’s illness and to support her on her path to recovery. Those with depression certainly benefit from family support, medication and therapy.
If you would like more information about depression, please contact the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) at www.nimh.nih.gov or the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at www.nami.org. Your wife can also join one of our Therapy Groups at JFFS for additional support. Please call (949) 435-3460 and ask about Support Groups.