When someone you love first shows signs of depression your first reaction is to be concerned. You care about this person and want to do what you can to assist. If the depression continues for weeks and then months, or even years, how do you handle this very difficult living situation?
What Is the Cause?
If the low mood is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain such as bi-polar disorder then the individual needs to be under the care of a psychiatrist. Medications are the usual remedy for such a situation. The effects of moods which are too high (manic) or too low (depression) can be devastating. If your loved one has a biochemical problem find a support group which assists you in managing the roller coaster which will be your life.
If the problem is induced by situational circumstances such as illness, death or job issues, the primary thing you can do is offer a listening ear. This is something the person will need to work through themselves or take action and make changes.
Taking Care of Yourself
Living with someone with a mood disorder can bring you down. You absolutely have to find ways to manage your own feelings. There will be times you have great sympathy and compassion. At other times you will be frustrated and angry, wanting them to just "get over it."
The first step is for you to realize you are totally powerless over what the other person does, thinks and feels. This means you can only do so much. Attempting to change what is going on with someone else when there is nothing you can do consumes your energy.
You must find upbeat people to be with so that you can laugh and have fun. Finding a support group, as mentioned above, is also helpful. You may need to find your own mental health professional to assist you in navigating your own feelings. This person will also assist you in figuring out what you can and cannot do in the situation.
It's Not Your Fault
Unless you did something to cause the problem, such as an affair or abusive behavior, the problem is not your fault. Release any guilt you may have at not being able to make things better. Yes, it is permissible for you to have fun when someone else is struggling. You must continue to live your own life.
Living with someone with depression is challenging and turns your life upside down. In order to help them you must take steps to help yourself. Find people who can assist you through this difficult time. Get away from the situation so you can have the strength and energy to cope with your home life.