What a husband could say to help his depressed wife.

In moments when I am suffering, I do not know what to do to help myself, nor does my husband. The two of us play out a pattern that typically ends in me coming completely undone, feeling totally isolated and hopeless, and him feeling sad, angry, frustrated and helpless.

Depression is a sneaky disorder. I’ve heard the expression “depression lies to us” and in moments of clarity I can see how this is true. Depression tells us terrible things about ourselves and others. Depression tells us life isn’t worth living. Depression is so incredibly dark.

I am guilty of always trying to intellectualize depression, trying to think my way out of the spinning decline to misery, but it is impossible. Thinking amplifies depression. Distorted thinking that is, paired with heightened emotions and some physical symptoms such as exhaustion and pain.

In my last bout of depression I found myself desperately trying to get my husband to help me. I wanted him to say something to make me feel better. I was unable to help myself. We were both at a loss. But now, that the fog is clearing it occurred to me to prepare for next time - and as much as I like to deny it, there is always a next time.

This is what I think a depressed wife needs to hear from her husband, when she is unable to help herself out of the darkness:

You are not wrong, or a bad person, or crazy.

Indeed people have done things to hurt you, but people are flawed. People forgive, that is what they do. Other people get along well because they can forgive. Try to be forgiving. You will feel better soon.

You are not hated, the kids love you like crazy and so do I. This will pass and we will be okay.

Things seem dark right now, but a lot of this is physical. You are tired, how can I help you get rested?

Do you want to watch a show together? It’s time to rest your busy mind.

I can think of so many things that I love about you.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

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