Schedules have changed, jobs have changed, relationships have changed, the world has changed. Rapid shifts in “normal” throw our bodies, minds, emotions, and relationships into chaos. One of the many responses humans have to stress is depression.
Depression brings us into a state of low motivation, lack of interests in things and people, sleeping endlessly (also not sleeping), feeling blue, and irritability among many other things. Each of these “depressed” responses is our attempt to slow the world down and to try and calm the chaos. We bring ourselves into a place of low energy to try and slow the frenetic pace of change.
It goes without saying, “Depression can really strain a couple relationship.” If one partner is depressed and the other is not it can feel like the non-depressed partner is “pulling all the weight” of the relationship trying to make life work. If both partners are depressed it can feel like your relationship is stuck in a mud pit of lethargy and your love can be swallowed up in the muck.
So what can you do to cure depression? There are five things that have been shown to help counter depression: Therapy, medication, creativity, movement, and spirituality. Is there anything you can do as a couple to engage in these areas with purpose? Maybe you already are pretty good at moving each day and being creative. Could you pursue something in the realm of spirituality or therapy (Telehealth is available and there is this great course called Create Your Couple Story that you could take, just go to createyourcouplestory.com)? Maybe you already take medication (keep taking it), could you try something creative this week (cooking, writing, dancing, drawing, redesigning your apartment layout)?
You don’t have to do something in all of these areas but is there one area you could choose to engage in this week that feels new? These are tough times and to be honest depression may be something you feel. That is OK. But depression does not have to persist. Some days may feel better than others but you can make a difference in your depression by purposefully trying to engage these five areas: therapy, medication, creativity, movement, and spirituality.
Individually making changes in these five areas can help your couple relationship stay strong and loving during COVID-19. As partners help each other fight depression by encouraging one another to do something new in the ares of: therapy, medication, creativity, movement, and spirituality. Be intentional and keep your relationship strong!
Stephen WB Mitchell has his Ph.D in Medical Family Therapy and works as a professor, writer, speaker, storyteller, and a web-based relationship coach. He and his partner Erin Mitchell, MACP see couples together in their web-based practice. They have an online course for couples Create Your Couple Story. They speak and write together on issues of marriage, family, death, life, miscarriage, and the general importance of stories to help us make sense of our lives. You can follow their journey on Instagram @createyourcouplestory and at their YouTube channel Couples Therapy Bites with the Mitchells. Their mission is to guide couples and families into deeper connection and healing through story telling.