Is Your Husband Depressed?
Signs can be sleeping a lot, a constant negative attitude, or a lack of interest in things he’s normally interested in.
In episode 26 of The Authentic Wife Show, you’ll learn how to help your husband with depression, and what he can do to begin to shift out of it. I talk about what causes it, what to say, and how to avoid losing your own joy while he’s in it.
SPECIAL NOTE: If your husband has shared that he is suicidal and has a plan, you must call the authorities to help him. If he threatens to kill himself if you do/don’t do something, let him know that if he shares that with you, you’ll have no choice but to call the authorities to help him. If you are the one feeling suicidal, please contact the hotline or call 988 to reach them.
You can also watch today’s show on my YouTube channel!
[00:00:00] Welcome back to the show. I’m so excited that you’re here. I’m feeling good this morning. We’ve started our weekly meditation sessions. I call ’em VIP Emotional Hygiene sessions because if you’ve followed me for a while, you know how I talk about the importance of emotional hygiene? How, just like we take a shower every day and keep our bodies clean, we have to wash away the dirt in our minds.
Address things that triggered or bothered us that we didn’t actually take the time to figure out why they triggered or bothered us. Heal from those things and then refresh with this beautiful meditation session. Getting into energetic coherence, setting new intentions. It’s a daily practice. A daily practice, and it’s fun to get together. You can join us on my website, on the like work with me page, but my Happily Ever [00:01:00] After clients get to do that with me for free each week. It’s so critical, and this also relates to our topic today, which is how to help your husband with depression.
What Causes Depression?
If you are doing this emotional hygiene work every day, you’re not going to fall into situational depression. So let’s, let’s just start there. Okay. So what is depression? For a long time people have said it’s the result of like a chemical imbalance, and there was just recently a study that was posted that debunked that basically, I don’t have it, but maybe I’ll put it in the show notes. [CLICK HERE TO READ THE STUDY]
But even before that, there were several people who were like, if it’s just a chemical imbalance, it should be easily fixed with medication. But that’s not the case. You get on medication and it takes two to three weeks to work. Not all of them work the same for everybody, so it’s not something so cut and dry that we can just go, oh, we need more of this, so we’re just gonna bump it up. It doesn’t work that way. The way the antidepressants actually are beneficial is because of something called [00:02:00] neurogenesis. They create new neurons in your brain. And the very cool thing about that is that meditation does the exact same thing.
The Benefits of Meditation For Depression
So when you sit in meditation, you’re literally creating new neurons in your brain. You’re also strengthening these pathways. You’re creating new neural pathways. You’re connecting the left and the right side of your brain. The other amazing thing about it is that when you are mindful, when you do what we’re doing some of the time, which is called the vipassana meditation, where you bring your attention back to your breathing just because that’s a constant, you can bring it back to anything you are showing your mind who’s boss
and you’re not letting all those thoughts go rampant because they’re exhausting. If you notice what happens, the way we think is there’s some kind of stimulus and then every neural connection to that thing we start to think about, and it’s like a big chain. [00:03:00] Like you see a strawberry and then you remember picking strawberries, and then you think about how your mom was, and then like it just goes on.
When we do mindfulness meditation, we’re taking charge of that process so we can make our brain work for us. Because remember, we are consciousness. We are the observer of our thoughts. Our brain is not in charge. We are in charge as the observer of our thoughts and feelings. Brain is half of it. Feelings are the other half.
They work together and that’s how we think and decide. In fact, the emotions drive all of our All of our thoughts and our decision making, so we need both. But you are in charge of your brain. Your brain is not in charge of you. It stores so much knowledge and data, and you learn patterns, and it filters all the data that’s coming in for you,
it has a wonderful role, but if you just let it run rampant, it’s going to drive you insane or to depression. So, Meditation does the same thing [00:04:00] that antidepressants do. It also releases melatonin, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, and it clears histamine out of your body. I was looking at histamine intolerance recently because I was trying to figure out what was going on.
I had some tightness in my throat and then we figured out. But in that pro, or no, it was actually before that. I figured out that when I take antihistamines, certainly antihistamines and like certain like Pecid AC or something, they affect my period. and it’s, I learned about all this histamine stuff and how crazy it is, and you have histamine when you have stress.
So meditation actually releases that gets it to flow out of your body, gets rid of the histamine. I’m not an expert on that, but I thought it was fascinating. It’s all connected. All the things are connected, but so melatonin helps with sleep. Serotonin balances your mood. Dopamine is related to reward and pleasure.
We, it’s becoming more of a buzzword now. We all know that we want [00:05:00] dopamine. It helps us get things done. And then oxytocin, which is love and bonding, that’s the thing where we feel emotionally connected. That’s the one that men get after sex . So you can get all those things just by sitting in meditation. It’s, it’s really amazing. It’s. It’s like a drug. It’s an awesome thing. Everybody should do it all the time. like, but at least daily. That’s why emotional hygiene is important.
Don’t Match His Energy
So what do you do when you have a husband who is depressed? Now, the reason why this is a common question is because it feels yucky to live with somebody who is depressed, right? Because there’s such a thing as emotional contagion. These mirror neurons, we feel what other people are feeling. And normally just like we let our brain go crazy with those thoughts, and we feel at [00:06:00] mercy to those thoughts. We normally, until we know we can do something different, just feel what the other person is feeling and, and then create thoughts to match it. And you don’t have to live that way. You can actually hijack this process and use it for your own benefit by refusing to align to the, to align to the lower person and instead allow them to align to you. So no matter how they’re feeling, you are shifting in that place of love or happiness or joy bliss.
And no matter what you sense that they’re feeling, you hold onto that and you give them time to match you. You see how that works? So just like with our brain, we are the observer. We are the observer of our emotions too, and we can [00:07:00] control what we feel. We’re not at the mercy of emotional contagion. We don’t have to drop down to where other people are.
This is what being self-regulated is. It’s the ability to pay attention to what we’re thinking and feeling, control it, and change. You are the director in your movie. You’re not. So nobody else is writing the script. You are writing the script. So when you hijack that, when you use that for your own good, you stay in that place no matter how your husband is being.
And it’s very tricky at first because if you’ve never done any work, if you’ve never done any healing work, you’ll be tempted to really go down and, and start to feel bad too and, and be reminded of all these old triggers and wounds and everything. You don’t wanna do that. So the first way to help your husband who is depressed is to do your own work [00:08:00] and continue to be in a high place.
Don’t feel like, oh, they’re feeling bad. So it’s really cruel to feel good. I better just join them and feel bad too. No, don’t, don’t do that. It’s not helpful. It’s better for you to stay healthy the whole time. Much, much better.
Help Them Process With Empathy
The next thing that you can do is meet them with empathy. And so this is the trick if you don’t know what empathy is, because it wasn’t modeled for you by your parents, if you aren’t giving yourself empathy.
So you really, again, have no idea what it feels like to have somebody who’s listening to you and helping you process and helping you see who you are. It’s going to be such a challenge to stand there with empathy with your husband. And not only is he gonna have [00:09:00] things to complain about he is going to blame you for some of those things.
But I Forgot To Tell You What Causes Depression…
Which reminds me that I missed a step. I wanted to tell you what depression is. Depression is the result of chronic fight or flight. It’s a result of chronically being stressed, somebody who has been overwhelmed by things, and they have not done their emotional hygiene, and it builds up. It just stacks up over time until they crumble. And their energy kind of leaves their body because it’s too painful to be in their body and it feels hopeless. They have all these things piling up and it’s just starting to feel hopeless.
So they just fall into this depression and then, you know, different thoughts follow, and they feel like there’s nothing they can do.
What Happens When We Listen With Empathy
So, When we listen to somebody [00:10:00] with empathy, we help them process all the things that have happened to them. Basically, the idea is that you are getting them to tell you the story of what’s happened, and if they’ve ignored this for a long time, they have quite a story.
They could talk to you for hours about all the things. And it’s incredibly challenging if you haven’t done the work, like I said, to just be that mirror for them to just listen, to just reflect for them what that experience was like for them and how they felt as a result of it. So if you really wanna help your husband with depression, it’s.
Imperative that you do your own work first. So you can even meet them with empathy and you could say, oh, well they just need to go to a therapist, or they just need to [00:11:00] go to a counselor or something. I wish that were always the case, but the therapist that we saw long time ago before I did this work, Was not skilled at empathy at all.
She did none of it, and I was aware of that because at the time I was in my parent coaching certification, learning how to give empathy, and I could see that she was doing absolutely none of it. So therapy is not always the answer. You’re not necessarily going to get a person who’s skilled in empathy.
And it’s, it would be nice because then they’d be a neutral third party who’s not triggered by any of that blame, who’s not taking on anything that the, your husband is saying. It would be great, but that’s not always the case. The person who is most deeply invested and loves them the most is you. So if you are able to offer that skill, which by the way [00:12:00] should not be a therapist skill, it should be a human skill, it should be required to have a healthy relationship.
Because I’ve learned this so long ago, basically when my daughter was very little, I noticed that now she offers empathy naturally. It just, that’s just the way she is. She doesn’t have to think about it. She doesn’t have to go, oh, how do I mirror their words? Oh, how do I label their emotions? She just does it.
It’s the the coolest thing, and that’s the way everybody should talk to each other. If you talk to your kids with empathy, they’re going to be empathic humans and we’re gonna change us for all the generations going forward. So it’s not like a therapist only skill or professional only skill or something that only the hostage negotiators who are fantastic at it learn.
You shouldn’t have to work at a suicide crisis hotline to know empathy. It should just be a human skill. And I hope that that’s changing.
So if you learn it, [00:13:00] which is beneficial for you, and for your children and for your family, and for everything else you do, it’s literally like a missing skill that you don’t have.
Then you get to be the one who can hold your husband in this space of love and listen to what’s going on and help him process what has happened to him. Another thing that he can do. Let’s say you’re terrible at this and you, you know, that’s gonna be a while before you’re good at it. What my husband did, and another thing that your husband can do is get a journal.
Get Your Husband a Journal
And begin to write what’s happening. Write it and read it. Write it and read it. Write it and read it. That’s gonna help him tell the story, process what he’s feeling, gain new insights, move into the logic part of the brain, and be able to problem solve. Maybe look at the problem from a different perspective and see how small it is, see how there are other options.[00:14:00]
See how he does not need to be in fear about this. Look at a different solution. Like maybe he really hates his job and as he goes through and processes that, he can go, oh, well I could always apply for a different job . I could always go back to school and get a different skill. Or I could go apply for this job, or I could call up this recruiter I used to work with and see if has anything.
Or I could just let somebody know that I’m looking or I could just manifest it , you know, start thinking about having this new job. There are other solutions and once we have gone through the heightened emotion and let it flow, then we get to those solutions. So again, if there’s not somebody there who can either be a neutral third party or ideally you to meet them with empathy, then they can begin to journal and that’s incredibly helpful.
Get him a nice pen. My husband got into fountain pens at this time, and then he bought nice [00:15:00] journals to use them with and then he started journaling. So maybe get him a really nice pen of these into that kind of thing. Get him a cool ink, get him a really nice journal, make it something that he finds interesting and likes to do it and feels good, like a nice, heavy, good fountain pen, which I don’t have one. These are my cheap plastic ones. They feel nice, like you feel different when you hold them as compared to just a regular pen. So maybe that’s what he needs. It’s called penabling them. He penabled me after that. I just like the pretty inks. I’m like, oh, I can . I can have all these sparkly pretty inks and it’s fun. But he needs to.
Tell his story, and like I said, it can take a while. He could stand in your doorway like my husband did, and talk to you for an hour, and if you can keep your mouth shut and you can stay in a place of love, he’s going to [00:16:00] then process the thing and begin to shift out of the depression.
The Wisdom Of The Forced Rest That Is Depression
Now, just like every other emotion, depression has wisdom for us.
It’s like the tap on your shoulder from your soul, trying to give you information about the authentic way forward. In my, in my happily ever after program and in my royally guarded masterclass on emotion. I call each emotion your royal guard and the questions they ask the Royal quest, and so you can use these questions for depression to begin to understand what it is that is your way forward.
The first question is, where has my energy gone? And the second question is, why was it sent away? Now they’ve done like I don’t know how they did ’em exactly, but they’ve done scans of people’s bodies when they’re feeling different [00:17:00] emotions.
And the depression one. Instead of being lit up red, like with anger, it’s almost all black and blue because your, your energy literally leaves your body and you just got nothing . You feel very empty and very numb. So this question, where has my energy gone is really powerful because maybe your energy’s ruminating on these past problems.
Maybe it’s you’ve put it onto, into your job or into just fear and worry. Where has it gone? And then why was it sent away? What is it about your present that you don’t wanna feel? The other important thing is to remember that you can then choose something to put your energy into. What is it that lights you up?
What is it that inspires you that you love that’s fun? Maybe you’ve been so worried about things that you have forgotten [00:18:00] to go have fun and nurture yourself and do self care and do the things that you love.
A Necessary Perspective Shift
A really quick perspective shift. I found anytime that I have started to feel depressed, and it kind of sounds a little bit terrible, but for me it works is I think of somebody who has it worse than me and not necessarily a specific person.
It could just be like, The homeless. Somebody who has nothing. Somebody whose child has just died. A single mom whose husband has just left her for another woman. I think of somebody, who has it way worse than me because it fixes my perspective on my situation because maybe I am worried about bills, but I have a beautiful house and it’s warm.
We have heat and there’s food in there, and there’s water, and like I have a car. Gas, like I, I literally have all the things I need, but I’m going into all this [00:19:00] fear about possibly not having the things I need, and most of the time it’s totally unfounded, right? We just have these fear stories that repeat.
So if you give your brain that perspective shift to go, who really actually has it bad right now? Who’s really having a hard time? And then how could I help them? Is there one small thing that I could do today to help somebody in that position? Because that gratitude and that generosity creates more abundance in our lives, more abundance for other people, and more abundance for us.
So going, oh, you know, I am passionate about this kind of person and I could put a lot of my attention into Volunteering or getting involved with the community that helps these people. Or if I have the means donating to help these people, or maybe I just am a extroverted person and wanna go walk out on the street and [00:20:00] talk to this person.
Or maybe I like to bake and I’m gonna bake them something. Or maybe I like to crochet and I’m gonna crochet them a hat or keep them warm. Maybe there is something that I could do for a person like this, and that reminds us of all of our blessings and all of the abundance around us that we tend to forget when we have something that feels stressful in the moment.
So if you are the one who is feeling depressed, do that check in. And if it’s your husband, maybe point that out, say like, Who’s got it worse than you right now? Help him have that perspective shift through your guidance. So again, remember that depression is just the result of chronic fight or flight.
Chronically being in the stress response and not doing your daily emotional hygiene to handle it, trying to ignore it, trying to move on, not actually taking maybe some different action to change things, [00:21:00] meditation. Can be. I feel like I read a study recently also that said, just as effective if not more, the medi medication for depression, because remember, it’s creating those new neurons.
It’s strengthening your neural pathways. It’s connecting the left and right side of your brains. It’s also releasing melatonin, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. And it’s clearing histamine, the, the stress hormone out of your body. Empathy, listening to the story, mirroring what they’re saying, labeling their emotions, helping them hear and see who they are and what’s happened to them is the way through.
If they don’t have you or somebody to do that with, journaling is fantastic for this. Encourage it, buy them a pen, buy them a journal. Bring it up as [00:22:00] something they could do. Maybe even see if they’ll email you. , you know, long things. The trick for you is to not get hooked by what they’re saying, to not try to defend yourself or fix the problem or have any energy of like, we’re here to fix or solve or, or anything like that.
Your, your intention always is to listen and help them feel heard. Use caution when a hiring a professional to make sure that it’s somebody who can do this because otherwise they can make problems. And then ask those questions, where has my energy gone? Why was it sent away? And the most important thing for you as his wife is to do your own emotional hygiene work, to be able to stay in that place of love or happiness, no matter how they’re being.
So they will match or entrain to you. And feel good again. [00:23:00] That’s the work. I hope this was helpful. In the show notes, I’m gonna put a link to an article that I wrote on depression. If you wanna learn a little bit more about that, and if you’d like to sign up for a weekly v i p meditation session, we’d love to have you there.
Your husband can do it too. In fact, that’s the only thing I really offer for men right now. Join me every Wednesday at 9:00 AM Eastern. Information on that in the show notes, or you can go to the authentic wife and mom.com to find it. Have a beautiful day. Remember to be grateful for all of your blessings, and remember that you are abundance itself.
There’s nothing outside of you. It’s all within you. All right. See you next week.
If you’d like to master your emotions and learn exactly what they mean, download my free emotion assessment called The Princess & The Peeve. You can also purchase my masterclass on emotions called Royally Guarded. You’ll learn what your emotions feel like, what their Royal Quest is, and how to use them to take action.
- 48: Invest In The Kids: Applying Business Principles for Family Success - June 18, 2023
- How to Live Happily Ever After - June 5, 2023
- 45: Why Creating Marriage Health is Good Parenting - May 28, 2023