Having depression can hurt both you and your loved ones. Because depression can be experienced at any point in one’s life, it isn’t easy to spot. When it comes to families, spotting the symptoms of depression can be even harder because of the emotional impact this condition can create. Depression symptoms can be practically invisible, and the behaviors that arise from this condition can form multiple responses, from aggravation to distress. However, know that if you have depression, seeking out help for yourself is the best resource you can do to help manage depression and understand the roots of where it comes from.
You, Depression, and the Family Dynamic
Most often, having depression means that there is a psychological impact on what you feel and what you think. In these moments, it can appear easy to avoid going to that friend’s birthday party, or zone out into movies for the rest of the day, and even not take a shower for over a week. But while many of the physical symptoms of depression try to be clear-cut, the reality of depression is that it is an illness experienced every day. It’s experienced when your loved ones believe you’re happy and well. It can be felt during all hours of the day, from times when you’re surrounded by everyone to moments in complete loneliness. It can be experienced even when you work at your job, clean up your home, and fulfill yourself as a parent, a friend, a worker, a lover. For some people, it exists non-stop and never ends.
For families who are unaware of the stigmas of mental illness, many of these depression symptoms can appear annoying, aggravating, and irresponsible, as the many symptoms of depression can include:
- Heavy fatigue for long periods
- Crankiness and restlessness
- Feelings of guilt and helplessness
- “Empty” feelings and loss of interest
- Skipped meals, messy rooms, unwashed clothes
- Spending all day in bed
- Canceled plans and lack of activity
But what we do understand is that depression present in families can cause long-term harm. Studies from the British Journal of General Practice show that family members with depression had a higher illness severity score than families whose members don’t have depression, implying that families with depression are at more severe risk of developing chronic illnesses and have poorer physical health overall. That’s why finding treatment for depression is highly important for both you and your family.
How Family Therapy Can Help Your Depression
Depression is an illness that’s highly influenced by genetics and a person’s environment. Past traumas, life struggles, poor self-image, and other factors influencing that person’s life can contribute towards depressive symptoms, and in some terrible cases, family members can be part of the cause. Family therapy can help find the stressors related to your symptoms of depression and give you the best possible success in treatment. When a member of your family is diagnosed with depression, everyone can be affected. Understanding your symptoms, how your family affects your emotions, and teaching you and your family better responses towards helping you live a more fulfilling life.