The behaviors and mood of a depressed person affect the whole family. There can be irritability, which can result in conflicts and can upset family dynamics. Negative thought patterns, which become a prism of pessimism for everyone.
Depression, unlike physical illness, is not visible to the average observer. Many concerned family members do not know much about it, such as how it is treated, or what its causes are. Its intangibility makes it particularly hard on friends and family who cannot see or feel the force behind the suffering.
Some respond to the confusing nature of depression by either denying its existence, or unrealistically put stress on the person suffering from depression to “snap out of it.” Some well-meaning family members may still consider depression to be a sign of personal weakness. Others, in contrast, try to take responsibility and try too hard to fight alongside the sufferer. Either extreme can cause additional stress, resulting in the depressed individual to feel misunderstood, frustrated, or pressured to recover quickly.
The ability of a depressed adult to fulfil basic roles and responsibilities offsets relationships in the family. Basic responsibilities get displaced, often to the adult’s children.
Symptoms of depression are often hard to interpret. The individual feels withdrawn, having little energy to perform even mundane tasks. This can be felt by others as indicating a lack of effort to remain in the relationship or as a lack of attention to the partner’s needs. For friends and family, it is hard to remember that the sufferer can’t just pull themselves out of their depression.
Pasadena Villa strives to work in concert with close family members to understand and take a constructive role in understanding the dynamics of depression and assist the client in preventing relapse.